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Onward Bound

Sometimes life is tough. Sometimes life is awesome. Sometimes it a little bit of both. Either way, you have to keep going. I'll be running, laughing, crying and sharing it all here.

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    Wednesday, September 28, 2005



    Monday, September 26, 2005

    You can't really see my medal, but here I am at my celebration party sporting it. Nope, didn't take it off at all, except to pass around!  Posted by Picasa

    My friends took the balloons from the finish line and had them up at my celebration party yesterday.  Posted by Picasa

    Sunday, September 25, 2005

    The full race report

    I think the full race report needs to start the night before. As you can tell from all of my posts during the week, I was stressed and nervous about this event. I knew my body wasn't it tip-top shape due to my hamstring injury, but I soooo wanted to run in this marathon. I prayed so hard to be able to run in it.

    So, Saturday morning, I was sitting there, heating my hamstring for the last time and I just felt this peace and I knew God would get me through it. I knew it was ok to run. I also knew it would probably take it all out of me, but I didn't care.

    Matt and I left the house around 5:20 to make it downtown. We were among the first people there. We sat and stretch and then I went down and drank a cup of Poweraid. (Note: The race only served Poweraid, from here on out known as P.A. However, I trained on Gatorade. They are completely different though and I believe the P.A. was one of the factors in my puking later on.)I ran into Josh, who was running the half in preparation for his upcoming Chicago Marathon.
    He gave me some great advice and told me not to stress.

    I used the porta-potty and lined up. Even though it said no headphones, a ton of people had them, so I pulled mine out and popped them in my ears. I tried to get to the back of the pack of people because I knew I was slow. Soon, the gun went off.

    Even though there were probably only about 2,000 or so participants in all three events total (5k, half and full), it took a while for us to get moving. But what a breathtaking site it was. We were facing downtown, KC and there was this early morning fog that had settled in. All I could see in front of me were streams of runners....

    It took about 2 miles for it to completley thin out, but even then, there were still MANY people around me. As the crowd moved forward, I turned on my music and heard my most inspiring song, Eminem's Lose Yourself. I started to cry a little bit because I knew I could do it. I knew this was my one chance and I wasn't going to stop.

    For a while I just listened to my tunes, but then I decided to be social. So I popped off my headphones and started talking to this girl next to me. She had finished Chicago in 5:48, with an injured back. I asked her how she did it and she said she just tried not to think about the pain. She was running the half. I stuck with her for a while, but needed to walk a little. I believe I was with her for the second aid station and completely forgot about my "favorite shoe man." I was feeling pretty great.

    We looped through the Plaza. I started to look for my friend, Erin who said she would come watch me run. She lives there, so I knew she would be close. As we were leaving the Plaza area, I saw her. She was screaming and jumping up and down. She had a bottle of gatoraid for me. She ran out into the street and started running with me. She told me she was really hung over from the night before but she was there. I had to laugh. She was just the energy I needed. When she departed, people around me told me I had a great friend. I knew. My i-pod stopped working after I saw Erin. I was officially musicless from this point on.

    Shortly after the Plaza, the course split. I turned toward the marathon and saw a sign, "you are now on the Kansas City Marathon course." I should note, at this time, I was still thanking every voluteer and police officer holding back traffic. I loved them all.

    At the first aid station after the course split, a volunteer said, "Wow green looks great on you." She meant my green bib that indicated full marathon. I thought, it sure does.

    We climbed this steep hill winding through some of Kansas City's loveliest neighborhoods. I met a lady from Alaska who asked me if it was always this humid in Kansas City. Unfortunately, I told her, yes. We stayed together for a while, but then I looked up and saw my friend, Laura, with her dog! She ran with me for a while and it was so great that she could come. I was totally surprised to see her there.

    Once again, when she left, someone told me, "wow, you have a great friend." Again, I knew.

    I was feeling really strong until about mile 14. I was running strong, walking some and running strong. Then, my stomach started feeling sloshy. I had taken in a gu at mile 5 and mile 10. I took another at mile 15. But by then, I was really queesy. I was walking more than I had expected to, forcing my self to run to certain points. The volunteers were great. At one of the aid stations by the zoo, they were wearing little costumes...so cute. They offered me a cookie. I couldn't eat.

    Around mile 18, I saw my parents, Matt and Erin again. I was so happy to see them, but I was feeling so sick. Erin came out and jogged with me. I told her my stomach wasn't holding up well, but I was fine. They all shouted that I looked strong.

    Finally I reached mile 20. They had m and m's there. I took one, and gagged it down. No food for me. My stomach was a mess. I saw another runner/walker who looked like I felt. I carried on. Finally, she caught up with me around mile 21. We walked together. Both not feeling so well. There weren't very many people out at all. I had no idea if we were the last on the course.

    Some jerk shouted at the police, "Why are you holding the road back for these walkers?! I thought this was a marathon!!" The lady, whose name was Tandy, said, "If I had the energy, I'd pop him."

    I agreed with her, but by this point, I couldn't talk. A van pulled along and offered me the first of several tries to get me off the course. I refused. If I had to walk it in, I would. It helped having Tandy by me. We were both in no condition to run. So we walked together in silence. We got to an aid station where they had these cold sponges. They felt great. I wished I was running, but I couldn't.

    Shortly after that station, I hurled. I mean I lost everything in me. Poor Tandy, she stood there. (I didn't know if she was one of those people who watching someone puke made her puke.) We were in a bad part of town and I didn't care. I sat down on the ground. For a minute, I thought it was all over. I cried. Then, I evaluated the situation. I felt ok. I lost everything in me, so I figured I could go for it. The emergency crew was right there trying to help me. I accepted some sprite and sipped on that. They gave me a bottle of water. I took that with me. I started walking again. I had sent Tandy away, so now I was on my own. The crew drove along next to me, "Are you sure?" I was.

    I noticed there was no police escort. A homeless man crossed the intersection with me. "Hey, did they leave you?" I said, yes. "Hey," he shouted at everyone around. "She's one of those runners!" He said, "I'll cheer for you." I loved him.

    I was in a zone. Walking, not sure what the heck I was doing out there still. I looked up and I saw my mom. I thought I was halucinating. My parents do not fit in the ghetto too well, but there she was, carrying her Coach purse, and walking with me. She didn't realize the police were gone. I said, "Mom, what are you doing in the ghetto?" She laughed. She said, "It's ok, there are police." I said, "No, they are leaving." My mom started to freak. So now I was calming her down. My dad was a mile up the road, waiting to walk it in with me.

    We met my dad. My dad and I walked. I can't really remember what we talked about, but up ahead, we saw Tandy. She didn't realize it was me. When we caught up with her, she was so surprised to see me. By now, the volunteers had also left the course. Without my dad, Tandy and I wouldn't have known the route, but luckily, he had a map I had sent him a link to.

    We were walking along some MAJOR roads in Kansas City, we had to walk on the side of the roads with no sidewalk. The ground was uneven. I barely had any balance left. We crossed over a bridge and I had to puke again. I puked all the water I had drank. My dad said I could keep going because I had less than a mile to go. So, I did.

    When we got to the turn, where the finish line was, I turned in and saw the balloon arched finish. I started to jog. I looked up and saw what looked like mob of people. The announcer said, "Stephanie (last name) we've been waiting for you. We've never seen such a crowd for a final runner." I had told Tandy to run it in with me, but I think I just sprinted in. My friends all had a sign that said, "We love you Stephanie." They had all waited for me. I guess, when the girl before us finished, they thought she was the last person on the course. My friends all said, "NO she's coming." So the announcer waited. Seeing my friends (probably 10-12 people!) at the finish line waiting for me, knowing there were no more runners left, made my heart sour. Matt was tearing up as I finished. He was so proud of me. He kept saying that over and over. My friends said it too. I loved them. They offered me some juice and I sat there feeling puky again. My friends told me about the 30 or so people that had been brought in on stretchers. I felt good about making it.

    They took me to the aid station, which was also packing up. They tried twice to get an IV in me, but they kept missing the veins b/c I was so dry. They sent me off, making me promise to keep drinking. My brother's fiance drove us to our car. On the way there, I made her stop and I puked on the road again. I was so out of it. I couldn't really talk.

    On the way home, I asked Matt to pull over again. He was so worried, so he decided to take me to the emergency room. They put two bags of fluid in me. I started to perk up. Today, I feel like a million dollars that can't walk. ha.

    Thank you to all of you who supported me. You have no idea what your support meant to me as I fought the mental game to keep going after I got sick.

    To those who have marathons coming up, I can only say, "You CAN do it."

    Saturday, September 24, 2005

    Projectile vomited during miles 21 and 24, came in second to last, ended up in the hospital for severe dehydration, but I FINISHED!

    Well from my title, I'm sure you can tell the marathon was quite the event for me. Let's start with the positive: I FINISHED. Sure, it put me in the hospital to get two bags full of IV fluids. Sure, I came in 2nd to last, but seriously, there were 30 or so runners who didn't finish, so who's counting?
    Once I started puking, the paramedics wanted to take me off the course, but I refused. I'm very proud for finishing in such condition. I'll give a FULL race report tomorrow or Monday. I don't know my official time because by the time I crossed the finish line, they had taken down the clock and were packing up the race. (Yes, I had to walk in the final miles and the police escorts left and so did all the volunteers so it made for fun, and very unsafe times. Luckily my dad came in and walked me in, more on that tomorrow.)

    Matt thinks my time was something like 6:39. You know what? I don't care. I finished, puking, hobbling and straight to the E.R., but I finished. I can do anything. (Except run more marathons. My marathon career is over. I'm sticking with halfs.)

    More tomorrow.

    Friday, September 23, 2005

    He was clearly NOT a member of the RBF

    So I went to a sports medicine store today, the same store that sold me my inserts. I was very impressed with this store when I went to buy inserts, but today I'm not sure what to think.

    I went there to buy another knee compression brace. The one my doctor gave me is too big. So I was telling the guy about what I needed and here is a summary of how the conversation went:

    Me: Well, I'm looking for a knee brace that I can wear for my marathon tomorrow. I'm having quite a bit of pain behind my knee from my hamstring. The doctor gave me one, but it's too big.

    Him: You are running the marathon tomorrow and you are just now dealing with this?

    Me: (Long history of what I have been doing for the past few weeks.)

    Him: I don't think you should run the marathon.

    Me: (Jaw on floor, tears almost in eyes.) Um, well I am. (Cheeks are burning)

    Him: I don't think it's a good idea.

    Me: Do you think I will finish? (I'm sweating now.)

    Him: I don't know but it's not smart. There are other marathons.

    Me: (List of reason why I want to do THIS marathon.)

    Him: (Goes into this whole deal on how I need new shoes. It's all my shoes .They are wrong.)

    Me: I've heard it's wrong to wear new shoes for a marathon.

    Him: Nonsense.

    Me: Well, I don't want new shoes. I just want a knee brace.

    Him: (They didn't have one that would work, but he gives me some pain cream to rub on my muscle and tells me he will be working the 2nd aid station and that he will see me then.)

    I left. My knee hurt worse. My attitude was low and if I see him tomorrow, I will want to throw water on him. I now hate him and have set out to prove him wrong...

    Just returned from dinner, pasta at a generic pasta chain that advertises on T.V. The plan: watch Matt drink a few beers and wish I could have one, while sitting around looking at the clock until bedtime.

    I had the sudden thought this afternoon: maybe I will have appendicitis and won't have to run the marathon tomorrow.

    I'm feeling a bit unsettled.

    And it's here

    And I can hardly believe it. Amazing. I'm so nervous I could cry or throw up or something. But I'm trying to do neither of the above. The pain in my hamstring is gone on the large portion of the muscle, but where it really hurts is right at the hinge and below my knee. I'm really hoping a compression brace will keep the pain in check. (And some medicine too!) However, at this point it hurts to walk, so that's not a positve thing.

    Of course I could be blowing it all out of proportion becaus I'm so nervous. I will finish, but I'm stressed about the pain.

    Thank you for all of the support. I'll be thinking of you all tomorrow.

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Going forward with courage

    Yesterday I returned to Lawrence Orthopedic. While I was waiting for the doctor in the examination room, the physical therapist I saw last week popped his head in to ask me how I was doing. (It's the little details that mean so much, you know?)

    So here's the deal: I have a strained hamstring. I knew that from the physical therapist, but the doctor confirmed. Will running a marathon on it cause permanent damage? Not unless I tear it. Will I tear it? Well, the doctor told me the pain I would encounter before I got to that point would be so unbearable that I would know to stop running. He gave me a compression knee brace which he said I could either take or leave. And so, I plan to run. And pray and believe that it will all be ok.

    Last night, after the doctor, my muscle felt weak and spasmy (is that a word?) I guess because he had to isolate it by making me flex and push with it which agitated it further. So, I was feeling a little low about the marathon. I had a lot of negative thoughts about not finishing etc... But today, I have resolved to go forward on Saturday with all the courage and strength I can muster and banish all the negative thoughts. The new rule: NO MORE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS UNTIL I CROSS MILE 26.2!!

    Any thoughts on running with the compression knee brace when I have never run with it? Any thoughts on making it through a marathon without tearing my hamstring?

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Overheard While Training For A Marathon

    • You are running a "what?"~ various people
    • Good job runner! ~ nice runners on trails
    • How far is your run today? Are you with the group training for the cancer support? ~ nice couple on trail during 11 mile run.
    • I'm very proud of you ~ various people, including Matt
    • Quit obsessing ~ Matt (and he was right.)
    • How far is your run tomorrow (this weekend?) ~ various people
    • WOOF! ~ Tally's protests when I stopped taking her because the distance increased
    • I can't gaurauntee a pain-free race ~ Dr. Cupp about foot
    • Did you buy more s#%t to put in your shoes? ~ My boss who has a theory that whenever runners have an ailment, they buy crap to put in their shoes.
    • How far is your marathon? ~ various people, obviously not runners
    • When is your marathon?
    • Way to go Steph!
    • Are you running tonight?
    • Are you getting excited for your race?
    • What made you decide to train for a marathon?
    • How long have you been training?
    • Steph, my toe is broken ~ Laura, running partner who was injured early on.
    • Don't be discouraged if you don't finish. It's a very tough event ~ My dad, aka Mr. Positive.
    • Will there be a place I can sit and look at books and drink coffee while you run? ~ My dad again, thanks a lot.
    • You'll finish. If I have to walk it in with you, you'll finish. ~ Matt

    Here's to hoping the last thing on this list is good news from my doctor today.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    It was all about today

    In the beginning, I picked The Kansas City Marathon because of when it fell— four days after my 28th birthday. In April, when I first learned that the marathon would be held on September 24th, it seemed so far off. Committing to it was off in the blurry distant future.

    That future is now. This year's birthday will always be remembered by the marathon. I woke up, as I do every morning, thinking of it. I'd like to say I will be running a mile for each year on Saturday, but that would be adding 2 extra miles and, I'm sorry, but that's just not going to happen.

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    Thank you

    I just want to thank everyone who has come to my blog to post and wish me the best. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

    I'm still holding out until someone tells me, "No Stephanie, if you run your marathon, it will cause you a life of pain and suffering..." Meanwhile, I'm staying positive, (ok, Matt may not agree with this, but I'm REALLY trying!) heating, stretching and popping Naproxen every 6-8 hours.

    I have a gut feeling I'll be there on Saturday all the way. I just don't see how it would work out that I could train this whole time and NOT do this thing.

    If doing this sends me to the elliptical for 1-2 months, I'll be there with bells on.

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    6 days and in the midst of the biggest freakout yet...

    Sorry I haven't been posting much lately, but have I mentioned my marathon is next Saturday and I am in the middle of an INJURY?!!! Yup, it's that damn hamstring again. I just ran for the first time since 20 miles over Labor Day weekend and, well, let's just say it didn't go the way I would think a person less than a week away from running a marathon would expect a short run to go...

    Thank goodness I have that orthopedic sports medicine doctor appointment on Wednesday to calm my nerves, but besides that, what can he really do? It hurts. Bad. And I've been following the ice/heat/stretch regiment like it's my new religion.

    So again, I beg and plead for advice. I mean, I guess I could run the marathon in pain the whole way, but I'm thinking, that little 4 miles I just ran hurt really bad, what's it going to feel like after say14 or 24?

    Thursday, September 15, 2005

    I love Lawrence Orthopedic

    So I've been freaking out about the pain "behind my knee." (It's not actually my knee, but we'll get there.) Jeanne, first off, thank you for your inquiry. It means a lot.

    Before you even posted, I had called my sports medicine dr.'s office to see if I could get in. I know it's a minor pain, but when you have a marathon in 9 days, minor pains become MAJOR. I couldn't get in until next Wednesday, but I COULD leave a message for a nurse.

    So a nurse calls me back today. She says I can see a physical therapist this afternoon. Wow. At no charge. WOW! Ok, I say. So, I drive the 35 miles to Lawrence and I have no idea what to expect.

    The P.T. spent about 20 minutes with me. He was awesome!!! The verdict: I have a "damaged" hamstring. Not pulled (not severe enough) but "damaged." He spends time showing me how I can utilize heat and ice and stretching to help healing. He shows me stretches, works with my taper schedule, and sympathizes with my plight. All in all, I walk away, encouraged with new techniques to use for faster healing.

    I LOVE that place. Still nervous about hamstring. Any advice would be great...

    Sunday, September 11, 2005

    Taper or Slacker?

    I have been so bad that I don't even really want to go into any details. But as a partial excuse, I've had a pain behind my knee, so this weekend's long work out was done on the ellipitical — 1 hour and 20 minutes.

    In other news, Dave Matthews rocked!

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Bring on the holiday!

    I have labored. And I would like a holiday. It turns out, my 20 mile run timed out well because I'm getting my wish.

    Many of the RBF are such running pros they could probably run 20 miles in their sleep. But for those of us novices, 20 miles is a big deal. A BIG DEAL.

    I started off slow. That was hard to do because I was getting passed by other runners left and right. And they didn't LOOK like they were going all that fast, but I guess I was just really slow. The first six miles were rough. I didn't have my groove on just yet. I sort of felt like I was stumbling along. But I hit mile 8 and suddenly I felt like I could conquer the world. I picked up the pace a bit between miles 10-13. Then I stopped for a potty break/water refill.

    Around mile 17 I started to feel queesy. It never went away. I really have no idea what it was about so if anyone has any advice/feedback, I would really appriciate it. I had to walk a little around mile 18. (Note: I walked periodically throughout the run to take in water, gu and to rest my foot when it hurt, but felt that I kept a pretty constant run, surprising myself a little)

    I MADE myself run the last mile. It was hard. Really hard. I wanted to barf, but I wanted to run, and I wanted to barf, and I wanted to run. (and so on...)

    And then, it was over. And I have to admit that I got a little choked up. I'm such a GIRL. Total time according to cell phone: 4 hours and 24 minutes.

    A few notes about music. The following songs are awesome running songs in my book:
    The Beastie Boys: Sure Shot
    Eminem: Lose Yourself
    Outkast: Hey Ya (And Yes, I had to shake it like a polaroid picture, even at mile 16!)
    Blue Merle: Burning in the Sun
    Destiny's Child: Survivor and Jumpin' Jumpin'
    Mya: Takin' Over Me

    Of course, I had 4 hours of songs on my IPod, but those were just a few I wanted to share.

    Tonight, my dear friend, Jay has offered up her hot tub for me to relax in and she's cooking dinner for Matt and me. Aren't holidays and friends and weekends lovely?

    Friday, September 02, 2005

    My First Friday Freak Out

    I don't usually post a Friday freak out. In fact, I'm usually a calm, cool cucumber about long runs. I have been nervous before, mainly due to injury, but now that I've seen myself overcome injury and press on, I feel more confident. But today.... today is the ultimate test. The 20 miler is tomorrow. I'm taking a huge risk by jumping from 16 (remember, may have been closer to 17 when it was all said and done due to wrong turn) to 20, but I think I can handle it. After that, I have 2 Saturdays to taper and then it's MARATHON day.

    Today is also my last half-day Friday at work for the summer, which is a bit of a bummer b/c what I'd really like to be doing is not what I will be doing.

    What I will be doing all day:
    Drinking water
    Eating carbs (Not drinking carbs, eating carbs. Unfortunately, there is a difference...)
    Taking fiber (shut up.)
    Buying Gu
    Buying new running shirt and shorts and hat...all of which I will wear on September 24
    Downloading new songs on I-Pod Shuffle (Probably Dave Matthews as I am going to see him in concert on WEDNESDAY!!! Woo Hoo!)
    Turning in early for the night and dreaming of a successful run

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    24 days

    Today is September 1. The marathon is September 24. You do the math. YIKES!