Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Current Questions: Can you move? and/or Are you OK?

The Woody Walk
If you saw me walking through the hallways at work you would have seen the Woody walk. This kind of odd strut where your legs just flop around. The rest day between classes is meant to recover, and I did that just barely. Walking up the two flights of stairs to my apartment was a little much and when the kittens walked on my sore muscles I thought these guys are better than a foam roller.

Upon arriving at class today I learned I was not the only one doing a modified Woody Walk. A lot of us were. It was nice to hear "Can you move?" and talk to the seasoned participants knowing they were sore as well. We also noticed that we lost a lot of people from the Monday class to today's class. Most of the time it's the soreness and people think it won't go away.

We didn't have long to complain about being sore, we were grabbing weights and heading outdoors. Today was the second part of the fitness test. It involved burpees, push-ups, pull-ups, sprints, grapevines, chest presses and something similar to a wall sit.

Now at 6am, it's a little cold and wet outside. Rocking shorts and a short sleeve race shirt was not the best plan. I found out we go outside every class until it snows. We did the name game but it involved "my name is ______, and my favorite exercise is _________, so we're going to _________ for [insert amount or time]"

I was the second to go and the woman in front of me took jumping jacks and I was like, I don't know any other exercises that I would want to do on pavement in a parking lot. So we ran in place. I'm lame like that. As we went around the circle we did reverse planks, planks, speed skaters, then it got to the dude...

Push ups for 1 minute. I wanted to run across the circle and slap this man silly. I did 8, poorly done, not low enough to really count push ups. My hands also dug right into that pavement. She recommends that we go get weight lifting or bicycling gloves because it will save our hands a bit. I'm also going to need some form of workout pant

I kept going as best as I could. My asthma still hates me today and I want all the foods and nothing that I brought to work today. The Woody Walk is still so present and will probably be there until Friday's class starts. So I'm sure to hear "Are you OK?" a bunch of times at work and will love every second of putting my feet up later.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sometimes fear makes you unstoppable

I took a trip to the emergency room the other week and it scared the hell out of me. I was at my work computer when all of a sudden it became unrecognizable. I was texting with a friend who is an EMT and told him what was going on. I had partial but not all symptoms of a stroke and he suggested I go get checked out. Everything made me dizzy, my extremities were tingling, I had extreme pain shooting through my head. I didn't know how to get up. My speech pattern was stupefied. I was terrified.

I was given medicine through an IV and for three hours I had no headache and I was exhausted. The one thing that is always repeated to me is that if I lost weight the headache disorder could possibly go away all together. With the amount I had lost previously and was managing to maintain, the pain from the initial diagnosis to now had lessened. I knew I needed to take things seriously again.

I'm still not motivated to run. I think and daydream about running in cold wet weather on the trails in Saratoga State Park but right now those are just daydreams.

I do things because they scare the hell out of me. That is what made me sign up for my first half marathon.  So I signed up for a Boot Camp class at Hudson Valley Community College. It's at 6am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was (and still am) scared that I'll suck so badly. That I won't be able to complete everything. That I'll be the last "kid" in the group. Some of those fears were totally there this morning.

However, the instructor is awesome and saw the two new people in the class and was great checking in with us and watching our form. This morning was a fitness test so we could get our starting point numbers. 3 minute step test (fuck you stadium stairs), 8 sets of .20sec lunge press sets with an 8 pound weight, stability T pose, laps around the track, planks, jog to the flag pole, push-offs, and more step ups, followed by jog back to the room.

My asthmatic lungs are feeling it hard. My legs are feeling it too. The instructor also took our body measurements and our body fat percentages and because I suck at finding my pulse I have to do resting heart rate tomorrow (I found an app that uses the camera & flash on your iphone to get your pulse)

Wednesday is a push up test (probably sit ups too). Push ups are why I am taking this class. I was right at 50 push ups in one minute before my accident. I would like to be on my way of getting back there. Right now doing 7 modified push ups tire out my shoulder.

So I might not be writing about running as much but I'll still have something to talk about. I know a lot of my friends are like me, not really loving the idea of taking a class and being around all these other people exercising. In the back of my mind, I want to be able to run a Turkey Trot this year but I'm not going to marry myself to that idea yet. For now,  I'm just going to keep lunging forward and keep stepping up.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A great disappointment

Yesterday's text exchange

Hollie: So some life stuff has been happening. Blood pressure jumped a from 120/70 to 140/82. Lots of stress, loss of appetite. I'm staying hydrated and trying to eat small things but it makes me nervous about The Boilermaker. I walked 7.5 miles this past Sunday and I was fine but I keep going back and forth about deferring (or not going) the race.

J: Your health comes first. If you don't feel ready or think you may jeopardize it on Sunday, then defer. If you think you'll be OK with walking the majority of it , then go. What's the weather supposed to be?

Hollie: Supposed to be in the 70's and raining with 60% humidity. I just started a second anxiety medicine and I've been exhausted but part of me doesn't know if I am just psyching myself out. I did the Firecracker 4 in 1:07:00 so I should be able to do this in 2:30:00

J: Hollie. This is supposed to be for fun. If you are stressing out about it or have too much going on right now, then you are completely undermining the point of doing the run in the first place. It's OK to defer. If doing the run will bring you closer to a happier place, then do it but stop putting so much pressure on yourself over it :) it's simply just a matter of figuring out what you need more of right now. Exercise or relaxation - and giving yourself that gift.


I have been dreading writing this post because it means several different things to me. I feel like I am giving up, even though I know that is not the case. However, my reason to run can't be because I feel like I will disappoint everyone else. Especially, when I am feeling this way.

Running is a mental sport and mentally I am not there. The Firecracker 4 felt impossible. Yes, I got through it but it wasn't fun at all and I wasn't getting sick then.

I had been dealing with small episodes as the week has carried on. Small attacks, ones that I often just push through. I've taken a lot of time off of work this week going in only once. It's half depression (well grieving) and half physical pain that's happening.

When I look at my life from the last time I was really sick, well everything matches.

There is a part of me that is disappointed in myself. The part that says just go and run the fucking race. Then there is the part of me that is scared. What if it hurts too much, what if I blackout? Because it already hurts to sit in my apartment at the computer screen and my apartment is built for my special needs. It is actually really sunny out as I type this and I have to go to a doctors appointment and I'm dreading the wearing of the sunglasses and hat. Double dorking it just to not hurt while outside.

I know it's stress that is making everything worse. I know I am dealing with it in all the ways I know how to. Asking for medical help, increasing therapy sessions, trying to go out with friends more, resting my body and mind. I know it takes time, and time takes time. I know I've been through this before and I have come out for the better on the other side. It's just sometimes the person that everyone else sees as the strongest champion, sometimes we lose the fight.

I still haven't made my decision. I've got a therapy session and a dinner this evening that I want to go to before I make my choice. At this point I know I can't defer my registration, it would just be the choice not to go. I've never not gone to a race I've registered for. That's why it sits with me as it would be a great disappointment.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mementos and miles

This post should go up while I'm running the Half Marathon or at least I planned it that way.

There are mantras, mementos,small tricks to fool the brain while you are running. While I run, I keep my thumbs facing up and my hands are loose. I asked for my thumbnail to be painted by someone very special to me. She is the person I imagine I am running to. Often while using the Zombies, Run app to get me through the last few miles, I think about what if she was in danger, hurt, or needed help....that I would run to her. It's cheesy, yes I know this. Still, she painted my thumb deep blue, a color called Afterglow or After Party (if I remember correctly) so while I type here at work it feels a bit weird and odd to have one thumb painted but when I am racing, it will help me know that she is holding my hand. She won't be the only one with me on the race. When I ran the Hudson Half, I liked the idea of running in honor of people and dedicated miles.

Mile 1-2: Keri Fitzgerald
Because she always convinces me that getting started and the first mile are the hardest things to do.

Mile 2-3: Gail Miller
My mom, for asking the other day about a 5K for our church and if I have to sign a waiver for all the races that I run. We're gonna tackle that 5K together, I just haven't told you that yet.

Mile 3-4: Liz Sherwood-Mack
For making me so proud of your couch to 5K journey and seeing you in the last stretch of your first 5K.

Mile 4-5: Jenika Conboy
Even though our paths run parallel and haven't crossed much recently. You are with me on every run because you are the one who let me believe I can do it. I believe in Orange.

Mile 5-6: Carla Capobianco
You have run countless 5K's with me. October, Great Pumpkin 10K, 2013. It's on.

Mile 6-8: My Personal Miles
This is the crossing over to the half way point. It's into the second loop of the course. I will know what lies ahead. I have to believe I am enough to succeed at this.

Mile 8-9: Ed & Kait
My Boilermaker family. 15K conquered in June means the Boilermaker will be plain fun.

Mile 9-10: Mary Whittredge
Mary, this mile is a hill. A hill that I will have run once already. A hill that I won't want to go up. I know I'll hear your voice cheering me on up that hill.

Mile 11-12: Liz Sterling 
This is the most difficult mile for me. It's the mile that killed in the Hudson Half. It's the mile that almost stopped me. It's the mile that I need the most faith & heart. You will help me push forward.
Mile 12-13: Joel Tse
In my head, every time I've doubted my finish, I've heard your voice saying "fuck that, you're gonna finish"
I'm gonna finish Joel. I'm gonna finish.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hide and Seek

Tonight is the night before the eve of the race. What does that mean? Sleeping pills to ensure I get enough rest, phone turned on do not disturb, self-care/self-love, laying out everything I need to travel with.

I'll leave for Plattsburgh tomorrow morning/brunching hour to get up there in time to pick up my race packet. I'll check into my hotel, wait to hear when K & A get into town. Find a dinner place and quite possibly go to the movies. (We always miss out on that with The Boilermaker, but Ed found out where karaoke is last year, so it might be a crazy night this year)

There are a couple of ways to track me during the race. If you are my friend on Facebook or Twitter you will see Hollie started a run post with RunKeeper and you should be able to click on it and track me.

My Runkeeper profile is:

The other way is by tracking the race on runkeeper:

During the Hudson Half family & friends loved being able to find out where I was on the course.

Goals of the race:
1. No injuries
2. Under 4 hours
3. Finish

Minature goals (a.k.a. I won't be sad if I don't achieve them)
1. Finish in 3:30:00 or less
2. Try for 3 kills in the last mile
3. Get a corny finish photo with my medal at the official backdrop

The race starts by 8:10am. I hope to be finished, medal'ed, and recovering by noon.

Monday, June 3, 2013

As close as I can

Saturday I ran my 8 miles. The 8 miles that were to make me feel like I could actually run 13.1 this coming Sunday. In my head, I still believe I can. Still see myself finishing, yet there are some doubts as to what I can do.

I am having moments where I am loosing my breath and loosing my head while sitting at work. I'm pushing other aspects of my life into an arena that they ought not be. I'm so quiet and so small right now.

I went back and read my post "to remain selfless cold and composed" and everything  makes sense. It doesn't make it easier, it just makes more sense.

I have my plan. Race 4 miles at a time. Refuel each 4 miles. 2 camelbak's worth of drink for the race. Walk more if I need to. Stop if I'm injured.

This quote from that former post sums up a lot of feelings about good things that are happening within my life.
Still, inside there is doubt. It's part of who I am struggling with, part of the "changing the foundation, changes the house".  It feels unnatural to be confident and sure of yourself. So, I'm at odds with it. People can be all sorts of confident for me, but I'm the one who is running.
I want to feel this weight and pressure leave my chest. I want to be OK with being calm.  I looked at my time from the Hudson Mohawk Half Marathon. 3:34:00 My 8 miles came in around 2:20:00, meaning technically I have the ability to match my HMHM time. Really, I just want to come as close as I can.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

having all the things.

When it comes to running this season, I sure have been making some decisions I wouldn't have last year. That whole sign up for a half marathon to motivate you to run more thing.....yeah. I need to attempt eight miles this Saturday. It's my goal to get up early, run my 8 and make it home to watch the Freihofer's Run for Women 5K and cheer on some of my friends who are running.

I feel like if I can get through eight miles then 13.1 seems more feasible.

I'm worried about hurting myself. About over extending myself on very little training. My longest run has been six miles, longest collection of miles in one day is seven miles. I'm not thrilled with myself about running such a long distance so close to my half marathon. Still, in the back of my head I've got 5.5 hours to complete this half if i need it. It's a 22 minute mile pace that is needed and I can walk at about an 18 minute mile. I know I can walk it if i need to. I did the 4/4/5 plan in my mind. Run 4 miles, walk 4 miles, run 5 miles. (using "run" as really a walk run ratio of 4:1)

My desk as my liter bottle of water and 20oz of watery gatorade and a very small 8oz coffee cup.

It will take me about 2 hours to run my 8 miles.Sunrise is at 5:20 am so I should be OK with the 5:45am up and out the door to the Colonie Town Park part of the bike path. My camelbak should be enough and I'll debate putting the extra bottles in the pack.

I don't know why I haven't gotten serious about running this season. I'm running The Boilermaker and i'm always conscious of what I'm doing the week before. I always end up being sober steve at Chad's birthday party. This year I have a very fun event scheduled the day before The Boilermaker. I can not drink at the event, that's not so big to me but dancing and being on my feet for a good few hours, then driving out to Utica later in the evening, well it just feels strange.

Last year i wouldn't have thought twice about it. I put running first. I put my goal of finishing a half marathon first before anything. I still like running. i guess I'm just putting my happiness first. Spending time with friends, being in more shows, going off on more adventures. It all seems like so much more fun. I think there is a part of me that wants to see what happens when I feel under-prepared. I've seen friends run races hungover or on three hours of sleep. I want to see how close I can get to having all the things. it might backfire, I might get hurt, hell I might even succeed.

I squeak out 4 miles tonight (either indoors or outdoors depending on the thickness of the air) and then Saturday morning I've got an early o'clock date with my running shoes.