Des News: Do You Need a Break?

My daughter and I taking a break.

Relationships are living, breathing things.  We grow and change.  We are not the same people today that we were last year.  Like you need a blog to tell you that.  So why is it so hard to accept that our relationship to running, or any workout really, is also dynamic?  I once told a friend that I was cutting back on marathons.  The love just wasn’t there anymore.  Her reaction was as if I’d told her I was allergic to chocolate.  She kept assuring me I would bounce back.  This was only temporary.  I would be okay.  Her advice was to sign up for more races until I found the love again.  Well intended, but seriously misguided.  I wasn’t complaining.  I wasn’t lamenting the loss of my glory years.  I wasn’t even quitting running.  I just didn’t want to race.  There was nothing deep and spiritual to read into this shift.  I just didn’t wanna and that’s okay.  I mean, I used to love those Brach’s circus peanuts and Kool-Aid.  Give me those now and I’d literally gag.

This week’s Des. News column is intended to help you know if you’re in a running funk- if you need to take a step back or take a break.   I also list a few things that help me transition into that break while maintaining my sanity.

Click on the link below to read the full column.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865686247/Knowing-when-to-take-a-break-from-running.html

Surgery Recovery Update

Me, pre-op trying my best to look sad and despondent. Instead it just looks like a failed duck-lip attempt.

A week ago I was in the hospital’s pre-op room wearing nothing but a surgical gown and hospital socks accessorized by the latest and greatest in IV’s and patient bracelets.  It would be another two hours before my scheduled hysterectomy.  Up until this point I was calm, even happy to have this procedure done once and for all.  But sitting in the actual hospital listening to the doctor’s explanations, expectations, and directions I started to literally shake with nerves.

There’s a reason I keep certain parts of my life private.  For some reason many feel the need to share their own experiences, and often, in an attempt to bond and relate, can scare the living be-jeebus out of me with their horror stories.  It happened when I was pregnant.  It became almost a contest to see whose labor was the worst.  Guess what.  No one wins that contest.

So when I learned I’d need a hysterectomy because of fibroids, I only told a few people, and many of those only out of necessity.  I’m not embarrassed.  But I didn’t want to hear the gory details of a friend’s neighbor’s cousin’s procedure back in 1998.  Alas, it was not to be avoided.  As suspected, I was regaled with tales of woe.  It seemed that every story also involved vacuuming.  Weird.  Every woman in each story started to feel fine, decided to vacuum her house prematurely and was rushed to the hospital hemorrhaging along the way.  Some, I was led to believe, never fully recovered (said in a hushed voice, head shaking).

Days before my operation I asked my doctor about these stories.  I could tell this was old news to him.  He didn’t miss a beat and went on to explain why that was definitely not going to happen to me.  I was going to have a Total Vaginal Hysterectomy (TVH) with no incisions if everything went as planned.  If it was easy to do, he’d also remove my fallopian tubes just to reduce any risk of future cancer.  I got to keep my ovaries.  His Christmas gift to me.  Thank you.  Seriously.

He gave me a 2-4 week recovery, but no running for 6 weeks.  I could lift as much as a gallon of milk without worry.  I asked about riding my bike and teaching cycle classes.  He was fine with it as long as it felt okay to me.  I calmed down a little, checked out half the books in the local library, hooked up Netflix in the bedroom and was ready to go.

Fast forward back to surgery day.  I’m telling my experience because in the days prior to mine, I scoured the internet looking for others who’d had the same procedure I had and who were as active as I was.  My biggest concern was how to deal with being bedridden and how long it really would last.  I found almost nothing.  So I write my recovery story for future Kims in the
Gym.

Continue reading “Surgery Recovery Update”

What the Numbers Really Mean

My miles summary for 2016

Stories are made of words.  Glorious words!  But once in awhile, numbers have a voice, too.  In this case, the numbers are from my 2016 run log.  My running for 2016 is done (more on why later) and the numbers are in.  More than 2700, in fact.  It’s what those numbers represent that is significant to me.  Click on the link below to read my Des News column to find out why.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865669075/Every-mile-we-run-tells-a-story.html?clear_cache=1

From the Archives- Running Myths

My kids told me last night that they never believed in Santa.  Don’t feel sorry for them.  Their lives are more than comfortable.  But it was a myth we never had to bust.  The fact that we open all of our presents on Christmas Eve and the handwriting on the gift tags looks exactly like mine may have given it away.  For others, Santa is alive and real and I urged my daughters not to spoil someone else’s belief in him.  There’s no harm in thinking he’s real (apologies for those who thought he was until they read this!).  But there are some myths that are dangerous and should be dispelled.  From the archives, a column I wrote in 2013 about a few running myths that simply need to go away.  Read on and enjoy!

It's a myth that running is hard and awful.  Sometimes it is.  And sometimes it's just fun.
It’s a myth that running is hard and awful. Sometimes it is. And sometimes it’s just fun.

I was a trusting child. I believed anything and everything anyone in authority- or who was simply older than I- told me.

If I crossed my eyes too long, they would stay crossed.

Swallowed gum would literally gum up my insides.

Wearing hats will make me bald.

Boys have cooties. According to my daughters, that one is true.

Myths are often perpetuated to encourage desired behavior. Often times they discourage what could potentially be a wonderful adventure.

For many, the world of running is a mysterious, foreign land filled with goal-obsessed athletes who wear bright-colored wicking shirts and dine on GU’s, Powerade and peanut butter sandwiches for dessert.

Granted, running may not be appealing to everyone, but often times the reasons that keep people from venturing into the land of sweet sweat aren’t real reasons at all. I’m here to debunk a few of the myths surrounding my beloved sport.

Continue reading “From the Archives- Running Myths”

Tips on Running an International Marathon

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Marathons are hard.  Traveling can be exhausting.  Combine the two could potentially be a recipe for disaster.  But it doesn’t have to be. My favorite races have been those in places completely unfamiliar.  There’s no better way to explore a city than on foot, running shoulder to shoulder with thousands of locals.  You can learn a lot about a culture during 26.2 miles.  Here are a few tips if you plan to run a race in a different country or even a different state.  Click on the link below to read my column, then pack your bags and choose your own adventure.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865666575/Running-races-internationally.html?clear_cache=1

The Amsterdam Marathon

 

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Click on this link below for a short video of the Amsterdam Marathon finish line

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Time is a funny thing.  It feels like I’ve been gone forever, and yet never left.  For 8 glorious days, I had the good fortune to wander around the Netherlands.  I ate many waffles, Dutch pancakes, Belgium chocolate, and poffertjes (look it up- they’re heavenly), but it was all good because I ran off every last carb during the Amsterdam Marathon.

Poffertjes with strawberries and ice cream. This is dinner.
Poffertjes with strawberries and ice cream. This is dinner.

The beauty of this course can’t be exaggerated.  The friendliness of the volunteers, fellow runners, and race organizers can’t be overemphasized.  This was a larger race with 16,000 marathoners and 18,000 half marathoners.  There was also an 8K the same day with around 3,000.  As large as it was, it felt like a small town race with all the small town feels.  In short, I loved it.  The course was flat which meant my legs weren’t beat up and I was able to walk the city for the rest of the week with little pain and discomfort.

A view of the Amsterdam Marathon course at Mile 20
A view of the Amsterdam Marathon course at Mile 20
The Amstel River. Mile 10 of the Amsterdam Marathon.
The Amstel River. Mile 10 of the Amsterdam Marathon.

 

This is good because there were many chocolate shops to visit along the way.  No time goals for this race.  I took video and pictures and soaked in the atmosphere.  Click on the link below to read about this latest running adventure.  (Fair warning- I wrote this with a jet-lag hangover, so it’s not my best work).

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865665476/The-Amsterdam-Marathon.html

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Race Report- Top of Utah 2016

Top of Utah Marathon
Female Master’s Winner and new course record holder with 3:06

Strangely enough, this is my first race report of the year.  Usually by this time I’ve run 6 marathons, a few halfs, a relay and a random 10K here and there.  This year, nothing.  Unless you count the century bike ride that abruptly ended at mile 23.  It’s been a heckuva year.

Full disclosure, those days of running races every weekend are over for me.  The desire is no longer there.  Weekends spent tapering and recovering, packing and planning don’t sound even remotely fun anymore.  What sounds fun is a nice long run early Saturday morning starting at my doorstep and ending on my front lawn.  Long run promptly followed by lunch and lounging around the house.  Absolutely dreamy!

That said, I only signed up for three marathons.  Two local and one in Amsterdam (coming up in 4 weeks!).  My first race, Utah Valley, was canceled after Shelly and I crashed our bikes at the Little Red Riding Hood century ride.  Grade 3 AC separation and a fractured right hand kept me from toeing the start line the following week.  I was a little disappointed, but not really.  Not a fan of that race or it’s 3:30 am wake-up call.

For the next few months I focused solely on recovery with my eyes set on the Top of Utah Marathon.  The recovery went well with only a few speed bumps along the way.  I clawed my way back to what I felt was the best shape I could be in at my age (41) and given the physical challenges of the past year.  With a couple weeks until race day, I felt as ready as I could expect and was excited to see the outcome.  I had high, albeit secret, expectations.

Top of Utah Marathon
Ready or not!

I should know by now never to let my expectations get high.

Continue reading “Race Report- Top of Utah 2016”

From the Archives- Boston 2012

Boston 2012
My friend Tracy and I at the Boston 2012 start. Notice the absence of any warm clothing. Ugh.

This is an article I wrote for the Deseret News the day after I ran the 2012 Boston Marathon.   It was a special day since my parents and my grandmother were all out to watch me run.  My grandmother had never seen me race before.  Sadly, my grandpa had already passed away.  I thought of him a lot and of how proud he would have been to watch me run.  It was an awful race.  80 degree start.  90 degree finish.  Factor in the heat radiating off the pavement at the end and, well, it was ugly.  It’s the only Boston Marathon where I’ve sought medical attention.  I was woozy and sick to my stomach at the end.  The medics doused me with water, forced me to eat a bag of magical potato chips and VOILA!  I was better!  Kind of.  It was a long and rough recovery.  Because it wasn’t the greatest of days, I immediately made plans to return in 2013.  I’ll post that recap later.  For now, enjoy.

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From the Archives: Marie Murray

Marie and I after the Ogden Marathon 2013.
Marie and I after the Ogden Marathon 2013.

Running has given me many gifts, but perhaps the greatest gift has been my friendship with Marie Murray.

Five years ago I received a Facebook message from my friend Rick asking for advice on behalf of his friend who had just qualified for the Boston Marathon. Over the next few months I gave his friend advice, but not the running kind. I figured if she’d already qualified, she knew what she was doing. Rather, I felt that guiding her toward the city’s best pizza and donuts was far more beneficial.

Although we lived only miles apart, I first laid eyes on Marie Murray at the Boston Marathon Expo. We chatted briefly, exchanged some war stories and shared some nervous tension. She and her husband were on their way to a Duck Tour. I was on my way to the North End in search of sugar and carbs. She was a tiny woman- the only person I’ve ever met that made me feel like a squatty gorilla! My first impressions were she was one tough, determined chick. I had no idea how right I was.

Continue reading “From the Archives: Marie Murray”

I Am Not a Number

Christian Cowart. Boston 2013 5K Now that's a guy who really enjoys his run.
Christian Cowart. Boston 2013 5K. Now that’s a guy who really enjoys his run.

It’s easy to allow numbers to define who we are.  How much we weigh.  How heavy we lift.  How far we run.  How fast we get there.  What size we wear.  How many calories we eat.  The problem is numbers don’t describe our character.  Numbers don’t identify drive, commitment, dedication, or desire.  You can’t measure the size of someone’s soul.  Working out, running, being fit and healthy isn’t about fitting into our jeans or looking good in a bikini.  It’s about feeling good.  Feeling strong.  Feeling like our best selves.  When we begin to focus on how we feel, all the superficial stuff falls into place.  I like fitting into old jeans.  I like feeling awesome in a bikini.  That, in itself, is not bad.  What’s bad is when it becomes the sole focus of our efforts.  Click on the link below to read more.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865659642/Focusing-on-appearance-is-no-reason-to-run.html