Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pavement Tri-fecta

I just realized I’ve ran three 5K’s in 3 different states in 2 years.  This last one was rough.  I trained for it, actually ran in the hot and humid late June and July heat and made sure I made it up the steep hill by my house without stopping and not walking it.  I continued doing my own personal training plan which included indoor intervals on the treadmill, then a long run, then just running for endurance.  The heat didn’t get to me, if anything the bugs along the path by the creek did.  I began to see more people along the path, making running after work more comfortable, seeing the same faces and cyclists and that chipmunk that my stepdad released from his imprisonment after snatching peaches off their tree.  My next goal was personal, this was one of the main reasons why I was running and why I was running this event.  Left known only to me and a choice amount of others I had to do this.  It wasn’t about beating my previous times for a personal record it was to prove a point, at least to me.  On this overcast humid day, I set out with a goal.  I had a healthy breakfast of oatmeal and berries, lunch was a spinach and feta cheese omelette, my choice of snack about 90 minutes prior was a banana.  That seemed to work well the last few weeks for me. Hydration was not an issue, I love water.

The event was not well organized, we did not line up by anticipated finish times similar to the previous races I’ve run in. I was stuck in a sea of jogging strollers, walkers and runners of all shapes and sizes.  This was a free for all.  Needless to say my usual mantra of finding someone to pass went out the window until I dodged the traffic in my way.  “Walkers to the right” I yelled before reaching the half mile marker, and I continued to yell to help fellow runners who were coming up behind me.  I was pissed, this was going to screw up my plan.  Somewhere along the way I just gave up the mantra and just ran, I had heavy tunes in my head, a good pace going and then I found my target.  I had to pass this woman in an orange tank top.  I don’t know why she became my victim but it worked, then I had to pass this old man, and so on.  Anyone that started with me I didn’t see along the way, our team was scattered.  As I reached my sprinting point my energy was almost depleted from the amount of hills we had to conquer.  After the last corner we turned I finally saw the time at the finish line and I had to hurry.  I was close to beating my time from the Albany race at least in my head but I was still unsure where I sat with my personal goal.  I kicked it up a notch and let the tank run dry as I passed the finish.  It was only then when I saw my friend that I said, “Holy $$$$, that was f-in hard!”  She was pretty sure I reached my goal, but we had to be sure and I wouldn’t know for sure until the results were in.  The only reassurance I had was a friend telling me that I had this in the bag, that my training was going to pay off.

I must say I beat the pavement hard on this one, my body aches, I’m still exhausted two days later and I do not curse the person that ever put running in my head.  I actually thank them because I am faster, I have more endurance thanks to this new found cardio and yes, I conquered my personal goal. Dad would be proud.  Who knows you may see me again next year.

Beating on the Pavement

The funny thing about running a 5K for the second time is you do not know what to expect. After training for about a year (or moreso doing real cardio for a change instead of just playing softball) and getting used to ‘running’ for more than just the time it takes to run the bases, I competed in my first 5K. The route was small and narrow, there was about 2000 other women all shapes, sizes, races, ages.  It was a sea of eggs.  It was cold that morning in October, I was freezing but my UnderArmour capris and top kept me warm.  Once I got running, the music pumping in my ears, I couldn’t stop, not even the side stitch I got after the first mile was going to stop me.  The amount of people on the narrow path made it hard to navigate around them but once I found an open spot I dashed around the slower runners and walkers and continued on my way.  About the last .5 mile I sprinted, I took off, there was enough space to just run and I mustered up enough energy to finish.  Later on I was discouraged, I didn’t like running with those unexperienced runners (even if I was one myself).  Many of them didn’t know to move to the side if they were slower or walking.  I wasn’t sure I’d do it again.

And I did, I kept running throughout the year, actually added it as cardio to my weekly workout and entered a race with my sister, the runner in the family.  No way in hell would I be able to beat her best time, so I told her she might be waiting about 8 minutes for me at the finish line.  June in Albany was not expected to be a cold and rainy day, but we were racing in the Freihofers run. Thankfully the rain was just a drizzle when we lined up and only downpoured after we finished on the way to the car.  I followed my same mantra only this time I picked out people who were ahead of me and said to myself “I have to pass that one, and that one and that one” and it worked.  Only the last stretch did I slow my sprint down in fear that I would fall flat on my ass because of the slick roadway on the hill to the finish line.  And I finished again in a sea of green and orange bibs, my purple one was the only one by itself.  A much more organized race, with Olympic athletes leading the pack is definitely my cup of tea. Only next year I’ll add more music to my mp3 and will remember to pack my foam roller (instead of using my sister’s rolling pin).  Now I have a better time to beat and a sport that I can compete alongside my sister.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spot Checking

This is the second year I’ve gotten checked for skin cancer, or the more technical term when making an appointment at the dermatology “a full body scan”.  My previous doctor had left the practice and they were closing down, she had yet to send me a ‘change of address’ card for this year so I found someone else through my health insurance.  We pay enough for it as it is thanks to the shady healthcare plan put into place by the powers that be (of course I’m also paying for someone else to get scans as well – you know the ones without insurance).  Anyway, standard procedure is they review your medical history, its mostly a scantron form (check yes or no if you have been diagnosed with any of the following), then they put you in a room and review your forms.  You are then handed a paper robe so to speak, its similar to what they give you at the hospital and yes you have to leave the back open but can leave on your under garments.  First I met with the nurse practicianer (female) who would do the initial scan and then the doctor would come in.  She went over everything, checked in my hair, from the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet.  I asked her a few questions about  the spots I already had that I was told to ‘keep an eye on’.  One spot in particular was a dark spot on the top of my hip that was just ugly but hadn’t changed in size, shape or color.   She made note of them and then called the doctor in, who also came in with another nurse.  She sat in front of the computer basically taking notes of the exam.  There are now 3 people plus me in the small exam room.  It’s a bit crowded for my liking.  Again, we review the spots, the one on my hip, the raised one on my back (which never really was an issue, it would itch me every now and then).  Then the doctor asked if I’d like the spot near my nose removed, its basically a clear beauty mark that I’ve gotten used to, so I declined.  The cut marks on my legs from years of cutting myself shaving, then cutting them again and again, which have scarred are normal (to me they are ugly, I may go back in the winter to get them taken off).  It was then decided to remove the spot on my back and the one on my hip.  So now I’m laying on my stomach as if I was sunning while the nurse practicianer measures the spots and injects me with novicaine.  They told me it would be a quick procedure that the spots would be shaved off.  OK, now I’m slightly shaking and nervous, especially since I’m light skinned and had visited a tanning booth more than twice in my lifetime (only prior to any trip to the carribean in the winter) and was a ‘baby oil’ tanner back in the 90’s. I didn’t know any better back then but after years of sunburns and money spent on aloe products I could only hope these spots weren’t cancerous.

As I laid there waiting for her to begin, I wasn’t at all prepared for this after all we don’t have a family history and crazy things starting running through my mind.  The last few years (especially after a lesson in expired sunscreen and what that can do to you) I’ve been happily using SPF30, and only 50 if I’m out in the sun all day.  Unfortunately or moreso fortunately I did not inherit the Italian skin from my dad’s side of the family where my skin would become a nice brown leather color.  I get dark but not too dark and if I want to tan then I’ll use the fake tanner sparingly.

I was told “you’d feel a little pinch” when she began, and at first it felt as if she was tracing around the spot, not at all like using a razor to remove it.  Within seconds she was done and on to the next.   Liquid bandaid was used to seal them and yes it does work, I’ve only used a bandaid when I went running and during the day on my hip to not risk opening it up or catching the scab.  When she was finished putting me back together, she said the samples would be sent out to ‘path’ for testing and they’d be in touch if they found anything.  And since I can’t use Neosporin (yes I have a freak allergy to it) I stopped at CVS stocked up on bandaids (if you checked out my first aid drawer at home you’d think I had enough) and bacitracin, I can’t imagine pouring my good old friend Peroxide on these wounds. 

I don’t have a moral of the story nor anything funny to say in conclusion. I just advise you to get checked at least once a year to have peace of mind, if you are in the high risk -light haired, light skinned category and especially if it runs in your family.   Always reapply after an hour in the sun, always date stamp your SPF if it isn’t already and buy new if after a year.