Adventures In Running

Sunday, October 18, 2009

1st Mountain View Trail Half Marathon

I'm still recovering from my latest knee injury, but love to volunteer at races. I think it is important to do so – because you need to give back to those who provide all the great running opportunities for you.

My daughter and son-in-law (Jennifer and Jeremy Merkley) joined me on Antelope Island yesterday morning to run Aid Station 4 at the first ever Mountain View Trail Half Marathon. The morning started off spectacularly. I have probably only seen two antelope in all my times running on Antelope Island, but we saw a herd of almost 100 pronghorn antelope on the Mountain View road yesterday morning. Fantastic! They are so awesome looking.

We sent up the aid station and had lots of time left, so Jeremy and I walked about 2 miles on the trail, visiting and enjoying the sights.

About 70 minutes after the race started, the first two runners blew through the aid station. If you have ever helped at a race you know that there are a variety of runners. The competitive ones will not stop and do everything on the run. They hardly talk and are very focused. Later runners are much more relaxed and the last runners just take their time, visit, stop for multiple drinks and are just out there to finish. A great group of runners came through and we enjoyed cheering them on.

Once the sweeper runner came through, we dismantled the aid station and Jenn and Jeremy took the van to the finish line and I ran the last 2.5 miles to the end.

My sister has been letting me use her van while my kids borrow my jeep and it was a lifesaver at least twice yesterday. We needed a big vehicle to get all the gear to the drop point at the end of the race. Then, as we were pulling out of the parking lot, a group of runners stuck out their thumbs to hitchhike (they needed to get 13.1 miles back to the starting line), and we piled a total of 11 people in a seven person van.

It was a beautiful day for a race. Sunny, not too warm, and a little breeze. I just wish I was able to run that far right now!

Eye don’t like this

Lasik surgery is wonderful. I had it done to both eyes three and a half years ago and love not having to wear glasses all the time.

However, lasik surgery tends to exacerbate dry eyes. I didn't realize until after the surgery that my right eye is a lot drier than my left eye, but quickly found that it needed more lubricating drops than the left eye did. Add hormonal changes on top of that, and the right eye gets even drier.

Last winter I started getting episodes of serious pain in the right eye. I went in to see a specialist and was diagnosed with recurrent corneal erosions (RCE). Basically, my eye gets dry enough that the eyelid starts tearing off parts of the cornea. It feels like someone is stabbing you in the eye. To fix this, I use a lubricating gel every night before bedtime. It seemed like things were cleared up, but I still used the gel most nights to make sure the eye stayed lubricated.

Tuesday afternoon, I suddenly started feeling like a grain of sand was in my eye. I had my co-workers look at the eye and flush it with saline, but they couldn't see anything wrong with it. We finally found if I used a paper towel as pressure on the eye and kept the lid closed, that the pain would go away. I finally went home and rested the eye for a couple of hours, then ran an errand to Leslie Peterson's house, and then the pain started up again. Taped the eye shut for the night to see if it would heal.

Wednesday – still felt like the eye was scratched or something. After an emergency appointment at the Moran Eye Center, Dr. Chang said that the RCE was back with a vengeance. She put me on a variety of drops and placed a contact lens in that eye to keep it from hurting so horribly and scheduled an appointment with the head eye doctor for Friday.

I met with Dr. Mifflin on Friday and he said that basically the only way to cure this problem is to have PTK eye surgery (another type of laser surgery). Basically – they will scrape the top layer of cornea off and put on a contact lens to let it heal.

Surgery is scheduled for November 5th. I don't like having this contact in my eye, but am trying not to be too whiny and trying to remember how painful it would be otherwise. No way will I take it out – the doctor said it will tear off more of the cornea if I do. Maybe I should get an eye patch to keep that eye closed part of the time. Would that look nifty?

Kevin’s car is stolen…and found…and stolen again

Last year someone took Kevin's car from in front of his fraternity house and rolled it down the street and stole some items out of it.

Two weeks ago, it was stolen again. No sign of it and we were very frustrated and figured out that it was probably stripped for pieces since it is a Honda Accord. Much to our surprise, the car showed up again 9 days later. This time his golf clubs and radio were stolen and a screwdriver shoved in the ignition, but was okay other than that.

Yesterday came the bad news that it was stolen again.

Not sure what to do. I'm frustrated, annoyed, worried, ticked, etc.

Why anyone wants to take a 15 year old car is beyond me? Can't you just leave the poor kid (and car) alone?

Twilight has an owie

Thursday afternoon I noticed that Twi was licking her back right paw constantly and that she couldn't jump up on the shorter bed in my son's room. Friday morning these two items continued, so I took a look at her foot. It appeared that her paw was pretty red, so my daughter, Jennifer, and I walked her down to the vet's office. She was running a fever and they decided they had to cut into the paw to find out was wrong. $250 later, they showed me a ¼ inch sticker that was imbedded in her paw and she is sporting a fancy green bandage on her paw. (Ok – it looks like a green chicken drumstick).

We are supposed to keep her quiet for several days (yeah – that is never going to happen) and keep her on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. We ended up wrapping packing tape over the bandage so that she wouldn't pull it off. It's pretty funny hearing her thump around the house J.

She appears to be in less pain now and is running and jumping all over the place. Last night her nose was warm and dry again, so I made her take a nap and calm down again.

I didn’t kneed this – Part 2

Follow-up on my knee injury:

The meniscus injury seems to be healing and is almost gone. The doctor says it is still a little sensitive, but I don't notice anything.

However, 3 weeks ago I reinjured the right knee when my dog was avoiding another dog attacking her and I tried to not trip on her. This set the knee back a bit, but also pinpointed the tendon injury more.

I was trying to run 4 miles a day each day in October, but took a few days off last week to wait until seeing my doctor on Friday to make sure I wasn't injuring anything permanently.

He says that the tendonitis is healing, but I need to do more massage, stretching and rehabilitation of the muscles to make sure it doesn't get injured down the road. He gave me some more exercises to work on and I intend to start back running 4 miles a day first thing tomorrow morning.

The knee hurts the worst when one of the following things occur:

  • Taking off shoes – twisting the ankle to the inside puts pressure on the tendon insertion and if very painful
  • Carrying heavy weights up stairs – hamstring is not too happy
  • Hamstring contractions – I cannot do any kind of exercising where I am contracting the hamstrings. It just screams at me.
  • Straightening the knee when it has been bent for a long time. The hamstring needs to warm up and it feels like a tight guitar string that wants to snap.

10/9-10/12 NSWA Swedish Weaving Convention

My friend and former neighbor, Jeanne Tams, was holding the first ever National Swedish Weaving Association Convention in Layton, Utah on October 9th-12th. A year ago she asked if I would be willing to lead a class, so I took a couple of vacation days to help her out with the convention. I started doing Swedish Weaving back in 1998 or 1999 when Jeanne created her first book (check out her awesome designs at

Two months earlier I was assigned a simple table runner to finish for a giveaway and also a shawl to complete for the class I was leading. It was fun to get back into stitching and do some handiwork. I was able to get both projects done right before I headed off for my business trip to Michigan.

Friday afternoon I picked up two stitcher's – Linda and Maggie – at the airport and took them up to the convention center in Layton. What followed after that was 3.5 days of fun, work and stitching. I tried to be as helpful as I could with anything that Jeanne needed assistance with and also with any stitcher's that needed help. I have bags full of awesome projects to work on in the next year.

Jeanne did an awesome job organizing the convention. Very professional and she went out of her way to make it a terrific time for everyone.

10/5-10/9 – Michigan Trip

My company sent me back to Livonia, Michigan for most of a week for intensive MySQL database immersion for our next version of our application – called Performance Pro 3. I went back twice last year with my boss, Michele Lindsay, but this time was going solo. Lots of good meetings and lots of knowledge transfer.

While I was there, the fall leaves were in full color, so I got a couple of good runs in (not counting the treadmill runs). On my previous trips, I had found that the roads near our hotel don't have shoulders or sidewalks, but did some exploring and found that the freeways have paved bike/running trails next to them. They are actually only about 20 feet away, but have a row of trees and bushes separating the trail from the road. The trail runs right behind our hotel and I enjoyed running along the trail two afternoons in bright, sunny weather and enjoying the beautiful leave colors.

Twilight’s Vacation (hee hee)

Twilight took a 9 day vacation up to hang with her mother at my sister's house. I needed to travel for work and help at a Swedish Weaving Convention and Marcia and Gary were willing to watch her for me (I can't thank them enough).

She was a little stressed the first day to be surrounded by her mom (Sadie) and new puppy cousins (Bella, Sirius, Sabrina), but adapted after a couple of days. Little did she (or Marcia) know that she was in for even more fun the next weekend when they were joined by 5 more yorkie puppies that Marcia watched. Talk about going to the dogs!

When I got her back home, she ran up and jumped on our bed and sprawled on her back and just seemed to sigh with happiness that she was home where she belonged.

9/12-9/13 San Diego speed trip (Vacation 2)

I'm calling this a vacation – but it really wasn't.

Marcia called me on Friday afternoon to ask if I was willing to drive to San Diego and back on Saturday and Sunday to pick up some Parti Yorkshire puppies. She and Gary want to raise puppies, and we needed to get them from the breeder.

Needless to say – we mainly spent the 2 days in her van. However, we had CDs from Wicked to listen to and those kept us going. Lots of visiting time and we were surrounded in San Diego by 50 Yorkies (gulp!)!

We stopped twice in Las Vegas to eat at Tony Roma's. I sure miss having those restaurants here in Utah.

9/3-9/8 Ryan’s Wedding and Washington (Vacation 1)

My sister, Marcia, and I flew up to Portland, Oregon on September 3rd. Our nephew, Ryan Miles, was getting married in Olympia, Washington on September 5th and we used the wedding as a reason for a vacation together.

After arriving in Portland, we rented a car and headed downtown to hit Powells. This is an awesome bookstore and we spent several hours searching through the store and buying books. Marcia looked primarily at lighthouse books and mysteries and I looked at running books, mysteries, and Italian books. We each filled a big bag with books and loaded up the car. By the way – if you have never parked in Powell's garage, it is an adventure. I think you have to master the 20 point turn to get out of a spot successfully.

The next stage of the journey was to head west to the ocean. We saw the Tillamook lighthouse and then headed north. Lunch in Astoria and a lighthouse ship there, followed by a couple more lighthouses in Washington. We made it to Deadman's Cove at the perfect time of day for me to get some shots of this interesting cove. I will post some of these shots later this week.

We were going to make it clear to Olympia that night, but got tired and stopped for the night. I almost got a ticket, but looked pathetic enough that the policeman let us off easy. However, I think he sent noisy people to stay in the hotel room next to ours – they talked LOUDLY all night.

Friday we checked out another lighthouse and were able to climb to the top of this one. Then off to Olympia. Our older brother, Kerry, had arranged for us to stay in a mansion on the property where he was renting a guest cottage and we were really spoiled to have the house all to ourselves. That night we got to see a lot of family and watch Ryan and Britni's dress rehearsal and enjoy a great rehearsal dinner (Marcia would probably disagree with the enjoying the dinner part – but that is her story to tell).

Saturday we spent time with family and were able to participate in Ryan and Britni Miles wedding. They are such a cute couple and obviously deeply in love.

The next day Marcia and I went up to Seattle and checked into a hotel in the area and toured Pike's Peak Market and the Seattle Mystery Bookstore (can you tell we both love books). That night we were able to see Wicked. Can I just say this musical is AWESOME! I want to see it again and again.

Monday morning we went back and did the Seattle Underground Tour. Then we headed back down to Olympia and my brother Regan, his wife Debra and their littlest girl, Lizzy took us out on their boat on Puget Sound. We found another lighthouse and then had an interesting experience when their dog jumped off the front of the boat. Smokey was trying to save us from injury, because after we fished her out of the sound, we grounded the boat on a sandbar. If we had been going full speed, the boat and occupants might have been seriously injured. Debra got a good dunking and I got my lower half wet, but we were all laughing about the adventure.

Tuesday we headed back down to Portland and on our way home. It was so nice to spend time with all of our family and get to know them better.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I’m so excited. And I just can’t hide it….

While hitting the snooze button and huddling in thermal underwear in bed this morning (stupid weather went from 80 one day to snowing the next), my phone rang with some awesome news. Jennifer and Jeremy will be arriving in Utah for a visit two weeks from today! I miss them so much and am so happy to get some time to spend with them. It was a great opportunity for them to be able to live in Italy, but Georgia will be so much closer and easier to visit them.

14 days to go. I can hardly wait!