My Second Official DNS, Doctor’s Orders, and an Update Rolled into One!

**This is an old entry I never published, so this is a couple weeks late but there are new things afoot that I wanted to add with updates, so…here we go!**

Please note that this first part was written early January:

It pains me to even write this, but my time has finally come to take a step back and rest. After years of running pain-free, I finally have an injury that is going to sideline me for a while. The day after Christmas, I woke up with extreme back pain. I couldn’t bend over, and any effort caused extreme amounts of pain. My back muscles were spasming and compressing SO tightly around my lower back, it was hard to do anything without teeth-clenching pain; even the easiest things like leaning over the sink to wash my face (I had to prop myself up with one hand) or even to put on socks…it was nearly impossible without a lot of slow, painful effort. It’s so funny, because I have absolutely zero idea what caused it. I just woke up and it was there.

After a couple days, I finally bit the bullet to see my family doctor. While I wasn’t able to get an official MRI, I definitely have sacrolititis (an inflammation of my sacroiliac joint, which is the area where the lower spine and pelvis meet), a lumbosacral strain, and sciatica, as well as a very likely slipped disc (which would only be determined officially by MRI, which is a long and arduous process for insurance to approve). She said that my muscles were spasming/seizing and working very hard to keep the disc in place. I was told under no circumstances to do my marathons next weekend, even if it was a slow walk. Honestly, I can maybe walk 2 mph if I tried right now, so there’s no way I could even try without making things a lot worse.

I was given a cocktail of steroids, muscle relaxers and prescription painkillers (which I really hesitate to use, and only WILL use at home so I don’t have to worry about driving or concentrating at work), as well as at least four weeks of physical therapy two to three times a week. No running. Nothing strenuous. Just rest and recover.

This is a very hard thing for me to do, but I am in so much pain I realized I have no choice but to obey her orders. I was able to cancel the flights, hotel and rental car. I was able to defer for Mississippi Blues to 2017 with zero financial penalties, and First Light was happy to issue me a refund (by check!) with best wishes for a speedy recovery. Whew, that was a huge relief.

So now I am simply committing myself to getting back on my feet, sticking to the PT and hopefully won’t need to see the doctor after my treatment.

OK here’s what I’m up to since then!

It’s been a less than two weeks since my DNS at Mississippi Blues and First Light. I haven’t done ANY running yet, but I have been making sure I walk 2-5 miles at least every other day, as well as continue stretching and doing my PT exercises. While the pain is substantially less, I am still a bit stiff in the morning and can still feel the wonky back issues.

My goal is to start incorporating walk/run intervals into my training starting February 8. I don’t know how much conditioning I might lose but I am definitely doing my best to be as active as I am allowed to be…I’m not doing any core work or weights, and walking is pretty much the only cardio I am doing for now. Fortunately walking has been pain-free, which is great.

Also…it’s weird, but I’m not depressed. I am actually getting back into some old hobbies and embracing some passions that were lit a LONG time ago but died out due to my running kind of taking over my life a little!

I used to be very artistic and into crafting, and have been wanting to make my own custom jewelry and hair accessories for a long time. I absolutely love accessorizing in a fun and unique way, and did it a lot when I was in high school, but it can be expensive to keep up with it. Any girl from my generation can just envision Claudia Kishi from the Babysitter’s Club books…yeah, that’s me, more or less. So I am going to start working on making my own custom jewelry and hair accessories as a side hobby, not just for myself, but also for gifting, and eventually selling. My younger sister is majorly into knitting and crocheting and makes fantastic items with her hobby: beautifully knit hats, gloves, leg warmers, etc. So between the two of us, we are working toward creating an inventory and hopefully/eventually opening up an online shop by the end of the summer for holiday shopping. The whole theme is simply: “cute”…cute everything with a dash of steampunk thrown in on the side. We have a lot of ideas and will spend the next several months working on building a solid inventory.

I am also busy helping my brother edit his novel. Since I am actually an editor by trade it was a perfect opportunity to step in and help, and it’s been very enjoyable for me to read and immerse myself in the story and see my brother’s talents come alive. There is something to be said when you are emotionally affected by events that occur in a fictional tale, and this book definitely has tugged at my sensitive heartstrings. Plus I really feel like it’s bringing us closer as siblings! The same can be said for my sister, since we started collaborating with the crafting ideas, we have been in contact on a daily basis throughout the day.

In short, it’s just been wonderful to feel close to my family again, and not alienated because of my running schedule, which took up so many of my weekends.

So I will, of course, keep you posted on all of that as things progress. I will begin training for a local half marathon in mid-April and will have a full marathon in late May. So I WILL be back to running, but at the same time I think it’s OK to take a step back and NOT allow running to take over my life. It really did for a while, to the point of KIND of overtaking every aspect of my free time. It was hard to tell friends and family that I couldn’t socialize because of a race or travel for an event. But now, all of a sudden, I can cut back, allow myself some room to breathe, create, organize, and socialize. It’s kind of nice to suddenly have some balance and perspective, and not feel like I need to dedicate every second to training.

So who knows, maybe it’s good that this back injury happened. I feel like all things, good or bad, happen for a purpose. I need to embrace whatever comes my way and just go with it, take opportunity when it strikes, and use my talents that I was given and use it to my advantage.

I can’t wait to see where this little chapter of my life takes me!

Fall Race Roundup

I realize I haven’t blogged in quite a while, I think race recaps can be tiresome and it’s tough to be motivated sometimes with a busy schedule, but I am going to try and break down in small recaps just exactly I’ve been up to since my Iowa marathon in September:

In September I ran the Bacon 5k challenge, my first 5k race in I don’t know how long, but decades come to mind. The Bacon 5k is simple: run 1.5 miles, eat a half pound of cooked bacon, and then another 1.6 miles. As I got started I didn’t see a whole lot of women ahead of me, so I figured why not race it and see how I do? While the bacon eating portion was a little difficult, it still wasn’t impossible. I finished in 25:03 and won 3rd overall female; I got a nice little medal and gift certificate that I could put toward some bacon swag, so I did. By the way, I realize I hate running fast; long slow distance is much more my thing.

156What better way to celebrate than by getting a bacon stufty?

October was what I termed as my Triple Crown of Insanity: two ultras and a marathon within 14 days.

First was the Blues Cruise 50k, which was a 31-mile trail run around Blue Marsh Lake. As you can see the pictures speak for themselves, but this was a beautiful race course.

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We got very lucky with the weather because we got hit with lots of wind and rain earlier in the week thanks to Hurricane Joachin, but by race day it was simply overcast and breezy, and the course was actually DRY. Whew. We really lucked out. The course was quite difficult at times. While not nearly as technical as other races I have done, the hills were killer and often. One hill was actually an old ski slope that seemed never ending. I also enjoyed getting to try real food during the race that was provided by the support staff, which included gluten-free vegetable broth, cold potatoes, Coca-Cola (HUGE hit for me, I loved it!)  and pickles. Not much was available for celiac runners, but I was more than happy with what I had!

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I learned to love cold, salted boiled potatoes REAL fast!

I finished in a little less than 7 hours. To be honest, I was OK with that. I really learned to respect the ultra that day! It took almost a full week for my quads to recover, I was seriously afraid that I tore something, but luckily was feeling much better by the next weekend, and thank goodness because I had another ultra on my plate!

Next was the Sloppy Cuckoo 12-hour the following Sunday. The Papal Visit moved the 12-hour from September to October, so it wasn’t ideal to have a 50k and a 12-hour a week apart, plus the sun was setting a little earlier this time of year. It was a 6.55 mile loop on trail, and while not super hilly or technical, it was still a good challenge. I took it very easy since my quads were still a little tender. I decided to call it a day after 5 loops since I had a marathon the weekend after this (sigh), and I was glad I made that decision. I didn’t fall, which was a first for a trail run, but I stubbed my one foot very badly on a root (snapped my big toe back quite violently and I had some ball of foot pain for several weeks after). So I earned a lovely German weather house and a bird whistle for running just around 33 miles in 8.5 hours or so.

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There was only ONE pic, taken by my husband, that shows me crossing over into the RIGHT finish line (you could either do another loop or finish, and I was ready to finish!)

NEXT I ran the Monster Mash Marathon in Dover, DE, literally the Saturday after the Sunday 12-hour. The main reason for doing this race was because the medal was awesome, it was all about Halloween and it was huge! You get to start at the Dover Speedway and the first mile is literally on the NASCAR track that is dubbed “The Monster Mile”…so there was a lot of camber that first mile! I ran a fairly strong race, while it was a flat road course the only issue I had was that it was quite windy, so for a majority of the race we ran on roads where there were a lot of open cornfields and nothing was able to block that wind. No matter what direction I was running, that wind was in my face and pushing me back. Despite my efforts, I wasn’t able to run a sub-4 and finished in 4:01. SO CLOSE. But the wind just wore me out that day.

1251That’s Miles the Monster in the background, holding a life-size NASCAR car!

Then I got a nice two week break, thank goodness. Put in some training but didn’t go nuts with mileage. Just tried to keep something of a base. Halloween was a total blast and I really enjoyed having some downtime.

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Downtime means plenty of time to carve some Nightmare Before Christmas pumpkins! Also had fun getting in the spirit of the season for handing out candy!

The first weekend of November I ran the DC Towpath marathon. I ran with my good friend J and kept pace with her for the duration of the race, and she PR’d the race that day, which was awesome! Only drawback is that the course was literally a four-time out and back, and the towpath was fairly muddy in spots. The course was very well-supported but was definitely one of the most no-frills events I’ve ever done. The start line was literally a line drawn on the ground and there was no chip timing, simply a guy holding a timer and yelling out your time as you finished. But you know what? I loved the fact that they had THREE fuel/hydration stops that were really well-stocked with good food! I learned to love Fritos that day! But seriously, after two out-and-backs I was just like “Ugh, I’m ready to be done already…” but J was determined to run the full marathon, so I figured why not? Let’s do it. And we totally did. It was my 30th marathon and I was happy to earn the medal. Also, it was nice to encourage people as we passed back and forth over and over, runners are seriously supportive people and it’s nice to be able to throw out praise and encouragement to one another.

Last but not least, I just ran the Bucky Challenge, which was a PA race based in Bucks County. You run a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. So it was basically the Goofy Challenge but on a gorgeous canal towpath in PA. It was tough to take pictures because the sun made it very hard to see the screen, so my pics are slim to none. I did fairly well both days, the weather was really great (cold and breezy but DRY, which makes all the difference!) and the course was gorgeous. ALSO, I got to see a deer cross the water of the canal and shake itself dry right in front of me before it bounded off into the woods. It was pretty awesome, I had never seen a deer swim before, but there it was. It was a pleasant surprise, and I think I was the only one who had the pleasure of seeing it happen.

Both days the race was an out-and-back, very flat and scenic. When all was said and done, I earned two long-sleeved tech shirts, two nice medals, and a bright orange “Don’t Fear the Deer: 39.3” hoodie, which I wore with pride for the rest of the day. It was a lot of fun, overall. My friend M joined us for the half, and her and I kept pace for a 2:04 half (I wanted to stay nice and steady and not go all out so I could keep my legs fresh for Sunday’s full marathon. The next day I ran a 4:21 full and was so thrilled to be DONE for the year. Out of all that ran the Bucky, I was fourth overall time-wise, second female. Not bad!

086One down, one to go!

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Whoo hoo, last marathon of 2015! The Rudolph hat was a real hit with the support and spectators, figured I would make the best of the Bucky and have a little fun.

For the remainder of the year I plan on enjoying my recovery, the holidays, and some cross-training and low-mileage weeks. I am running a double marathon weekend in January (2 marathons in 2 days) but since I plan on walk/running both days I’m not very concerned about doing super high mileage training for the rest of the year. I’m there to just earn the states and not PR or do any kind of awesome time those days. Once that is all said and done, I will not have any races until April, and not even a full marathon until late May. Trust me, next year will be a lot lower in terms of scheduled races, and I think my body and wallet will appreciate the break!

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to J, who completed EVERY SINGLE race with me. Every single one. I am very very proud of her, and lucky to have her as a partner in crime for all of my race weekends. She has been a steadfast presence in my life, and a very valued, loved and treasured friend. Thank you for the laughter, strength and support you have given me. Also, thank you for sharing this amazing journey with me every step of the way!

State # 24: Iowa – a Marathon of Firsts

This weekend marks the start of my Triple Crown of Insanity: I have a 50k, a 12-hour endurance race, and a marathon all within 14 days. I’m sure some race recaps are coming for those, but I need to go back a few weeks to review my most recent marathon accomplishment, which is my 24th full marathon state: Iowa.

Chris and I LOVE the Midwest. So many people ask “Why the hell go to Iowa?” and we say “”Why NOT?” It’s beautiful, full of a lot of very awesome, down-to-earth people, great bars and eateries, and is just the kind of place we could see ourselves settling down if the weather wasn’t worse in the winter than it is back home.

So September 12 I ran the Wabash Trace Nature Trail Marathon, which was fantastic. Very small race, awesome people, beautiful course, and cornfields as far as the eye could see. It started in a small town about 2 hours west of Des Moines called Malvern, and finished in Shenendoah. The Wabash Trace Nature trail is a 63 mile rail trail, surrounded by trees on a nicely packed dirt and fine gravel trail; it was much like some of the trails I run back home, so it was perfect for my needs.

I won’t spend too much time talking about the race, only because it seriously felt like one straight line start to finish, a small section the the course was on paved road, but most was on the nature trail. I’ll let some of the pics do the talking for me. This was one of the first races where I brought a Camelbak so I could take pictures along the way, and I’m so glad I did. I definitely wasted a lot of time stopping and taking pictures for sure!

Here are some views of the race, and these are only a few pics that I took along the way, but as you can see, it was rural, quiet and ABSOLUTELY beautiful.

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Some shaky cam pics.

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LOTS of beautiful bridges during this race!

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One of my favorite shots, this REALLY captured the spirit of the race I think!

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If I wasn’t seeing cornfields, I was seeing silos.

 

 

 

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093 092 097All I kept thinking (in the tempo of Cha Cha Slide): COoooorn to the LEFT! Cooooorn to the RIGHT!

I know I mentioned this was a marathon of firsts, well here’s the first one: The course was very well-manned with awesome support stations from start to finish. I brought my Camelbak only to load it with food and kept the water bladder empty because there were WAY too many water stops. But Mile 20 had, wait for it:

107A BACON STOP! I was so excited. I wasted WAY too much time at this stop, but probably had three pieces of crispy, awesome bacon. Never in my life did I have bacon during a race, but it was good practice for a race to come (which I will get into in another entry!).

I felt like I ran a LOT of this race alone. I made a couple buddies along the way and ran with them for several miles, but I know when I approached the support stops I felt like I was totally alone, and felt like I was in last place, which was definitely not the case, but it can FEEL that way when you run a small race.

109By this point I was READY to see that finish line.

So after a LOT of picture taking and time wasted at the bacon stops (sigh), I finished my race in 4:11, and TRUST ME, I know I probably could have run a sub-4 that day because it really was a great course. But get this, it was surprisingly hilly! Check this out!

Image courtesy of Race Navigator.com

So I mentioned that this was a race of firsts. Well here is my SECOND first: Despite my time I won FIRST in my age group! WHUT?

parks and recreation animated GIF Image courtesy of giphy.com

Granted, it was a small race, there were only FIVE in my age group, but whatevs, I got first place and it was so exciting! I was also 8th overall female. Hey, and this is without even TRYING, so I was really stoked. I won a gift certificate that could be used at any store in Shenendoah, so what did we do with it? Bought beer of course! In hindsight I probably could have been a little smarter with my winnings, but at the time it seemed right.

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What other souvenir can one take from Iowa but a stuffed corn cob?

So that was my marathon adventure in Iowa, and I really loved it. We can’t wait to return to the Midwest, and I think we are definitely heading to Minnesota next year, as well as the Dakotas, so I’m sure I will have plenty more awesome pics to share with you!

My 50k is tomorrow and thank God Hurricane Joachin decided to piss off and help things dry out a little for my event. It will undoubtedly be a complete and total mudfest, but I am DETERMINED to earn the title of ultra runner, even if it takes me a LOT longer than planned due to the course. Wish me luck, and take care!

 

 

Good News Everyone! My First Bizarro Book Club Review is Live!

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For those of you who had an interest in my separate Bizarro Book Club blog that I’m working on with my friend Sam, please feel free to mosey on over to my first official review and pass it along to your friends and family in any way you can. Please feel free to follow the blog, make comments, and enjoy! We would love to see the book club spread like wildfire and will encourage future guests to contribute.

http://bizarrobookclub.blogspot.com/2015/08/beckas-review-twilight.html

Any suggestions for future readings are more than welcome! Thanks for any support for my little side project, I’ve been having a lot of fun working on it so far!

 

 

Playing Catch Up

Summer has been flying by pretty fast, hard to believe that it’s almost Labor Day already! But that also means race season has finally arrived for the majority of us who were sane enough to avoid summer races, and many runners are just starting their training for their respective events. There are only hundreds to choose from in any part of the country, and the Northeast is no exception.

I figured I would post a quick entry to sort of bring things up to date for me, as this fall will be INCREDIBLY challenging for me, but also exciting!

The Ultra that Wasn’t

A couple weeks ago I did my first timed event, a six-hour trail run on a 10k loop, as many as you could handle. My goal, initially, was a 50k, but after the first loop, which I found to be hilly, challenging and far more technical than I had anticipated, I only managed to run a 40k within the time limit. It was an absolutely beautiful course in the woods, with lots of ascents and descents, but also a lot of rocks, roots, and very few smooth running surfaces. The temperature was also quite humid and warm, so I had my Camelbak for the duration of the event. We were also able to set up a “base camp” of sorts, with food, water, Gatorade, chairs, anything we needed, so at each loop I took a few minutes to get my bearings, fuel up, and prepare for the next loop. My friend M also ran the event with me, and she did her longest run ever that day, a full three loops, which was close to 19 miles. I was very proud of her, and was happy that she did the final loop with me. I had taken a hard fall during the third loop (I swear I tripped over nothing and flew like Superman for half a second before landing with an oof! on the group) and I was feeling dirty, bruised and demoralized. I don’t think I could have done a fourth loop without some serious moral support from M, and she really came through for me. I swear I walked a good portion of that last loop…I felt like I walked more than 50% of the time anyway, I was just not taking risks with the terrain.

We finished at as the clock hit 5:36. I was so happy to strip the Camelbak from my aching shoulders and see Chris waiting for us at the finish line. It felt so good to be done; I couldn’t get over how much harder trail running was compared to roads. I felt slow, clumsy, and inadequate. But fortunately I found the trail runners to be kind, friendly and supportive. If (or in my case, WHEN) they passed, they always said kind words of encouragement, there was little arrogance to be found that day. I also saw a LOT of people were quite banged up and bloody at the finish line. One guy looked like he might have broken his nose. I can’t even imagine how he kept running and how lucky he was that he didn’t knock himself out cold in the woods. Trust me, you’re running around in a whole lotta nothin’, as beautiful as that may be, it’s still very, very isolated and could be a long time before another runner comes along if you suddenly are injured. I felt as if I ran a good portion of the event all on my lonesome.

We stuck around for a short while and I actually won a raffle prize (running socks I have yet to use!), and then the biggest surprise: M and I actually got age group awards. I was floored. I have to laugh a little in hindsight, as who knows if there were only three in my AG to begin with, but I think there were actually a few more. Hey, a medal is a medal and I was happy to receive one even if I felt like I performed terribly that day. I also was so happy to meet one of my supportive Twitter buddies, Beth, that day. It was so cool to finally meet her, and we exchanged info once we parted ways. I truly hope we can cross paths again!

I should say, too, recovery was ROUGH that week. It took me a good five days to feel I could run pain-free. Usually I bounce back from road races fast, but this time it was painful to even WALK the next day. I hurt in places I didn’t even know existed, since trail running uses muscles that road running totally ignores. All I could think all week was “OH. MY. QUADS.” It was like the Montana marathon recovery all over again.

Dietary Changes for the Better

I had been having a lot of GI issues the past few weeks, and rather than see the specialist right away I figured I would just sort of keep track of when I had distress and what possibly could have triggered it. I came to the conclusion that it was probably dairy through process of elimination and some detective work, so I decided to take dairy out of my diet. It wasn’t that incredibly hard, but I did love things like cheese and sour cream and it was somewhat hard to part with them.  I made some substitutes, and found that certain meal replacements (like a veggie and hummus sammy for breakfast instead of egg and cheese, or guacamole instead of cheese and sour cream) were actually still pretty substantial and satisfying. I even learned how to bake my chocolate chip blondies with vegan substitutes (yes, chia seed eggs are a thing).  So I’ll see if this does the trick with my GI issues and if things continue I may have to bite the bullet and see the specialist. But so far so good!

Race Challenges Ahead

While I am not an official ultrarunner yet, I soon will be come hell or high water. On my birthday in May I ran 39 miles, and that may technically define me as an ultrarunner, I have yet to complete an event that consists of an actual sanctioned ultra.  This fall, I will have a pretty hefty amount of events on my plate, and fortunately they will actually benefit my other events as training runs…so not too many ridiculous high mileage weekends if I can help it! And trust me, I love my rest days and down time like nobody’s business.

September: Full marathon (trail, but an “easy” rails-to-trails course like North Central Railroad Trail was in MD)

October: Trail 50k, 12-hour endurance trail run, full marathon (road). All in a three week time period. Because the Pope is visiting Philadelphia in late September (SO much more of a cluster than that sounds I promise), the 12-hour was moved to mid-October, right in between my 50k and marathon, so why not,  right? But that also means my goals for the 12-hour will probably shift a bit. I initially wanted to run 50 miles but think after my six-hour expectations were crushed, I need to be more realistic with my approach. My goal is now 40 miles, and anything after that is a bonus. I can see that being a very attainable goal over the course of 12 hours, and will just have to see what this course looks like before I can determine its difficulty and whether or not I need to adjust my mileage goal that day. I plan on not going full speed ahead but enjoying a little downtime between loops. Considering I have a 50k the weekend before, and need to recover for a full marathon for the weekend after, I HAVE to shorten my mileage goals a bit anyway. This is not a heart-breaking decision by any means.

November: A full marathon and then a 39.3 mile weekend with a half and full marathon in one weekend…a Goofy Challenge of sorts. These are all occurring over the course of 8 days. So…yeah.

After that, a much-needed holiday break is on tap until January, where I will be running two marathons in one weekend in early January. Or more like run/walking them…but earning the new state medals nonetheless. So December will be some back-to-back long run weekends to get myself prepared for that.

It’s a bit daunting to see this all on paper, but I will say I have been continuing my steadfast training and making sure I get plenty of rest and downtime with friends and family when I have free time. I haven’t felt too burnt out just yet, and made sure to schedule some time off so I don’t have to jump right back to work the day after an event.

New Blog to Bring Out my Snarky Side

Lastly, as previously announced, I am working on a second blog with one of my girlfriends, which you can check out here. It’s finally almost up and running, and we can also be followed on Twitter as well. It’s kind of tough to separate my gluten-free/celiac/runner side from the “self-loathing hipster book and video game nerd” side, but I am doing my best to keep these things separate with the Twitter accounts and blogs. I’m really hoping to see it grow as time goes on. Reading is a huge passion of mine, as much as running, and it’s fun to be able to share my thoughts with readers on things I’ve been “forced” to read.

I will be sure to post updates once these races are complete, and in the meantime, I am very much ready to bid farewell to summer and welcome autumn with open arms.

Branching out into the Blogosphere

I find blogging to be a pretty tiresome thing at times, but at the same time it can be a fun way to share interests and express yourself. I don’t always find race recaps to be especially interesting or fun by any means…

but I definitely have a very good sense of humor and completely different side to me that aren’t often seen in this blog.

Recently I decided to bite the bullet and start another blog, and I would love for you to check it out. I am a huge bookworm, and have been since I was very young. I more or less read anything…but as an adult I found my standards to be a little more stringent. There are some books that I staunchly refused to read based on principle, and Chris always said I was such an incredible book snob because of my attitude toward certain authors and works of fiction. To break it down in simple terms, this blog will involve me going out of my comfort zone and forcing myself into reading books I would never, ever read, and giving an honest review, otherwise known as the Bizarro Book Club. On the other side of the spectrum, my good friend Sam will also be going out of her comfort zone (case in point, she just bought the new Grey book) and reading books that I consider to be great works  of literature and providing her own reviews. Gee, who do you think comes out on top in this scenario?

I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for us both to grow a little, expand our horizons, and who knows, I might learn a thing or too about true love…or BDSM….errr, whatever.

Please feel free to bookmark and subscribe to the blog, leave comments, and contact me if you have an interest in being a guest blogger. I am also considering a bi-weekly “Bizarro Book Club Goes to the Movies” when my husband, who is by no means a reader, watches and provides commentary on movies he would never watch on his own.

Fair Warning Disclaimer: This blog is meant to be humorous and fun, so I don’t want any of you Twihards getting all butthurt over my snarkiness, or super-critical over-analytical English major jerkasses critiquing Sam’s reviews.  It should never be taken seriously, we are not academics or Mensa candidates here; we’re just reading for fun, being open-minded and trying new things.


Lastly, I will still be running and training (a lot, I have three ultras for the remainder of 2015 alone, and this doesn’t include marathons ), but I also have other interests and this is a fun way to branch out and show the humorous, snarky side I don’t often get to show in this blog. I hope you have time to check it out!

P.S. I am looking for lists of books that would include the worst of the worst but in popular fiction, if you can provide suggestions or links that would be awesomely helpful!

The Funny, Stupid Things That Go Through Your Head During a Run

I swear sometimes the strangest things come to mind while running. The other day I was running on one of my usual trails, and in one section there are usually a LOT of geese just grazing and watching over the goslings, which I’ve had the pleasure of watching them grow from little balls of yellow fluff to awkward adolescent geese, fluffy and not quite fully grown.

                        Yeah you’re cute for now…

So I’ll admit, I really dislike geese. Dislike is a kind way to put it. I find geese to be MEAN and very overprotective of their young to the point of neuroticism. Plenty of stories have circulated about geese attacking a hapless passerby with their strong wings to keep them from getting too close to a nest or their hatched young. Or they are just being mean for fun.

The other day I was running through the usual trail section when I saw probably around 50 geese surrounding the trail, and they looked menacing. Instantly my blood ran cold, and I knew I would have to run, and run quickly through the herd. What immediately flashed into my mind is the scene in The Neverending Story where Atryeu has to run through the first trial (the Riddle Gate, or Sphinxes) in order to reach the Southern Oracle without being obliterated by the bolts of energy that shoot from their half-lidded eyes once the wayfarer’s self-doubts are detected; they are no longer worthy of the quest and must be destroyed.

I approached the geese with trepidation, and they were all frozen in place and watching warily, beady eyes zeroing in on me.


So unassuming…

There was NO getting around this flock and I knew I had to just pass through with fingers crossed and my breath held.

As I got closer, one opened its beak in a menacing hiss, then another, and another, and they started to shamble toward me…

Enough to make your blood run cold isn’t it?

and I ran as fast as I could through the throng of creatures as they hissed and lunged forward…managed to bolt through, and wasn’t incinerated by lightning…errr, angry geese ready to give chase in full attack mode. I’m surprised I didn’t do a tuck and roll like Atreyu but I don’t think it would have been so pleasant on asphalt.

Whew. It was a teeny tiny little adventure that made me laugh in hindsight. The things that go through one’s mind on a run…it can ramble endlessly and who knows where the mind will lead while your legs take you elsewhere. I was in Atreyu’s moccasins for 7 seconds… I managed to feel my own worth, and pass through The Gate unscathed.

That is, until next time!  Let’s hope my first trail ultra doesn’t bring the Swamps of Sadness to mind…