Friday, October 16, 2009

Towpath Half Marathon

Completed my first 13.1 - YES!!! and completed it in 2:27 just under my hopeful goal of 2:30. Was a beautifully cool day and had no hydration issues. When all was said and done it was hard to believe what I'd actually accomplished. Even now, I'm not even sure I did it - except I did!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's official

Registration Details Confirmation #: 24590093-xxxxxx
Date & Time: 10/11/09
Location: Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Map)
Purchased at: 08/28/09
Category: Half Marathon
Name: Stephanie Graham

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Drabble.... 'ish

So, one of my stalkee's, Peter DeWolf is having a "contest'ish" - it's a Drabble contest. (ish).

Now a drabble has NOTHING to do with running, or does it?!... A drabble is a fictional story of 100 words (no more, no less) and Peter has decided that the theme of said drabble be the subject of.... Love.... awwwwww....

anywho... here's my first try:

(sigh) What the… That cannot be the alarm. Shit. 3:50am already. The blankets are warm and toasty and I love having my feet intertwined with his. I hate leaving this way. But it’s 4:05am already. I have to go before it gets much later. I whisper “I really do love you” in his ear and tiptoe out of the room to get dressed. Suddenly… I’m another person, I have somewhere else to be, I fumble with my keys, I’m nervous. The pit of my stomach aches. There! I see it. I make my way. I smile. Yes. It’s race day!

See a drabble about love and running... perfect!!

and since I'm not real busy, here's attempt number two:

I don’t know what it is?
I hadn’t planned on staying this long.
I looked forward to leaving.
But I will miss being here.
I already miss it.
He will find someone else.
Friends, we are just friends, nothing more, remember that.
No not just friends, but best friends.
No, not lovers.
But we used to be lovers…
We used to connect on that level, he used to make me want to scream in passion. Sweat running down my spine.
The touch of his finger tips caressing my back.
The feel of his lips against…
No, not lovers.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Before and After Running Photos

I still have a LOOONG way to go...but what a difference two years makes!

Picture on the left is from A Shot In The Dark, Winking Lizard 2-miler in 2007 and the one on the right is from the 4-miler completed this past Saturday.

Like I said...there is still a long way for me to go, but it's nice to see the side-by-side changes so far.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Crap. Ok. Here goes. I'm putting it out there, so no backing out...right?!

On October 11th, I am going to do the Towpath 1/2 Marathon . I am really hoping that completing the 10-miler earlier this year will help me to be prepared a little more for this race...I mean it's ONLY another 3.1 miles...Right?!?... Ha...

I am running away to Canada this weekend (ok, not literally running there) but then once I am back I will have 10 weeks to get it together and figure out this whole nutrition/hydration thingy because THAT is where I am really lacking. Well that and completing 13.1 miles...

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth." ~ Mark Twain

Thursday morning (yesterday) I did something I have never really done before, or at least not as an adult and most definitely never before on purpose. I ran in the rain. Wait, did I say rain?, was that rain? or was it a mini-monsoon? Irregardless, there was lots of water falling from the sky when I woke up and yet I still proceeded to get dressed put on my running shoes and headed out the door...on purpose.

Previously I was always able to come up with a really good reason to not run outside when it is raining but I decided it was time to get back out there and run a race, the Winking Lizard race this Saturday in downtown Cleveland, and with a look at this weeks rainy forecast and more importantly the dismal looking forecast showing for Saturday night I figured I'd better just suck it up and go run. End result - I survived all 3 miles, it wasn't miserable, I think I actually came back smiling and most importantly I did not melt!

While out playing in the rain lots of things happened to me. I found out that although I may not melt in the rain, it has been charged as an accessory to murder in the death of my iPhone :( I remembered what it's like to not run with music and only with the voices in my head for company. I found out that I run at the same pace no matter what the weather brings. I accepted the internal fear I have for running on Saturday and ultimately for a race that is still 3 months away. I found out important things like my running socks although wringing wet when I got home where not squishy in my shoes and kept my feet feeling oddly dryish. I remembered the joy you can feel when splashing in a puddle. I remembered that I run for ME and no one else. was a great morning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Politics and my job - Scene & Heard

Article and it's link about what's happening in my little world and how it may effect you all in Cuyahoga County...

Posted by Frank Lewis on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 12:03 PM
When county Democrats chose Bedford city manager and ex-police chief Robert Reid to be the county’s new sheriff last month, they were clearly going with the shaker and not the mover. They passed over the candidate who so many on both sides of the vote believed was the more obvious candidate for a county with so much swindle at its oft-rotten core: Clayton Harris, a police academy chief and ex-Cleveland police commander from Collinwood who vowed to actually start enforcing all the laws for everyone, from county boss Jimmy Dimora on down. It was a perfect measure for how the county’s balance of political power clearly tilts toward the cozy ’burbs and away from the ailing city. But how often does the better candidate lose out to the better ass-kiss? Apparently, more often than not.

Last December, as part of a push to streamline costs and services, county commissioners voted to merge the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Health and the Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services of Cuyahoga County. The new model gets unveiled July 1.

The two final candidates to lead the new monster came from dramatically different backgrounds: Dr. Russell Kaye holds a PhD in experimental psychology and is the head of the county’s alcohol and drug abuse services, working locally for nearly two decades. Bill Denihan (pictured) is a well-connected Dem party animal with no direct experience before taking his job at the helm of the county’s mental-health board five years ago. He’s a former Cleveland safety director who also worked, in recent years, as the appointed leader of the county’s Department of Children and Family Services and the claims director for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

So what does the new board do? They give the job to Denihan, of course, and they don’t even offer Kaye a chair on the new board. Jim Joyner, another top former board member who worked first as a drug counselor and then as training manager for the county drug board, was also left out of the new planning. Both men tendered their resignations.

“Philosophically, across the nation, whenever the two [types of programs] have merged, it tends to submerge alcohol and other drug programs,” says Joyner.

Differing views on the nature of addiction now divide the new board, he added, and could affect future funding. He hopes the winner takes all … the advice he can: “Whatever Mr. Denihan may or may not have in terms of being qualified, it’s important for any leader to recognize what those limitations are and that they hire the right people with the right knowledge base. That’s what’s waiting to be seen in terms of formation.”

Kaye, who isn’t sure where he’ll work next, took Buddha’s path in recounting the last year: “The skill set he brings is what the new board of directors felt were more valuable at this time, and I respect that. Beyond staff and leadership, the most important thing in this are those in Cuyahoga County who need addiction and mental-health services. The true litmus test will be whether they benefit from this move. If services aren’t at least consistent or improved from where they’ve been, it doesn’t matter how much is saved.”

So experimental, his psychology.

Another county worker, who asked to remain anonymous to keep his mortgage paid, didn’t mince words: “I don’t understand why [Denihan] was picked. The only thing I could see was that it was political. When you match the qualifications of these two people, Dr. Kaye was head-and-shoulders above his competition. Denihan is one of the best at being a political animal. He knows how to play and maneuver, and he’s part of the Democratic machine here in the county, so people can make whatever conclusion they want.”

Maybe Kaye should have ponied up for some trips to Vegas. — Dan Harkins

Monday, June 15, 2009


Somehow several weeks have passed with my updates, and yet the world continues to go on? That is odd....

So life has been flying by and yet creeping along at the same time. Summer is almost upon us and some mornings have been beautiful and some still a bit chilly...welcome to Cleveland! My running has been coming along, I haven't really been following my training schedule due to all the ups and downs going on around me but I have managed to keep on moving...and that is a good thing.

Week of May 18 - 24; I managed to get in just over 28 miles.
Week of May 25 - 31; 25 1/2 miles for the week.
Week of June 1 - 7; just over 31 miles for the week.
Week of June 8 - 14; just shy of 23 miles for the week.

So all-in-all the past four weeks haven't been bad. Last week and possibly the next couple weeks my miles will probably be in the low 20's or possibly below...but I am still keeping myself moving and that's where I need to keep my focus at right now. During this "down-time" of sorts though I am getting myself off the treadmill and am running outside. My heel is feeling it, but with continuing my stretching after 1 week of outside running it is actually feeling pretty good. This is a PLUS.

As for the rest of my life...I've mentioned my lay-off and we received the official paperwork and even though I knew it was coming, it still was enough to make you feel like you'd gotten punched in the gut. As of today there are 12 business days left and we are STILL waiting to find out who is and isn't going forward. As a quick recap - I work the government, the county government. They are closing two departments and opening one combined department supposedly with a mix of people from each of the previous two departments. They have hired the directors (all from the department I am not in) and have interviewed and selected a few of the manager positions. As for the rest of us "line-staff", we are waiting to be interviewed...and rumors are surfacing and drama is ensuing and tensions are rising. It's good times!

But as I get sucked into all that is going on I try to remind myself every so often that whatever is best for me, is what will happen and whatever happens I will make the most of the situation! It's like my running...just keep moving, in the end you always feel better than you did at the start! Sometimes you stumble and fall but you just pick yourself up, make sure your not exposing yourself, dust yourself off and keep right on moving...

oh and running blogger Steve is hosting a great contest to win free shoes!!!! SHOES, FOR FREE!!!! check him out to see how to get your name into the contest -

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Moving Along

Not much going on, just more of the same. Still struggling with my left foot some from my vacation back at the beginning of the month. Decided to hold off on running the 10k at the Cleveland Marathon...there are plenty more races to come this summer and I really want to get things right with my foot again.

Week of May 4th - May 10th, even with the foot issues managed to get in about 18 miles. Was in Put-In-Bay over Mother's Day weekend and before heading home on Sunday I got out to run the 5k course for the race there the end of September.

Week of may 11th - 17th, got in just shy of 27 miles, so not too bad.

I'm a little bummed since it doesn't look like I'll be getting in a race this month although the Magnificat Run is really close to home, who knows it may be a Saturday night/Sunday morning decision. I'd like to try my hand at another race longer than a 5k, but again the summer has yet to begin and there are plenty of races left.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So...I ran my 10-miler, de-hydrated and beat down but as I mentioned in my last update (if you managed to make it alllllll the way through to the end), I got back up on the horse or well the treadmill and gave it a go again. It was tough and a little uncomfortable, but I ran a couple miles on Monday, then pushed it to five miles on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and then squeaked out 8 on Thursday knowing I'd be on vacation and not see the gym until Monday... I'm not going to lie, there were glimpses of the way I felt laying in bed Saturday after completing the race, I think there may have even been a few dry heaves in there...but I ran. I ran because it's what I've been working so hard towards being able to do. I ran because that's what I started doing after my brother and my Dad died -- if I quit running now, it might be like saying good-bye to them all over again. I ran because it is who I want to be. It was uncomfortable. But then again, don't we usually have to get through the uncertainty of things, the uncomfortable areas in our lives in order to get to the sweet sweet rewards in the end -- and oh how much sweeter they are when you've had to really work towards getting them. So, I ran.

Thursday evening a friend and I headed out to South Carolina for a couple of days. We drove straight through the night alternating drivers every 3 or so hours. The time went by amazingly quick and the hours were filled with laughter and good conversation. We finally stopped at a rest area just outside of Charleston and crashed for a couple of hours then headed off for breakfast and a few other stops before heading to the resort we were staying at on Isle of Palms. We got there and our bungalow was was beautiful. The beach was just a minute from our spot and we were practically pool-side. There were only a few other people in the surrounding bungalows in our little area, it was great!! I ran on the beach for the first time ever on Saturday. Not really sure how far I ran, but I ran for 60 minutes which is about 5 miles for me, so that's what I'm sticking with. It was tougher than I thought it would be and my hips tightened up after about the first 20 minutes -- but it was beautiful, the sounds of the ocean and people living and loving life on the beach. I had my music going but had it turned so far down I could barely hear it, I was loving just taking in the sounds of my surroundings. Time passed fairly quick, a whole lot quicker than the treadmill that is for sure! A few hours after running, my left heel was a little sore. Woke up early on Sunday to get in a run before leaving and my heel really I ran. Ok, I'm not the brightest -- yes, and this has been well documented if you've read previous posts. Was windier on Sunday, so stopped and walked for a bit mid-way through the run but still put in my 60 minutes -- so since the effort was the same, I'm going with calling it another 5 miles.

Totals for the week somewhere around 34 miles. Worked out twice with Trainer-Steve, who is finally back from his vacation.

Injury update, I clearly caused the plantar fasciitis to flair up in my left foot with running on the beach so have taken both yesterday and today off from running. Most of Monday at the gym was spent with Trainer-Steve getting stretched out followed by a short workout. Scheduled to workout with him again on Wednesday and Friday morning (before heading out for another weekend away).

Trainer-Steve brought up the Cleveland Marathon and running the Half. However with the current soreness and being away this past weekend and this next weekend I just don't think I'm ready to try my hand at it. I was however, on the website this morning checking out fees and I noticed the 10k registration...I'd forgotten about them doing the 10k also...hmmm, what to do, what to do...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More of the normal stuff and a race report

Long Long post (although most of 'em are...I am rather wordy...)

Workouts for the week of the 20th were pretty status quo, this was my 2nd week of workouts without Trainer-Steve due to his vacation time in Florida.

4/20 - Monday - I started out the week with running another 13.1 miles. The miles went by easy enough but was really bored by time the first two hours had passed and was REALLY wishing I could run faster just to get it all over with, but I refused to give in to the temptation to increase my speed.

4/21 - Tuesday - scheduled rest day, that I actually took and actually did nothing other than a few stretches and some use of the foam roller on the legs.

4/22 - Wednesday - run 5 miles

4/23 - Thursday - weight training, lower body. Didn't do a killer session like I had last week, followed up with some walking on the treadmill to help stretch out the legs after the weights.

4/24 - Friday - weight training, upper body. Run for two miles.

4/25 - Saturday - Hermes 10 miler.

4/26 - Sunday - scheduled rest day.

Saturday I ran my first race longer than a 5k and for some crazy reason I decided a 10-miler would be appropriate...

Seriously don't know what I was thinking...

But anywho... Had a rough time falling asleep the night before, definitely a case of pre-race, "what were you thinking when you registered for 10 miles" jitters. Somewhere around 11:30'ish I finally fell asleep, only to wake up about 3 times during the night thinking I'd overslept! The alarm finally went off sometime around 6:15 or so and was shortly followed by a text from Trainer-Steve telling me to get my ass in gear cause he was sure I was laying in bed doubting myself and that it was a great day for a race, that I'd do great and he had confidence in me and reassured me that I'd trained correctly (scary how well he knows me sometimes, lol). I texted him back saying thanks and that I was just getting moving and I'd let him know how it went once it was over. Got up took a shower to help ease the nerves, got dressed and grabbed something to eat.

I got to Edgewater way early, especially since I'd picked up my race packet the day before but I wanted to be sure to get a good parking spot. I called my Mom's house to see if she and my **sister** were still there, but they'd already left. I walked up to the top of where the race was to start and it was crazy, the lines for the port-o's was nuts so I walked back down the hill where the lines were basically only two people deep, then walked back up the hill to the the starting area. The 5-K had already taken off and we had about 15 minutes before we'd start. Suddenly I heard my name and looked around and there was my sister and my Mom! (I was SO happy to see them before the race). They'd come prepared with their homemade cowbells (stones inside soda cans closed up with duct tape) - thanks to my niece Miranda for telling them about the noisemakers! So chatted with them for a few minutes and then got in line with the mass of people waiting to start, I could hear my family off to the side and it just made me smile...I was ready!, and then we were off.

**side note** - My sister Linda, from Michigan came in for the weekend JUST to bring my Mom to the race so that they could cheer for me. I'd mentioned it to her a couple weeks ago that I was really excited doing this race and how it was a really big deal to me. I hadn't really expected her to come down, but earlier in the week my Mom had mentioned that my sister was coming in for the race. Very Very Cool!

People were passing me alot on the little downhill out of the park, but I just kept repeating to myself to take it slow, run my race, don't start fast cause there is LOTS of miles ahead! Mile one came up, 10:31...hmmm, ok, not so bad, faster than I had really expected or wanted since I've only just started running at 11:30 on the treadmill. Before I knew it we'd crossed over into Lakewood and were coming up on the first water stop and runners were stopped everywhere so I moved to the left of the cones and just kept on new focus was to get to Lakewood Park and then the turn-around at Webb. My friend Esther would be at Webb...get to Lakewood Park, get to Webb, see mantra began... Before the race I'd written down a few mantra's to help get me through the race, I'm used to running on the treadmill with my music and wasn't running the race with any so figured the repetition of mantra's would help get me through. As I approached the 3-mile marker I briefly wished I'd signed up for only the 5-k, lol (I realize now I had similar thoughts later in the race after passing the 5 and 6 mile posts - I mean seriously shouldn't I had tried a 5 miler or a 10-k before advancing to a 10-miler!!! - lol - just like me though to leap before looking).

As I approached Webb and the turn-around there was no sight of Esther. The turnaround was congested with the water stop right there and the road was actually slick from runners tossing their water, I actually slipped a little and ran into two other runners who'd decided to start walking suddenly. The turnaround wasn't exactly the halfway point and a few of the relay folks were a little confused. I continued to look for my friend but alas, she'd either not been able to make it or I had somehow missed her - bummer. The 5 mile mark was just before passing Lakewood Park on the way back and from there until the Cleveland line things were uneventful and not really sure what went through my mind. The temp was starting to rise and some folks had a sprinkler set up on their tree lawn that most of us took advantage of running through... It was nice to feel like a little kid again, apart of me wanted to turn around and go through again but figured I'd better just keep moving forward, lol.

Once we passed the entrance to Edgewater Park, we continued into Cleveland. Now this area I was a little less familiar with but was really happy I'd decided to drive it on Friday just so I knew what was to be expected. And I knew once I hit this section I was almost there...8 miles done! There was a water stop at 8, and I'd only grabbed one cup of water that immediately went down my back to help cool me down...I wished I'd grabbed a second to pour down the front of me. It's not that it was THAT hot, but between the temp rising and my internal temp increasing realizing that with each step I was ACTUALLY getting closer and closer to pulling this thing off!!!

Once we passed the mile 9 marker I knew I'd had this thing completed and actually wondering in one second if I could pull off running another 3 miles for a half-marathon distance and in the next thought thinking that I just needed to get to the finish line and I'd NEVER have to do this again, and in the next thought I laughed at myself -- "yeah, at least not until the next race"... As we came out from a little tunnel and a couple of turns I could hear it in the distance...not exactly a cowbell, but that wonderful sound of stones in a couple of cans!!! My Mom!! My Sister!! There they were shaking those cans like crazy and cheering for me and all the other runners!

Within the last quarter-mile of the race, there was a somber ambulance was off to the side and lots of folks were tending to a runner that was down. I then could hear the huffs and puffs of some runners breathing hard and passing me literally on my left and right. Now this is usually where I try to find that extra kick, but I knew I was tired and hot and I'd come way to far to fail now so I let them pass without giving chase. It was ok. This was my race to finish, on my terms, in my own comfort level. A couple of people who work out at the gym I do were near the finish and gave me a cheer (they also gave me a cheer during the race when we crossed paths, they were on their way back towards 5 miles, I was just getting to 3 or 4 -- again, thanks to them and to Trainer-Steve for texting them while on vaca to tell them I was running my first 10-miler).

Found my Mom and Sister after the race and walked a bit and sat a bit. They told me that after seeing me off at the start of the race they'd hopped into the car and tried tracking me down on the course. They ran into my friend Esther around Webb, but I was no where in sight... I was running faster than I'd anticipated so they'd just missed me. The family tried to catch me at a couple other points and finally decided to head back to the Park so as to not miss me at the end of the race.

The final results - well aside from the numbers, I was reminded that I have some VERY AWESOME people in my life!!

As for the numbers -

1st Leg - 49/59 AG; time - 52:13.84; pace - 10:27
2nd Leg - 45/59 AG; time - 54:23.50; pace - 10:53
Finish - 46/59 AG; 792 Overall; time - 1:46:37.34; pace - 10:40

My personal goals for this race
1) expect to finish in over 2 hours, 2 hours if lucky
2) finish the race
3) try to finish the race running

Goal 1, accomplished by more than 14 minutes. Goal 2, check. Goal 3, check - I ran the entire race, other than a very brief moment at a water stop when another runner and myself both reached for the same cup and I had to pause for a moment for the volunteer to grab another.

Just a few more brief comments...
I've questioned whether I'd ever run this distance or longer and then I questioned if I'd ever run again a few hours after this race. It was a very sad and confusing time. I was happy and I completely awful! I hadn't drank enough water leading into this race and apparently didn't keep hydrated enough during...I was apparently suffering some pretty intense heat exhaustion. I hadn't felt so lost or confused before. Within 4 hours of the race I wasn't able to keep anything down, my head was pounding and all I could do was sleep. I felt awful, my sister had come from Michigan and more family was over at my Mom's and I couldn't be there, I wanted to share my joy of completing this race and I could barely do anything but move between my bed and the bathroom. Trainer-Steve was back in town on Saturday evening and had called to see how my legs were doing and to congratulate me and instead was greeted with a sobby, disoriented person. Thankfully, he guided me through and even came by to check on me on Sunday and called several times to make sure I was doing better. Yesterday, Monday, I had a training session with Steve and after the thought of running made my stomach turn, but with some gentle guidance I got on the treadmill to just run a mile, which turned into 2 and I was suddenly feeling better about running in general. Today I managed to squeak out 5 and am already planning on 10 for Thursday, maybe...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Decisions made

My bank account is $35 less. On a whim while sitting at my Mom's watching the awesome Cavs and Indians games, I did it, I registered for the Hermes 10-miler next weekend. There's some mixed feelings towards this, but mostly amazement since just 4 months ago I was just barely starting to run again and now I'm looking at a 10-miler and have thoughts of running a half marathon possibly much sooner that my December goal.

The rest of my week following Mondays 13.1 mile run was good. I took my scheduled rest days and ran according to plan. Trainer-Steve is on vacation for two weeks so am on my own...

4/13 - run 13.1
4/14 - rest day
4/15 - run 5 miles
4/16 - lower body workout
4/17 - run 5 miles, legs sore from workout
4/18 - upper body workout
4/19 - rest day, stretching back and foam rolling legs - really over did that lower body workout on Thursday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well the countdown of "days left of employment" has begun in these here parts (55 business-days including today), and that is just sort of depressing. What once may have held a vague interest and excitement of changes has turned to basically political mud-slinging...and unfortunately we/I am on the receiving end. Some of us that are trying to remain light and up-beat (I mean you can either laugh or cry about this...and laughing is so much better for the soul) about the situation have envisioned an 'American Idol' sort of first day at the new we file into the office we are separated into two groups and sent into two different conference rooms; suddenly the "man" walks in and says you are dismissed, while simultaneously the other group of staffers is being told they have been accepted. But there is always hope that our soon to be new "boss" will select me and/or a few others from these parts to move forward for at least a couple more months. I suppose only time will tell, in 55 business-days to be exact.

On to other stuff now -- I am continuing to follow the plan that trainer-Steve has laid out for me with my running (even though I still protest rest days). So my schedule for the past two weeks went something like this:

3/30 - scheduled rest day - walked for 15 minutes on treadmill, lots of stretching, little bit of ab work.
3/31 - run 5 miles
4/01 - training session with Steve, elliptical for 4.68 miles
4/02 - run 6 miles
4/03 - elliptical for 7.36 miles
4/04 - elliptical, bike, walking on treadmill for a combined half hour and 4.5 miles then training session with Steve followed up by walking 4.62 miles on the treadmill.
4/05 - run 10 miles

4/06 - scheduled rest day - walked for 1.5 miles on treadmill, stretching and ab work
4/07 - training session with Steve followed by 4.25 miles walking on treadmill
4/08 - run 5 miles
4/09 - training session with Steve followed by 3.47 miles walking on treadmill
4/10 - run 5 miles
4/11 - training session with Steve followed by 4.66 miles walking on treadmill
4/12 - scheduled day off -- and I actually stayed away from the gym and rested, I suppose being Easter helped!

With the upcoming work merger I have lots of time off coming that I need to take so am hoping to work in my days off work with scheduling my longer runs. I am basically taking off Monday's and Friday's from now until the end of June and then scheduling a bunch of other days off as well. Anyhow, I was off work yesterday, April 13th. I slept in some (not on purpose really) and headed off to the gym and got there about 9am. Did my normal stretching and assessing of how my back was feeling and then found a treadmill in the front row directly in front of the only tv now scheduled to show ESPN. I did a little more stretching, a little walking warm-up and then set the treadmill up for my slow 12 minute mile pace for 60 minutes...when that time was up, I stretched just a little bit, grabbed some water and some gum and re-set the machine for another 60 minutes...things were going well until about halfway through when ESPN was now repeating headlines and the gym was pretty empty so there was no one to really watch and my music was also repeating; for a brief moment I thought of giving up, I began to imagine that my legs and feet were hurting. I took my headphones off for a bit and tried to just focus on running. My thoughts turned to all I have come through in the past year to be in this moment right here and now! I wished trainer-Steve wasn't on vacation, I could use his butt-kicking right about now, but just thinking about him for a moment and I could hear his voice "U CAN DO IT...U WILL DO IT". Meanwhile while all this was going on in my head, the last 30 minutes had ticked by and it was time to re-set the treadmill one last time, and this time for 38 minutes. I was refreshed, I was re-energized, a new batch of people had come into the gym and this was it...I was just 3.1 miles away from completing my first 13.1 half-marathon distance run! With just a mile and a half to go I'd received a text from trainer-Steve asking how it was going, I responded saying I was almost done and that I'd text him when it was complete. 12:01pm - text message was sent - I had just completed by first half-marathon distance run *. Yeah Me!!

Now, comes the decision making time...the Hermes 10-Miler. It is just 11 days away, I need to decide if I should sign up and attempt it or not. I am still leery about running on pavement, even though my foot did not bother me after the 5k, I'm pretty sure the fear is all psychological... Ugh, a decision needs to be made...

*note, yes I did just say that it was my first, meaning there will be more to follow...

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Times They Are A Changing...

Wow. Ok, so basically an entire month has passed-by with out an update (bad blogger!).

Life here has been experiencing so many ups and downs lately... About three weeks ago the "blahs" came to visit and settled in for a while and they didn't come empty handed! They brought with them some really bad eating habits and that nasty cough/cold thing that's been visiting folks all winter long. I was surprised at just how easy it was to fall into all of those bad food habits again, and the result was about 6 pounds! So, how exactly do you get rid of un-wanted guests that seem so persistent to stay put -- apparently the answer is persistence in return! I managed to maintain my workout during their visit and figured if I'd ignore them for a while they would go away...I even went so far as to leaving the country for a nice relaxing weekend up North. So as of today, the "blahs" have appeared to have vacated my premises (I think I've discovered that planning to run 8 miles in one day, for the first time ever in my life was enough to make those "blahs" head for the hills!!).

With the impending work "take-over" just 66 business days away, I am sure the "blahs" will be looming looking for a place to come in and claim squatters-rights or something. But, with every door that closes another will open... (and if anyone stumbling across this blog is looking for, or knows someone looking for an Accountant drop me an email...I'm just sayin'). I've never been one to look forward to changes but on a clearer day, like today, I can look back at all that has changed for me and with me in the past year and I can say that sometimes a change is just what we need!

As for working out and running... My big goal that I set for myself for this year, in spite of all the foot and back issues, was to run the half-marathon in LasVegas in December. So slowly I have been allowed to increase the length of time I've been running and I've been making progress. Then, about three weeks ago Trainer-Steve pulled out a half-marathon training schedule and declared to me that based on where I was at with my running times that I could pick up the training and start following the 8-week schedule starting at about week 3. Hmmmm...I hadn't seen that one all! He also informed me that all was on track still for me to run the "Bridges..." 5k that I've been hoping to run on March 29th. Yeah.

So here's a breakdown of what's been going on for the past three weeks...

Week of 03/02 - 03/08
41.71 miles - 24.43 on elliptical and 17.28 running on treadmill

Week of 03/09 - 03/15
42.95 miles - 16.84 on elliptical and 26.11 running
my run on 03/15 was a 5 miler outside - this was my first outside run since the 5k I ran in November and messed up my feet. It felt good to be outside, but boy-oh-boy was it tougher than running on the treadmill. This was also the first time I've run 5 miles since about October!! It was a good day! This is also the week that I started to follow the half-marathon training schedule.

Week of 03/16 - 03/22
24.86 miles - 7.96 on elliptical 16.90 running
this is the week that the cold kicked my butt, followed by a nice relaxing weekend in Canada - I had honestly planned on working out that weekend but it just didn't happen.

Week of 03/23 - 03/29
45.81 miles - 13.59 on elliptical and 32.22 running
ok this was an AWESOME week for me! I was a little off the training schedule from the previous week but was back on track by mid-week. I ran my 5k on the 29th with a finishing time of 32:58, which isn't so bad considering I've been running on the treadmill at a 12 minute pace and it was pretty darn windy outside and there were those two bridges to cross... After finishing the race, my foot and back were on the verge of protesting so I chilled out for a bit, watched everyone get their awards and then headed off to the gym to run the additional 5 miles that I needed for the day in order to hit the scheduled 8 miles for the day. Trainer-Steve came into the gym (on his off-day mind you) to stretch me out.

So there ya have it. All up to date now. And today, the foot is a little sore, but nothing I'm really concerned about and the back is feeling great. The schedule has me listed for 10 miles this Sunday and then technically being able to run the 13.1 half marathon distance the following week! I'm still a little uncertain about this, after all the 8 miles I did yesterday was not consistent...but I'm going to do what I can. And then there was this crazy thought that entered my mind....The Hermes 10-miler is coming up in about four weeks.... hmmmm....

Ah yes, the times...they are a changing....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Finding Peace...

So another week has come and gone and although there were a few days of warmth and a few glimpses of is still cold and it is still winter in Cleveland. And somehow, I am still amazed at the fact that it is cold and wintry, you think after 41 years I'd know better, you think we'd all know better and yet at this time of year, each and every year we all dream on warm and sunny days, when the breeze off the lake is refreshing.

Since I've embarked on this journey of health and running, I have been also unknowingly at the onset, embarked on a journey or self-awareness. It has been a wonderful process and much like my running it has had it's ups and downs, its good days and its not as good days. But overall...all is much improved, I feel lighter on my feet and I am learning to enjoy the scenery!

I got to run on 4 occasions this week; Wednesday for 35 minutes, Thursday for 40 minutes, Saturday for 10 minutes and Sunday for 40 minutes. Although I am still running at a 12-min pace, running lately has been like a walk in the park. I am not struggling at all. The running feels easy and is relaxed and I have had no problems with my breathing. I have always looked forward to running but running longer periods of time always worried me, mostly because of my struggled breathing...but now, bring it on! My long term goal (presuming I have a job and the cash and all that jazz) is to run in the LasVegas Marathon in December, well not the marathon distance but the half marathon distance. I know I get frustrated with my slow pace, but the mystical/magical/all-knowing Trainer-Steve insists on me getting my endurance goal is to complete the race, not to break records. So for now, I'm at peace with running my 12-minute miles. Which also that I am up to running for 40 minutes, I am running just over a 5k distance (yeah), which also means I am literally a few steps closer to running the Bridges to Recovery 5k on March 29th!

The week all summed up:
2/23 - M - 6.00 miles elliptical
2/24 - T - 3.58 miles elliptical
2/25 - W - 5.04 miles treadmill (run 35 minutes, just shy of 3 miles) - 1 hr training with Steve
2/26 - T - 4.34 miles treadmill (run 40 minutes, just over 3.3 miles)
2/27 - F - 8.88 miles elliptical (0.66 miles warm-up on treadmill)
2/28 - S - 10.18 miles elliptical (1.90 miles on treadmill, run 10 minutes) - 1 hr training with Steve
3/01 - S - 6.04 miles treadmill (run 40 minutes)
TOTALS 44.06 miles - 6:20:17 - 4,065 calories burned on cardio

February ended on some positive notes and although I may be in a funk today...I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for March.

Now, separate from all my running, training junk I want to give another shout out to G. I am truly inspired by his dedication to a sport and to doing his best and giving it his all! G is playing in three hockey leagues. On his west side league he was voted in to play in the All-Star game this past weekend at the "Q" and although his line didn't give him much to work with and he didn't get any points it was still AWESOME to see him out there on the "big ice". On one of his east side leagues, his team made it to the playoffs but didn't get past the 2nd round, however during that last game they didn't manage to hold on to the lead they had...but they did push the first place team to a double overtime followed by a shoot out. And on his "other" east side league, his team is in first place AND he is the top scorer for the league, and it's playoff time there now. Way to go G! And thanks for letting me a part of the ride...-

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pleasant Surprises

So it appears as though I can not keep track of time anymore, since again it has been two weeks since I last updated things. I am going to say it's due to it being that time of year...I (like most people) am just really really DONE with winter and being cold. I mean REALLY! Enough is enough. But alas, I also know better...this is Cleveland, it is only February, it will snow again. However, I also believe that it is the brief glimpse of sunshine coming through my office window that is motivating me to get things updated and back on track!

Week of February 9th - 15th; ok so I think I only ran twice this week, I've started logging my time via my iPhone and have stopped using my log books...this process still needs to be perfected since I appear to be missing the ability to ad on notes about aches and pains on the iPhone app, and am using it primarily to track calories burned since that's my current focus and assignment from Trainer-Steve. Anywho, I digress.... For the week in question, using the two different elliptical machines and walking and running on the treadmill, I logged in 38.67 miles and burned exactly 4,000 calories during just my cardio workouts and granted myself a long overdue day of rest on Sunday the 15th. Although I must admit, my day was all off kilter with not going to the gym in the morning...

Week of February 16th - 22nd; for the first time since waaaaay back in November I was able to string two days of running together. On Monday, the 16th I ran for 30 minutes and then again for 30 minutes on Tuesday, the 17th. It felt AWESOME... well, that is until the pain set in. Yup, my left heel is really being stubborn with this whole returning to running thing. But the good news is it felt fine come Wednesday morning. So I was able to get in two more running sessions in the week; one on Friday and another on Sunday and each was for 35minutes! I think I just need to come to terms with my new running routine...if I choose to run, then I will be icing my foot later that day or evening AND my night splint is pretty much needing to be worn every night. My totals for the week 40.32 miles and 4,000 calories burned during my cardio workouts.

So with my frustrations mounting around my running and heel pain I have been concerned with whether I will be able to run the "Bridges..." 5k next month. Trainer-Steve isn't sure where my frustrations are coming from, he's comfortable with the way things are progressing and if I can come to terms with not pushing myself during the race, that I should be able to run it...well that and presuming the weather that day is decent. If it's too cold or icy, he says I should pass on it -- THAT is going to be a tough one for me to do! He also feels that since the heel pain typically dissipates fairly quickly and is never more than a 1 or 2 in pain AND as long as I remember to ice and stretch that things are getting better. I guess I just want no pain, and I want to be able to run 2 -3 minutes faster than I did when I was running more frequently. What? Is that asking too much? Hmmmph. WhatEVER...

Finally my friend G and I decided to go do some shopping, clothes shopping!!! He wanted to pick up a couple new work shirts and pants that fit and me, well I just really wanted to buy a new pair of jeans. Now I went shopping a couple of weeks ago with my Mom to look for some work clothes that I am seriously in need of...I have not done any clothes shopping (other than workout apparel) since I've been with Trainer-Steve and well one day walking up the hill to work, well I almost lost my skirt!!! -- it was slipping right down over my hips! Now I had no clue what size to even try on...Trainer-Steve had said probably an 8 or a 10. An 8 or a 10?!? I thought maybe he was on crack or something....I have never EVER worn an 8 and after thinking back I remembered being in a size 10 for about a second back in the summer before I started my junior year of high school, which was back in 1983...yeah 24 years ago! So anyhow I grabbed a few 10's for laughs and my Mom and I headed into the dressing rooms. And MUCH to my surprise and amazement....they fit. OMG! So I ended that first shopping excursion with two pair of work pants both in a size 10! And then this past weekend, while trying on jeans and making poor G look at me in each pair and tell me what he thought, I just wasn't overly thrilled with the way ANY of them looked. So, I grabbed a pair of 8's.... And yes they were a little snug (snug, not tight....I mean not like the "tight" i wore back in the day when you'd have to lay down in order to zip em up!! lol... they were snug, ya know where ya have to take a little hop to get em on -- this IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!). G insisted the 8's looked the best.... So I bought the 8's! I even took the jeans over to my Mom's to pass the Mom test -- they passed! Now, although I really think the a size 10 is more of where I am at, I also think it is going to depend on the style and cut of the pants. BUT, that doesn't change the fact that I get to say this -- for the first time in my life E-V-E-R -- "I am in a size 8!"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Long Overdue Updates

I think maybe it's the weather... I can't believe I haven't updated my blog in so long (is that a sign of a boring life?, hmmm, Anywho, rather than providing lots of boring detail I'm going to do a couple of weekly updates to bring things up to speed!

For the week of January 19 - January 25: I managed to get in a total of 43.39 miles which was mostly elliptical work, with a little bit of running tossed in. As a reminder, Trainer-Steve got me started out running for 1 minute and then walking for 2 on the treadmill. I was then able to advance to a 2 minute run - 2 minute walk. All of this is at a 12 minute mile pace. The good news is that the foot has been feeling pretty good and I'm not having any of the breathing issues I used to have! During this week though, Trainer-Steve informed me that now that I'm starting to run a little more my goal is not miles per week, but instead it is to burn 4,000 calories in cardio per week. Now that may not seem like much to some of you but the thing is I know that that 4,000 goal is going to be increasing which means I will probably be having to start adding in some additional workouts...which means evenings or figuring out something at lunch time. So, calories burned for the week 4,067.

For the week of January 26 - February 1: 40.84 miles; 4,131 calories. I did the 2 and 2 run/walk routine 3 out of 6 days that I did cardio.

For the week of February 2 - February 8: 45.86 miles, 4,009 calories. This was a truly great and exciting week for me!! On February 2nd I got to run for 20 minutes straight, at a 12 minute/mile pace and let me tell you it felt WONDERFUL!! Then on February 5th I got to run for 25 minutes straight, 12 minute/mile pace and then on February 8th I ran for 30 minutes!! WooHoo!

Now for the bad left foot was bothering me some the rest of the day after running the 30 minutes. But, when I woke up this morning it felt fine. I'm supposed to do cario with Trainer-Steve in the morning and I'm technically scheduled to run but we'll see what he lets me do...

As of right now I am really hoping and aiming for running my first 5k for the season on March 29th - Bridges to Recovery race. Which I think is an appropriately named race to be my first one back, lol Ok, I know it's reference is recovery from alcohol and drugs but for me it is taking on another meaning. This is also the first race I ever ever ran 2 years ago so I am really hoping I will be ready for it this year!

Friday, January 23, 2009

and now for something completely different...

So a good friend of mine is currently playing in 3 different hockey leagues and on the rare occasion he has a game that starts before I'm long asleep I go and watch him play. I may be a little biased here, but he is good. When he joined the 3 leagues he set a goal for himself of playing 50 games and having 50 goals (he later amended this goal indicated he'd also like 50 assists, giving him a total of 100 points). Now, he played hockey growing up (he's Canadian, he really had no say in the matter), but he hasn't played in almost 20 his goal seemed reasonable, maybe a little lofty but reasonable. Apparently I have underestimated him (please forgive me, I should have known so much better than that by now).

He currently has played in 38 games and has 45 goals and 35 assists and has been voted on to an All-Star team for one of the leagues and will get to play in a game down at the "Q" before a Monsters hockey game (how effing sweet is that!!!!) Now the only question is which of his upcoming games will he hit that 50th goal in?... I am going to watch him play again next Wednesday, I am hoping he hits it then (he however is playing a game this evening and is hoping to get all 5 tonight).

So, as a little break from my tedious workout updates I am providing a copy of my little commentary that was written up from this past Wednesday's game... Please read, and Enjoy... (and his blog can be found

A Race To The Finish

Game started out fast and before the first 2 minutes was up Graham was upside down, on his head, in the opponents net. But followed shortly thereafter with the first goal of the game. The second team goal came shortly after and White B was off to a nice 2-0 lead. But you can't underestimate the Red team who quickly tied things up. Graham's second point came on a nice assist to put the team up by 1. But once again Red came back. End of first period tied 3-3. With 2 points for Graham and 1 point for arch scoring nemesis Red#77 . (side note Red #77 and Graham are in a race for the lead scoring position for this league.)

Three minutes into 2nd and White prevailed with another goal (4-3) while down a man. Once again Red went on the attack and two min later things were tied up again. Five and a half minutes in and Red took it's first (and only) lead of the game (4-5), but I missed who got the points (ends up Red #77 got an assist on that one). And now with 5 on the clock Graham was back on the ice to make things happen.... And things happened! He drew a double penalty on player 10. Then with 30 seconds, he shoots, he scores! (5-5).

Third Period. Graham on the ice to start things off and had a great drive but no goal. Great crazy shot by Phil to put things back into perspective (6-5), followed immediately by another White B goal (7-5). With just under 7 to go Red scores again (7-6). Then with just over 2 min, Phil came up with his 3rd goal of the game (8-6). Minute and a half left, down by 2 and Red calls for a time out... And with 30seconds and some pushing and shoving Graham drew another penalty but found himself in the penalty box as well.

Final score 8 - 6, White B WINS!

2 goals and 1 assist for Graham!
1 goal and 1 assist for Red #77

These two are now tied in stats with total points for this league:
Graham - 34 points 20 goals 14 assists
Red #77 - 34 points 21 goals 13 assists

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weekly Update...

The middle of January is upon us and so far it's been a great year!

Just as I adjusted to running on the treadmill, I've come to adjust to life on the elliptical, although I still long for a day when I can get outside and run... But, now is the time for building up strength and listening to trainer-Steve since he ALWAYS seems to be right about these things. I had a pretty good week and have really been focusing on 1)adding Sunday workouts and 2)getting in some long workout sessions on the weekends. Again both of these tasks are being achieved thanks to trainer-Steve coming in on his Sunday off day to work out with me! So here's what the middle of January looked like for me:

0.50 miles - treadmill, warm-up then 1 hr. PT session with trainer-Steve
7.20 miles - elliptical

4.00 miles - elliptical, after ab workout

4.00 miles - elliptical, after 1 hr. PT session with trainer-Steve

0.50 miles - treadmill, warm-up then light ab workout
6.00 miles - elliptical
1.15 miles - treadmill, first attempt back at running; run 1 min, walk 2 min.

7.50 miles - elliptical

0.50 miles - treadmill, warm-up then 1 hr. PT session with trainer-Steve
9.76 miles - elliptical

3.75 miles - elliptical
1.57 miles - treadmill, run 1 min, walk 2 min
1.00 miles - treadmill
(this was a solo Sunday workout w/instructions of no more than 60 minutes of cardio; which I actually followed)

TOTALS 47.43 miles

Now in looking at my numbers I completed the total miles in about 7 1/2 hours which leaves me averaging around 10 minutes/mile for the elliptical... but that seems a little high, my hours or working out may be wrong since I typically complete a mile on the elliptical in about 9 minutes. But anyhow, the real question is will this have any effect at all on my running time? I was averaging about a 10 minute mile on the treadmill and coming in at about a 10-11 minute mile in my 5k's. I so would like to be faster. However, that being said, going 7 1/2 weeks without being able to run at all... well, it sort of put the whole "speed"complex I have into perspective.

Will most likely finish out the month of January taking it easy with the running and working on the run 1 min, walk 2 min with increasing the amount of time I'm actually on the treadmill (first two times was 20 minutes, and the third time was for 30 minutes). Would like to sign up for my first race in February, but realistically it may not be until March or maybe even April...I don't know, we will have to see. For right now it is just getting through one step at a time...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Great Day for Running

I didn't care that it was only 6 degrees when I got up this morning, because I knew what the day had in store for me and I knew it was going to be GREAT! Ok, maybe not earth shattering and basically it would go unnoticed by all but me.

But today was it.

Today's the day I'd been waiting for....

After 7+ weeks - 53 days, today I got to RUN.

It wasn't for long and it was really super slow (12 minute pace)and may have been on the treadmill, but I was running again. And it felt great to be back and the best news being the pain in my foot was minimal and had subsided after a few hours.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Judgement Day

The end of December left me about a week to put in some great long workouts.

12/29 - 6.00miles on elliptical after session with trainer-Steve
12/30 - 7.52miles on elliptical
2.48miles on treadmill, walking
12/31 - 5.00miles on elliptical after session with trainer-Steve; checked weight and still 2 pounds from goal; kept things in check for New Years Eve and was in bed around 10pm!
01/01 - 0.60miles on treadmill for a quick warm-up
6.00miles on elliptical after LOTS of ab work; total time at gym = 4hours! Great start for the new year!
01/02 - 8.00miles on elliptical after More abs
01/03 - 1.00miles on treadmill
7.76miles on elliptical followed by some lifting and abs and another 3 1/2 hour workout all after measurements.
01/04 - 1.00miles on treadmill; abs and then a food hour working out side by side with trainer-Steve (think this was tougher than his training sessions)
4.21miles on elliptical
1.00miles on treadmill while trainer-Steve ran
50.66miles for the week elliptical and trainer combined

So January 3rd was my judgement day and time to see if this last round of hard work has paid off and to what extent... Missed my target weight goal by 2 pounds (again, missed by the same 2 back in November). So totals to date - 43 pounds lighter. 43!!! And my waist is down by 6 inches and I'm down about 3 dress sizes (think it's time to go shopping!!!!!). And (drum roll please) my body fat is down to 18%,which is down A LOT from where I had started. What a great journey this has been. And, one last goal, 12 pounds over the next 12 weeks. These are going to be the toughest ones yet, but now is no time to back down from a challenge.

The first full week of the new year was off to a good start, my orthotics were finally in and my doctor even dropped them off at my house for me! So, about a week of breaking in and I just may be back to running around mid-month. Unfortunately the week didn't end up quite as productive as I'd originally hoped but sometimes a week of rest is good. Right?

01/05 - 5.07miles on elliptical
01/06 - skipped gym up late the night before watching OSU game.
01/07 - 4.00miles on elliptical after an hour with trainer-Steve, not feeling 100%.
01/08 - 4.21miles on elliptical with trainer-Steve and some abs.
01/09 - skipped workout, trainer-Steve sent me home from gym, ended up back in bed and sleeping for another couple hours.

01/10 - 0.51miles on treadmill, followed by abs and some lifting
8.28miles on elliptical
0.46miles on treadmill
22.58miles for the week elliptical and treadmill combined

This next week finally allows me to start doing some light impact work during my training sessions and see how 7 weeks of rest has paid off. Fingers and toes crossed!

Hope to update again soon with more great news!