To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

You Want Me to Take WHAT?

What a relief!! I left the doctor's office with a SMILE!

Nervous optimism?
Let's recap the last visit that I vented about, so then we can see what a positive difference today's visit was. Basically a kid decided that no matter what I said, my issue is obviously just Meniere's Disease. It felt like he did a google search to read what it is, then questioned me about my diagnosis - with a tone like I was making it up and didn't know what it really is. Then he would recite the generic list of symptoms. Get this, he asked me to tell him what vertigo is - then confirmed what it is and explained it to me in the most patronizing tone. As I said to my husband today .... and I cracked myself up with this one... "I've had Meniere's Disease longer than this kid has had pubic hair." He doesn't get to talk down to me ever again! His basic instructions after NOT listening to a word I said were to reduce my salt (which I can hardly even reduce) and avoid caffeine (which I so rarely drink that it hardly even counts as having). A pointless visit that only pissed me off and made me vow to never have an appointment with him again.

For today's visit I was nervous, but going in with a completely open mind. I was seeing my new primary care provider that I've never met. Maybe I would love her? Maybe she'd be completely different and actually listen? Maybe she wouldn't listen and I would leave that medical facility all together and search out a new family doctor?

I was seen right away, and had to do a standard little questionnaire, which resulted in a follow-up questionnaire because I had to be honest ... I have NOT been happy or motivated to do things in the last few weeks. My life hasn't been a life. I have been suffering in pain and can only lay down and barely sleep. I assured them I am NOT suicidal, that its just misery from the pain which is the reason for the appointment.

Then my new PCP came in and I immediately felt a sense of ease. We started from the very beginning. She never once got hung up on Meniere's Disease. As I hoped, it was like it doesn't even exist! She listened to everything I said. She asked me new questions. My husband was with us and able to help out with some things, and even offered up that I am a vegetarian - which could possibly come into play!

To keep it all short, this is the latest:  tons of blood work done to check for vitamin levels and other things the ER blood work didn't look at. Perhaps there is a vitamin deficiency and we can find an easy fix! Or maybe we can at least rule some things out. Another possibility is that I have cerebral fluid leakage - which would NOT show up on an MRI and could explain why my MRI looked normal. I happily left with a referral to the neurologist I requested based on a friend's positive review. So now we wait for the blood work to come back and contact from the neurologist. I have a new prescription to help with the pain so I can get through my workday without intense pain or turning into a drooling zombie -- because drooling zombie is all I have been in 2019 so far! ALSO .... I love this.... she WANTS me to increase my caffeine! The thought is it could help raise my blood pressure, which could help if my brain is in fact leaking. HA! She actually suggested 5 Hour Energy to see if it brings any relief!

So that's where things are. I am writing this in intense pain, but with a sense of relief and optimism that we are going in the right direction on finding a cause and hopefully a fix!  And I will happily go see her again for sure. Hallelujah!!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Can I Have That Hour Back?

Warning: venting ahead.

When I was still optimistic.
I wish I could erase Ménière’s Disease from my medical records. It’s feeling as if I could have some serious problem, but nobody will even look or consider any possibilities because it is easier to just say it’s Ménière’s Disease issues. 

And sorry, doctors, but you do NOT understand it like you think you do. I’m in a couple Ménière’s support groups and we all feel this way. It’s such a strange thing that varies for each patient. You can’t lump us all together and just assume we are the same and that any little head issue is Ménière’s. I bet Jeff and I are different. Tara and I are different. But we all suffer from the same thing in our unique ways. 

So I go to doctors and they immediately see Ménière’s on my resume and that’s that. I can’t get through to them that what I have been experiencing for a month is NOT Ménière’s disease. It’s not a little headache. I’m not overdoing it on caffeine and salt. Want me to stop drinking coffee? Okay. I’ve never even had a single sip of it in my entire life, so consider that done. 

I can handle vertigo. I deal with it nearly every day. I can’t handle debilitating pain that nearly makes me cry at work, keeps me from being able to carry my own child, makes me cringe to put on shoes, prohibits me from being an independent adult that can drive to the store to get deodorant on my own. 

It’s NOT a headache!

It’s NOT a migraine!

It’s not just symptoms of a disease I have mastered dealing with for the last 15 years. 

It’s like talking to a wall sometimes. 

So after a meeting with a new primary care person I have made zero progress. I am off of one of the prescriptions which I am perfectly fine with. It didn’t seem to be helping anyway, and I don’t like to take medications unless I really need to. 

All this being said, I am still in pain. Urgent Care and the Emergency Room have done all they can. Next week I have an appointment with another new person. Maybe I’ll leave feeling better about things. I hope. 

I don’t want there to be something wrong, but I also want help and to be able to live my normal life again. So if that means a referral to a neurologist, that’s what I want. I just want them to look beyond. I want them to get out of this Ménière’s Disease blockade and actually listen to me. This intense pain every day for a month is NOT natural and clearly isn’t just going away. 

Let’s all cross our fingers for next week’s appointment, shall we?!

Ugh, I'm so mad and already hurting ... I'm putting on those new running shoes and turning on the treadmill. If medical folks won't help with the pain then I guess I just suffer through it. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

I Hide Cookies

In the spirit of a fresh year of new blogs, here’s the latest!

First up - the hospital is OUT OF COOKIES!!! What???? Screw those healthy resolutions people start. I want my hospital cookies. **Thankfully I have part of a snickerdoodle remaining, hidden in my closet away from toddler and husband eyes!

I went back to work today for the first time since Friday before Christmas. It was tough, not gonna lie. I enjoyed being out of the house, but it wasn’t even 30 minutes into my day when I started yawning and struggling to focus. Four hours isn’t long at all until your brain is battling you and your drugs are making you a hot slobbery mess!

Work itself was a minor challenge mentally but I think I got everything taken care of and in order so I can finish off the week with success. I’m being optimistic!

Don’t tell him I said it, but I have a pretty awesome husband who takes great care of me behind the scenes. My mom took me to work, he and Katura picked me up. I was fed, and then taken home so he could go take care of the important stuff. 

Back up — had a great convo with a coworker that has experience with brain stuff and surgeries. She gave me great advice on what to do to be my own advocate and get all of my records. Thank you!!

So that’s what Shawn is doing. He’s gotten me an appointment with a doctor next week. From there it is predicted I’ll be referred to a neurologist in a different city. If you read my IVF posts you know I won’t do serious medical things here. I want the BEST care!!! My prescription is being refilled which means more fun of drooling Ronda at work for a few more days. Woohoo! Party at my desk! You’ll know mine by the half naked Aquaman doll next to me. I’m not kidding. We are also getting all of the records and MRI scans from my ER visit. Our goal is to have it all so we can be proactive in getting my fixed!

I cannot keep living like this. I have new running shoes that need to get dirty. I’m in a new running skirt that hasn’t experienced sweat yet. There is fresh air out there that I want to absorb. My body just feels like a limp noodle. I have no strength or energy. It’s an effort just to sit up or get up to go to the bathroom. Heck I even resorted to a bath versus a shower the other day because I couldn’t stand up. I’m gonna need a new bed at this rate!

Things are hopefully moving in the right direction and I just cross my fingers it will be faster at finding what’s wrong than the year long Ménière’s Disease diagnosis process!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

This Post Brought To You By Valium

So here’s how 2018 came to an end for me...

At the very beginning of December I was feeling pretty so-so. My mind was focused on a half marathon I was so excited to finally get to run after years of hoping to. I was scheduled for a 10 miler as my final training run, but I didn’t feel right. I was dizzy and leaving my house for 10 miles alone didn’t feel safe. We borrowed my mom’s treadmill so I could try to do it in the safety of my home with family nearby. I ran 3 miles. My legs were great, my head wasn’t. 

The next couple of days completely changed my current way of life. Insane head pain that had me wincing and squirming in my desk t work. I couldn’t make it through my little 4 hour work days. “Migraine” was the easy way to describe it, but it didn’t feel like a migraine. At first I thought it was intense Ménière’s Disease symptoms like I’ve never experiment in the 15 years I’ve had this disease. I couldn’t walk without my cane. I still can’t drive. The pain was so bad I had to constantly lean back in a reclined position, which is rather challenging at work!

I couldn’t handle it anymore, and my husband took me to Urgent Care. Lesson learned, never say “headache” or “migraine” to describe unbearable pain because nobody will really listen after that. They sent me home with 3 prescriptions for sinusitis. Uh, what? No. The handout that I was given had this long list of symptoms. The only thing I had? Fatigue. Imagine 3 weeks of unbearable pain, you’d be tired, too! But I followed the orders of the PA and took the prescriptions in a good faith attempt that maybe he was right, but not one bit of me felt this was a sinus thing. 

Never feeling relief, a couple nights before Christmas I was back at Urgent Care this time with one of the doctors. I was the ONLY patient there, so I had a lot of attention. My
Husband helped me explain what was going on since I still have a hard time given the severity of the pain. In the end the doctor wanted me to get a CT scan to see if there really is a sinus thing happening or if maybe it is something else. 

Access denied. 

So great that we have insurance.... and some random person sitting on a computer at an insurance office can deny the request. Yeah, fuck you, bitch. It’s my blog, I can say it. 

And again I was sent home, this time with the advice that if I don’t feel relief in a day or two I should go to the Emergency Room because then insurance can’t screw me over and deny me the help I need. 

I tried. I didn’t want to go. Who wants to wait for hours to be seen and then possibly just be sent home without help?

Christmas Day was so painful. I could barely sit up to watch my baby open her presents. Once everyone else I just had to lay down all day. I couldn’t take it anymore. The next morning my mom came to get my girl and my husband took me to the ER.

Lucky for me the waiting room was completely empty. We didn’t even finish filling out paperwork and they were taking me back to my room. From there it’s a blur. 

I could barely walk at this point. I recall they would ask Shawn questions about me and my behavior. I had to do little tests like try to lush with my hands and legs. I failed the test of standing with my eyes closed. My eyes couldn’t follow anything. It was very quickly decided I was going to have an MRI as quickly as possible. 

A gal in training took 5 vials of blood from me. That was the worst. It hurt so bad and took so long. I had to remove all of my jewelry prior to the MRI and lost my nose ring in the process. Que sera sera, no biggie. I have had it over a quarter of my life, I can be done with it. 

We watched a lot of Friends on tv while waiting for my MRI, and I tried to stay bundled up under as many blankets as they would put on me. 

The MRI was about 35 minutes I think. It didn’t phase me and certainly didn’t feel long. I was probably way too relaxed given the set up and loud volume during an MRI!

I was wheeled back to my room where Shawn was waiting for me after making his way to the cafeteria for lunch. Lucky ducky!

And then the doctor came back. 

Good news was my MRI looked normal. “No brain tumors, and no signs of Multiple Sclerosis.” What??? They were worried it was one of those things? I was crying in my room before any tests had even been done, I’m so glad I didn’t know these were their concerns!

The thought, and I think what he’s hoping, is that there is inflammation in my brain and that is causing pressure on my inner ear, exacerbating my normal Ménière’s Disease symptoms. They loaded me up with drugs before sending me on my way, and said I am absolutely not allowed to work. 

Why no work? Here’s my life since the day after Christmas:

Wake up.
Eat breakfast. Take 5 pills. 
Put pajamas back on and brush my teeth.
Pass the f out for a few hours.
Wake up, with no idea what day or time it is.
Usually want lunch and find out it is dinner time. 
Take more meds.
Sit around like a drooling sloth, dozing off in my chair. 
Back to bed. 
Lather, rinse, repeat.

So as it stands, I am still loaded up on drugs but the doctor note says I can return to work tomorrow. I’m petrified. The pain has lessened a tad but it is still here and I can easily identify exactly where it is now. I still can’t drive. I work 4 hours. I haven’t been up and moving for 4 hours in an alert manner in I don’t know how long. 

I’m waiting to get assigned a new primary care physician. Turns out I slipped through their cracks when my prior physician left and they never gave me a new one. I guess I will see this new person then possible be sent to a specialist?? I don’t know. 

I just know this is not over. I would love to be able to do something like a normal person again. I would love to walk on that treadmill. I would LOVE to run!! I kid you not, when this started and I knew something was wrong in my brain, my biggest concern, aside from dying (I was ready to write my will), was will I be healthy enough to run with the Ragnar team I am captaining and Hood to Coast! 

No matter what I WILL be in those races! I just hope I can do them without a brain aneurysm or something!

So here’s to 2019, may it only get better from here!

Make sure you leave the hospital with cookies from the cafeteria. They are the best!!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Holiday Half Via a 10K

"This is a total sh!t show." is how I described this race before we ever hit the start line. It DID improve, but let's back up!

I had been wanting to do the Holiday Half Marathon in Portland for years. I saw photos of people dressed up in fun festive attire, promises of cookies and carolers on the course, cute medals. This had my name all over it! When Dustin suggested it to Lady Storm Squad I knew this would be my year! Plus Jenn was doing it, and as it turns out even more friends, so clearly 2018 was meant to be ... or was it?

As I talked about in the prior post, I've been having a very difficult, frustrating and painful battle with Meniere's Disease this last week. Up until an hour before the race I didn't even know if I would be running it at all, and if I did, what distance would I do? I was registered for the half. I was physically prepared for 13.1 miles. Clearly I could NOT do that given my vestibular system hating me. 13.1 miles just wouldn't be fun or safe.

So I got to packet pick up to grab my bib and shirt. I talked to the lady in charge of changing distances and explained my situation. It is a $10 charge to change distance, even if you're dropping miles. Uh.. seriously? We half marathon registrants paid more than anybody else! "If I switch to 10K now and then tomorrow I feel like I can only do the 5K, so I have to pay again?" YES! She told me I could find her before the race at her table and make my official distance change then, and save myself some money if I was able to run. Fabulous! What a sense of relief I had!

It was still dark and just under two hours to race time when we left St Helens for Portland and the start line. This SHOULD have been plenty of time. Technically it was, but ...  We got off the freeway and were immediately bumper to bumper not moving. Cars were passing and then cutting in at the last minute, just causing more stress for all involved. I saw the time ticking away and felt panic set in knowing I was still set to run 13.1 miles according to the timing system. With maybe 20 minutes to spare we were finally parking. My baby fell asleep, so I was completely solo for this big jumble of chaos. I grabbed everything I needed for running in case I couldn't get back to the car. Shawn gave me $10 to change my distance so I wouldn't have to grab my card. And off I went, rushing to the building where I encountered a solid mob of people standing around staying warm. I had to worm my way through and found where packet pick up was, and the girl I talked to yesterday. I let her know I did need to drop my distance and she said I could ONLY do it if I had written permission, like an email from the race director. WHAT THE WHAT??!! This was never mentioned before! I have to have permission to NOT run a half marathon now? "What happens if I just turn at the 10K turnaround and head back? I am not racing anyone. I don't want my time to look like I ran a half marathon that fast. It's not fair to everyone else." In the end we decided I wouldn't have an official clock time (fine by me, I have a Garmin) and I could just take the timing chip off of the back of my bib. Phew!!

Now I had 13 minutes until the race started and I had on a fleece jacket. Do I have time to squish through this crowd, get to the card, ditch it, and get back to find Dustin so we could run together? Meanwhile Jenn was still stuck in traffic not yet able to park! It was insanity!!

I DID make it back to the car, grabbed a quick sip of water, ditched the coat and rushed back into the thick of things where I was pretty easily able to find Dustin. Hallelujah!!

As it turns out, neither of our moms wanted us to race, so it worked out perfectly that we started this together. She did do the full 13.1 miles, but I had the lovely pleasure of running my first 3.1 with her. It was really the highlight of this whole experience. Thank you, Dustin!!

Was the race all they hyped it up to be? Eh, if you enjoy industrial views, then you got those. The road was in great condition, so as far as running surface this was top notch! The carolers? I saw half of the course and only at Adidas were there 4 people singing. Some high school kids had cookies in a spot, which was my main motivation for this race! An unexpected treat, which at first freaked me out, was the snow at the start line! It was VERY cold and very windy when we were waiting to start. When I saw a white fleck in the sky I really did think we were getting real snow and it didn't surprise me. But to find out it was fake and we got to start with "snow" and Christmas music, well that was pretty cool! Inside the Daimler building were some vendors and photo ops, with Elf being shown on the walls. That was nice, mostly because it was warm. What I'm saying is I think they over-advertised and slightly under-delivered. The bibs, shirts and medals are totally cute! I liked that Freddi the Yeti was there as the mascot. It was all very nice, I just think they needed a little more traffic control to get everyone in and able to start on time. And a little more life on the course wouldn't have hurt.

I was meant to find this car while running in my Griswold shirt!
So the running part .... Dustin and I did great! We just steadily moved along and got into a good zone of talking while running. Emily came upon us near the cookies, so that keeps our tradition going of finding each other without even trying!

At my half way point I bid Dustin adieu and started working my way back to the finish line. It wasn't long after that I saw Jenn.  Poor thing started 15 minutes late because of traffic! I also got to see Emily again, as well as Donna and Julie. Seeing all my running friends was the highlight of this race for me.

Also at the half way point I started getting my new daily migraine. I focused on my *NSync Christmas album play list and tried to pretend I wasn't hurting. My legs felt great, so that helped me get home faster! When I was at 4.5 miles the half marathon winning male came smoking by me.... in his booty shorts and tank top. IT WAS SO COLD!! Oh my gosh, that reminds me! Dustin and I saw a barefoot runner by us at the start, and then later I saw someone running in sandals.  TOO COLD! I had on gloves, two hats, pants, knee socks, shoes, THREE skirts and TWO shirts!

Did I need this ambulance? NO!! 
The last mile was essentially downhill, so I loved it and went as fast as my Meniere's would allow. Vertigo didn't kick in until a couple minutes after I had finished. Phew! I got so lucky!!

At the end they tried to give me a half marathon medal because of my bib. I didn't take it. I wanted the 10K, its what I ran. Besides, that would have made me the first place half marathon woman! At a water stop race people came through on bicycles saying the half marathon lead was coming and to clear a path. Given I had a half marathon bib on I took that opportunity to joke that I was in fact the lead runner!

Once I was done I grabbed water, went inside to check things out, got some photos and then went to the car to see my snoring baby still all comfy and warm while I was out testing myself. Lucky girl! But then things hit harder and I had to lay back in my seat and just head home without getting to see my friends finish their races. Turns out the rain hit after I was done - and everyone got soaked. Dang.

Will I do this one again? I really don't know. I guess I will decide that next year when it gets closer. I enjoyed it, but there were hiccups and chaos that just felt like I didn't need to repeat it right away. We'll see!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Dilemma: Running With The Invisible Illness

This is the current status of my life:

Ever since I started running I have wanted to do the Holiday Half Marathon in Portland. It just never worked into my schedule. This year a fellow member of Lady Storm Squad suggested the race. I couldn't pass it up! That race is on Sunday. It is Friday evening now.

Back up to last Sunday. 10 miles on my training plan. I woke up with enough vertigo that I didn't feel safe running 10 miles away from home. We went to my mom's house to load up her treadmill so I could borrow it and try to get in my miles. I ran 3.

Monday I felt pretty alright, but time got away from me and I never ran.

Then Tuesday happened.

Life since Tuesday is all a blur. I feel like I've lost days.

Extreme vertigo. Daily migraines. Terrible nausea. Rushing to the bathroom at work so I don't throw up at my desk (I got lucky, never did lose my breakfast!). Sunglasses at work because I don't even want my eyes open. Brain fog. Intense, full ears that make me want to cry. Difficulty speaking. Unable to walk without my cane. The slowest walking EVER just because it is all I can manage. (It took me ten minutes to get from my desk to my car. This is probably 8 minutes or more slower than normal.) The floor moving all around like the psychedelic Circus Circus scenes in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

If I am lying down it doesn't hurt AS bad, but it is all still there. I can sit up for maybe 20 minutes if I'm lucky, and then I have to lay down again. I haven't been able to even fix my own food or food for my baby. Heck, even eating is hard. Forget about driving. I had to get picked up from work twice this week. Two days I couldn't even last my whopping 4 hours at work before having to go home.

But yeah, remember what is happening? The race.

To everyone that sees me I don't look sick. I don't have a cold. I don't have the flu. There isn't anything about me that would tell you I have an annoying invisible illness. I just get to suffer with Meniere's Disease, and apparently this week is going to be the absolute worst I have had in the 15 years I've been dealing with it.

And now I have to figure out what to do. The runner in me wants to run so darn bad. 

The current plan -- go to Portland tomorrow. Get my bib and shirt. And then I will decide do I run 13.1? Do I downgrade to 10k? Do I downgrade all the way to 5k? Do I skip it all together and instead show up to cheer on my friends and give them their bibs so they can have fun running and then just plan on next year instead?


This sucks.

Whining done. For now.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Run to Stay Warm - 10K

In 2010 I did the 5K, 2012 was the half, so in 2018 I went for the 10K! Just like the Monster Mash 5K last month, this was on my calendar solely because the half marathon training plan I'm totally not following anymore said to do a 10K on this date. When I registered I had planned on having Katura do the kid races before my race ... I hadn't planned on the freezing cold weather. Take that weather and add it to the fact that for the last few days we had been in warm sunny California ... yeah, no way was I making my adorable little girl get up to come freeze and do a kid race with me! In the end this was a solo trip for me!

It wasn't until right before I went to bed the night before the race that I had mostly decided what I would wear. Before my Disneyland vacation Oregon had been warm. It was 31 degrees when I started the race, so yeah, I just didn't know how to prepare for this one! Fortunately it was a dry forecast, just very cold. I never even thought of bringing gloves with me, so that's how out of cold weather practice I am! Around 6:15am I left my house, leaving everyone else home and warm in their beds. In no time at all I was in Eugene with a great parking spot at EWEB, heading to get my bib and shirt. 

OH MY GOSH. IT WAS SO COLD!!! Even with a sweatshirt on over my clothes I was shivering. Would I even survive this race?? I got my things and went straight back to my car. Aside from a potty visit before the lines appeared, I stayed in my car up until about 7 minutes before the race started. This was good and bad. 

Good: I stayed warm and got to listen to some fun podcasts and not think about race nerve.
Bad: I didn't prepare my body to run AT ALL.

The race start was very narrow, so I tried to slide my way into an opening out of the shade. I half ass tried to stretch out my legs as much as I could in the confined area, and a minute early we were off and racing! It was pointless to try to run at the beginning. It was so congested that I could walk fast and keep up with the pack. After a couple tenths of a mile it was finally open enough to run, although still very congested for probably the first half mile.

Once I was able to run the pain started. My legs were frozen! I was so darn cold and my muscles just froze. I was running with a limp, each step hurting more than the last. I think around the mile and a half mark I finally had to pull over at a pole and use it to help really stretch my calves. That hurts like a son of a gun, but afterward it feels so much better. I had to do this twice during the first two miles - from there I was golden!

The race got extra nice when the 5K runners took their big turn to head toward the finish. The course became very quiet and empty, with just us 10K runners and a few fast half marathon runners coming through. Around our half way point, eh, maybe father along, the 10K course crossed the river so we could start our trek to the finish line. This part of the course was so pretty! I really got in the zone. Just as I would feel good about myself, slowly picking off people one at a time, I'd get passed and set back in reality. But who was passing me?? The half marathon course winner, followed by the next 3 fastest guys. Dang, they are so impressive! I mean they seem like they are just floating along barely touching the ground!

I had a couple final people I was sure to pass before I crossed the finish, so I just stared straight ahead, focused on my breathing, and let my legs do their thing. Fortunately I can usually pull out a strong finish in races since I almost always practicing pushing hard at the end of my training runs. It works for me anyway. The finish line was in my sights and I just went for it. I felt awesome! And I was very happy and surprised when I saw my finish. I mean I ran with a limp for two miles and had to stop twice to fix my legs, and I was still shocked at my time?!? Not bad!

After the race I didn't really linger at all. I grabbed a bite of a grilled cheese sandwich, took a bagel and cream cheese for the road and went straight to my car. I never did warm up on that entire hour+ drive home. But that shower once I did make it home? Ahhhh-mazing!

So that's that. Nothing fancy to report. Next up, half marathon number 32!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Monster Mash 5K - An Unexpected Victory!

It was nearly a decade ago the last time I participated in the Monster Mash 5K. My mom got an epic finish line photo that I will probably never be able to top, so I'm not even gonna try! I think I got a PR that day. Well this time, doing my first 5K without a stroller since becoming a mom, had a strange victory of its own!

I don't typically do 5K races, but the half marathon training plan I'm sort of following said to do a 5K race on this day, and this was the one I chose. It was super fun last time, so I knew this would be a good choice. I was right!

My mom, daughter and I made a day of it, and on the way I recall saying to my mom "I'm not racing this, so don't expect to see me finishing really fast. It is just a good way to force me to do a training run and I can't say no to racing in a costume!" We got to Alton Baker Park while the kids were lining up for their race. I rushed over to grab my shirt and bib and hurried back to the car so I could finish up my costume and braid my hair. We had enough spare time to see the kids finishing their race while I did very minor stretching. Crazy enough during all of this I was given a gift card just for having a fun costume! Yay!

All of us racers and spectators walked over to our start area together, which was fun because it gave us time to check out the costumes on the people and dogs! That's right - this race caters to dogs and it is so adorable! I did my quick stretches while holding an adorable toddler I created, and that helped me not have any pre-race nerves. Nice, I must remember this!

We were all lined up and in a matter of a couple minutes the race began and I was off for an absolutely beautiful, run training race. I had to force myself to slow down when I looked and realized I was going faster than what my race pace would have been. No way would I maintain that! I'd crash and burn. So I slowed up a bit and kept on my way. Some people passed, but by probably a half of a mile in I was pretty much in my spot and there was minimal passing and being passed. I did pass a dog once ... thanks to it taking a potty break!

I had a fun moment near the end of the race. A guy was running just for fun and before we diverted in different directions he asked me what race we were doing. I answered and asked if that was a Hood to Coast shirt he had on. Sure was! So we had a mini chat about how awesome HTC is before he wished me well and we parted ways. That was pretty cool!

The course couldn't have been any flatter. The only minor inclines were just to get you up and over the river. Nothing at all to complain about. All of the green grass was glistening with left over rain (of which we had none!) and the path was completely covered with orange, yellow and red leaves. It was perfection! I was very thankful for all of the volunteers. The end had so many little twists and turns, I certainly would have either missed some or veered completely off path and in the wrong direction. But before I knew it those turns were done and in the near distance I spotted a familiar stroller, mother and daughter.  I was near the end! My cheer squad was waiting for me!

As per usual I finished with a strong kick... and never even bothered to look at the clock. I just hit stop on my Garmin and called it good. I never care about finish times and don't discuss them, so why look? I was just happy to get a quick finish line photo and head to the covered area for some water. How fun was it that they not only had water, but full sized donuts!!?? I passed on those, crazy enough, but I did have a couple donut holes. THAT I can't resist! Katura enjoyed those as well, and a Halloween pumpkin cookie. Before we started to leave I made her a little bag of prizes from all of the pumpkins they had out. I felt that was a pretty good reward for a race I was really happy with.

We were walking near the finish line again and I heard them say you could pick up a slip with your results from the van at the finish. Okay, cool! So I grabbed mine. And then I stared at it, feeling very confused. My mom thought something was wrong. I practically whispered to her, still in shock, that it said I was third in my division! WHAT??!!! "Well let's go back and get your award!" my mom excitedly said. I have never been so shocked and happy to get a little orange ribbon. This was my final race in this division, so I was the old lady getting a ribbon! From now on I'll be the young one having my ass handed to me by even older women. But this one time I was the one winning something! I didn't even finish anywhere near my PR, heck I wasn't even trying! I was just running. Funny - I got 1st in my age group once. That time I WAS trying and told the race organizers of my goal... and that still wasn't my PR either. So really who needs to run their fastest?!? Maybe the key is to not care and just have fun!

Seriously such an enjoyable race! I don't know why it took me so long to come back. I'm already planning next year ... this time running with my brother - a handsome blond lab named Buddy! He and I are brainstorming costume ideas. You can't prepare too soon!