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Rhabdomyolysis: The Elephant In The Room

I’ve gone missing again… for valid reasons this time. Today’s post is about the elephant in the room: Rhabdomyolysis. Specifically, Exertional Rhabdomyolysis.

I’ve had it before, I just know it: the inability to extend or flex my arms, the searing pain in my legs even while at rest. Rhabdomyolysis is what people in the fitness world don’t want to talk about, don’t like to talk about, or (shamefully) are unaware it even exists.

My experience does not reflect on my trainers, my gym, my yoga instructor or studio, or even my friend I went dancing with on Saturday night. I repeat, my illness was not a result of poor training or instruction. My rhabdomyolysis experience was a result of a perfect storm:

  • my lack of hydration all week long & tons of coffee
  • a pretty rough workout at CrossFit on Friday (programmed by Dave Castro, 16.5, aka Thrusters & Burpees for 84 reps each)
  • some beer, even less water
  • a hot yoga session on Saturday
  • more beer & less water
  • and a sweaty (but fun!) 45 minutes of dancing Saturday night

Then on Easter Sunday… I woke up and couldn’t bend my right arm past 90. 

Definition: Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers and release of toxins into the bloodstream. In many cases, it may cause kidney damage and sometimes heart rhythm disruption.

I drank a lot of water on Sunday, but the swelling and pain had already set in to my biceps and triceps. I looked “swole”. That was never–NEVER–my intention. I’ve been active regularly for over 6 years now. I’ve never wanted to inadvertently get my swole on… And I don’t want you to, either.

Thankfully I work at the VA hospital and my employee physical was on Tuesday. I asked the doc to run my numbers… he reluctantly obliged… then he called me in a panic. My numbers were not sky high compared to what some of my friends have had before. All of these people were hospitalized.

  • Friend 1: over 100,000
  • Friend 2: 25,000
  • Friend 3: 33,000
  • Friend 4: 6,500
  • Me: 9,523 (170 is about normal for a rested female)

A few super intelligent medical friends and I figured I had peaked on Sunday or Monday, so I opted to hydrate at home and retest on Wednesday. My lab came back at 12,554. Considering the labs went back up after almost 24 hours exactly, and considering the sheer volume of hydration I was getting, it was time to go to the hospital.

Studies show Rhabdomyolysis (I’ve capitalized it to give it the respect it deserves) in athletes may have higher baseline numbers than 170, but no “athlete normal” range has been established. A higher baseline makes sense when you think about what the condition actually is. Athletes who train regularly have muscle breakdown regularly. If I had to take a guess, I’d say that the “athlete normal” is still less than 1000, but no one knows for sure; 12,554 was simply way too high to be ignored.

Sometimes you have to hold your hand up in the air to prevent even more swelling.
Sometimes you have to hold your hand up in the air to prevent even more swelling because of the IV fluids. A necessary evil.
So I went to the ER, where my friend happened to be working. She stormed out of the triage area and sternly wondered why I was there. I showed her my labs, she got me right in, I had an IV hooked up within the hour, and was quickly awaiting admission.

I had 3 full bags of saline in me by 8:30pm. I basically ballooned from all the fluid. Of the few people who knew I was in the hospital, the couple that sat with me can attest that I was going a little cuckoo because of my signs of hypervolemia: shortness of breath, headache, dizziness.

Over the course of 48 hours, my CK numbers were still reluctant to come down. They kept spiking when I was off of the IV fluids. Oral hydration alone couldn’t keep the CK numbers down: it was a frustrating experience. But despite all of the concern, my kidney function was perfect. Being in the hospital when you feel healthy is one of the worst things ever. I knew my blood needed diluted & flushed, but I felt fine. Finally, the number stayed below 5000, and I was released on April Fool’s Day. No joke.

I still had elbows, but I was plump.
I still had elbows, but I was plump.
Why did I go to the hospital? Rhabdomyolysis can be horrible. Kidney function is not something you should gamble with!

And Rhabdomyolysis can happen at any time if the conditions are right. It can happen to anybody. And none of us who has had it should be made to feel like a pariah for it. We should not feel ostracized. It’s not like we were searching to incorporate Uncle Rhabdo into our family tree.

We don’t want anyone to get Rhabdomyolysis. So you need to be educated. Yes, you, Mr. Newbie, and you, Mrs. All Star. Everyone should be educated.

Warning Signs (not all-inclusive):

 Pain (even at rest)
 Muscle Weakness
 Gross Swelling or Muscle Cramping
 Muscle “Tightness”, Difficulty Moving Muscles
 Dark Brown Urine

Prevention Techniques:

 Stay HYDRATED!
 Avoid jumping into high intensity workouts without proper introduction.
 Don’t forget salt! Electrolytes are important.
 Hydration is even more important during hotter temperatures.
 Lay off the booze post-workout.

Activities That Can Cause Exertional Rhabdomyolysis:

Running: hill work, marathons, tough trail runs, etc
 Spinning Classes
 High Intensity Interval Training, CrossFit-Style or Military Training-Style Workouts
 Hot Yoga
 Weightlifting: super sets, bicep curls, high-rep deadlifts, etc

Your best bet for keeping Rhabdomyolysis at bay is to keep prevention at the forefront of your mind and then put it into action. Being mindful of drinking water does nothing for your actual hydration levels if you don’t actually drink the water. And you definitely need to watch for all the warning signs. Please note, though, that 50% of the time you won’t be able to recognize that there’s even a problem. Sometimes you might simply feel sore in a different way than normal.

Be careful with your hydration and training state in long distance running. Listen to your body and stop a workout with any sign of overexertion or hyperthermia. And if you still get Rhabdomyolysis despite being well-hydrated and well-trained… don’t make yourself feel bad. PLEASE–just go get treatment, check your kidney function, and be an ultimate Rhabdo educator for all those around you.

Last note: my pee was NEVER brown, so don’t use that as your only measuring stick.

Resources for you:
Breaking Muscle: A Scientific Looks at Rhabdomyolysis

Recovery Time in Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

The CrossFit Journal’s Take on Rhabdomyolysis

A Super-Old Web Article With Lots of Comments

Another Person’s Account of Her Rhabdo Experience

Almost a Mirror of My Rhabdomyolysis Story: 2014 Edition

Race Recap: Disney’s Enchanted 10K & Princess Half Marathon (Glass Slipper Challenge)

The Glass Slipper Challenge is done. Welcome back to the half marathon world, Meghan. Your injury took you out pretty hard, but you proved your resilience and strength. Care to tell us your thoughts on the 10K & Half Marathon?

The Disney Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon (Glass Slipper Challenge) were Saturday & Sunday this weekend. I’ll make this short for those that just want to see the pictures: 3am wake up calls are no joke when you are running races. 🙂

Inside the race retreat kids area: Hercules, bean bags, and a bunch of adults about to run 13.1 miles in less than an hour.
Inside the race retreat kids area: Hercules, bean bags, and a bunch of adults about to run 13.1 miles in less than an hour.

Day 1 (Thursday): drive to Cincinnati, fly to Orlando, go to race expo, spend lots of money, eat dinner at the “resort”, go to bed happy.

Day 2: Magic Kingdom! 3:30pm dinner at Be Our Guest. Go to bed happy at 8:30pm.

Day 3 (Enchanted 10K): 3am wake up call, on bus by 4am, wait around until 5:30am, run 6.2 miles, lose my Minnie Ears at mile 6.18999384439, take a 2 hour nap, eat 3:30pm dinner at The Boathouse, bedtime at 8:30pm.

Day 4 (Princess Half Marathon): Now the good stuff, and I’m sure it’s the reason why you are here reading this post. 🙂 The half marathon was a great experiences. Disney really knows what they are doing when it comes to organizing races. Maybe a few more shuttles could have been utilized, but 3 at a time came by our hotel in basically 15 minute intervals, so I can’t really complain too much.

We got to the race retreat and had a bagel & cream cheese. Then we followed the massive crowds to our corral (D). The 10K waiting period was terrible because you only walked 400 meters at most to get the corral. This time we walked almost a mile to get to the start line. My mother wondered aloud, “can we count this to our 13 miles?”

Miss America was there and she sang the national anthem. The Fairy Godmother was the official starter, who sent us on our way with her magic words and fireworks. And we were off running. I was concerned my legs weren’t going to be able to hold up because of the difficulties I had during the 10K. I was right. The Glass Slipper Challenge was no joke!

My hamstrings were leaden. It was almost awful. But definitely not as bad as Run The Bluegrass or the Diva. Taylor was struggling because of her sunburn gift the Florida weather gave her the day before. Not sure how she even moved with as bad as the sunburn was. Momma Elkins seemed to be strong.

Here we are with the REAL Anastasia, Lady Tremaine, and Drizella.
Here we are with the REAL Anastasia, Lady Tremaine, and Drizella.

Our costumes: Taylor was Cinderella. Mom was Anastasia. And I was Drizella! I had a lot of fun with it… even though my choker couldn’t stay on for longer than the bus ride to the race. 🙂 Seriously, this picture might be my favorite photograph that’s ever been taken in the history of Disney races. 🙂

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WE wanted to go to the ball instead of Cinderella.
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SEE- Drizella’s foot can fit in the glass slipper. (You can’t see the glass slipper because I’ve got it covered up with my running shoe.)

The Glass Slipper Challenge was certainly a challenge for me. Coming off of injury, I wasn’t sure how my ankle was going to hold up across the 13 miles. I think it did okay; only a little swelling post race. My heart rate was sky high through the race… and my breathing was off… but I’ve got things to work on now, I guess, right? Eventually my legs will realize they are strong again, and my cardio-respiratory-capacities will normalize. I can’t wait for that day.

Water & Aid Stops: bravo to Disney volunteers! There was just about a 1:1 ratio of water stops to miles. Only one food station–Gu. Yuck. I could really support the addition of jelly beans or other candy (or fruit) to the aid stations. Bravo to the medical teams, too. I almost got feisty with a medic because he wouldn’t give me the Coca-Cola that was sitting off to the side. I just needed some carbs! He wanted me to drink PowerAde for the electrolytes. Look, dude, I know what my body can handle, and it loves Coke during a half marathon. Just give me a half glass. And thanks for the Tylenol. 🙂

The Medals (aka The Bling): I’m so so so excited for the medals. The bling really are awesome. Super heavy, good quality engraving, nice sparkles! Worth running two races for three medals.

The Mile Markers: My only complaint with the mile markers is the one thing I liked about them being in the dark. The lights inside the markers make them stand out from far away, and you can actually see them in the pre-dawn hours. But the lit-up signs create difficult lighting challenges for photographs. Catch-22.

The Race Retreat: To be honest, I think the retreat is worth the extra cost… but maybe not $150 extra. I get too nauseous post-races for me to enjoy a full breakfast. The cold drinks and the medical attention under the huge tent were worth it, though. And the fact that it was covered from the elements made for a good bonus. I’d buy a ticket again, I think.

Overall: My mom doesn’t want to run another Disney race because she wants to do Disney when she comes to Disney World. Running 19.3 miles in two days make for tired legs. Tired legs make for difficult navigation in the parks. I get what she is saying, but I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I will definitely do another Disney Race. Wine & Dine opens on March 16th!

I LOVE Main Street USA. Such joy!
I LOVE Main Street USA. Such joy!
I did NOT love Mile 10. I was so done with this race.
I did NOT love Mile 10. I was so done with this race.
My feather stayed in my hair! So excited! Almost done!
My feather stayed in my hair! So excited! Almost done!
Thank you, Fairy Godmother, for making my dreams come true!
Thank you, Fairy Godmother, for making my dreams come true!
And the BEST part of the day: meeting Mickey Mouse! I haven't met him since I was 2 years old. And this time I was wearing my race bling!
And the BEST part of the day: meeting Mickey Mouse! I haven’t met him since I was 2 years old. And this time I was wearing my race bling!

Old School CrossFit

Gritty gym, hodge podge of plates, hard work.
Gritty gym, hodge podge of plates, hard work.
I want you to read this post from Lisbeth Darsh: What Is Pre-Bok? And What Does It Mean?

She is Old School CrossFit. I’m definitely Pre-Bok CrossFit, but she’s OG. I’ve admired her writing for a very long time. Her post got me to thinking about the lack of that old school attitude I’ve been experiencing recently. She states this attitude “was a tough but inclusive ‘suck it up, buttercup’ mentality—a more rough-and-tumble community mindset that hugged you at the same time it slapped you on the ass.”

Certainly, I’ve experienced that a few times recently, but not every day. And we certainly can be rough-and-tumble. But are we tough? Are we inclusive?

What happened to working towards our goals?
What happened to working towards our goals?
I need to be striving to be the type of athlete Lisbeth mentions. Tough, inclusive, driven, but kind. I think I’ve lost a lot of that type of persona, and I want it back. I think a lot of times we can all be complacent in our skill sets or in our drive to become a better version of ourselves. We also lose sight of our goals.

Old School CrossFit is your coach talking in a stern, caring voice- “pick up that bar; don’t put that bar down; SPRINT!!!” Old School CrossFit is about grit and intensity. I’ve been working hard, sure, but have I embodied grit? Have I given my heart on the mat?

I heard about CrossFit in January 2010. My friend Mark said, I should try CrossFit. I’d really like CrossFit. So on August 23, 2010, I watched my first CrossFit video that propelled me over the edge. I knew, after watching the video, that I would have to join the local CrossFit box. At that time, no one really went to CrossFit. It was too expensive, too intimidating, too intense. I needed all of that. I was just a resident, so I didn’t have a lot of money… so the expense was difficult at times, but oh-so-worth-it.

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_WOD100824_CFSC.mov

There’s a certain amount of intensity and enthusiasm that has been missing in my box life. I’m ready to get back there. I want to fall in love with CrossFit every time I set foot in the box. I want to tell my friends to suck it up, buttercup. I want them to push me to try just a little harder.

Tuesday night at CrossFit Thunder I found myself back in that original, Old School CrossFit atmosphere. A 30-person workout certainly creates that organized chaos, but I remember times when even a 3-person class had that intensity. So the Old School CrossFit atmosphere, attitude, intensity, enthusiasm… wow, I’ve missed that.

I think that we as a community should strive with every part of our being to keep that spirit up continuously. I need that. WE need that. 

What say you? If you are newer to the CrossFit world, what are your thoughts regarding this supposed attitude of the earlier Old School CrossFit days?

You Can’t Rush Your Healing

You can’t rush your healing. Did you know that’s a song? Don’t worry, I’ll link it below. My self-pity has been in overdrive recently because of my injured ankle. All I want is healing. Stick around to sympathize if you want.

Remember this injury in December?

Healing is top priority for me. The song says you can’t rush your healing, but I really want it to get better more quickly. My ankle hurts and all I want to do is get out into the world running the trails, doing the movements I want without pain. It’s so frustrating on many levels. Two weeks ago was spent in quite a bit of pain, and I was convinced that healing wasn’t going to be coming any time soon. I was freaking out, sort of. 

Admittedly, my ankle is much better than depicted in this photo.
 

Recent thoughts regarding my sprained ankle healing delay:

  1. Not FOMO, but I literally am missing out on time with friends. It sucks!! Feeling lonesome, feeling like I’ll never be back out there on the trails, it’s a rough thought.
  2. Disney Princess Challenge is February 20th & 21st. That’s 19.3 miles across 2 days. Will my ankle be able to support me throughout this journey? I am terrified I won’t be able to make it, that my healing will not have finished by then. This fear is coming from the girl who decided the Flying Pig 4-way challenge could be done on essentially zero training in the months prior. The pain of over 35 miles in one weekend was a little physical, but mostly mental. But what if it really is all physical with the Disney race?
  3. Some movements are painful, others aren’t, but I have no idea which movements will cause extreme pain until it happens. That sucks, too!! Example: running = not awful. Child’s pose = terrible pain. Hopping over stuff = not bad. Jumping on a box = excruciating.
  4. Am I going to be able to ski when I finally make it to Snowshoe? Am I going to be able to fit my ankle into the boot? Will I even be able to take it OUT of the boot?

Update: child’s pose last week wasn’t terrible! It was bearable! Maybe I am healing??? Update #2: I put a boot on! It fits and I skied in Huntington last weekend (see this post here) without any issues except for awful calf and arch cramps. Update #3: I did light wall balls and double unders today. It’s progress, people!!

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It’s still swollen. uh oh
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It fits! my foot fits in the boot!

It’s a rough go, being stuck in physical recovery. You can’t rush your healing, right? But the surprises as healing happens can show you that it can be astounding how our body responds! I’m editing this post after my new-found child’s pose revolution, so let’s just say I was so excited during my yoga class that my mind was buzzing during savasana. And on the second round of edits, I’m nervous that even though I’m healing and can ski, I won’t be able to ski that long before I need a break.

Or how about at CrossFit during the team workout on last Sunday? I wasn’t expecting much success. I’ve been a gimp for a while now. The Team WOD is always enjoyable because of the others surrounding you, but I hate letting my team down. I cannot row with ankle–turns out that ankle flexion + explosive force does not make for a pleasant experience.

But guess what? Turns out I CAN row. It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world, and it wasn’t completely pain-free, but holy cow, I can row. Healing, my friends.  

Okay, enough of the pity party. Let’s stop pitying me. Let me stop pitying myself. Celebrate my wins:

  • I saw friends at the gym.
  • I cleaned 95# during the workout.
  • Rowing didn’t hurt so bad.
  • Child’s pose was more enjoyable without searing pain.
  • I can take a ski boot off without crying.

Now let’s get back to healing!

Snow! Let It Snow!

Subarus say: let it snow!
Two lonely Subarus. Come play with us!

I adore, cherish, and am obsessed with snow. I am obsessed with skiing, playing in the snow, driving in the snow, and being in a winter paradise. Exhibits A, B, C, and D (D might be my favorite post). Let It Snow!!

 

So this weekend, Winter Storm Jonas has propelled these three days into my top 10 best 72 hours of my life. My top 10 are huge moments in my life: SCO graduation, dancing in Mexico, naming my Sister (Taylored To Perfection— I named her blog, too). I went in with zero expectations and wow! I’ve been blessed with amazing memories.

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Friday: Let It Snow! For real… like, let it snow 12 inches.

I had to go to work before the storm hit. Who else had to report? The director released us at noon, but I was able to head home just after 11 in basically a white-out. Ashley wanted to play in the treacherous weather… why not?!?

The 0.9 mile walk to her house was quite difficult to traverse, but let’s hear it for adventure! So 0.9 miles of fresh snow and photo ops galore. My acquaintance Bobbie Spry took photos of folks in Charleston, West Virginia; I felt like doing the same. Thanks to these fine folks for posing. Sorry I didn’t get a photo waiver, but I did ask their permission:

And lo! Behold! My yoga/running/blogging friend Kayla (The Mountain Gypsy) was out, too! What are the odds!?!?

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Click photo to check out Kayla’s blog.

Made it to Ashley’s. Stripped 2 layers. We made it to the top of Ritter Park. And then we proceeded to fail at Adult Sledding. A baking pan and a Lululemon bag do not a success make.

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It’s no secret that my Christian faith is central to my existence and understanding of this world. I truly believe God provides for us in all of our essential needs. But, I also feel He provides for our completely nonessential-but-life-enhancing-needs. Our little rag-tag group needed a sled.

God gave us a sled. An abandoned sled just for us. Let It Snow!!

My heart beat with sheer joy. That’s all I had to offer anyone at Ritter Park that day: joy.

 

Saturday & Sunday

Both days were spent with a mixture of TV watching, hand lettering, guitar playing, and coffee drinking. And both days also involved a little Subaru + snow play! Let It Snow!!!

Up some hills, down some hills. No problems at all with either my Subaru, my skis, or my sled. My skis, you say? Yes, you read that right. I skied on Sunday. In Huntington, West Virginia. Is that legal?

Oh, and I also got a little Stephens family fun time. Here’s P when I first got there.

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And here the view from my Subaru. See that rut in the snow on the left? I parked there.

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Here’s the deal: snow happens. I choose to love snow and let the happiness exude from every ounce of my being. I say, “let it snow!” Let it snow. Keep snowing. I’ll keep smiling, driving, and skiing.

All The Things I Eat While Running

Gu? Nope. Honey Stingers? Try again. My GI tract rejects all the things runners are “supposed” to eat, so let’s take a look at all the things I DO eat while running. ? Note this list is all-inclusive. At one point or another I have eaten an item on this list during a race. 

  • Jolly Ranchers (grape and blue rasperry are what I stock my race belt with… I highly recommend). 
  • Kit Kats
  • Oreos
  • Snickers
  • Update: Tootsie Rolls (always in my race belt)
  • Chocolate-covered pretzels with sprinkles
  • Update: Dum Dum Butterscotch Sucker (Marshall Half 2015… I sang the whole jingle and the sucker lasted for 2.25 miles, no joke)
  • Krispy Kreme donuts
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Hostess Donuts (see a trend?)
  • Fruit Loops (Run the Bluegrass. Not my favorite snack, not my favorite race, but whatever.)
  • Regular pretzels
  • Lays Plain Potato Chips
  • Half of a hot dog! (Marine Corps Marathon. A first for me, and likely the woman feeding me.) 
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (Kanawha Trace 25K)
  • S’mores x 2 with self-roasted marshmallow and all. 
  • BACON

I know I’m leaving a bunch out, but I wanted to publish this list to see what others are eating! Comment below with your thoughts, your favorites, or why I shouldn’t eat s’mores and run at the same time. 

2015 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap

It happened again! I got suckered into a marathon by dear friend-forever-I-definitely-owed-you-a-marathon gal, Tonya. 😉 The 2015 Marine Corps Marathon was everything I imagined and then some. Sure, the weather could have been a little more dry, but really my only complaint with the race was that is was TWENTY SIX POINT TWO miles long.

I present our gallery of mile markers capturing the fun of the Marine Corps Marathon. That’s what it is all about, right? Smiling through the uncomfortable feelings (not pain… because if you are in pain you probably shouldn’t run a marathon, hah!), laughing when you want to cry, celebrating LIFE given to you by Marines.

From mile 1 to the finish line, I was BEAMING with pride (except on “The Bridge”). As an aside, that stupid bridge was too long without any water or spectators. What a mental blockade. So glad I don’t have to run that again… I doubt I could run that with any speed even on fresh legs! The whole thing was uphill, no joke.

Bible Verses: Phil 4:13, 1 Timothy 4:8, 2 Corin 12:10

Best Moment: running under an overpass with a ?bluegrass band performing “You Are My Sunshine” as hundreds of people pass by singing along; the sound reverberating through the crowd and the concrete. This moment takes the crown because it was completely unexpected. That little band could have played any song at the moment I passed by, but it was that one… we all knew the words and pretty much all of us in our section knew the words. Not 100 people. Not 1000. Somewhere in between. That many people collectively moving forward and singing as one.

2nd Best Moment: The Wear Blue Mile. Memorials of fallen soldiers followed by hoards of people on both sides of the pathway holding American flags. (Video to be posted on social media soon.) I cried throughout most of the mile because I was so touched. The soldiers. The spectators. They were cheering for US. We didn’t do anything special… we just ran a long way at a relatively slow pace. We didn’t fight for our country, secure freedom, stand for equality. We just ran… and not very well. You could pretty much say we trotted and sometimes shuffled along. WOW! What an honor to be greeted that way by those amazing individuals. I looked at each of you in the eyes and thanked you in my soul.

Medal Thoughts: I wish it were a little more solid. I think the gold looks kind of cheap–like the gold toppers of a trophy. But the ribbon is awesome. I cherish that medal for what it stands for… I earned the medal, but I didn’t earn my freedom. Freedom was given to me by those who previously stood or continue to stand for that medal’s symbol. The US Marine Corps. Oorah.

Security: long lines

Pre-race Ceremony: Parachute crews with gigantic American flags. Flyovers. Front row to the color guard. Wow. Just wow!

Timing: put mats AT the turnaround so people can’t cheat…………….. otherwise, I really liked the frequency of the timing mats throughout the race course. Great for tracking purposes. Side note- why would anyone want to cheat at the MARINE CORPS MARATHON? Blows my mind, but it happened.

Final Thoughts: I work at the VA Hospital and I serve Veterans every week day (and sometimes when I take call on the weekends!). Perhaps I sometimes lose sight of their contribution to the society as we know it today. For 40 years this race has been organized and I am, again, so honored to have been a part of it.

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Lastly, shout out to our hotel-mates running as part of the charity organization, Team Chris. It was phenomenal sharing space with you. Shout out to our new friends pictured above. Thanks for telling us the story of Team Chris and how you all came to be a part of the charity run.

The 2015 Marine Corps Marathon was truly a fantastic experience. On day 2 I was moving about, walking up stairs, jogging across the street, and standing at work without much discomfort. On day 3 I feel great. Never quit, never give up. I certainly won’t from now on. This perspective Marine Corps Marathon gave me is something I will cherish in my muscle memory. Just keep going.

EWOD Ladder: A CrossFit Endurance Test

Drew calls it the best test of cardiorespiratory fitness available because you are resting the exact time you are running. The EWOD Ladder.

I call it “fun” and “pain.” And I also call it “couldn’t breathe” because it was so hot and humid outside. No bueno.

200/400/600/400/200, rest run time:
0:38/1:36/3:10/1:45/0:40

Not my best effort by any means, but I really enjoyed suffering with my friends… if that’s possible. I love EWOD season!!

And now, a photo:

Sometimes you just gotta take your shoes off.
Sometimes you just gotta take your shoes off.

A Tale of Two Races

I know sometimes my adventures are sometimes puzzling. Why do I get myself signed up for races way outside my wheel house?  Because I can. Today is a tale of two races.

Race 1: St. Mary’s Triathlon/Duathlon in Huntington, West Virginia.

IMG_3278I signed up for the 5K run, 15 mile bike rde, and 5K run. No swimming for this chick (…yet). So the duathlon had less people registered. I was crossing my fingers I could do well enough to get a piece of Blenko glass for doing something in my age group. Let’s be honest, I signed up just for the glass.

The first run was at a blistering pace (for me). My calf muscle decided to cramp on me around 2.4 miles in and I kept telling my friend Angela I needed to walk it out or something. She just barked “NO, KEEP RUNNING” so I did. But then at 2.6 miles I just could keep it up so I walked for 5 seconds to try to work out the strain I was now feeling in my foot and quad, too. I did this weird run/walk thing the last half mile and caught back up to Angela.

The bike transition was interesting because you had to ride uphill about 100 feet. The legs got an immediate shock. I love the bike, so I didn’t care. I was in my comfort zone riding.

Bishop Nash/The Herald-Dispatch Meghan Elkins, left, and Angela Meek take off on their bikes on the 15-mile bike portion during the annual St. Mary's Triathlon on Sunday, August 2, 2015, at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington.
Bishop Nash/The Herald-Dispatch
Meghan Elkins, left, and Angela Meek take off on their bikes on the 15-mile bike portion during the annual St. Mary’s Triathlon on Sunday, August 2, 2015, at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington.
See: I’m actually smiling. I adore my bicycle and I’ve posted about it here before. And I’m actually good on the bicycle. Maybe I should just do a relay with a team next year and be the cyclist? We’ll see.

IMG_3304But the bike went awesome. And the second run was turble. After about a quarter mile in I settled in to a decent pace (for me) and just remained steady cruising in towards the finish. I ended up cramping (again) with a quarter mile left to go. I was about to turn the corner to head down to the river for the last straight sprint and my quad seized on me.

Meh- I kept going. And I sprinted like it was my job. Then I essentially collapsed in the chute. Ouch.

But I won my age group! I actually had another person in my group who I ended up beating by a couple of minutes. Rock on!

Race number 2: Kanawha Trace 50K/25K/10K in Ona, West Virginia (aka: middle of nowhere)

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I am not happy.
Oh Jennifer. Just like Angela was peeved that I convinced her to sign up for the duathlon with me, I was peeved that you were a big motivating factor for me to sign up for the 25k. I ain’t that crazy to sign up for a 50 K. It’s a tale of two races, and certainly this race was in the opposite end of the spectrum.

I knew there was no chance in Hades that I was going to do very well in this race. Six days post duathlon my legs felt okay, but I certainly hadn’t trained to run/hike for 15.5 miles.

But off we went. It was a beautiful day; we were so blessed with excellent weather and good companionship. Several people from CrossFit Thunder and two guys who also work at the VA hospital did the race, too. Many of those folks actually did really well.

Jen and I did not. I mean… we just weren’t prepared for the elevation change AT ALL.

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That’s a lot of ups and downs. And that’s what this race was all about. Keeping forward progress and going with the ups and downs.

Jen has already said she’s going to do it next year and she’s actually going to train for realsies.

SOEmeme

A tale of two races indeed.

Until next time!

Run! Be Active! Smile!

Let’s be honest- who loves running? Not me. I tolerate it because I enjoy running races and spending time with my friends. Sometimes I need to run by myself because it’s a matter of running out the frustrations, but those moments are rare.

When I run, I run to be active and smile.

Be active, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

Most of the time, though, when I’m training for a race it’s not very fun. I try to smile. I try to think positively. But overall I’ve got one thing on my mind–

“This race is gonna suck” -Meghan E.

But CrossFit Endurance officially starts on August 2nd!

It’s my favorite time of the year. The time when me and 30-some friends suffer through sprint workouts. Be active! Yep, we’ll be active. We’ll be hoping not to vomit twice a week from now until November. Smile! Yep, we’ll smile when we’ve already done the sprint workout and we see some poor unfortunate soul making it up on another day. Sucker. 😉 Run! That’s the point. Get out and run.

I’ve spoken about my love for CrossFit Endurance / sprint training before. That love never falters. It sucks, but it doesn’t falter.

Skills and drills have started already, but the fun really starts on August 2nd.

If you are in the Huntington area and you would like to be active with us–and join in on the fun (Even if you are not a CrossFit member! There’s a special package for the 3 months of this class.) be sure to email Jeremy at CoachJ@crossfitthunder.com and ask for the details.

Run! Be Active! Smile!
Do you like to spend time with your friends running sprints, too??