Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 2012 in Review

This was a super fantastic month so let's get right to it!

Mileage Recap

A year ago - September 2011: 193.05
January: 181.21
February: 86.84
March: 6
April: 89.59
May: 128.43
June: 137.72
July: 200.1
August: 177.48
September: 230.85

Booyah! Bam! Smash! Hello good-month-of-mileage, nice to see ya! Can you say August redemption??!

Cross Training Recap

176.94 miles road cycling

This month I decided to stop riding into work five days a week. With all of the running miles this month I've been exhausted (Ragnar didn't help either). I still enjoy biking and certainly want to keep it up at least three days a week for cross training purposes, but at this point in my training, as we reach into peak weeks, running miles matter more than cycling miles. I wish I could have gotten to the pool at least once though! Sigh...maybe I'll get my act together next month. 

What went well

I got in three long runs this month of 20, 18, and 25 miles. I think my body is starting to adjust to running long again. I felt like I lost endurance in August so this is very encouraging. I've been a little speedier too, though I credit that to the drop in temperature and humidity. 

What didn't go well

Some of my long runs have been very mentally challenging. This is worrying me a bit, because during JFK I will have to run more than twice the distance of some of the long runs I'm doing and do it without music and on monotonous terrain (can you say 26 miles of canal tow path?).

October 2012 Goals

I have some long races coming up in October, to be detailed more in a later post. My goal is to get through them and my weekly mileage plans from here on out. Seven weeks until race day. I'm breaking that down with a cutback week, three weeks of build, and then a three week taper. Can't believe during my next monthly recap I will be less than 21 days until race day! Eek!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ragnar Relay DC Recap

How do you sum up a 30 hour race? With a ridiculously long post!

There are few times in my life when I think I've actually not slept multiple days in a row. I got some sleep at Ragnar PA last year, but this year's DC race takes the cake for least sleep ever.

Thursday morning we were up at 5 am to take the dogs to the boarders and head to work. Fast forward to Thursday evening. The van has been rented, the bags are packed, three teammates have been picked up and we are on the road at 9 pm headed to Rocky Gap State Park in Cumberland, MD.

Now being in van #2 we totally could have slept at home Thursday night, woke up at a decent hour, and headed right for exchange 6 on Friday morning, but as captain I wanted to be at the start line. Also, we had one person with us in van #1, so they kind of needed to be at the start line too.

As would be the theme of the next two days, I felt compeled to stay awake in the passenger seat while Mike drove. We pulled into the campsite at 1 am, popped open the tent, and attempted to sleep six hours or so. Unfortunately it was freezing cold, and Mike and I were awkwardly trying to share one sleeping bag. No deal.

*Sleep count: ~3 hours

Foggy morning start line

The team
At 8 am we met our fellow teammates at the start line, conveniently in the same park we camped in, decorated vans, cheered our first runner on, and then it was time to go!

Pay attention to our parrot..
Pirates of the Caravan! Argh!
Start line
Would totally come back to this park to camp again...if it wasn't a 4 hour drive
What remained of our parrot friend after not more than five minutes of driving on the highway :(
We had a few hours to kill before our van was up, so we got breakfast, hit up a Walmart for supplies, and eventually made our way to exchange 6. Around 2:30 pm our first van #2 runner finally got going.

Van #1 hands off to van #2

Using the flags like a pro

Leg #1: 9.4 miles, Very Hard, 445 ft gain

Finally around 6:30 pm it came my turn to run and I was amped up and ready to go. Our team had been amazingly keeping pace with our orginally projected goal time, so I felt a lot of pressure to be speedy. On our leg breakdown I was listed as finishing this 9.4 miles in 1 hour 22 minutes. Umm, way faster than I've been running lately.

Waiting to run and foam rolling
Runner #10 handed off the slap bracelet I took off. Fortunately the weather was quite pleasant by that time of day; cool and just a bit humid. My entire leg was on the Western Rail Trail and the C&O Canal, which meant I wouldn't be seeing my van again until the exchange.

Within 3 minutes of running the girl behind me told me that my LED wasn't on. Turns out the batteries had died. Awesome. Not even a mile into my first leg and I'm already breaking rules. After a mile I made it to the Western Rail Trail. I had been really excited for this leg because it sounded beautiful. Turns out its a paved bike path, not a trail, and its on the side of the highway with a thin/sometimes-not-even-there tree line. I just love hearing and seeing tractor trailers driving by on my run.

There were mile markers on the bike path and I realized I was actually running an 8:30 pace, right on target. It felt challenging, but comfortable. Around mile 6.5 the route switched onto the C&O Canal. It was really pretty and the highway disappeared and gave way to the canal. Unfortunately I couldn't enjoy it too much because the sun also set at this time. The trail felt good under my feet, but I was terrified on tripping. Luckily there were two runners ahead of me and I tried to use them as a guide.

Finally the C&O ended and I saw the "One Mile to Go" sign. I was immediately disappointed because according to my watch I was more than a few minutes behind goal time even though I had appeared to be keeping pace. Luckily (or frustratingly), I did not have one mile to go, but much less. They probably just threw that sign there because it was on a corner and more convenient then treking down the C&O.

Leg #1 final time: 1:21:31. Right on schedule!

Our first van rotation finished up by 9 pm. We decided to head right for the next big exchange to see if we could get some shut eye. One of the major contributers to my lack of sleep was the fact that for each rotation Van #1 consistantly ran about 30 miles total, and our van was running about 40 miles total. Hence, they were out running for much less time than us, meaning we had less time to sleep. I tried to curl into the sleeping bag around 11 pm and sleep for two hours. Again, cold, uncomfortable, and pretty unsuccessful.

*Sleep count: ~4 hours

Leg #2: 9.1 miles, Very Hard, 978 ft gain
Leg #3: 9.6 miles, Very Hard, 542 ft gain

At 1 am it was our van's turn again. At 5 am, coincidentally when I would normally be running on a Saturday, my leg was up. Sally and I decided to pace each other like we did last year in PA. The benefits of this are threefold: 1) Rack up more miles (good for JFK training), 2) Don't have to run in the dark alone, 3) Time/miles fly by when you're chatting.
Waiting to go
The first leg of our double was through Sugar Loaf Mountain. It ended up being on a fine gravel trail. The road was super thin and the vans had to drive by us so that we often ended up walking (out of fear of twisting an ankle) through the ditch on the side of the road in order not to get hit. It was frustrating because we ended up taking much longer than I would have liked.

Finally, after what seemed like eternity, we reached the next exchange. I chugged some Gatorade, ate two Fig Newtons, and headed out with Sally again. By this time the sun was coming up and we had rolling hills and beautiful views. Sally started experiencing some terrible GI issues so at mile 4.5 of this leg she hopped into our van. I was more than happy to continue on and finish up on my own. I really tried to push the pace at this point. That worked for about 2 miles and then my legs remembered that they had already run 15 miles this morning plus 10 last night and they were not having it.
OMG pain

Leg #2 and Leg #3 final time: Eternity

We had another few hours to kill, but now that the sun was up I knew I wasn't going to be able to sleep. We headed to the next big exchange, which was right outside of DC. My mom came to meet us and we had bagels. It was great to see her and she kept my mind busy until it was time for us to go again around 1 pm.

Leg #4: 3.7 miles, Easy, 82 ft gain

You know what feels good? Seeing a "One Mile to Go" sign after 2 something miles instead of 8 something miles (as I did for my first three legs). I was blowing kisses at it.
Off I go
First thoughts as I took off on my last leg: OMG my quads are killing me! Exhaustion and soreness were setting in. I don't have any idea how I kept going. Somehow I bested a 10 minute mile.

Leg #4 final time: 35:43

Final Ragnar mileage: 31.8

Our team finally finished around 5:30 pm, two hours after projected finish time. Oh well. I'm never in these relays to race anyway. They are all about fun!

Mike, myself, Sally, and our other Philly runner Chris left right away to head home. I felt bad not to hang out with the rest of the team, but I was running on 4 hours of sleep over 60 hours. If I didn't get home soon I thought I might lose it. We stopped for a quick dinner and got on the road. I offered to drive, which was good because Mike started slurring actual nonsense and drifting in and out of sleep. I actually had to stop for some candy and a 5 hour energy drink because I thought I was going to fall asleep at the wheel. We finally dropped everyone off and crawled into bed around 1 am. I don't think I've ever fallen asleep so fast in my life!

Monday, September 24, 2012

JFK Training: Week 12

Another really good week in the books! Two good weeks in a row is an anomaly, but I'm trying to make it the new pattern. I keep thinking something bad is going to happen to screw it up. 

Monday 9/17: 

15.65 mile bike

After four days off my bike and being sick I was ready to get back to the routine. Monday rides to work always feel so easy (in comparison to Fridays, when I hate biking and I feel like I'm going to die on every little incline). 

Tuesday 9/18:

7.28 mile run

Hello humidity! Umm, I thought 98% humidity at 5 am was behind us, no? I guess not. This run sucked, but hey, they can't all be rockstars. It ended up pouring most of the day so I opted not to bike to work. Turned out to be a great idea because it was storm central right around 5 pm.

Wednesday 9/19: 

6.5 mile run AM
15.65 mile bike
5.89 mile run PM

I love, love, love my double runs! Also love? Eggs for dinner once a week. Don't hold the Sriracha. 

Thursday 9/20: 

5.05 mile run

After work on Thursday I got in one last short run before Ragnar. I knew I wasn't slated for my first leg until Friday evening, so I was guaranteed 24 hours of rest in between. 

Friday 9/21:

9.4 mile run (leg 1)

I will do a full Ragnar recap later this week. We headed to the start line Thursday night because it was a four hour drive and camped out. 

Woke up to this Friday morning

Saturday 9/22:

18.7 mile run AM (leg 2 & 3)
3.7 mile run PM (leg 4)

Second Ragnar complete!

Sunday 9/23:

5.79 mile run

Last year after Ragnar I was so sore I couldn't move for two days. So I was completely surprised when I headed out for a run on Sunday afternoon and felt no cramping or fatigue at all. What a difference a year makes!

Week 12 Totals:

 62.31 miles running
 31.3 miles biking

This week marks a mileage milestone for me. The most I've ever run in a week prior to this was 61.xx miles (and that was accidental and included make up miles from the week before). I'm excited to push a little further this week and then take a much needed cutback week!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let's Get Ready to Ragnar!

Today is happily my Friday because tomorrow I am taking off work to run in the DC Ragnar Relay. Last year I joined a team for the inaugural PA event (initial recap here) and had an absolute blast.

Who knew sweaty vans with strangers could be so much fun
This year Mike and I decided to start our own team and run the DC race. Since the starting line is four hours away we will be leaving tonight, camping out nearby, and will be ready to rock and roll tomorrow morning!

I'm excited about this relay for a couple of reasons:

1) Last year Mike signed up to run, but was injured and ended up being our driver instead. This time he is actually running and I am so excited for him to participate!

2) We are running with two members from last year's team, but everyone else is a stranger. Events like this make me realize how much I like getting to know people I've never met before.

3) New running routes! Enough said.

4) The race ends in DC near my mom's house so she is joining us at the finish line. Its been a month since I've seen her, which is wayyyy too long.

5) After last year's relay I distinctly remember waking up Sunday morning and cursing the fact that I did not take Monday off of work. This time around I made sure to put in my vacation time, so yay for four day weekends!

Mileage-wise, I am runner #11, which is slated for 22.2 miles. My friend Sally, who was captain of my team last year, will pace me through my nighttime 9 something miles and then I plan to pace her for her 9 something miles immediately afterwards. We had back-to-back legs last year, did the thing, and ended up running 13 some miles at 2 am. This year we should end up running closer to 18/19 miles in the wee morning hours. All in all, I should come out with 32 or so miles for the event including pacing, which fits in perfectly with JFK training.

Now off I go to become a two time Ragnarian!

Monday, September 17, 2012

JFK Training: Week 11

After feeling bummed out about my training in August I finally had a really nice running week and it feels GOOD!

Monday 9/10: 

7.76 mile run
17.34 mile bike

I woke up still feeling really sore in my upper body from Tough Mudder on Saturday so I decided to hold my run until the evening. Mike and I left around 7 pm after carb-ing up. It's amazing what the combination of being fully fueled and 65 degrees with 30% humidity can do for you. We flew through our run and I felt faster than I have in months and months and months. We ended up finishing with an 8:30 pace. I haven't seen numbers like those since early February. Hello fall!

Tuesday 9/11:

5.08 mile run
15.65 mile bike

Tuesday's run was not particularly eventful. I went in the AM and took it nice and slow after Monday night.

I am still tapering off the steroids after my bout of poison ivy a few weeks ago so my appetite is still being super weird. I really haven't been hungry at all on these meds and I'm not even craving dessert, which is super strange for me. I can't, however, seem to get enough of apples and peanut butter.

Wednesday 9/12: 

6.37 mile run
15.65 mile bike

Another beautiful, crisp starting-to-seem-like-fall kind of morning. I wore long sleeves and it was divine.

Thursday 9/13: 

Sick Day

In my body's continual quest to not make it through an entire week without something going wrong, I actually got really sick in the middle of the week. I blame standing in the cold mud at Tough Mudder waiting for obstacles. Even Mike was sick and that almost never happens. After trying to ignore it for a few days I finally gave in and took a sick day on Thursday. It wasn't even a productive sick day. I just sat on the couch coughing and sniffling. At least I had cute company all day.

Friday 9/14:

7.28 mile run

I was stoked to get out Friday morning for a run after staying inside all day Thursday. The run was perfect, but I decided not to bike to work to give my immune system a little more rest.

Saturday 9/15:

20.15 mile run

I wasn't particularly looking forward to my 20-miler this week, in part because I was too lazy to make a creative route and decided to just run two river loops instead. Boringggg.

Mike also had 20 miles on his schedule in prep for the Baltimore Marathon, which we are both running in a month. We ran the same route, but I left an hour before him so that we could each run it solo. In my opinion building mental endurance is just as important as building physical endurance. Running 20 miles alone can teach you a lot. Considering I actually hadn't done a solo run that long for this training plan and Mike had never done a solo run that long, I suggested we make it happen.

The combination of the cooler weather and my desire to finish as fast as humanly possible led me to run much faster than I have been in runs of that distance. In addition I realized I hadn't run that long since my 25-miler, which was five whole weeks ago. The disaster that was August actually messed up my endurance quite a bit and by mile 10 I was hurting. I stuck with it though and ended up finishing quite satisfied with myself albeit already very sore by the time I walked into my house.

Luckily we had someone coming to change the battery on our water meter, which was the perfect excuse for me to sit on the couch in my pivot shorts and ice, compress, foam roll, and repeat several times over. 

We finally made it out of the house around dinner time and met up with some friends. I pulled out boots for the occasion. Did I mention how freaking excited I am for fall!?!

Sunday 9/16:

10.69 mile run

When I got out of bed Sunday morning and stood up I could barely move. My calves were so sore from Saturday's run. I spent a bulk of the day doing reading for class and stretching and got myself out the door for my last run of the week around 3:30 pm. I headed to a new trail that I found a week or so ago, the Cynwyd Heritage Trail. It's not necessarily more beautiful than some of the other places I run, but it's *new* and that's what's important!

Cynwyd Heritage Trail

Week 11 Totals:

57.33 miles running
48.64 miles biking

If all goes well the next and last nine weeks of training should go something like this:

- 2 more weeks of build
- 1 cutback week
- 3 weeks of build/peak weeks
- 3 week taper
- Race Day Ahhhh!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flipping the Switch & JFK Training Updates

With the weekend promptly behind me I woke up Monday morning a complete stress case. It's as if during the night a switch was flipped. If Sunday was summer, 12 hours later fall had officially started. I woke up to to 55 degree weather outside, the first week of classes, and the beginning of busy season at work.

As I tried to get through my little morning anxiety attack I flashbacked to this exact same time last year, when I also freaked out during the first week of class. Working full time is tough. Working full time and going to graduate school is tougher. Working full time, going to graduate school, and training for a race is tougher times at least two. At least this year I don't have to add wedding planning on top of it (thank freaking god).

I know based on my reaction last year that in another 10-14 days I will have settled into my pattern and be able to get through the days no problem. Until then I will probably be a basket case.

JFK Training wise I am starting to freak out a little bit. On the one hand I still really like not using a training plan. It allows me more flexibility, less guilt, and less chance of injuring myself. On the other hand, I feel like I'm falling behind after having to skip so many long runs in August do to sun poisoning/hospital time. The last long run I did was a month ago when I ran 25 miles. I was planning to run 12 miles on Sunday after Tough Mudder on Saturday to put me at around 57 for the week, but I was so exhausted and sore in my upper body that I bailed on it.

What I am left with is seven weeks of training until taper. Seven weeks where I feel like I should be shooting for 50-70 miles per week, yet I haven't even broken 52 miles this training cycle. Fail, fail, fail.

Without forcing a training plan on myself I am going to make some weekly goals to help myself get to a point where I feel confident in my ability to run 50 miles on November 17th:

1) Running 6 days a week: I've been running 5 days per week since my injury in the spring. I used to run 6 all of the time, but I freaked out after my shin splints and have been holding back.

2) Running before work: In order to prevent a complete stress freak out, I need to get my add out of bed and run in the morning. Biking home after work, making dinner, doing HW, and then feeling the pressure to run is going to make me go bat shit crazy.

3) One double per week: I've been doing this already, but I need to commit to continuing them.

4) No excuse back-to-back weekend long runs: Super long run Saturday, 10 miles Sunday. End of story.

I may be a stress case trying to get everything done, but it's only seven weeks. That's nothing right?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Very, Very Ugly: Tough Mudder Recap

I'll preface this post by saying that my expectations for this race weren't very high to begin with and so my opinion didn't have very far to fall. Mud and obstacles are not really my thing and I knew that going into this event. When Mike decided he wanted to register back in January I was willing to jump on the bandwagon considering how many races I've dragged him to.

Okay onto there recap:

We were on the road Saturday morning by 7 am. Tough Mudder start times work in waves starting around 8 am and going every 20 minutes until 2:40 pm. We had a noon start time, which was fine, because it was going to be a 3 hour drive there and they also said we should arrive two hours before our start, so a 10 am arrival is what we shot for. At 9:45 am we were 5 miles form the event site. Perfect!

And then the traffic. Oh the traffic! Tough Mudder was very adamant about not parking anywhere except their own lot, which would have been fine, except that their lot was not equipped to handle the 20,000 people they had registered for the day. And, as it turned out, there was only one way in and out of the lot for vehicles and only a single lane country road leading to the entrance. What made the situation worse, however, was the lack of information coming from the event staff. We sat in traffic for FOUR hours waiting to get to the lot without hearing a peep from the staff. One text message went out around 10 am that said we should only park in their lot and that they would let you into the event late if you missed your start time.

At 2 pm we finally got fed up. I had walked up the road a bit to do some recon and found out just how bad the parking situation was. At that point we decided to abandon the line and parked in a neighborhood 2 miles away from the event site. We would have done this sooner, but I really felt that we would be able to park at the event since we weren't hearing otherwise. I just crossed my fingers that my car would be un-towed and un-ticketed when we returned.

Two of our friends abandoned ship after the traffic situation. We were about to do the same, but honestly after sitting in the car for 7 hours the only thing that was going to de-stress me was exercise. The rain started pouring and we sprinted the 1.5 miles to the start line. It felt great to be out of that car and to move my legs. When we arrived at the start registration and bag check took call of two seconds.

Finally arrived!
After running in the rain from the car

We met up with our two other friends and heard the call for the last start wave (it was now 2:40 pm). If we had stayed in that traffic line 5 minutes longer we would have missed it. I felt so, so badly for the thousands of people still in traffic waiting to get in. They probably had no idea that the event staff were still closing the start times according to the original plan and I'm sure many eventually arrived only to be turned away.

And so, finally, we ran the damn thing. My thoughts on the actual event? It was alright. Again, I didn't go into this thing thinking it was the cat's meow. I wasn't nearly as "tough" as I expected. In my opinion anyone who can run 10k and does some strength training once a week would have no problem. We did deal with an exceptional amount of mud, definitely more than non-rainy Tough Mudders encounter. One of the aid stations was knee deep in mud and water. I don't think that was planned.

We ran pretty much the entire thing. The first 3-4 miles flew by since we were still hyped up from getting out of the car. The last 5 miles ended up going very slow because of the deep, slippery mud and wait times at the obstacles. Getting through the mud reminded me a lot of this race except I left that event with a lot more self-satisfaction.

By the time we finished it was after 6 pm and getting cold. We had to wait 10-15 minutes for more foil blankets, which kind of ticked me off. We were able to snag some quick time in the shower before they ran out of water. 

After we walked back to the car we tried to clean up as best as possible and then immediately found a diner to drown our stomachs in. I don't even know how I made it through the event after not eating much all day. 

Literally exactly what I wanted

After filling ourselves to the brim we dragged ourselves back in the car and drove home. Finally around 1 am my head was able to hit my pillow. 

So, to review...

The Good:
- Course length
- Obstacle spacing
- Registration and bag check lines
- Getting muddy
- Comradery (this was all because of the participants and had nothing to do with the event staff)
- Swag (we got a nice UA tech shirt and a sweatband, which I thought was super douchey when I first saw it, but was so exactly what my frigid body needed after running through cold mud for hours. My head was happy). 

OMG so warm

The Bad:
- I noticed very few event staff on the actual course
- Running out of water for showers
- Wait times at many obstacles
- Ripped my favorite lulu crops and tank top (my fault for wearing expensive clothing)

The Very, Very Ugly:
- Parking
- Communication with event staff
- Traffic

Would I do this event again? Up until an hour ago I said "hell no," but if I had enough friends, and I stayed at a hotel within walking distance, I would probably do another one. I

 don't know if I'd go with this company again. They really royally f*cked up. They ended up canceling Sunday's event and blaming it on weather when simultaneously all of these news articles are coming out about how the local mayor and police force were so unhappy with the traffic and logistics that they forced the shut down. This is definitely a PR mess for them and a lot of people are demanding refunds, which I think is warranted considering it's their poor event planning that caused so many people to miss the race. 

Many are pointing out that we should forget about asking for refunds and remember the Wounded Warriors Project, which Tough Mudder supports, but from what I can garner from their website, Tough Mudder doesn't actually donate any of your reg fee to this charity. They only offer you a discount if you pledge to raise $150+ on your own for the project. So, yeah. Bullshit. 

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder? Or any mud/obstacle type race? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Great Running Romance

It's about time this blog started talking more about running and less about annoying, cumbersome medical issues.

I don't know whether it's the slowly-but-surely-coming fall weather or that I'm still craving outdoors time after being stuck in a hospital for 48 hours or maybe it's just the heavy dose of steroids they have me on. Either and any way, one thing is for sure, I am head over heels in love with running right now.

I see you there high of 70-some degrees. Don't be shy!

Sure, on the average day I love running. Otherwise why would I trek through cold snowy winters and humid cloudless summers? But right now I'm really in love with it. Like can't stop, won't stop, want to run morning, noon, and night.

It was two years ago this month that I took my first step running off a treadmill and out into the wide open world. What seemed tough at first soon felt necessary. The repetitive beating of your feet on the pavement or trail. The sweat trickling down the temple of your head. The effortless push forward. The full out sprint or hill climb that leaves you breathless. The long slow run that makes you feel like you could keep going forever. The mental clarity that comes during all of those miles. I swear my most brilliant thoughts are made 5 miles in.

Run, run, run
Hopefully this love streak will keep going for awhile. I have a feeling that on that first real crisp fall morning run of the season any lost passion will be reignited. I'm looking tremendously forward to my fall races. I can't tell you how many race recaps and pictures I've looked at to try and vicariously live through another runner's experience before getting to the start line myself.

Racing season is upon us!
How do you feel about running right now? Are you in love? What race are you most looking forward to this fall?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not the Three Day Weekend I Was Expecting

This is how I envisioned my three day holiday weekend:

Friday: Half day at work, dinner with Mike and a nice glass of wine
Saturday: 25 miler to Valley Forge, relax, shopping
Sunday: Sleep in, relax, read, 10 miler in the evening
Monday: Hill workout with Tough Mudder friends, BBQ

This is how my weekend actually went:

Friday: Half day at work, emergency room
Saturday: Hospital
Sunday: Hospital
Monday: Recover

Basically, the poison ivy I contracted last week on my bike ride to work (I didn't realize it was poison ivy until two days later) turned into some kind of nasty skin infection. By the time I got home from work on Friday my arm was swelling so badly that I began to lose sensation in my fingers and I could no longer bend at the elbow. NOT COOL! So we skipped dinner and headed to the ER where horrible thoughts of arm amputation and dead nerves flashed through my head (I can be a little dramatic sometimes).

Two trips to the ER in one month. I must be making up for lost time
I thought maybe they'd give me something to make the swelling go away and send me home, but instead I found myself admitted and in my own room by bedtime Friday night. The swelling became so bad on Saturday that I would tip over if I stood up. I must have had 5-10 pounds of fluid in my right arm.

By Saturday evening the swelling began to subside, but they kept me overnight again just in case. Finally on Sunday afternoon I was liberated and they sent me home with a hefty dose of antibiotics and steroids. After nearly 48 hours in that room I was about to lose my mind. All I wanted to do was shower and get the hell outside.

As soon as I found something to wear that would cover up my hideous monster arm we grabbed the dogs and headed to Forbidden Drive. Cool, rainy weather was exactly was I needed.  Hello nature, nice to see you!

By Monday I was feeling well enough to run again (which the doc okay'd). Mike joined me for 6 miles mid-day, but by evening I was raring to go again and did another 4 on my own. There's nothing like two days in a hospital room to make you want to run forever!

Things I learned this weekend:

- I have the best husband ever. Without any complaints he drove back and forth between the hospital to hang out with me and to our house to take care of the dogs. I am so lucky to have him.
- I have rock star blood pressure. Must be all of the running.
- Poison ivy is the most disgusting skin condition I think someone could ever have. Ew ew ew ew ew.