Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happiness Eclipsed

There are no words to adequately describe how I've been feeling since my half-marathon.

I don't have that "day-after-Christmas" feeling.  I don't feel let down in the slightest.  I'm VERY pleased with how well I did.  ((In fact I'm in awe of my bad self...even though Speedy completely smoked my slow butt, which is a story for another day.))

I just can't get the tragedy of the day out of my mind.  (A runner died just short of the finish line.)

She was well-trained.  This was not her first race.  It wasn't overly hot that day.  There was PLENTY of aide on the course.  (Apparently she had some known heart problems.) 

I'm just so sad I can hardly allow myself to be happy over what I personally achieved that day.  Every time someone asks me how it went, I tell them, "Great, until after I was done with the race....."  I just don't feel like I can be happy for my own accomplishment without the overshadowing black cloud of sadness for this woman's family and friends.

I didn't know her and yet I feel this sense of loss because of her death.

I want to write about the course.  I want to write about my experience running this race.  I want to be amazed with what I did and how I did it.  I want to tell you about some of the funny things I saw...and yet....every time I sit down to write, all I can think of is this woman who lost her life just shy of the finish line.  I don't think it's healthy for me...and yet I can't quite figure out how to get past it.

From what I've gathered, this woman was a motivator.  She had organized a training group for this race.  She was very active and engaged in her life.  I'm SURE if she were here she would be the first to tell me to let it go and stop dwelling on the negative.

And yet, I'm grieving the loss of someone I never even met.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have the words I need to tell you all the things I want to say.  For now, I'll just keep trying to get them out!

Thanks for reading.  Come again soon.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I've bee sitting here for hours trying to sting my thoughts together to form a coherent post....I don't think it's going to happen.  So, I'll just do what I usually do--write to make sense of things.

I can not describe the feelings I had Saturday morning.  I didn't have a goal, other than to finish the race.  I was, strangely, NOT nervous at all.  I got very excited, but I don't think there was a point in time when I became "nervous".  I got to wear a KILLER running skirt thanks to my wonderful friend (I'll have to think of a good name for her) who also had shirts made up for everyone in our group of 13.  I have never felt so stylish at a race....but this being a Women's Half, I knew that would matter so I tried harder this time to think about what I was going to wear.  (Not to mention all the photo opportunities on the course!)  ((In case you are wondering....the picture on the right is a continuation of a goofy tradition that I started my first race...)

I wish I had been able to strap a camera onto my hat so I could record every single thing that I saw.  My Swiss-cheese memory is bad enough trying to remember a couple of things--this day was filled with things I didn't want to forget.  I made the decision not to take my camera because I didn't want to have to keep up with it, but it sure would have been nice to have some pictures of my own of the actual race.

Speedy had planned to go "all out" for this race (also her first half), and she has some fantastic training under her belt from the 13.1 training group to back up her goals, so she lined up in coral three.  I, on the other hand, had decided beforehand to be happy with finishing and lined up in coral four.  My seasoned runner friend who loaned me the awesome skirt graciously lined up with me, even though she was slated to be in coral two.  We planned to run/walk with a 5/1 interval...which we held for quite a while.  At some point (I'll have to upload my Garmin data to remember when) I pulled away from my friend a little bit and then lost her.  She had not run at all in two weeks, and the course was ridiculously hilly.  I considered holding back a little bit, but I felt really good so when she told me I really needed to run my own race, I decided to just go ahead and run ahead.

The bad thing was she was my timer!  She told me ahead of time to set my own watch in case we got separated, but I didn't.  I thought I could watch the time even if I didn't have set interval alarms.  I could have done that, but it was stressing me out trying to think about it, so I decided to let all that go and just run at a nice slow pace and gave myself full permission to walk at any time I felt like I needed to.  I ended up running pretty much the rest of the time.  I stopped once to use the bathroom (I should have waited until I really NEEDED to go instead of making a preemptive pee stop because once I was in the -nasty- port-o-let, I realized I barely had to go at all.)  ...and I walked up a couple of hills (more out of fear than need).

I finished in 2:38:59, with a pace of 12:08.  I came in 323rd in my age group (out of 620), and 2076th out of 3883 finishers.  Speedy (who EARNED her name on this race) came in at 2:12:58, 927th overall and 208th out of 740 in her age group!!  (Her pace was 10:09.)

After everyone in our group had their medals and had gotten some pictures made and had some water and bananas....the three of us (speedy, nameless friend and I) started over to our hotel room.  Right at the point we had to cross over the home stretch of the course, there was an ambulance blocking part of the road.  I would have been oblivious to what was going on but someone made a comment that made me look over.  I won't go into details, but from what I have gathered after the fact, a woman (whose name I won't mention here because I don't want a Google search to bring up this blog with pictures of me smiling wearing my medal....) collapsed as she was going into the finish.  She apparently had some known heart issues and had suffered a heart attack.  Again, I won't go into details, but she passed away a short time later.

In case you're wondering, that is why the title is "bittersweet", and why I've been sitting her for so long trying to put my thoughts together.  Writing hasn't really helped me I'm sorry for the babble.  I'll put together a real post in a couple of days....actually, knowing all the different thoughts swirling around in my noggin, most likely a series of posts.

Please, take care of yourself.  Do things you love and don't live in fear....but take care of yourself.  And, tell people you love them....all the time.

I love you guys...thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Race Thoughts-Women's Half Marathon

I don't feel like I'm about to "run" a half marathon.

Maybe because I know I'm not going to run the whole time.  I am going into it with a run/walk plan.  I know, in my mind, it's still 13.1 miles.  But, knowing I won't be running the whole time, and knowing there's a very generous time limit (20:00/mile) just makes it seem like it's not that big of a deal.  When I ran/walked ten miles a couple of weeks ago, I did get tired of being out there toward the end....but mainly I think because I was bored with it.  There weren't throngs of people cheering me on.  I wasn't out there with hundreds, okay, thousands, of other women moving toward a common finish line.

I'm excited to be going...but it doesn't feel like I thought it was going to feel.  I'm excited, but not as excited as I was before my first race.  Maybe I'm confusing "excited" with "nervous"?  That's a real possibility.  I was extremely nervous before my first race....heck, I've been extremely nervous before every race I've done.  Until now.  Maybe I will be, but for right now I'm not even the least bit nervous at all.

I think, again, it comes down to expectations.  Before my first race (Wounded Warrior 3K) I had the expectation, maybe I should say the hope that I would run the whole time.  That was my goal....and I did it.  Before my second race (Cookie Dash 5K) I had the hope of running "fast", and not walking.  I didn't quite make the goal of not walking, but I did better than I expected to do as far as time goes.  Before my third race (Steeple Chase 8K) I just wanted to finish and run the whole time...and (other than an about 10 second loss of sanity toward the end, I did just that).  Before my fourth race (Cotton Row 10K) I just wanted to be able to run without hurting myself worse, which I did.  Before my fifth race (Running of the Bulls 5K/1 mile fun run), I had very high expectations/hopes.  I was very disappointed in myself because I really felt like I let myself down by not meeting those expectations....even though I PRed.

I think that's why this time I'm going into this "race" with no expectations or even hopes of what it will be like or what kind of "performance" I'll do.  I think another reason is that I'm going to this race with a big group of very accomplished runners.  I'm, by far, the slowest one of the group.  At the same time, since this race "strongly encourages" walkers (and gives an incredible amount of time to finish the race to prove it), I KNOW I will not even be close to the back of the pack (barring injury of course).  I don't have hopes of middle of the pack, but I "know" I won't be in the bottom fourth.

My goal is to have a good time with friends.  My only hope is to be fully present in the moment and to allow the excitement of the day engulf me, but not swallow me up.  I want to be a part of it, not be a spectator of it.  Does that make sense?  I wish my family would be there to cheer me on...but no doubt there will be a lot of "stand-ins" there who will be cheering!!  It's really cool because my name will be printed on my race bib, so I can "expect" to have someone cheer for me by name!!

By the migraine is still there lurking in the back of my head.  It seems to come and go in waves.  As long as I don't feel sick to my stomach again (like I did Tuesday night), I'm okay.

Thanks for listening to my ramble!!  Come again soon!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Migraine, perhaps??

I don't know what is going on with my body!

I feel horrible.  My head is still pounding.  The ringing in my ears that has played in my head like quiet strains of muzac in an elevator for about a year now is blaring like a too-loud rock concert.  I thought it might be blood pressure related, but it's 108/62 and my pulse is 57.  (Pretty good, huh??!) ***Side note-I used to have a pounding heart has gotten significantly better since I started running.  My BP has always been on the low side of average, and even it has dropped a bit.

Okay, back to how bad I feel today.  I can't express to you how much I want to just go back to bed.  Actually, I did that already.  I took a nap before lunch.  What a slug!  I wish I could sleep until I feel better no matter how long that takes.  I HATE feeling bad.  Especially when I have no idea what's causing it.

I don't think I've eaten anything on "the list" all week, so I don't think that's it....wait, it's only Tuesday, huh?  Well, this would be day three since eating "bad" food.  That could be it.  From what I understand, it takes about three days to "detox".

THIS IS WHY I HAVE TO EAT CLEAN.  If I can't stay away from food I'm not supposed to have I'll never know if it's food that makes me feel like crap.  But, the ringing in the ears thing has been going on for a year now.  It gets better and worse but has not ever gone away.

Okay....enough about not feeling well.  Lamentations about it won't help.

My run yesterday morning was less than stellar.  It was my shortest run in a VERY long time.  I have strange niggling pains in various parts of my body...and I feel run down...and like I can't breathe.  But, when I got home and uploaded the Garmin data, I found out that my first mile was 10:23--much faster than I usually run.  Mile two, even with a couple of walk breaks, was 11:25 (which it more comfortable for me).  It was also stinking HOT out there.  Not only did I get a bit of a later start than usual, it's been hotter than it should be for FALL.  All-in-all, I'm okay with it.

....I wasn't okay with it until last night when I ran with the NOBO group I'm helping with.  I had the opportunity to run with someone who was really struggling.  I found myself telling her all the things I needed to hear.  (Imagine that, huh?)  She was really struggling to keep running (and lost that struggle many times).  She said, "I know when I get to the end, after I rest a few minutes, I'm going to feel like I should have been able to run the whole time, and that I could go do it again."  I told her, and myself at the same time..."You have to trust yourself. When you are done, and you are beating yourself up for taking these walk breaks, you have to tell yourself that you would have kept going if you could have.  It's easy to say, 'I could have done more/better or gone faster/longer' when you are sipping water after the fact.  But, right now, when you're out here doing all you can so you can tell yourself you did all you could."

Okay, okay, I get it.  I'm not helping myself by berating myself after the fact.  It's hard to have a hard running week after having a good running week.  But, hopefully that means I'll have a good half marathon on Saturday!!

Speaking of the Women's Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee this Saturday September 25th, starting at bib number is 4312.  I'm taking one for the team on this race...I'm going to be the last one in our group of runners to finish.   Someone has to be last in the group, so I'm volunteering for that spot so no one has to worry about it being them.  :D

Thanks for stopping, come again soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Knowing When to Say "Enough"

Well....I didn't even finish 3.5 this morning.  Well, I did finish it, but I walked about 1/4 mile in the middle.

My lower legs feel exactly like they did when I was training for Cotton Row.  I want to believe it's food related.  It's the thing that makes the most sense.  If I'm being very's the thing that gives me the most control.  If it's the food, that shall remain nameless, then not eating it AT ALL will result in less, or no, pain....allowing me to not make the decision that has been hanging over my head like a black cloud.  If it's the nameless food I have eaten as much as five times in the past week, that would explain why some days the pain is worse than others (based on what I have eaten).  If it's this food that I won't condemn because I really do love it that is causing me the pain I'm feeling in my legs, then it's NOT just because I'm a  big whiny butt.

I've been saying for a while, if I could have just one food "back", it would be THIS food.  It's in everything good.  I love it.  It's almost impossible to find food, especially at restaurants, that doesn't have this in it.  And, I know what you're thinking--probably the same thing I have thought many times, food can't cause pain in your body.  Come on.  But, there's a very strong correlation between when I eat it and how my body feels.  Undeniable really.  And yet, I'm not ready to tell it like I think it is.  I'm not ready to point the finger at this food.

Well, anyway...enough about that food I'm not going to name.....  I started out feeling okay.  My legs didn't feel great, and I didn't feel good at all...but I was running pretty strong, and feeling quite good.  At some point (about a mile and a half),  I felt that all too familiar "bee sting" sensation in my right calf.  It wasn't too bad--like a bee that didn't quite get its stinger all the way in, but it did break the skin.  I decided to ignore it, thinking it would go away. 
 It didn't.  It kept getting worse.  I walked a bit and told Daisy I wasn't going to make it.  She thought I meant the eight we had originally planned to go...I meant to the end of the trail.  I tried to run again after a few steps, but it really did hurt.  I had some flashbacks to Cotton Row training and all the pain I had (off and on...probably worse after eating this nameless food that I found out my body can't tolerate according to blood tests).  I tried to stretch, but it didn't feel muscle related.  It feels like it's in the bone...the same way it felt before.

I tried rubbing on the spot that hurt-and that just made it hurt SIGNIFICANTLY more.  I decided that walking hurt at least as much as running, so when we got out to the road,  I decided to go ahead and run the rest of the way.  The pain let up a bit, but when we stopped it was almost excruciating.

There is a very big part of me that doesn't want it to be the food that I think it is...because that would mean I could eat it!  But, at the same time, if it's the food, and giving it up is all I have to do in order to run better.  I think I would be able to give it up.  I think I would be able to say "I've had enough of this food."  I'd much rather say "enough" to the food than to say "enough" to my runs.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Exercise in Will

This morning I woke up feeling AWFUL!  My head is pounding.  Every joint in my body feels like it's surrounded with fluid.  My throat hurts.  I'm drained.   (I ate a food that's on my "no-no" -allergy- list yesterday...this kind of feeling "always" follows eating that food.  Maybe I'll remember that the next time I want to eat it.)

Today is my "long run" which should be 8-10 miles (probably 8 since I'm running my first half next Saturday!!!!).  I don't feel like doing it.  I want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head.

....I already have my running clothes on.  I will go.  I will do it.

Run Like a Mother had an post yesterday about a (very) pregnant blogger who has what I think is a very interesting way to "chunk up" a long run.  Basically instead of telling herself she has to run 20 miles, she just says she's got to run 5.  She runs five miles out...rests a minute...then tells her self she's got to run 5 miles...runs back....gets to her car and tells herself she thinks she'll go for a 5 mile run today and goes 5 miles in a different direction...rests and tells herself she wants to run 5 miles....runs back.   Twenty miles down, 3 very short rest stops.  If I were running alone, I would try that today in 2 mile chunks.  I could easily run TWO miles. 

Thankfully I have another motivator today-I'm meeting Daisy and Warrior on the trails.  I really like both of them and would hate to miss the opportunity to hang out with them.  Not only that, I KNOW I'll feel better when it's done.

"See you in another life, brotha'."   .....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Got This Girl!

As usual, I started this morning steeped in apprehension over my planned run with Daisy. I don't know when I'll ever get over that feeling. I don't I know it doesn't have anything to do with her. It's really all me. I don't think I'm as nervous when I plan to run alone, because in the back of my mind I know I can always slow down...walk...cut the run short even stop if I "need" to.  But, running with someone who is proven faster/better than me means I MUST do my best to do my very best.

I think most days I am worried that I won't do my best.  I don't even think it's as much a matter of not being ABLE to run a certain pace or distance.  I think it's more a matter of "knowing" or thinking I will "quit" before I really have to.

Again, this is the very reason I started training to run the marathon in the first place.  There is this thing out there that I can NOT reach without consistently training, without considerable planning and without perseverance.  It will not happen by chance.  It will not happen automatically.  It will not happen without pushing myself further than I point where I feel comfortable.  It will require more of me than I am used to giving....more than I may "want" to give, or feel like giving in the moment when it truly counts.  Sure, I can talk about it all day long, but am I willing to do more than I "want" to do??

So far, on most of my runs with Daisy, I have either felt good and kept going...or I have felt bad and "quit" early.  Monday, after my one mile stretch and my two mile walk break (at two miles, not two miles long)....I mentally decided that I would not stop and would not give in to the feeling that I needed to.  I mentally decided I would just keep going.  From mile 2 through the end (3.4), I pushed myself past the horrible section of the trail...I pushed myself through the section where I can see the gate that leads to the pavement...and I pushed myself along the paved "six minute" home stretch....and I pushed myself HARD up the little incline at the end. 

Monday it was hard.  Monday I had to keep the decision I had made after my walk break to not walk again, to not stop and to not give up in the very front of my mind.  Even in my incessant babbling, even in my intent interest in what Daisy had to say (because she provides just the BEST conversation)....I had to fight a mental battle, telling myself that I would NOT stop and I would NOT give up.  Kicking in a surge at the end, with every exhale, I had to say (although I'm sure incoherently), "FINISH STRONG".  Over and over until I was well past the "finish line". 

It felt hard.  Not so much the physical battle (although that felt hard, too), but the mental battle felt especially hard.  After it was over, I felt like I had really accomplished something--mentally even more than physically.

Today....after we got started and after I was able to somewhat let go of the gut-wrenching nervousness that I seem to put on along with my running shoes--but only on the days I'm joining someone else....felt pretty darn good.

There wasn't one time in the whole run that I ever felt like I needed to slow down or walk.  There were a couple of times I had to remind myself of Monday's mental victory.  There were a couple of times I had to will my feet to keep moving...but not for long.  Just before we got to the horrible section of trail, Daisy mentioned that was her least favorite spot, and mentally I started to nose dive because it really does STINK.  But, I remembered how it felt Monday when I realized I had gotten through it...and I quickly made the decision I wasn't going to think about it.

The only time my resolve started to waiver was when I knew the gate sighting was coming up.  I shored up my potentially waivering determination and congratulated myself in advance for the GREAT JOB I was about to do.  I mentally patted myself on the back and gave myself the "YOU CAN DO IT" cheer...and kept going.  It wasn't like Monday when I had to keep repeating the cheer in my head like a broken was a one time shout out to myself.

When we got to the incline, Daisy's exhortation of "you got this girl" sounded in my head as if yelled through a megaphone....but it was MY VOICE this time!!  I said it to me!!  And, what's more, I meant it!!  I knew it was true.  I didn't wonder if I would make it.  I didn't have to remind myself.  I didn't have to battle any other voices in my head this time!  I knew I had it...and I "easily" finished strong.

It wasn't our best time, but it sure felt good!!!  Not good as in, "I just finished a really hard work out and I'm glad it's done/glad I did it" kind of way...but in a "that was just the exact right amount of tough (mentally speaking more than physical) to know I 'won' a battle, but not so tough I ever thought I would lose" kind of way.  Not sure if that makes sense to anyone but me....but, again, it felt really good!

You got this girl!!
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon. 

Monday, September 13, 2010


I don't know how it happened, and I'm still not sure I completely believe it...but according to my trusty Garmin, I achieved negative splits today!!

It was one of those mornings that didn't start out well.  I knew I was in a pretty foul mood as I was driving to the trails to meet Daisy...but I was determined not to let it get me down.  There was no particular reason for the way I was feeling, but it felt like a dark cloud of smoke fogging up my head.  When we started running I told her I knew I had made a mistake taking two full days off because I was feeling really tight.

We chatted a bit and after about 3/4s of a mile I was really worried I would need to stop.  I told her my legs were not feeling good at all.  She encouraged me to give it a mile.  Just after the one mile mark, I had to stop and stretch, hoping that would help.  When we started up again, it seemed a little better, but I kept thinking, "If I make it through this run, it will be a MIRACLE!"

Just after mile two, I told her I was still really hurting so she suggested we walk just a bit. About a minute later I determined walking hurt worse than running, so we started up again.  We talked about various things, but the whole time in the back of my mind I wondered how bad it would be for me to tell her I just couldn't hang and that I was going to have to call it a "hike".  But, my breathing was great, and it didn't feel like an injury kind of pain so I just couldn't bear to stop running....not for my sake mind you, but for hers!  I REALLY enjoy running with Daisy.  I feel like if I don't get my act together and stop all the walking I feel like I have to do, she might find someone better to run with.  (Well, I guess that IS for my sake, huh!  :D)

Anyway...we made it to the really crappy section of the trail and I let the conversation take me away from the scene of the torture.  Just past that section Daisy told me we had reached her favorite part of the trail.  ((The picture isn't that part of the trail, but it's somewhat similar.))  The whole time we were talking about how beautiful it was all I could think was the "six minute" stretch was coming up....and I just didn't know if I was going to make it or not.

As we made it out to the pavement, I decided to try to "stretch out my legs" a bit, taking Daisy's advice from a couple of runs back.  We chatted on.  As we neared the "little incline", she told me today's run hadn't felt good to her at all.  I couldn't believe it!  I told her she seemed to do much better than I with powering through.

As she was telling me the way she sees it she can either not run and feel bad, or run knowing that as soon as it's over she will surely feel better...even though it's sometimes very hard to get through it, the knowledge that relief is just a short distance away.....I realized that I had indeed powered through not feeling good.  I had stopped to stretch, and I had taken a 60 second walk break, but I had kept on running despite feeling like I wanted to quit.  When we reached the incline, I sped up and surged up to the "finish".

Shockingly enough....when I uploaded the data, I found out the first mile's average pace was 12:22, second 11:27, third 11:08, and the last .45's pace was 10:08.  FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!

To top off what ended up being a pretty darn good run...I went and did Hard Body's ab class-continuing to work my butt on! Then, after showering, I got an early birthday present from Speedy--a bottle of fantastic smelling fragrance and a gluten free, vegan cupcake that tasted out of this world!! Then, after I got to run with my NOBO group, I found out my son, who just started playing football this year (his senior year), not only got moved up to first string defense, he was also named DEFENSIVE PLAYER of the game for last Friday night!! WOOO HOO!!! And, it's not even my birthday yet!! (That's tomorrow!!)

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!


(written Friday 9/11)

I was really surprised by today's long run.  Other than the fact I took Daisy on a terrible detour from our usual route that caused us to walk up a steep, rocky, rooty incline...until we hit mile five, I was feeling remarkably well.

It's funny because we usually take a route that is different than the one I've always taken when I run solo.  Today I convinced her we needed to take my route because we had planned on running eight miles and my way would loop us around to the very start of the trail, allowing us to never leave the road.  (Whereas the route we usually take would put us on the road, then back on trail....which seemed harder to me.)

Naturally, since I was trying to get out of the harder route, we ended up cutting some off the trail, making us have to add on more at the end....and making us have to navigate the worst part of the trail.

On the section of trail that I usually just hate, the first time around I was "fine".  I kept thinking that I still had like five miles to go so I couldn't mentally give in to trail-hate at that point.  When we got to the trail head, I stopped us long enough to take a gel (that I probably didn't need, but did it anyway)...and then we were off again.

At about mile five, I started struggling.  "That" section of trail was coming up and I was already dreading the extra we were going to tack on to get in a full eight.  So I walked a little bit....BIG MISTAKE.  From then on out it was tough.  What was so bad was that I knew every time I walked I was making it that much harder on myself.  And yet, I couldn't make myself just keep running.

We were headed to a certain point and planned to turn around and run the "six minute" stretch back to the cars to finish up our eight....I was walking, Daisy was running up ahead of me.  I had decided in my mind that I would let her turn around and then when she got back to where I was (only a very short distance behind her), I would turn around (short) to head back with her.  Ah, but she knows me too well...she stopped at the turn around point to wait on me!  RATS.  But, from that point I didn't walk again.

The thing is, our average pace was 11:47--even with all the walking I did at the end.  What felt like (at the end) dragging butt, was really not bad at all.  I'm getting faster.  That's the only explanation for how it felt.  I think that's why my favorite part of the trail comes just after that horrid incline--because it's downhill from there.  Relatively speaking, going through the hard parts make the other parts "easy"...but if I were to stick with "easy" all the time, that would be the baseline.  That's why speed work and hills are such great work outs.

Well...thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Do I REALLY Need a Base Tan?

After my run with Daisy Tuesday, we had a good conversation about my plan to run the Rocket City marathon in December.  I asked her for her opinion, mainly on the walk/don't walk debate I've had going on in my head for quite some time.

She made what I think is a good analogy comparing running to tanning.  When you are planning a trip to the beach, if you're like me and many others I know, you'll work on getting a good "base tan" before you go.  You'll either visit a tanning bed in short sessions for a few weeks, or do it the (slower) old-fashioned way in the real sun.  The point is to tan your skin slowly, without burning, so you're able to spend hours on glorious sandy beaches and not fry your skin to a crisp.  Trust me, it works.

The repercussions of not getting a base tan, and still believing you will be able to spend hours in the sand and water intensified rays of the sun, are not only an uncomfortable burn, but according to Dr Oz, and a review of data by the European Commission (mentioned in this editorial), sun burns are much more likely to cause skin cancer than responsible time taking in natural vitamin D!

Daisy has been running a LONG time.  I trust her opinion.  She believes I have no business training for a  marathon this December...because I haven't allowed my body adequate time to adjust to the strain put on it by running long miles.  I haven't gotten a good "base tan" so to speak, and am therefore much more likely to sustain an injury.

However, I think (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, Daisy) her injury came on the heels (pun intended) of years of training for the marathon she ran.  After years of fairly long distance running, and a full year of training for the marathon, if my Swiss-cheese memory serves me correctly...Daisy found herself "burned" after her goal race even with a solid "base tan".

I think it's like anything else we do in life....if you look, you will find examples that run the gamut.   There are plenty of success stories of people who train for a short period of time and run a marathon, injury free.  There are also people who have trained their whole lives who end up falling over dead running.  (By the way, if you don't like scary stories, don't go Googling scary subjects....just saying.) 

In keeping with the tanning analogy, there are people who get a solid base tan who still burn on their beach vacation....and others who are able to slather on enough sun screen to keep their fair skin properly protected. 

Translation:  I'm not saying I'm still doing it, and I'm not saying I'm not.  I am saying I'm still training for it...and I am saying I'm willing to back off if it looks like my body won't allow it.   I think the key is to continue learning what it means to listen to my body....and to keep in mind that a sunburn usually isn't felt until after it's WAY too late.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Perseverance or Denial??

(Written Thursday 9/9/10)

I woke up at 4 feeling like half of my face/head had been filled in with cement.  (I think my sinuses are trying to tell me something.)  As I was going about my usual morning "routine", I saw a post on Facebook that really spoke to me:
per·se·ver·ance /ˌpɜrsəˈvɪərəns/ - noun. 1. Steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
I made the decision to PERSEVERE despite discouragement and go out for a run before the sun graced the sky with light.  (It helped that I also saw another post saying how "beautiful" it was outside this morning.)  I should have checked the weather instead of taking someone's Facebook word for it...  When I walked outside, the air felt thicker than my nasal passages.  I thought I was going to have to take a machete with me on the run to make a path through the air it was so thick.  (I found out later, the humidity was 95%!!)  Again, I made the decision to PERSEVERE despite the obstacle.

I started running, remembering to behave in accordance with a decision previously made....and "everything" hurt.  I haven't had that sensation in a while.  With the very first footfall I knew it was NOT going to be a feel-good run.  It was at that point that I was extremely grateful to have seen the post.
per·se·ver·ance /ˌpɜrsəˈvɪərəns/ - noun. 1. Steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Yeah, yeah....okay.  I determined to persist despite the discouragement I was feeling.  I couldn't breath.  I hurt (not like an injury hurt, but like a whiny child complaining about being forced to do chores). conversation with Daisy the other day (the one I haven't talked about yet) came back to mind.  (I'll post on that as soon as I have it all processed in my head.  Well, that might take a while, I'll say I'll post on that soon.)

Anyway...I jogged slowly trying to keep in mind that once I got warmed up it WOULD feel least that's what I was trying to tell myself.  On my marathon training plan, today's run was supposed to be 30 minutes and include some speedwork in the middle 10.  So, I obliged and did some intervals of faster running with 30 seconds walking in between.  ((That isn't really what the plan called for, really I was supposed to speed up for the middle 10 with a steady, faster, pace...but I knew that wasn't going to happen today, so I did what I think is the next best thing.))

After 10 minutes, I slowed down for a 10 minute cool down.  That was the best part of the run.  What's really funny is that I thought I had slowed down to the same pace I had started with in the warm up....but, no, actually, I sped up by a little over a minute a mile!!  Not only that, my "sprints" got progressively faster each time in that middle 10 minutes.   

THAT is the power of speed work....and hills for that matter.

When it was over, I was glad I had done it....but it still didn't feel good.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drill Sergeant Daisy!!

I wish I knew how to photo shop-I'd totally put a picture of a sweet daisy wearing a drill sergeant's hat!

But...alas, I can't, so this will have to do!

If you will remember, the last time I went for a trail run with Daisy, she pretty much laid down the law with me and told me I would NOT be walking the next time.  (That's not really what she said, but that's what it sounded like through my "filter" if you know what I mean.) usual, I was worried.  I have had one really great trail run out there with her, but that felt like a fluke really. 

Almost as soon as we started today, I felt like I might be in trouble.  I wasn't hurting, but it wasn't feeling great the way it had that one really good day.  We made it to the section I usually psych myself out on and I got worried.... so, I started telling a life story.

Let me pause here and say, anyone who knows me knows how I love to tell life stories.  I'll pretty much tell you anything about myself that you care to hear, maybe some things you really don't care to hear!  I am who I am, and, although I might be completely ashamed of some of the things I've done in my past-I'm not ashamed of who I am right now in my life.  Daisy said something one time that I completely agree with--our life experiences don't make us who we are, they reveal who we are.  I have learned from (most of) my mistakes, so I'll boldly tell you about them because there's no sense in hiding.

Anyway, I told her I was just going to blather on about something because it seems to help me not think about the running.  She said it was a good thing because she was not having an easy time of it.  REALLY?  SERIOUSLY??  It always shocks me when I hear a seasoned runner say that.  I don't know why, but it does.  It's usually strangely comforting, but not today.  Today it seemed to kick in the "I have to walk now" mantra in my head.  I kept telling myself I just needed to get a little bit further---and then I saw the end of the trail.  Remember, it's "six minutes" from the end of the trail to the parking lot (on pavement).  But, from the point where you can see the end of the trail to the pavement is about 75-100 feet or so.  I tried to tell her I was going to walk to the end....

And that's when it happened.

Sweet Daisy busted out "the hat" and practically screamed, "NO YOU WILL NOT WALK".  (Well, that's what it sounded like in my head was probably something more like, "no, you can do it, keep on running, you don't need to walk.")  So I thought,'s just SEVEN minutes (instead of six) to the car.  When we got out on the road, I don't honestly know if I kept on talking or not.  Most likely I did, but I was on auto pilot.  I'm pretty sure my mouth kept making sound come out, but I don't remember anything I said.  The good news is, she probably had no clue either since I'm sure no human being could have understood me through my gasping, huffing and puffing. 

We made it all the way to the "incline" and I thought, "there's no way I'm going to make it up this hill".  The day we had such a great run, I was almost able to "sprint" the incline.  The day I "had to walk" to the pavement (the last time we ran the trail), I was able to "sprint" up that hill incline.....but today I was seriously thinking about taking a short cut up a little trail that cuts out that daunting little incline.  But, I knew I would really regret it if I did.  Instead, I started slowing down about 1/2 way up (it's only about 150'--maybe...I don't know, today it seemed like it was a mile long stretch of Mt Everest!)....and she did it again...she morphed into Drill Sgt. Olsen (my DS from basic)...and said "YOU WILL RUN UP THIS HILL, PRIVATE...YOU WILL NOT STOP UNTIL YOU GET TO THE TOP."  (Again, that's what my brain heard.)

And...I almost did...I stopped just shy of the parking lot.  She turned around and said, "you're there, don't stop now!" and I started up again to finish the last 10' or so.    I really thought today was going to be the day I would lose my breakfast....but no.  I don't know I'm capable of running so hard I puke.  I've heard a lot of people (including Daisy) talk about doing that, but I just don't think I have it in me to push myself that hard.  I almost want to do it, at least just once, to know what that feels push myself that hard.  But, I don't even give myself time to think about it.  Like today, I just pull on the brakes and before I even know what's happening, I'm stopping.

Naturally, I forgot my Garmin again...but Daisy timed us at 37:59 (our fastest time up there so least we think it was faster than the other day when neither of us had a watch and neither of us looked at the time when we left).

Here's the thing--I've had other runs that felt better to me (like the other day up there when I didn't feel like I had to walk at all).  I've had other runs that my body felt really good start to finish, and I felt like I could keep running for days. felt really good for another reason.  I started this run feeling like I wanted to walk (before we had even gone a mile).  There were several times I thought I wasn't going to be able to finish, much less keep running.  Each time I had to force myself to keep going....but not in a mean spirited way.  Usually the "drill sergeant" voice inside my head is not so nice to me...but today it was more encouraging than anything else.  Tough, but encouraging.  Twice Daisy had to be that voice for me...she didn't make any bones about her expectation for me, and she also didn't give me an out.

I'm not happy that I feel like I let myself down by trying to walk once, and then stopping short of the finish.  But, I did it, even though I didn't FEEL like it.  I'm really thankful I was with Drill Sergeant Daisy today, to keep me going for a White Trail PR!!

Afterward we had a great conversation about my goal to run the Rocket City marathon in December...but I'll leave that for another post.

Thanks for stopping in, come again real soon!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Is WALK a 4-Letter Word??

I heard an interview with Jeff Galloway on my all-time favorite podcast ever The Marathon Show (the show in general is my favorite, not that specific interview).  He basically says you HAVE to take walk breaks. 


But, what if I want to train to (eventually) run a full marathon?  Isn't the point to push my body just a little farther than it wants to go each time so that (eventually) I will be running 26.2 miles, or more for that matter.  Everything I've read about ultras say walk breaks-early and often-are the name of the game for ultra running.  (Yes, I am already thinking about what comes after Rocket City....)   I can somewhat understand that...but, if I train doing a walk/run interval, won't that keep me stuck in that cycle forever?  I think it's just like if you never do any speed work you can't really hope to get any faster.  (((I have heard that doing hill repeats and simply increasing your mileage will have allow you to be able to run faster in shorter distances.)))

Well....all week my legs have felt just on the verge of injury.  Call me paranoid, but that's one thing I'm going to make sure I do everything I can to avoid-injury.   Add to that feeling the fact I ended up driving 19 out of 48 hours over the weekend, on less than 6 hours of sleep in the same amount of time....and you have me not wanting to do a long run Saturday.  Instead, I took a nap, ate a good dinner, and then went to bed really early.  Sunday morning I woke up ready to hit the road....but my legs were begging for mercy.

So, I decided I'd listen to Galloway and see what happened.  Before I even put on my shoes I finalized my route and my plan.  I previously mapped out a 10 mile out and back from my house (it's incredible to me that in just three short months I'm planning on running 2.5 times that distance!!).  I arbitrarily decided to do a 3 minute run/1 minute walk interval with a five minute walk for a warm up and cool down.  (I wanted that walk to warm up because, I'm not kidding when I say my legs were not ready to get cranked up and I knew walking would allow them to get with the program.)

When I stepped outside to GORGEOUS weather, my first inclination was to throw the plan out the window and just take off running.  But I reasoned with myself that at least a walk/run interval would allow me to slow down and fully enjoy the experience.  At the end of my first 3 minute run it was all I could do to walk.  Okay, at the end of EVERY run interval (until about the sixth or maybe seventh mile) I wanted to keep running.

A funny thing happened though.  I was just sure all that walking would severely slow me down.  In fact, I planned on having 13:00 miles.  But, I kept noticing my splits were well under that (even the first one where I walked a full five minutes was right at 13:00.)   I slowed down the last couple of that point, I was so ready to be home.  The beautiful weather had started feeling really hot.  (Note to self--start earlier next time.)  And, I had run out of water.  (I'm getting a bigger water bottle TONIGHT, compliments of Fleet Feet Huntsville because I'm mentoring NOBO--thank you very much to them!) 

When I got back and uploaded my Garmin data I was shocked at my split times, but even more shocked at my run interval pacing.   (I wish I knew how to import a table...)  Here are my times--the first number is the total time, the second is my best pace for that mile.
  1. 13:03/10:29
  2. 11:49/10:05
  3. 12:03/10:05
  4. 11:11/9:23
  5. 11:14/9:14
  6. 11:13/9:49
  7. 12:05/9:44
  8. 12:23/10:31
  9. 12:38/9:56
  10. 13:15/9:03 (remember I walked 5 minutes, or more of this last mile)
Average moving pace 12:06, best pace over all was 9:03 in mile 10.  But, compare that with last week's 8 miler:
  1. 12:06/10:26
  2. 12:31/10:18
  3. 11:42/8:23
  4. 11:56/9:59
  5. 11:28/9:50
  6. 11:16/8:10
  7. 11:16/9:52
  8. 11:06/5:10  (we sprinted in at the end)
Average moving pace of 11:37, best pace 5:10 in mile 8.

I think the biggest difference is something not captured by the Garmin.  My legs feel completely fine so far today.  (Well, not "completely" but they feel fine.)  I think the real test will be when I go out tonight to run with NOBO, and then tomorrow with Daisy.

I just don't know.  To walk or not to walk.  The thing is, like I've said before--opinions are like brains, everyone has one but some are just more useful than others!  I don't want to walk, but at the same time,  I want to run further without getting injured.  I keep hearing that I shouldn't be training to run a marathon since I just started in January, and battled an injury early on.  But, I've also been told if I plan on doing a run/walk interval from the start then I'll be perfectly fine.  The way I see it, I could either spend less time running and build up slowly, or increase my distance by incorporating strategic walk breaks...with the eventual goal of phasing them out completely.

What do you think?  Is WALK a four letter word or should I embrace the idea?

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


In my younger years, oh so many years ago, the word "trashed" meant more than just slightly inebriated.  After I had kids the word was usually used in the context of "this house/room/car is trashed". 

Now I have a new way to use in, "my legs are trashed."

I think I first saw or heard that sentence from the meth-head coach.  I had my suspicions about the meaning (re-read "meth head coach").  ((Just to be perfectly clear, in case there happens to be a new reader checking out my blog...he's NOT a real meth-head.  He paced me in a race one time and he seemed to have a better opinion of my ability than I knew was possible, and he was right.))

As usual, I digress...

I think he was talking about having just run a 12 hour race, or maybe it wasn't even him.....or maybe I've never even heard anyone else use the word in the context I'm using it ("my legs are trashed") -but surely I didn't just make it up.

I went out this morning hoping to get in a short speed work session in the 30 minutes I had available between commitments.  I knew my calves/shins didn't feel so hot before I even stepped out of bed...but I laced up anyway and headed out.  I did a slowish 10 minute warm-up then did five one minute sprint/walk intervals.   I haven't uploaded my Garmin data, but I know it wasn't great.

My legs don't necessarily "hurt"...but I can tell they are in need of some pampering.  I'm really glad I did the eight miler on Sunday, but, if I had it to do over again, I would have left myself enough time to ICE my legs immediately afterwards, I would have taken Monday completely off, I would have iced again off and on all day both days and I might not have opted to do the speed work this morning.  Again, I'm not hurt...but I do need to take a step back and remember to listen to my body.

"Anonymous" was right the other day when she said it's one thing to push my body to the limit when I am properly trained and quite another to ask it to do something without a solid foundation---okay, "force", or even "coerce" are probably better words for what I do some times. 

Wow.....this is a case of how writing takes me deeper into myself, to a place I haven't been a new understanding of myself.....   

WARNING//WARNING!! Danger Will Robinson Danger!!  (I'm about to dive off the deep end of the ocean into full blown psycho-babble...keep reading only if you dare!!)

That is exactly how I treated my second husband.  I've had a pretty clear understanding of that idea from the night he left (the fact I was so demanding...).  In my mind, if he didn't want to do what I wanted, then all he had to do was stand up and say NO.   But, either of my ex-husbands, as well as my current husband, any member of my family and any of the people I worked with when I was an insurance adjuster (co-workers, insureds, agents and claimants alike) would say I "have" a VERY forceful, and sometimes overpoweringly STRONG, demanding personality.  (My current, and FINAL, husband has NO PROBLEM telling me exactly how it is!)  When my second husband left and I realized what I was doing to the people around me, I knew I had to either change or I would be spending my life as a sad, lonely, miserably angry person.  

I believe, for the most part, I've been successful in learning to treat other people better...not being quite so demanding, not being quite so unforgiving, and being more gracious and loving.  I believe I'm doing much better at letting people make up their own minds about what they want to do and being in real relationship with people without trying to control every aspect of what happen or demanding ANYTHING from them---just accepting and loving them for who they are and what they have to offer to our relationship.

As much as I've learned to recognize that behavior as it pertains to my relationships with others, I haven't ever turned inward and taken a look at the fact that I do it to myself. 

The truth is I demand my body to do things it may or may not be able to do....but if it doesn't do what I want, I berate and belittle it, and truth be told, even HATE it because it hasn't complied.  Even worse than that....when it does comply, I'm happy for a moment (maybe), but then immediately demand even more from it.

Said another way, I am not "ever" happy with myself.  I've learned how to be deliriously happy with other people, accepting them for who they are...more than that, LOVING them for who they are...and being able to be in truly healthy relationships with other people.  But, I haven't yet learned to "love myself" in "love your neighbor as yourself". 

I wonder if I can learn to love myself as I love my neighbor???  The most important implication of that...I wonder how it will effect my RUNNING???

Thanks for stopping in and bearing witness to my continuing psychiatric evolution.  Please, feel free to look in while I'm "on the couch*", or read a real post about running, real soon!

Honey...please be nice if you post a comment!! :D

((*for my foreign readers-that's a reference to being in a psychiatrist's office))


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Calorie Connection?

Yes, that's a man, but I liked the idea behind the picture... maybe it's an excuse, but maybe not.

I went back and looked at my food logs (I use "My Plate" on day before all three really good runs I had last week I ate "considerably" more calories than usual for me.  Last Friday (the day before the race), and last Monday (the day before the last trail run with Daisy when I was so upset because I felt like I "had to" walk but couldn't figure out why)...I ate "considerably" less calories.

Basically I set up a profile that has my height, starting weight (back in January), and a goal of losing 1.5 pounds a week.  (I update my weight at least once a week.)  Because I don't work out every day, I entered that I was "lightly active"...then on days I work out, I enter my activities and the program calculates how many calories that burns.  It then adds that amount of calories to my usual daily total.  I have no idea how accurate the "calories burned" really is, so I have no idea if I'm eating too much or too little.  I know I'm not losing 1.5 pounds a week and I rarely ever go over the calories per day, and when I do, I try to make sure my weekly totals balance out.

Anyway...I'll just come out and tell daily calorie "goal", if you will, is currently 1201 a day.  As an example of the fitness I mowed the lawn with a "power mower", it took about an hour and fifteen minutes.  According to the program, I burned 470 calories.  I think that's probably too much really.  It says that my spin class Monday and the 2 mile "race walking" I did Monday night burned a total of 658 calories.  Again, that sounds a bit high.  It says that running at an 11:30 pace for 90 minutes burns 1132 calories.  I thought the rule of thumb was 100 calories per mile, so that would be off by 332 if that's correct.

But, even if I "only" burned 800 calories during Sunday's run, I still ate a net total of less than 1000 calories that day.  Even if I didn't burn any calories in Monday's spin class or on the 2 mile "run" that night...I ate less than 1100 that day as well.   The day before the fantastic eight mile run I ate about 1700 total (then burned some off in the five and a half miles I ran that day).

I've said all that to say....just maybe there's a correlation between how many calories I'm eating and my performance on my runs.  Yes, I know fueling is important.  Yes, I know what I eat is as important as how much.  I'm just trying to really get a handle on "exactly" how much to eat and still be able to lose a little bit of weight with all this running and working out I'm doing...but still eat enough to fuel my efforts.

Opinions are like brains...everyone has one, but some are just more useful than others.  I read Runner's World forums every day on the topic of diet.  I have done countless hours of research on the subject.  Everyone has a different opinion on what and how much you should eat.  I believe completely you (I) have to figure out what works best for you (me).

The problem is, I'm a terribly UN-observant person.  Most of the time, it takes being hit over the head with a ton of bricks for me to see a pattern.  But, I do think it's pretty amazing that the day before all three really good runs I've eaten more than usual, and the days I've had "bad" runs--they felt bad (especially Tuesday on the trail)--I've eaten less.

I'm going to have to experiment some with this and let you know what I figure out.  That is IF I can figure it out.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Woe is Me...

Yesterday's run was tough.

Saturday I ran the race and the one mile fun run.  Sunday I had an AMAZING eight mile run.   I should have taken Monday completely off....but I was feeling pretty spunky so I decided to go ahead and go to Hard Body's spin class for some run-recovery.  I know what you're thinking-that's NOT what recovery looks like.  But, let me just publicly admit--I went with the full intention to CHEAT.  See, the way I see it, if you don't put tension on the wheel, you really aren't working.

Wrong.  Not completely wrong, but wrong nonetheless!  My legs were really screaming afterward. 

They were really unhappy that night when I went and "ran" two miles with the NOBO group.  That group has the full gamut of abilities (well, relatively speaking of course).  There are people that can run 9:00 miles and then there are people who are doing good to walk a 20:00 mile.  Since I'm a mentor and not a coach, I have the luxury of choosing what sub-group to "run" with.  I set out with the run 2/walk 2 group.  Even within smaller groups there are people who have various paces so it's very diverse.  I ended up being the "sweeper" who gets to run with the back of the packer.

Let me just tell you...I LOVE the determination of the back of the pack person.  I was there in my group many times, one time I was WAY behind everyone else.  This particular person is battling some health issues and was well behind everyone else--and yet she was positive and upbeat.  And, she's making improvements every week.  I loved being able to help her focus on her breathing and slowing her pace down.  More than that, I loved being able to run in with her in the end. 

I think finishing strong is really key for me, mentally more than anything else.  That's one tip I've given to every one I've had the opportunity to run with in the group....and the one tip every one of them has been able to brag on week after week.

Tuesday I went to run the trails with Daisy.  My legs were not feeling great, but they haven't been feeling really great at the start of any run lately.  But, Tuesday, everything felt harder.  It didn't seem like I could really get good air in my lungs.  My legs seemed to stay tight.  And...just like in the race, and so many times before, I reached a point where I felt like I "HAD TO" walk.  It was much further in than it usually is when I allow myself to give in to laziness, but that really doesn't make me feel any better.  After I walked a minute, we started back again for a few minutes and I saw the road.  (Remember the road is "six minutes" to the car-with an slight uphill finish.) 

Mentally I was drained.  It felt like I was just not going to make it, so I told Daisy I "needed" to walk to the road (maybe 15-30 seconds).  When we started running again, I kept telling myself "SIX MINUTES to the car.  I can do anything for SIX MINUTES."  We got to the uphill section and Daisy started surging ahead.  I matched her and we pushed it in at a nice steady almost sprint.  If she hadn't pushed, there's no way I would have had the gumption to do it....even with my own voice in my head cheering "FINISH STRONG!!"

After I caught my breath, she basically told me NO MORE WALKING.  She said it in a much nicer way...something like she's convinced I really don't need to walk, that it's a mental battle that I'm fighting and there's no other way to get past it but to keep running even when I feel like I need to walk. 

The thing is I really don't know what it is that "makes" me walk.  I really don't think about it; when I do have time to process the thought that I "need" to walk, I tell myself just run to "X" and keep playing that game until I realize I didn't need that break after all.  It's SO darn frustrating after having some really great runs.  With the exception of the race, the whole last week has been phenomenal. 

Having said all that, the time we set was, by far, my best time up there on that trail (I didn't have my Garmin last time, when we ran the whole thing, but I still think this time beat that one).  The average moving pace was 11:27.  That's great.  I should be happy.  I should be ecstatic.  And yet, all I can think is "BUT I WALKED"....especially when I have no good reason to have "needed" that break.

Having no good reason makes it really hard because I don't know what to do to correct it, to improve.  If Daisy is right and it's simply going to take a "mind over matter" attitude and pushing through the "feeling"...I don't know that I've got the wherewithal to make that happen.

To make it even worse.  I feel horrible even complaining about "having to" walk a couple of minutes when there are people in the NOBO group who are out there proud as heck they finished walking two whole miles.  I was told there have been people in that group whose longest walks might have been to the mail box and back before setting their sights on a 5K.

I just ran EIGHT miles on Saturday....and I'm bemoaning the fact that I felt the need to walk during a 3.4 mile trail run two days later?  ...Well, yes.  Because I don't understand it.  I don't know WHY.  There needs to be a why for me to fix it.  Again, if it's just a matter of bring my strong will under submission....I don't know if I can make that happen.  Even though I'm fully aware that it's MY will I'm trying to get control of!

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!