Category Archives: fitness

Just Do It… or don’t

I’m gonna toss some math at you, now.  Unfortunately, this is not a list of things I DIDN’T buy.  Nope.  Instead, they are events I paid money to participate in, but instead, didn’t get to… or partially got to but with a lot of pain and disappointment.

I will admit to having a fair share of F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out) and I also admit to being a little bit of a Sporty Spice (a very stylish one, natch).  So, I have a lot of sporty friends who do sporty things for fun.  We’re not super competitive nor are we extraordinarily fit (that would be my husband), we just do it to stay generally fit and have fun together.  Basically, we’re all just highly motivated people who like to multitask.  If we can combine exercise with socializing, score! We got two things done at once.   But we don’t try too hard either.

My biggest mistake, as it turns out, was trying too hard this time.  For some reason, one day I thought, “hey, I’ve done a ton of half marathons, why not do a full marathon?”  You know, a bucket list check off thing.  So, I signed up for the training my local running club provided for my home town marathon.  And I registered for the marathon too, which I thought might help motivate me not to chicken out… because I paid for it, you know, might as well do it.

Okay, ticker tape moment.  Here’s what I paid:

$80 – Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders marathon training program (this came with a shirt too, which I never got)

$116.50 – Oakland Marathon registration

$25.00 – LMJS annual renewal fee (I was already a member but it had expired.  Never got my shirt either!)

So far, I’ve paid $221.50  Man, it is going to feel so good to cross that finish line and get my medal and wear that shirt proudly.

Look at me.  I just ran 20 miles!!!


And that was the beginning of the end.

As it turns out, you aren’t really supposed to ramp up your miles as quickly as I did, especially if you’re a spastic runner who over pronates which creates a whole lot of stress on your iliotibial band and, eventually, you can’t run because it hurts too badly.  Which is what I found out the shortly after this epic bridge to bridge run (Bay Bridge to over the Golden Gate Bridge and back.. and then a little more.)

Because I was overly optimistic, I had signed up early for the Kaiser Half Marathon in SF, a very popular race that would have come at a perfect time in my full marathon training and most of my LMJS training partners were doing it as a training run/practice race.  But I was too injured after my 20 mile run.  I ended up giving away my bib for the half. Yeah, maybe I could have sold it, but I just didn’t have the energy for that.

Ticker update:
$70.25 – Kaiser half marathon registration (didn’t get the shirt either)

I won’t add what I spent on doctor’s visits, cortisone shots, physical therapy, gas to drive to gawdawful Walnut Creek, time lost… (time is money), etc.

I ended up volunteering on race day at the Oakland Marathon because I’m a nice person.  Naturally, they didn’t have my race shirt but I DID get this gigantic volunteer dress pictured below.  I was a little bitter about not being able to do it and jealous of my friends who still could.  I thought that I might be a little sad at the event but I got stationed with my good friend Sierra (also injured and not able to race the full marathon) at the finish line giving out medals.  Handing a medal and saying “great job” to most of the people that came through (including the winner, which I totally scoped out and pounced on as he came by) was actually pretty uplifting.  I forgot about my woes and just exalted in their joy for the day.  Three cheers for transference!


The nice thing about ITBS (Iliotibial band syndrome) is it’s not permanent, does not require surgery.  However, it DOES require patience… something in which I am short supply when it comes to running.  But I *slowly* progressed and eventually was running 4-5 miles with no pain, even trail runs.

So, THEN what do I do???? I caved to my friend Sara’s desperate requests for 2 people to join her relay team after she lost some people to injuries.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I didn’t even know what it cost and I told her we’d do it.    For the record it involves driving 3+ hours then camping in a tent (which for this light sleeper means NOT sleeping all night) and running up extreme hills at altitude, one of which happens (for you) at ONE IN THE MORNING.  Oh, and might as well throw in that I brought my toddler.  No problema.

Seriously.  What is wrong with me?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no stranger to all-night relays as I’ve done two.  These were mobile relays so, ostensibly, LESS relaxing.  But we had a great time doing them.  But this time… we had a two year old.

But we are adventurous, right?  So, we borrowed a tent and just went for it.  As soon as we arrived, I remembered, “oh yeah, this is Tahoe.  It’s fucking altitude and the sun is VERY bright.”  And I’m about to run almost 7 miles of the steepest mo-fo-shit I’ve ever seen in my life.  Good times.

But I did it. Sort of.  Here’s proof, the first run of the day… at 1pm in the hot Tahoe sun.  Base elevation: 6500 feet.

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 7.33.21 PM

This was a really, really long and steep uphill climb (look at my feet in the pictures… it’s the only way to really tell HOW steep.)  But this was the start and I was still fresh.

The second picture really tells the story.

And I don’t actually sweat a lot.  Which means, yeah, I might not be super gross, but I don’t cool off well either.

Case in point… look at my face and my expression.  I’m giving two thumbs up but completely NOT looking at the photographer and also sporting the most sarcastic smile ever.  Mmmmmm… good TIMES.

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 7.33.46 PM

STILL… Despite (or actually because of) how hard it was, I was so happy to be finished with the first of 3 runs I was to do in this 24ish hour period. I finished the first (and hardest) run with NO knee pain. YAY.

Soooooo, eventually… and I mean like almost 12 hours later, my time to run again was up.  Yes, it was mostly uphill for the first and last mile, but it was only 3 miles and the middle mile was downhill.  How could you NOT find that appealing, relatively (my final run would be almost 8 miles, just sayin’.)

Sadly, this was not how it went down.  From the moment I hit the gate on my second of 3 runs, I knew something was up.   My IT band (which pretty much centers around my knee) hurt immediately and I was crushed to have to  walk 3 miles of Tahoe trail in the dark, by myself, in pain.  What if there is a bear??? FUUUUUUCK.

But I did it.  And when I came in, this.  And that meant no third run and someone on my team was going to have to do an extra leg so we could finish.  I didn’t care if we finished or not at this point but there were some people on the team who REALLY wanted it.  I started to feel really bad, as if I had disappointed every one.  It was not a good place.  Did I mention I did not sleep the whole night either?  Tiredness + pain + disappointment + guilt.  Bad cocktail.


Did I mention I paid $138 for the pleasure of this?  At least I got a shirt this time.

One good thing was that most of the rest of my 8 person team had a great time so I’m grateful for that.  It wasn’t entirely “un-fun” as this was a great group of friends.   It just wasn’t what I’d hoped for.  Oh, and Michael lost his phone – burn $500 there, too.

SOOOOOOO… guess what?   In my enthusiasm about my recovery post-Oakland Marathon but BEFORE I had been stupid enough to sign up for this Ragnar race, I signed up for a 10k, the Giants Race.  Which I’m told is super fun, especially if you’re a humongous Giants fan like my friend Sarah, who I was going to run it with.

Yeeeaaaaaah, no.

$60.00 – Giants Race (no shirt, no bobblehead doll)

So, at this point, I have singed up for some “Ugly Sweater Dash” in the winter but I’m VERY SERIOUS about this. I am NOT signing up for ANYTHING for the rest of this year.   Do you hear me?   NOT ANYTHING.  If you hear of me wanting to, I give you full permission to just slap me.

$35.84 – Ugly Sweater Dash  – And I’m pretty sure I have an ugly sweater I can wear so I don’t even have to buy one.

So…. that’s a grand total of $528.59 on races I couldn’t do or finish.  (Minus $35.85 if I manage to do the Ugly Sweater Dash in December).

What have I learned from all of this?  That I need to stop spending money on events… for a while.  But I’ll be back.  I’ll always be back.

But what is most important, is this:

I grew up with a mom who was born with cerebral palsy.  Though she and my dad lived on a very modest income, they adopted my brother (at 22 months) and me (at 11 months) and raised us both though she never walked, much less ran, with out crutches.  She never complained about it – she knew that was just how she had to get through life and she did, though with a lot more challenges than most people. She loved to dance though, and would hold onto a chair on the dance floor.  And she’d babysit a half dozen kids after school and we all survived it (minus one minor chin-stitches incident).  She couldn’t chase us down, but I don’t remember disobeying her.  You just did NOT do that.  Frankly, I wish I knew her secret for that.

Recently, I asked her how she raised us when she couldn’t chase after us, lift us up into a crib, push us in a stroller (I don’t think we ever even had one).  She said, “I just taught you guys how to do it.”  And for that, Mom, I thank you.  I am forever grateful for the use of my legs, even when they hurt.  I can at least still walk.  And the fact that I can basically waste $500 on activities that are for my own personal enjoyment only and still have plenty of money to spend on food and necessities for my family, I’m grateful for too.  But mostly, I am grateful for a mom who taught me how.  How to just do it.