Monday, August 20, 2012

Trotting my way to a new and fabulous PR

November 24, 2011

I woke up early today to put the ham in the oven and prepare my last pie for our Thanksgiving Feast. I also had my Pikes Peak YMCA Turkey Trot 5k race. I say my race because I killed it today! As soon as me, Patrick, and our fan club pulled into the parking lot, I saw that this was a much larger race than I expected. My October 5k, the Creepy Crawl had a comfortable 300 runners or so.

My goal for today was to improve my last 5k time of 44:25 by one minute, which was the fastest I have ever been. I realize that my “fast” time would be disappointing to many but it is exhilarating for me to know how far I have come. As we walked to registration, I was happy to see what appears to be a wide variety of runners; young girls and boys with their families, young adults, parents, and several grandparents too. Many families were running this race together, so I decided right then to drag my entire crew here next year.

I read on the race website that they would have chip timing at this race. What that was, I had no idea, but I found out it is a wonderful invention. After I stood in line for at least 10 minutes, we were given our race shirt, goodie bag, and a square piece of plastic with four small holes in the corner. I shyly ask what the square was for and was told this was my chip, an electronic device that records my start and finish time exactly when I cross the line. The holes were to zip tie the chip to my shoe.

There were nearly 3,000 runners at this race, so we were told to line up where our pace marker was. I found the seven minute mile pace marker, then the eight, and kept walking farther away from the start line. I finally saw the ten minute marker, expecting to see my marker of 11 minutes, but right after ten was a marker for “walkers.” Ugh, I felt my stomach drop. I run so slow that I am in the same wave as the walkers. So I decide to stand just between the 10 minute and the walker marker.

When the air horn went off, I was suddenly clausterphobic. People were everywhere and some as close as my elbows. Thankfully as we crossed the start line, we were able to spread out some. Although the day started out to be a chilly 35 degrees, it was a beautiful sunny day. I had started my own stop watch and was surprised to see my time at 14 mintes at the half way point. My race was going very well. Feeling a little tired at mile two, I walked for a minute to catch my breath.

This route had more hills than I was used to. At last, I see the finish line and the clock reads 40 and counting. This was a fabulous time for me and my adrenline kicked in. I booked the last one quarter mile and was smiling at my family and pleased with my time of nearly 41 minutes as I crossed the finish line. I talked with my father, who is also a runner,  and he encouraged me and said that with just a little more training he thought I could break 40 minutes in my next race.

After gathering our free food and drinks, we made our way home to check on the ham. Just before we left for dinner at my sister’s house, I checked the YMCA website and find out my placing. I was schocked at how much more accurate the chip timing was. My actual chip time was 39:48. I did it! I was under 40 minutes AND got a PR (Personal Record) that knocked 4:37 off! So, on this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a number of things: my family, my job, my opportunies, and my health. The rest of the day was a blur for me because I kept pinching myself, expecting to wake up from my dream of shattering my PR.

An Inspiring Friend

November 8, 2011

I have talked about Carla is several of my blog posts, so I think that I need to really introduce all my readers to her. She has her own blog as well. You can read her blog at She actually started her New Year’s Resolution in January. Her lofty goal is to lose 100 pounds in one year.

Carla will tell you that she got sick of being the “fat girl” all her life and that she really wants to become a mom. As the year is coming to a close, I want to tell all my readers about the inspiration that Carla has become. So far, Carla has lost a whopping 83 pounds.

She did not have a nutritionist and she only used a trainer for a short time. Carla tried several different things to see what worked for her; lifting weights, Biggest Loser on the Wii, using a trainer, strict dieting, hiking, zumba, and running. As you may have guessed from my previous entries, running was one of the things that work for her. She has become one of my running buddies. She also began running in May, so it has been really great having someone to talk with and keep me on track.

Carla is bigger than me, currently by about 30 pounds or so, but she has ALWAYS been faster than me. She has been so motivated and dedicated to her weight loss and goals that she has become an inspiration to me.

It must have been very difficult for her to take this leap toward better health. She has tales of horrible things strangers have said to her, but she chose to use their unkind words to strengthen her resolve. Thankfully she has also heard many uplifting words and has great support from her husband, friends, and family. The best thing about Carla’s weight loss so far? Her doctor has giver her the go ahead to conceive. My amazing friend will one day get to be an amazing mother.

Cooler Weather Slows Motivation

October 14, 2011

          As the weather gets a little cooler and snow is impending, I must find a way to stay motivated. I absolutely hate running on the “dread-mill” and really want to be able to run outside year round. I know that there will be some days with ice that could make it dangerous and will force me into the gym, but I love the feel of running outside. The breeze in your face, the different smells in the air, and knowing you are covering ACTUAL distance is helpful.

Who wants to layer up and run in the snow? I’m not sure that I am there yet and I really want to recapture the feelings I had last month about being involved in the Dirty Girl Mud Run. So, I have decided that I will find a 5k every month to run in. This will motivate me to train, help a charity each month, and I get an awesome shirt that yells out “runner” to everyone I see when I wear it.

I have chosen some fun runs that are still timed, so I can still set some goals. My next race is on Oct. 29 and is called the Creepy Crawl. I get to run in my Halloween costume. After that, I have the Turkey Trot on Nov. 24 before I gorge myself like every American does on Thansgiving Day. To finish out the year I have the Jingle Bell on Dec. 10. Costumes are encouraged in this race too, but somehow I don’t see myself running with any of the following on: bells, beard, or elf ears.

Each of these races benefit a specific area’s YMCA, a great organization that helps many. I will add pictures after each race.

Creepy Crawl (Iwas Coach Sue from Glee)

Turkey Trot 5k
Jingle Bell 5k

Inspiration is Every Where

October 10, 2011

            I’ve mentioned before how important getting support has been in my running journey. My husband is encouraging and never complains about my already limited time being used for running or about the cost of building up my stock of running gear. I get great compliments and encouragement online from friends and family, both near and far. Once a month, I get a new issue of Runners World, which is full of inspiration.

On the Daily Mile website, I get to track my total distance, hours, TV’s powered, donuts burned, gas saved, and number of times around the world (0 for me thus far). My newest inspiration comes from a FaceBook group page called I <3 about="about" advice="advice" and="and" gear="gear" inspirational="inspirational" o:p="o:p" on="on" people="people" post="post" questions="questions" run.="run." stories.="stories." to="to" training="training">

I am looking forward to losing a toenail from so much running and I know one day my schedule will allow it. Crazy and gross, I know, but to a runner it means that you have reached a level of miles that has a very strong physical impact. One of my favorite things on this Facebook group page though, is the cool photos that people post. Some are funny, some inspirational, but all are impactful. I have posted a few of my favorites below. Enjoy them and as you are looking, think about how much you want to run now.

A Dirty Girl and Proud Of It

September 24, 2011

           Today is my first “real” race. I registered for the Dirty Girl Mud Run a few months ago, knowing that I would never back out once I paid my $65 registration fee. According to the website, the run is a female-only, 5K mud run designed for women of all fitness levels.

The 11 military-inspired obstacles are fun and unique but with just enough hell to keep your palms a bit sweaty. And the entire event is designed to be organic and eco-friendly. In fact, many of the obstacles will be recycled back into the earth. A portion of the proceeds go to breast caner research, so I feel good about that too.

Choosing my first 5k to be a non-competetive and untimed race was VERY intentional. I wanted my first big race experience to be fun. So, what better way than to roll around in the mud with some friends? Again, my incredible family came out to support me and the team; my parents, both my sisters, and their husbands and kids. I felt like I had a huge fan club.

A few weeks ago I was able to run my first 5k distance. I felt prepared and SO excited for this run. I could hardly stand the excitement and was like a child and unable to sleep.

The route was muddy (obviously), my knees and palms are skinned, I had mud in places it should never be. But I feel a contentment that I have rarely experienced in my adult life.

It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to complete the course leasurely. Strangers were cheering us on throughout. Girls and women of all ages were encouraging everyone, teammates or not. It was an incredible experience and I am so pumped up about running! I think I’ll go ahead and run tomorrow and forget my “rest” day.

 Team Down and Dirty Dames                                    A perfect shot of me getting “dirty”
                                         Delicious Sangrias awaited us at the finish line

Finally a Real Runner

August 12, 2011

          Today, I DID IT!!!! I am finally a runner. I ran my entire route this morning without walking or stopping even once. It has taken me a while to get here, but I made it. Woot woot! I am so excited and I feel like I can finally call myself a runner.

Even though I move at a snail’s pace and I think walkers could probably pass me, I feel great about this! I still have terrible form and sort of shuffle rather than run, but I am getting better and FINALLY starting to lose weight. Just 8 lbs, but losing 8 lbs has never felt so gratifying to me.

So, as a reward for becoming a runner and for losing 8 lbs, I am subscribing to Runner’s World magazine. I love that this magazine does not cater to only one type of runner. I think both beginners and experts can learn something from every issue. They have information on gear, techniques, diets, stories, race info, and all kinds of fun stuff! I can hardly wait to get my first issue with my name on it. I think maybe I’ll tell them my middle name is “a runner” so that it gets printed on the label. Think they’d mind?

My First Race

July 14, 2011

            I found a very non-competitive and short 2k race that is also inexpensive on the City of Colorado Springs website. Patrick, a friend, and I are going to run the next few of these races, called the 2k/5k Doggie Dash.

The first race was tonight. My friend Carla is an inspiration and dedicated to improving her health, plus she is also a beginning runner. I was very glad to have another newbie with me.

We checked in at the Memorial Park Recreaction Center and our race number was written on our hands. That is when I started feeling sick to my stomach with nerves. I knew I was going to throw up any minute!

My husband and my stepson Cody were able to come to watch and support us. Carla’s husband, mom and grandmother also came. It was a big night for both of us!

As we were lining up at the start line, my guts were churning as I tried to concentrate on the procedures we were to follow.

Everyone but Carla, Patrick, and I chose to run a 5k, including all the younger kids. The loop was a 1k, so all I had to do was run in a circle twice. Luckily, I could not get lost if I tried. I still had to walk part of the race, but I was so proud when I finished with my measly time of about 16 minutes (12:37 pace), and best of all-I did NOT throw up. I wonder if I can officially call myself a runner yet?

                                     Pre-Race-That is the three of us on the right

                                      Me sucking air at the finish line

Wanted: Encouragement

June 29, 2011

           After my first and traumatic experience trying to be a runner, I thought that I would quit. I have limped around for about 2 weeks with my ankle hurting worse than my knee, go figure! But people asked me why I was limping, and I found that I was proud to say that I injured myself running. Ordinarily clumsiness would not be a virtue, but the fact that I was able to tell people I had begun running made it worth it.

So on May 25, I was back at it, but this time on a track. Generally, tracks are pretty safe. There are no potholes, tree roots, or dogs jumping in front of you, and best of all it is flat.

The junior high school my son goes to is about a half mile away; I think. So I have been using the walk to and from the track as a warm up and cool down. I am still walking some, but I run a little more each day. My total distance on the track is 1.25 miles. Not impressive at all, especially since part of that is walking. But I am getting better.

My stepson Patrick likes to go running with me. I shouldn’t be happy about this, but the first time he went running with me, he worked so hard trying to keep up that he made himself throw up. Yes, I have been run/walking for about a month now, but I assumed that his age alone would make him a better runner.

I am going to enjoy this short-lived pleasure because I know he will be lapping me very soon, so don’t judge. I found a great website that helps me keep track of my progress- I can log in my distance, time, route, and how I felt and I’ve set it to automatically update to Facebook. I realize I am blowing up some of my friend’s newsfeeds, but the comments and suggestions I get are so valuable to me.

I have even made a new online friend, Melisssa. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. Melissa just saw my profile on the website and asked to become my friend. She continously gives me and many others across the country positive feedback. I hope to be befriend others and give them the same encouragement as she does.

Becoming a Runner?

May 9, 2011

Like millions of other Americans, I made a New Year’s resolution to be more fit in 2011, I’m just late. The hard thing about fitness resolutions is that they start in January, one of the coldest and snowiest months in Colorado. The gym is intimidating; it is full of fit people who know how all the equipment works, have all the right gear, and they look good doing it. They usually don’t even sweat.

I have given up on losing weight; I am just not very disciplined. But I do want to be fit, and I always admire the runners I drive by. Plus there are plenty of races that give shirts for swag.

I read an article on the Women’s Health website about how to become a runner in six weeks. The plan is very specific and gradually increases the amount of running vs. walking. The first two weeks, you walk the first 16 minutes, alternate running for a minute and walking for a minute for the next 6 minutes, and then you walk the remaining 8 minutes. It seemed easy enough.

So, last night I went to bed early and set my alarm clock for 5 a.m. The shocking thing is that I actually got up when the alarm jarred me awake. I got dressed, leashed the dog for company, and off I went. Walking the first 16 minutes was great. My black lab got used to the pace, and we both enjoyed the cool morning air.

When it was time for me to run, I took a deep breath, gathered my courage and set off. The first two intervals went well. I was thinking: hey, I CAN do this….then came the third and final run/walk interval. By this time, I had turned around and began heading back toward my house on the surrounding streets. A few cars were passing me, so I had to be more careful with the dog.

At the beginning of my final interval, something happened. I’d like to blame the dog and I guess it could be her fault, but I think it was mostly my inexperience. I tripped on something; a pothole, my own feet, the dog, her leash, something, and fell on my knees on the pavement. I managed to avoid a face plant, but my palms were scraped and I fell hard enough to tear a big hole in the knee of my pants.

I started crying and working myself up, so that soon I was gasping for breath as I lay in the middle of the road. When a car came close, I made myself calm down and scooted to the sidewalk to see what the damage was. Yep, my knee was pretty jacked up and my other ankle hurt when I twisted it and fell. Sorry if my picture grosses you out. I just wanted to share my pain.

My poor dog was waiting patiently for me to recover. So, I limped the rest of the way home, with tears streaming down my face. My husband was already at work, so I had no one to baby me, which was a probably a good thing. I emailed my boss to let her know I would be late, cleaned up, and slowly got ready for work. As I limp through the office, I doubt that I will ever succeed as a runner. Apparently it requires grace that I do not have.

Cha, Cha, Cha, Changes

Last fall I took a journalism that included an assignment to write for a blog. As a beginning runner, I chose that topic. I found a revived love for blogging with that assignment. Although my assignment included "fake" blog entries at the time, they are true to my heart. As I am changing my blog to now include my running stories, I have also changed the name to "Running from a butterly".  My next several blog posts will include some of my running stories. The dates may not be perfectly accurate, but the stories are true. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Return

2 years and Six Months Post Total Thyroidectomy
I have not posted on my blog for a very long time. Over two years now. I want to catch up, but I am not really sure where to start. My sister has a friend that was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. When she told me this, it brought back a lot of memories for me. My tumor was found to be benign, but I remember the agony and worry of waiting to hear that fabulous word. It made me read my blog again, and I found that I missed it. For those of you out there, facing a thyroidectomy, I know you have been searching for a similar story, or pictures of scars, or resources. It has been 2 years and 6 months (tomorrow) that I had my butterfly (thyroid) removed. It has been a roller coaster, but I think that maybe I have finally gotten off the ride. However, there are new hiccups.

In January, my employer changed insurance companies. Anyone with a chronic disease will tell you that a new insurance carrier can be scary. For the most part, the changes have been good. There is a higher deductible now, but covered services are paid at 90%!!!! That alone is pretty incredble. The only snag that I have found so far is the increased cost of my medication. My last insurance plan paid for 3 months of Levoxyl at a time and only cost me a copay of $20 total. My new insurance plan only pays for 1 month at a time and my copay for that one month is $20! So, I now have to pay triple the cost. For some people, this might not seem like a big deal. However, you must remember that this is only one of several prescriptions that I will be taking for the rest of my life.

At my last check up in April, I asked my endocrinologist  if I could switch to a generic formula. However, being the good doctor that she is, she said that she truly believes that there is a HUGE difference with thyroid replacement brands vs. generics. I was very disappointed, but I have to admit I was glad she was doing what she felt was right. She excused herself for a moment and returned with great news. She compared the active ingredients of Levoxyl to Snythroid and found the differences to be slight enough that she was comfortable with it. She offered to try changing brands for me from Levoxyl to Snythroid. The reason she did this? She was able to provide me SIX MONTHS of free trial pills in my prescription level. How cool is that?

I am now on Snythroid 137 and I can't really tell a difference. I go for my next check up in October, when they will do all my usual blood tests: T3, T4, TSH, Calcium, Vitamin D, etc. and see how my body likes the new drug. I really really hope my body cooperates with this. I am not sure how my pocketbook will hold up otherwise.

I am bad at math, so please forgive me if my calculations are wrong, but this is what I figure: My prescription increase is $160 more per year. Assuming a miracle happens and that price does not go up ever (yeah, right) and I live to be 86 years old, my total additional cost for this one drug is $4,800. But I have to assume the cost will rise and that I will need additional prescriptions as I age. I also have to assume that at some point I will not be able to work and my income will be very limited. It's an alarming thought.

BODY: Pretty pretty please like this new drug. I have been nice to you, especially these last 2 years. I eat healthy and exercise regularly. I don't smoke and drink only a little. So, please pay me back for all my good deeds. Thank you!