Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Shall Wear Midnight

I Shall Wear MidnightI Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was ha-LARious! I enjoyed it as much as the previous 3 in this series. I highly recommend this to anyone needing a good hearty laugh~ :) And now I want to read the rest of the Discworld books...

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Monday, August 29, 2011

The boys started 4th grade today!

Yes, today is the first day of school for S&A, and I have pictures to share! I walked to the bus with them this morning, and Sean asked Ashe on the way if he could sit next to him on the bus. As they waved to me and blew me kisses through the window, I got misty eyed when the bus pulled away, even though we have made this first school day parting 5 previous years (oh man, preschool was the WORST! Sean and I cried and cried and cried! Awful awful day.) Ashton has been beside himself with excitement for school to start for the past week, whereas Sean has been more apprehensive. We split them into separate bedrooms this summer and Sean misses sharing. Ashton loves his own new big bed. I wish their classrooms were in the same hall this year, but it was not meant to be. He'll settle in soon though. I hope. It's been over a month and I still find Sean in Ashe's bed most mornings... Sorry, getting all nostalgic again, and I promised pictures! Let's watch them grow together. :) Here they are, their first morning of kindergarten:
And first grade:
And today.
They have gotten so tall! They're up to my shoulder already, and soon they will be taller than their mama... This summer disappeared too quickly- it was especially busy for Kevin and me with work, and the boys got to spend some necessary quality time with both sets of grandparents- I'm not sure who enjoyed that more! Plus the boys got to spend most of last week with Aunty Alice, who is home from college. :) My best wishes and prayers for S&A this school year, as well as all the other students and teachers heading back to school!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Children's Museum Lego Exhibit

Sean, Ashton and I stopped by the Children's Museum in Carson City on the way home from Lake Tahoe today to see the Lego exhibit. There are some pretty neat pieces!
Here is my favorite. (Hm. Wonder why? ;)

Super strong Sean!

The boys are also having a grand time playing with everything else here too~ they are great climbers! (As long as they don't have to be tied in...)

I have more pictures of the Legos if anyone is interested~

Monday, July 11, 2011

Swimming with a wetsuit?

Yes, I know it's a little unbelievable. I've been a swimmer for 20 years and I've never even tried on a wetsuit, let alone swim with one! However, I've been thinking about trying one out for several months now, since I've started swimming 4-5 days a week again and really working on increasing my endurance for long distances. And since that's been going so well, I've been thinking about doing a long distance open water race. And there's one coming up! At Lake Tahoe Open Water Swim. Hence the need for a wetsuit, because that lake is frikkin freezing! They're offering a 1/2 mile, 1 and 2 mile distance swim on Aug. 13th and I was leaning toward the one-miler. I didn't think it would be such a good idea to try out a new race AND a wetsuit on the same day, so I went with the fam up to Stampede to try one out. This one is Kevin's and it seemed to fit okay, although I felt a little claustrophobic once I was all zipped in. And hot! And then I couldn't stop laughing once I got in- because of the bouncy of the suit I felt like a one-man life raft! I kept forgetting I didn't need to kick to stay afloat.

Anyway, to the swim. How was it? Well... Interesting. Because I couldn't feel the pull of the water against my skin as I swam, I didn't feel like I was actually going anywhere. Kevin assured me I was moving pretty fast, but I sure didn't feel it. It also didn't help that I could barely see the tips if my fingers through the silt in the water and had a difficult time swimming in a straight line. Maybe my body was tired after running around Donner Lake yesterday, or maybe it was the wetsuit- or maybe I'm being a wus and just making up excuses- but it wore me out! I only swam for 5 or 6 minutes before I needed to stop and get my bearings, and access how I felt about swimming in a wetsuit. My conclusion? I didn't like it. Told myself to suck it up and keep going, but I had to stop every 5 minutes- my stroke felt funny because I was sitting so high up in the water, and I just didn't feel efficient. I got out after about 12 minutes and took the wetsuit off- I was hot and clammy and really uncomfortable, and frustrated at myself for being such a wimp about the whole thing. Then I got back in and swam with my regular swimsuit on, and instantly felt SO much better! Kevin said I wasn't going any faster than I was with the wetsuit on, but I sure felt like I had a lot more control over my arms and kick and even my breathing pattern.

So. Conclusions. At this point I don't want to swim in Tahoe because it's too cold to swim without a wetsuit, but sucks to swim with one. I should practice more with one on, I know, and not give up after one try. Has anyone swam this race before? Have words of wisdom about getting used to swimming in wetsuits? Wanna swim in Tahoe with me and MAKE me do this race?

Monday, July 4, 2011


Yup, For the first time ever, I had a triple race weekend! I've never even done two in a row. On Saturday, I headed to Carson City super early to run the Firecracker 10k, hosted by the Tahoe Mountain Milers Running Club before work. It was a small race on a trail familiar to me, and I was happy to see so many people I knew out there (sorry you didn't get to run Abbey and Steve)! I'm really getting to know the Carson community, and that makes me feel like I'm doing my job well. :) I didn't plan on running fast since it was the first race I'd planned for the weekend. However, my competitive side got the better of me, and after running the first mile, I left Ali and Anne behind. However, my prowess to chase the leaders early had me following them at a wrong turn when the arrow in the dirt had been scrubbed out. Added an extra .8 loop to the course, but I did catch up and pass quite a few of the runners. It was a beautiful cool summer morning, and I didn't mind the extra mileage though, especially since the super cool RD let me keep my "official" 10k from my Garmin. The race for me was exactly 7 miles, which I finished in 1:01.09, but my 10k time was 54:35- which put me at 5th overall winner, and first woman in! Whoo-hoo! I've never been first in my age group, let alone first woman! I love small races. :) Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures from this race. Had the best warm down ever, swimming 2000 yards, and pushing myself just enough to kick some of the soreness out. Wish I could do that after every race.

July 3rd was my 12th anniversary. But for the first time, Kevin and I spent it in different states, as he was representing the state of Nevada with the Galena High School band marching in the 4th of July parade in our nation's capital! This is a trip he'd spent the last year planning, and I am happy to report the band performed very well, and most importantly, no one passed out in the heat! Go Grizzlies! So what else would I choose to do with my family gone? Another race of course! This second race I was invited to do by my neighbors, Richard and his wife Emma. She'd injured herself during the Reno Tahoe Odyssey race, but they'd already signed up and registered for the Reno 5000 Firecracker Duathlon, which is a 5k run, 30k bike, and a second 5k run (same loop twice). So they asked me to take Emma's place on the run while Richard biked, and I happily agreed! Here's a pre-race pic of Richard and I: I've done lots of triathlons, but this was my first duathlon I've participated in, and actually the first time I've done this (meaning triathlons) as a relay. I've run 2 runs as relays so far though- RTO and the Tahoe Decelle. They managed to switch Emma's entry over to my name, and I arrived early to get set up. Turi decided to pace me, never having participated in a duathlon either, and took a lot of great pictures of the trail. This a picture of the beginning of the start of the run on the dirt: Here I am at the first mile marker: This trail was steep, and super technical- there were big rocks baked into the trail just waiting for someone to jam their toe into and take a digger. I somehow managed to avoid doing either of these things, but my pace was quite a bit slower as I had to carefully watch each foot placement in my Vibrams (this is when they were still brand about a year ago when I first got them- and I've walked or run in them almost every day since mid-February, so they are considerably more worn out now). I got lots of questions and comments from other runners this weekend who are interested in them, and I was happy to share! Amazed with how many runners are thinking about trying them out! I finished the first leg (which was closer to 3 miles than a 5k, according to my Garmin, although I forgot to push the stop button after both legs for several minutes). Came in 29:21ish for the first leg, and then Richard was off! He finished the 30k bike in just under an hour, and I started out for the second lap. I felt surprisingly better on the second lap- I guess the first was a better warm up- I was pretty tight/sore from the previous day's race, as I'd gone out harder than I meant to. I had a pretty decent side cramp that developed on the downhill of the first lap, but a banana and some electrolite water cured that while I was waiting during Richard's bike portion, and my calves had loosened up from the first run. I must have gone slower up the hill the second time because I had a good kick at the end and pushed to the finish- my time was a few seconds slower for the second lap: 29:35. We waited quite a while in the hot sun for awards, but it was worth it because Richard won a new bike jersey from the raffle, and then we placed 3rd out of 6 in the coed relay division! Here we are crammed up on the podium- you can kind of see me, the shortest one hiding in the back. We received some really nice cut glass trophies. :) Thank you Emma and Richard for letting me race with you today! I had a blast!

And finally, race #3 on the 4th of July! Ironically, the two previous races had "Firecracker" in the title, but I chose not to run the Firecracker Mile in Truckee with Chris, and did the Run to the Beach with the other 2 TLD members, Dave and Turi. This race started in N. Tahoe finished at Kings Beach, and according to my Garmin, was almost a perfect 5k distance! The race started 15 minutes late, and here is Dave and I milling around waiting for it to start: There were a couple uphills, which I plowed steadily up, but was passed by a lot of people on the downhill because once again I had to watch my footfalls. Plus I just can't run fast downhill in Vibrams. But I don't mind- I wear them for the balance it gives me on my runs, for my knee and my back, and health is more important to me than speed. I finished in 28:35 with Dave just a couple minutes behind me, and the Turi pretty soon after that with his 10k, and we hurried over to Truckee to try and catch Chris finish his mile. Didn't quite make it in time to see him cross the finish line, but we did find Gretchen who took 3rd female! And this after a smashing successful 100 miles at Western States last weekend! That girl is amazing. Took a quick pic together and then went in search of Chris:
Turns out, Chris won the Firecracker Mile in 4:25, and that in front of a gajillion people!!! Good Lord, that man is fast! Here is TLD, united even though we didn't all do the same race that day.

Amazingly I feel really good for putting in just over 16 miles in 3 days, and those at race pace. I'm already having race-withdrawl. Although I'm sure I'll change my mind tomorrow morning when I can't get out of bed... :) My great thanks to everyone who put on these races, and to those of you who I had the wonderful opportunity to run with! I am so happy to be healthy enough to run 3 races in 3 days- I didn't imagine I would ever be here again, and if you'd told me that I'd be running this much today back in January when my back was one big debilitating spasm taking up every spare thought, I would have rewarded you with a big fat kiss and tears of happiness!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lord Sunday, book 7 of the Keys to the Kingdom series

Lord Sunday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #7)Lord Sunday by Garth Nix

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series was fantastic! Phillip Pullman has his controversial series on God and the angels, and Garth Nix brushes through creation in this one. I loved the depth of character development- watching Arthur's inner strength as he grew as a person, and was surprised at his part of ending. This is definitely a series I'll reread~

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe

CompulsionCompulsion by Heidi Ayarbe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I don't have OCD, I identified with this book on way too many levels. I think on some level, we all have things we obsess about, and while maybe we they don't control our lives like they do for Jake, they are still there and still influence the decisions we make. I like order. I love for numbers to match up. Maybe that's part of why being a librarian clicked so nicely for me... And now I'm going to have Bolero stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

And as a side note, it was my great honor and pleasure to meet and get to know the author while she was in Carson City for her book launch. She is amazingly intelligent and a super sweet person! She even brought me chocolate covered coffee beans from Columbia! :) Love. Her.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Reno Rock -- River 5K

After many long months of recuperating from lower back issues, I've finally started to gingerly run again. And when I say gingerly, I mean lots of walking and some jogging. I'm trying not to push too hard or too soon, and have been swimming 4 to 5 days a week to balance these easier workouts. I've noticed a big difference in muscle tone since I've been cross-training with treadmill, swimming and dry-land exercises. And to show for this new dedication to my back health, I was finally able to register for a race this weekend! The Reno Rock-N-River races has become a pretty huge event for Reno, drawing hundreds of runners for each of the 4 distances offered. I chose the shortest, and was lucky enough to talk two Carson City runners into running this event with me. Anne stuck by my side through the whole race, with Traci only about a minute behind. I could have run quite a bit faster, but I still don't want to pull all the stops out- I'm saving up for the Reno Tahoe Odyssey relay race which is just a month away! Although I did run (an easy 5) miles on the trail near my house today (and ha ha got sunburned- yay [early] summer!) and now my calves are sore from two days of running in my Vibrams and am wearing compression socks even now (which are awesome- thanks Scott and Sara!). Not only did I get to run with Anne and Traci, but all of Team Library Dork was in attendance! Turi set a new PR by 4 minutes in the half marathon (1:28.14!!! Dang dude!), with Chris pacing him for all but the first mile, and Dave also ran the 10k in under an hour. I don't mind not being competitive when I could have been weaving through people right and left, because I was just happy-thankful-grateful to be out there with the hoards of runners, sharing a cool morning with some blessed sunshine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Witch & Wizard

Witch & WizardWitch & Wizard by James Patterson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel the need to explain myself for having a James Patterson book on my "read" list. This is a YA book, and I was stranded at an airport with an extra 2 hour delay and a book I'd finished on the last flight in my backpack. And I was exhausted from doing nothing more than sitting in planes and airports all day long. I picked this one up because I'd ordered it for my library, and it has circulated well I'd say. After reading a few pages I discovered J. P.'s fast-paced writing style worked for my tired brain, and even though I felt my IQ dropping with each page from the shallow, static, single-sentence monologue characters and frequent cliches, it was a fast read and read over half the book by the time I got home. Finished the other half on the plane yesterday. That is all I have to say about this book-it is a fast read. And realize that it it indeed written at a second grade reading level. So there is my excuse. I was working! Keeping up with my trade and reading what some of the teens out there read...

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Firefly Lane

Firefly LaneFirefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished Firefly Lane- cried through the last 50 pages. These nostalgic kind of books get me in the worst way. Just like Time Traveler's Wife. It's hard sometimes to look back and see how much life has been lived, how fast, and remember.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Secret of the Sirens

Secret of the Sirens (Companions Quartet, #1)Secret of the Sirens by Julia Golding

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This children's book is a good start to a quartet- the conflicts in this book are resolved very neatly, but it leaves open possibilities for more adventures. It's predictable nature is a great pull for reluctant readers who lean toward fantasy when choosing something off the shelf, and I love it's Earth-friendly message it leaves its readers...

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Leo the Snow Leopard

Leo, The Snow LeopardLeo, The Snow Leopard by Craig Hatkoff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, it's about a baby snow leopard rescue, so of COURSE I loved it! The pictures of Leo are fantastic, and so expressive. He was raised by people, and as a result is very friendly with his keepers- I find myself wistfully thinking what a career in a large zoo, like the Bronx Zoo, would be like taking care of big cats. Leo is so adorable, I wish I could sink my fingers deep into his fur! :)

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Monday, March 7, 2011

My "Real" Back

Earlier I'd posted that I'd put up a picture of my spine when I got the MRI disc back from my doctor. Well, here it is!

The top arrow is pointing to the L4-L5 disc, which is bulging (you can kind of see how it is pushing on the white spinal cord), and those two little dots at the tip of the arrow are pointing at the fluid leaking out of the tear on that disc (the tear is what was causing a lot of the pain, but hopefully it is healing quickly with the cortisone and steroids it received 3 1/2 weeks ago! It's not bothering me anyway...). The bracket underneath is the protrusion between the L5 and S1 vertebrae. The other thing you can see in this scan is how nice and full and light all the discs are above these two poor babies, and how dark the hurt ones are- that is because the fluid has leaked out and I'm not getting the support my spine needs... Kinda scary. And gross looking. :) But I am feeling SO much better and have been taking it easy- doing my stretches and exercises, plus walking and swimming almost every day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as GoldA Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The beginning of this book started out well enough, but about half way through I lost all interest as the main character kept making stupid decisions and her actions were largely unexplained. I had to force myself to finish this one. The author did wrap up all the loose ends, but it almost seemed as if she were as tired of writing it as I felt of reading it...

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Back Updates

I am blogging this morning from my treadmill. Yes, I am happy and relieved to report that the cortisone shot did what it was supposed to and reduced all the inflammation in my back muscles, and within three days reducing my pain to a virtual non-existence! That stuff is like liquid magic! I did walk and swim easy the next two days after the shot, and I think that movement and circulation helped the medicine work faster. I'm also hoping that it is helping the tear on my disc, which was what was causing a lot of the pain. I have promised to take it easy and have been walking and swimming everyday, and will wait a solid month before I even think about running again. There are some decisions that need to be made on that front- a marathon is no longer in my future because of my susceptibility to further injury. I also need to figure out what will work out in the long run (no pun intended!) and if (what) short distances are okay, and how often. I don't want to be in debilitating pain 30 years from now because of the choices I make today. But I won't bore you with those details. I spoke to my doctor and he said that what I am feeling now is normal muscle feedback, and everyday I marvel at the ridiculously easy movements that no longer cause me pain (like drying my hair, picking things up off the floor, kissing the tops of my sons' heads). I can even drive to work and hop out of the car without first unfolding myself and biting down waiting for that first flash of pain! I am a normal person again! That said, I am still super cautious about proper form and posture during my daily routines and workouts. I have no desire to get stuck back on the floor again! And that my friends, is the latest scoop. (And hopefully this makes some sort of sense since it's difficult to edit while walking and typing on my phone! :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cortisone Shot

As promised, here are a few updates on the health of my back. First, this past week has been one of the worst. I had to leave work early on Saturday because the muscles in my lower back wouldn't stop spasming. I laid low all weekend, but to no avail. By Tuesday, all I managed to do was crawl to the bathroom and then spent the rest of the day on my bedroom floor. I didn't drink anything all day so I wouldn't have to go. I know. Awful. But I had my fancy phone and a couple books to keep me company. By Wednesday however, I was up and walking again and actually felt better than I had since Friday last week! I guess all those days on the floor were the necessary rest my back needed. And today's news: The Big Day of the Cortisone Shot! I have been waiting a solid month and a half for this day to come for the relief and healing this epidural can bring. Basically it is an injection to the injured area of steroids and medicine to help reduce the inflammation and begin the healing process. I admit, I was a little nervous about the procedure this morning, but it turned out to not be that bad! There were two needle pricks (getting blood drawn is worse), and then the injection of the lidocaine and cortisone. That was strange- took 4 or 5 minutes total- there was a lot of pressure as the good doctor slowly injected the medicine. Then the nurses had me sit right up and walked me out to get changed. My butt was numb, and my legs down into my feet, but that went away after a couple hours. He said I'll probably be sore for a day or two and it could be up to a week for the cortisone to take full effect...

I swam every day for the past two weeks (not this week, obviously), but have not run in almost a month. Which I promised I wouldn't do until things start feeling better. I've also been doing "press-ups," as my physical therapist calls them, which is basically laying face-down on the floor and going into a half-extension downward dog position. Hips stay on the floor, drop your shoulders and look up. Bent elbows- also on the floor. That should help the bulging disc go back where it's supposed to be. Don't know how much help or hindrance that causes on the herniation though (I'm just imagining the vertebrae pinching that disc- but then so does sitting and about everything else, right? At least I'm helping something!). I am determined to take things slow- walk in the mornings and swim in the afternoons. The swimming has been the biggest help, by lengthening the muscles and gently stretching them, but with no impact. And I do get a workout so I don't go absolutely stir crazy! :) Even if it's not the same as running~

So that's my news! Hopefully I'll have something else to report in a week or so...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back News

This year I made the resolution (goal) to heal. I have had many years of back pain and spent years going to the chiropractor, then and last year switched to physical therapy. And yet I am still in pain, off and on. Or I guess I could more accurately describe it as really super duper achy- I don't have any sharp or shooting pains. Spasms in my lower back on really bad days. Sitting is almost unbearable at times. I am standing and typing this as a matter of fact. So. Back to the resolution part. I am actively trying to heal! I finally made an appointment to see a back specialist (took 3 weeks to get in to see him! These doctors must be worth their weight in gold.) last Monday, and he recommended I get an MRI to find out what is really going on. Waited another week, and this morning I spent 25 minutes in a very loud tube with the air on full blast and my eyes closed. I've had an MRI before, for my shoulder (that's another long story involving a water polo incident, a LOT of pain, and 9 total dislocations before I had surgery on that thing), but I don't remember it being quite that loud. Maybe because the tech forgot to turn on the music... Anyway, this time I was sent home with a disc of the images that I could look at on a computer (wish I had gotten one of my shoulder- that was gruesome! And I'm missing out on bragging rights there~), which I did and promptly started to freak out. I did my online research before I went in on the possible problems I could have, including bulging spinal discs and arthritis (freaked out looking that up too). If I can recognize the problem with no one to point things out, then I know that it's bad. Really bad. It was gross, and I had to stop looking at all those pictures. I took the disc directly to my doctor and he called me tonight after reviewing both the disc and the report sent by the radiologist, and as it turns out, I wasn't seeing things when I looked at the images myself. I have a bulging disc and tear between the L4 and L5 vertebrae, and a herniated disc between the L5 and S1 vertebrae. He even saw a little bit of arthritis in that L5 spot too. Apparently these things take 6-12 months to heal on their own. I really don't feel like being in pain for that long (plus the chances that I'll do something to irritate my lower back so it doesn't heal are pretty good too- and that is me saying this and not my doctor because it seems no matter how careful I am or how good I am about doing my exercises it will happen again- more on this in a bit), so I'm opting for the cortisone epidural that will inject medicine right to the source to reduce inflammation so the healing will go quicker. I understand these are pretty painful too. But if it's only a couple days worth, I'll take it.

This picture is kinda gross, isn't it? And yes, I, a librarian, am including a link and a picture from Wikipedia! (I don't have one to share of my actual back- maybe if I get the disc back I'll share one with you if I can figure it out...)

We discussed the possibilities of causes- he said it's not necessarily because I've been running regularly for the past 14 years (with time off due to pregnancy, babies, and injuries of course). He said that having a strong core is very important to supporting the spine (I have rockin' hard abs 'cause I work 'em hard! (even if there is a little layer over them- that post-baby fat never seems to go away!)), as well as stretching and exercising, so I'm not sure what exactly I'm doing to earn a herniation here and there. He recommended that I wait a week or two after the shot before I start slowly into running again (I know, that's it?!), and I intended to go super slow and supplement my lack of running with time in the pool. Which I'm happy to do. If it happens again, we can do another shot. Ultimately though, my doctor said that it is my decision whether I should stop running or not. What am I willing to live with? And NOT running doesn't guarantee I'll never bulge or herniate again. Life altering decisions. I feel WAY to young to have to make this kind of health decision. And too young to be in this much pain.

Well, that's about all the news I have so far. I'm staying positive because he didn't say at this point that I should consider "retiring" from running (if you consider recreational running something one retires from). I'll post on this subject again in a couple weeks to share my progress. I hope all you runners out there will keep me in mind and do an extra lap on my behalf.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


AngelologyAngelology by Danielle Trussoni

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was wonderful- I was introduced to a subject I didn't know existed. I wonder how much actual research on Angelology the author did versus how much she created herself? And, I was totally left hanging at the end! It wasn't the sort of ending you're supposed to figure out on your own either. I really hope there's a sequel in the near future. Although it was published in 2010, so I won't hold my breath for anything coming out this year...

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions and Goals for 2011

Generally the end of December/beginning of January is when my thoughts turn to a resolution for the new year. In the past I've made all kinds of resolutions ranging from keeping the house clean to running mileage numbers, beating out the previous year's totals. Some of my resolutions I've stuck to, and others... Well, I'm sure we've all experienced the successes and failures of resolutions. This year I've decided to look at this whole new year's resolution business from a different angle. I have more of a goal for myself than a regimen I generally lean toward.

This year, my goal is to heal.

This is loosely set as I don't know how a goal like this will progress, or how far I reach. I have had serious back pain over the years, even to the point of passing out (but only once!). I missed another day last week that I spent on the floor just trying to relax my irritated muscles. I spent years going to a chiropractor off and on, and then last summer I started seeing a wonderful physical therapist who helped me immensely, and changed how I work out. But alas, the pain-free running I enjoyed so much was not to last. I even developed knee problems at the beginning of 2010 that I believe is related to back issues and possibly my stride, which I am still struggling with. I've reached the point where I've done everything I could think to change to help myself get better, including starting lifting, rotating back into swimming and even changed my stride to a forefoot strike instead of a heel strike when I run. And yet, without provocation (that I am at this point aware of), my back pain persists. So I am taking the next step. I talked to my doctor, and he okay-ed x-rays for me, which showed that nothing was out of place, fractured or broken (relief!). However much relief I feel over normal x-rays, I still don't know if something is wrong. I have an appointment to see a back specialist in mid-January (those guys book up fast!) and am hopeful that he will let me get an MRI, which will show if I have a bulging disc (which my PT suspects). I am hopeful that he will give me exercises to do that will strengthen my back, or let me know if I'm doing something to aggravate the muscles in my lower back.

I have mixed feelings about this goal. Of course I want to feel better, but I'm afraid that my doctor might tell me that I need to stop running. I want to run. I want to run far! A marathon! (Plus I got a brand new Garmin Forerunner 305 for Christmas that I'm dying to put some serious mileage on!) But I have a feeling that my mileage for the year is going to drop even lower than last year.

Okay, enough of the downer talk. I do have some stats to report. Last year I ran just over 550 miles, and in 2008 I made it a year end goal to reach 600 (In both blog posts I talked about back issues as well!). This year I have less running miles to report:

Running: 470
Walking: 55
Elliptical: 59 miles

Grand total: 584

I haven't included elliptical miles before this year, but because I had to take so much time off from running, I needed to do something else instead. :) I also have swimming and biking miles recorded, but they're not huge numbers.

So, to round this post out, I'm going to say that I'm remaining positive! I may not get to run as much as I want, but I think this is a worthy enough goal to lose some miles over. I wanted to leave you with an inspirational sappy quote, but liked this one much better:

"Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil."
John Paul Getty