(A Wine and Dine Story) And So We’ve Come….

…to the end of the road.

Literally.

I know this has been a long, drawn out, painful process.  Much like my running life has been the last few years.  And it ain’t over yet.  Well, almost.

I promise.

The pain is coming to an end.

When last we checked in here and here, I was headed for that great big starting line in the……….wait.  No no no. Not THAT one.  This one.

wine-and-dine-start

Jeep packed up, Wonder Mutt dropped off at the neighbors, and off to the most Magical Place on Earth we go.  Not without a giant case of the nerves.  After checking in to our little temporary home for the next few days the night before, we headed over to the expo.  Nothing too exciting there, just your usual, if more complicated, expo shenanigans as in past years.  Complicated as in “let’s just make everyone walk all over kingdom come to get anywhere else between packet pick up, shirt pick up, and goodie shopping” kind of complicated.

We managed to get through all the madness, hook up with running buddies Rae and Lisa, grab a brewski upstairs from the expo, head off for a day of eating, shooting aliens in Studios, grabbing some moonshine at Fort Wilderness (literally, moonshine!), and singing our way all over central Florida.  Yep, that was us you heard.

night-sweats

Much less hairy though.  MUCH.

Fast forward to Sunday morning.  Oh-dark-thirty.  No sleep.  Nerves jumping like Pop Rocks.  I tape the beeJesus out of my knees, get dressed, try to eat the bagel the hubs had so thoughtfully picked up for me the day before, quadruple check that I have all race necessities – tunes, shades, Sport Beans, sanity (not so much), and off we go.  Hubs drops me off at Coronado Springs so I can hop race transpo to the start, and back to bed goes he.  After a very short wait, bus arrives, off to WWoS we go, and the reality of what’s about to happen REALLY starts to sink in.

Holy crap woman, you’re about to run 13.1 miles.  Again.  With the very real possibility that you may finish, not finish, implode before you hit the start line, or act like that ninny in A League of Their Own.

baseball.jpg

Thankfully, the wait to start wasn’t unbearably long, and before I knew it, Rudy and Carissa, those ever faithful runDisney announcers, had the corrals off and running.  Ever vigilant of not starting off too fast, I ignored the typical bizarre looks I was getting from runners around me as I had the following convo with my psyche.  Apparently out loud.

“Hey idiot.”

“What.  Can’t you see I’m trying to run here?”

“Yeah.  That’s why I need you to rein it in and make sure you stick to your intervals.  Otherwise you may not finish.”

“I may not finish anyway.  And I hate running intervals.”

“Hubs said if you finish, he’ll have Patron waiting for you.”

(silence)

(more silence)

(even more silence)

“Dammit.”

Needless to say, agave juice won out.

Margarita in a glass

Dammit.

Soooo, as I wound my way at a snail’s pace around Animal Kingdom, of course I had to stop and hang out with these guys.

Stilt Guys1.jpg

My, you’re all really…..tall.

The new course then meandered along random Disney World roads and back towards Epcot.  At which point, my eyes lit up like I had just discovered a giant bowl of spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.  Due in no small part to what was probably the GREATEST MILE MARKER EVER……

mile-9-rev

Maniacal smiling!

Mile 9.  I knew I was going to finish this bad boy one way or another.  But not before I had to go through what I lovingly termed the MILE OF REALLY MOTHER-EFFER?!?  I JUST COULDN’T GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT YOU, COULD I?!?

stubborn mule

Nope. Not a chance lady.

Hello Mile 10, hello “what the hell just imploded in my left leg?”  Oh wait, just a lovely little mixture of tight IT band, tuckered out left glute, with a touch of inner left knee soreness thrown in for good measure.  Now, all that being said, I had stuck to my intervals, stopped to stretch every 1-2 miles, and never pushed the pace the entire time.  I knew this was not going to be a speedy half, and had already decided to just have fun with it.  Having this blow up at Mile 10 didn’t really bother me all that much, and if I had to walk it in from there, then so be it.  I could live with it.  I knew the hubby and Lisa were already celebrating her oh-so-speedy finish, and I had every intention of joining them in consuming vast quantities of celebratory libations before much longer.

lisa-grouper1

“Move it girl, there’s partying to be done!”

Then I knew the runner gods had been paying attention.  Mile 10 consisted of an insanely banked ramp up to an overpass.  A ramp which had no flat spot to run on.  ANYWHERE.  Now, I had received very strict orders from the Man and Torture Tony to NOT RUN THE RAMPS OR ELSE.

And for once, I actually listened.

Not just because there wasn’t a flat spot anywhere along that ramp to run on, but also because – you know – that whole pesky left leg thing.

Then, a Disney miracle happened.

miracle.png

No, not that miracle.

As the ramp peaked at the top of an overpass around Mile 11, I decided just to test the waters a bit and see if the extended walk break may have been enough for everybody to calm the hell down.  After a few cautious jogging steps – and a lot of breath holding – things seemed to actually be…..ok.

laugh dog

Say WHA?????

What?  Were you not paying attention?

I said,

EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE OK

AS IN NO PAIN

ANYWHERE!

In complete and utter disbelief, I called the hubs and Lisa, told them to get the ‘ritas chilling, kicked it into high gear – well, MY high gear – and brought it on home.

The rest – as they say – is history.  Enjoy.

choir1

medal-shirt1

Enjoy the ride.

Thank you for following along with me on what has been on helluva ride.  Your good wishes and crossed paws all helped me cross that finish line on that beautiful morning, and I could not have done it without you.  I especially could not have done it without the encouragement of my hubs, my family, Lisa, PT Pam, Torture Tony, and Dr. Testa.  It’s been a long and painful journey, but we have finally arrived, in no small part to every one of you.  My running adventures will continue, and I hope to take all of you along on them.  Hang on tight, as the ride is only going to get better from here on out!

Setbacks: A Study in Patience

Of which I have none.

impatient

So here’s the dealio.  Just as I’m about to break up with PT Pam, #brokeknee decides to act up.  BIG time.  I’d been pushing my speed for short bursts during my last few runs.  If for no other reason than I haven’t been able to do any speed work for years.  Yes, you read that right.  YEARS.  Soooo, last Monday at my PT session, PT Pam puts me on the treadmill.  Where, once again, I say to myself, “Self?  Let’s see what you can do on this horrible thing, shall we?”  Now, knowing the speed on the dreadmill is WAY off in comparison to the pretty little numbers I’ve been seeing on my trusty GPS, I kept hitting the speed plus button.  And hitting it.  And hitting it again.  All the way to that lovely point I lovingly call the death pace.  You know the one.  The speed where lead legs kick in, stitches stick in your side, and breathing is a long-lost, fond memory.

C'mon Bridge, we got this.

C’mon Bridge, we got this.”

I had that blasted machine going faster than what it was telling me, and I started to suspect I hadn’t moved my dupa that fast since I was about 12.  But, I managed to keep it going at breakneck speed for a couple of minutes.  As I kicked it back for a cooldown, I started feeling a bit of discomfort in the spot.  You know. The SPOT.  The one started all this aggravation many, many, many moons ago.

Later that night and into the next day, that old familiar ache was back.  And I was PISSED.  When I went back to PT Pam a couple of days later – for what was SUPPOSED to be our big breakup – I was still pissed.  She figured I’d aggravated my….wait for it…..IT BAND.  (Cue dramatic music here).  You know what I’m talking about.  The same no-good IT band I thought was the source of all this crap for the past few years.  Yeah….THAT one.  I swear sometimes I’m cursed.

Angry bird's got nothing on me.

Angry bird’s got nothing on me.

All that bitchin’ aside, I’m happy to report the ache has subsided quite a bit, but my first run back beachside wasn’t nearly as pleasant as I would have liked.  Thank goodness the hubby ran with me.  (I don’t think he realizes how much he pushes me just by being next to me.  And that is a very good thing.  Just don’t tell him, I wouldn’t want it to go to his head.:)

I’m trying to take all of this in stride – no pun intended – and stop all the crazy thoughts of here we go friggin’ again – from racing around in my already overloaded, game-show-dollar-machine brain.  I’m yelling “plot twist!” and changing up the game for a couple of weeks.  I’m headed to the Keys in a few weeks and there’s no way I’m NOT running in that tropical paradise.  In order to get me there, the game plan will be all about biking, swimming, and walking.  I’m still going to breakup with PT Pam tomorrow, but I feel good about it.  Especially since I can do all the exercises on my own, and have pulled out and dusted off my trusty little muscle stim machine and foam roller.  Oh, and did I mention hitting the leg weights?  HARD?  If there’s one thing this runner chick has learned, it’s to embrace the sweat, pain, and tears of the cross-train.

leg day toilet

Any words of encouragement would come in pretty handy right now, so feel free to share any interesting, inspiring, little ditties of wisdom.  Or you can just yell at me to quit my whining and get my ass back in gear.  You wouldn’t be the first.  If you happened to be peeking in my bedroom window yesterday you would’ve seen me doing the same thing in the mirror.  BEFORE I called the cops about some creep peeking in my window.  But thanks for the good intentions.  Creep.

Enjoy the ride.

What inspiring words of wisdom do you have for a friend in need?  Are you the arm-around-the-shoulders type of or more the Jillian-Michaels-scream-your-head-off type?  What do you respond to more?  Are you a fountain of patience or ready to ram your head through the door after a minor setback in training?

Oh Happy, Happy Day!

Who would’ve ever thunk running a mere mile and half could make me smile like this?

Whooo hooo!!

Whooo hooo!!

Wanna know the cause for all this silliness?  Huh?  Huh? Wanna? Wanna? Wannawannawannawannawanna?????

Okay.

If I must.

(Like I can keep it in any longer.)

boom

PT Pam gave a thumbs up to start adding about a half mile to my mileage every week for the next month – which conveniently will bring me right about to where I start officially training for Wine and Dine.  MY plan, which I kinda sorta maybe quite accidentally fell in to, has me pushing my pace at the shorter distances.  I figure if I can give a little donkey kick to the conditioning now – you know, in the UNGODLY SOUTH FLORIDA HEAT AND HUMIDITY – it’ll make things just a tad bit easier down the road.  HA!  Get it?  “Down the road”?  Gawd I crack myself up!

Wha? Huh? Wha's so funny?

Wha? Huh? Wha’s so funny?

I’ve been finding it takes me about a half mile to get everything loosey-goosey and past the initial “what the eff are you doing lady?” phase I think most of us go through at the start of a run.  It used to take me a bit longer to settle in, but I’m finding by doing more dynamic stretching pre-run – front, side, back kicks, hip circles, and twists – that I settle in a little faster.  So much so that about a half mile in, I can begin to kick up the pace a bit.  And the UH-MAZE-ING part?  I’ve been able to kick up the pace to one that……wait for it……I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE (well, at least since high school anyway, many, many, MANY moons ago).  Now, keeping things in perspective, I can only maintain that pace for about a minute to a minute and a half, but to my previously slower-than-molasses bones, it’s a start.  A HUGE start.  And one that I’m hoping I can continue to build on.

“Let’s get that four-minute mile one up here, shall we.”
“Who are you kidding?!?”

It’s going to be tough to practice what I preach about building mileage slowly – especially with what my GPS has been telling me.  BUT, knowing how rough I felt at the end of the run will help keep me in check.  Can you say “holy hell I feel like a cow kicked me under my new and improved bionic knee cap”?  Thankfully after about an hour and a bit of ice therapy, everything was right as Moose Tracks again.  And that makes this Black Dog very, very happy.

This is my happy face.

This is my happy face.

This will be my 1.5 mile week and I hope that my knees – and times – continue to hold up as well as can be expected.  I’m also breaking up with PT Pam this week as I think we’ve pretty much gotten me to where I need to be, and also looking down the road to #KneeGate2015 Part II, I need to save some PT visits on my insurance.  I can honestly say that I cannot wait until early next year when hopefully all of this knee nonsense can finally become a thing of the past, and I can really start work on dropping those numbers on the clock.  And then……who knows?

WDW Marathon

Stranger things have happened.

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever taken a break from running and upon returning, found your strength – and spirit – renewed?  Did it last or did the newness of it all fade quickly?  Were you impatient to do too much too soon, to see how your body would react?  How did it end up working out?

#KneeGate 2015: The Adventure Continues

It’s been a while since we checked in on the progress of #KneeGate2015, so let me regale you with an update.  Because I KNOW you’ve just been loving the cliffhanger that has become the Tale of the Broke Knee.  Haven’t you?  Come on, you know you have….

Tellmemoretellmemoretellmemore!!!!!!

Tellmemoretellmemoretellmemore!!!!!!

So here we are, just shy of six weeks post op.  And let me tell ya.  This girl, THIS girl, is my new hero.

PT Pam, meet Black Dog world.  World, meet PT Pam.

PT Pam, meet Black Dog world. World, meet PT Pam.

In the past three weeks, with her expertise, patience, and the uncanny ability to not go off the deep end when I ask her every five minutes, (literally, EVERY five minutes), “sooooooo, can I run yet?”, PT Pam has gotten this stubbornass, stiff, achy #brokeknee to start acting like a knee should.  Bend more?  Sure.  Straighten all the way?  No problem.  Lift some weight again?  I gotcha.  It’s like she’s some kind of friggin’ miracle worker.

No, not that one.  BETTER.

No, not that one. BETTER.

If it sounds like I’ve got some kind of hero worship going on, I DO.  Three weeks ago, after a very, let’s say, disillusioning, visit with the surgeon, my attitude wasn’t the best.  After a few visits to PT Pam the Miracle Worker, this Black Dog brain is in a much better place.  MUCH better.  Like rolling in vats of Moose Tracks and margaritas kind of better place.

That's the one.

That’s the one.

This mutt has her dupa back in the gym, back on the bike, banging out baby squats, (who knew there was such a thing?), and fighting the urge to take the mph on the treadmill just a little bit higher.  I’m not quite THAT stupid.  Well, then again….

Okay, so I'm an idiot.

Okay, so I’m an idiot.

If it were not for the fear of screwing things up for this year’s Splash and Dash Wine and Dine, I might have just pushed it a little too far, too fast.  Then again, there’s always the very possible, very REAL fear of a Kellie beatdown.  Or getting beat over the head with one of Nicole’s oars.  Yeah, I’m not THAT stupid.  Usually.

Hmmmmmm.....

Hmmmmmm…..

In the meantime, my constant harassment of PT Pam shall continue, I’ll keep pushing the limits of my pain level, and I’ll keep looking at that date on the calendar.  You know the one I’m talking about.  Come on now kids. Say it with me.

Ommmmmmm........

Ommmmmmm……..

 

Enjoy the ride.

Ever found yourself chomping at the bit to get back to the road before being cleared for it?  Did the fear of re-injuring yourself keep you in line?  Have you ever dreamt about taking a running leap into a pool full of margaritas?

And The Adventure Continues…

star wars

No, not that one.  THIS one….

aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh......

aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh……

When we last left each other’s company (here), I was waiting for the healing to begin so I could get back to the business of, oh, well, RUNNING.  After all, it’s kind of an integral part of my little literary corner here.  As we all know by now, patience is NOT one of my strong suits.  As is neither refraining from ice cream, well-made margaritas, or a nicely chilled glass of Paso Robles Cabernet.  (Yes, Colby, I’m lookin’ at YOU.)  I know it’s only been three weeks, but this tail is itching to get wagging again.  DAMMIT, THIS GIRL’S GOT PR’S TO SET.

castle

Just…yeah…um…crap.

Soooooooo, since these little 15 minute strolls with the hubs and Wonder Mutt just aren’t quite cutting it as far as a training plan goes, girlfriend is taking her tail off to physical therapy.  At least if I’m going to break something to make it work, I’ll know how to do it correctly.  After all, I am pretty sick and tired of doing nothing more than staring at this crap all day long.

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

On the upside, the hubs has been nothing short of amazing in his post-surgical nursing skills.  UH-MAZE-ING.  If they gave out Emmy’s for Amazing Husbands Who Take Care of Their Gimpy Wives, he would be like the Tom Hanks of the Gimpy Support World.  Minus the Walt Disney mustache.  And the hair.

I would've pasted hubby's face on here, but I'm too photoshop-challenged.  Work with me here.

I would’ve pasted hubby’s face on here, but I’m too photoshop-challenged. Work with me here.

So as we ride off into the sunset of the Black Dog Surgery/Recovery Shenanigans – at least until I get the other knee fixed – let us bid adieu to all things silly hats, cutie patootie anesthesia dudes, happy juice, and bruises.  From here on out, it’s all things onwards and upwards.  And if you hear inhumane screaming coming from a certain physical therapy office in south Florida, fear not.  For Mr. Hanks will have one of these ready for me when I gimp in the door.

LOVE. MY. MAN.

LOVE. MY. MAN.

Enjoy the ride.

Sooooo, were we highly entertained by the surgery/recovery shenanigans?  Or would you rather have had your eyeballs popped out with a spoon?  Did poking fun at your surgery make it easier to deal with it?  Did you have your own Tom Hanks dude at home, ready to make the pain go away with a Godiva chocolate martini?  Would you like to rent mine?  I charge a very reasonable fee.