6 days til the big race

Can you believe the big race is just 6 days away? It all seems like a dream. Someone pinch me. I honestly never thought I would be doing this – training for a half marathon, raising $3800 for Crohn’s and Colitis research and flying to wine country for a race?


There’s nothing else I can think of – except insanity.

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your love, support and financial donations. Without you, this would have NEVER happened. Your e-mails, phone calls, blog comments, tweets, Facebook comments, letters and encouragement have made this possible.

Together, we have raised $3800 for Crohn’s and Colitis research and programs – like sending a child with IBD to a special summer camp with staff trained to deal with these diseases. Together, we are helping CCFA fund cutting-edge research studies at major medical institutions. Together, we are helping find a cure for the diseases that have plagued my family for too long.

Since January, I have lost 25 pounds and 36 inches. I have pushed myself harder than I thought possible. The human body is amazing. And it’s not to say that my training was problem-free. I was plagued by knee problems and then a sprained foot (which I just so happened to roll my ankle yesterday afternoon while walking the dog). I’m down but I’m not out. I’m praying that a lot of rest, ice and ibuprofen will allow me to finish what I started more than 4 months ago.

I will have my cell phone with me during the race. You can watch my progress by logging on to http://www.twitter.com/amykant as I’ll be giving updates via Twitter throughout the race. The race starts at 6:30 a.m. PT. So for those of you in the Midwest, start praying around 8:30 ok? 🙂 Based on my pace, injuries and previous long run/walks, I have a goal of finishing in less than 4 hours. Perhaps there will be a miracle and I’ll finish sooner than that… but I doubt that will happen. My super-not-so-secret goal is to finish by 10:10-10:15 a.m., but honestly, I will be thrilled to cross the finish line on my own two feet (or crawling – just so long as I don’t get carried across the finish line, I’ll be ok). Expect lots of “oh crap this hurts” tweets from me on race day. Maybe I’ll include a photo or two. You can feel free to text/tweet me during the race, but I do not plan on responding to these messages until much later. I might be able to read your messages during the race, and your encouragement is most welcome!

Post race, I plan to visit the medical tent (or the hospital, whatever) or find a tub of ice to sit in. I will also start consuming copious amounts of wine at the post-race party. I will have to numb the pain somehow, right?

I will be writing the following names on my forearms as a reminder of who I’m running for:

  1. Grandma Irene
  2. Beta Epsilon Alumnae Chapter, Alpha Gamma Delta
  3. Alex (from Rachel)
  4. Katie F.
  5. Phillip V.
  6. Robin C.
  7. Uncle Will
  8. Andy K.
  9. Carol R.
  10. ViNeta Bombria (from Carrie)
  11. Scott H.
  12. Angie & Joe Sorge
  13. Aunt Janice
    The last .1 mile is for me. 😉

One more thing – would you be willing to respond to this with a word of encouragement/inspirational quote/funny anecdote? I want to read through these li’l notes on race day as I am bussed to the race (it’s a 30-45 min drive). I will need some encouragement and who better to help me out than my family/friends?

Thanks again for everything.

PS:  A special HI for reader Melinda whom I met this weekend when I volunteered at a water stop for Badgerland Striders. I don’t even know you but you’re awesome.

This has to be a joke

My parents have asked us to go through all our boxes at their house to decide what we want to keep and what we’re ok getting rid of. As I worked my way through one of the boxes filled with trophies and breakables from my youth, I came across this:

I would like to note that this is how I wrapped up a bunch of ribbons from gradeschool… in protective paper and in a box with breakables. Hilarious. These are the athletic ones I found (there were also some science/art fair ones):

I would like to point out something here. There are five – count ’em – FIVE first place track and field ribbons. FIVE. Plus four second place and two third and one fifth.

Want to know what they’re all for? Well too bad if you don’t, because I am sooooo bragging about this right now.

Softball throw. I pretty much rocked at this.

Long jump.

Every single one of these is for running. YES RUNNING. What the heck?

Apparently, in 7th grade I did the 100 yard dash in 15:31.

Not too shabby at the 220 and 440…

And the 880 and I think the other one is a relay of some kind?

Now, these awards are from about 12-15 years ago, but it’s still cool to see that I did succeed at running at one point in my life. Oh, and before you get too impressed by these awards, I should point out to you that I went to a very small private gradeschool. Our track meet was with two other very small schools… so it’s not like I beat out a ton of people for these awards.

Easy walk with the dogs turned – oh crap I may have just effed everything up

My parents said they would drive down to the eastside so we could take the three dogs for a walk at Lake Shore State Park (one of my absolute FAVORITE places to run/walk). We drove down to the parking by the lighthouse and headed out along the water to the park. Not even a quarter mile in I lost my footing on the sidewalk/grass (sort of missed the sidewalk) and rolled my BAD ankle, scraped up my arm a bit, got grass stains on my pants, and bruised my ego.

My parents gasped. I sat there in shock, not knowing if I should cry, scream, swear or crawl back to the car.

I was so scared that I completely messed up my left foot/ankle. I’m pretty sure I rolled it. Which, you know, is really awesome 7 days before you’re traveling to wine country to complete your first half marathon ever.

I sat on the ground for a while. My dad and another guy who saw me fall offered to help me up but I turned them down. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to know if I had just taken myself out of training for the final week. I didn’t want to know if I would still be able to do this race.

Honestly, I think there was a part of me that wouldn’t have minded being side-lined from the race. I’m already at the point where I am not going to be anywhere near my initial time goal, due to knee problems early in training and then this whole sprained foot business.

I moved my ankle and it hurt, but wasn’t excruciating. It was important I pick myself up and keep going. I knew that if I retreated back to the car, I would have a huge psychological barrier next weekend at the race.

I stood up and took a step. I’ll be honest. It hurt. A lot.

But I kept going. As I walked, it hurt but I was able to do it without too much pain. My ankle/foot is definitely weakened now. Although, maybe whatever I did will have knocked things back into place. Who knows.

All I know is I am in a lot of pain right now, so I wrapped it up and iced it for 20 minutes. I’m going to do that every hour til bed and hopefully things will be better in the morning.

Otherwise, I might really be sidelined for Napa. And I don’t think I can handle another blow. Please say a li’l prayer for my left foot/ankle. I can’t not do this race.

Do as I say, not as I do

I’ve been struggling with something for awhile now and I can’t keep it bottled up anymore. I’ve tried to be upbeat and positive about this whole sprained foot fiasco. Oh wait, you don’t know about this do you?

Yeah, that’s right. I never blogged about it. Why? Well, I kept putting it off… and off… and off… until I started getting bitter today about he whole thing. Sure, I tweeted about it and made posts on DailyMile, but I never really blogged about how it made me feel. Here goes.

I was scared.

My left foot pain is getting worse, not better. I’m so scared something is wrong that will knock me out of training for Napa. Please send some healing thoughts/prayers my way. Pretty sure I’ll be going to the doctor today. 🙁

I was relieved.

FOOT UPDATE: It’s a sprain of sorts. I have to take it easy and I should be able to still run/walk the Wine Country Half Marathon. Basically, taper is starting a week early. 🙁

I was sad.

feeling like I won’t get to RUN a 5k… ever. #jth says I can jog or walk SLOWLY on thurs. #fitmke #sadmke

I was bitter.

all of you running the storm the bastille tomorrow can suck it.#bitter #sadface #norunningtilnapa

Last month, I had to “take it easy” for the Great Milwaukee Race. I wasn’t supposed to run. But, I didn’t want to let my teammates down so I ran a bit (this was before I knew the foot was sprained). Then I had my long build-up run/walks for training for the half marathon. I did 8 miles… then almost 9… then just over 10 miles. All on a sprained foot. Yep. I am pretty badass. Or stubborn. One of the two.

Luckily, the diagnosis came a week before my taper was to begin, so instead of doing my last long run/walk of 12 miles… I started taking it easy and tapering back early. On the one hand, awesome. On the other, crap.

I had a “come to Jesus” conversation with my trainer via text message the day I went to the doctor. Here’s how it went:

Me: This sucks.

John: Why? It will be fine!

Me: Because I want to do it all 🙁

John: U will just not this week, u wanna be fit for life, not just a couple of months, right?

Me: Yeah. You’re right. I know I need to listen I just don’t want to. Haven’t had an “easy” week since I began training for the half

John: That could be part of the reason u are hurt at the moment.

Me: Prolly. Guess I’m just afraid of going back to my old routine of nothing. Know what I mean?

John: I will drag ur punk ass out of ur house and make u workout if u do!

Me: Deal.

I have tried to accept the fact that I had to stop running. I have tried to accept the fact that I had to drop out of a 5k two weeks ago. I have tried (and failed) to accept the fact that I can’t run the Storm the Bastille 5k tomorrow. This race is especially hard for me to miss because back when I decided to start this journey, my goal race was to run the Storm the Bastille on July 8. Sure, I am freaking doing a half marathon next week, but I can’t help but feel like a complete failure. My one, measly goal – Run the Storm the Bastille – #amyfail. Yes, my goals have changed. I can do 3.1 miles in my sleep. But I haven’t actually RAN a full 5k yet. This has been a psychological barrier for me and I have been eagerly anticipating the chance to show myself I can RUN a 5k.

Then there’s this whole all-these-people-donated-money-for-charity-because-I-said-I-would-do-a-half-marathon-and-I-went-and-overdid-things-and-may-have-put-the-whole-race-at-risk factor. Yup. I’m doing this whole get healthy journey for me. And I am worried about what my family and friends will think if I fail miserably next weekend. When I started training, my goal was to be at a solid 15 minute mile pace (4mph). I’m quite certain if I was able to run more, I would have no problem maintaining this pace. However, due to all of my training setbacks (including the knee problems a few months ago), I have been logging a solid 16:30-17:30 walking pace. So now, my new time goal is in the 3:30-4:00 range. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others… but I have friends who are in the sub-4:00 MARATHON time range. And I’m just praying I can do a sub-4:00 HALF MARATHON. It’s a kick to the ol’ ego, that’s for sure.

I need to stop putting myself through this, but I can’t help it. There was a time (just months ago), where I couldn’t understand why some of my friends were working out ALL the time. They were running 7-8 miles FOR FUN. My idea of a good time was ordering a pizza, drinking a 6-pack of beer and watching basic cable Law & Order: SVU marathons. My idea of a good time was certainly not training for a HALF MARATHON. SVU Marathons are much more entertaining.  Now, ordering a pizza, drinking beer and watching SVU Marathons is still high on my list of fun times… but the times I’ve been able to run – actually RUN – I can’t describe the feeling as anything short of euphoric. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of. And I know mine is capable of running.

I know I need to listen to my trainer, my coach, my doctors… but I can’t help feeling like I’m a failure. I feel like giving up. I feel like putting on my fat pants. I feel like burying my sorrow in peanut butter M&Ms, fruity cocktails, microbrews, high-carb, high-fat meals… (and trust me, I have done this in recent weeks). But I know that is giving in. I can’t fall back to the old Amy. I can’t let the old fat girl win. The new fat girl is so much more fun. She feels better. She can walk up flights of stairs without losing her breath. She is 10 days away from completing a half marathon (at 250 lbs, none the less). She needs to get over herself, put on her big-girl underwear and stop being such a baby.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t be stupid like I’ve been. Be smart. Accept your setbacks. Grow a pair.

Race Day Playlist

I know many of you have some favorite running tunes, and I’m hoping you’ll share some of those with me. I am currently working on my race day playlist for my iPod. I need about 4 hours of music (just incase something happens and it takes me longer than my 3:30-3:45 goal). Yes, I know many of you more advanced runners can do a half marathon in 1:50-2:30, but I am being realistic. I haven’t been able to run as much as I want to and with this screwed up foot (I sprained it from overuse and apparently did all my long training run/walks on a sprained foot, so yes, I am badass)… I know that anything below a 3:00 is unrealistic, especially with how much I’ll likely be walking.

So, I need some music suggestions. I’m looking for a variety of musical genres (but please, please no country. It’s not my thing). Something with a good beat or theme… basically something that is going to keep me going when someone knocks some sense into me at mile 11 or 12… you know, that this whole doing-a-half-marathon-when-you-weigh-249-pounds-was-a-bad-idea kind of sense…

Here’s my list so far* (and yes, I think I’ll be spending a small fortune at the iTunes store in the next 13 days. Feel free to send me iTunes gift cards):

  • Run Joey Run – Glee Cast
  • Permanent – David Cook
  • Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
  • Single Ladies – Beyonce
  • Declaration – David Cook
  • Gives you hell – Glee cast
  • Telephone – Lade Gaga, Beyonce
  • Haven’t met you yet – Michael Buble
  • Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
  • Burning Up – Glee cast
  • Superassive Black Hole – Muse
  • London Bridge – Fergie
  • You make my dreams come true – hall and oates
  • Bruises – Chairlift
  • You give love a bad name – bon jovi
  • Don’t stop believin – Glee cast
  • Talk dirty to me – Poison
  • Viva la Vida – Coldplay
  • Anyway you want it – journey
  • Take a bow – Muse
  • I got a feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  • F**k You – Lily Allen
  • 4 minutes – Glee cast
  • I kissed a girl – Katy Perry
  • X gonna give it to ya – dmx
  • Glass of Water – Coldplay
  • Don’t rain on my parade – Glee Cast
  • Starlight – Muse
  • My life would suck without you – Kelly Clarkson
  • Don’t stop the music – rihanna
  • Figured you out -Nickelback
  • Highway to hell – AC/DC
  • Smile – Lily Allen
  • Jessie’s Girl – Glee Cast
  • Pour some sugar on – Def lepard
  • Keep yourself alive – queen
  • Poker Face – Lady Gaga
  • Rock n Roll all nite – poison
  • Jump – Glee cast
  • American Idiot – green day
  • Still rock n roll to me – billy joel
  • Hot n Cold – Katy Perry
  • So what – p!nk
  • Come back to me – David Cook
  • We are the champions – queen
  • Dynamite – Taio Cruz
  • California Girls – Katy Perry
  • Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo
  • Pussy Control – Prince
  • Don’t cha – Pussy Cat Dolls
  • OMG – Usher
  • Centerfold – – J. Geils Band
  • Gold digger – Glee cast
  • I like it – Enrique Iglesias
  • Sweet Caroline – Glee Cast
  • What do you want from me – Adam Lambert
  • at least one entire Jock Jams CD

Please note: some of these songs might not make any sense to you, but they have a funny memory for me attached to them and I’m sure if they pop up on my iPod during the race it will put a smile on my face.

*subject to change 😉

Mermaid or Whale?

I know, I know. Those lame e-mail forwards, right?! Well, this one found its way to my inbox and I knew I had to share it with you all. I don’t know who wrote this anecdote (and I searched Google for like 20 minutes), so if you do know, please let me know.

Recently, in a large French city, a poster featuring a young, thin and tanned woman appeared in the window of a gym.

It said: “This summer do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?

A middle aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern:

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans). They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins, stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Barren Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia. Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.

They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don’t exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don’t have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex?  Therefore they don’t have kids either. Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me; I want to be a whale.

PS: We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver and a coffee with my friends. With time we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.  So we aren’t heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, “Good gosh, look how smart I am!”

Perhaps this is where the term “smartass” came from?