Friday, August 28, 2009

Seizures suck . . .

I just wanted to say that. They just suck. Real. Bad. I wish they would just die - before they kill me. But I know they won't kill me. They will just keep me alive and torture me all my life, like pulling the wings and legs off of bugs and letting them squirm. That is kinda what epilepsy makes me feel like.


Decision made . . .

I made the decision not to run the Army Half on September 20th, but drop down to the 5K. This makes me very happy. I've been really concentrating on trail running for most of this summer, with the last couple of weeks almost exclusively and it has made me quite happy. Getting back to half marathon training almost seems like a job and not so enjoyable. Since this is a hobby and something that I enjoy, why make it unenjoyable? Just go with what makes you happy, and so I am.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Holidays and trails . . .

I spent the last week in North Bay, concentrating on running trails, since they were right outside the backyard at my parents' place and the 5 Peaks race was on Saturday (today).

I had a lot of fun, but even though the trails at my parents' place were technical, they were no match for the trails at Camp Fortune. The hills! J said when racing at a ski hill, expect hills and no doubt, there they were staring you in the face when you got there. I knew this was going to be an incredibly difficult race right off the bat. And looking up that ski hill, that wasn't even the worse of it.

The first hill looked more difficult than it was. It was a steady climb at a doable angle. I was surprised I didn't burn myself out at the beginning, but I kept it slow and steady and ended up dragging up the back of the pack by the top with a few fellow stragglers (more about them later). I walked across the first bridge, as it was only a one person bridge and we were warned about bridges before the race being moss-covered. After that, you ended up under tree cover, but the climb did not end. The climb continued, on and on and on. I did walk a couple of steeper parts for only a small section, but kept on running the rest. Slow and steady was the key. Finally, a downhill stretch and I still stuck with my BOP gang and we became a team. We ran along a flat stretch of a stone road and turned what we found out was the wrong way. One girl stayed at the bottom, one climbed halfway up and came back down, and I continued up to the top of the long, long climb. When someone yelled (it ended up being the sweepers) up at us that we had made a wrong turn, I rolled my eyes and headed back down. The group ended up staying together up the switchbacks through the forest. There were endless switchbacks up and up and up. We all ended up walking most of it. The two sweepers behind us were great. Encouraging, offering advice about the trail, talking, a pair that were a lot of fun. The climb up was endless. I had started to make the decision that the halfway mark at the top of the ski hill, I was going to bail. I just couldn't see myself climbing this much over another 4 km. When we finally got to the top of the ski hill, I sat down on a rock at the water station and got a glass of water and said that I was done. No more climbing. The volunteers asked if I needed a ride down to the bottom and I said that I would walk. The sweepers said that if I was going to walk, they would walk down with me, but they were following the race trail. Then I decided, WTF, I'll finish. It became flat and downhill for a bit, and I gained a second wind, and started to run again. Awesome.

The trail was amazing. The trail was really, really technical. Probably too technical for me but did I have fun. There were more climbs after that and it was beautiful to look down from the top of the hills into the valley below. I wish I had brought a camera. When there became more downhill and flat stretches than uphill switchbacks (of which there were a lot), I started to run with more of a faster pace. It was in this area the enduro leaders were starting to lap me. They were amazing! Leaping, flying over rocks and roots. You could hear them yelling, whooping, singing through the forest (_E_, you were one of the loudest!) They were all so fun and encouraging. I fell around that area into a big lump of mud. Awesome! I was now very dirty! Trail running is so much fun! Finally I got to the downhill towards the finish line and got high-5s from people and I leaped over the finish line with flourish.

I don't know what happened to one of my BOP'ers. The one girl I saw at the end of the race didn't finish and stayed up at the water station. She didn't know what happened to the other girl either. She did say that she said she was continuing on. I didn't see her at the end, but I know from the list of finishers that I wasn't last, so hopefully, she was the one who finished behind me. She said her goal was just to finish because it was a big accomplishment for her. I agreed with her along the way but I wish we could have stayed together. The sweepers were great company and were asking about my epilepsy and the weird sounds the VNS made along the way. They started asking when my breathing started sounding horrible, and that's when they learnt about me being epileptic.

The whole atmosphere was great. I much prefer this kind of race over a big road race anyday. I will be back at this race and I plan on being at the 5 Peaks ARK race in the fall.

Dad came with me, as we drove down from North Bay the night before. He couldn't get over how much fun this race looked. He was busy telling me when so-and-so came in, or who needed first aid, etc. I have to thank him for driving me there today for sure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy, Sad, and Happy Day, all in one . . .

Start with happy . . .

I had an interview today with a magazine! That is all I'm going to say about it until the article comes out. Wait for the surprise . . . if you can!

Sad . . .

I stayed home from work today because of a bad migraine that started last night. Probably because of the humid weather that moved in. It didn't really clear up until noon, but the googly, cross-eyes stayed most of the afternoon. I felt a little out-of-sorts. I kept wondering to myself if I sounded a little crazy during the said interview that I mentioned above.

The dogs and I spent some time outside and they spent most of the time in their new little kiddy pool. Everyone was having fun until Peanut started to get all lethargic and panting heavily. She had drank a lot of pool water (but she usually drinks heavily, just not often). She went to go lay down deep into the cedar hedge. I decided she must be hot and called them inside to the central air. Peanut comes in and continues to pant and circles and lies down and gets up and circles and pants, and lies down and gets up and circles . . . well, you get the picture. It didn't look comfortable. She pees on the kitchen floor (a whole lake!) while I try and get her back outside. She does the same thing outside and wants to lie deep inside the cedar hedge. Her tummy looked a little bloated, but not alarmingly so (as in bloat). She remains lethargic. I take her for a little walk around the yard. She poos. She pees. Everything is working okay. I let her inside, where the same behaviour continues and she looks like she wants to go outside again. I take her outside again. She lies in the grass in the shade. I sit in the grass beside her and give her a big hug. Please don't leave me. I don't know what I would do. Please be well. Please don't be in pain. Please let this pass. I'm not sure I can handle something like this. I'm not strong enough to deal with this. My little yellow angel, please be well. She doesn't look comfortable. I consider taking her to the vet, but I don't know for what. She is pooing, peeing, her ears pick up when I say 'supper.' She has bowel sounds. Her pulse feels normal. I dunno.

I google some signs & symptoms of the most dangerous things I can think of - like bloat. She is not displaying anything like that at this time. I feed all three dogs. Peanut cleans her bowl, and proceeds to lick clean both Latte's and Stella's bowl. We all go outside. Latte and Stella go and play and Peanut sits beside me. I give her another bear hug. Please be well. And she lets out a large burp.

After that, she seems to regain some energy. She chases a frisbee, although not in her usual competitive way. We go inside while I eat my supper. She lies on the floor without the 'get-up-pant-circle-lie-down' thing. She looks comfortable. She falls asleep and starts to fart. And fart. And fart.

Happy . . .
I have never been so happy to smell dog fart.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August has started out alright with a fight . . .

My first long run of August (16K) was great. I kept it at a easy, comfortable pace all the way through (mostly) despite the heat, sun and humidity. I felt as if I was lagging between the 8-12K mark, but using a half gel every 25-30 minutes seemed to really help. I took only one water bottle and just stopped at corner stores and a gas station for refills.

Stella found a yellow jacket nest in the backyard in a crack in the foundation of the house (that I didn't know was there because it was below the grass). They became really aggressive and stung Stella at least 5 times at that time and Peanut at least one in the nose when she went to see what was going on. Latte stayed far, far away because she's a scaredy-cat (and might be the smarter one of the bunch sometimes). I sprayed water on them, because at the time, I thought it was a fallen paper nest somewhere, but they all just poured out of the hole and flew in an angry rage. I just threw the hose down (still running) and ran into the house.

After a Google later, I poured dishwashing machine gel (lemon fresh!) into the hole and ran water, under the theory that the smell and the soap would make them abandon their nest by the morning. Wrong. They were pissed off all night and into the next day. Yesterday and this morning, I thought I should just wait it out until the fall when they all die off and just mono-caulk the crack or call Denis to fix the crack in the foundation and then the problem would just fade away. The yellow jackets could have their space, and I could have mine.

Wrong. The yellow jackets keep going after and stinging Stella, even when she is no where near the nest. I was hanging the laundry and one started buzzing my face. I don't have an epi-pen here and that made my decision. I Googled a BBB pest exterminator ( and got Capital Pest Control ( I gave the place a call and he was here in a half hour. He bombed the buggers! The nest will be 'angry' for up to a week, and he said he would return in one week to see the state of the nest and a possible re-bombing. I have a 3 month guarantee with it for only $126 (including GST). Best money spent in a long time. Problem solved.

Now I have to figure out how I'm going to get the laundry back on the line . . .

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Finally a sunny day . . .

It has seemed like it rained every day in July. Nasty. Now, finally when it is hot and humid, I imploded on a run yesterday. I thought I had myself climatized to heat and humidity, but since it has been so long since there has been sun, heat and humidity in one shot during a run, it just drained me until I had to do a lame run/walk home the last k. UGGH. I'm going to do the same route today to see if I can improve on yesterday because I know exactly where I started to lose it. Hopefully, yesterday was just a fluke.

I was starting to think about other runners and how people impart their running philosophy on yourself. It's hard to tell people that they are wrong imposing their ideas on yourself, but what works for one person, does not work on others. The reason I started running, and the reason I keep running is not the same as someone else. I just find that long-time runners really emphasize getting faster, winning, speed and I don't think these are goals for me. Those are goals for them. My goals are simple. Keep running. Keep moving. Enjoy. Do new things. Go farther. I am not a competitive person. Maybe that is why I am more excited about the trail race in August and no longer the Army Run. I am actually more excited about the Winterman half than the Army Run, since it is more in adverse conditions.

Maybe that is why I imploded on my run yesterday. I knew this idea of other people's expectations and judgments was weighing on me during my run yesterday.

I like running with K. I didn't like running with other people before. I am slower than most runners and feel like, or am told that I am dragging the group back, but I am out there to enjoy myself just as everyone else and don't mind if people go ahead of me. But the theme of imposition of others saying 'we' are running at this pace and I should try to improve to get up to that pace. I don't enjoy running at a faster pace as of yet. I am slowly improving and I am comfortable with that. That is how you keep running. If it is no longer fun, why get out there? I am not competitive. To me, it isn't about the races, it's about the running.

That is why I enjoy running with K. I didn't think I would. She is much faster than me. But her really long runs are 10K. When we go running, I tell her to run at her own pace, and I'll run at mine. We see each other frequently, because she will stop and rest and I will slowly putt-putt up behind her and meet her. (I'm the turtle, she's the hare.) We both really love trail runs. She doesn't like running in races and it's not my favourite thing either. I think the only thing I like about races is the support on a long run and the closed off route, plus the hoopla that goes with it, and meeting other people. I hate the competitive nature of it. I hate that people can run really well and still be disappointed if they are two minutes off a goal time. It would be nice to add someone else to our small group that has the same running philosophy.