Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hey, guess what?

I just ran at least 26 miles this week! I accomplished my longest training run of 12 miles this morning. It wasn't easy but I did it!

I just enjoyed a can of hot soup for lunch with some wheat bread. I also made a mug of hot tea and I am going to try and brave a very cold water bath right now (don't have ice at home). My muscles are pretty sore and stiff. The cold water helps them to recover so I hopefully will not feel it as much tomorrow and this week.

I want you to know and to show you that if you have your health and do not suffer from bad knees and debilatating illness leaving you disabled, YOU CAN RUN A HALF MARATHON. If I, not a "true" runner can accomplish this with poor balance/awkward gait and double vision, then you certainly can too!

My time was slow (2 hours and 9 minutes) but who cares! I am not competing with anybody else. The point is to try and to finish.

Bath time! Enjoy your weekend!

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

- Isaiah 40:31

Friday, February 27, 2009

Preparing for the longest run

Ahh. I am on week 7 of the training schedule currently and a little goof ups. First of all, we finally had a rainy week and on the day it is actually sunny, is my day of rest (figure, eh?). I guess this is a hint that I have to toughen up more.

So with 2 months to go, I need to start adjusting to morning runs instead of late afternoon/evening when the event will have long been over for hours. A week ago Tuesday I attempted my first morning run getting out to the trail an hour later than intended. However, Katie and I did better than I had anticipated and completed an hour and 10 minute jaunt.

"Alright! (smile), I thought. The week prior I had missed a leg work out as I did not want to be too tired for the 8 mile run. Also, one of my favorite water aerobic instructors came back after about a year to teach tuesday night class. So that tuesday evening (after running at least 5 miles in the morning), I attended the water aerobics class and then did a leg weight lifting workout. By the following morning I was dead tired which spilled over to my thursday run in which I just could not motivate myself in the morning and did a 38 to 50 minute run that afternoon on a new trail connecting to an old one in town.

Being tired, the yanking on leash Katie was pulling was not helping matters. I discovered that a crushed gravel pavel that you sort of sink into is not the best substrate for her. She tended to want to run directly behind me where it was more compact instead of to my side where it was softer. The result was the leash hitting the back of my calves and I stressing that at some point my legs would become entangled with the leach. Therefore, for my training when I am with her, I have ruled out the crushed gravel East Lake Sammamish trail. I think the rocks may hurt her paws and so she runs slower causing me to pull her along on the leash (which is VERY irritating when trying to stay at a pace!).

Fortunately but Saturday morning I was all set and motivated for my 10 mile run which took me roughy 1 hour 42 minutes (I could not remember the exact time on my watch when I started but I know the time I arrived the trail and when I got back to the truck). I still got out late (on the trail at 9:30 am) but the run went really well! It was a very crisp morning in the low 30s but an absolutely lovely day! I ran on the Snoqualmie Valley trail which is gorgeous in this area in morning time as there is more sunlight. I have not seen it like that since last summer when I did training walks for our hike.

To fuel up, I had 2 ounces of FRS energy concentrate mixed with 8 ounces of water and an english muffin (one half with strawberry cream cheese and the other half with peanut butter) for breakfast. I also had 2 FRS sport chews before the run and had taken 2 reservatol tablets, an iron supplement, and a potassium supplement earlier in the morning.

This week I have been hindered by the rain and did not meet my morning runs. (well Monday was a different excuse - I was waiting to go with Harley so he could walk while I ran; It turns out after a 39 minute run and walking back to find him, we got caught in the rain and I was getting cold. Therefore, I just ran all the way back to the truck which was about another mile at least. That is okay because I screwed up the schedule and was actually supposed to run 4 miles for short runs this week. At 39 minutes I was just a hair shy so the extra mile made up for it.)

Tuesday morning it was raining pretty constant and I was worn out from getting cold and running in the rain with no jacket the night before. Thus, I waited around all day for it to let up (finally getting out at 4 pm for a 6 mile run). When I first ran 6 miles, I did so in just under 58 minutes. That was when I ran without Katie on the exact same trail. This time I ran with her and it took me 3 minutes longer. While she was better than when we ran on the soft crushed gravel path, she was still lagging behind and pulling on the leash. It appears that 5 may be her limit and 6 is too much. So I will drop back to running with her on short days and walking on fridays and other days off if I feel up to it. With the increased mileage of the short runs, I think 6 is too much to ask of her. If it were only 6 once a week she could do it but with more runs a week, it just appears too much (even though she is very excited to go with mommy; she knows though, that when I leave her home it is for good reason and I am going on a very long one.)

The day I actually wake up early enough to make a 7 am run, it is snowing and there is snow on the ground! LOL While some people may be able to run in the snow, it is not a good idea and can be dangerous for me due to my balance. Plus the idea of snow hitting me in the face sound too appealing. The chances of these conditions happening the morning of my half marathon are VERY unlikely. Hence, I decided there really was not a good reason to put myself at risk of an injury, a vehicle accident while driving to the trail, or getting sick from running my immune system down in such conditions. Therefore, I got out the very LATEST of my entire training at a trail start time of almost 5:30 pm. By that time, most of the snow was melted and the paved trail mostly dry with the exception of a few puddles in low spots close to the river.

As I mentioned earlier, the mileage of short runs this week increased from 3 to 4. On the east lake river trail I am uncertain of my mileage and it is not easy to look down and read my watch. So whenever I run there, I just estimate distance from doing previous training and events. Normally the distance I go out and back takes me 36-38 minutes (my 5 Ks last summer took me 28 minutes). So at a time of 36-38 minutes I am ensuring that I did indeed run 3 miles. This time we just kept running further to another spot I was aware of from when I was in the team in training program to walk the Seattle marathon. By the time I reaches that spot, I had been running for about 24 minutes. When I got back, we had been running continuously at a pretty good pace for 46 minutes. So based on all of this previous experience and knowledge, I ran for at least 4 miles yesterday (I guess I made up for stopping too short on monday).

I have been very dilligent about keeping up with the training and not skipping out on any mileage. However, training for the tower climb and keeping up with weight lifting has been really challenging. I climb the tower on March 22nd. During my training, I have only practiced on the stair climber a few times as I did not want to be too tired for the long run at the end of the week. I was able to do it when the mileage was shorter (a stair climb of 15 minutes at level 11- I think that brought me to 81 floors, weight lifting 3 days a week, water aerobics once a week, walk once or twice a week) all while running 4 days a week. As my weekly mileage surpassed 15, I was becoming too exhausted and it seems I have slipped on trying to fit the stair climbing in there. Out of 8 weeks of training, I have missed 3 days of weight lifting and made up 1 the following week and I will try to back up a 2nd one today.

I must say that the first month was rather difficult and I doubted whether I would be able to do the longer runs and wondered how much walking I would have to do. My calves were very tight. My friend Bob sent me some links to check out and I came across an article on tight calves. I discovered I was not doing enough stretching. I was only holding stretches for 10 seconds when they recommended 20-30 seconds. Therefore, I started allocated more time to stretching immediately following a run (about 15 minute worth - each stretch is held for 30 seconds). When I reached my 6 mile run I hit a breakthrough. I was actually getting into a mode and pace of running like I do distance walking where my mind is able to escape and think about other things for peroids of time. Before, all I could think about was the run and finishing it! It was hard to think of anything else but the physical work I was doing. :o)

So depending on how the weather turns out tomorrow, I will be shooting for my longest run of 12 miles. I have to admit a little that the 10 mile I drifted in and out of thinking about the physical exertion. While thinking about motivational chants, the "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" song on the Ren and Stimpy song kept playing over again in my head!

Here is what I have covered so far since the week of January 5th (note my mileage sometimes in a little over because I am estimated distance while I run; only the long even runs are accurate as I am using mileage markers on one section of trail):

week 1: 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
week 2: 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
week 3: 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 5 Rest 15
week 4: 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 6 Rest 16
week 5: 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 8 Rest 19
week 6: 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 10 Rest 21
week 7: 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 11 Rest 24
week 8: 4 Rest 6 4 Rest 12 Rest 26

Wow! Looking back at the schedule, I can hardly believe I ran 24 miles last week!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Did It! A New Personal Record

I just got back from a 10 mile morning run. I truly did not even think it was possible until I came up with the idea of doing this half marathon in January. Even as I began my training, I had doubts of whether I would be able to run 10 miles but this morning I determined that I was going to complete it.

I have to cut this short because I have plans this afternoon and I need to get ready.

I want to thank Ani, Wendy, and Anne for the wonderful time we had last night communicating in sign and getting to know each other. I sure wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to discipline myself for training and make sure I had enough sleep for this run.

I REALLY had a pleasant time and the joy I felt from our get together was just the dose of motivation I needed for a good start to my run. I was really happy thinking about it and my mind was fixed on the good time we had with more to come. Thanks! :o)

Alright, I need to get going now. I am starved for lunch! Have a great weekend!

"The only things that stand between a person and what they want in life are the will to try it and the faith to believe it's possible." - Rich Devos

Friday, February 20, 2009


a very fitting quote which I came across this morning:

"Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye."

Clany Shelley

Monday, February 16, 2009

Half Way - Yay!

This is just a short note to let you know that I have successfully completed the first 5 weeks of my half marathon training of a 10 week preparation program. I am very excited to announce that Saturday afternoon I ran the longest distance non-stop that I have ever ran in my life! I never imagined running 8 miles until I concieved of this half marathon idea last month! As a matter of fact, all week and morning Saturday I was a little anxious and wondering if I could possibly do it.

The previous weekend (the Saturday before Valentine's day) I did my 6 mile run in under 58 minutes. Time is not my goal though, but it was just a bonus to complete that in under an hour. What I have been striving for is to get settled into a pace where I am comfortable and can keep on going. I want to be able to make it to the finish. I will run as much of it as possible and it would be fantastic if I could run the whole thing!

For right now, I have changed my strategy and plan on running more and walking less (my original intention was to use the run walk method and run a mile and alternate by walking every other mile = 7.1 miles running and 6 miles walking). I decided that was too much changing and would make it difficult for me to settle into a pace. So then my thought was running 3 miles and walking a mile and then running 3 miles again for the entire course (running 10.1 and walking 3 miles).
However, now that I know I can run 6 miles, I plan to run 6 miles right off the bat. Then I can walk a mile and in the 8th mile start running again. Doing that method I could break up the run with a 1 mile walk after 6 miles and then shooting for running the remaining 6.1 miles.

I made it 8 miles this past Saturday and felt pretty good doing it (meaning I did not feel entirely exhausted, sore, and tapped out at the finish). Over the past week my body seems to have adjusted and found a "pace" such as when I distance walk. This is really what I have been working toward and I am happy that it has happened for me. For awhile I just was not sure if this was possible for me. I sure hope it is not a fluke and that THIS is indeed real and will continue.

Ok, gotta cut it short because I need to go out for a short run today and want to enjoy the last hour of sunny weather here. We will see how I do today after my longest run and a day of rest from running. The course today is not flat and finishes going up a long gradual hill.

Train on everyone with whatever your endeavors are! ;o)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gratitude - What are you thankful for?

Over the past week, gratitude is a theme which keeps coming back to mind and has ironically been appearing in books and blogs that I read.

As suggested in the book "The Secret", Harley and I started a new daily ritual of starting out our day by thinking of something we are grateful for. I took it a step further and said everyday we should seek to find something positive. We have started journaling our entries daily and normally at breakfast we ask each other what we are grateful for.

Today I am incredibly grateful that I have life and a quality one at that! I am filled with overwhelming joy for a successful recovery and a year with out surgery as was anticipated. I am higher than a kite to have escaped dealing with surgery/treatment for 2008 and I have nearly been off steroids for a year! (I had to take them until March 2008 post surgery).

This was a really good vibe to start my day. So to add to that, I already picked my positive which is that the sun is shining and I woke up feeling good and "normal" this morning. This is after struggling the previous couple mornings with a bad headache, nausea, and fatigue. It is so wonderful I can actually think this morning. A bonus to this is that I went for over an hour run last night and felt great doing it which is absolutely marvelous!

Yesterday morning I did not feel so well until after I read Stephen Hopson's latest post on Adversity University Blog. What was his theme?


I hope that it inspires your day too! :o)

Adversity University

"WOW! Every single cell, nerve, tissue and organ in my body was tingling with excitement"......(click to read more)

P.S. - Thank you to my dear friends Skip and Olivia (The Fabulous Running Mommy) for being the first donors in my fundraising campaign for NF2 research! You made my week and setup the drive for my last 3 successful runs (and one was 6 miles and the other 5-5 1/2 miles). You both are awesome people and I am so grateful and lucky to have you in my life!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Unlocking the Mystery of Propolis

In the NF community, propolis is the hot experimental topic right now. Studies done in Germany and Japan have revealed NF tumor suppression in mice. Currently there is an unofficial worldwide trial going on. About 100 people are taking the supplement Propolis BIO 20 from Manuka Health in New Zealand.

Patients around the world have only been taking the Propolis within the last year so there are many questions in everyone's minds and those quietly waiting for results while asking themselves "Should I start taking it too?".

Other than the hope that it brings in suppressing tumors and holding off the need for future surgery and treatments, Propolis is very attractive because it is a non-toxic health supplement with almost no risk (I say almost because there is a very small percentage who may develop an allergy to it). Further, the benefits from taking propolis are great and it has been used by many cultures for many ages. So it is a win-win situation worthy of a try if you have NF2.

But before you take the final leap and even if you are already taking it, here is some great information to better understand this supplement. And the benefits are not only applicable to people with NF2, but virtually anyone who meets the requirements (an example of those who do not are pregnant women and possibly asthmatics).

By the way, this supplement is currently being researched for treating pancreatic cancer and HIV.

What is Propolis?

Benefits of Propolis

History of Propolis

Safeness of Propolis?

Propolis Allergy

I hope this information helps answer your questions and also introduces many of you to the benefits of this fantastic health supplement. Remember, THIS IS NOT ONLY FOR NF2 PEOPLE BUT EVERYONE!

I justed ordered a 3 month supply today from Manuka Health in New Zealand and will keep you informed on how I react to it.

By the way, I have been drinking Green Vibrance every morning and really enjoy it! I eat vegetables, but for those who do not, you should really consider drinking the green vibrance mixed in your favorite juice!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hard Lesson on Deafness

As most of you know, I have been completely deaf since July 2004. When I say completely, I mean that I hear nothing what so ever (not even any environmental sounds). It is challenging at times yes, but I am pretty comfortable and content with my deafness. I was fully hearing until the age of 27 when it was apparent I was starting to experience hearing loss. So unlike so many I have met and know, I was able to enjoy activities in my youth of being a hearing child (dances, band, stereo systems, headphones, concerts, proms , pep rallies, the excitement theater systems in the movies and IMAX, etc.).

It was very emotionally painful at first to face and accept that I was about to lose all of that part of my life and inevitably completely. However, I was lucky to have a period of 5 years during my more mature phase of young adulthood to adjust and adapt to my gradual hearing digression while my hearing self faded further and further away.

When all sound went out, I have to admit it was nothing I could have imagined nor fully prepared for. It was an entirely different world than being hard of hearing. When you are hard of hearing, you are still in some way part of the "hearing" by whatever little you can hear. That can mean just being able to hear the siren of an ambulance or firetruck speeding closer behind you. (A dear friend of mine felt just horrible that it took so long to notice the ambulance speeding up behind him as he was unable to hear it).

So the past 4 and a half years for me have been an exploration of what it is to live "truely" deaf, how to cope, and how to adapt. My first BIG lesson was to NOT start adding water to the sink in preparation to do dishes and then walk away only to forget about it! LOL Thje result an hour later was to come downstairs and discover the area around the sink of my kitchen flooded!

This happened only within the very first months of my deafness and for the most part, I was able to keep myself from repeating that mistake (I may have slipped a couple times). I did go through a phase of leaving the water running in the bathroom for hours at a time which did not make Harley too pleased. By now, I am pretty good at reminding myself to look at the faucet and make sure I turned the knobs ALL the way off before leaving the room.

Yet, after all these years of adjustment and just when I thought I might have it down pat, a new thing to learn arises. Why it did not happen earlier is because I made a fiarly recent change which one would not expect to have any impact. Maybe about a year and a half ago I bought a tea kettle for the stove. Now I never used one when was a hearing person and that is why I would not think much about it. For hot water, we always just zapped it in the microwave. But as my husband and I became more serious tea drinkers and started using "loose leaf" tea, a need grew for a tea pot for the stove.

Also with the deafness, came a change in the way of communication. No more yapping on a cordless phone while doing things in the kitchen. When it is kitchen time, it is just that and nothing else (well I suppose I could sit down and read which sometimes I do but not usually while cooking). Instant messenger and email have almost entirely replaced using the phone (unless the need is immediate and I have to contact a business, doctor's office, or the health insurance company).

I am sort of a computer addict. LOL I just can't seem to help myself. There is always something there to entertain my mind and it all changes so fast (and trying to keep up with several emails a day). If you look at my monitor, you find it burdened heavily with several open applications at once. I LOVE to multitask on it and be doing several things at a time (none of which are games or watching a movie).

Too impatient waiting for the water to boil in the tea pot, I ran upstairs to my computer to return to whatever I was so enthralled in or distracted by. While doing so, I engaged in an unexpected IM conversation with a friend and then also a family member at the same time.

As a half hour passed, I completely forgot about the few cups of water boiling away in the tea pot downstairs. I looked down from the loft and saw Katie running back and forth on the deck and wondered what she was doing. A few minutes later and right when Harley walked in the door, I remembered the tea pot and told my friend I had to run. Harley comes up the stairs and signs to me "What is going on?!"

The kettle must have been whistling for a very long time as ALL the water evaporated and the kettle melted to the burner of the electric stove! Imagine that, eh!? Harley was not too happy with me for leaving the kettle unattended and creating a potential fire hazard. The above photos are the destroyed kettle which resulted from my lack of attentiveness.

Think I would learn the lesson after one time? Well no, it is not that easy. We now have a gas stove installed so it is probably even more important not to leave something unattended. Again, I put the new kettle partially filled with water on the burner and went back upstairs to the computer. Luckily, I remembered after some time that I was boiling water and I returned before all the water evaporated and ruined the new kettle! Phew!

So now I have to come up with a routine and way to remind myself not to walk away from the stove. One of my added goals for the year is to read a list of 5 books that I have. Perhaps I can make it a practice of scheduling "reading time" at the kitchen table for whenever I am cooking or boiling water and need to wait.