Monthly Archives: October 2013

On Finishing Last…

Okay, so… I’ve been thinking a lot the last day and a half on finishing a race dead ass last.  Not losing.  I didn’t lose.  Losing would have been quitting because it got hard, or not starting because of the rain, or not trying because it’s work.  I didn’t lose.  I ran my race and I finished.  And I’m glad I did.

But, there are things that you miss out if you are in the back of the pack.

In February, I did the Austin Half.  My time was 4:00:39.  Not really anything to brag about other than I finished.  I was hurting like hell and I finished.  Yesterday I did 10 miles in 2:38:57.  And I felt pretty damn good by the time I finished.


I learned that, when you’re last, you really don’t seem to count.

The people taking pictures… get great pictures of the HUGE herd of people crossing the starting line… coming around mile 9 or 10 or 12… or across the first street bridge or whatever.  They disappear after the huge herd passes.  I got my picture taken I think three times yesterday… Once at the start, once rounding the 9.75 mile mark and once crossing the finish line.   And that guy really didn’t want to still be there, you could tell.

The people cheering leave.  If you aren’t in the herd, you really don’t get cheered so much except sometimes by the people at the water stops.

The water stops dry up and blow away.  In the half, right were I NEEDED gatoraid and right where I NEEDED water, the tables were there, there were empty cups blowing around.  There was no water.  Yesterday, as we were finishing the last two miles, they were pulling the tables and the water buffalos.  Poof… no water for the stragglers.  The people not elite… the people not fast enough to be in with the in crowd… they probably don’t need water by mile 8-9-10-11-whatever anyway.

I’m not elite.  I don’t have a bicycle riding with me to make sure I make my time and get to the finish line in the first handful of runners.  I’m not even really middle of the pack.  Yesterday, we had the medic buggy pacing us about 7 feet behind my heels.  Okay, it may have only felt to me like they were vultures circling the feast, but, you know what, I had THREE hours to finish.  I guess technically I had until 10:00 am to finish by what I was told…   I finished in under 16 minute miles.  I finished with a good FIFTEEN minutes to spare and THAT was after they delayed the start 15 minutes.  I might not ever be a good runner, but it really is demoralizing to realize that your ass is what is holding up EVERYONE from going out and having their fun.

I paid my money.  I count.

For all of those even planners out there planning races…

Leave the water until AFTER the last runners pass.  It’s not that many extra minutes to your day.

Don’t park your porta-potty truck on the course even if you have to wait for us to pass and it takes you an extra twenty minutes on your day.  Going around you truck is a pain in the ass and tacky.

If you are the people scraping up the bodies that don’t make it, If I happen to still be up and running (or walking or crawling for that matter) BACK OFF.  You are in a buggy.  Staying 20 feet back or 30 feet back… or however far back it ends up being that I don’t have to hear you discussing your lunch plans that I’m ruining by being one of the last 10 people to finish.

I may not matter to you, but this matters to me.  I matters just as much to me, hell, maybe it matters MORE to me, as it does to mister first place finisher.

And if you are taking pictures, I buy your stupid pictures.  Usually.  If I’m actually… you know… IN any of them.  Want to make a buck (or a hundred bucks)… maybe I count too.  Probably not… but maybe.

okay… I’ll quit venting (and hope like hell I can get to sleep soon).

Just… please know… those of us who aren’t in the first half of the pack have feelings.  We spent the same amount of money to be here as everyone else, hell, maybe more.  Have the courtesy to treat us the way that you treated the guy who finished first in a course record.


Run For The Water… post race recap

starting line

Yesterday was quite a day. I didn’t sleep great Saturday night.  It was warm and humid, the windows wide open, even with the fans on, wasn’t conducive to sleep.   It was after 1 this morning before I really fell asleep.  It was good that I set the alarm for 4:30 to be sure to be up in time to get ready and go to the race. I had everything laid out before I went to bed, so getting ready wasn’t bad.  I had my “dry” clothes in the trunk of the car (since there was no bag check).  It didn’t take much to pin myself together and get myself ready to go. Took little more than that (oddly enough) to get everyone else up around and ready to go. Toast for breakfast… mental note, Adam doesn’t like butter on his. And out the door and we were off. In the rain.

I was right… I got to run in the rain.  I put my blister prevention cream on my feet.  I put my sports bra on inside out so the seams were against the shirt rather than against my skin.

I thought it was maybe appropriate to wear my South Africa Vibrams (the ones I bought in Knysna) to do the race in.  Running for Barundi fresh water in my South African Hobbit Feet?  Made me smile. The rain wasn’t too cold.  The held the start until the lightning passed.  I got pictures of me in my Figment outfit.  I got to talk to a neat guy dressed like Mickey Mouse.  He has done several runDisney events and is going to do the Dopey challenge in January.  He told me not to stress and just run that race to have fun.  It was great.  He did his first Disney half having never trained for anything.  I can do this, right?

The horn went off at 7:15 (precious 15 minutes late after the front and the lightning passed) and we were off. I started strong despite the humidity.

The first two miles were flat and relatively easy.  About mile 1 I picked up the credit card holder someone dropped on the road.  As I passed one of the police cars manning the route, I tossed it to the police officer.  I hope whoever dropped it was able to find it.  There were lots of credit cards on it.

Amandya left me in the dust by about the first half mile mark.  She took off and was running harder than she should have given she hasn’t trained at all.  I didn’t actually expect to see her again until the finish line.  I caught up with her at mile 3.  She was falling apart.  Nearly in tears.  She didn’t want to come in last.  She didn’t want to quit.  She was hurting and hitting her mental wall way sooner than she should have.

We did the rest of the race together.  Side by side, stride for stride.

The hills were horrible.
The wet and humidity made it even worse.
The view of Ladybird Lake was wonderful.  Running for the water, beside the water, in the water… kind of interesting thoughts spill through your head.
Austin loves to decorate for Halloween with spiders.
Being chased the last two miles or so by the medics and the trucks picking up the course was even worse.
We kept pace with the last 10 people in the race.

Adam started backward through the course… he usually does… It always makes me smile seeing his easy strides.  He walked in with us through the last mile.  I don’t know if he will ever know how much it means to me for him to do that.

Amandya crossed the finish line, 1828 out of 1829 finishing.  She wasn’t last.  I made sure she wasn’t last.

I was.

My feet hurt.  They hurt so bad, the whole front half of both feet.  I’m giving up the idea of my hobbit feet for distance races.  It isn’t worth it.  I love the for walking.  Training and racing, not so much.

Only my feet hurt.  Otherwise I feel incredible.  I was incredibly demoralized for a while.  I finished last.  In my head I know that someone always has to be last and I know that I did my best AND finished the race in sufficient time (had it been Disney) that I would not have been swept.

This morning, rice and chili for breakfast… today I’ll get my methotrexate shot that I didn’t remember to get yesterday today as well as my allergy shots….  I’m not training today, but I’m actually looking forward to getting my butt up in the morning tomorrow morning and getting back into my training.

Blister/Chafing Prevention

This is my ‘home made’ version of blister and chafing prevention cream.

equal parts

Desitin Ointment
A & D Ointment
Petroleum Jelly

Add in

Vitamin E cream
Aloe Vera Cream

To make a paste (salve)

if you want a thinner paste, use Vitamin E and Aloe ointment rather than cream.

This kept me from getting blisters when I wore my Tevas for 8 days in the Grand Canyon and it has been keeping me from getting blisters while jogging.  I do have to wear socks or bandages in my Vibrams because the stitching on the Vibrams name rubs a blister faster than I can always keep ahead of it.  But this stuff works wonders.


Thank Goodness it’s Only My Hands

Up and trying to get some writing done.  Trying to finish my arm warmers.  Trying to stay psyched for the race.  I sit here and nurse my coffee, gulp my water and thank goodness that, for this morning at least, … Continue reading

Number 963 Running For The Water

So, today was packet pick-up for Run For The Water.  I am number 963.  The numbers seem to be being assigned by the order you show up (roughly) to pick up your packet.  The shirts DO run small, but I was smart enough to get one that is big enough for me.

So here we are, roughly 36 hours out from the 10 mile race.

The shirts say BuRUNdi, which I think is really neat because it combines “run” with the location, in South Africa, that we are running to raise money to help.  The goodie bag is kind of light, not even a bag to put your dry gear in for after the race (which kind of bugs me a bit).  It’s supposed to rain on Sunday, so not having dry clothes after the race will kind of be a bit of a downer.

I’ve got my outfit for Sunday all laid out and ready to go… all but my lavender arm warmers… I still have one of those to finish.  They are going to double as a tail if I don’t need them for my arms and hands.  I’m going to wear my purple striped Injinji’s socks and my Vibrams… as well as my Figment outfit.  I’m hoping for a couple pictures!!!   I’m going to con my family into taking a couple even if I don’t get any others.

I’m really looking forward to this race.  I think I can do well.  I need to do well.  I feel good.  I will have a lot on my mind and I know that, but… there is nothing I can do about that, either.

Run For The Water, One Week Out… Guilt and Worry and Excitement

So, I’m sitting here on this cool and clear Sunday morning looking at my 10 mile race just one week away.  My Figment outfit is pretty nearly ready (I’m working now on arm warmers that are the right color… just in case) and I’m really looking forward to seeing what my time is for this race.  I’m liking the course (mostly flat the first three and last three miles with some rolling hills in the middle) and I really think I can improve my chances for moving up a coral in January.

I’m trying to decide what color long sleeved shirt I should wear under my short sleeved shirt (lavender) if it ends up chilly like this morning on either race… I have yellow and white and red, and blue but I can’t find a single lavender long sleeved technical shirt (thus the arm warmers).

Amandya is doing the race with me.  She signed up late, and isn’t training, but that didn’t stop her in the half marathon last February.  She will make it.  I know she will.  And I know it will do her good.  She doesn’t like the fact that I’m probably not going to stay with her the whole race.  I’m not sure why it bothers her… she did 99% of the half all alone… and she is the one that left everyone else in the dust… and I’m just mom enough that I’m feeling guilty for knowing that I have to run this as my own race.  I have to push hard enough that I improve my chances in January.  And I’m just determined enough to leave her in the dust if I have to.  I’m putting the Disney music on her iPod so she has tunes to walk to.  I know she will be safe as long as she’s on the race route.  And we will be okay.

Guild sucks.

I’m sitting here, this early morning, with my right ankle wrapped in an ace bandage.  I should probably be doing a longish run today (to stick to the Galloway plan) but I was out in the back yard taking pictures of toad stools yesterday and I fell over a leaf and twisted my ankle.  In the grand scheme of my life, it hurts about a three.  But in the grand scheme of my current determination, it’s worrying me about a fifteen.  I’m going to take some industrial strength Aleve and try to at least take a walk a few times around the neighborhood to at least get what might pass for distance work in… but I can’t push… I can’t take the chance of hurting myself worse and not be able to do my best next week.

So… It’s nearly the end of October.  Disney let us know that they will ship our wrist bands December 2.  Our reservations look nearly right online.  and in a week I will validate to myself that I can…
1… finish a 10 mile race feeling way better than I finished the half in Feb
2… get times sufficient to move up a coral or two and improve my chances of not getting swept at Disney
3… race with my Figment outfit.  I may not get to get my picture taken with him in my outfit, but I can race through Epcot wearing my two tiny wings and my horns of a steer…

I know that my compulsion to run races isn’t really a popular thing… some people don’t understand why anyone would pay good money to go somewhere and go for a walk.  But… it’s something that I really love to do and it’s something that I’m going to keep doing.  This feels too good to give up on!  As long as I can, I’m going to.

Turn RA Infusions into “Me Time!” – Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment – Health Monitor

The article I was interviewed for about infusions and what I do on infusion days is now online!!! 🙂

Turn RA Infusions into “Me Time!” – Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment – Health Monitor.

It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times

I love fall.  Even in a place where there really isn’t any fall, I love fall.  The low last night was 47 degrees.  The windows are wide open (the cat is deliriously happy) and the sounds of the night are creeping into the house.  The smell of the rain creeps in with it. The wind makes ghosts of the curtains.  And, when dawn comes, the feel of being outside in weather that doesn’t stifle every breath is amazing.

And I’m sitting here working, feverishly, to finish a pair of wool arm warmers that will come down over the ends of my fingers if necessary while warming my fingers (raynauds… gotta love it) with HotHands hand warmers.  I’m thinking that it might not be a bad idea to go soak my hands in hot water.  Sometimes (like this morning) I think longingly of one of those amazing hot wax baths that you can use to ease the pain.

This is the time of year that speaks to my heart.  And reminds me that I’m not the person I used to be when I was jumping into leaves and raking leaves for my kids to jump in.  Now I fight back the cold that settles into my hands and feet and fight to really enjoy the day, every day.

Coffee cups double (only double… the coffee is always what matters most) as hand warmers.  Wool socks over warmed feet hold in the heat most of the day.  And I stock up on these handy dandy hand warmers to help when other things don’t.

It’s fall, creeping quickly up on winter.  Enjoy the beauty of the season!



On Taking Shortcuts

Okay, so, this week I did an interview about real life tips and tricks for living with RA for a magazine.  I also read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the Balloon Ladies that are part and parcel … Continue reading

Rainy Days and Sundays

It doesn’t rain here all that often.  When it does, it is usually commented on.  Today there were flash flood warnings over night, and there are flash flood watches through tomorrow morning.  We got some rain.  Enough that Lake Travis is up over a foot.

Last night, squirrel girl had work, and wanted to have a couple pain pills (industrial strength tylenol) dropped off.  She implied she wanted to have them driven over.  I looked at it as an opportunity to get in my long run.  I knew it was roughly 8.4 miles from my house to her work round trip AND it was supposed to rain.

I’ve been hoping for rain.  I don’t know what the weather will be like at Disney in January, and every time we go to Epcot it rains.  I knew I needed to try to train in the rain.  Long or short, or even part of a training outing, I needed to train in the rain.  So, we walked the tylenol over.

We walked very fast.  We averaged 15.29 minute miles.  It felt amazing…

I’ve started to remind myself that I need to release all tension in my arms and legs, my hands and my feet. It helps.  When my feet hurt, I release the tension and breathe deeply.

It never did rain last night.  The lightning danced in the clouds.  But the rain held off for hours after we got home.  It eventually let lose.  We got floody floody rain over night and when I got up this morning I went on a 30 min ‘run’ (everyone calls it run, even though this morning it SO wasn’t even a jog, but I still averaged a 15.08 minute mile.  In the rain.

Training in the rain is hard.  But it felt really good, too.

I’m starting to feel almost human.  The Orencia is working.  I am hoping it KEEPS working, but it’s working.

Tonight, I’m tired.  Not in pain.  Not horribly tired, but I’m tired.

I’m starting to believe I might actually be able to do the Disney Half.  I’m thinking I might even do okay in the 10 miler in 2 weeks.