Friday, July 31, 2009


I have a love-have relationship with running now. I love to run, but I hate the pain that it is inflicting.

Two weeks ago (at the end of my first official 1/2 marathon training week), I noticed that my right leg felt off. Not numb, but not not numb. It's a strange feeling, very similar to the feeling I would get in January. It went away after a 3 mile run so I continued with my training. I ran the 5K last Saturday and was fine. I ran 4.5 miles on Monday and could have easily run more. Then, on Tuesday, I rode my bike to work, walked into the store and my lower back/hip started to ache. It didn't get any worse but by the next morning, I decided that I should head into the bone cracker. He adjusted me and it seemed to help. I made a follow up appointment for the next morning, which turned out to be an excellent set. Going to the gym beforehand felt great as well, and didn't seem to irritate anything.

Then, this morning, I ran 4.5 miles a little bit slower than Monday's run, but I did run it all. I felt a bit of pain in my hip but it wasn't that bad. Yet again, I rode to work, was a little bit stiff but the stiffness went away, just as a sharp pain settled into my hip joint. Thankfully (I'm so optimistic) the pain is only when I am putting weight on my left leg, but seems to ease as I walk around and loosen up.

I can't see my doctor until my Monday morning appointment. I want to run my 7 miles on Sunday. I've been told and read that if I don't feel pain, that it's a go, but if there is pain, I should hold off.

I am starting to take fish oil and glucosamine along with my other daily vitamins so hopefully that will offer some relief.

Please, please let me be able to continue to run.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Perfect Montana weekend

This past weekend was great! The only way that it could have been better was if Justin had been here to enjoy it with me (he is in China/LA for 2 more weeks).

First up was the Montana Made 5K Saturday morning. Blake and Joe were running it with me and we were ready (my boss opted out due to lack of preparation). At 9:32 am the horn sounded and we were off! It was a bit congested at first but it leveled out quickly. The pounding of 60+ runners was electric. It being later for me to be out running, it was noticeably warmer, the air thicker, the pressure on. I managed quite well, and finished in my best time yet, 27 minutes, 8 seconds (a bit under a 9 minute mile), however it was the longest 3.1 miles I have ever run. This is only because I wanted to do my best, and times were being noted. Joe and I had both set goals the night before. Mine was to finish in under 28 minutes. It felt great to accomplish the race in under my goal time.

Next up was a trip to Lindbergh Lake in the Swan Valley. W
e had hoped to leave town by 1:30, however, a stop off at Kettlehouse Brewing Company delayed that. We actually left town at 3pm and finally found a campsite around 6:30pm. We set up camp while Blake got the fire started for supper. Dinner, drinks, campfire songs and a lot of laughing later, we were ready for bed. Sunday, we walked around the campground and then took the short stroll through the woods to the lake, where we waded in and sunned ourselves on the beach for several hours.

Behind me, Joe, Kristy, Blake, and Kimra

Blake's friend Kimra, from San Fransisco, had a tattoo appointment at 6pm in town so we headed back and made it with just enough time to freshen up. I had gotten it into my head that I also wanted another tattoo, it having been 8 years since my last one, and having wanted another one for the better part of 2 years. Alas, they didn't have anyone available Sunday night to do one for I made an appointment for Monday morning!

The whole time I have lived in Missoula, this is the spur of the moment kind of weekend I have always wanted.

The joy is in the journey

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A ladder is all you need...

...when you live in the upper story of a house, and your door has mysteriously locked itself upon closing. That is precisely what I came home to after a quick trip up to Caras Park with Blake and Kristy. I know that I didn't lock the door. My neighbors were downstairs on their deck so I asked for their help, thinking that maybe I just need stronger leverage to lift the door a bit and then slide. This does not work.

We scan the neighborhood for a ladder, and find one leaning against the Euro shop next door. I wander over there and ask a lady on the back porch if I may borrow it. "Sure, sure" was her reply (I'm not really sure she understood me, as she spoke very choppy English and her Greek accent was strong). My neighbors Tom, and Marissa help me get the ladder up against the house and up to the second story window, where I will attempt to climb in. I should let you all know, I am afraid of heights, and the wobbly ladder did not help.

I made it to the window and the screen came out quite easily. I tossed it inside and followed it in. As it turns out, there is something wrong with the lock. I forced it to unlock and have yet to see if it will work and not have the same problem again.

I should note that I did make sure no police officers were around to arrest me!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New look

I've been meaning to change things up a bit just to be different so this is my blog's new look. What got me started on this quick project tonight was photographs. I was going through my pictures trying to decide which ones to print out for my apartment and got to thinking that my blog could use a new title photo. Well, that just changes my whole color scheme too!

In the last week I also moved my lounging chair over into the corner by the windows. I find that I spend much more time here, reading, drinking my coffee, writing blog posts, and just thinking. It has become my quiet space, and I enjoy it immensely.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quick trip to Glacier

This past Saturday, I left work a bit early (no surprise here) to head up to Glacier National Park to meet up with a retired former co-worker from Iowa. Karen and her husband were staying with some friends in West Glacier and as it is under 3 hours away, I decided to head up and spend the evening and most of Sunday with them.

It was great catching up and being able to reminisce about how work was in Ames, how it was different here, and how much she loves not working anymore! After I filled her in on all of the great stuff that I get to do on my days off, she understood completely why I love living in Montana so much.

We headed into the park after breakfast and I was able to make it past Logan Pass for the first time since 2004. It was a bit chilly with the windy conditions, but well worth getting out at several stops along the way.

On the way to Many Glacier, we came upon something that all five of us were hoping for: a bear sighting! Definitely a young Grizzly, there was no mother in sight, so we concluded that he was probably 2 years old and had just gotten the boot from mama bear.

My first Grizzly sighting!

We made it to Many Glacier Lodge where the views were spectacular. I checked out some information about a boat ride (2 actually) and a guided hike to Grinnell Glacier, which may be a fun weekend trip for Justin and I. Now, all we need is the time to go! With the beauty that the park has to offer, I don't think either of us will have too much trouble finding the time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The match is lit

I feel like I have so much to do, and I want to do all of it! First on the list is to decorate my apartment, which I started to do last Monday. Now I just have to pick out more photographs to have printed, which is always fun, and get them into their frames and on the wall. Next on the list is to start working on Italian, again, on a regular basis. Actually, that should be first on the list, so that I start it TODAY! Next up is to start making Mindy's way late birthday pendant and get it to her ASAP. Also I must finish another person's birthday gift and photograph it. And of course, there are the usual side distractions, like reading a good book, hanging out with friends, etc...

As far as work goes, I need to get my practice tests done so that I am ready to take the actual tests. I have scheduled time for next week to finish the one test I have already started (back in January), and all I have to do now is assemble it and set a stone. I should be especially motivated to do this, since a higher wage is involved once I have passed the Master level.

So, the fire has been lit, now only time will tell how long it stays ignited!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Training for a half marathon

Yep, I'm gonna do it. The plan is to run a half marathon while Justin runs a full marathon in Pocatello, ID. I never thought that I would run any kind of race, let alone a half marathon, but the energy this past weekend at Missoula's marathon convinced me to give it a try. I have been planning since the end of June to run a 5k on July 25th (which, by the way, fits right into my training schedule) with my boss but didn't think I would do anything more than that.

Blake hooked me up with a training program that just seems to fit. I am jumping in at week 5, which is exactly how long I've been running again, and the training schedule concludes right in sync with the half marathon on September 5th.

On Monday I joined Golds gym and resumed my lifting routine after a two week hiatus. On Tuesday, I was aware of every muscle in my body. After work, I was to run 4 miles, as per the schedule, but my abs were so tight and painful that I was only able to run 3. Wednesday morning I was able to run the prescribed 2 miles and did very well. Today's workout is to include lifting (which I did before work) and running 4 miles. I'm not so sure it will be in my best interest to run today, so I may shift the schedule around a bit and run tomorrow instead of resting, and take Saturday off instead of cross training. I ride my bike to work everyday so I think this kind of adjustment will be fine. Sunday's 6 mile run will be done very early in the morning as it is to get into the upper 90's that day. Now if only I could get Google Maps to load so I can figure out a good route...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Missoula Marathon 2009

Sunday was the third annual Missoula Marathon. I had already planned on cheering for my friend Taren and taking photos of her at the finish line when I got a message from Blake to come watch the runners/walkers pass in front of his house 3 blocks away. So I grabbed my coffee and was off. The energy on Walnut Street was inspiring, which made me realize, that maybe, just maybe, I could run a half marathon soon. Which is exactly what Justin was telling me in the days leading up to his departure for LA (he left on Saturday). Hmm, something to think about.

As the 4:45 pacer passed, I started to worry that we had missed my friend, so we started to walk up town, along the route. There she was! I was so excited to see her that I got goosebumps! Way to go Taren! 4 more miles to go...

With a quick call to Kimber (Taren's roommate and my very good friend) we were headed up to the finish line. I have never felt that kind of energy! We knew no one else running, but everyone that passed by we cheered for. Their smiles and shouts of thanks got us even more into it!

Taren crossing at 5:02:20

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Gratitude is something that I haven't given much thought. I am still reading The Diamond Cutter (I've been busy) and one section is about gratitude. I can't locate it in my notes but I do recall that it said that people who exercise gratitude are happier.

I will limit my list to five (one for each member of my family):

1. Family...without family, I would not exist. Daddy and I are buddies, who desperately need to go golfing again soon. Mom and I...hmm. There has been a distance as of late (besides geographically). Hopefully that will change soon. Maybe the reason for it is that she is letting me grow up and not rely so much on her...or perhaps it is just me being stubborn about something stupid. My oldest sibling, Jill...I feel that I have failed as a sister. We should be closer than what we are. This relationship is something that I will strive to do better at cultivating. My twin sister and I are like the Moon and the Sun, night and day. We are similar in so many ways, yet different in many more. I am often annoyed at this, but am drawn to her energy. Of all of my relatives, she is my strongest bond (duh).

2. these uncertain economical times, I am grateful that I have a job...and that, for the most part, I love it. I often say that I get paid to play at work. What better way to make a living? I can't imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life.

3. Friends...I am blessed with great friends back in Iowa, and I look forward to visiting them or vice versa. Here in Montana, it is much the same. With only one year down, I am very happy to say that I have a great group of friends that I feel I have a strong bond with already. Whether we are getting together to cook a meal, drink a glass of wine, play board games, or go hiking, I feel that I have made quality friends.

4. Nature...I am surrounded by it. They call Montana "Big Sky Country" for a reason. No matter where you are, there is a lot of sky to take in, and it is always different. After a year in Montana, I am still in awe. I hope that I never take for granted the beauty that is so readily available to all of us (no matter where we are).

5. Running...I resumed running on June 11. So far, no hip problems, and I hope that my luck will hold out. I have never looked forward to running as much as I do now. A year ago, it was therapeutic. It took my mind off of the things that I didn't want to think about. Now, it is more of a mind remains free for 90% of the time, not overwhelmed by my useless chatter.

Even when it is cloudy, the sun is still shining. If you start each day with a smile, you will be more likely to end each day that way as well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summiting Lolo Peak

After work on Saturday, Justin and I headed up to a campsite on Mormon Peak Road to meet up with Blake and Joe. We watched an amazing sunset after snacking on bread, cheese, hummus, and wine. We watched Missoula's fireworks display and then headed back to camp to turn in. Sunday was going to be a long and arduous day of hiking.

After a fitful night of sleep, the four of us were ready to hit the trail at 8:30am. We were on a mission: to summit Lolo Peak, elevation 9,140 feet. From where we started it was a 3,300 foot gain in elevation with an average grade of 23 percent and approximately 6.5 miles.

The four of us took pit stops as necessary. The picture above is at Carlton Ridge, elevation 8,252 feet. The peak on the left is our destination, Lolo Peak, the one on the right is North Peak. By this time, we had hiked on smooth trails for just over 4 miles.

The trail leading to the above lake, Carlton Lake, was all downhill (finally), and surrounded by beautiful vegetation and little yellow flowers. We did not linger long here, as the mosquitos were horrible. Instead, we hiked along the lake to where we would start the long scramble across boulders to get to the base of Lolo Peak, where we would scramble up more boulders. Unfortunately, this is where our first injury happened. While climbing over rocks, a large 60 pound boulder fell on Blake's foot. No broken bones, however he chose at this time that he would not summit with us. Instead, he elected to wait in the area for us. About this time, we had our first encounter with the spontaneous mountain weather. It hailed on us for about 15 minutes.

Justin, Joe, and myself carried on. We made it to the top of Lolo Peak just before 2pm without incident.

The view from the top was amazing. Snow covered valleys and mountains that you can only see from Lolo Peak or a plane were right in front of us. We enjoyed the view for about 20 minutes or so and decided to head back down, as another front seemed to be moving in, and it did. This time the hail was larger and seemed to hurt quite a bit more. Trying to move as quickly and as safely as possible, I still took a small tumble. No damage beyond a few bruises and a long scrape on my leg, we made it down to scramble over more rocks to meet up with Blake.

We completed the rest of the hike in a light rain, reaching the trail head at 5:50pm, 9 hours and 20 minutes after starting. From there, we headed to The Jack for a couple of beers and appetizers, then off to Lolo Hot Springs for a much needed soak.

Although I was very tired and sore from my adventures, I had a blast. This is certainly a weekend I will remember for quite some time.