Lyme Disease or is it: The Outcome

credit: http://en.wikipedia.org

credit: http://en.wikipedia.org

 “Yeah, I made an appointment because I think I have Lyme disease.”

“Oh?” doc commented, looking up from the screen. “Tell me more about why you think you have Lyme disease.”

I rattled off the symptoms, showed the doc the swollen mark, and waited.

She replied saying she didn’t think I had Lyme disease, but it did appear as if the bite was infected. She also stated there were a number of other tick-borne illnesses, and that even if it was Lyme disease, it was early and very treatable.

Just to be sure, she did her due diligence and requested a full lab workup. She also prescribed an antibiotic to take for 10 days for the infection. The results would be available by Tuesday. Today was Friday. I spent the weekend in the same state I had been for the past week,: exhausted, nauseous, achy, and with headaches that kept me in bed.

The phone rang, and I answered expectedly.

“Your labs are back. No Lyme disease; however, we did come across a surprising result.”

Great. What was it now? Cancer? Something had to be going on to make me feel like this, or was it simply a manifestation?

“Your hCG levels are elevated. You’re pregnant.”

I sat silently for a moment. “Are you sure?”

“The results don’t lie. You can come in for another test, if you’d like.”

And that was that. Of course, the first thing I did, despite just hearing it from the doctor, was run to Walgreen and buy three tests. Positive. Positive. And Positive.

It took probably a good three weeks for it to finally settle in and to come to terms with it. My immediate thoughts went to the 24 hour race I had planned to run in March. My goal of hitting 100k in 2015. Might seem like peanuts to some, but it took a bit to let those dreams go and to be at peace.

Fast-forward to November. With the mental battles over, we’re all looking forward to our little turkey, the final member of our family, joining us in May. If April is the focus of showers, May must be the month of unexpected surprises! Yes, I’m still eyeing that 100k, but I’ve pushed it off until 2017. It takes a while to build up that kind of mileage again, especially when working full-time, a husband, and two kiddos in tow. It will also take the better of six months for my body and ligaments to become strong and solid again postpartum.

Right now, my only desire is to have a healthy pregnancy and baby and to keep running throughout the pregnancy. Oh, and a double jogging stroller. ;)

2014-09-27 12.17.11

 

Lyme Disease or is it: part 1?

credit: Sundance Cabin Rentals

credit: Sundance Cabin Rentals

In less than 24 hours, I was supposed to be driving along long, winding roads surrounded by watercolors of fierce reds, brilliant yellows, and all the colors in between, cascading up and down the gentle foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains to run the Tortoise and the Hare 50k…but I’m not.

credit: Sundance Cabin Rentals

credit: Sundance Cabin Rentals

Rewind to September 13th. Psyched up, I was ready to take AG at the Tortoise and Hare 13.1, yet from my very first stride, I knew something wasn’t right. My legs felt heavier than usual and clumsy along the trail. While the trail wasn’t flat, I wouldn’t call it hilly either, yet I felt like I had already ran a 50k the day before.

early in the race

early in the race

By mile 6, nausea and dizziness hit. WTF? None of this made sense. I followed the same nutrition I always did, same race day layout, etc. 13.1 was a short run any time, any day of the week. I gotta point out that Jeremy and Toni put on one hell of an awesome race and it was a blast in the glass for any runner. I still couldn’t help but walk away disheartened and confused by my performance.

credit: Jeff Gelinas

credit: Jeff Gelinas

So I did what any runner would do. Sulk…and then call the doctor. That little tick bite on my back had been flaring up on and off since June, and it was currently in a flare-up phase. Headache, dizziness, nausea. Suddenly, it all seemed to fit…or did it?

I wish I would have saved it, but I found out from the UC doctor that it was definitely a lone star tick. picture credit: tickinfo.com

I wish I would have saved it, but I found out from the UC doctor that it was definitely a lone star tick.
picture credit: tickinfo.com

(part 2 coming tomorrow evening)

Tortoise and the Hare 13.1: Clash of the Titans

Tortoise and the Hare 13.1 2014

Tortoise and the Hare 13.1 2014

Remember that old school story about the Tortoise and the Hare? Yeah, well don’t let that fable fool ya. The Hare really does win after all! :D

This weekend was an absolute blast and an honor to participate in the inaugural Tortoise and the Hare 13.1. Whilst one would think a gathering of such a multitude of tortoises and hares would result in a scene similar to Clash of the Titans, it was quite amicable. ;P

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

In all seriousness, this comradery at this race was amongst the best I’ve seen! The RDs, Jeremy and Toni McAlister, really did their homework and put together a top-notch race that was enjoyed by tortoises and hares alike!

The Concept is quite simple. The tortoises start earlier, the hares later. Hares, your mission, should you choose to accept is to catch as many tortoises as you can. Tortoises, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to trip the hares as often as possible. Just kidding. Don’t do that. It would be quite unfitting for a regal tortoise.

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

The tortoises start in waves, as early as 8:00 up to 9:00. Hares toe the line at 9:30-10:00. Not only does this provide a bit of fun throughout the race, but it also serves to free up potential bottlenecks along the course. With the exception of maybe one spot, there were plenty of opportunities to pass.

crdit

credit

Mix and Mingle

I made it a point to get there a bit early, so I can look around and snap a few pics, but we know how that goes. After spending the past three nights with a sick babe and sleeping in his room the night before the race, I practically sleep-walked my way to the car, and I honestly can’t remember how I got there. Not really sure how I arrived at Boling Park either. I fancy I have one of those new-fangled, auto-pilot cars….or I was just plain lucky.

Got there literally in time to pin on the bib and slide my bag back under the registration table, when I heard Toni asking for all runners to toe the line. Toni mentioned they made a few course changes, due to the weather. No biggie. What’s a few extra hills? ;)

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

The Chase is On!

The course meandered through the field and onto the gravel track, winding its way towards the opening of the trail. From there a series of gentle inclines and declines, along with a few wooden bridges, lined the first mile or so. One note on the bridges…watch your step, as these can become quite slippery. My HOKA Mafate 3s didn’t have an issue with traction, so pick your trail shoe accordingly.

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

Approximately the first 2 miles or so lent themselves to single-track; however, there was still a bit of room to get by on the side, and runners were quite obliging. For the most part, the trail consisted largely of wide, open trails (enough for 3-4 runners to run side-by-side) with the occasional burst of single-track.

th4

somewhere around mile 1

As far as Technicality goes, I would say this race is beginner-friendly imo. There are a few rocky spots, particularly as you get to the stream crossings, but honestly, it’s nothing that a decent pair of trail shoes can’t handle.

It took a good 30 minutes for my legs to loosen up, so I knew something was amiss. It was around the middle of the race that things took a turn for the worse with nausea hitting me, along with an inability to cool myself. So needless to say, I didn’t play hopscotch at those creek crossings. I pounced right through them and seriously considered just laying down in them on the way back. :P

credit: Lori Forrester

credit: Lori Forrester

The hills themselves were gently rolling, although Jeremy and Toni have a twisted sense of humor and decided to place the largest of the hills pretty much dead center of the course at approximately the 8 mile marker or so. :P Yet, it was the heat, coupled with the humidity, that took many off guard, including me…shocked the HE@#$ out of me, being as I’ve purposely run during the mid-afternoons to get some heat-training after taking 3 weeks off at the start of the school year!

I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at first. I was using all the same fuel and supplements I normally used, the same supplements that did me well for the Rockin’ Choccolocco. I ate properly beforehand and hydrated in the days prior, my normal race protocol. It wasn’t until the goosebumps set in shortly around mile 10-11 that I realized what was going on, but by then, it’s already too late for the body to recover. G-R-E-A-T…WTH??? 

I had two choices at this point, DNF or push through.

Aid Stations

The aid stations were spread out perfectly with one near mile 3.5-4, another near 7, both of which you hit on the way back as well. Basically, there was an aid station nearly every 3 miles or so. One could easily get by with a hand-held and nothing more. Coming from an ultra background, I have no frickin’ clue what a hand-held is. I only understand vests filled with “extra” HEED for those just-in-case moments, i.e. a sudden inclination to run more miles, hotter-than-normal conditions, etc. Plus, I have enough pockets for my phone, so I can take planned “selfie” breaks and pop a cool few poses that totally belie how I’m feeling in that exact moment, which just happen to turn into what-else-is-in-my-pack-that-I-can-eat moments. OOOOOOOOO, A STROOPWAFEL!

Homemade Stroopwafels

Homemade Stroopwafels

The aid stations were complete with random cookies, jelly beans, pretzels, and a few other things I really didn’t look at the grub because the sight of it made my stomach churn. I did enjoy splashing several cups of ice-cold water on me at the last aid station, definitely not a Baywatch moment.

credit: Jeff Gelinas

credit: Jeff Gelinas

An out-and-back course, you know it’s time to gun it when you leave the comfortable shade of the trails for the wide, open gravel track. You think you’re there, but you’re not, so hold off on that spring. You’re at the back end of the track. Once around the bend, the starting field comes into view. Gunning for he finish line, I couldn’t help but notice the massage table towards the right. Ohhhhh yeah, come to mami!

2014-09-06 12.26.41

credit: Jeff Gelinas

credit: Jeff Gelinas

 

Post-Race

You get a lot of bang for your buck at this race! Medals, giveaways, and a free massage! Jeremy and Toni also hooked us up with bacon and chicken biscuits from McDonalds, pizza, and other traditional offerings, such as Lara bars and traditional finisher fare.

2014-09-06 12.23.44

post-race grub

2014-09-06 12.23.51

post-race grub

 

I hung out at the finish for quite a while, so I could take some pics of my buddies on the podium. I never did get that massage, but that’s ok. Despite the heat exhaustion and sleep deprivation, this race is definitely on my list for 2015! There will always been “bonk” runs. What’s important is that you grit your teeth and push past the discomfort. That’s how you become stronger: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The SOFTEST race shirt I've ever received!!!!!

The SOFTEST race shirt I’ve ever received!!!!!

 

Jeremy and Toni did an excellent job designing, marking, and setting up the course! If you haven’t checked out their race series, hit them up at Tortoise and the Hare Racing! Next up is the Tortoise and the Hare 50k. Who’s coming out to play ‘cuz now you’re in the tortare’s territory. ;)

medal

medal

The Cure All for Stress! You Won’t BELIEVE It!

1st Day :)

1st Day :)

It’s amazing how many ultrarunners can be found working in the field of education. At first glance, one might say, “Psssshhhh, but of course. They do get summers, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every other holiday imaginable off,” but I’m getting sidetracked, so let’s get back on track. :)

4:30 a.m. pre-work run...I'd call this kooky. ;)

4:30 a.m. pre-work run…I’d call this kooky. ;)

The number one reason so many ultrarunners come from the field of education is that we’re seeking an outlet for our stress. Running serves to release this stress. It’s a simple mathematical equation: (Teachers – Stress) + Endorphins = Happy Teachers. Happy Teachers = Happy Students. But why ultras instead of any ole’ 5k???

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credit: Rockin’ Choccolocco 50k: BUTS Racing (Zachary Andrews)

That’s a toughie. For me, it boils down to the challenge, which is also something to which teachers are accustomed. Teachers are tenacious, determined, persistent, think out-of-the-box, and let’s face it…we’re all a bit kooky. You have to keep a sense of humor to stay in our profession, or you’ll burn out before you hit retirement.

2013-12-30 22.06.58

When you look at it, those same qualities are inherent to ultrarunners as well. It only makes sense that we lean towards distances that make others ask Whyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?!

credit: warwalksforhealth.com

credit: warwalksforhealth.com

 

 

Pass the Baton: BOMF Meaningful Miles 4 mile Race

MeaningfulMile-2014-logo (1)

As a runner, I love giving back to our sport, whether it’s through volunteering, charity running, or simply assisting races that support local causes.

On August 16th, the third annual Meaningful Miles 4 mile race will hit the Historic Fourth Ward Park section of Atlanta. In partnership with Mizuno, Meaningful Miles gives runners “the opportunity to run alongside, not past, individuals transitioning out of homeless in our city. Proceeds from the race go back to Back on My Feet, and a BOMF chapter is honored at each mile, including Trinity Community Ministries, Gateway Center, Salvation Army, and City of Refuge.

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta

Nitty-Gritty

  • When: Saturday, August 16th at 8 a.m. (arrive by 7:30 for circle time and warm-up)
  • Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park, 680 Dallas Street, Atlanta, GA
  • Cost: $5 for those fundraising $100; OR $30 (August 1)/$35(afterwards)/$40 (race day) Group discounts available! Contact Mandy!
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Additional Information: Dogs and strollers are allowed. Dogs must be on a leash, non-aggressive, and with current shots
credit: Back on my Feet Atlanta

credit: Back on my Feet Atlanta

Pass the Baton

“Mizuno believes running has the power to transform the world, one person at a time.” In support of Back on My Feet, Mizuno is donating $1 for every mile run with the Mizuno Baton app. Currently at $49, 794, imagine how much could be raised if everyone ran?

safe_image

Runners can download the Mizuno Baton on both the Apple app store and also via Google Play. You have one week to rack up as many miles as possible. For every mile, Mizuno will donate $1 to Back on My Feet! All you have to do is run!

Join Us!

Runners are encouraged to fundraise; however, it is not required. Your participation is crucial in helping us assist those challenged by homelessness throughout the city of Atlanta and beyond. Bring your friends and family, your running shoes, and come run with us on August 16th at 8 a.m.!

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta