The Day the Music Died (Marathon Training and Such)

It’s less than 3 weeks until the Chicago Marathon.

Last weekend was my biggest and most important training run. It was scheduled for Saturday but I needed to see my Daniel and Sadie (grandkiddies) which I haven’t seen since Labor Day.

They usually spend the Saturday night with us when we are at the apartment in St. Louis. But I could only spend a day with them in St. Louis because I needed to be back in Columbia in order to rest up for my 22 mile run on the MKT trail.

I can never spend enough time with them but we tried to cram as much fun in with them as possible.

I will be glad when this is all over so I can spend quality time with them again. They need me and I need them more.

But, the time is very near and I can get back to enjoying my life and enjoying running again.

Training for a marathon is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, honestly. I could not even enjoy my Saturday night knowing that I would spend a big part of the daylight on Sunday running plus there’s football on Sunday.

I am now happily in the taper part of marathon training so my miles are going down significantly especially the long run on the weekend.

Now about my 22 mile run…..

It was about 70 degrees when I started but the temps would rise to about 85 or so which is too warm for me. It wasn’t as humid so that was good. I always do my over 10 mile runs on the MKT trail which is a beautiful trail that leads into the KATY trail. It stretches across the state of Missouri.

Kevin always rides his bike with me on these runs because it makes my run more comfortable with him carrying my water, food and other things that I may need. It also makes me feel safer if I get hurt or sick for him to be there. He usually doesn’t stay that close to me and gets to enjoy his ride. He keeps my hand held water bottle full and circles back to see if I need fuel.

But on this morning, I wanted him to spend some time with the Peyton and Eli (my dogs) and give them a nice long walk after their breakfast. Dogs get neglected because of marathon training also.

He dropped me off at the trail head and went back home to walk the dogs. He loaded up his bike and came back to the trail to catch up with me. By then, I had already gone almost 11 miles and was about to turn around to head back. I was getting a little worried that it took him so long but I had plenty of water and fuel. There are 3 water and potty stops on the way. I didn’t stop to potty but did stop to fill my bottle.

I had a respectable speed going (for me) until my toes starting hurting at about 18 miles or so. It seemed my toes were hitting the toe of my shoe causing pretty significant pain. And I had just bought these shoes a half size bigger than the others. I think my socks were too padded at the toe. I don’t want to buy more shoes. I still have some experimenting to do with socks/shoes maybe.

I hate headphone cords. They bother me and cause me to get agitated on long runs. So I decided to try out my Denon Exercise Freak wireless headphones. They fit perfect and work well for the most part. But it ran down my iPhone quickly so I ran out of music at mile 12 or 13. That’s not good. I need music when I run alone.

But I did bring my iPod Nano and headphones stuck in my sports bra! And I got it going and it screwed up. It kept skipping music and playing over and over even though I had it set on shuffle. At about mile 18 or so, I just held it in my hand to keep it from skipping.

So for 12 miles or so, it was easy peasy. It turned to crap after that!

At mile 20, I filled my water bottle, paused my Garmin and was going to decide if I might call it over at 20 and walk the other 2 miles. I saw it as a win/win or a lose/lose anyway because my run was supposed to be 20 miles anyway. But I quickly decided that I would run the last 2 miles. Honestly, with my toes hurting, it felt just as good to run as to walk.

I finished 22 miles!

I walked around a while afterwards while Kevin loaded his bike up. I always have a fear of getting in the car and having those very painful thigh cramps that I get sometimes.

But I did not cramp up the entire day or night.

When I got home, I took a long shower and Kevin made me a couple of bloody marys while I finished watching the Kansas City Chiefs get beat by the Texans!

Even the dogs pampered me.

Later, Kevin rolled my legs and made a delicious dinner. I slept well and work up with no real soreness the next morning and went to work.

I was supposed to run 5 miles last night after work but I came home so tired that I was asleep before 8pm. I forgot to set the alarm and woke up at 6:30am and was supposed to wake up at 4:30am. I also had a terrible headache so I just stayed home.

I started feeling better and got in my 8 mile run on the trail even though it was very warm. I came home and walked the dogs and mowed the yard.

Back to work again early in the morning. I have 5 miles on deck for tomorrow night.

Kevin and I are going to Iowa on Friday to meet and spend some time with my friend Tammy at VeganRunnerNerd. We are going to hang out Friday night and get up on Saturday morning and have a 13 mile run together. I’m excited to finally meet her. We are running the Chicago Marathon together.

Kevin and I will leave for Clear Lake, Iowa that afternoon because my hunny wants to visit the place where Buddy Holly’s plane crashed. He is a huge fan of Buddy Holly. We will head back to Columbia on Sunday afternoon.

~That’s All Folks~


Why a Less than Ordinary Runner Runs a Marathon

I’ve had many people lately, including runners, tell me how the marathon is not a healthy thing to do to my body. I agree.

I just finished up week 12 training yesterday and completed my 20 mile run. It was grueling. I could barely rest last night because my body ached so much. I am better this morning but it was hard to walk normally when I took the dogs on their morning walk.

I know to people who see me daily, they think I’m hurting myself. I am. They think I look injured. I am.

I even wonder why I do it to myself. I do believe this is my last marathon. I will stick to 5k, St. Pats 5 Mile and maybe an occasional half marathon. That is my comfort zone.

The good thing about the human body is that the injuries and pain now are not permanent. My body will recover.

And it’s because a marathon is out of my comfort zone that I do it.

I do not have a runner’s body. I am much older than the average runner. I run much slower than the average runner. I hate coming home from a long day at work and running until dark. I hate giving up my entire Saturdays to long runs and ache with pain afterwards. I hate spending more time to muscle and foot care than to fun things.

I read something once and maybe it sounds cliché but it’s exactly why I had to do the first marathon at 54 years old.

“A marathon takes an ordinary runner and turns them into something extraordinary.”

That’s why I did it once and attempting to do it again.

Maybe it’s vanity. Maybe it’s insecurity. Maybe it’s because I squandered most of my life as a fat, inactive person.

Yesterday, it was a beautiful, cool and sunny day on the MKT trail where I ran my long run. That trail is nature at its more beautiful here in our area of Missouri. My husband, Kevin, rode his bicycle and carried my water, fuel, glide and other things such as toilet wipes! (just in case HA!). He’s the reason I am able to do this, by the way. I fussed at him a little bit because he never puts the top on correctly on my hand-heal Nathan water bottle. Then it leaks on my hand causing weird friction. But other than that, I had a drama free run. He had a great time on his bicycle. He gave me encouragement. He always has. He told me numerous times he was proud of me. He pepped me up when it was getting hard at mile 15 or so.

The trail was beautiful and he rode at a leisure speed. He loves his bicycle and cycling. For about 13 or more miles, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the morning and the trail.

I wore my outfit that I plan on running the Chicago Marathon in. I have never worn a skirt before so that was a newbie for me. My outfit felt comfortable. The morning was cool (less than 65 degrees). The temps never got over 72 before my run was over. All things were perfect. Well as perfect as it could be for someone about to tackle 20 miles.

My training run was set for 18 miles. The good thing about an “out and back” run is if you go out 10 miles, you have to come back 10 miles. I thought if worse came to worse after 18 miles, I could just call my run complete and walk for 2 miles to get the soreness out. But I was determined this would be a 20 mile run. So it was.

After the run, while Kevin was putting his bike on the rack, I walked around about 15 minutes or so as to not cramp up by immediately sitting in the car. That was a good decision because nothing is worse than thigh cramps after a run. So I walked around the area drinking my water and tears in my eyes because I completed the 20 miler. It’s by far my longest run in almost 2 years and only a few months of colon surgery.

When I got home, I walked around a bit more and sit outside my beautiful back yard enjoying a beer. I was able to enjoy that beer like it was going to be my last one! I felt happy and relieved that I was able to do it. I really had in my head that I would not be able to.

I had a warm shower and got in my favorite pajamas. Kevin rolled and massaged my calves and hamstring muscles. That’s when the euphoria set in for me. I was in pain and high at the same time. A high that only runners know, maybe. I was aching, hungry and happy. I might have been the happiest person in Columbia, MO at that time. Kevin made me a delicious, hearty and healthy lunch except that I wanted about 3 servings of Lays potato chips!

I felt like I was extraordinary. I felt immortal if only for a while.

“Cause we could be immortals, immortals. Just not for long, for long” ~ Immortals by Fallout Boys (Favorite Running Song)

A Marathon Stopper?? Advice from Runners Welcomed

It’s been over 2 months since my last blog post so a lot has happened.

I just got back from our yearly vacation to Santa Cruz and the Bay area. It’s my spirit home!

I am now in week 12 of Chicago Marathon training and there are 32 days left to that big day!

Shit is Getting Real

My Chicago Marathon Running Attire

The runs are getting longer and harder. It doesn’t help that the weather is still hot and humid here. I’ve trained more often on the treadmill than I was comfortable with. I think treadmill running is the most boring and possibly the worst kind of training but it’s all I had many times when the weather was so hot. I also believe that the treadmill training may be hurting the mechanics of my run. I often dread my long, Saturday runs all week long so that screws with you mentally.

I did get in some great runs in Santa Cruz on the beaches, along the coast and a challenging trail run. That hardly even felt like running, though.

I do most of my long runs outside when possible. My schedule over the next couple of weeks is getting tough and there doesn’t look like a let up on the heat.

September Training

But with all that said, an issue has arisen that has me very nervous about being able to train and even run the marathon. I am working desperately trying to resolve it. After about 13 miles or so, my left foot and toes start cramping up. It does so to a point that I am totally unable to run. I usually stop and take my shoe off, massage my foot and go back at it. A few times, it stopped my training run. I can run with a tight hamstring and most anything else but it is impossible to run with a severe foot cramp. My toes actually turn upward and the pain is unbearable.


Here are the things that I have tried to get rid of it:

  • New shoes and half size bigger to allow for toe room. A professional running store pro helped me.
  • New, expensive socks such as Xperia, Features and Injinji
  • Salt tablets (sodium loss from sweating)
  • Foot stretches and exercises prior and after a run
  • Plenty of water on my run
  • Rolling calves and feet (before and after)
  • I’ve even tried to consciously change my gate and foot placement
  • I’ve cursed
  • I’ve cried


I’ve basically self-diagnosed my issue as being caused by muscle fatigue caused by muscles higher up the leg chain than my foot muscles. It messes with the running mechanics. I can only deduce that the piriformis muscle strain on my left side is causing the mechanics of my left leg to be at issue which may be causing the foot cramp in my left foot.

Today, I went to one of my local running stores (UltraMax Running) and talked to very nice and helpful young, gentlemen runners. They listened, asked questions and made suggestions. They seemed very concerned and cared about my issue. One ask me if I had an injury of some kind in the last year or so. I did and still have that piriformis muscle issue on my left side! The same side where the foot cramp occurs. He said that all the leg muscles are tied together and an injury in one place can cause muscle strain and issues in the other. He also showed me how to do a proper foam rolling for the piriformis muscle, hamstring and calf. He said a strained calf muscle can cause feet issues. I bought a pair of CEP compression socks today.

I have used the CEP calf compression before. In fact, I trained for my first marathon with the calf compressions and I have not this time. Maybe wearing them again may help. I’ll give it a try this coming weekend. I also bought Hammer Endurolytes at $25 a bottle to try on my next long run. He told me if I took when when I started cramping, I had waited too long. He suggested taking 2 before I start and 1 every hour I run. I’ll do that.

In spite of this potential show stopper foot cramps, I’m very excited about being fortunate enough to be running in the Chicago Marathon. And in addition, I will be running with a friend, VeganRunnerNerd. She lives in Iowa and I live in Missouri. We are now training together virtually but 3rd week in September, we plan a real life run together in Iowa! Yes, I’m excited.

On an odd note, I was asked to write a contributing story for an online health magazine “Healthline Media.” It is undergoing editing now and they will let me know when it’s published. A paid story with freelance agreement and everything! I can’t wait to read what I wrote! The series will be entitled “What Made Me Run a Marathon.” It will also detail my weight loss and my healthy lifestyles journey.

This is very likely my last marathon. Unless by some miracle, I can get into the “Big Sur International Marathon” which is a long shot. I don’t mind the marathon, it’s the damn training!

I probably don’t have any readers left on my blog because I do such a poor job of updating but if any runners read this post, I welcome advice for my foot cramps.


Forging Onward Even When the World is Falling Apart


Last Saturday over a week ago, we got up very early and drove 2 hours to pick Daniel up from Camp Lakewood. He actually looked like he had gained weight which was surprising. One of our goals keeping him busy during the summer is to keep him from gaining weight and becoming inactive.

He was very happy to see his family and especially his Mom and Dad. He acted different but maybe he seemed more grown up. He said he had a great time and made friends including a girlfriend named Kiki.

We watched his ceremony and it was fun to watch. It is a great and beautiful camp.

Kevin and I drove back with Sadie so that his Mom and Dad could get some alone time on the 2-hour drive back to talk to him about his time there. Sadie sucks up all the attention if she can. J

After my Sunday morning run, I showered and went to meet up with my son, daughter in law and my kiddies to go to lunch at a favorite place Llewelyn’s Pub in Soulard, St. Louis.

Afterwards, we took Daniel and Sadie to our apartment to spend the night. PyPy made Daniel and Sadie’s favorite, Italian spaghetti and meatballs made of veal, beef and pork. It was a delicious meal and they loved it. They are very impressed with all his cooking. It was pouring down rain all weekend so we stayed in the apartment and played games and had tea parties.

Sadie feel asleep very early at 8pm so I got to spend time with Daniel and ask questions about camp. I am sad he is growing up but happy to see him do grown up things that make him feel important.


On this training marathon training program, I have 4 runs per weeks on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday run is usually a fairly longer run and Saturday is the longest. I am supposed to cross-train on one of my off days but I don’t do that yet.

Week 03 Chicago Marathon Training: Last weekend was unseasonably cool and rainy. I did my long run of 7 miles on Sunday morning. I wanted a city run and not a park. Kevin rode his bicycle to accompany me on the streets of St. Louis. I actually love running the city and only once or twice have I been afraid. I’m not a person that gets scared easy and that may not be a good time. I don’t mind running alone most of the time in downtime St. Louis.

The run started out with a nice, cool drizzle. After about 3 miles, the bottom dropped out and I got drenched. I loved it. I always run better during the rain mainly because I don’t sweat enough and my body overheats. Rain is always a welcome event for me on a run. After you get wet, what the hell…enjoy the run.

I had a nice and strong run. I felt good and enjoyed it as I always enjoy running the streets of downtime St. Louis. I love city running because I enjoy the scenery of old St. Louis historic brick buildings. I pass restaurants, bars and places that I’ve never noticed. I know those streets so well but I always see something different. City running distracts me and trail or regular sidewalk running does not. It always feels different.

I engage in the city so the running doesn’t seem so much like a chore. I do most of my long runs in St. Louis for that reason.

Week 04 Chicago Marathon Training: I completed my 4 runs this week. Wednesday runs are much harder for me than weekend. The last thing I want to do after a 11-hour day at work is run. And with the intense heat and humidity, I did many on the treadmill. I am learning how to use the treadmill to my advantage. I can control the speed and incline so I can challenge myself with faster speeds and higher inclines. I think it’s helped me to hold a consistent speed and cadence. I should be doing some cross-training but I have not yet incorporated that into my training. That may be a mistake but due to colon surgery, I’m limited. Maybe I’m using that for an excuse.

Yesterday was my 8 mile run. It wasn’t supposed to be a hot day but it got humid very early. I didn’t start until 9 am and I decided to do a street run versus the trail run that I usually do here in Columbia. I did a route that one of the local running clubs routed and invited me to that I never go to. It was through the town of Columbia and went through some trails.

The first 3 miles was relatively easy and I had a good pace and felt good but then came the huge hills and inclines. Kevin rode along beside me on his bicycle which I always appreciate. I made a wrong turn on a trail and made my 8 mile run almost 1 mile longer which was not good today. I became overheated. I have an issue that has plagued me all my running career. I cannot sweat outside when it’s humid. I have never asked a doctor and when I google it, I never see anything that can help. If I run when it’s cold or I run inside, I sweat profusely. In fact, after a humid run in which I can’t sweat, when I walk into the cool house, the sweat pours. It’s frustrating but it’s something that I have to live with. I sometimes use a cooling towel when I run. It helps a bit.

Today, Kevin and I took our bikes to Rocheport to ride 10 miles or son on the KATY trail. It was hot and humid but very enjoyable. Rocheport is a beautiful little quaint progressive town where people make wine, pottery, have many wine stroll events and smoke weed. It is located on the Missouri river and the KATY trail which makes it a touristy place. It is also home to one of the area favorite wineries Les Bourgeois.

The KATY trail is part of the Katy Trail State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Missouri that contains the Katy Trail, a recreational rail trail that runs 240 miles (390 km) in the right-of-way of the former Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad.

I needed this workout because my legs were spent from yesterday’s nightmarish run. It was a good ride and beautiful bluffs, caves and beautiful wildflowers the entire ride.

Tomorrow is a 3 miler, 5 on Wednesday, 3 on Thursday and 10 on Saturday. We may head to St. Louis this coming weekend to do my run plus catch a Cardinals game.

I need to find a way to build up my confidence for the upcoming 10 miler. It’s only going to get worse from here! But marathon training almost makes me a better and healthier person. J

The other day my husband said something surprising to me. He told me I was much more beautiful when I run a lot. He also said that my eyes prettier. I’m not sure what running has to do with my eyes but he doesn’t throw out many romantic compliments often. God knows he suffers along with me during my training. That made me feel good that he paid such a compliment.

W05 training begins tomorrow!


I almost made it 21 days “21 Day No Junk Food Challenge” but on the last day, Kevin bought a caramel bar from Whole foods which I can’t resist and I ate half of it! But I started it again. I’m not sure it’s a no junk food but it is no sugar, cookies, bars, pies, chips, crackers etc. but I do drink alcohol which probably is not the best thing to do during marathon training or for health in general. I have lost about 10+ lbs since my surgery. I would like to lose about 10 more lbs before we go to Santa Cruz on Aug 23.

I doing very well on this plan based on my rules. But I don’t eat the normal things that I am prone to eat such as sweets, cookies, donuts, cakes, potato chips etc so that is a win for me.

Peace and Love:

On a serious and sad note, please support our law enforcement. I cannot imagine living in St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City without those brave men and women. I personally thank them every time I see them. There may be bad apples and bad guys in that lot of people. It goes to reason; they are chosen from the same population that other criminals and good people come from….the human race.

#BlueLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter #RespectAndDecencyMatters #LifeMatters

I will admit that I tend to give police the benefit of a doubt. I just don’t believe that most police would kill a man in cold blood because he is black. If he does, I want him punished just like everyone else.

My husband is a black man. His dad was black and his mother is Cuban/Bahamian. Kevin was raised in Buffalo, NY. And because he looks mostly white like his beautiful mother, he has seen both ugly sides of racism. He didn’t fit in black communities in Buffalo NY which he was raised until he was 12 years old and when he moved to Sunnyvale, CA, where he didn’t look quiet white. He doesn’t classify himself as black, Cuban, or white. He is a man and a good human being. He and I are both conservative type people but we care about others. We support gay marriage and equal rights for all human beings. I’m heartbroken over how the country seems so divided and full of hate right now.

Kevin and His Beautiful Family

RIP and Godspeed

DPD Sgt. Michael Smith, 55, a former Army Ranger who had been with the department since 1989.

DPD Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, 48, who had been with the department since 2002.

DPD Officer Michael Krol, 40, who had been with the department since 2007.

DPD Officer Patrick Zamarripa, 32, a Navy sailor and Iraq War veteran who had been with the department since 2011

DART Officer Brent Thompson, 43, a former Marine who had been with the department since 2009. Thompson was the first DART officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1989. After serving in the Marine Corps, Thompson worked in the Middle East for a Pentagon contractor, hiring and training police in Iraq and Afghanistan in “democratic policing.”

~Support the Thin Blue Line~

Reluctantly Moving Forward

Week #2 of Chicago Marathon training is in the books. 104 days until the big day.

It’s gone pretty well. It’s actually gone much better than I ever thought when I first found out that I had to have colon surgery. It’s been so hot and humid that I do most of my weekday runs on the treadmill. The longer runs I try to do outside. It’s not easy in the summer but I’ve been there and if you can make it through summer training, you can complete the marathon.

I hate treadmill running but I have found ways to make it work better for me and maybe even better than outside running. I have a great treadmill and can use iFit and iRunMaps to run anywhere in the world. But I am able to adjust speed to get more speed into my runs. I can adjust the incline to mimic hills. I have the Chicago Marathon route programed into it to try soon. At least segments of it.

And it’s also the end of week #2 of the “21 Day No Junk Food Challenge.”

I’ve lost weight and feel great except from some stomach pain around my belly button. Sometimes, I’m not sure if running is good for it at this point but the surgeon said it wouldn’t hurt and I have to train, right?

My long run this week was 6 miles scheduled for Saturday but I did it Friday due to the Macklind Mile in St. Louis on Saturday. It’s a popular yearly 1 mile run where people from all over try for the PR. There are many in the elite group who did it at a 4 minute pace. Amazing to me. I did it at 10:19 which is the slowest that I’ve done it in my 4 years of participating. It was humid and I was sore from the 6 miles on Friday and had some pain discomfort. It’s harder than you think.

Week 3 Chicago Marathon Training

*the pink is my planned miles and the purple are alternatives if I choose*

I got to spend a few hours with Daniel and Sadie this time. We didn’t do our usually stay over because Daniel was scheduled to leave for summer camp on Sunday morning.

This is the first time that Daniel will be staying away from home for more than a night except staying with relatives. I can’t believe my baby is growing up. He was so excited about camp. We can’t have any contact with him except through snail mail. I’m so anxious about it because I am an overprotectant grandmother! But I am super proud of him, even though I’m not ready for him to grow up. We will go pick him up next Saturday morning. I am so sure he will have so many things to talk about.

I always wanted to go to summer camp but my mom and dad couldn’t afford to send us so we are so happy he has this chance. These experiences will last a lifetime with him.

Saying Goodbye to Sadie today at Camp

I so enjoy these kids. I am going to plan some more days so I can hang out with them more. I have so much vacation time at work that why would I not do what makes me the happiest?

In 59 more days, we leave on our yearly trip to Santa Cruz. We usually stay about 9 or 10 days but this year we cut it a bit shorter. We will be there 7 nights. We usually are ready to go home before the 9 days are over anyway. We miss our dogs that is becomes almost unbearable. And marathon training is going on.

In a few years, I plan to be living there with my family J

Our View in Santa Cruz from our Suite

~Peace Out~

Back 2 Good

It’s been a while since I last blogged.

It’s been almost 4 weeks from today that I had my sigmoid colectomy. They were able to do it laparoscopically with a few incisions in my stomach and one of them around my belly button was about 4 inches long which screwed up my pretty belly button that the plastic surgeon gave me in December 2013. L The surgeon removed 1 foot of my colon and an infected ovary. I was told that I had about 5 ft. of colon originally. So no biggie to just have 4 ft….I guess!??

My hospital stay was about 2 days shorter than the average person for that surgery. Doctors and nurses were impressed with my recovery. I wasn’t because I have a high bar set for myself! J I like to think my being a runner had something to do with that.

All my pathology tests came back good which I had stressed about.

My first days home as well as into the next week were miserable. I was in pain, lonely, frustrated and depressed. I honestly got a bit attached to the oxycodone that I was prescribed for pain. I felt like I was going downhill after all the progress that I had made to get myself healthy by losing 100+ lbs. and becoming a runner.

The 3rd week, Daniel came to Columbia for “Camp MyMy” as we call it. He calls me MyMy. That may have been one of the better weeks of my life. I adore being with Daniel. I feel good all over when he is with me. I could write a book on this week but I’ll spare any reader that I might have.

We fished, read books to each other, roasted hotdogs, made s’mores, played at the swimming pool, set up the tent in the backyard and camped out a couple of nights. We visited all the places he loves in Columbia both to play and to eat.

He was born here and lived about 4 and half years of his life right up the street from me.

With Daniel here, I quickly got off the pain medicine and enjoyed my time with him. I healed both mentally and physically. We took him home last Sunday and I have cried off and on since. I don’t think that is normal or what a grandma should do, but being with him is like a drug to me. So I have gone through some Daniel withdrawal.

I’m off the narcotics completely and I won’t go into it but that was about to get bad.

Yesterday was his birthday and I didn’t get to see him. He had other family from out of state up to visit so Kevin and I stayed in Columbia. I facetimed with him but that is not even close to being with him.

Daniel leaves for summer camp next weekend for a week. I think that will be a wonderful experience for him. We will go up next Friday night and spend some time with Daniel and Sadie before he leaves.

I started back to work this past Monday. Sunday night I dreaded it but I actually felt good and energetic. So many people commented on how good I looked. I had lost some weight and plus I was very tanned from hanging out at the pool with Daniel! J I could tell my co-workers were very surprised that I did look and act so healthy.

I started a “21 day No Junk Food Challenge” and “Chicago Marathon Training” on Monday. I completed all 4 of my runs and have had no junk food. I had to do a couple of my runs on the treadmill due to the heat and my colon adjusting to having a foot of itself cut out! Ha-ha

The surgeon said that it would be about 6 months before everything was back to normal. But it’s a minor issue at this point so I can live with it.

I feel better now than I’ve felt in 6 or 7 months. And I’ve lost about 7 lbs. and have no bloating anymore. Which had become a very big issue with me in the last few months.

Yesterday, Kevin and I ran 5 miles on the trails with fully loaded camelbacks. I’m not crazy about running with encumbrances but it was nice to have water so handy all the time. And it’s probably a good thing to have especially on 8+ mile long runs in this heat.

One good thing about training in the summer for a marathon is by the time Oct 9 comes, I will have run through the worst of times. That is how it was on my first marathon.

I moved my original training up one week due to our yearly vacation to Santa Cruz, CA. I can’t imagine getting my ass off the beach long enough to do a 16 mile run!

I will run daily there. We are even registered a 4k “Run By the Sea.” We did it last year and Kevin placed 2nd in his age group! I didn’t do well because I stopped a few times to take pictures of the sea lions laying on the beach and the breathtaking views.

I do love a daily run on the beach. We also usually get in a couple of street runs along the coastline.

#ChicagoMarathon #111DAYS

That’s all for now.

~Happy Father’s Day~

A Pain in My Ass

The date is set for my surgery. May 23 is the big day that I have dreaded and the day I was counting on to help me feel better.

My first visit with this surgeon and I get a good feeling. He explained everything in detail and took time for my questions. He told me the chances of the good and the bad.

The surgery is called “hand-assisted laparoscopic sigmoid colectomy.” The surgeon will remove about 12 inches of my sigmoid colon. I whenced when he said that but he showed me pictures of just now much colon I have and I wouldn’t miss it!

I first became aware of the problem in Nov 2015 when I ended up in the emergency room doubled over in paid and a high fever. I was diagnosed with severe diverticulitis. This happens when pockets form in the colon (diverticulosis) and when they become inflamed it is called diverticulitis. I had 2 other serious flare ups. When I went for my colonoscopy, my doctor could not perform it because of a stricture in the colon or a partial blockage caused by the scar tissue from the inflammations. The quality of my life was seriously affected. Many times, I’ve had to take strong narcotic pain relievers to help with the pain. It comes and goes but for the most part, I feel miserable all the time. It causes constipation, diarrhea, and the worst bloating imaginable. I think I hate that the worse. It’s hard to sleep, work and exercise.

Maybe it’s vanity or maybe it’s because I paid $20,000 for a body lift in December 2013 to remove all the hanging skin after losing 127 lbs. that gave me the perfect stomach that I never had…but they will make 4 cuts about 3 inches each on my perfect tummy!

I made a joke that I’d like for him to not ruin that!

There is a chance that once they start the surgery, they may have to do the big cut which I pray don’t have to happen. Both because it would ruin $20k tummy work and it will be a longer recover time.

They said the surgery would take about 2 hours and I’d have to stay in the hospital for about 4-5 days to make sure everything was working properly. He will remove 12 inches of colon and reattach it in the one surgery so no need for a colostomy bag if everything goes well. I’m counting on that! (ha-ha)

And you can only imagine that I had to tell him that I was training for the Chicago marathon. He is a marathoner too so he understood. He moved the surgery to a date as quick as he could. He said if all goes according to plan, I should be good to go mid-June which is when I originally had it planned to start. I moved it up recently to help me because I knew I’d be out of commission for a while. He even said that after a couple of weeks, I may be able to run. The important “don’t do” is weights, core exercises etc. but said running is good for the colon and won’t hurt it. He said I could run as I felt like it. That bit of news made me happy. So, Chicago Marathon….here I come!

He even said that after a couple or 3 weeks, I could go back to work if I felt like it.

All in all, I’m relieved that it will be over soon.

My pain is growing worse day by day. This week has been very hard and I have barely slept. Many times, the narcotics don’t help.

Next weekend, we are supposed to go camping in Hermann, MO with the kids. I love camping and especially with Daniel. My son was cautioning that I might need to cancel it but I don’t want to.

Hermann is beautiful wine country so I’ll be camping, eating s’mores, enjoying my family and drinking wine in preparation for whatever comes.

I Never Knew

I’ve posted many times on here that my son and I had a cold relationship. It’s really never been anything that I could put my finger on or explain. I’m not the most nurturing woman alive so I’ve always felt it was my fault that we had a sour relationship. I always felt he held some grudges against me and maybe didn’t even love me. I really felt he didn’t like me very much. We never talk about it or try to fix it. I didn’t get to see him or my grandkiddies on Mother’s Day and I even felt he may not even call me. But he did call me this morning and he and the kids told me “Happy Mother’s Day.” We chatted a bit and went on our way. Later this afternoon, he did something so out of character for him. He wrote the following on my facebook. I’ve been crying happy tears ever since. Below is what he wrote on my facebook. J


From James:

It has to be one of my more obnoxious traits (I have a lot of them), but I am one of the most fortunate people I know. I have a lot of great things around me. Sure, I have a wife of almost 15 years who loves and inspires me, who fills me with purpose and drives me to be better. I have two great kids that are the focus of my life (and most of my exhaustion). But I’m not talking about any of that today. I’m talking about the most inspiring person I’ve ever met. My mom, Charlotte Barber Snead.

Almost everybody that knows her knows that I’ve got no words to really describe her. She is large-hearted and giving to everyone who needs it, unconcerned with credit and attention, funny as hell, respectful (to a point), but intolerant towards idiots and irresponsibility, and unconcerned with petty drama and shitty people. Everyone has known this about her for years. This isn’t what’s great about her. Not even close.

Almost 9 years ago, her Grandson was born followed 6 years later by her granddaughter. Anyone who has seen her Facebook page or spent more than just a few seconds with her has… felt… the pure unflinching love she has for her grandchildren. She loves them to the point where I (the father of these two kids) question either her sanity or my capacity for loving anything—because I love them more than I could have ever imagined, and I can’t compete with her love for them. This is a remarkable thing about her, but not the most by far.

About 7 or 8 years ago, she was thinking that she was feeling down and unhealthy. She could have exercised a little more, ate a little better, and felt better about herself. But this woman does not do “a little” of anything. She decided that there was no point in not stretching her body to the extreme lengths of of its ability. She lost over a hundred pounds the hard way, no surgeries or crash diets, no pills—just hard work, will power and self control. It was inspiring to watch (if not to duplicate). In October of 2014, she ran a full 26.2 mile marathon at the age of 54, because that seemed to her something she wanted to do. She is training to do so again this year, in the Chicago Marathon, at the age of 56. Yet again, this is not the most remarkable thing about her.

She was born to sharecroppers in Gibson County Tennessee, her and her four brothers and sisters sharing a single bed. And yes, she was married and pregnant (with me) before her High School graduation. She went to work graveyard shift at a factory. She had all of the trials that break so many people around us. No one in her family had gone to college or travelled much outside of Tennessee. But this woman, working a full time job with a kid and husband at home, knew she wanted something else. And I watched her: she WORKED her ass off for it. Over five years in the late eighties and early nineties, she went to college, full time, during the day while working at night, full time, assembling motors on a factory floor. I never went hungry or wanted for anything. She earned her BBA, with honors, and started putting that to use, learning everything she could at her factory, rising up, moving to better jobs, continuing her education and stretching her self until she is where she is now, a nationally sought after manager in her field.

My mother was never given anything in this life (other than loving, hard-working parents). Everything else, she took, she earned. I watched her do it. She did it by putting in more work than anyone else, year after year, well past the point anyone else would. No one can conceive of living a 16 hour workday for 5 years to be the first in your family to get a college degree. No one can conceive of waking up in their fifties and deciding to lose a hundred pounds and run a damn marathon. This woman did. I think that she can sometimes irritate people because she walks through this world like a winner. She is a winner.

Every job interviewer I’ve ever had has asked me to name someone who has most inspired me. I have never hesitated, never stopped to think, never hemmed or hawed. I have just told them the story I just told you, the story of this woman.

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Wine Ramblings

I had a cousin to die unexpectedly this week in Seattle.

I had to terminate an immature young, sweet man who has a young family for something he put on Facebook.

I don’t think I’m a good mentor.

I’m the most unorganized person on this planet.

I want to be in Santa Cruz on the beach.

I want to ride a horse bareback on the beaches of Half Moon Bay.

I want to have sex with my husband on that same beach at nighttime.

I miss my Mama and Daddy.

I miss Tennessee.

I miss playing whiffle ball with my brothers and cousins.

I miss playing “Rook” with my Daddy and Mama.

I want to go visit my brother’s grave in Tennessee with his new memorial stone that my brother and I bought for him.

Today is a rest day from Chicago marathon training.

I want to eat all day long in China Town in San Francisco.

I want to hear the sea lions in California every day of my life.

I miss Christmas at Meamaw’s house.

Today is Cinco de Mayo and I didn’t drink a single fucking margarita nor did I wear a stupid sombrero.

I want to get drunk in Napa Valley.

Today was a stressful work day and I left work feeling defeated.

I miss Faith Independent Church from back home.

I drank a bottle of wine while watching birds at my feeder in my beautiful backyard.

I ate a $13.98 piece of stilton blue cheese with a bottle of cheap wine tonight.

I am watching the St. Louis Blues play the Dallas Stars. #OurBlues

I am day 11 into my Chicago Marathon training.

I’m worried about my health and impending surgery.

I miss Daniel and Sadie on a daily basis.

I didn’t win that 300 million Powerball last night and I was counting on it.

I’m looking forward to Daniel coming to spend a week with me in June #CampMyMy

I feel lonely sometimes and not sure why.

I want to go camping this weekend.

I’d love to spend time with my sister.

I like fried spam sandwiches with mustard.

I hate getting old.

I was a terrible mother to my son. I wish I had a do over.

I miss texting Jimmy about St. Louis Cardinals this year.

An eight-year-old is my best friend.

I prefer junky food over healthy food.

I miss eating “orange slice” candy with Daddy.

I like dogs more than I like people.

I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to make Peyton and Eli (my dogs) happy and making them like me.

I miss arguing with Daddy over Lakers vs Celtics games.

I wish I were religious.

I wish I was more nurturing.

I miss sneaking up on Christmas night watching “Miracle on 34th Street” with Mama and Daddy while the other kids slept waiting on Santa.

I regret that my son and I have a cold relationship and I don’t know how to fix it.

I spend my life feeling guilty about something.

I wish I would have had another kid.

~That’s All~

Chicago Marathon Training – A Do Over

This time last year, I was very excited to have been accepted into the Chicago Marathon.

I had just PR’d in the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon after shortly finishing my first, the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis Full Marathon.

As a runner, I was on top of the world.

So, I put together a training plan for the Chicago and started on my awesome way. I made hotel reservations and believe me, that’s not cheap!

But life happened.

After some management leaving our company, my weekly hours increased by 30% leaving me with no time to run early in the morning nor late at night. Not to mention I was so tired that I fell in bed every night and had to drag out at 4:30am every morning.

And, my little brother Jimmy was suffering in his last days of cancer. He lost that battle in September of last year.

Running just became one of my stressors. I really started to resent running. It used to be my stress reliever became a big part of my problem. So after some good advice, I had to clean some things off my plate. Work had to happen and sadly, my brother was dying. So the marathon training had to go.

I read that you could defer the Chicago one year. You don’t get a refund of the $180 and would have to pay that again to reactivate the following year. So after struggling with that decision, that is what I did…I deferred. It did help some.

Guess what? I’m back in even though I have some health issues looming over me right now.

But I’m going to work through that until Doctors say I cannot and even then, I will. J

I have an appointment with a surgeon on May 12. I have a stricture (blockage) of the sigmoid colon that needs surgery. I have been increasingly suffering from this since November 2015 when I first became aware of it. I’m still very nervous about this.

So my surgery and recovery will happen right smack assed as I am supposed to begin my 18-week training program which was to start the 2nd week in June.

On top of that, I have not been running as much due to the pain and pressure in my lower tummy.

So to try to mitigate the interruption with surgery and recovery, I’m starting early on my training. So that hopefully, being in better shape will make my surgery and recovery go better. And then hopefully, after recovering, I can get back in the training without missing out on too much.

Well, that’s my plan anyway. I suspect my plan may fall on its face but I’m moving on as though all will be fine.

I’ll be tracking my training on a link on my page “Chicago Marathon Training.”

I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” ~ Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption)