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Training was not good this winter. January I had an awful cold and on day four I went to the doctor. She pretty much rolled her eyes at me, but ordered some tests that I had to go to another facility to have done. I went there, they didn't do them. I had to go to the ER to have them done.  I went home to rest and feel like I was dying.  Fever, wicked chest issue. Had to sleep sitting up in the chair because my throat would get irritated. I could only take shallow breaths. Friday afternoon I listened to my voice mail . I didn't even recall my phone ringing. Who was it? That would be my doctor calling Wednesday evening with an apologetic sound in her voice. I had RSV and she said I 'might' need to go to the hospital if I got worse. Gee, thanks lady.  This is a wicked respiratory virus that babies and elderly folks get. I have no idea how I got exposed. I guess that bottle of Purell in the car for use after shopping just didn't cut it! 

I canceled a week of physical therapy for my plantar fasciitis because of the illness.

February had to be better, right? As it happens, it takes several weeks for your body to feel normal after RSV. Then The Mike got ill. Then I got a cold.  I also 'graduated' from physical therapy and was told to continue with stretches at home.  I bought a square foam cushion like we used in PT and also a round disc that we used. When I walk in/out of one of the rooms in the house I have to use these  for an obstacle course.  I use them regularly as well, but it's added bonus for going in/out of that room.

Before I knew it, March was here!  HOW did that happen?  I had a half! I didn't buy race insurance because I had to be in DC anyway and I had trip insurance if I was going to not make the trip.  Guess there is a reason why I hovered over the race insurance button last fall!  
Cool tank tops with racer names.
 I love this idea but I wish my name was on a purple or pink shirt instead of the grey :-)

How excited can a walker be? 
 WOO HOO!  This was going to be an attempt at running some, and walking most, and I knew that. I knew my time wouldn't be great, but that I was getting it done.  I have gained about ten pounds since last spring when my plantar fasciitis took hold. This was essentially a redemption for me, since November's Tulsa run also was still on bad PF foot.
The Route

The snow
Friday's weather was awful and I was so thankful that was Friday and not Saturday!  Rain, sleet, snow--and sooo cooooold.
It brought a smile to my face to walk out of the expo and see people twirling in the light frozen precipitation--it wasn't heavy enough to show up in photos of it falling. On the metro from the airport, there was a couple from Florida heading straight to the expo (I stopped at my hotel first). I am sure they might have been a couple twirling in the snow.  Unless we have to drive in it or shovel it, most enjoy the first flakes of snow.

The pre race dinner
Outback salmon is my go-to for prerace meals. Protein, some carbs, and not heavy in the digestive track for Saturday. Had an issue today for the first time ever!  My salmon wasn't done in the middle.  Sent it back and my meal was comped. Um, OKAY.

Flat Quirky 
The Quirky Gluten Free runner runs with cancer awareness these days. While my sister is a breast cancer survivor (pink) and I am a melanoma cancer survivor (black), I run for my mom and the other 45,000 people each year who will die from pancreatic cancer. 9% survival rate is not good enough. If you know someone who is diagnosed, or needs help, visit www.pancan.org/patientcentral for information on local to you doctors, treatments, so much more, and a listening ear.  If you know someone impacted by melanoma cancer, visit www.melanoma.org  for more information and assistance. There is so much information that needs to be shared--including visiting a dermatologist and oncologist who KNOW melanoma. 

The Blue Mile. 
The most solemn mile on the steepest/toughest and quietest part of the course. What we do does not compare. 
 The course  had some rough streets-one was a really rough street, overly filled mounds of asphalt right next to a nice hole--and beautiful scenery. It was not the same course I had run a few years ago and that was great. It made it new for me. 
Before the race I was feeling bad because I hadn't trained and I couldn't believe I was going to do a half marathon without training. Ten years ago I would have been laughing had you told me that!  Today I know that a half or full or ultra is about training, but also about preparation, mental attitude, perseverance and determination.  People who haven't done a race don't understand, but those who have know that perseverance and determination will get us all past that wall we inevitably encounter!

Just before the race I decided to post on my personal FB page that I was doing this race. I needed some positive vibes on a chilly morning (chilly, but not as cold as Friday was!). I walked over to the start too early, and so there was standing around in between tall buildings where the wind can seem colder.  I had a good first 5K to the race, running and walking, and enjoying the sites. The next part to the 10K was okay time (slowed slightly from the 5k) and I was still feeling good.  Mile 8 my Plantar Fasciitis poked its head out and said "watch it". I concentrated on walking with rolling my foot as I learned in physical therapy. I did that for a couple miles. My foot was feeling better. The tips I learned helped --though I'm wondering how I'll do a half and full back to back this summer! Then when I was just moving along and thinking of some things I hear my name!   I look around and see a friend who came out to see if she could spot me (and she had to walk her dog!).  That was such a pick me up!  The  next few miles to the finish were a run/walk/run/walk mix to carry me through. My time was slower than I was wanting, but it was a finish with no visit to the med tent! 

Thankfully these were moving stairs
After the race, I headed to Five Guys for lunch--and was told that I'd be the 'last bun' because their truck was late. I laughed and said I wasn't getting the bun and they could give it to someone else.  I was so thankful that the escalators at the metro stops were working! 

The City Tap House
The next night I met up with friend at The City Tap House. There are a couple locations within DC. Friend said the beer was good, the food was great, my burger and salad was great and what I needed after a light lunch of fish at the conference.  Conversation and catching up was wonderful.

My conference was fabulous and I learned a lot. Then it was time to head home. Heading west it was interesting to see how the landscape changed. I saw ice on Lake Michigan as my flight came in for arrival.

Connecting flight home was on time, and the clear fields outside of Chicago gave way to the snow covered fields of home. 

Well played Rock 'n' Roll series!  

Me heading to expo : you've done RNR before. You dont need to buy anything. 

Me at expo: OMG this shirt has runner names on it!  (silent shout) I found mine!   I *must* buy! 

Me in checkout line:  Hey, I have been looking for a large bottle opener for traveling,  to open Coca-Cola Mexican glass bottles. (real cane sugar formula)

Dang. Need to buy this new version of the glass too.

All bought... because of that tank!

Well played indeed. 

As I write this, I am mentally prepping for my surgery later today for carpal tunnel.  Apparently this is what is bothering my wrist since the car crash of Nov 2015.  I have a hard time understanding how carpal tunnel is responsible for so much, but this is what the docs tell me. I fear I'll get this part fixed and it'll still be something else. 

Last night I prepped food for a bit, froze some prep stuff as well as lasagna and chicken breasts. To improved health and one foot in front of the other.!  

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Prescriptions medications. In the USA there isn't a law that says manufacturers need to provide if something is GF or not. Most medication is created with corn starch as a filler, but some do use gluten.

I worked at a pharmacy in college. When people would ask about ingredients, we would hand them the package insert to read and/or call the company.

I get my prescriptions filled at a name brand chain store found in the USA. They won't do anything. I have to ask for the generic company and NDC number, lot number, and the company's phone number.

I miss Target pharmacy. The pharmacists there cared and were fascinated that such a website as below existed! They were happy to provide the information needed so I could call--I would rather call so I can ask the question needed and know what they are really saying (like Mucinex doesn't contain gluten ingredients, but they don't test if their ingredients have gluten in them. . . not that I can use it anyway since they use soy oil)

A pharmacist created this website and keeps it updated. Before having a prescription filled, you can search if it is on the list (brand name, generic, manufacturer

Link within the page for medication list: http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/newlist.htm I am currently on one RX for one of my autoimmune diseases and that will soon change to two RXes for another issue, and I know the one is gluten free. The other I am currently searching on, which led me to create this post while I was thinking of it. The one time I was really worried about gluten in a drug was after my acral lentiginous melanoma toe surgery. I looked up the list, I called the pharmacy, I verified what generic companies they had on hand, it was gluten free. . . . and then I ended up being allergic to that antibiotic. Go figure.
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I kept meaning to blog and I kept getting caught up in other things. . . and then I was feeling sorry for myself with my Plantar Fasciitis, and that is how neglecting to post about marathons, plantar fasciitis, and becoming a Marathon Maniac/Double Agent happened. 
Marathon 1 of 2018: (7th Marathon)
This April I did a new marathon. I won't name it because I felt it was awful, not well marked, and more elevation change that I was expecting!  The road was open to traffic (not a big deal). We ran WITH traffic (big deal) since it meant that we were on the road and drivers were weaving in and out of us, or riding our heels).  Those are my views.  Yes, we all know that new races are hard. Yes, we all know that elevation is sometimes hard to gauge on info maps. Maybe I'm the only one that gets car sick watching some of those "we drove the course" videos. I was having some problems with my feet already. I didn't know that it was early Plantar Fasciitis. I had slipped out of my Birkenstocks as I backed up from the car earlier in April. My heel hit the ground and it felt like I had landed with the heel on the sharpest possible rock I could have found in a parking lot. I didn't realize then, but that is a classic PF sign. UGH!

Thank you litter runners, for guiding my way!

A few more aid stations, a slower pace with a hurt foot/sore heel, and I had to ****walk past my car in the parking lot*** to get to the finish line area around a couple curves. I actually stopped and stared and my car and asked myself if the last .75 miles was worth it, or if I should just throw in the towel.  I obviously chose to finish, but it was a hard choice to make.  This somehow surprised the people at the finish line when I mentioned it.
End of the worst race I’ve ever done. Not quite the worst on time, but the worst on emotions, morale, signage, etc. I got a golf cart ride back to my car, took off the bloody shoes from the heel blisters, stripped off the socks, re-bandaged the blisters, grabbed my Mexican Coca Cola and headed home.  I might come back to volunteer at this race, but I won't be running it again.  Everyone's opinions of a race are their own, but this is why I won't name this race. 

One on each foot, with another marathon in 7 days!
A few days later I was at the running store to buy one of those socks for PF, and to ask for help. The one guy had it last year and gave me several pointers. . . I just wasn’t going to go to the doctor before the next race, for fear of him saying “stop exercising!” No one wants to hear that when they have Marathon Maniacs on the line!  :P 

I also had to research how to cover up blisters to go again, because there was no way these were going to be healed in a week.  Enter Leuko Tape.   
I actually didn't have Leuko tape at home, and was trying to figure out how to order some (a huge roll is EXPENSIVE). I wondered who would have some, and I called on the place I did my wrist Physical Therapy at last year. They had a small roll left, and she gave me the roll for the trip. I didn't want to take the whole roll with me, so I wrapped some around an old gift card in several layers that I could peel off, cut, and use, and then returned the roll to the PT office.  This stuff worked! 

Marathon 2 of 2018 (8th Marathon):  The Flying Pig. Awesome race. I’d do this again. Okay, I would do the half again, not sure about doing another full ;-) 

The worst part of this was getting to the town/hotel room. Indiana: Drive interstate speed for one mile, slow down to fortyfive miles an hour for five miles, repeat across the entire width of the state. UGH. Hotel. High star hotel. I have my luggage, no carts available, so roller bag, food bag, purse, and small cooler. I tell the check in desk that I am checking in, my friend is already in the hotel. He verifies my name, checks my id and gives me room keys. I go up to the room, walk in and wonder when my friend got knew luggage. . .and why she has so many pink feather boas all over the room, and wonder why she has Krispy Kreme, because she flew so she won’t be able to easily take those to her husband. OH! He gave me a key to the wrong room!!!. Pick all my stuff up again, go downstairs, have another person help me—who asked “but was anyone in the room?” “No? Okay” “here’s your key”.
**reason to have your room completely locked down tight when you’re in your hotel room!**
**reason to never leave purses or wallets in a hotel room, even if you’re not in there!** 

Flying Pig expo was smaller than I was expecting, but it was awesome. Swag bag was awesome –this year with a picnic blanket with the logo on it, posters (with a box!) and technical shirts. If/when I come back for this race, I’ll do the ‘three way’, but this year I decided against the 1 mile Fri night, the 5k/10k on Saturday, with the half full on Sunday. When I signed up for the race I still wasn’t running much from the back pain/car collision of a couple years ago. Combined with the unexpected PF issue, I was glad I had not. However, I did go and cheer on my friend at the 5k/10k, and enjoyed the riverfront of Cincinnati. I highly recommend it! Beautiful with swings looking out to the river, a flying pig/play equipment, and a giant piano keyboard with the pipes being reclaimed/repurposed church chime bells!

The flying pig play equipment. It's wings move up and down! 

Race shirt, Swag blanket,  Purchased pig and glass, won the Route 66 neck gaiter thing,
and the Melanoma Know More magnet and suncreen
 Race day was energetic! Back up pair of shoes! Not those bloody ones from the last week, but the same style, same size, and same make. 
Leuko Tape with 2Toms SportShield over it, to prevent the sock from sticking. 

The first part of the race was exciting, and fun. Running across the bridge to Kentucky, and back to the Ohio:   The only reference I saw to the tv show WKRP in Cincinnati. 

It definitely kept one moving along, as well as the many other runners on the course as well! Then we made it up to the conservatory area, with a **Beautiful** look out over the Ohio River, if you went from the road to the sidewalk (obviously I did). 

Overlook, worth the run!
The next half of the race was okay. I was feeling okay, but then energy started to drain, and the Plantar Fasciitis was aching. I can remember the area perfectly where my run attempt was rejected with a “hell no” from my right foot!
I actually got to see a pig on the race course. He was heading home from his walk
Music on the corner. Beautiful music
It was also getting very hot, with no clouds for coverage. I was glad I had a package of sliced pickles with me, and the little bit of juice, but wished I had a couple of them! As I was on the highway, they were taking down the aid stations and I was shocked. I can’t remember how many miles we still had, but I was shocked they’d take down the tents while there were competitors still on the course! Maybe the people I was with were at the cut off point? Then I started worrying about race cutoffs! I walked past the wet towel station. I rejected one of those because I didn’t want to wash off my sunblock! There were a couple sunblock stations on this course, towards the last ten miles or so—this Melanoma Warrior was happy to see that! 
I was walking the course well, and met up with a woman whom I ended up finishing the race with. Either I came upon, or she came upon me, I do not recall. We were on the roadway, and directed to the sidewalk, and then the fire dept in a little golf cart came around with bags of ice for us because it was SO hot. They ran out for the people right behind us, so I took some and put it in my water bottle, and passed on half a bag of ice. A couple people told me not to do that, but I didn’t need a quart of ice! We picked up our pace and kept powerwalking, she told me that her husband finishes ahead of her, always, and that she knows he’s at the finish line for her. We actually saw him, as he came back along part of the way to find her. He directed us to turn at one point, where we would have gone straight because we saw barricades that way.

After finishing, I hobbled to the bus to get my checked bag, and stripped off those shoes and socks! I was DONE with this brand of shoe. They changed their sizing last year and these two pairs of shoes were my shoes after that size change. They were out! I put on my birkenstocks and hobbled back past the finish line to the “finish jacket line”. I chatted with the woman I finished with, and her husband. I was still there when I got a phone call from my friend, who was at the table behind me, having finished shortly after I did.  

My friend's story on the course is that the aid stations were taken down, but they weren’t directed off the course or anything. She took the money she always carries, gave it to a guy on the street, and asked him to go buy some water at the local corner store for other racers to make their day.

Since I finished both marathons in less than 16 days, I am qualified to become a Marathon Maniac, and thereby a Double Agent! 

We went back to the hotel to go to the pool and hot tub. .. ohhh, a hot tub feels great against sore muscles.  Imagine our shock when we arrived and it was a pool only. . .  and you could see the hot tub had recently been removed and another seating area was placed there with new tile/grout/ and placement that just didn't flow. 
With the race in the books, I headed home. Driving with flaring Plantar Fasciitis is hard as the flexing of the foot annoys the PF area. It was time, I took myself to the doctor and asked for help on my plantar fasciitis. 

The doctor gave me Ibuprofen cream, as I have contraindications for ingesting it, and exercises. I went to the running store and tried on SO many shoes, and fell in love with a Saucony style, and I have proceeded to rest my foot since then.
No extreme walking/ no competitive events, no running. Just resting, just doing my exercises, and just doing yoga.  In June I went to DC for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Advocacy Day and I limited the walking I did because of my foot!  I had graduation for a family member to attend, and I were "sensible shoes". 

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