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I’m Very Sad!

Tonight I was scheduled to run alongside my husband in the Sundown Dash in Janesville.  One year ago Gary and I both ran this race.  It was our inaugural race.  Just as with last year the outside temperature is forecast to reach into the upper 90’s with a threat for severe weather.  Last year I was in great health and Gary was suffering with a hernia.  Being the trooper he is, he refused to sit out the race.  He absolutely insisted that he participate.  Both of us successfully completed our races with time to spare before the storm hit.  Gary’s injury progressed and eventually prohibited him from running, with me, in the Door County 5K in Fish Creek last September.  I was sad to see him in such pain and sad to not have him by my side.  Now the tables have turned.  I’m the one nursing an injury.

Several weeks ago I injured myself attempting to run a very notorious hill.  It’s the hill often referred to as “Hilda.”  Nobody should run this hill.  The hill is incredibly steep and long.  I made one successful round-trip on the hill.  My second run up “Hilda” brought me to my knees.  I experienced pain reaching down both of my calves and into my feet.  The pain was so intense it made my legs and feet feel like they would give out.  I struggled to the top at a very slow, snail’s pace.  As soon as I got within eyesight of my husband I dropped to the ground and called out to him.  He joined me at my side to render aid.  The only solution I knew was for him to fetch our car and take me home.  I left feeling defeated.  Two more attempts were made to run, one in my neighborhood and one while on vacation.  After only a half mile of running, in both instances, my pain returned.

After arriving home I made numerous attempts at relieving my pain.  My first objective was to try to sooth the pain in my legs by rolling them with our Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller.  The pain in my calves was so intense I had to postpone the therapy.  Knowing that ice and an NSAID were my next best remedy I hauled out our well used ice packs, two terry cloth towels, a glass of water and a bottle of NSAID’s.  Carefully I selected one tablet from the child-proof bottle.  After replacing the cap I swallowed the tablet along with several gulps of water.  Next I found a comfy place to relax, wrapped the ice packs in the terry cloth towels, placed the ice pack bundles under my calves and tried my best to relax and wait for my remedy to take effect.  After more than an hour the pain had subsided enough to free up my mobility.  Once again I tried to sooth my muscles with the Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller.  This time, instead of intense pain, I felt an “oh so good” discomfort.  You know the feeling.  The kind that helps to relax your muscles.

Obviously this was a short-term solution.  Something more serious had to happen to overcome this disability.  My next plan of attack was a visit to my favorite running shoe store All Season Runner.  Carried along with me were both pairs of my running shoes.  The oldest pair, the ones purchased last October while visiting our daughter in Colorado, were the shoes up for closest scrutiny.  Tawnya Hagen, the owner of All Season Runner, examined my shoes.  Her expert analysis brought about the conclusion that my shoes were beyond their life expectancy.  I kind of knew that’s what she would say because before going to the store I had flipped the shoes over to look at the soles.  With my limited knowledge I had a hunch I had probably ran every possible mile off those treads.

Tawnya carefully analyzed my feet and pulled a couple of shoes from her stock.  I tried on both pairs and together the two of us chose the pair best suited for me.  I left the store that day with specific instructions to try the shoes one time.  If they didn’t immediately make a difference I was to return to the store with the shoes for another fitting.

I tried the shoes while we were on vacation but again after only a half mile my symptoms returned.  The shoes, although they did not solve my problem, were very comfortable on my feet.  Messages were traded back and forth with Tawnya via Facebook.  She made several more recommendations all of which I have not been able to try because I can’t run yet.

Next on my arsenal list was an appointment with a medical professional.  Tests were done to determine my blood chemistry to see if deficits might be the trigger.  All of the pertinent tests came back negative.

My third solution was a massage.  Every other month I go for a full body massage at Namaste Today Yoga and Wellness.  Aly is my massage therapist.  On July 23rd Aly carefully worked my muscles.  Her findings pointed to issues with the muscles in my lower legs, especially my right leg.  She works closely with Matt at Petry Chiropractic and Wellness.  Aly recommended I seek treatment with Matt.  In advance of my appointment Aly said she would consult with Matt and relay her findings.  The massage, as always, was wonderful.  It did bring about relief but still it was no magic pill.

I took Aly’s advice and made an appointment with Matt.  I went for that visit this morning.  Matt carefully examined my entire skeletal system.  Joint by joint he made an assessment and treated as needed.  By the time we were finished he had realigned numerous parts of my body.  Matt also provided instruction on a regimen of stretches to add to my cool-down routine.

This all brings me to the real reason why I sat down to write this post.  Before parting company with Matt I asked him about competing in tonight’s 5K race.  Matt’s recommendation was to NOT run the race tonight, go ahead and run my regular distance tomorrow and then come back on Friday, with my shoes.  At that time we would discuss the Thursday night run and re-examine my joints to see how they adapted to their new alignment.

I was greatly saddened at his suggestion.  This would mean the shoe would be on the other foot.  Instead of my husband being injured and sitting out a race I was going to be in his shoes.  The thought of not participating and not being alongside my husband brought tears to my eyes.  We are buddies.  We do almost everything together.

In consolation I am thankful that my husband is well and physically fit to run his race.  I am also thankful that I can greet him at the finish line as he so often did for me last year.  I will proudly stand at the end and welcome him back from a well run race.  Aside from that, all I can hope for is a solution to be found for my injury quickly so that I can once again run along my husband’s side.  Partners in craziness!

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Progress Is Being Made

My husband and I went for a three-mile run this morning.  After returning home we shared a fabulous breakfast of quinoa smothered with cinnamon, honey and fruit accompanied by a piping hot cup of coffee.  With my exercise out-of-the-way and my tummy satisfied I rolled up my sleeves and hauled out my Heart and Home pattern and fabrics from Acorn Quilts.  I’ve been making slow but steady progress on my quilt by Heart To Hand.  Proceeding through the many, many steps takes care and loads of patience.  Because I want to produce an eye-appealing, top-quality creation I’m careful not to choose this project on a day when I am low on energy.

I’m almost finished with block number one.  All that is left are the french knots on the flowers and hand-stitching of veins on the leaves.  The hand work is something I can do while relaxing, in the evening, so I set that project aside.

The obvious next step was block number two.  First to complete was the Flying Geese panel.  I gathered all twenty-eight pieces and followed the instructions for assembly.  Each piece was carefully aligned, stitched and pressed.  After pressing the final seam and turning over the panel it was neat to see the finished strip.  I was well pleased with the color combination as well as the placing of my points.

Up next was the attachment of the Flying Geese to the main body of the block.  Once I had the two pieces stitched and carefully pressed it was on to the placement of the multiple pattern pieces.  Piece by piece I appliqued each section to my block.

First to be added were the tree and its many branches.  Next came the beautifully colored bird with its long and flowing tail.

This bird, as with most, needed a home to rest its weary bones.  A well fashioned nest complete with three little eggs was the next addition.

To finish off the block leaves and berries were added to adorn the branches.  As with block number one, this block also awaits further embellishment.  The bird will receive a hand-stitched eye, his feathers will be defined with contrasting embroidery floss, the blue berries will be decorated with small stitches and last but not least the leaves will be sculpted with lines to represent their veins.

The applique is now complete on blocks one and two of my Heart and Hand quilt.  Blocks three through six are already cut out and waiting assembly.  I can’t wait to work on them.  Here’s one more look at blocks one and two.

WIP Update

Very little progress has been made on my WIP list other than the updates I have shown you on my Heart and Hand quilt and the small quilt for my middle granddaughter Miss L.  Here’s my list as it stands:

*Quilt Tops Ready for Quilting*

My Colorado daughter’s king sized quilt; Simple Times quilt by American Crib Quilts; May Night from the Pineapple Passion Collection by Nancy Smith and Lynda Milligan published by That Patchwork Place; and Bear’s Paw Quilt by Eleanor Burns from the TRIO of Treasured Quilts Quilt in a Day Series.

*Fabric and Quilt Patterns Purchased For*

Autumn Quilt by Heart To Hand; Heart & Home by Heart To Hand (progress being made); Snowy Days by Heart To Hand; The Bundling Board by Primitive Pieces; and First Year Log Cabin by Acorn Quilts.

*Quilt Pattern Purchased For*

Cathedral by Villa Rosa Designs; Civil War Battle Series # 2 by Clothesline Quilts; Courthouse Square # 169 by Country Threads; Family * Home * Friends by Cottage Creek Quilts; Joyful Welcome by Threads That Bind; Martin’s Pennies by Civil War Legacies; Snow Drifts by Hanging by a Thread; and Tall * Small by Waltzing with Bears

*Fabric and/or Craft Pattern Purchased For*

Chelsea Tote by Lazy Girl; Elf Mittens by Button Stitch Designs; Encore Purse Insert by Studio Kat; Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl; Penny Mats thru the Year January, April and November by Buttermilk Basin; and The Sammi Grace Bag by Fishsticks Designs.

I also have fabric purchased to make a quilt for each of my three two grandchildren.  These quilts do not require a pattern.  7/3/12 Note:  one of the three quilts has already been made.  All that’s left to finish is the hand-stitching of the binding.

* * *

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.  Be sure to stop by her blog for more WIP fun.

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13.1 Miles: We Were Triumphant!!

My first 13.1 mile race

How does one describe their first half marathon running experience?  In one word I would say,

AWESOME!!!

In spite of the heat and humidity . . . We did it!  We did it!  We did it!  I had a fabulous time.  What an experience.  Aside from concentrating on the obvious, putting one foot in front of the other, I tried to absorb the sights, the sounds, and the people.  It was so neat having the otherwise very busy streets and pathways dedicated to the runners.  Seeing all the police officers, fire fighters, oodles and oodles of volunteers as well as thousand of well-wishers making sure we were safe, well hydrated, nourished and encouraged was fantastic.  Each one of them helped make our experience one that we will never forget.  We did our very best to thank as many people as possible for their assistance.  Without them I’m sure our outcome would have been much different.

The buzz amongst our friends and relatives, that ran with us, was not only about the race we had just completed, also included were the dates of future half marathons that deserved attention.  If you were to gauge our overall feeling, of the adventure, by the number of future half marathons that have suddenly been dropped onto our calendars, I would say that this event would rank 100 on a scale of 10.

If would not be fair to claim victory without mentioning the people who helped make our experience successful.  Thanks to All Season Runner, Kitty Clark Cole, Bruce Thoms, Steve Hovland, Tawnya Hagen and everyone else that assisted us along the way.  We were able to successfully train for and complete our very first 13.1 half marathon because of them.  You all were awesome!  Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

All Season Runner Store in Janesville, WI
All Season Runner Store in Janesville, WI
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Run, Run, Run, Just as Fast as You Can . . .

My first 13.1 mile race

The count down is on.  T Minus two days and counting.  “Counting to what,” you might ask, and I would reply, “My first half marathon.”  Not only am I a quilting enthusiast but I am also a runner.  One year ago my running adventure began.  It’s not by any means a famous one, but it’s mine.  So how do I balance quilting with running and visa versa . . . well it isn’t easy.  My husband would say that I take multitasking to the extreme.  He believes that if it were possible I would somehow find a way to do both at the same time.  Pushing my long arm quilter, in front of me, while running, is absolutely impossible.  Setting priorities is how I do it.

February 2011 my daughter KT and I made a pact to begin exercising at least three times a week.  We didn’t join a gym or attend organized classes.  Nope, we simply met in my basement, turned on the TV and DVD player and inserted an exercise disk.  Getting together early in the morning wasn’t always easy, nor desirable but we did.  Becoming physically fit and loosing a few pounds here and there were our goals.  The more time we dedicated to our endeavor the more we saw results.

Somewhere along the journey we got wind of a program that would take people from their couch to a 5K.  My husband Gary and I were very curious.  We visited our local running store All Season Runner to find out if it was true.  Indeed there actually was such a program.  Not knowing exactly what might lie ahead we enthusiastically registered.  Without KT’s permission, we enrolled her as well.  After all, why wouldn’t she want to join her parents?  From that moment on our lives have never been the same.

Since completing my 5K training I have participated in two 5K’s, a 10K, a 5 miler and a 3 mile fun run.  Each of those events brought its own challenges and rewards.  What ever the case may be neither of them created an insurmountable hurdle.

Riding on the enthusiasm sparked by the shorter races and craving a new goal we continued our training with All Season Runner by challenging ourselves to reach for and overcome a higher goal.  Our new hurdle was to train for and run in our first half marathon.  The training plan began in February of this year and continued for 15 weeks.

Before 2011 the prospect of running 13.1 miles would have never been on my radar screen.  Running any longer than ten seconds would have brought me to my knees.  Just like all other runners we put one foot in front of the other, gradually increasing our endurance and stamina.

This afternoon we drove to Madison, WI to pickup our 2012 Madison Half Marathon race packets.  In less than forty-eight hours the race will be all over.  Until then I will wait in anticipation for my greatest challenge to date.  Stay tuned . . .

All Season Runner Store in Janesville, WI
All Season Runner Store in Janesville, WI