Friday, November 9, 2012


On October 26th I went to Peoria, Illinois with a friend and we participated in the Screaming Pumpkin quarter marathon race.  See post I wrote about it here with pictures  It was a great time until I got a little crazy.  We were running in a massive cemetery, one of the largest and oldest cemeteries in all of Illinois.  The path was just fine, but I saw an enormous gravestone with my friend's last name of Schmidt on it and had to get a picture of it.  WHY?  I really don't know, but I had to have a picture.  So I proceeded to run towards the gravestone.  I didn't see the ditch, for it had a huge amount of fallen leaves in it, filling it up and making the ground look level.  I ran right into the ditch and to my surprise fell about a foot and while doing that rolled my ankle BADLY.  It was such a shock that I just screamed out in pain and sat there for a little bit to catch my breath of the shock of what just happened.

Dang I thought, I have another marathon in 11 weeks, what was I thinking going off the path into unknown ground, just for a dumb picture.  Well injuries are NEVER smart. 

After a few minutes my friend asked me if I could walk.  I tried to walk and it hurt, but not bad after a few more steps.  Then we tried to run and to my surprise running felt better than walking.  So for the rest of the 5 miles we ran as much as we could to finish the race and receive an awesome finishing medal which to me was better than a lot of Half marathon medals I've received over the last 3 years.

After the race I had the ankle evaluated by a physical therapist at the race, she said she didn't think it was broken, but that was only her opinion.

So after eating some food my friend and I left for home.  I was driving home and it was about a 2.5 hour drive which wasn't too bad, but I should have been icing that ankle.

When I arrived home that night I immediately iced it and then went to bed.  It wasn't swollen however it hurt pretty bad.  At about 5:30a.m. I woke to INTENSE pain.  I had to get an ice pack and wrap that sucker to my ankle and take pain meds just to get back to sleep.

Over the next day the foot and ankle swelled up huge, like an elephant foot.   The pain wasn't so bad, but it looked really bad and the toes were tingly and I thought the foot would explode so I went to the ER to have it x-rayed.  It wasn't broken.  The doctor that checked me out said he was a runner too and if I felt like running on it in a week when the swelling was down to do so.

That was the news I wanted to hear.

So the next Saturday (1 week and 1 day) after the injury I ran on it.  Maybe a short run would have been okay, but I did another half marathon.  That was not smart.  Well maybe it was, the ankle felt fine during the entire run, however my knee started to hurt so bad by mile 7.5 that I couldn't run properly anymore.  What the heck was happening to me?  I was able to finish the half marathon, but shouldn't have because by the time I got to mile 12.5 I could hardly walk and the pain was massive that it brought tears to my eyes.  If you are runner then you probably understand the stubbornness of why I finished after this.  It was because of this, "Why would you quit a race when you only have .5 of a mile left.  Seriously?"  I had come so far and if I was going to quit, it should have been at mile 7.5 or 8, not then.

On Monday after the race I went to the Sports Medicine doctor at the University of Iowa to check out my knee.  He said I had a Parameniscal cyst on my knee.  He said it can be caused by a lot of pounding.  I'm wondering if I have a tear since I've ran much further before and never had this kind of pain.  Everything I have read says the Parameniscal cysts are caused by meniscus tears so I really want to know if I have a tear or not. I'm wanting a 2nd opinion and plan on getting a copy of my MRI that was taken 6 weeks ago after my Baker's Cyst was diagnosed and see if another doctor can tell me more information.  If it means another MRI, I'm all for it.  I need to know what the heck is really going on in there before returning to full out running.  My doctor told me to only do lots of short runs like 4 miles, 6 miles, 4 miles, maybe an 8 miler, but to leave the long runs out and instead do the amount of time it would take me on a long run of 9 or more miles on an elliptical or water running or even biking. 

I wish I really knew what was really going on inside that knee.  It's frustrating to have a diagnosis and not trust it.  I don't trust it because this diagnosis was given without a picture, just a guess and feeling the leg.  The last MRI was taken 6 weeks ago and the results of that was that I had a Baker's Cyst that exploded.  No more information was given.

So I wait and hope that training a different way for this upcoming marathon in January will prepare me enough to complete the marathon and hope that I won't be in intense pain during the marathon. 

Today I biked for 50 intense minutes.  No pain today in the knee, but still pain in the ankle when walking.  I'm sure running 13 miles on it was very stupid.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Muddy Monster 5 &15K race--Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The morning was super cold and crisp out. It told everyone in the family to layer because it would be super cold to run outside. I have loved this race in the past because it seems to be a family race. Almost all of my children were in this race and seemed to enjoy it. My oldest son is serving a church mission so he wasn't there and my 3rd son Jared has decided that he didn't want to run so he came along to take pictures and just hang out with the family.

This year the race didn't seem quite as good as in past years. I don't know if it was because there weren't as many sponsors, it was super cold, or if they changed race directors, but all of my children commented how it seemed different this year and I agreed.
Good Points:
It was chip timed so you got accurate results.
You get a shirt: However, the shirts were cotton short sleeve, in the past they were cotton long sleeve and we would have preferred that.
There was food at the end, not as great as last year, but there was food to fill your belly if you felt you needed it.
Print out of your results: There is a machine there where they type in your bib number and you get an instant print out of your results.
Racing Bib for your scrapbook: However, the bibs this year seemed cheap compared to last year.

Bad Points:
In years past this race seemed super kid friendly, pumpkin decorating, face painting, coloring, lots of candy and other things. This year seemed like they didn't have hardly anything for the children. Many people were making comments about this that brought their children.

Having to pay for an upgrade to a technical shirt. Most races around include tech shirts as part of the entry price.
No choice of beverages besides beer and water. There was beer so if you are an adult that wants to drink beer at 11a.m. then great, but if you are an adult that doesn't drink beer, or brought children that really could have used anything except for water, then there wasn't anything.   Last year they had soda and other drinks.

Here are the results if you care to see them.

Below are pictures from the event:

Stephany and I dressed up.

Brenden decided to do the 1 mile race this year instead
of the 5K.  He placed 1st in his age group and 3rd overall
in the 1 mile race.  Way to go Brenden.  Here he is running
in for the finish.

Brenden finishing!

Brenden, Jason, Me, Alyssa and Scott

Jared being silly, Courtney (Dan's girlfriend) and Dan.

Courtney and Daniel.

Jason and Alyssa about to start the 5K

Brenden being silly.

Daniel running the 5K, here he is 1 mile into it.  He was super fast.

Daniel almost at the finish.

Daniel finishing

Jason almost at the finish.

Alyssa sprinting to the finish.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 Screaming Pumpkin Quarter Marathon--Peoria, IL

First before anything, this race is worth the drive if you have to make one. We had to drive 2.5 hours and I would do it again to race in a quality race like this. I loved it.  You run through a massive, very old cemetery in Illinois.  The trail through the cemetary is an old paved road with lots of potholes, however the race crew put glow sticks in white bags all along the entire course to show you where broken pieces of road were and where to run.  It was so peaceful to run through this ancient cemetery in the dark.

Good points to the race:
Packet pickup was quick
Race number has chip timing built in
Announcements regularly so you knew when races were starting.
Shirt is awesome and one I'll wear again when running.
Finishing medal for your efforts that is actually really nice.
Food at the end that was really good.
Lots of volunteers.
Well marked course.
Here are the results if you must see them:  The results

Tracy and I before the race.  I really liked this sign.  Didn't realize
at the time there was going to be a larger sign to get pictures with.

Cute blow up Halloween things to get
pictures with.

The big sign.  Here is us before we put our
costumes on.

Us after we put our costumes on.

Lots of cool costumes, these people were

The Tooth Fairy.

Tortoise and Hare.

Snow White and some new dwarf.

Cool costume. I thought and she lit up.

This is the picture I HAD to have that ended up costing me
a HUGE sprained ankle.  I was running with my friend who's last name is Schmidt.
I thought it would be cool to have this picture since this gravestone was
massive.  So I proceeded to run towards it.  There was a ditch FILLED
with leaves and the leaves made the ditch not seem like a ditch.  So I
didn't know there was HUGE hole there.  I stepped wrong, fell about a foot or so, rolled
the left ankle (heard a snap), was sure it was broken, still not confirmed that it is or
is not broken, but just sat there for a few minutes trying to let the shock of
getting hurt and pain go away a little.  Then Tracy said, "Why don't you try
and walk?"  So I got up and tried to walk.  It was very painful, but doable.  We walked for a
while and then I tried to run.  Running actually felt better.  We were able to complete
the race in 1 hour 37 minutes and 1 second.  Pretty good for getting injured at mile
1.33 and then running the other 5.22 to complete the race.
A finishing photo of us.

The shirt, which I really like, however this year they
did women's sizes and those ran small so note to self, if
they do women's sizes again, get two sizes bigger than
usual to be happy.  I usually wear a small and traded for

a large.

The entire finishing medal.

Up close picture of the awesome finishing medal.

2012 Indian Summer Distance Classic 4 & 10 mile race.

October 13th, 2012.  There was a great race along Lake McBride in Solon, Iowa that I did last year and wanted to do again.  This year a few friends joined me.

You can't always have great weather and this was one of those days.  It was about 54 degrees and POURING rain.  It was raining so hard at the beginning of the race that while I was in the car with Alyssa huddled together trying to keep warm I said to her, "Alyssa we don't have to do this race.  Seriously, I don't mind if we just get our shirt and go home."  She said, "Mom we have to earn our shirt."  So off we went.  It rained on us the entire race.  Near the end of the 4 miles the rain started to slow down a little, thank goodness.  I took a few pictures of us drowned rats just to remember the day.

I love this race because it is put on by a great club called the Cedar Valley Running Association (CVRA). They know what they are doing when it comes to putting on a race.

Good things:
Chip timed
Great shirt
run by Lake McBride and that was beautiful.
Cookies at the end.
If you want to see the results AND a video of yourself crossing the finish line if you were in this race then click on this link:  THE LINK

Alyssa crossing the finish line.

Me with Julie and Alyssa post race.  We were wearing
trash bags to help keep us dry.  It kinda helped.

From left to Right:  Alyssa my daughter, Stephany my first running friend who
made me do my first 5K and got me hooked on running.  Me, Lisa F. that I met
at many races.  Julie W. that I met because of the Park to Park race, Tracy S. that I met
because of the Tanger Outlet Race in Williamsburg, Rhoni Jo that I met through running
races.  These are great friends and we are all crazy about running.

A picture of Alyssa's medal she won.

Alyssa with her race medal.  She earned third in her
age group.  

This picture was taken on the way home from the race, coming out of Lake McBride.
Both Alyssa and I thought this view was amazing so I had to have a picture.  Alyssa
took this great picture.

Alyssa and I post race in our fun race shirts that
we both like.

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Timber Trek--Amana, Iowa

 Two weeks post marathon was this awesome race called Timber Trek in Amana, Iowa.  Honestly I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it given my leg injury, but since my injury was just a ruptured baker's cyst I knew the worst that could happen to me would be that I could be in pain.  I wrapped my leg super tight with an ace bandage (as instructed by the doctor) and went to the race.  The day was absolutely perfect for weather.  70 degrees and sunny. 
In this race you run through creeks, up and down hills, through sand, dirt, mud, over rocks, broken trees, over broken off cornstalks and then through a few obstacles.  It's a 4.89 mile race and is definitely a challenge to complete.

I mentioned this race to my daughter a week prior and she said, "Mom I want to do this for sure."  I was nervous for her as I knew she hadn't ever ran a race further than 3.1 miles and had never done a muddy obstacle race. 

We all had a lot of fun and I was a ton muddier than last year.  I recommend this race to others, especially if you want to have a good time with a challenge.

This race is chip timed, there is an awesome shirt, the race is in the afternoon so you are at the warmest part of the day and that is nice since it's at the end of September or beginning of October every year.  The best part of the race is the pumpkin bars and fresh home made cookies someone brought!

Here are the results if you want to see how we all placed.  Also below are some pictures to enjoy.
Rhoni Jo, Me, Alyssa and Jason

Me, Jason, Alyssa, Rhoni Jo and Tracy

Rhoni Jo, Tracy and I

Me running to the finish.

Alyssa running to the finish.

Jason all muddy.

Me showing off the backside and how muddy I got.

Me, Rhoni Jo and Tracy showing off our mud.

Our shoes.

Alyssa was happy to have placed 2nd in her age group!!

A picture of the gorgeous trees we were running through.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012 Air Force Marathon

It is time I write my marathon story. I woke up at 4:15a.m. that morning and didn’t even need my alarm clock which was set for 4:45a.m. I showered so I could wake myself up completely and feel good. I then prepared for the race by dressing, body gliding everything that might rub with Body Glide and then getting the children up so we could all leave by 5:20a.m. I should have stretched more, especially since it was a very cold morning. AND I should have stretched after arriving to the race site, but I was too excited to just be there so I forgot about the stretching part.

At 7:10a.m. the announcements started and soon after the flyover of the B-2 happened. That was simply amazing and awesome. After that the star spangled banner and I had tears in my eyes just thinking about all that the song is about. On the dot of 7:30 the gun went off. It took about 5 minutes to actually arrive at the start line, but that is the good thing about large races, your actual time doesn’t start until you go through the start line. I started out slowly, as I was instructed to do by so many marathon runners. I checked my GPS watch often to see if I was going slow enough. When I saw that I was speeding up, I would slow down again. The first big hill wasn’t as bad as I had dreamed it to be and I continued on. I felt amazing. The air was crisp, the temperature perfect and the crowd wonderful. I continued on till mile 5.

Everything was going fine until all of a sudden I felt this Massive pain in my left knee. It felt horrible. A sudden harsh pain that felt like I had been hit. I went to the side of the road and stretched and then walked for a while. After walking for about a half mile I started to run again. 4 steps into the run I was frozen. The pain was massive. I couldn’t do it. I walked again. I then went to the side of the road again to do stretches for a longer period of time to help ease the pain. The pain was so intense, it was like my knee was broken. I thought back to mile 5 to what might have happened. I wasn’t bumped or kicked. I didn’t trip and I never stopped suddently, so what the heck was the pain about? The only thing I could do was speed walk. Slow walking hurt and running was massively painful so both of those were out. Plus I knew if I did a slow walk that I wouldn’t make the 7 hour time limit to finish. I had a decision to make right then. Do I speed walk the rest of the 20 miles or do I ask for medical help and go back to the start? I was too proud to just give up at mile 6. I couldn’t do it. I knew my sister was waiting for me at mile 10 so I could at least get there. Soon after making the decision to continue there was a man walking next to me with a backpack on. He could tell I wasn’t doing well and asked me if I needed anything. I told him I needed medicine for I was in severe pain. He had some ibuprofen. I should have probably only taken Tylenol, but I took the ibuprofen anyway. I would pay for this later on in the race. My husband and sister called me soon after to see how I was doing. I tearfully told them both that I was injured and in pain, but I was going to give it a go anyway.

At mile 8 I saw my sister. She was there with her husband and two children. She had come all the way from Washington D.C. to see me in this race. I couldn’t let her down. She asked me if I needed anything and I told her medicine. She went and bought medicine and when I saw her at mile 10 I took more. I would pay dearly for this in mile 19. Both Warren and Jan cheered me on and I speed walked on my way. Many times I felt like quitting. I knew I had trained in a far better way than this and you’d think speed walking would be easy. It was painful. I had trained to run. I had run 22 miles on two different occasions and did many other long runs of 18 or more miles, and walking was only done when I was very tired and it was slow walking when I did it, never speed walking. Your feet land differently when you speed walk than in running. I remember reaching the half way point at 13.1 miles and using the bathroom, but after that I really don’t remember much until mile 19.

By mile 19 I was dizzy, I was sick, I was done. My body had reached the end of exercise and wanted to rest. I was four and a half hours into this race as this point and it was beginning to get hot out. Not too bad hot, but in the 70’s. We were out in the sun, no shade available and I was just not doing well. I needed a sandwich and should have asked for something at a medical tent, but I was afraid if I stopped that I would wake up on a stretcher and not be able to continue. I plugged on, putting one foot in front of each other. Each step was so painful. It was like I was walking on rocks by this point. My feet were just not used to walking so fast like this. I needed to run or slow down or something. I started to talk to myself. I said things like, “You are awesome, you have come a long way, your entire family is waiting for you, you can do anything you set your mind to do, you paid a lot of money for this race, you are so great and will finish.” Then I started to sing a song I know called “I am a child of God.” I sang the first verse over and over and that seemed to help. I’m sure others around me, if there were any thought I was crazy. Singing was the only thing helping me. Every time I reach a mile marker I knew I was one step closer to finishing. I felt sick for about 3 miles. I was sure I’d pass out. I’m not sure how I made it exactly. I was seriously spinning. At every mile stop I took in water, Gatorade and ate the chunks of bananas that were offered. I had GU’s on me and had eaten all 5 that I had packed by mile 21. I had planned on eating them every 5 miles, but since I felt so weak I knew I should eat them more often.

By mile 22 I needed salt and I needed it bad. I knew it. When I reached the water station I asked a volunteer if anyone had chips. They did. I grabbed a handful of BBQ chips and ate them one by one. This was the only thing that perked me up. Finally I felt better. They had asked me if I wanted more than the handful and I should have taken the entire plate. I didn’t know how my stomach would handle them. By mile 23 I was sure I was dead on my feet. I was hurting so bad. My feet were like bricks. Why was I still doing this I thought, it wasn’t a smart idea. However if I was going to quit then it should have been at mile 5 when I first got injured, not now. I was so close to the end. Only a 5K left. I could do anything for a 5K.

I walked next to a couple girls dressed in red. Don’t remember their names, but I do know they were talking me into finishing. They told me I should have volunteers pour water on me to cool me off. So at mile 24 I asked for that very thing. I asked every single volunteer to pour water on me. I felt amazingly better. At mile 24.3 my son Daniel texted me and said “Where are you?” I had to laugh as I knew I was taking FOREVER to finish and I had told him I’d be done by 5 hours and here it was 6 hours and counting. I told him where I was and then continued on.

At mile 25.7 I saw my husband, he was cheering me on to the finish. He said, you only have about a half mile left, you can do this. I started to cry. I had come so far and I hurt so bad. I just wanted to quit, but knew that wasn’t an option. Jason then ran back to the finish line so he could get pictures of me finishing. From this point on it was just a curve and then you will see the finish line. There were hundreds of people there waiting for you to finish. People were cheering and clapping. I started to cry uncontrollably. I couldn’t calm down. The feelings I had were so intense. I was sure I wouldn’t make it to this point. I was sure I would pass out when I was sick and dizzy at mile 19. I’m not sure how I made it to mile 26, but I did and the tears just kept coming. I pulled it together to smile so I could have amazing finishing pictures and I speed walked through the finish line. The medal was put on my neck and I was done. I did it. I have carried the medal around with me ever since. It’s in my purse and I look at it often. If I had my way I would be wearing it 24/7 for about a month. I earned it. Every mile of that medal I earned. Here are some pictures to enjoy:
My race number.  Notice the BEER coupon.  A guy noticed
that I still had this coupon when I was leaving the race and
asked me for it.  I gave it to him.  He was more than overjoyed.
Seriously Sir, it's only Beer.  Then my sister said, "Michelle,
It's Free Beer and that is much different."  Too funny.

front of shirt

back of shirt

awesome hat

B-2 that flew over to start the race.

me starting the race.  I'm right there in the middle with the white
hat and black jacket with white stripes on the sleeves.  I got that
jacket for only $1.00 at a consignment store and I threw it out at mile
two when I was warm. Hopefully it gets donated to some lucky person.

Finishing the race.  By the way, these pictures
are not the greatest, they were taken on my cheap
camera.  My sister took MUCH better pictures and
as soon as I have those pictures I will insert them in here.

Posing with my finishing medal.

Front of medal

Back of medal

Full medal with ribbon.

Me posing wtih the medal and so
glad to be done.