At 53, I’d probably be considered young on Vulcan…

30 08 2009

…..but here on this planet, I am one old ass bitch!

As a testament to my age, I reached an age-related healthcare milestone this past Thursday:  I had my first screening colonoscopy.  I also an EGD as well because of my history of reflux.  Other than snipping out one colon polyp for which I’m still awaiting a biopsy report, I was given a clean bill of gastrointestinal health.  Honestly, despite all the dread that caused me to wait 3 extra years before getting the procedure done, it was not bad at all.  The worst part was starving for a day and drinking 2 liters of the awful-tasting prep stuff then having explosive watery diarrhea for a few hours.  I don’t even remember the colonoscopy/EGD themselves.  According to my husband, I told the recovery room nurse” Wow, I haven’t felt that good since the 70s!”  LOL……I do remember thinking as I went under that I felt like I did the time in high school when I did Quaaludes with my friend Renee.  Anyway, I do not recommend waiting as long as I did to have the screening, because it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds and a hell of a lot better than ending up with a cancer that could have been caught/prevented.  Again I am proving myself to be one of those “do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do” doctors!

I was back up and running two days after the roto-rooter job and that was when my age was once again made apparent by way of  aches, pains and deficient stamina.  I did a 5 mile run on Saturday with more than a few walking breaks given the upward slope of some of the streets around here and the stiff headwind blowing from the west.  My legs and lungs seemed to be competing to slow me down with plenty of encouragement from the extra weight I’m carrying around right now.   I will never ever quit as long as I can put one foot in front of the other but I do think I sometimes I go too easy on myself.   I would so LOVE to have a running buddy that would keep me moving along when my ancient parts try to persuade me that it’s time for a little walk-break.  But then again, there are not that many newbie runners in my age group to be found so I will continue to plod along solo as long as need be.

Friday was a cross-training day.  I rode my bike about 15 miles.

Saturday I did the run and then dug up bushes in front of the house to transplant in the back yard.

Today (Sunday) was an off-day and I worked. 

More later….

A few days in sick bay…back soon!

27 08 2009

Breaching the warped core

25 08 2009

Never a big fan of sit-ups and lower body crunches, I also know I’ll never be skinny enough to have a six-pack, so I have not spent a great deal of exercise effort on abs and the like.  And anybody who’s read this journal knows I tend to skimp on the stuff I don’t really care for.  However, I’ve been reading so much lately about the value of corework in running as well as athletics in general that I decided to turn over a new leaf.  I was looking for a quick and simple program that would give me the most benefit in a short time.  Of course, I turned to my favorite website: and found what seemed to be an fairly easy routine that would produce great results.   I thought “well, if it works for Lolo Jones, I’d better try it” because she is not only an Olympic hurdler but she has a great body.

So I printed it out from the Runner’s World website:,7120,s6-238-263-266-13030-0,00.html and then got down on the floor thinking I would breeze right through it.  WRONG!  Wow.  It was much tougher than it looks.  At least for fat old me, anyway.  I’m going to stick with it though and see what it does for me.  As tough as it is, it can only help.

Yesterday’s workout was a 3.5 mile run through the hilly woods near my home.  Today is a long bike ride and Lolo’s core routine.

More tomorrow….

“Time’s Arrow” is not just an episode of ST:TNG….

22 08 2009

….but it is that which slices through my life when I try to fit in everything I need to do and want to do!  Aaarrrgghh!  This is my one-day weekend, the day after a trio of crazy shifts at work, my cousin’s out-of-town wedding day AND the day for my long run. 

It is also a day I overslept.  Damn!

I shortened the run to 3.5 miles and skipped the corework I had planned.  But I got something done anyway.  And now it’s off to be pulled in another direction.

More tomorrow….

Where is the TARDIS when you need a ride back through time?

19 08 2009

I was SO FREAKIN’ BUSY today, it is absolutely ridiculous!  I’m working a rather insane trio of days right now:  an afternoon/evening shift today, an early morning shift tomorrow and a 13-hour open-to-close shift at the urgent care on Friday. 

My husband, the slender, rather sedentary soon-to-be-ex-smoker, has turned out to be the one with more middle-aged health issues than I, and so I’ve added to my calendar the task of ensuring healthy brown bag meals for him to take to work (because he can’t just breeze through Whole Foods on his way to work like I can).  This entails a lot of planning, shopping, advance-preparing, then finishing and packing every Monday-Friday.  I’m also completely addicted to the internet and have to feed my habit daily.  And I start to get twitchy when I don’t keep up with my training schedule.  Consequently, when time is short, I am frazzled!

That was the case today when I slept too late and had too much that I “absolutely had to do” in about 2 hours.  I’ve been advised by my podiatrist that I need to give my bad metatarsal “some TLC” along with a Medrol Dose Pack, even though it is getting better.  He stopped short of telling me not to run but emphasized that rest, alternating hot and cold water soaks, and the medication — with possibly even a stint of physical therapy — needed to be Number One on my agenda right now.  And since my “Run Less Run Faster” training program starts the second week of September, it is really crucial that I be ready to go.

So in an effort to keep myself moving forward after having taken the past two days off, I decided an hour’s bike ride would work my legs enough to suffice as a decent cross-training session.  But I had all this other stuff to do too, in order to live up to my other expectations in life.    I ended up getting about 45 minutes of riding done, followed by about 10 minutes of lackluster corework.  But I felt edgy and shortchanged because it just didn’t seem like enough.

What I need is a machine that will take me back in time, just a couple of hours, so that I could get in everything I need to do, everything I want to do and everything else everyone expects me to do.  I need a TARDIS.  Will someone page Doctor Who?

More tomorrow……another whirlwind day is planned.

If the Klingons won’t eat qagh on Meatless Monday, then neither will I.

17 08 2009

I’ve been reading “The Complete Book of Running” by Amby Burfoot along with my personal bible, “Run Less, Run Faster” , and was initially surprised at some of the nutrition advice.  Amby comes right out and says runners should be vegetarians while Bill Pierce suggest a mostly plant-based diet.  As someone who has always been more of a strength-training devotee than a runner, I’m used to being told to chow on meat by the fistful after maybe waving a piece of spinach over it.

The virtues of produce are many.    The indigestible parts of the plant bundle up with dietary cholesterol and carry it out of the body before it can be recycled from the colon and float around the bloodstream looking for an artery to clog.  Plants are a source of moisture which is invaluable to us “ugly bags of mostly water” in our quest to stay hydrated.  And all that fiber helps you poop, which is very important in preventing diverticulosis and other nasty colonic consequences.

I toyed with vegetarianism once before, back in the early 1990s, and actually went over a year without eating meat.  At the time I did it for weight control and cholesterol reduction, although it accomplished neither.  I ended up eating a lot of omelets, cheese subs and pasta—-managing to stay fat with a total cholesterol in the 180s, rather than 150s I assumed it would achieve.  When I transferred from community college to the University, I went back to eating meat for the sake of convenience.  Given the fact that I went to school during the day, worked in the evening and studied all night, I didn’t have much time to cook and soon tired of eating French fries at the drive-through.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about Meatless Mondays, proposed by Johns Hopkins in 2003 to ease the planetary burden of raising animals for food consumption as well as improve the health of those who eat them.  It’s been knocking around in my brain as “something I should do” to help achieve both of those aims.  I tried it last week and it worked out mostly okay.  I ended up eating a little bit of chicken at lunch but was meatless otherwise the entire day.  I did it again today and was 100% successful.  I managed to eat eggs without meat for breakfast (something I rarely ever do), with bruschetta and a salad for lunch, followed by a wonderful homemade vegetable barley soup made by my dear sweet Fred.  I snacked on fruit throughout the day, and it was as sweet as any chocolate I might have reached for instead.

I like Meatless Mondays, and will incorporate them into my weekly menu-planning.  It’s a great way to get more variety in my diet, and I think it will make me feel better too.  I feel somehow lighter and more energetic today, unless that’s my imagination. 

As far as my training plan goes, today ended up being an unexpected day off due to foot pain.  I’m seeing the podiatrist tomorrow and will hopefully just shift my workout plans forward by one day.

More later…..

Just a short trek today

16 08 2009

Getting ready to go back to work after four days off is never easy!  There is laundry to be done, menu-planning and grocery-shopping, straightening up the house, cooking enough food to last a couple of days, filling the gas tank and……oh yeah, it’s a cross training day on my workout calendar too.

A short bike ride around the subdivision in the morning followed by a quick weights workout in the evening had to suffice today.  Vidiot that I am, I did a combo of 2 workout DVDs tonight:  warmup and bi/tri/shoulders from Kelly Coffey-Meyer’s 30 Minutes to Fitness, followed by legs/chest/back  and stretch from Cathe’s Supersets.

Tomorrow is core and speedwork.

Midi-Chlorians like Skywalker or the Mitochondria of a Kenyan…

15 08 2009

…that’s what I need.  I went on my first “long” training run in about 3 weeks today—-only 4 and 1/2 miles, a distance not considered long at all by many runners—-but it kicked my ass.   I had stayed up late last night so I didn’t even get out of bed until about 8:30 am, and it was after 10:00 by the time I’d gotten coffee and pulled myself together.  That strategy worked last fall and this past spring when I was training, but in mid-August it’s a little misguided.  It was already 73 degrees, sunny and humid when I started out and only got more so as time went on.

I ran through the local forest preserve which has more shade than my subdivision with its baby trees and bright glaring concrete.  I made it through the first 3 miles or so in decent order but really struggled the last bit, doing more walking than running, especially up the hills.  I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much either!  My stamina really does suck right now.

The good news about stamina though is that it can be rebuilt.  As your body endures each new assault upon its energy stores, it responds by making more mitochondria—-the “workbench of the cell”, according to my freshman college biology professor.  And I do love my mitochondria!  When I found out they were endosymbionts believed to be a bacteria-like species that became a part of our cellular structure about a gajillion years ago, this tickled the heck out of the Trekkie in me.  I sometimes smile during a run as I mentally compare myself to a Trill carrying around all of my little symbionts and encouraging them to replicate more and more with every step.  It really doesn’t take much amuse me.

The Star Wars Midi-Chlorians are supposed to be loosely based on mitochondria and Anakin Skywalker had the highest of anyone ever.  We all know what happened to him, the fallen angel of the Star Wars bible, but I’ll bet he could have run a kick-ass marathon!  As I was urging myself forward through the heat today, I wondered if Skywalker would outrun a Kenyan.  I know I can’t, but I sure wish some generous Kenyan mitochondrion would come along and share a few speed, distance and endurance plasmids with mine.

More tomorrow…

My 12 year mission: to explore strange new sports; to seek out new quotes and new inspiration….

15 08 2009

I’ve recently been looking for a mantra that I can recite to myself to keep me moving forward.  When I was in medical school, I used to repeat “failure is not an option” over and over because it really wasn’t.  By the time I’d taken out all those loans, I had no choice but to succeed.  I couldn’t have paid them off on a secretary’s wages and I would have been so embarassed by failure, I would have had to leave town.

My quest to be an athlete is dissimilar in that I will never fail as long as I never quit.  The physical activity is its own reward as both the means and the end.  What I need is something that will make me push myself to go longer, farther and harder when I think I can’t do it.  It needs to be inspirational but not schmaltzy and matter-of-fact but not macho—–somewhere mid-spectrum in between Louise Hay and Jillian Michaels, I guess.

I have a couple of cool quotes stuck to the side of my fridge alongside my recent racing bibs:

“When you have the enthusiasm and the passion, you end up figuring out how to excel.”
– Deena Kastor


“If you’re starting out or trying to get to the next level, surround yourself with people who keep you motivated and energized–people who inspire you to achieve your best every day.  When you do this, you can’t lose”
– Anthony Famiglietti

Now these are both just great and they give me a rush every time I see them, but they’re not exactly chantworthy.   A mantra needs to be something that can gush forth through clenched teeth in lieu of vomit when I feel like I can’t go another step; something I can repeat with every determined footfall as I stride to victory; something that can fit on a T-shirt if I ever became famous.  And I’m still searching for it.

Today’s training session was a brief but enjoyable trio of short workouts with Fred.  We rode the bikes for about 30 minutes, then walked the dogs a couple of miles, then went downstairs and did a quick upper body weights workout followed by a bit of half-hearted corework.

We rewarded ourselves by going to see “District 9”, the new sci-fi movie that came out today, at the new theater complex they built at the local mall.  It was a good movie and the seats were so comfortable.  Then we came home and ate pizza.  I didn’t put mayo on it like Bill Rodgers but did have creamy garlic dressing on my side salad.  Gonna have to run an extra mile tomorrow for sure.

More to come…

Encounter at Midpoint — Lianne, the Next Generation

13 08 2009

I seem to have a peculiar worldview.  I feel like “I still have my whole life in front of me” even though I’m already 53 years old.  I’m ready to try new things and keep moving forward even as those around me “settle into AARPness”, as a good friend stated recently.  Maybe I’m nuts but I don’t see that I really have any limitations–which is exactly how I felt when I was a 37 year old college  freshman aspiring to eventually go on to medical school (which I successfully completed)–despite the much-cliched “odds stacked against” me and to the possible chagrin of my local doomsayers.

My latest adventure involves nurturing my long-dormant  inner athlete, just like I resurrected the “good student” that had been set aside for two decades back in 1993 when I started school.  I privately call this latest phase of life “the era of the athlete” because I intend to spend the next decade or so pursuing goals that will cultivate myself physically as much as college and med school did for me mentally.  Hopefully it will be much more fun and nowhere near as grueling!

So lately I’ve taken up running and I do enjoy it, even though I’m told I’m more of a jogger than a runner because it takes me greater than 10 minutes to run a mile.  Yeah right, whatever, who cares?  In the words of John “the Penguin” Bingham, “I’m slow.  I know.  Get over it.” 

What inspired me to start this blog was a desire to chronicle my life and training as I attempt to move up from 5-K and 10-K races to a half-marathon.  I registered for the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon in Orlando on January 10,  2010, which is roughly 22 weeks from now.  I ran in the Cleveland Marathon’s 10-K back in May and liked it so much that I wanted to push myself a little farther by moving up to the next distance.   Since we take an annual winter vacation in Florida anyway, the Disney half was a perfect fit.

Now it wouldn’t be very Lianne-like if there wasn’t some crazy obstacle to overcome, so I naturally managed to get injured, slack off, lose some stamina and gain some weight.  So here I am.

 I’m going to be following the FIRST regimen which I learned about in Runner’s World.  It involves 3 running days and 2 cross-training days each week along with flexibility and strength sessions.  I followed it loosely for the 10-K and liked it quite a bit.  Given my unpredictable work schedule at the urgent care centers, I wanted something with variety as well as a bit of flexibility.  The program is 18 weeks long and I will be officially starting in early September, but this is my “getting ready to get ready” phase.

I’ve been doing a bit of running, a bit of biking and not nearly enough strength and flexibility training over the summer, so I plan to ramp it up over the rest of this month in order to be able to follow the program as religiously as I ever follow anything.

More tomorrow….