Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

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Published July 2nd, 2014

Independence Day



This coming 4th of July, I will celebrate the independence of a small tumor from my left breast.  Talk about life’s curveballs!  Not something I ever expected — colon cancer runs in the family, not breast cancer.

Although the guidelines have now changed, I’ve been getting regular mammograms every year for at least five years.  A couple of years ago I was called back for an ultrasound as they found an abnormality; I was totally freaked out, but fortunately it was for naught.  So when I got called back after my May 16 mammogram, I wasn’t concerned.  (My breast tissue is dense, so it can be hard to read with just a mammogram).

During the ultrasound the doc was a tad concerned about one area (appeared as shading), but not particularly so.  He said it very well could be how the breast tissue was formed, but he recommended getting a biopsy “just in case.”  Again, I wasn’t concerned.  Hell, I even scheduled the biopsy three days before a 50-mile race!  (My über expensive yet highly supportive bra earned its keep: I ran a 30-minute personal best.)

They said I would likely get my biopsy results two days later.  Friday came and went with no call, but I wasn’t worried.  Monday came and went, and I decided if I didn’t hear by Tuesday afternoon, I’d call.  My darling and I were sitting on the couch Facebooking Tuesday morning when the phone rang; my heart jumped into my throat when I heard my doctor’s voice.  (Typically if it’s good news then a nurse calls).  Once I heard the word “cancer” come out of her mouth I pretty much became oblivious to anything else she said.  (It was like the adults in a “Charlie Brown” cartoon: “WAH WAH WAH WAAH, WAH WAH WAH WAAH.”)

I had to have her repeat what I had; she used the terms “infiltrating lobular, low-grade” and “in-situ.”  She had made an appointment for me to meet with a breast cancer surgeon that coming Friday (the 13th, no less.)  I hung up the phone and burst into tears.  As I dialed my sister to inform her, my darling turned to Dr. Google with the information we had.  As I blubbered to my sister about having cancer, he’s saying, “It’s not cancer!”  Rather, it was “lobular carcinoma in-situ (LCIS),” which is not considered a “true” cancer.  However, it means you’re at a greater risk for developing cancer in the future, so regular screenings and hormone therapy are recommended.

This information helped relieve me a bit, and I decided to hold off on telling my other siblings and my mom until after I met with the surgeon.  But the waiting was the worst part (patience is not one of my virtues).  It also gave me time to turn to Dr. Google myself.  I kept coming back to the word “infiltrating;” while “in-situ” means “in place, “infiltrating,” well, means the exact opposite.  My worries returned but all I could do was wait to meet with the surgeon.


Published March 2nd, 2010

Goodbye sweet girl

The past few weeks I’ve been an emotional wreck so blogging has been the last thing on my mind.  As I hinted in my last post, our poor kitty had been ailing (chronic renal failure) and we were having to give her subcutaneous fluids.  While we knew we wouldn’t have her for long, I had hoped it would be a matter of months — not weeks or days — before we had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye.

Unfortunately that day came on February 19.

It’s so tough to know when a pet is ready to go.  She certainly was giving us SOME signs — she had pretty much stopped eating and grooming, plus she spent most of the day burrowed under the covers of our bed — but she still would purr when we pet her and would occasionally venture out to hop up on her kitty tree in the front room.  But our once talkative, Rubanesque cat was down to a mere seven pounds and meowed nary peep.  Things came to a head on the 18th when she awoke in our bed disoriented and proceeded to pee on my darling’s foot.

The next morning we discussed whether it was time, but we decided we’d wait until after the weekend.  Thing was, while I wanted to spend one more weekend with her, we had races on both Saturday and Sunday and therefore we’d be gone much of the time.  Besides, I had been having nightmares about her having seizures and being in pain; I couldn’t live with myself if I had waited until it got to that point.

As my darling headed off to work I started reading stories about people having to make that agonizingly painful decision to put a dear pet down, and one of them really spoke to me.  The woman said she too was unsure if the time was right considering her kitty would still purr.  But she said that’s what cats often will do to calm themselves down; it didn’t mean they were happy nor comfortable.  I texted my darling, asking if we should make the appointment that day.

It was a gloriously sunny day (as was the rest of the weekend), so when my darling came home we took Xanthe outside for one last taste of freedom.  Our neighbor and one of my good friends — both of whom had kitty-sat for us — were there to say goodbye.  In looking through the pictures from that day it’s clear the spark had left her.  She didn’t even protest during the ride to the vet (my darling held her tight in his coat; we didn’t want her to suffer the trauma of carrying case).

The end was peaceful, and we were there petting and comforting her the entire time.  We now have her ashes back home with us, which brings us some comfort.  However, it’s still very, very painful.  We will eventually bring another kitty (or two) into our lives, but we’re not ready yet.

We miss you, sweet girl.

Published November 14th, 2009

2009 Nike Women’s Marathon



I’m no girly-girl, yet when one of my Maniac friends asked if I wanted to put my name in the Nike Women’s Marathon lottery hat, I jumped at the chance.  After all, who can pass up the opportunity to get a Tiffany necklace handed out by a hunky firefighter?  My darling also needed little convincing; while the necklace held no sway, the chance to run with 25,000 women was trés appealing (he’ll give his necklace to his mom).

In an “all for one, one for all” move, we registered as a group under a friend’s email address.  If that got chosen, we were all in (there were at least six of us in our group).  As with my Boston registration, I started checking my online credit card statement daily to see if it had been charged, and sure enough, on March 21 I saw it go through.  Woo hoo!

While this would be yet another big-ticket item (we already had the Goofy Challenge and Boston scheduled for the year), since it’s a west coast race we figured we could make do with a whirlwind trip — fly down Saturday morning, fly out Sunday evening after the race.  I found an extremely cheap hotel just blocks from the start in Union Square through; while I would never want to stay there on vacation, it was fine for a basic place to crash.

Given my time goal for Portland, I was quite regimented with my nutrition.  I laid off the hooch and made sure I ate healthy lean protein and carbs in the days leading up to the race.  But with Nike?  Hell — I was running for fun!  There was no way I was going to miss out on the culinary delights San Francisco has to offer.


Published August 17th, 2009

WRIGHTSOCK Challenge, test 2

Socks have it tough.  When they work well, there’s not much to say about ’em.  When they don’t?  Well, you can bet there’ll be a LOT of gripin’ going on.  Fortunately I’ve been experiencing the former with my WRIGHTSOCKS, but that means this post will be brief.

Last Thursday I tested the SLXs on a 20-mile long run.  While I normally lube up the ol’ feet with Body Glide, I decided to forego it in order to truly test the WRIGHTSOCK mettle.  Thank goodness I had absolutely no issues — no blisters, not even any hot spots.  Like a few of the other pairs, these socks “hug” your arches, which I really like.  They’re medium weight, which are good for both warm and cool climates.

Next up were the SLRs.  Frankly, I didn’t see much of a difference between them and the SLXs, other than they’re all white whereas the SLXs are grey and white with a red stripe.  The SLRs are touted as having more cushion, but I didn’t really notice.  I wore these for my half marathon run on Saturday and really liked them.  Again, I’d wear them year-round.

For my 7-mile trail run on Sunday I tried out the Running IIs.  Whereas the SLRs and SLXs are single-layered, the Running IIs are double-layered.  By the time I hit the trail the temp was in the 70s and my feet did get pretty hot and sweaty.  However, that was due more to the trail running shoes I was testing, which are coated in Goretex.  Once I switched to my regular, breathable trail shoes my feet were quite comfortable.  That said, I probably will save these for cooler weather.

So there  you have it — another successful test.  I have one more pair to try, then I’ll be wearing each pair several more times.  My tootsies are lovin’ it!

Published January 1st, 2009

Favorite post from 2008

This week’s Take it and Run asks “What is your favorite post from 2008?” While my fellow bloggers have posted some terrific posts in the past year, why on earth would I want you to click away from MY site? After all, it is about me, you know. (Actually Coffee Betsy just reminded me about today’s topic and since I’m recovering from my 10th marathon, I haven’t had the chance to peruse others’ sites for my favorite posts).

Picking my favorite was tough, of course. After all, I’m just a wealth of witticism and thought provocation. But I’d say this one is my all-time favorite.

Happy New Year!

Published December 31st, 2008

What a year it was

If you were to tell me on Dec. 31, 2007 I’d run more than 1,800 miles during 2008 I would have questioned your sanity.  If you told me I’d BQ — twice — I most certainly would think you were nuts.  And if you told me I’d run not one, not two, not three, but eight — EIGHT — marathons during the year, I’d have you committed then and there.

Yet here we are one year later and I’m accomplished all of those things.  Whew!

Goals are a funny thing.  I hesitate to set them since circumstances could change, yet I’d still feel a sense of failure for not accomplishing them.  For example, last January I said I wanted to get down to 150 pounds.  I came close (155), but then realized I like myself with a bit of meat on my bones.  (Of course, should I get down to 150 I’m sure I’ll justify it!).  And despite running far more marathons than I ever dreamed possible, I’m still beating myself up for not getting to the gym as much as I’d hoped.

However, I’m not going to dwell on that.  After all, I learned so much about myself — what motivates me, how best to train.  I’m a certifiable marathon junkie, which means I need to make recovery my No. 1 priority.  If that means taking a day off from the gym, so be it.  That said, I do want to get back into my stretching/core work routine.  I was doing so well goals for maintaining front and side planks (I was up to 97 seconds for the front, 57 seconds for each side), but as it got tougher I found myself avoiding it more.  So now my goal is to do them more frequently, but hold them for less time (one minute for the front, 35-40 seconds for the side).

As for my weight, once again I’ve put on a few holiday pounds, but fortunately I’m starting the year off about 6-7 pounds lighter than last year.  I hope to get back down to my “race weight” of 154-155 by Boston, and then maintain it (at least until next holiday season).

My original mileage goal for the year was 1,000 miles, which I adjusted in July to 1,600.  At the miles piled on I adjusted the goal again; I hoped to finish the year with 1,000 more miles than the 821 miles I had run in 2007.  While I came close (1,810.25 miles), Mother Nature kept me from reaching that goal (not only was running outside out of the question, I couldn’t even drive to my gym to run on the treadmill).  The snow has since cleared, but I was faced with having to run too many miles in too little time.  I’m running yet another marathon tomorrow, so I decided to give my body a rest.

So what’s in store for 2009?  Marathons, marathons and more marathons!


Published December 19th, 2008

My 12-month MEMEs

Coffee Betsy posted a 12-month meme on her blog and since I’m too lazy to write a post from scratch, I decided to follow her lead.  Just for fun I’ve also included the 12 months from 2007 (although the first couple of months are from fitness postings on my Ovens to Betsy blog since EDRW wasn’t launched until April 2007).

My story for 2008:

January — Boy, some gung-ho runner I am.

February — I’ve been playing a numbers game.

March — This week’s theme is flexibility, though not in my body.

April — Well folks, this is gonna be a tough post to write.

May — Not today.

June — Although technically my taper officially started a week ago, I feel my true taper started after my BUAL™ workout on Tuesday.

July — It’s not wise to do lunges, squats and wall sits on day you’ve scheduled a 9-mile VO2max workout with six 800-meter sprints.

August — I get home from work today, logged onto one of my running forums and saw the following announcement:  “The newest Rock n Roll marathon is in Seattle on June 27, 2009. If you go to today August 5, you can register for half price! You must register before midnight today.

September — Dear Running, I don’t know how to break this to you, but I think we need to cool things just a tad.

October — Today I received the email I’ve been waiting for: “This is to notify you that your entry into the 112th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, 2008 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.”

November — Things sure have been quiet in EDRW land.

December — I can’t believe it — I just survived my first double marathon weekend.

My 2007 story:

January — I wonder what this says about me: my iPod has everything from Metallica (”Enter Sandman,” “Turn the Page”) to Iggy Pop (”Lust for Life,” “Nightclubbing”) to Starland Vocal Band (”Afternoon Delight”).

February — My darling has had a love affair with Paris ever since his 6-month stay in college.

March — Last Sunday’s long run was SOOOOO tough… (all of you, in unison): “How tough was it, Betsy?” I had to call on Helen TWICE just to make it through.

April — For the next 23 weeks this will be my life.

May — Although my sinuses are still filled with a bunch of yuck (I swear I’ve gone through an entire Kleenex box this past week), thank goodness I felt well enough to get back to running.

June — Sometimes I get bored just writing about my training schedule (and more importantly, I’m sure you — my faithful readers — get bored as well!).


August — Question: if you run 26.2 miles and there’s no one at the end to hand you a medal, have you just run a marathon?

September — Just a quick note to say my darling and I arrived in Bordeaux without incident.

October — I’ve read runners are particularly susceptible to colds and flu, especially after coming off of a marathon.

November — Yesterday I experienced a PW (personal worst): 2.8 miles in 28 minutes, 29 seconds.

December — While I refuse to see it as an omen, there sure have been a few wrenches thrown into my Goofy Challenge training.

Published October 22nd, 2008

And iRan

How could I NOT run on a day like today?

My cooking class got canceled for this evening, so I found myself with a day off. Although my sinuses have a bit of residual yuck, I felt good enough for a run (I figured it’d do me good). Nothing too strenuous — just a slow recovery run to my bank and back (about 4 miles).

It felt so good to run, although my chest felt heavy during the hills. As I neared home I decided to head to Greenlake to add another mile, and once there I felt good enough to head south to the Woodland Park hills for an additional mile. It ended up being a 6.5-mile run at a 9:27 overall pace.

So, what’s next? While my countdown ticker shows the Goofy Challenge as our next race, we’ve decided to add two more marathons in between in order to earn “silver” status with the Marathon Maniacs (6 marathons in 6 months). The first will be the “Ghost of Seattle” Marathon (run primarily by Maniacs on a portion of the current Seattle Marathon course) on Nov. 29; the second will be the Christmas Marathon in Olympia on December 21. I’ll be running both of those as training runs for Goofy, but my darling will try another BQ attempt at the Christmas one.

It’ll be great to not have to follow a rigid training schedule, although I may throw in some lactate threshold and perhaps a few VO2Max BUAL workouts. I’ll also run several back-to-back long runs in preparation for Goofy.

The devil can’t stop me now!

P.S. Long-time EDRW readers may find something eerily familiar with the above photo. My camera is dead and I misplaced my battery charger, so I had to repurpose the photo from this post (taken almost a year ago to the day!)

Published September 28th, 2008

You don’t have to tell me twice

Okay, so maybe you do.  But after that I’ll get it; I swear!

As I’ve been grumbling about for the past few weeks, my right calf has been giving me grief.  It’s not the same top-of-the-calf pain I experienced while wearing the motion control/stability shoes (I’ve since switched to a neutral pair, the Brooks Defyance), nor was it a case of shin splints.  Rather, the pain was centered between my calf and shin on the inside of my leg.

I’ve chalked it up to running too many damn miles with little recovery.  It certainly helped to take a week off after Skagit Flats, but I could still feel twinges of pain during my runs since (that’s one of the things that contributed to last week’s tears).  I’ve stretched, I’ve sticked, I’ve foam rollered, I’ve self-massaged, I’ve had my darling massage the spot — all to no avail.

But then it dawned on me.  Could it once again be my shoes?

I consulted my training log to see how many miles each pair had racked up.  I wasn’t surprised to see the first pair had 500 miles on them, but was a bit shocked to see the second pair was pushing 450.  I’ve had a pair on order from Brooks since the end of August (I had received a 40% discount card at Hood-to-Coast), but the company is in the midst of a software upgrade and they’re experiencing longer-than-normal delivery delays.  So off to my running store I go.

Not wanting to mess with a good thing, I had the clerk grab another pair of size 10 Defyances (hey — don’t laugh.  I’m a tall girl, ya know).  After inspecting my insoles she also recommended I replace those, as they had about 950 miles on them (although she recommended I wear my old insoles in my new shoes for a couple of runs to make sure the shoes were still a good fit).

I laced up my new shoes for an early morning run and headed out the door.  I could tell the difference from the get-go — no calf pain!  There was just a tad bit of residual achyness as I ran downhill, but it was nothing compared to what I have been dealing with.  I was able to run 10 1/2 in relative comfort (I cut my scheduled 12-mile run short as I was meeting my sister for lunch).

Who says blondes don’t catch on?

(Then again, calf pain isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Published June 8th, 2008

I’m just a dizzy blonde

First of all, sorry about the cryptic previous posts.  For some reason my darling’s iPhone wouldn’t let me enter any text in the post field (but I knew you were all waiting around all day just to see how I did) 🙂

So the good news is I PR’d; although official results haven’t been posted online (someone either made off with the sheet they posted at the end or it blew away), but Garmin says my final time was 4:15:18.  My emotions have ranged from being ecstatic for finishing (believe me, there were a couple of miles where that was in question), to being bummed for not BQ’ing, to being frustrated for having a poor last 10K.  And yes, that’s where things went downhill — literally, although not enough, plus figuratively.

Although I ran the first few miles a bit faster than I should have, I don’t think that contributed to my downfall.  My strategy was to average 9:20 over the first six miles; it was closer to 9:12.  I was then going to pick it up to 9:15 for the next three, but was closer to 9:05.  Mile 10 was 9:18, but I followed that with three sub 9 minute miles.

So, what got to me?  The hills!  I knew what to expect at the creek beds at miles 16 and 20 since we had the chance to check them out beforehand, but I wasn’t expecting the rolling hills from miles 13-20.  Thing is, they really were no different from the hills at the Kirkland or Mercer Island half marathons; I think where they were in the race contributed to my slowdown, but the real culprit was the dizziness.  I drank at every fuel stop (which were placed practically every two miles), plus ate three ClifShots and one package of ShotBlocks.  But I think the cold that’s been threatening me decided to rear its evil head during the race.

Although my body was still really strong, I couldn’t shake the dizziness and had to start walking several times.  My average pace for the first 20 miles was 9:14 min/mile; I actually thought I might still have a chance to BQ but knew I would have to push it really hard during the last 10K.  Alas, I couldn’t do it.  My ears became blocked and I decided I’d walk it out to clear my head, then hopefully finish strong (which I did — I managed to sprint the final 1/3 mile!).

Again, I’ll post more tomorrow, but now I’m lounging with a glass of wine.  Cheers!