Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Podcast Experiment Number 1

If you look down my blog page to the lower right hand side, you will see a feed button that takes you to my test podcast. Don't get excited - I say nothing interesting (kind of a "test, test, test 1-2-3" kind of file).

But if I have done this right you should be able to click that link and find the Podbean site where I have my podcast files. From there you can subscribe to the RSS feed.

I still don't understand it all, but here is what I did:

1. Made audio file with my iRiver.
2. Downloaded said file using the iRiver Manager, moving the mpeg file to my hard drive.
3. Converted the file to mpg using Audacity. This creates the 128 bit stream so I don't sound like Mickey Mouse.
4. Upload the file to Podbean.
5. Publish via Podbean.

Now to get the link on my blog I created an account in Feedburner. There I publish my RSS feed from Podbean and was able to create the button and link that resides on my blog.

Whew! Still more playing to do but this has all been kinds of fun.

Outside of the technical stuff, I have been working on the format and content for the podshow. What do you think of a run cast to discuss running topics where the topics would be more about the female, non-competitive runner (since I happen to know something about that), working mom type of thing. I may include conversations while running with my daughter, or maybe interviews with some of the mom's I meet when they drop their kids off at school and then go for a run. I thought I would include an interesting quote of the day with some commentary, and then maybe discuss other blogs and podcasts.

Target time for podcast would be about 15 min. The name of the podcast is simply "Running Adventures." It was shorter than my full blog name.

Anyway, tell me if you think this would be of interest to anyone! :-) I am open to your ideas!

Friday, February 23, 2007

It Won't Be Long Now

That is what I need to keep telling myself. I did my PT today - and the foot continues to improve in different ways. The calf muscles are looser, the tendon is not as tight, and the exercises not as tough to do.

But I miss running! Tomorrow is the Outback 12K and I wish I could be there.

It won't be much longer and I will be out there. The orthotics should come in next week, a few days to break them in and then I can begin running again. In the meanwhile, best of luck to Maddy at the Outback 12K!!! She will have to run for the both of us! :-)

Meanwhile, I will plow on with the elliptical. You know, I don't really like the elliptical...I like it less than the treadmill. I did manage to make it a little more interesting on Thursday. I tuned in my iPod to a 133 bpm Podrunner mix and used that to help keep my pace up.

Podcasting update: I now have my iRiver and have downloaded Audacity. I am still reading up on podcasting but this looks like it will be fun. I will probably be ready to take it out on a test "run" about the time I can begin running again. When I was in college (and also for a couple of years afterwards, part time) I worked at an AM radio station as a DJ and really enjoyed it - so I am looking forward to experimenting with the podcast world.

Countdown to next run: ~ 1 week

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Back from the Big Easy

Yup, our little weekend trip was a road trip to New Orleans during the height of Carnival (which culminates in Fat Tuesday - or Mardi Gras).

We saw two parades - a smaller one and then one of the bigger ones (Isis and Bacchus). At last count my daughters had counted over 200 strings of beads acquired during the trip. Along with beads we also got stuffed animals, frisbees, and cups. And no, we did not have to do anything "unfamily-like" to get beads. We stayed away from Bourbon Street and found some very family friendly places!

In relationship to my training I did a couple of things:
- ate horribly (they fry everything there)
- played with my new toy - an iRiver iFP-780

With regard to Thing 1, I have some major exercising to lose the excesses of the trip. And I can't run yet (more on that later). Now Thing 2 was pretty cool. I am toying with the idea of podcasting - at least, run casting. I do such good thinking when I run, I would like to capture some of that. And with 128 Mb, although I can't load up much music (I have the ipod anyway) I can record up to 7 hours of voice - plenty of time for whatever. Who knows, if it turns out to be half interesting, maybe I can report in to Nigel, Terry, Adam or Steve Runner :-). I am also thinking of doing some work related podcasts so maybe I can get my company to front some of the cash my effort.

I took it with me and recorded aspects of our trip, including some of the parades and driving in the truck (we took our camper and "camped" in a friend's front yard). Now I have some audio files to play with, not to mention an audio record of our trip. Pretty cool. It is still pretty lo tech. I will definitely need a microphone. And today, I also received my book "Podcasting for Dummies".

More to come I am sure....

Foot update: Today I was back with my physical therapist (PT). She noted that my heel has much more movement in it (it is supposed to move a bit, and it hardly moved when I came in). I am making great progress. However....she doesn't want me to run until my orthotics come in - probably in around a week.

So I continue the PT with workouts on the elliptical. Today I went out with my daughter for her running...I rode the scooter (you know, those Razor things?). I discovered more muscles I don't use that much...and found that it does not work well on uneven sidewalks. But we still got our running talk in together in our two laps around the block. Very cool!

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's Who You've Become

(Sunset at Paynes Prairie Preserve near Gainesville, FL)

This morning I was talking with my husband about life in general and some lessons we have learned over the years. One was the idea I talked about in my blog entry about what the definition of success is (found here). I boiled it down to the simple phrase:

"It's not what you've done, it's who you've become."

It is not the accomplishments, it is who you have become as a person in the process of reaching them. It's not all the problems, it's who you have become when working through them.

So what does this have to do with running? Everything, since I think this lesson was driven home to me through my marathon training. I became a new person through my training for the marathon. I now know I can set goals that are out of my current, comfortable reach and achieve them. I can do it with anything in my life. Becoming a marathoner has given me the confidence to pursue anything in life, no matter how far fetched!

So the thought for today is to look back and see who you have become through your own running adventures (and otherwise)! Ponder it on your long run this week!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Casting - Foot Impressions

Where DID the week go? I can't believe I have not blogged since Saturday. Of course, I am still on hiatus from my running, but the workouts and physical therapy (PT) have been going well. Here is what I have been up to this week. On all days I am working on my PT exercise and stretching assignments as well:

Sunday: 30 min on elliptical
Monday: Rest day, PT appointment
Tuesday: 30 min on elliptical and strength training
Wednesday: 30 min on elliptical and stretches
Thursday: PT appointment - got casted for my orthotics. Plan to do 30 min elliptical and strength training later this afternoon.

The PT is going well. That combined with taking ibuprophen 3 times a day has given me more pain free moments. The exercises are getting easier as time goes on. When it is over, I am going to miss those foot and calf massages! The ultrasound therapy feels pretty good too.

This weekend we are going to be out of town so I won't get another training day until next Tuesday - but I will still do my PT stuff, so all is not lost :-)

Today I spoke with my physical therapist about my "condition." One of my legs (my right, unaffected leg) is 1 cm shorter than the other one. I have been wearing heel lifts provided by my chiropractor to address this. She confirmed that my flat feet are causing my feet to overpronate when walking (or running) so the shoes and inserts I have been using have been the right ones (running shoes with lots of support and nice stiff inserts with arch supports). The custom orthotics will help. Today they made a "cast" of my feet. In a couple of weeks I will have my new orthotics - for my running and work shoes.

Many of my PT exercises have been focused on strengthening my ankles. This will help take some of the pressure off my plantar fascia - thus helping me feel better and stay better.

So progress is being made...but I am still counting down to the day when I can start running again, even if its just with my daughter around the block. They tell me I should still be ok to run the Winter Park Road race on March 24th.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Smile Mile Kids Run Race Report

Today was a nice, cool and sunny morning - around 55-60 degrees F as I played spectator to my two daughters who ran the local Smile Mile race. Unlike the kids fun runs, the participants register and get unique race numbers. My older daughter was number 91 and the younger was number 92.

The kids run this one mile race with their age groups. It begins with 11 year old boys, then 11 year old girls, then 10 year old boys, and so forth. I had an 11 year old girl and a 7 year old girl. So the first ran at 8:15 and the second at 10:15. Fortunately the race organizers sponsor games in the field to keep the runners busy before and after their race.

The 11 year old was up first. Last year she did the race in about 11:48 min while helping a fellow runner who had fallen and was hurt. She helped the girl find a grown up. This is the daughter who has been training with me for the 5K. She took her running watch along, planning to take timed walking breaks. She crossed the finish line in 10:26 min, a PR!!!

The 7 year old didn't run for another 2 hours, but her turn came up and at the sound of the horn she was off. We met her after the first quarter mile or so - she took off a bit fast so she was walking, but still doing ok. The older daughter met her along the back side of the course to encourage her during a stretch she thought was tough for her. Dad ran her part of the last quarter mile, and she approached the finish line with mom jumping up and down and cheering. She cross the finish line right at 12 minutes. I don't recall her time last year, but she did a great job.

After the finish, I went back to find my 11 year old skipping in with one of the late finishers from the 7 year old race. I told her it was time to leave, and she complained that she needed to help encourage the runners who were behind to hang in there and come in (a very proud mommy moment!).

Both finishers received a medal and a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie for their efforts. We all had a wonderful time.

Mom the spectator forgot the camera (how stupid is that?!) but took some pictures after we got home.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

On second thought....maybe a couple of weeks won't hurt

Today I went back for my first physical therapy (PT) visit since the initial eval on Monday. It began with a warm up on the bike. While warming up, the PT intern apologized for not answering my question about running on Monday (I ended up calling the main PT who told me it was ok to run). She asked me how my heel has been feeling and I told her that it was a little sore yesterday but doing ok. She then told me that I should consider taking some time off from running completely to really give the plantar fascia a chance to heal up. "No running at all?" I asked. "It really would help," she replied.

After that I got a foot massage, did some exercises, learned some new exercises for at home, and got an ultrasound treatment before leaving. I spoke also with the main PT who was also there and she agreed that, although she doesn't like to tell people to cease their sport completely unless things are really bad, it would help it heal quicker if I gave it a break. "How long, 1 or 2 weeks?" I asked. "No more than 2 weeks," she replied.

(Sigh!) So here is the new plan:
1 - When it is time for my daughter's run, either have my husband go with her or ride the scooter or bike with her.
2 - Hit the elliptical 3-4 times a week to keep up the cardio, leg exercise, and caloric burn.
3 - Try not to eat so much (my body still craves all that food I am used to consuming).

I will so miss the running - and the weather was so great today!!! But I figure, a couple weeks off will give me pain free running later - then I can train for those races.

Suffice it to say the 12K is out for Feb 24th (as is the 3K). But I am hoping I will be ok for the Winter Park Road Race (a 10K) in March.

I am happy to be on the road to recovery!

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Verdict is In - Plantar Fasciitis

According to http://www.arthroscopy.com/sp09001.htm,
"The plantar fascia is a thick, broad, inelastic band of fibrous tissue that courses along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot. It is attached to the heel bone (calcaneus) and fans out to attach to the bottom of the metatarsal bones in the region of the ball of the foot. Because the normal foot has an arch, this tight band of tissue (plantar fascia) is at the base of the arch. In this position, the plantar fascia acts like a bowstring to maintain the arch of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis refers to an inflammation of the plantar fascia. The inflammation in the tissue is the result of some type of injury to the plantar fascia. Typically, plantar fasciitis results from repeated trauma to the tissue where it attaches to the calcaneus."

This resulting diagnosis was no surprise, since this is what I have suspected all along. Still, there is something about having an expert do some official evaluation to confirm those suspicions.

The good news is that I now have an official verdict and a plan of attack!! Other good news is that the intern doing the evaluation is also a runner and my physical therapist also works for the athletic department of our local university. They know athletes. In fact, the PT told me that she doesn't like to have her patients cease all activity in their sport unless it is really necessary. She said with my reduced mileage, as long as I felt ok, iced it and took care of it, I could still do some running.

My homework is to do some specific stretching and strengthening exercises and report for treatment about twice a week for the next few weeks. Then we see where we are at that point. There didn't seem to be any alarm about my condition or need for any drastic measures.

With all of that, since I ran yesterday I did not expect to run today. My daughter was a little stressed with her school work so I suggested a walk. She then countered by suggesting a run. What a great idea!!! So instead of running in the morning we ran our two laps tonight - 1.42 miles in 18:52 min. It helped her relax to get back to her school work, and saved us from having to wake up early for a run. I like seeing her view running as an outlet or a way to relax.

So now to do some stretching!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

What is My Definition of Success?

(Husband and older daughter looking out over the Badlands in South Dakota, 2005)

Today my daughter and I took a different route than running around the block. We actually ran down part of the main road that I normally run on, then cut through the neighborhood a bit. We even ran by the house of one of her friends and chatted with her friend's dad for a bit. It was a really nice 1.54 mile run, running 1:30 and walking 1:00 minute. Total time running was 19:51 min.

After the run with my daughter, I decided to go out for another 3 miles on my own. I made it an easy 3 miles, and spent the time thinking (and talking to myself) about how I would answer the question, "How do you define success?" You see, I have a lot of evidence in my life that would indicate that I am a successful person, however, they are not why I am successful. I had this epiphany one day while sitting in my office at work. As I looked around and saw all of the "success items" on my walls (Bachelor's and Master's degrees, project management certification, company leadership program participation, 5 year and 10 year employee awards, and business cards with the title "Vice President" on them). Had I "arrived"? Could I finally declare success. Even most recently, my small bulletin board is covered with my marathon pictures and my medal hangs there. Another trophy?

And what about at home? I have a nice house in a nice neighborhood, two wonderful kids and a great marriage with my best friend.

None of these things are bad (in fact they are really great!). Goals are good things to work toward and achieve. They help keep me focused on the things that mean most in my life. But it is not the final achievement that marks success. It is who I become while I am pursuing those things. It is how I live in each moment of each day as I reach those goals.

So success, to me, is living the fullest of each moment of each day with those around me in the life that I have, at that moment. It is that feeling I have when I feel I am one with the universe - that I have a specific place in it and I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. It is the feeling I have when I look at the picture above and feel the wonder of the extraordinary world we live in.

And the run? Well, it was a marvelous feeling easy run. I don't have the splits (seems the Garmin just continued on from the run with my daughter) but the final time was 35:03 for 3.1 miles - average heart rate around 155 bpm. The heel feels about normal - a little achey after the run.

So when I get to run around the neighborhood chatting happily with my daughter....I call that success!! :-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Two For the Price of One!

(My two daughters at Duck Lake in Yellowstone National Park - July 2005)

I am continuing my heel rest and just running with my daughter this week. Today was our scheduled run and so we ran the two laps around the block, about 1.43 miles, in 18:09 min. We did this running 1:30 and walking 1 min like we did on Tuesday. Again, it challenged my daughter but gave her plenty of walking breaks.

When we got back from our run, my younger daughter wanted to go...so off we went one more time around the block. She and I ran 30 sec and walked 30 sec the entire way.

I got to run with them both this afternoon. What a treat!!

Heel report: Heel has been feeling pretty good. It was a little sore after the trips around the block so I am icing tonight. Before getting out of bed in the morning I have been massaging and stretching and it has made those first few steps much easier.