Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cat and Mouse

After a super sappy, serious post last week- I am keeping it lighthearted.

This past Thursday my running partner and I returned to the pavement together after a long hiatus. This summer has thrown off our running schedule a bit. I prefer to complete my runs in the morning. Early on this summer I arrived at Tom's at 7:30 in the morning for an a.m. run- let's just say that we never scheduled another morning run.

It has been so hot here in DC that running in the afternoon, when Tom is out of work, makes my stomach queasy just thinking about it. But last week we got a break from the heat and humidity so we decided to get out there together.

However, together isn't the best way to describe it. Tom's speed as increased considerably since we began running together last year. My speed has increased too, just not enough to keep up with Tom. In addition, Tom likes to run hard and fast, then take a short walk break. Where as I prefer to run slower and aim to avoid any walking breaks because my goal is to run the Suntrust Half Marathon in Richmond this November so I've got to work on logging more miles.

So our runs have turned into a cat and mouse chase. Tom runs ahead while I work to catch up, then Tom stops to walk, while I run past him. This pattern continues for most of our runs.

(image taken from here)

Even though we are no longer running side-by-side, I am grateful for our runs "together."

To keep with the lighthearted theme, here is a little blast from the past- Tom and I back in the day.....this looks like my junior year of high school. So I'd be 16 years old and Tom is 14.
Who knew that little kid next to me would be beating me during our runs...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's Superdad!

During my trip to Buffalo back in June I put the bug in my father in law's ear that I would love to run with him when he and my mother-in-law came to visit for a long weekend in July.

Reston has amazing running paths that can take you all over the city. Earlier this summer, I finished 4th in my age group in a Reston Pathway race. Ironically, it was the Run with Dad 5k and this post is all about my father-in-law. To me though, he is simply- Dad.

I know, some people might think "why does she call him Dad, when it's her father-in-law?"
But I have a million reasons to explain why I prefer to call him Dad and I'll just leave it at that.

So, back to their visit (which was last weekend). They arrived Thursday night and during dinner I inquired as to whether or not Dad had packed his running gear- he had. YES!

I didn't say much more about the possibility of running together over the weekend.
Although, Friday morning I had changed into my running clothes and began to gather my Garmin, RoadID, etc. to head out for a run when Dad said he'd join me. WHOOPEEEE!

I guess now is the part where I should explain why his running with me is so exciting and meaningful to me (and why I've determined that he is "Superdad").

Just a few years before Brendan and I met, his Dad had a massive heart attack while camping with Brendan and his brothers in the Canadian Wilderness. And when I say the wilderness, I mean it- check out where Allanwater Bridge Lodge is on GoogleMaps! Basically the middle of nowhere.....

As a result of the heart attack, he underwent QUADRUPLE bypass surgery.

Dad had been running for years prior to these health complications- even competing in a marathon in Ontario. But a heart attack in the middle of nowhere and quadruple bypass surgery certainly did not make Dad to hang up his running sneakers! He was still running and participating in road races when I met Brendan a few years after the heart attack and surgery.

As I have mentioned before, when I met Brendan, running was part of the family culture.
So, I began to attend the Turkey Trot and Shamrock Run with Brendan, his dad, and a crazy/wildly entertaining group of Dad's friends. I still remember my first road race and not being able to walk down stairs for days after! I must add too that Dad has beat me at every road race we've attend together.

I am getting to why he is "Superdad." In addition to his heart attack, this past fall he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His diagnosis was more serious than most men who have prostate cancer and so he began intense radiation treatments on Dec. 23rd. Needless to say, running was not a priority and not much of a possibility either.

So- when he agreed to run with me last Friday (it was his first run since the summer of 2010) it was exciting and extremely meaningful.

Not only did he run with me on Friday, but Sunday too! Sunday we did the entire mile together.

An entire mile may not sound like a big feat for an experienced runner (and I know that Dad wishes it could be more than a mile- and it will be with time), but for all that life has thrown at Dad in the last few years I think he deserves to be forever referred to as...


I look forward to more runs and road races together in the future. I look forward to Dad's grandchildren (I am going to hope that they inherit Brendan's athleticism and not mine) sharing a love for running and participating in road races with their grandfather.

Although, I am not sure about exposing young children to Dad's wild bunch of friends that attend road races with us...we may need to do something about them ;)


Thanks for getting back out there and allowing me to experience that with you.

Get your sneakers ready, I'll be home in 2 weeks and we can log more miles together.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

Not that "Ice Ice Baby" and yes this child of the 80's does know that the bassline for that song is from Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure." The Queen version is one of my favorite songs from my running playlist.

Since I decided to run every day and not allow a rest day(s) I've had to deal with muscle aches as my body adjusts. Then, mix in my fall last week and we've got a painful combination.

As I took on this challenge, I've also taken to (well not quite taken too) ice baths.
My ice baths are certainly not these pretty setups like professional athletes.

More like me dumping what ice is left in my ice bin into the tub, while my faucet fills the tub with water as cold as I can get it. Nothing fancy but it does the job.

When I prepared to take my first one I thought I would be like this-

But it actually wasn't that bad and it made a world of difference.
More on the benefits of ice baths from the professionals over at Runner's World.

Besides ice baths- my routine is the same as most runners. I stretch and heat a problem area before running. After a run, I ice certain areas if I am not taking an ice bath.

And that is how I deal with the aches and pains from running every day, my back injury, and nagging left knee/leg issues....WORD TO YOUR MOTHER!

Images from here and here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"What is the hardest part?"

A few weeks ago, in reference to my "Summer of Run" challenge, my cousin Daniel asked me, "What is the hardest part?"

So in response to his question, I've made a list of possible answers to that very question.
Here is what I had contemplated as challenges before beginning a few weeks ago:

1. Getting up and running every day - Nope, not for me.
I try to make a point of running within an hour or less of waking up. I also try not to sleep past 8am on any given day so I can run early (except my 10+ hours I usually get each Fri. and Sat. night).
I know, I am getting a lot of sleep- but I am banking it while I can. Eventually kids will be part of the equation and I will NEVER sleep again.
A few days I've waited all day to run and I always regret it.

2. Having the energy to get through a mile - Nah, that's not it either.
A mile is not a big deal for me to complete. Trust me, it used to be! As I mentioned here- athletic people do not win the "Most Versatile" cheerleader award. I actually wish I were logging more than my average 1-2 miles each day and I think I could be if this hadn't happened. Oh well, I will add on sooner or later. As of today I still have 47 more days to go.....

3. Finding the time to run - Definitely not.
It is summer and I am a teacher, enough said.

4. Recovering from sore muscles/aches and pains - Bingo!
That has been the hardest part BY FAR and was compounded by my falling down stairs. My knees and hips ache daily. My left knee (the entirely too long post about that is here) has been feeling great! It is mostly my left and right hips that are the most sore. Well, the last week my back pain has superseded any other pain I've felt.

**Take my poll on the left side of the homepage to share what would be the biggest challenge for you!

So- other than the aches and pains from not having any rest days, I am running along just fine.
Although, a few times I've either had a dream in which I missed a day or I've had moments of panic at the end of a day thinking that I forgot to run. Crazy- I know.

I'll be back with a post later this week about how I deal with my aches and pains (the normal ones, not the ones from falling down wet stairs).

Friday, July 8, 2011

I thought I had to call it quits

So Wednesday, July 6th began like many mornings here at the McIntyre Household. The alarm went off at 5:15am reminding us that it was a gym morning- as normal we hit snooze a few times before finally getting up and out the door. We aim to work out together at least two mornings a week and since Brendan leaves for work at 7:30am, we normally workout from 5:45-6:30-ish.

After our workout I ran home from the gym (which is between 1.5-2 miles depending on the route I take). In hindsight, I am SO THANKFUL that we worked out that morning and that I had completed 1.5 miles before 7am. You will see why in a minute, I am getting there....

After eating breakfast, drinking my coffee, and perusing some of my favorite blogs ( and, I decided it was time to head to my Aunt Michelle and Uncle Ron's house to begin working on some furniture I was refinishing. They live here in Reston too and have garage space for me to work in.

I had worked for a little over an hour when it began to rain. There isn't a lot of room to work in the garage and since I am mostly working with spray paint, I decided it was best to haul the furniture inside and call it a day.

As I headed out the door and down the front stairs (3 stairs to be exact)- I slipped and fell (HARD) on my back/left side. My butt fell on the third step with my back hitting the edges of the other two stairs. I think it was the combination of my cheap $2 Old Navy flip-flops and wet stairs that are to blame. Anyways, I am thankful that I didn't hit my head and blackout because I was all alone at the house and there was not a soul on the street (I'm thankful for that too since no one saw me fall).

I gathered enough composure to stand, despite the searing pain in my back, and walked the length of the porch just to make sure I could walk. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, what if I couldn't run anymore? I knew I could walk but the pain was so bad that I feared the worst. I called Brendan in tears- he asked if I thought I could drive and I said yes. So he said to head home and apply some ice and see how it feels in the evening.

One painful 7 mile car ride home and the rest of the afternoon was spent on the floor of the living room with ice and Advil. My cousin and running partner Tom was kind enough to bring lunch and walk Brie for me. Around 2:00 the pain had not improved (despite 600 mg of Advil) so I called the doctor's office. They couldn't get me in that same day, but I was scheduled for 11:00am on Thursday. The nurse ensured me that since the lump forming on my back was soft that I probably had not broken anything. So- I did about all that I could do, took a muscle relaxer and headed to bed. I woke up long enough to get an ice pack, heat pad, and "get well soon" card from my husband and eat dinner. Then, it was back to La La Land.

I woke up Thursday in more pain than the day before so I am glad that I was scheduled to see the doctor at 11. Dr. Garvert took one look at my back and said that I definitely had some bruising and swelling. She then touched my spine and because it was so tender she ordered an x-ray.

Before heading to get my x-ray I told her about this blog and my bet. I confided that I had cried more about giving this goal up then about the pain I was in. She totally rocked my world when she said that I could run so long as my body felt okay and the x-ray showed that nothing was broken. She also promised that if I went right away for the x-rays that she'd have an answer by the end of the day (and I could potentially get my run in w/o missing a day).

Not ten minutes after leaving radiology center (where I had been for the last hour and a bit) the nurse called to say that nothing was broken! She also said that she heard about my goal from the doctor and thought it was awesome. I WAS CLEARED TO RUN!

I headed home to physically (laying on ice for the rest of the afternoon) and mentally prepare. I was still afraid that running would hurt like hell and I'd have to admit defeat. That night, I headed out for a mile...and it was not as painful as I had anticipated. As I ran the soreness and aching in my back muscles was intensified when my legs made impact with the ground. Bu thankfully no sharp, shooting pains. I made it through a mile (while only adding 20 seconds to my normal pace). This morning I made it another mile at a more normal 9:36 pace.

I am planning to stick with a mile until my back muscles loosen up and the bruising and swelling begin to fade, but I am so thankful that I didn't have to throw in the towel on this goal. It would have been a painful reminder of my experience giving up Navy Seal Team 6 when I realized I couldn't swim the length of an Olympic sized swimming pool while underwater.

Did I mention that since my summer vacation began not only have I fallen down the stairs, but I've locked myself on my patio for 1.5 hours and locked my keys in my car!
Don't you think that I am due for a break!?!

Part of the problem: cheap flip-flops + pouring rain on wooden steps

= one yucky back injury And this is what is keeping me in running form (got to show my love for CVS - I worked there in high school)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Almost 4 on the 4th

Happy 4th of July! Is everyone celebrating with a backyard bbq and fireworks like we are?
I am throwing in watermelon margaritas this year too! Yum!

I went out for a mid-morning 4th of July run. I slept in until 10:30am and didn't hit the road until close to noon. Not the best idea in hot, humid Virginia...but I had a 4 mile goal in mind for the 4th of July.

With some new tunes on my Ipod I was feeling pretty good. However, about 2 miles in I felt like I hit a wall- but I decided to run through it. I felt better at 2.5 miles but felt weak again as I approached mile #3. I decided to call is quits there. I've been struggling with muscle soreness in my legs and hips and did not want to push it.

I think my body is still adjusting to running every day without a rest. I definitely DO NOT want to injury myself, have to admit defeat, and buy four lunches for the naysayers out there. So- almost 4 on the 4th is okay with me.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Well- my running continued during my brief trip home to Buffalo, NY. One of my very best friends from high school, Sarah Utzig, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and this past weekend was her bridal shower. Here is a picture of the two of us at the shower- isn't she going to be a beautiful bride?

I also got to see some other wonderful friends from high school.
Chrissy Schreiner, Vicki Kordasiewicz Schroeder, Sarah Utzig, and Katie Piwtorak

Here is a pic of the bride and groom to-be. Andy, Sarah's fiance, and I went to Canisius together for social studies education- he says I was the smart, goody two shoes always sitting in the front row and I said he was the laid back, slacker who was always in the back row :)
He is not slacker when it comes to Sarah, I know he will take good care of her!

I finally got to see the inside of my brother and sister-in-law's new home. I didn't snap any pictures but take my word, this house is going to be gorgeous! They bought a fixer upper and when they are done it is going to be the best house on the block. The few things they've done in two short weeks already look amazing.

I also got to hang out with these rascals-Conlan and Reagan. They are my cousin Renee's kids and Reagan is my goddaughter. Reagan shows her love for me by wiping chewed, gooey pretzels on me. I love these two kids and wish I were around more often to see them grow.

I spent some time with my cousin Andrew and his daughter Gabby. I was treated to a fantastic dinner by my friends Rachel and Jon Garra, while their one year old, Patrick, flirted and showed off his six pack abs. In addition to all this, I got in a golf game with Vicki, and spend many hours catching up with my moms (my mom and mother-in-law).

Most of my runs while home were short and sweet because (as you can see) my time is always jam-packed full of things to do and people to see. It is always crazy coming home for a visit, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

My Saturday run while home was a good one (probably my best yet)- I intended to go two miles but ended up completing almost 3.5 miles. I felt good so I kept going and I loved the route- running in the neighborhood my husband grew up in. I ran by Glen Falls (where Brendan and I took our engagement pics) and down Main Street (which I adore), then down Evans, Sheridan, back to Mill Street.

And most days were chilly and overcast- it was SO nice to run without humidity.

I'm looking forward to another, longer trip in August for the wedding festivities. Not just because of the time to spend with family and friends, but also for the non-humid runs that allow me to reminisce about the past and remember why there is so much Buffalove in my heart.