On sickness

Goofy training

Week nine, day three

There’s nothing like a declaration that you will absolutely not miss any more training sessions to ensure you end up with Ebola. Okay, it’s not Ebola, but I am sick. Maybe a cold, maybe a respiratory infection (if it’s not gone by Monday I’ll go to the doctor but I think it will play itself out by then) but either way I haven’t been able to run this week. I did head out Monday, but I ended up walking most of the five miles because I couldn’t stop coughing. And Tuesday I jumped in the chilly pool for six miles because it made it easier to stop and rest at the end of every few laps and I was less likely to get overheated. But I think I’m just going to have to give up today’s four miles all together. The truth is I’m not doing myself any favors by trying to prove a point and I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to exercise with a fever.

I am counting on being better by tomorrow so I can do 7 and then 14 on Saturday though!

In fundraising news, I’m now just about $2500 away from my fundraising goal with two months to get there. Special thanks to my parents Ernie and Myra Stepp for their generous donation! They’re the best and have always supported even my craziest ideas. That plus some more matching donations from me and some ticket money means I’m 55% of the way there.   No stopping now!

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On injuries and laziness

Goofy training
Week eight

I’ve been having some slight issues with my knees lately (the weather changing has always made them ache) so I did most of my runs in the pool last week. I think the last two rain storms have officially ended outdoor pool running though.

Thirteen miles on the schedule Saturday – but on Friday night we had to cancel our group run because White Rock lake was closed due to the damage from Thursday’s storm. I had every intention of doing my miles anyway, but then I slept late, watched some football, did 3 miles and decided to finish on Sunday. But then I slept late again and never did the other 10.

I hate to miss my long runs and I’m starting to worry that I’m not worried enough about the races this year, if that makes sense. We’re into week 9 and it’s less than 100 days until marathon weekend. So – more running outside. More posts on Facebook to keep me motivated (sorry to those of you who dislike my running posts). Less sleeping in. 

Five miles on the schedule today and I’m determined to get them done, even though I have a bit of a chest cold. I may have to walk some of them, but it’s time to Bubble Up – no excuses!

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Running and singing

Goofy Training

Week Seven, Days One and Two

Since I was still pretty sore from this weekend’s running, I decided to do Monday’s five miles in the pool – 125 laps of running (equivalent by time, not distance!) Since it cooled off a bit Monday morning, there was no one at the pool and I didn’t think to bring my phone so I could have tunes. It’s kind of boring running back and forth in a pool so I started singing to myself. Pop tunes, old hip-hop, Broadway show tunes…anything to which I could think of the lyrics. Around lap 85 I was singing “Bust a Move” when I turned to go back the other direction and noticed my neighbor on his way to the dumpster. Um. He gave me a big smile and greeting but I’m still hoping he didn’t actually hear me rapping “So come on fatso, just bust a move.”

Last night there was no singing involved thankfully – just a nice four mile run (even if still slower than normal – soreness seems to be gone today, thankfully!) with my team out on the Katy Trail. I guess my neighbors and I should both be thankful that we’ve likely come to the end of pool running season.

http://pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/wdw15/estepp

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The Plano Balloon Fest Half-Marathon

Goofy Training

Week Six, Days Four and Five

I feel like I’m getting my weeks confused – how is training going by so quickly? Those really long runs look so far away when we first get our training schedule and now they’re inching closer and closer.

I did run 21 miles this weekend but it certainly wasn’t the best showing. Saturday’s 8-mile hill route was fine and I felt pretty good. Sunday’s half-marathon was less than fine, but I did manage to finish so I’m happy with that. Actually, you know what? In honor of my friend Angi who always looked on the bright side, I’m going to focus on the good things about the Plano Balloon Festival Half. In fact, I’m going to list ten good things about the worst race experience I’ve ever had.

1) As mentioned, I finished.

2) The medal is nice.

3) It was pretty cool to see all the balloons flying overhead at mile 2 and I got some good shots on my phone.

4) I learned that in the future I should carry Tylenol and Nuun tablets. There wasn’t a medical tent on the course and for the first 7 or 8 miles, the water stations only had red powerade and water. There is something in red powerade (and any fruit punch I’ve ever had) that gives me a migraine.

5) After mile 8, I was able to find blue Powerade and the added electrolytes kept me going.

6) The mostly teenage volunteers along the course were super friendly and nice.

7) There was some shade at mile 8-ish

8) As a good reminder that anything can happen on race day, I (and a lot of other people, including some of my friends) started getting chills and goose bumps and light-headedness around mile 7 and it got worse as I went. Since I didn’t see any medical support, I slowed down a lot and eventually walked all of the last four miles. But what I didn’t do was freak out like I did when my phone died at mile 14 of my marathon last year. Keep calm and carry on, and so forth.

9) The little girl, maybe six, in her front yard with her mom and younger siblings who was chanting, “Everybody wins! Nobody loses!” WTG, little girl.

10) (Which should really be number one) My TNT friends who waited for me to finish, coming back to check on me before I crossed the line and then following me to the medical tent. (I was fine. Just heat and my blood pressure dropping too much.) My friends always wait for me at the end of group runs and races even when I tell them they don’t have to. I mean, it can be an hour sometimes that they wait, but they always do. Friends like that are worth a hot, slow slog through Plano.

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Mission Moment

Goofy Training

Week 5, Day 5

I never sleep that well on Friday nights before a long run, especially the one time a season that it’s my turn to give the mission moment. (This is when someone on our team shares their story about why they joined Team in Training, to motivate us all before we run.) Even though this is the fifth time I’ve told Angi’s story, I still can’t get through the whole thing without crying. Here’s part of what I said:

“One of the hard things about telling this story is that it’s hard to describe a person to someone who’s never met her. I could tell you that my friend Angi was a great person, but who’s going to get up and say that their friend is a jerk? What I want to tell you – and one reason I picked this picture to show you (the first one below) is that her smile lit up the room, and she was always laughing. She used to have a quote on her Facebook that said she lived her life like a child at a carnival, all bright eyed and excited, and she really did. She was the most optimistic person I ever met. She was the kind of person that when you were feeling bad, she could make you feel not just like everything was going to be okay, but that everything was going to be kind of awesome. In fact, I rarely called her Angi, because to all of her friends she was always Bubbles.

Then I told the part that you all know – how Angi got sick and was diagnosed with ALL. How I started running and ran my first 5k around the time she found out they had found a match for the stem cell transplant. How the transplant was successful and I signed up to run the Disney half-marathon in January 2013 in her honor. How she was in and out of the hospital with infections that summer. That she died the day before I started training for the race I ran in her memory instead of in her honor. How Joel came (second photo) to the race, but that what you can’t see in that picture is the backpack he carried that day with Angi’s ashes so she could be at the finish line, and how two days later he went to the ocean and released her

And I told them about Bubble Up, how it was our friends’ version of man up or cowboy up, in recognition of how hard Angi fought, and why I put it on my race shirt. That it’s funny to hear people yell out, “Bubble up, Liz” when they don’t know what it means, but that it means a whole lot to me. Then I finished:

“Look, I didn’t start running until I was 42 years old. I’m obviously larger than your average runner. I smoked a pack a day for over 15 years. When I was 35, an orthopedic surgeon told me I had the knees of a 70 year old. So I’m never going to qualify for Boston. I’m never going to be able to run as fast as my friends on the team. In fact, I’m probably always going to be just trying to beat the bus that picks you up if you go too slow.

And sometimes there’s a little voice in my head that says, “why bother? Why don’t you just turn around early? What difference does it make if you skip a training run or count a walk around the block with a glass of wine as a 5 mile run?” And sometimes it’s a little louder, and it tells me “you can’t run a half-marathon” – which I did – or “you can’t run a full marathon” – which I did last year or “you can’t run Goofy” which I’m going to do this year, or “you can’t raise enough money to meet the fundraising minimums.” And the only way I know to make that voice shut up is to take a deep breath, think of my friend Angi, put on my best smile, and Bubble Up.”

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9/11

Goofy Training

Week 5, Day 3

I was going to write a post today about the weather, and how that cold front could come through ANY TIME NOW, because I really don’t know if I can take one more day where it feels like I’m running through oatmeal.

But I can’t. I can’t complain today. I tell myself a lot that I shouldn’t complain at all, that running is not as hard as cancer, and that’s true.

But today? A day when everyone is remembering where they were and what they were doing 13 years ago? (In the process of leaving my ex-husband when my dad called to tell me to turn on the news, strangely enough. It was a very bad day in a lot of ways.) Today is definitely not a day to complain.

So today I’ll run, and I’ll be thankful for our heroes, of all types. Cancer survivors, police officers, fire fighters, soldiers. Thanks to all of you for doing the hard work while the rest of us focus on stupid things like the weather.

#irunwithcoachjoe #bubbleup

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Blood cancer awareness month

Goofy Training

Week Five, Day one

My schedule has four miles today but I’m having a family dinner in Arlington tonight and I know full well that trying to get up early to run before work on Monday will never happen. So I did my four miles yesterday afternoon since I stayed out too late Saturday night to get up and run in the morning. The run was in the pool again as my knees were still sore from Saturday’s hot and humid hill route, but hopefully that will be the last pool run of the season. I miss being out on the roads and am looking forward to the Katy Trail with my teammates tomorrow night! I’m also looking forward to cooler temperatures later this week.

As always, I’m asking for your support to help me meet my fundraising goals. September is blood cancer awareness month so here’s a fact you might not know: Nearly 40% of new cancer therapies approved by the FDA between 2000 and 2013 were first approved for blood cancer patients. Many of these therapies have been found to work for other types of cancer as well as for other serious diseases. So your donations not only help leukemia and lymphoma patients but patients with other medical issues as well.

Any amount helps! How about $4 for the four miles I ran yesterday? How about $3 for the three interceptions Tony Romo threw in the first half of the first Cowboys game of the year? How about $73, one for every point the Aggies scored on Saturday?

 

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Back in the saddle

Goofy Training

Weeks Three and Four

I know, it’s been forever since I posted a training update (and I’m sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath!) But, you know, last week we were on vacation. I did take my running clothes, but I only put them on once. In fairness, we got lots of activity rafting and zipping and hiking. Hiking 5 miles is every bit as hard as running 5 miles if you ask me 

I did run our last day, in Denver. Our hotel had an outside rooftop track. Cool, right? Yeah. It was cool, except for the altitude. I wasn’t just breathing hard, I was audibly gasping and wheezing and remembering every cigarette I ever smoked in my life. Who knew oxygen was so important? So I only made it a mile.

This week is my birthday (which involves extended celebrations – what?) plus my knees are janky from the hiking so I’ve been running in the pool. Shallow end, because I don’t have a vest. And while it’s boring as all get out, it doesn’t feel like such a sacrifice when it’s 97 degrees outside. Today I didn’t run at all thanks to one too many glasses of champagne last night.

But, y’all, the end of week four is coming up and just like the past two years, I’m suddenly terrified. Who in the heck runs a half marathon one day and a full marathon the next? How can I possibly keep up with my training friends? How can I keep asking my friends and family to donate money every year? Why do I keep returning to Disney World when I’m not even that big of a Disney fan 

Earlier this week one of my friends reminded me of something. Simply put, I don’t do this because it’s fun or because I’m such a great runner or because airline tickets to Florida are cheap in January.

I do it for Angi. Says so right on my race shirt. Always for Angi. And not only for her, but for everyone who has fought or is fighting or will fight a blood cancer. For those who have come through the other side and for those who didn’t make it.

So, vacation is over and so is my birthday. It’s time to get to work.

#irunwithcoachjoe #bubbleup

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The stranger

Goofy Training
Week Two
Days three and four

I had a fantastic day on Wednesday, but by lunchtime yesterday I was seriously annoyed. My new running shoes didn’t fit right, I couldn’t find what I wanted at Target, and my phone wouldn’t stop beeping with friend drama and my boss asking me questions about an area of law that I don’t really know enough about to fire off a quick text message answer from the store. To top it off, the lady in front of me in line had 7 kids and 2 full baskets of school supplies and I just wanted to get back to the office. 

As I was walking back to my car, a woman caught my eye and just for a second I was breathless. Bejeweled wedge flip flops, a maxi-dress, oversized sunglasses and long curly black hair. For just that moment – half a moment – I thought it was Angi. You know how that happens, when you know it can’t be that person but for just a split second your brain and heart tells you it is?

By the time I got in the car, I realized how ridiculous I was for feeling annoyed. Was I really bothered that I had to spend five extra minutes in an air-conditioned store or that my magic Jetsons-like device was beeping too many times with people who wanted my opinion or knowledge?

It’s so easy. It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things and forget the big ones. To forget how lucky we are and what troubles are out there. One of the reasons I run for LLS is that it’s a weekly reminder that there are worse things out there than losing an earring or spilling my coffee. And I know that – of course I know that, we all know that. But it helps me a lot to be reminded of it.

Tomorrow is our first run at the lake, and then I’m off for a week in Colorado with the love of my life for adventure and relaxation. I’m so very, very lucky. Thanks, stranger in the parking lot, for making me stop for a minute and remember that.

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ALS Ice bucket challenge

Goofy Training
Week Two
Days one and two

Y’all. I know it’s August in Texas and all, but it is HOT. I mean it’s like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot. (Biloxi Blues? Anyone?) So, 2 miles Monday, 4 miles yesterday, 2 miles today but I may return to the dreadmill rather than brave any more of this Texas heat and humidity. We’ll see.

Last night after our group run Caitlin and I helped Karen participate in the ice bucket challenge by dumping the leftover ice water we brought for the runners on her head. Little did I know she was planning to challenge me to take it as well.

I’m not going to dump a bucket of water on my head; it seems to me this challenge is getting played out, and nobody really wants to see that. I will make a charitable donation to ALS in honor of my friend Steve. I won’t ask three other people to dump water on their head and/or give to ALS either. I will ask all of you, if you’re able, to make a donation to a charity that means something to you. Sure, I’d love it if you want to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but any reputable charity is a good choice. You don’t have to tell me or Facebook about it either. Just help out where you can, okay? And have a great day – I’m going to be grateful today for how lucky we are to have enough clean water to go around dumping it on our heads.

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