Sunday, December 28, 2008

Catching Up...

The thing about Christmas vacation is that I usually act like I'm on the laziest vacation ever... I've not thought twice about writing a blog post or reading anyone else's. I'll catch up on the reading later, but for now here's an account of some fun things I've been up to lately.

Christmas Eve

After sitting at work for about an hour, I asked the Bob if I could head back home since UPS wouldn't do any pick ups and I had little to do. Once home, I slept some more and then enjoyed a quiet afternoon around the house. I then went to get my legs waxed at a friend's house because her boss at her actual place of work royally pissed me off the day before. I opted to get her to do it from her home so that she'd actually make some money and her boss didn't. :)

I headed to my parent's house for Christmas Eve dinner with them, my sister, my mom's parents, my dad's stepmom and our next door neighbor. After a yummy dinner and Miracle on 34th Street, I headed to bed. I only live a few miles from my folks, but since it's a holiday and all I knew I needed to keep the peace and sleep there... like I always have done.

Christmas Day

My grandpa is closing in on 87 and has had some serious health problems over the past few years. He can't hear, doesn't think clearly, and can barely get around. Nonetheless, he was up at 6:30am to cook breakfast... because he always cooks it on Christmas morning (noticing a trend of family traditions?)

My mom had to get up to make sure he didn't burn the house down, which meant listening to them yell back and forth because 1) you have to yell at him for him to hear and 2) because he still won't do what you tell him to do and it's frustrating. I pulled the pillow over my head and attempted to dose for an hour until dad came to drag me out of bed.

Believe me... I think you can do Christmas at 10am just as easily as 7am.

Upon my arrival to the kitchen table, one bite of eggs proved the breakfast unfit to eat.

We moved to the den to open presents. I won't lie... my sister and I get more than necessary. We're the only grandkids on mom's side, so her parents have always tended to go a bit over board. I received some running tights, gloves and headband (that I'll sadly get little use out of this winter) and a new running jacket that will be perfect for spring. I also got some money, some new Sperry's (chocolate brown and plaid with a wool lining to keep my feet warm!), a few cute tops, a new winter coat, and some other odds and ends.

The rest of the day was spent watching White Christmas and attempting to snooze a bit on the couch. Then, after dad took the g'parents home, we headed to our new movie theater to see Marley & Me. I LOVED it. Granted, I cried like the hundreds of other people in the theater at the end, but I really thought it was one of the best movies I've seen lately. And is it just me or aren't you all a little pleased to see that Jennifer Aniston's movie killed Brad Pitt's movie in the box office? :)

Weekend
I then tackled my scrapbook. I seriously go through scrapbooking waves. I'll get on a roll and get a ton done, and then I don't touch it for months. Back in 2005, I sat down and scrapbooked my trip to Europe from that summer. It took me a while, and then I had to take a break. Then in 2007, I knocked out my sophomore year of college, and got through the first semester of junior year. I hadn't touched scrapbooking since.

Today I tucked away all of the college stuff (even though I eventually want to knock those last 3 semesters out because I feel like if I do, then it'd be so much easier to catch up on scrapping the past 3.5 years of my life since it's mostly just weddings and trips). I picked out a new album. I put all of my race pictures and numbers in folders and got them in order. And then I got down to business.

While watching Independence Day (it was on tv, something that I thought was funny since it's 7 months until July) and no less than 6 more episodes of The O.C. (we're on season two now), I got down to business.

I got my opening page for the book done (a simple page with a picture of me from a race) as well as two openings featuring my first marathon back in 2005. That means I did 5 pages today! I know that doesn't really sound like a lot, but for anyone who scrapbooks you know that it's a ton for one day. It's so time consuming. I really like to do a good job on them because I know that I'll appreciate having them to look back on in years to come. I'm super exciting about trying to get all 15 of my major races from the past 3 years done. Then, it'll be so easy to add in each race as they happen.

It should go pretty quickly. I have 14 more races to do, but only 3 of those are full marathons. All of the rest are shorter races that also have less pictures. They will require less pages.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to get pedicure appointments for me and my sister at this semi-nice place that does a bit better job than all of the walk-in places. I'm also supposed to have dinner with a couple of college friends that I'm looking forward to finally seeing again. I also anticipate knocking out at least one more race in the album.

My vacation is already going by way too quickly. However, it's already proving to be the break that I needed, especially since I'm on the crutches. It's nice to not need to move around too much. Plus, I am LOVING getting to sleep in again for a change. It's going to be hard to go back to work.

For now, I have four more fully free days to enjoy.

I hope everyone else is having a lovely week. I promise to post some pictures of what I'm up to again soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Cripple! :)

I promised some pictures from this past weekend, and I'm sorry I'm just now getting around to it.  Things have been a little crazy with the holidays. :)

All of the pictures from below are from Friday night.  My friend Emily had some of us over for a little birthday party.  We had some snacks, wine and a lot of fun playing this really cool game called Smart Ass.  Seriously - I have to buy this game now.  It's such a good time!

My big surprise is of course the Christmas lights on my crutches!  I'm going to try to get a better picture with them, but the two I got will show them off again.  Thanks again to Love to Run for sending me these.  I SO appreciate it.

Saturday night we went to do Christmas with my mom's best friend she grew up with and her whole family.  They're pretty much like family, and we always do a big dinner with them each Christmas.  I don't have any pictures from that.

Sunday we drove to Manchester to my great aunt and uncle's house to do Christmas dinner with my dad's entire family.  (He has five brothers and sisters total, so his side of the family is quite large!)  I ate a LOT of food.  I'm already getting tired of depending on other people to fix my plate and get me drink refills and stuff, but I should be almost halfway done with my time on the crutches (fingers crossed).

I'm getting ready to head to my mom and dad's to spend the night over there.  My mom is an only child, and her parents have always come to our house to spend the night.  We'll have dinner, watch a Christmas movie, and then be up way too early to open presents in the morning.

I'm trying to prepare myself... I won't be helping hand out presents with my sister like I usually do.  I will also be opening some running related gifts that I won't be using any time soon, but I'm still excited to be getting them.

I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas.  My posts may get a little less frequent, but I'll be back and will share more pictures and stories soon!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Runners!

The USATF changed the rule about headphones! Read the articles here and here.

I am MUCH happier with the new rule. I know that most runners have an opinion about using headphones during a race, and I know some of those opinions are different from mine.

But I don't see any reason why non-elite runners can't run with headphones during a race. I know the arguments... but I have never been in a race where I have seen someone having headphones to cause a problem. I'd say most (and I do say most, not all) runners are smart and considerate enough to leave the volume low enough so that they can still know what's going on.

I'm not going to lie... I broke the rule in a few races. In particular, I used my headphones when I walked the Memphis Half. I mean, I was walking for crying out loud. Not only would I have been bored out of my mind if I didn't have music, I was also really aware of everything around me.

I'm glad to know that it is now at the race director's discretion. I know there will still be some races that won't allow headphones, but a lot of the smaller races I run here at home might not worry about them as much now that it's not a rule they HAVE to enforce (although I wore mine in a lot of race because the rule wasn't enforced... so I guess those race director's had already decided they weren't going to worry about it much other than to just tell people it was supposed to be the rule).

Anyways, I am pleased. I had heard the rule would likely be amended this year at the USATF meeting, and I'm really glad that they changed it to allow the choice to be made by race directors. I like wearing my music in some races, so I'm glad to know that there's more of a chance now that I won't be a rulebreaker if I do.

(And yes, I just admitted that I've broken the rule before. I'm such a rebel.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dreaming...

It happened last night. I had my first dream about running. Oddly enough, it was on a track. I haven't been on a track in ages aside from a few races that finish on a track.

Here I was... stretching, warming up... Then I headed over and took off around the track. I was FAST. As in, way faster than I am in real life. I'd never run so fast before. I was smiling. I felt great!

Then I woke up, and I felt sad. Then I rolled over, and I felt pain. My left arm is still giving me trouble. It hurts between my elbow and wrist any time I put weight on it now. I think I just put too much weight on it when using the crutches at first, and it hasn't recovered yet. It figures that in trying to heal one injury I would inflict another. Oh well. A sore left arm is just annoying and not really something that keeps me from much of anything.

Our 70-degree weather was short lived. Today, after spending way longer than necessary getting out of my back door (something I still haven't perfected), I was hit by a lot of wind. It was 9 degrees. 9!!! Single digit. That's not super common around here. Global warming, my foot. Snow in Las Vegas? Record lows throughout the nation? There's no doubt in my mind about how some of the things we do have a negative effect on our planet, sure, but I think stuff like this is a good little reminder that God is kind of in control of our weather regardless of what we think we might be able to do to change the weather. (I know some people will disagree... this is just MY belief. To each his or her own...) All this to say... you folks in the north? I don't know how you do it.

I owe you a post about my weekend. I hadn't had a chance to get photos uploaded yet, and it will be better if I can share them so you can see what I did to my crutches before the parties I went to this weekend.

Though I still find myself having moments of sadness and a little depression over the injury, I'm trying to stay positive. I put all my running stuff away (mostly in an effort to not trip over it all), but I've still been wearing my cotton race shirts a lot. I don't want to forget I'm a runner. I may be out for a while, but I'm a runner.

I am also determined to get a lot done on my race scrapbook after Christmas. I printed off all my race pictures ages ago and collected them with my number and brochures and stuff. I've just been so busy that I've never actually started the album. I've only done 15 races or so since I first started running marathons in 2005, so I am hopeful it won't take me too long to catch up. I'd love to get this book done before I start running again so that then I can just keep it up to date after each race. Running is such a big part of me, and I think it'll be great to have an album to reflect on all my races any time I need to remember where running has taken me.

My posting may or may not slow down a bit over the coming week or two. I won't be working for about 6 days (we close for the holidays, yay!).

Stay tuned for more. I promise I'll fill you in on the weekend and share some fun pics as soon as I have a chance to get the photos together.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tender Tennessee Christmas (and a shout out)

First, I wanted to give a shout out to Sharon who left a comment yesterday. I tried to respond to you, but it didn't show an email address for you and I found your blog to be private. I'd love to read it if you'd be ok with sending me an invitation. If not, then please go to the email me link on my profile and shoot me an email with your email address so that I can email you back! :)

Ok, so yesterday after work I got in my car, turned it on and immediately heard "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." I rolled down my windows and still felt warm as I drove home. It was 71 degrees! This is what it's like in middle Tennessee. One Friday you find ice covered roads and 2 inches of snow, and then the next Friday it's in the 70s. I didn't even wear a coat to the birthday party I went to last night.

It makes me think of Amy Grant's "Tender Tennessee Christmas." I'm not a huge Amy Grant fan or anything, but I like the lines, "Well I know there's more snow up in Colorado then my roof will ever see, but a tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas to me."

We don't get many white Christmases around here, and some Christmas days have been as warm as a day in April. Sometimes I wish we would have really cold and snowy days on Christmas, but I find that growing up with unpredictable weather is kind of nice. It can be frustrating to one day wear a sweater and the next be in short sleeves, but it's all I've ever known and I don't mind. Variety is the spice of life, yes?

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. I'll share more about mine on Monday. I just wanted to try to contact Sharon and share this little tidbit about our crazy warm weather. (Although we're supposed to get a lot of rain and a cold front tonight, so it looks like we'll be back to cooler temps soon!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Random Friday Fluff Post

Last night my dad and I went to dinner together at the new IHOP that just opened in town. For some reason, pancakes sounded like just the thing I needed to care a little less about this cold I've developed.

It. Was. DELICIOUS. Seriously, I didn't have high expecations because, well, it's IHOP. Everything inside was so sparkly and new and nicer than any IHOP I've ever been in. Our server was super nice and attentive. As soon as I sucked down a glass of sweet tear (also delicious) she had a new one for me. I ordered some pancakes from their special: Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake Pancakes. Bacon. Eggs. Hashbrowns (that I couldn't finish after all of the above and passed off to dad).

I'm sure I won't appreciate this combination of pancakes and spending the vast majority of my days off my feet, but whatever... there will be time for shaping back up after I ditch the crutches. For now, I am choosing to believe that pancakes will make me heal faster.

I've been having a LOT of dreams lately, and they're usually pretty strange. I normally don't remember so many of my dreams. Most of the time they're about pretty regular things and people in my life. But lately? STRANGE. I'm wondering if it has something to do with all the cold medicine... or maybe when I'm less active physically, my brain starts dreaming up odd things?

Regardless, it's beena real struggle to get out of bed. I am sure a small part of it is because deep down I still feel pretty depressed about the injury... and confused as to why and how it happened, something that I can really only make guesses about right now until I can see about some tests to try to figure out if my bones aren't as strong as they should be... But I think the biggest reason has been this cold and the antihistamines. They just make me so groggy!

I'm really glad it's the weekend. I have something to go to each night, but I plan on sleeping in both days and taking it easy during the morning/afternoons. I need to get a few presents wrapped and write a few cards to go with them.

I hope everyone has a good weekend. I probably won't post again until Monday, but who knows? I have a surprise once I get some pictures this weekend so maybe I'll have a chance to get it on here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some Odds and Ends

I've managed to start getting a cold. This is what happens when you don't run. You get sick. Seriously... when I'm on my A-game with running, I'm fit as a fiddle and healthy as a horse. My allergies are usually the only thing to ever really give me trouble. It hasn't developed into a full-fledged cold yet, but I've been a bit stuffy and my head feels cloudy. I feel like I could sleep for days, and after work I intend on curling up on the couch and staying put all evening.

Does anyone else remember Santa Clause The Movie? I always list it as one of my "must watch" movies for the holidays, but very few people ever have a clue what I'm talking about. It came out in 1985 (when I was only 2), and I remember watching it on tv every year on Christmas Eve for a few years. After that, I don't think I've ever seen it on tv or in the store. I bought a copy a few years ago because I remember loving it as a kid.

I watched it the other night, and I still love it. It's a bit cheesy and the special effects are nothing to get excited about, but it brings back memories of what Christmas was like for me as a kid. The way the North Pole is depicted in this movie is exactly how I always imagined it to look.

I fully intend to squeeze in a few more Christmas movies over the next few days. I suppose that's one of the positives about the crutches - I'm forced to slow down and take it easy

I received a kind and fantastic gift from a fellow RBF today. I'm going to wait and post pictures after the weekend so I'm not telling what it is yet, but I just wanted to thank him again. It's amazing to me that over the course of this year I have made so many blog friends. You are all amazing and provide me with so much inspiration and encouragement through your own posts and comments on mine. I can't imagine what my life was like before I came to know all of you. I certainly hope that I'll have a chance to meet more of you in person in the coming year.

I'm probably going to post something to recap the year in the coming weeks as well as a post about goals for 2009. I don't really get into the whol resolution thing, but I do think it's good to know what sort of things you want to accomplish in a new year. I have to admit that I guess it's ok I'm not able to go to the gym for a while. I really don't like how busy it gets during January. Don't get me wrong... I'm SO glad people are resolving to get fit and healthy. It's just annoying to have to stick to the 30-minute machine limit because there's actually gobs of people there. I had my membership paused until mid-January, and even then I think I'll only be able to swim. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the time I'm running the crowd will thin back out to normal...

I got an application in the mail yesterday for one of my favorite half-marathons taking place in March. It was hard to not be able to immediately send it in with a check. I am waiting because at this point I have no idea if I'll be back on my feet in time to get ready for that. I'd like to think I can at least run/walk it, but we'll see.

This is a pretty random post. :) I told you my head is feeling cloudy.

TIART: A Year in Review

***This post is part of the Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday.

Running in 2008, in 52 words or less.

Started off strong.

Set a half PR in March.

Helped pace a friend for a half in April.

Got sick and still ran a 10-miler.

Summer break.

Won age group in 5K.

Trained a lot.

Another half.

Ran a marathon.

Felt pain.

Walked a half.

Stress fracture.

Healing.

Big plans for 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Boston Bound???


I ordered this book today.

It's not that I'm seriously thinking about a BQ right now. But it's always in the back of my head. I have a long way to go (ahem, as in shaving off 50 minutes from my best marathon), but a girl can dream big and go after it.

I figure that if I've got at least 3 more weeks on these darn crutches, I might as well spend some time reading. And if I'm going to be reading, why not read a book that is going to inspire me to make the most of my legs once I get them back and go after my goals?

So that's the plan. Heck. Yes.

What Injuries Teach You about Health Insurance

When I turned 24 last year, I had to get my own health insurance for the first time. I was definitely lucky to be able to stay on my parents' plan for so long after school, and since I pretty much never had to go to the doctor and they had a family plan it never mattered much anyway.

I decided when I got my own that picking a health insurance plan is like gambling. It's always a bit of a crap shoot. You can pay a high monthly premium and get tons of benefits that you may never use. You may have a low deductible that will be helpful if something serious were to happen. However, I'm a fairly healthy gal and I decided that I'd prefer to risk having to meet a high deductible if something serious happened and take the lower monthly premium. I figured I wouldn't be using it much anyways, so I preferred to pay less each month.

(Sidenote: I set it up so that they hit my credit card for my premium each month. I have a rewards credit card and get 3% of that back. We're talking like $3 a month, but still... I feel like I'm getting a discount. I pay the card off monthly to avoid interest charges.)

You might imagine where this is going.

I wasn't pleased when I found out that my insurance wouldn't pay for my bad news-bearing MRI. It's frustrating to be injured, but it's even more frustrating to pay hundreds of dollars to be told what's wrong. Ugh. I'm going to be paying for that baby on a monthly payment plan, and even though it goes toward my deductible, it happened in 2008... which will be over in 2 weeks and everything starts over again. Double ugh.

Today I pulled up all of my EOB's online (so cool that we can do that these days) to figure out how much I've paid to my insurance company this year verses how much they've paid on my behalf. I am feeling much better now that I've seen the numbers.

I pay approximately $1300 over the course of the year through my monthly premium (there are so many better things I could think to do with that kind of money!) I've been to get my annual exam. I had to go to the walk-in clinic twice this summer for problems with my allergies. I've been to get two of the Gardacil vaccinations. I've had the one orthopaedic visit/x-rays and then the MRI. Over the course of that, I had to pay another $225 in copays. Add in another $120 I've paid over the year for birth control and I've spent around $1645 on this stuff. (That's not counting the MRI yet).

Now, the insurance company has paid around $850 to various doctors for various things. In addition to that, they pay the difference on the birth control each month, a total of $240 for the year. So they've paid close to $1000 on my behalf.

So I've still had to spend $645 more than they have spent for me, and now I have to pay for the stupid MRI. (I've come to calling it stupid every time I speak of it... It makes me feel better.) I don't think it's fair that I still end up paying far more for things than the insurance company pays on my behalf.

However, I looked at what the doctors actually charge for all of the stuff that either myself or the insurance company has paid for and have found that if I didn't have health insurance and had to pay full price, I'd be out more like $5000 if not a bit more.

So it's definitely to my advantage to be paying the insurance company the $1300, even though I still end up having to pay more than them out of my own pocket (very annoying). But I certainly wouldn't want to have to pay the bills if I didn't have insurance. The MRI is billed at a whopping $1300. I'll be paying a little less than half due to the discount I get for having insurance.

It's still frustrating, but I think in the end I took the right risk with picking my plan. Stuff like this rarely happens. Most of the time in a year I'd only go for my annual and then if I were to get sick. I wouldn't have vaccinations. I wouldn't have MRI's. I don't like having to spend my money on medical issues, but if I've got one then I need to pay someone to make it better.

I may be spending more on health issues this year than I'd prefer, but I have to remember that more than likely I'm not going to need to use my health insurance very much anyways. So I still prefer paying the lower monthly premium and having a higher deductible. If something REALLY major happens, I've got the deductible money in my emergency fund. I might not like having to use it, but if it were a serious issue then I'd imagine I'd be glad to not have thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills... my plan pays 100% after the deductible.

This post has been a little dry, I know. I just hadn't really figured all this stuff out before and have definitely been learning more about it the past few weeks. Part of that is also because my insurance company screwed a few things up and posted some things to my account incorrectly and I've finally gotten it all straightened out. You better believe I pay close attention to make sure things are done right so that I can make sure they pay for everything they are supposed to .

Meanwhile, I think I might be getting a cold. This is not exciting, but it's making me feel kind of yucky and that helps to keep me on the couch and resting. I know that the more I can do that, the easier it will be on my body to try to heal my fracture.

Thanks again for all the comments you guys keep leaving, including the advice on gift giving for the boy. I made a decision after some brainstorming with your comments. I'll tell you about it after Christmas!

I also went with my sister yesterday and got my mom a really awesome gift for Christmas. I don't think she even knows about this blog, but I'm still going to wait and share what we got her after she gets it. She's going to love it. I don't think we've ever gotten her something so good.

Meanwhile, all I have left is my dad. My mom usually helps us out in finding something for him, and since I'm in no condition to do much shopping I'm hoping she'll pick something up and let us pay her back for it. You do what you gotta do.

I've also mastered taking a shower. The baths weren't cutting it, so I've found a way to balance on my right leg and barely sit my left leg down. When I shampoo my hair, I lean against the wall. It seems to be working, and I haven't had any moments of feeling unsteady even though all my weight is on one leg.

I mentioned this last night, but I really can tell a difference in the size of my quads. I'll have been on the crutches for 7 full days after today. It's crazy how quickly my muscles changed. I'd take a picture and show you, but I still haven't shaved my legs. Yeah, it's gross... deal with it. :) I did make an appointment to get them waxed next week because I'd already gone long enough without shaving to do it and now it'll be one less thing to need to do while I'm on the crutches. I won't be showing off my legs again for a while, but I still always feel better when they're nice and smooth. This way I won't be grossed out every time I look at my legs. And I won't get any ideas about trying to shave in the shower. Ha.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It Had to Hit Sometime

I knew it was coming.  I just didn't know when it would hit.

They say there are stages of grief.  I've experienced a few in the past week or so... but I hadn't really hit anger yet.  Sure, I may have said, "I'm so angry!" but I wasn't really there yet.  I don't get the hot-blooded kind of anger very often, but it hit me today.

Frayed Laces had warned me that the emotions would come when I wasn't expecting it.  Maybe I'd see a runner.  Maybe I'd drive past the gym.

It was my headband.  I was driving back from lunch and glanced down at where I keep my headband around my gear stick (so that I've always got it to throw on  to keep the wispies back once I pull my hair up).  It hit.  ANGER!!!!!!

I was mad.  Mad that I can't run.  Mad that I can't walk.  Mad that my left elbow is hurting today (that's new, and likely because my elbows are doing new things on these crutches).  Mad that I had to call off my marathon.  Mad that I had to call off my trip to Chicago next weekend.  Mad that I could see a VISIBLE difference between my left and right quad before getting in the shower last night.  Mad that I wake up before the alarm and really need to pee but don't want to go because it means using the crutches to hobble in there.  Mad that I feel like I can't really start planning my 2009 races because I have NO CLUE how quickly I'll bounce back.  Mad that I feel guilty eating dessert since I'm being the most inactive I have ever been in my entire life.  Mad at the realization that I know there are going to be some judgmental people that I will see in coming weeks who will criticize me for running in the first place.  Mad that all this is making all the holiday parties seem a little less fun for me.  Mad that I have to keep answering the "what happened?" question (I don't like the pity looks.)

I have done a good job lately of being positive.  I've been making myself remember that this is not the end of the world.  I'll run again.  I only have to deal with this for a very short part of my life.

But today I just had to let myself be mad.  I'm past it now for the time being.  It kind of felt good to get it out of my system.

Shortly after the mad feelings, I started thinking about how I'm going to attack running when I can come back.  Running won't know what hit it.  Of course, I'll do it in a smart way so I can try to avoid any more injuries, but nonetheless - I'm coming back to running with a vengeance.  I will show it that I can come back from an injury stronger than before.

I know it's too soon to be making plans, but I figure that sense I'll be starting off at a much lower mileage than I'm used to that I might try to focus on my 5K and Half-Marathon times over the first part of the year.  Then in June, I'll start training for the Chicago marathon.

Watch out PR's... I'll be coming to get you.

(In other good news, I found out today that Dave Matthews Band is coming to Nashville in April.  I'm so there.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Photos So Far...

A few photos of my decorations and Christmas party...






Catching Up...

Saturday

I slept in a bit and then headed to the Boro with my mom to run a few errands.  I totally took my first legitimate ride in a wheelchair at Hobby Lobby with no shame.  It was certainly a lot easier than hobbling around while we looked for foam and fabric to cover my crutches in a desperate attempt to make them hurt less.

Once home, mom helped me move things around and tidy up a bit before about 12 of my dear friends came over for a little party.  We had some yummy snacks before playing Scene It Squabble, Catch Phrase, some brain teasers, and hug the potholder (only because we found out there were a lot of people here who had never played).  I am so glad that I got to have people over and that I didn't let the crutches stand in the way.  Everyone had to serve themselves and I needed a little help at times, but things went really well.

Then I stayed up a bit late on the phone with the boy.  Sometimes it really stinks that I don't get to see him more often, but talking on the phone always puts a smile on my face.

Sunday

I spent the entire day watching movies.  I watched a few oldies first: The Santa Clause with Tim Allen and then Elf.  After that, I finally got to see Prince Caspian, something I had meant to go see when it was in the theater.  My sister also rented Horton Hears a Who, so I watched that, too!  It was really nice to just rest and take it easy.

Monday

Today I cancelled my flight to Chicago.  I'm NOT happy that I won't be going up there after Christmas to visit Steph as planned, but I can't very well travel easily on crutches.  Plus, it'll likely be snowy/icy, and I can't take a chance of falling.  Fortunately Southwest rocks, and I can apply the money I spent on the flight when I reschedule it after I get off the crutches.

I also spent a lot of time on the phone with the insurance company.  Long story short, my annual exam in June got filed incorrectly and I'm trying to get it fixed because the mistake caused them to pay it out of the "wellcare" category instead of the annual exam category, and I need that wellcare money for things that should be billed under it for my new medical issues.  It looks like the insurance company is going to get it straightened out, but I won't feel better about it until it's totally done.

I'm totally spending my evening watching tv and doing some reading.  I woke up with a sore throat and haven't been feeling well today, so it's nice to be taking it easy.  In fact, I don't have anything going on until the weekend so I fully intend to rest as much as possible.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend.  I'm definitely not used to the crutches yet, but it's a lot better now that I've got some extra padding on them.  I have still had some moments of frustration about not being able to do some things I want to do, but I'm dealing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sympathy Pains?



So it totally snowed last night.  See the above pictures for proof.  We got like 2 inches!  This doesn't happen very often around here, especially in December.  Most of the time it only snows in February or March, and even then we're talking only every 5-6 years.  Maybe 2009 will be our year for another snow that's decent enough to go sledding in.  (Yet another reason to heal quickly!)

Because of the snow, I got one of the guys at work to come pick me up.  I haven't really had many opportunities to get much practice at driving on icy roads.  This afternoon my dad came to pick me up, and we headed off to deposit my paycheck and then pick out a purse at Kohl's that has a long strap that I can wear over my chest so it won't get in the way of the crutches.

When he took me back home, I was surprised Tucker wasn't at the door.  I was a little worried, but then again we weren't in my car so he didn't hear that it was me.  I started calling for him and yelling out "treat" because that always gets him to come running.  When he didn't, I started to worry.  My dad found him under my bed, which is not a common place for him to hang out.

He finally came out, and as he came down the hallway I could tell something was wrong.

When he got closer, I could see that his left paw was swollen at least 3 times its normal size.  I of course felt concerned and started checking it to see if I could see if anything was noticeably wrong.  I thought it was kind of ironic that it was his left paw since my trouble is in my left hip.

I called the vet, and they suggested I bring him in right quick before they closed.  Dad and I hopped back in the car and headed out there.

They had to shave off part of his fur on his paw to look for any sort of puncture.  They were afraid something had cut him and then bacteria got into the wound and became infected.  They couldn't find anything, but they gave him some antibiotics just in case.  When they brought him back in, she mentioned that it could still be an infection because he had a slight fever, but he also may have just landed on it funny or could have had an insect bite.  As soon as she said it, I knew what had happened.

I have trouble this time of year with wasps getting into my house.  When he sees something moving, he goes after it.  I always toss him in the other room while I kill them and flush them.  It seemed to me that he may have gone after one and got stung.  She decided to go on and give him some Benadryl just in case.  (Sidenote:  Who knew that you could give cats Benadryl?!)

Within a couple of hours, the swelling was down.  I also found a dead wasp on the floor, and later when Tucker walked past that same spot he came to a dead stop and crouched down looking all around.  I think he remembered that this was the spot that he got hurt.

I wish now that I had thought to take a picture of his paws so that I could show the comparison.  I felt so bad for the little guy.  He'd probably felt really scared when he got stung, and there's no telling how long it had been since it happened.

He seems to be ok now.  He's been walking and running around, and he curled up in my lap for a while and purred.

I'm definitely glad that I took him to the vet and that he's already much better.  I am a little jealous though that it was easier to heal my cat than to heal me. :)

A video update

This is a little video I made last night before bed to let you see how I'm doing right now. The lighting is TERRIBLE in that side of my living room, so it's more that you get to listen to me instead of really seeing me. Please forgive.



Untitled from Mel Belle on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 1 on Crutches

Ow.

So when I got home from work yesterday, I took my crutches for a little spin down the hall way. I found that I can't go very quickly or else I start to lose my balance, and Tucker is a little unsure about them. He arched his back and took off away from me. He better get over it, because I'm not going to put up with a kitty cat who won't come near his mom for the next month.

I soon retired to the computer to do lots more research on stress fractures than I had done in the days proceeding finding out that I did indeed have one. I had been reading Frayed Laces for several months now, but when all this started going on I went and read all of her archives from this time last year when she suffered a broken pelvis. This weekend, almost exactly a year later, she qualified for her first Boston Marathon. I'm SO excited for her! I've kind of connected with her a bit and have found that reading about her injury and about what she's doing now to be really encouraging. I WILL bounce back from this. I WILL be stronger than I was before. I WILL recover and get back to running and start bloing PR's out of the water.

All of your comments the past few days have continued to mean so much to me. I am so thankful to be part of the running blogger community. Thanks for sharing with me in this somewhat low and depressing place that I'm in. I'm trying really hard to start finding the bright side, but I've still been a little blue.

I did find out that women are far more likely than men to get a stress fracture. Not only that, but it's really unusual to get one anywhere in the hip/pelvis area. Most fractures in this area occur because of a fall, running into something, or landing badly on an uneven surface. When I found that last tidbit, I immediately thought of the Battlefield Marathon's very uneven surfaces and wondered if something happened there. I also read that fractures in such a place can indicate problems with nturition. I fully intend to check into that and see if I need to make some changes. All in all, running probably didn't help, but it wasn't necessarily just the fault of my running.

My parents took me for dinner at Demos' in an attempt to cheer me up. I'll certainly take a steak, potato and Reese's pie as a bribe to cheer up any day. I then settled on the couch for a couple of hours of quality television (ummm, does anyone else watch Dirty Sexy Money? It's one of the few things I watch week and last night? OMG. I can't stand the suspense.)

My first day at work on the crutches has been ok. I've probably been up 3 times all day. Thank goodness for my rolling chair and the "scoonge." (That was for you, Danielle.)

I can't pull orders like I usually do, so I'll have to rely on someone else to do that for me for the next few weeks. Other than that, I can manage to stay in my chair all day. I mean, I normally like to get up and walk around, but I'm just going to stick with taking it easy in the chair.

The crutches hurt my armpits. And the palms of my hands. It's certainly going to take some getting used to. I need to figure out a better way to get in and out of the door at my house. I haven't mastered that one yet. I also plan to see how many things I can carry in my mouth or kick down the hall way with a crutch. I thought earlier today about how I need to do some laundry tonight, but I'm going to have to be creative with the logistics.

I'm totally going to decorate the crutches this weekend for Christmas. I might as well be festive, right? They'll be coming along with me to a LOT of Christmas gatherings. I suppose it'll be kind of fun to be a little pampered. I already have visions of staying in my chair at the gatherings and having someone make a plate and bring it to me.

In all actuality, I'm terrifically independent. It's kind of hard to feel like I'm going to have to depend on other people so much the next few weeks. I'm sure I'll get adjusted to the crutches, but there's still going to be a lot I can't do. I'm having a party at my house this weekend, and my mom is going to have to come help me set up and my sister is going to have to help let people in and out and get things out when needed, etc.

I'm taking suggestions on things you'd like to see me try on crutches. I'll have to be out and about a good bit because of the holidays. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to cancel my trip to see my best friend in Chicago after Christmas. I just can't fathom a way to safely get around an icy big city on crutches. All it owuld take is one fall and I could displace my bone and need surgery. Ew.

Thanks for the love and support. I think once I have a little more time to adjust I'll be back to my normal self again. I just need a little more time to complain and be frustrated.

But don't worry. I'm already thinking about the timeline for healing and how soon I might be ready to run and what my 2009 race schedule can look like. I doubt I'll be running a marathon any time in the next few months, but maybe it's time to try to kill my 5K and half-marathon PR. I'm running Chicago in October, so I don't need to start training for it for a while. Maybe some shorter races will be on the agenda after I'm all healed up.

This means I'll be drooling over training plans the next couple of months. If you have any you'd recommend for the 5K, 10K, and Half distance, I'd love to look. I've got all the time in the world to pick out some great ones to start on when I can run again.

By the way, not running? Sucks.

Ok, that's all for today. I'm venturing out for a Christmas dinner tonight at Mercy Ministries where I do volunteer work. It's mostly just a dinner, so I've just got to get myself in and out. It'll be a good warm up for parties.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The MRI Says...

Stress fracture.

4 weeks on crutches. Minimum.

Go back to doctor in 3 weeks.

No running, swimming, walking, nothing, in the meantime.

Talk about a fun way to spend the holidays.

I'm not at a place yet where I can look on the bright side or be positive, so I'm not going to say much right now other than I'm upset.

I knew there was a good chance this was coming. I had already been grieving over it.

I just need a little more time.

Then I promise I'll start looking on the bright side and see all the positive and be my normal Melanie self again.

Promise.

Just give me a little time to adjust to the crutches and all the changes in my plans this will mean.

Thanks for the love, advice, encouragement, prayers and support. This is really hard for me. You have all already been so helpful. It means a lot.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pictures from the Weekend










Weekend in Memphis/Race Report

First of all, thanks to everyone who left such sweet and encouraging comments on my blog last week. You all have no idea how much your kind words help as I deal with something that is both frustrating and depressing for me.

So here's something you may or may not have figured out about me: I can be a bit stubborn, and I refuse to give up easily. You'll find out why this is relevant in a moment.

I left work early on Friday, and my friend Bennett arrived to ride with me and my parents to Memphis. We had a quick lunch and headed that way. I was feeling really bummed about not being able to run, but I knew it'd be a fun weekend anyways. We picked up Bob after he checked into his hotel and headed to the race expo.

I got my number and at first didn't get a chip, but my dad thought I should go on and take it anyway "just in case." I got my shirt. I wandered the expo. And I couldn't help myself. I decided I should just go on and try to walk the half. As I soaked in the expo and bought a few things (some running stickers for my scrapbook and a 26.2 Christmas ornament), I started making plans to go to Wal-Mart for some pants and a sports bra. In a fit of sadness and frustration, I had unpacked most of my gear except for my shoes and my Nike jacket.

We all enjoyed a nice dinner at Olive Garden, something that has become a bit of a pre-race tradition. Then I took care of getting the things I'd need for the morning.

I didn't sleep well Friday night. I had a million things going through my head. I knew I probably shouldn't be doing anything the next morning, but I also knew that if I didn't and then I found out this week I don't have a stress fracture then I'd be really mad if I hadn't done anything. I felt like the doctor wasn't concerned it was too serious if it's ok to be walking around for another week not knowing what's wrong. I knew that if it started to hurt I could just call my parents to come pick me up and I'd just DNF. I knew that I'd be more upset with myself if I didn't try than if I tried and couldn't finished. I wasn't really too worried about doing more damage. I had read up on stress fractures and knew that it won't start healing until I stay off of it, but again - I didn't see how me walking a few hours on Saturday was any worse than walking the whole rest of this week until I find out if it really is indeed a stress fracture. And if I was going to have to end up taking time off running for this to heal, then I wanted to at least attempt to go out with a bang, so to speak. I knew the walking could make it worse, but not any more worse than walking on it this whole next week. I knew that I am not capable of voluntarily sitting out when I don't even know if I have an injury that I need to really sit out for. If it's just bursitis or tendonitis, I'll need to take some time off running, but I can still walk around.

I felt pretty good about deciding to walk the half, but I was nervous. I didn't know if my hip would start hurting. I didn't know if I could walk it in the 4-hour time limit. I kept thinking that if I can run it in less than 2 hours, surely I could walk it in less than twice that. Most of all, I felt like injury or no injury, I had to try. I am indeed stubborn like that. I couldn't let this go. I had trained too long and too hard to just sit on the sidelines today. I'm sure some of you might think I was foolish, but I don't. I did what I felt like was best for me and was prepared to continue to do so... even if it meant taking a DNF if my hip started hurting.

Saturday morning was bittersweet. I didn't get to feel that pre-race adrenaline. I still felt pretty blue that I couldn't run the full. I made the best of it, put a smile on my face, and lined up with the walkers.

Let me tell you... walking 13.1 miles is a LONG walk. I took my contraband ipod and listening to music. I eavesdropped on other conversations. I took in the sites. But it was still a long walk. I managed to be pretty consistent and was hitting 15-minute miles on the nose until about mile 10. I wasn't hurting at all, but my feet were feeling tired so I slowed down a bit. I got to see the lead marathon runners doubling back to head to the finish, so that was pretty cool. I kept walking and kept feeling more and more confident that I made the right decision. My hip wasn't bothering me to walk, and I was excited that I was going to be able to cross a finish line and have SOMETHING to show for the past 4 months of hard work.

I ended up finishing in 3:20. I was pleased with myself and felt really good. My feet and legs were tired, but I didn't feel any pain. I started thinking that maybe there's still a really good chance this isn't a stress fracture at all. Surely it'd hurt more after walking a half-marathon if it were. Regardless of what the injury ends up being, I feel good about my decision to walk this race. I feel like it gave me some closure to my training. While I don't like the idea of not being able to run for a while, I feel like I at least got to tie up loose ends before I am forced to take time off. That's the only way I can explain it where I think it might make sense to everyone.

I enjoyed some yummy post-race food and found my family. Bob ran the half in 1:58, and Bennett killed his PR when he ran the full in 3:34. We had lunch at McCalister's and then spent the afternoon cleaning up and taking it easy.

Later that evening we went to Beale Street for some delicious ribs at Blues City Cafe. YUM! I also tried a Samuel Smith Pale Ale from England (I think) that was a nice post-race treat. We wandered around Beale Street for a few minutes, but then we decided to call it a night since we were all exhausted.

All in all, it was a good weekend. I'll make a separate post after this with some pictures. We had a lot of fun, and I'm possibly prouder of walking this half than I am of some of my other races. I'm glad I was stubborn and walked it anyway. I'm glad I didn't give up. I'm really glad my hip didn't hurt. It's a little achy today, but no more so than it was before the race. I hardly felt it at all Saturday or yesterday. I'm hoping that's a good sign.

So now I'm in a place where I can take it easy and heal. I'm nervous about what I'll find out this week. I so don't want it to be a stress fracture. I'm still not happy about having to deal with this. It's still frustrating. I do everything right in training. If I do have a stress fracture, I'm going to check into things concerning my nutrition. I'm wondering if maybe my bones aren't getting the nutrients they need or something.

Please don't judge me. Please don't leave comments telling me I took a risk and acting foolishly. I've already had one person attempt to make me feel stupid over this, and I'm not really interested in anyone else doing the same. I know my body, and I feel like I did what was best for me. I was willing to take the risk.

Now I'm ready to find out what's wrong and heal. Bring it on. I'll do whatever I need to do to get myself on my feet again so that I can pick another race and go after it. I may not be happy about this setback, but I'll get through it and be running a PR on the other side.

Thanks again for all your love and support. Seriously... your sweet comments cheered me up in a way that other things can't do.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Doctor Says...

He can't be sure yet, but he thinks I more than likely have a stress fracture.

I tried really hard to not start crying. It couldn't be helped. He's a nice guy and handed me a box of tissues. Clearly I'm not the only one who's cried over such a thing. That made me feel a little better.

Apparently an X-Ray won't show a stress fracture. (Gee, thanks for taking them and billing them when they were worthless.) So I have to go back on Tuesday for an MRI, and then on Friday to see him again and get the results and a treatment plan.

He said it could still be some other things like bursitis or something similar. I'm going to keep hoping for that. If I have a stress fracture, I'll have to be on crutches for a while.

With that said, he told me not to be running (of course) and said he'd discourage me from even walking the half since walking can make a hip stress fracture worse.

I'm really disappointed. I had so hoped he'd be able to easily say it was something else, anything else... something that I could maybe still run the half on.

And crutches? Boy, that's going to suck. Especially over the holidays.

I'll deal with it. The most important thing is to get healed so I can get back to running and start again. It's just not easy to remember that today. I feel so many different things. Disappointment I can't run the race I've been training for. Frustration that I put in so much time and work and now have to stand on the sidelines. A little bit annoyed that other people run so much more than I do and never get hurt, and I did everything right and still ended up getting hurt. Depressed that there's a good chance I won't be running for a couple of months, so I'll lose all this fitness I built up these past 4 months and have to start all over, and probably very slowly.

Like I said, I'll deal. I'm tough and don't usually let things keep me down. And there's still a chance it's not a stress fracture, but he seemed to think it's a small chance.

So today... right now... I'm sad. I'm disappointed. I'm frustrated. But I'm going to do my best to get the tears out, put on a smile and go to Memphis with my parents and friends and have a good weekend. Be back Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Before I Go...

There's a good chance I won't have time to post tomorrow. I'm going to try to get on here and at least post a quick one about what the doctor says and where I'm leaning on if I'm running or walking and which race...

In the meantime, keep tossing up prayers and sending good vibes my way that we'll find out there's nothing serious going on with my hip. Honestly? I'm secretly hoping that it's nothing major and for a quick fix that will allow me to run the full I trained for... I could care less about a PR now. I'd just like to run with minimal pain for the full 26.2 and cross that line. And then take the rest of the month off from running.

One good thing about all this is that if by some chance I can run the full, at least I spent the whole week thinking I couldn't and avoided all the usual race week anxiety and restlessness. I've been disappointed and frustrated instead, but that's not nearly as exhausting, ha. We'll see what happens. Come back later to find out.

I also wanted to give a shout out to Aron. She's running her second marathon on Sunday in California (where the weather should be warmer than what I'll have in Memphis on Saturday). She's been rocking out in her training, so I know she'll do great. I'll be cheering her on in spirit that morning, and I can't wait to hear how it goes.

Good luck to anyone else who may be running or racing this weekend.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Standing Still

Again, thank you all for being so supportive and sending positive comments, good vibes and warm thoughts my way. It's really helping this week be a little brighter.

I guess in some ways I just feel like I'm hovering. I don't know what's really wrong, and I won't know until the doctor checks it out on Friday. I won't know until he does if I can do anything at all on Saturday, and if so if it'll mean running or walking. I also won't know until then how quickly I can expect to be running again and when I can reschedule another race.

I have to assume that if I can get back at it pretty quickly that I should be able to bounce back quickly, right? I mean, I've worked for four months to get in shape to run a marathon. Surely if I can get back on my feet in Janaury it won't take too long to get back to that shape, you think?

I really want to plan on running Little Rock in March. I'd been tossing the idea around for a while now, but if I can't run the full on Saturday I feel even more certain I need to pick another one soon. Again, I won't know until I find out what's really wrong if this is even reasonable. If something is seriously wrong, no telling how long I'd have to be off my feet.

I know it sounds like I'm whining about not getting to run in a certain race. It's not really about that. I mean, sure... it KIND OF is about that. I worked hard for this day, and now I don't even have the joy of looking forward to that day this whole week because I can't do it. But more than that, it's just about the running.

Running is such a big part of my life. It has come to be something that I'm passionate about. It's not just about races and times and goals. Sure, that's part of the fun for me. I'm pretty competitive with myself and myself alone. It's more about the fact that I just love to run. I don't like not running. I just don't feel like myself in that part of my life right now. It's not that I'm choosing to take some time off running. It just suddenly hurts to run. That's what makes it suck.

I think I promised to quit being so depressing. I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining too much. It's just kind of a mental struggle this week to deal with all of this. It's hard to take lightly, you know? This week should be about checking the weather every 10 minutes to see if it's changed and planning out strategies for race day and agonizing over minute details on the race website. But now? Now I'm just kind of ready for the weekend to be over.

I know I'll have a blast this weekend. I know that even if something is really wrong and I can't do any race at all, I'll still cheer on my friends that are running and have a great day. I know that it'll all be ok. It'll just be easier to get the disappointment behind me, if that makes any sense.

I'm not going to lie though... if the doctor tells me there's nothing wrong that running can make worse, I'll probably find a new motivation to consume as much ibuprofen as allowed and try for the full anyways. Yeah, it might hurt... but if it's pain that I know isn't causing any damage, I might be able to suck it up for 26.2 miles. That and a little tequila in the ole fuel belt can't hurt.

I'm kidding. Maybe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

To the Doctor's Office I Go

Apologies for being the Debbie Downer yesterday. I think I'm a generally optimistic and upbeat person, but I'm certainly not able to fake it when I'm feeling a little bummed over something.

My good friend Danielle made the comment that she never hears me complain about anything hurting, so when I say it hurts then it HURTS. She's so right. I know that aches and pains come with the territory of being a marathoner, but it usually doesn't phase me much. I guess that's how I know that this is something a bit more serious.

One of the reasons why I posted my sad little tale yesterday was to see what some of you might have to say about it. I certainly wasn't looking for sympathy or anything like that, but I'm overwhelmed at how kind and encouraging those of you who read this regularly are to me when you don't even know me. Your support and encouragement truly means a lot to me. I suppose I was interested at how many, "Are you crazy? Go to the doctor!" comments I would get.

I got enough to smack me in the face. Thanks guys and gals. I knew deep down I needed to go on and go, but all of you other runners know how HARD it is to make such an appointment. Sure, I dread seeing the lady doctor each year, but I'm not practically in tears when I call to schedule the visit. This morning I kind of broke down a bit. I don't think I'm an overly emotional person, but I do let things out through tears when I'm feeling overwhelmed emotionally. It's kind of my way of letting some of the pressure out of my body.

It just feels so depressing to accept that I'm not going to be able to run the race that I trained so hard for... and part of it is because it's all happened so close to the race. I'm sure I'd have been bummed if this happened a month or two ago, but at least then I wouldn't have just FINISHED all of my training. Runners don't like to go to the doctor because we don't want to hear what's wrong. We don't want to be told not to run. But in the end, I'm interested in running MANY more marathons in my life, so I know I should go find out what the problem is in my hip.

So I managed to get myself an appointment on Friday morning before I head out of town. I should be able to know from then if it's a) nothing serious that will heal up if I treat it right (and if this is the case, then I will do the half... if he's really discouraging from running, then I will just walk the half) or if it's b) something more serious like a stress fracture (and then I will shed a few more tears and completely sit out Saturday and start doing whatever I need to do to treat it right so I can be running again ASAP).

That's the game plan. I feel good about it. This way I should be able to go to Memphis with the peace of mind of knowing what's going on and what I need to do about it.

Either way, the full isn't happening. I haven't gone running since Thursday, and it still hurts enough that I know I'd never make the full. Sucks sucks sucks.

But in the end, I'll be ok. It'll be hard to not run the full, but then it'll be behind me. I'll focus on doing whatever the doc says I need to do to heal whatever injury he says I have. Then, before we all know it, I'll be running again and training for a new race to make up for not getting to do this one.

Thanks again for all your warm thoughts and well wishes. Sometimes I need to be able to just vent about something, and I appreciate you all reading even when I need to do that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Catching Up...

I hope everyone enjoyed the past few days! I did for the most part, though I'm afraid that there's a cloud hanging over my Thanksgiving weekend. We'll get to that in a minute...

The past few days were spend with family enjoying good food, movies, sleeping in and Christmas decorating and shopping.

Wednesday night, I watched Run Fatboy Run. I totally recommend this movie whether you run or not. I think that it's especially appealing to us runners because of this fun story about a non-runner going out to run a marathon. However, it's got a lot of comedy and a sweet little love story that makes this movie one that I think a lot of people would enjoy.

Thursday morning I ran in our local Thanksgiving 5-miler. I finished with a time of 45:11, which is fine by me under the circumstances. Again, we'll get to all this.

I spent that afternoon taking it easy and watching the movie Get Smart. I also enjoyed this one. I like both Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, so it was fun to watch them together. They seem like an unlikely match, but they make it work. That evening was spent with all of my extended family watching football and eating a lot of good food.

Friday I got up and drove to the running store to pick up a foam roller. They finally had them! I was particularly pleased that they also provided me with a packet that shows pictures of how to do various things with the roller. Then, I met up with my mom and sister for a little Christmas shopping. It was a LONG day (and we didn't even start until after lunch), but I got most of my Christmas shopping other than a few things wrapped up (pun intended).

Saturday I spent the day helping get the tree up at my parent's house, and Sunday I took it easy most of the day. I went to yoga. I also watched This Christmas, a movie that I think came out last Christmas with Chris Brown. Yes, he sings in the movie. This may be one of the best "new" Christmas movies I've seen in the past few years. If you want something different this year, go rent this. I think you'll enjoy.

So.... back to my hints that something is not ok. I had some soreness in my hip last Saturday that got me a little worried. It had been feeling better, but by about mile 3 of my race on Thursday it was seriously hurting. There's a big difference between soreness and pain. I had been running 8:30 m/miles, but by the end I was running more of a 10:00 m/m pace. I seriously wanted to cry by the time I crossed that finish line. If it was that hard to run 5 miles, how the heck am I supposed to run 26.2 in like 9 days?

I spent a lot of time on Thursday with an ice pack on it. I was on my feet for 9 hours on Friday, but it definitely bothered me just walking around. Saturday it started to feel better, but then on Sunday it hurt almost as bad as Thursday. I figured yoga probably couldn't hurt, and today I'm thinking that maybe it did help. It's still very present, but it doesn't hurt nearly as bad.

I decided that I won't run any more between Thursday's race and Saturday's. Trying to run a few last miles will not help, and it won't hurt me to skip them at this point. I'm taking ibuprofen as much as allowed, and I'm rotating ice and heat on my hip when I'm at home. I've been using the foam roller and trying to stretch.

I don't give up easily. But I also know that it's not smart to do something that will hurt more than help. So I'm considering not trying to run in the marathon on Saturday.

You have no idea how hard it is for me to even allow that thought to come into my mind. That's how much it hurts. There are numerous things on my mind about this.

For starters, I have no idea what's really wrong. Do I just need a few days of rest? Does something need to be stretched out? Is there something bigger going on that I'll need to see a doctor about?

Then there's the frustration. Frustration that I've made it through all these months of training and NOW this happens. Sure, I've had some aches and pains. Sure, I've had a few doubts here and there. Why is it that I get plagued with something that makes it painful to run right before my big race. There's also the frustration that I've been training for months for this day, and now I might not even be able to do it.

There's always a chance that it'll feel fine by Saturday. I'm trying to be realistic. I know the difference between something I can run through and something I can't, and if this is still bothering me Saturday, I can't run a full. Maybe I could walk/trot my way through it, but then it comes back to the fact that I don't know if it's something serious that running 26.2 miles on could inflict damage. I want to run MANY more marathons, not just this one on Saturday.

So I've decided to allow myself to think of just doing the half-marathon. I've already talked to the marathon people and found out that if I get to mile 12.5 where the two races split and don't think I can make it, I can turn and take the half-marathon finish.

Believe me, I don't want to do that. I WANT to run the full. But I also want to be able to run more soon, and I don't want to hurt myself.

There's no way to know if I'll feel fine by Saturday or not. I'll stick to my plan of deciding that day what to do. If I can't run the full, it's going to suck. I've really been depressed over all of this the past few days. It's hard to let go of the full. Maybe I won't have to, but I'm keeping myself open to the thought of having to switch races.

I know it's not the end of the world. I know there will be other races. But that's not really the point. I'm ready for this one... except for my stupid hip.

No matter what happens, I will run a race on Saturday. I will cross a finish line. I will get a medal. And I will be proud that I went out there and did it.

I will take the rest of the month of December off from running. I will pick back up with some light runs in January. If my hip still hurts then (after 4 weeks of rest!), then I'll know it's a bigger deal than just an overuse injury that needs rest and I'll go to a doc. I want to be back up and running in January, and then aim for running the Little Rock marathon in March.

I suppose I'm just worried about the whole "what if resting it for a few weeks before January isn't enough and then I have to wait even longer for it to get better and run another one than what I'd like?"

It'll will all be ok no matter what. I know this. I'm just feeling a little blue and worried and bummed out.

I've never had something hurt enough that I felt like I couldn't run. It just seriously sucks.

Sorry for ending this on such a sad note. I promise that I wno't feel sorry for myself anymore after this post. I just needed to get it out. I'm trying to stay optimistic. I'll have a great weekend and a great race day no matter what. It'll just be better if my hip suddenly gets better and I can run the full.

And by the way... if I'm able to run the full, at this point I couldn't give a crap about my time or my PR or anything. I'll be happy to finish.