Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still Alive

I'm alive. Just thesis-ing, working and yes, running.

So close to setting a defense date I can damn near taste it.

I'll be back on the blog-o-sphere soon, just need to finish this draft.

Keep your fingers crossed for me folks.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rant to Highland Square

Just because I need to rant...

OK people of Highland Square, I get that you have a dog, I have a dog too. I love dogs.

I get that it's cold and snowy in Akron during the winter, and I completely understand how much it sucks to take off your gloves/mittens in order to pick up your dog's poop, BUT - guess what folks...?

That poop you left in the middle of the snowy sidewalk back in January, IT'S STILL THERE TODAY. The snow doesn't make it magically disappear, in fact the snow preserves it - so today while trying enjoy the nice weather with Dobson, I get to see (and attempt to dodge) your dog's month old poop.

Thanks. Thanks a frickn' lot.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


When my mom was a young girl she walked into a parked car, the whole incident was so bad they had to call the ambulance. I, unfortunately, have inherited her grace (or lack thereof.) As a child I took dance: tap, jazz and ballet. I danced for 10 years, and I loved ballet. I loved the repetition in practice, the grace and beauty in the movements. I wanted to be a ballerina, until one day I overheard my dance teacher talking to my mother, she said "Rosalie is so dedicated to dance, but she doesn't quite possess the grace needed for a recommendation to a ballet studio." Not to mention I was a chubby curly-headed short thing. I went on to dance for a few more years after that incident, but I focused almost solely on my tap dancing. My lack of grace has always been self evident. I have never pretended to possess physical grace, I learned to just stick to what I'm good at.

But now it seems this lack of grace has presented itself in a different light. Ever heard the expression "grace under fire?" I am starting to learn that again, I am not graceful. I used to believe I was good working under a deadline. In college I pulled magnificent all-nighters, I would even wake up early to get work done. I could carry an 18 credit course load and still end up on the Dean's list. Well my friend, life isn't college. Now that I'm teaching 3 courses at the University and planning a wedding and writing a thesis and training for a half-marathon I find myself far less graceful than I ever was at the barre.

As I get older I'm staring to figure a few things out. For instance, I can pursue any activity that I want, even if I'm not that good at it. As a child I figured if my dance teacher didn't believe in my ballet ability then why should I? As a runner I wouldn't qualify myself as "good." I don't win races, I'm not fast, running doesn't come naturally to me - but I still do it. As I get older I find that I believe in myself more and more.

There is still the issue of grace, I find myself flailing as I try to juggle all of my responsibilities. Like my mother, I feel as though I might just end up walking into a parked car while trying to do it all. But in the end I will persevere. I am determined to do it all, and to do it well. And maybe with some luck, I'll even be able to pull it off with a little grace!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Power of Poop

Attention readers, if you intend to read this post, be advised it's long, graphic and deals with poop. Seriously. Don't say I didn't warn you...

I have an abnormal colon. It's redundant. What does this mean? My transverse and sigmoid colon are too long. See, I'm such an overachiever that my colon decided to be longer than normal! Too bad this isn't a good thing.

See, this is a normal colon. Mine doesn't look like this.

Last fall I went through some testing at the Cleveland Clinic to find out exactly what was wrong with me. I had always assumed I had an undiagnosed food allergy, or IBS maybe, something along those lines. Why did I assume this? Well, because I was always constipated. (Again, don't say I didn't warn you.) My whole life I've had issues going poop. The idea of being regular was something I never understood. I pooped maybe twice a week, if I was lucky. It was always painful, even as a child. I used to have to hold my mom's hand while I was on the toilet because of the pain. As I got older I just figured it was the way my body worked, simple as that. I never really considered that this problem was affecting my quality of life.

I had gone to doctors in the past, I was always just told "more fiber," or "more water," or "just use milk of magnesia when you're constipated." WTF? I've damn near bought out the prune supply at my local grocer, I've tried powdered acacia root, I've gone through the agony that is stimulate laxatives. Most items would work for about a week, then same old, same old.

I never considered really figuring out what was wrong until I starting running. I like to run, I like the sense of accomplishment. I have never hated my colon more than I have as a runner. A scheduled run is fine, so long as my colon is clear. Imagine being so backed up that it hurts to sit in certain positions, or so constipated that you have pain in your lower back from the pressure of your full colon pressing against your kidneys? I don't have to image this: I live it. All of a sudden, as runner, my life is being seriously affected by my colon. For example, last night I was all pumped to do some hill work. By the time I got home from work I was close to doubled over in pain. It's really hard to run with a severely backed up colon.

Now that I know what's actually wrong with me, I'm trying to make things better. For one, I was prescribed medication to help with my issues. Unfortunately, it's not really working. It helps a bit, but it always makes me feel nauseous and gives me headaches. I'm finding the side effects aren't exactly worth the nominal results. I've visited some on-line forums for people with the same issues, and it looks like a seriously restrictive diet (no red meat, no dairy, minimal gluten and easy on starchy foods) is the best recipe for my colon. That prospect is depressing as hell, but it might have to be my last resort. Certain herbal supplements work for me, but they have a very high rate of addiction - I don't want to go there. Some people swear by aloe vera latex, others take a daily spoonful of virgin coconut oil - these are options I am willing to explore.

So, why am I telling you this? For two reasons: First off, to get the word out about redundant colons. I wish I would have known sooner what was wrong with me. I felt a million times better when I realized I wasn't the only person out there dealing with this. And second, to ask for help. Have any of you dealt with an issue like this? I know it's a long shot, but it's still worth asking.

Ultimately, I want to get better. There is one other medication I can try, surgery is an option ( a colectomy) but I really don't want to go there. The thing is, when I wake up the morning of the Cleveland Half-Marathon, I don't want to have to worry about my colon getting in the way of my success.

So, dear readers, I thank you for staying with me through this post. Most people don't like to talk about poop, but just remember...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ready to Go

This past week has been a monumental FAIL as far as scheduled runs are concerned. Last week I was hit by a string of seeming never ending colds, and just when I was feeling better the weather decided to snot all over me. I will run in snow, sure- why not? It's nice white fluffy stuff that Viper swears will make me stronger in the long run. But Ohio, being Ohio, decided that it was tired of snow, so the skies opened and gave us freezing rain. This delightful rain left a nice coating of ice on everything. I will not run on ice, I'm not that hardcore - hell, I'm just not that coordinated.

Alas, the rain/sleet/snow combo has come to an end, the skies are shining and it's a nice 7 degrees this morning. It's not supposed to break 23 degrees today, which means the ice will likely remain in most places. After work today Viper and I will hit the pavement (that will no doubt be under an inch of ice) for some hill work and a short run. I'm seriously looking forward to getting off my ass, my only fear: falling. So all of you out there, please keep your fingers crossed that I stay upright for this run!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Negative Nancy

I missed a run this morning. I had every intention of getting out there, but I got side-tracked talking to a neighbor. We let Dobson and Henry (our respective puppies) play in the snow together and I completely lost track of time. Admittedly, I could have fit in the run, it was only 3 miles. I told myself to get dressed for the run, but my ass stayed firmly planted on the couch. As the minutes ticked by I remained on said couch, fully aware that my window of time was passing.

Sometimes the gap between wanting and doing seems insurmountable.

I started getting down on myself: How am I going to run a half if I can't get my ass out the door?, How am I going to finish my editing this thesis draft by next week? How am I going to loose weight so I can look super hot for the wedding? How, how, how....??

And there she was in all her glory, Negative Nancy. Since the beginning of the year I've been thwarting all of Nancy's attempts to get into my head, and this morning I was unsuccessful. Her words stomped on my confidence and quite simply just put me in a bad mood. So now I'm in my office on campus (that I share with two other part-timers) writing this blog, listening to some Gwen Stefani trying to eradicate Nancy and her negativity.

While the bright bubbly sounds of Gwen Stefani help, I still need to find a way to get Nancy to stay away FOR-EV-ER. So fellow bloggers, I ask for your advice. How do you keep Negative Nancy away? When she does show up, how do you make sure the visit is nice and short? Any advice would be helpful, I have some hill repeats on deck and I need to kick ass!

Dobson likes the interwebs too!

Post Script:
I am aware that there are others in this blogging community who plan on running the Cleveland (Half)Marathon in May. Let me take this time to say that Viper and I would be thrilled to meet some of you folks in person! We're even thinking about brewing a special beer in honor of the event. :-D

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"No, it's just pissing me off."

For those of you who have been following this blog it's no surprise that I've been training for the Cleveland Half Marathon. The Viper has been with me every step of the way, encouraging but tough- exactly what a good coach should be. I've surprised myself by being consistent and by maintaining high spirits on most of my runs. Running together has provided us with opportunities to talk about the wedding, on one such run I spent the whole first mile jabbering on and on about hydrangeas, roses, seeded eucalyptus, lisianthus and hypericum berries. The Viper was oddly quiet during that conversation, he may have perfected the art of running while sleeping. But needless to say, I really have been enjoying the company and the encouraging words - until last night.

My training plan involves running and cross training with no days off. This is not my norm, so there have been some growing pains. On Monday we ran 4 miles, and yesterday we were slotted to do a mile of hill repeats with a nice little warm up/down. The run was put off till later evening as we met with yet another photographer after work. Around 8 p.m. we finally got out the door, I went to activate my spiffy workout app on my super cool android phone, but the gps was not "initializing." Boo. I finally put the phone away, and the Viper and I took off down our street in the slushy cold mess. (We had some sweet freezing rain last night, awesome!)

We finally arrived at the bottom of the designated hilly street, the plan was to run the hill five times. Viper gave me some encouraging words and then we were off. The first time up Viper and I stood side by side, he was focusing on form and encouraged me to do the same. I tried. It was hard. We walked back down the hill and continued doing the same. My legs were on fire by the third pass. I was losing focus on form and just trying to stay upright without puking. Viper was all bouncy happy in his Vibrams going on and on about form and "picking up knees" and "blah, blah blah." By the fourth time up the hill I was really reaching for energy and motivation. I stopped at the top of the hill with my hands on my hips panting like a dog. I didn't want to do anymore. I looked at Viper, he was waving his arms expectantly, eager to do our last pass. He made it look so easy. I was getting angry. I mustered all my energy and joined him for the walk downhill. I turned to him and asked "Sweetheart, could you please not talk to me while we're running up the hill?" He replied, "OK, does it make you feel like you need to respond?" I had to be honest, "No, it's just pissing me off." He laughed.

So Viper, thank you for understanding.

Running is hard, but I'm not going to stop because of that. Even if at times, it pisses me off.