I am so excited about a "long" run -- it's Sunday, and I am going to drive to Sabino for four miles on trails. I haven't trail run since April. Now that physical therapy has catapulted me from limping while walking to actual 2-3 mile walk/jogs, I am ready to hit the trails.

My car disagrees with me. The battery is dead.

My valiant knight in a beige Suburu comes to the rescue. Chris drops me off at Sabino and promises to return in a little over an hour. As we pull up, I see a gaggle of trail runners at the trailhead -- TTR held a run this morning! I run to grab a hug from "That's what I'm talking 'bout" Bob and then see Troy, who I paced at JJ100 last year and haven't seen in ages. Talking to him is David, a fellow pacer at JJ100 last year. I'm so exctied -- it's been too long since I've interacted with fellow trail runners. Troy decides to do a cooldown by running with me, so we take off down toward Phoneline.

When I'm in training, I utilize Phoneline to do 9-mile laps. Up the trail, sidelining high above the canyon for five miles, then down, down, down the tram road. My intention this morning is not so ambitious. I just want to get up Phoneline to the Cutoff trail, which will take me to the tram road and back out for about 3.5 miles. I'll run a little back up the trail I started to get the full 4 miles I want.

I explain my Garmin is set for 2min walk/2 min run, and we start talking like we just saw each other last week. Conversation flows as easily as my feet follow the trail. It feels so good to be out moving again, getting out of breath. We hit the major hill, which I used to walk -- even in training, and Troy hears my Garmin beep. "That means it's time to run, right?" he asks as I continue walking. "Yeah, but it's uphill!" I protest. "Well, just run 50 steps, then walk 50 steps or until you catch your breath." Well, that's easy enough, I think, so I give it a try. Sure enough, I'm granny-shuffling my way up Phoneline, 50 steps run, 50 steps walk. My knee and hamstring are solid, there's no pain, twinges or tingles. The endorphins are flowing through my body and I remember that this is why I run.

We finally hit the downhill and I fly, fly, fly. My favorite part! At the bottom, it's smooth and fun, and even though my Garmin beeps at me to walk, I ignore it, reveling in the freedom of flying down the hill. I extend my arms out to my side and travel back and forth across the trail, flying like an airplane. Wheeeeeeeeee.......

We hit the road and make our way out, walking the last majorly steep hill. On the backside of that, within sight of the Visitor's Center, I feel my first tingle in my hamstring and decide to just walk it out for a good cooldown. Upon arriving at the trailhead, we see Renee, whom I haven't seen in ages either. I take off down the trail to get my last half-mile in and when I return, another old friend has just finished his trail run and so I catch with him. Then I see my friend Mo who just finished her run as well. I can't believe how many of my friends are at the trailhead! I rest in the shade, waiting for Chris to arrive to pick me up, and I am grateful for a boyfriend who will drive 20 minutes out of his way -- twice -- to get me to the trails, seeing so many old friends, lucking into fantastic running buddy, and most of all, I am grateful for the health to be able to run at all.

One minute

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Ahh, the dusty old blog. How've you been? I used to update you daily. It's been two, three months since my last visit. I need a good can of lemon Pledge to shine things up. Dunno if I'll be updating you regularly but the bug bit to write tonight, and so here I am.

107 days since my last run.

I ran one minute yesterday. And finally allowed myself the pleasure of actually thinking about running again, training again. Maybe, just maybe, I could be in shape to run the Flagstaff half-marathon on trails in the woods next September. Maybe.

I made the mistake of mentioning that to my boyfriend tonight. He promptly disregarded any thought of training. "You ran *one minute*. How can you possibly plan training yet? You could be able to run an entire marathon next year!"

I suppose. But I need to think about the minimal things I could be doing next year. If I think about doing a marathon, I'll push myself to it and possibly hurt myself again. If I think about not running at all, I'll get depressed and possibly lazy and not run. However, if I think of running a respectable distance in the course of a year, I feel inspired and healthy and like I'm not taking things too fast. I'm so used to ramping up mileage so quickly that the thought of running merely a half-marathon in 365+ days seems like I'll be taking miniscule baby-steps to do so. And isn't that what I should be doing?

If I start taking those steps, if I start thinking that one minute will turn to two, and two will turn to four, and four will turn to eight, well, before I know it, I'll be counting miles -- while being prudent about it (something I'm usually not). Isn't that a good thing?

If I realize I need to go slower, well, then, I'll adjust my goal and go slower. If I realize I'm healed and able to handle more than that, well, then, I'll adjust my goal and go more! (Although at this point in time, I'm really wary of pushing myself at all.)

What's wrong with giving myself a general idea of a possible, healthy, prudent goal even though I've only run one minute?

Update

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Persistent tendonitis has sidelined me. After numerous doc visits, it's been decided that I will take June and July off; I will attempt a V E R Y S L O W recovery come August.

I shouldn't have been running this last winter; I was taking boatloads of ibuprofen to stave off the pain. This resulted in major stomach pain!

I'm very very frustrated. I don't like not having an outlet for my stress. I also don't like not training. Training gives me something to focus on; it soothes my frazzled nerves. I've also gained major weight.

So I decided this morning that I'd take the energy I usually spend on training my body physically with running and spend it training my body mentally regarding food. Emotional eating has long been an enemy of mine; I've tried so many different ways to tackle this issue. This is a new way of looking at it; maybe it'll work this time? Instead of just focusing on the little things (food diary - which I have a hard time filling out!), I can look at it with a bigger-picture idea in mind. Maybe I can look at my food diary as a training log. You know, small little things like that to tweak my viewpoint. Maybe, even though I can't run, use the elliptical machine or row, I can still do the same training-type things. Does any of this make sense or am I just rambling? Anyway, I'm hoping this tactic will help stop the upward movement on the scale and give me the satisfaction of training that I am missing.

A relaxed day with Ash spent snuggling on the couch and playing at the park leads into a stressful 20-minute flurry of preparations for the 7.4-mile hilly race at Sabino Canyon in the evening. I'm desperately trying to find a running outfit that matches - a hard-to-find prospect in my dresser - and also fits - which is even harder to find. I'm attempting to stave off a full-on meltdown over my bad eating habits and worse running habits of the last four months that have caused such weight gain (particularly around my belly and upper thighs) when I realize I forgot to prepare dinner for Ash and pack warmer clothes. Chris arrives in the midst of the flurry and is surprised to see me flying about the house like a chicken with my head cut off.

We make it into the car, where he turns on Dave Matthews and leads us all in a breathing exercise. I feel better. Ash falls asleep. I am so ready for this run.

Sabino Sunset Run 012

Ash awakes upon arrival at Sabino Canyon and promptly throws a gigantic tantrum over wearing his shoes. He wants to wear his flip-flops, which are more comfortable. But it's cold, and windy, and I want him to be warm. I worry about the time I am racing; will Chris and Ash make it without any additional major meltdowns? Ash promises to wear his winter coat the whole time if he can wear his sandals. We have a deal.

Chris asks if I see anyone I know; I turn around and there's my friend J, the person behind the gorgeous shots found on my blog in recent months. He's already ran one Phoneline Lap (9 miles) and needs to prepare for the race up-and-back on the road. Chris, Ash & I wander to the start, where Ash cheers for me as I start.

Sabino Sunset Run 002

I position myself at the back of the pack; I know I'm slow. I'm aiming for a 90-minute finishing time. The fastest I've done the road is about 1:28ish. In the last three weeks, I've run the road three times and finished in 1:31, 1:36 (HOT!) and 1:29. The 1:29 was a major, tough push. I'm not sure I can do 1:29 tonight, but I am sure am going to try. The caffeinated sports beans should help, I think.

AB 01B Sabino Sunset Run

AB 02B Sabino Sunset Run

AB 03B Sabino Sunset Run

J runs with me, then ahead of me to take pictures, then stops to pick up litter. He catches up, then stops to talk to someone he knows. Once he catches up again, he jokes that we are "cruising on Speedway in our low-rider." This is an easy stroll through the canyon. I concentrate on running as much of the uphills as I can.

AB 04B Sabino Sunset Run

AB 05B Sabino Sunset Run

Two miles in, as I head up the three-mile hills, I realize I'm running more of the hills than the last three weeks, and it feels pretty good. I leap-frog with two women in pink who like to walk when I like to run, and a woman who reminds me of Lisa. I wonder where Pat is. There's a guy up ahead who could be him, but I can't catch up.

AB 06B Sabino Sunset Run

AB 07B Sabino Sunset Run

AB 08C Sabino Sunset Run

The moon hangs over the canyon walls as darkness descends. Twilight in the canyon is gorgeous. I power-walk the last .75-mile hill to the top, watching the people I leap-frogged with walk faster than me up the hill, and I feel frustrated.

AB 09B Sabino Sunset Run

I slap five with Pat as he heads down. I make it to the top in 47 minutes, where J is waiting, taking photos and making sure the volunteers have the glow sticks out and ready for us back-of-the-packers. I grab water and a glow stick and launch down the hill, flying past everyone. Metric comes on the iPod and I dance down the road, my arms at my sides simulating wings. I use my glow stick to bang on imaginary drums and wonder if people are thinking that I look like I'm having a seizure or something.

AB 10B Sabino Sunset Run

There are only a few people behind me - god, I'm slow - but I don't mind. I'm having the time of my life; I love the downhills. Eventually, J catches back up to me. He calls me "OnePinkGlowStick," and talks about night noises in the canyon - I don't want to hear them; they'll scare me! Cake starts singing about friends and four-letter words, and I think of Jeff, who helped me through Zane Grey one year ago, telling me "CAKE, Angie, Cake!" We'll make it through; this is easy, it's CAKE! Jeff's voice gives me extra encouragement and I pick up my pace, knowing I only have two miles to go. I check my Garmin; if I can keep a 12-minute-mile pace, I'll make it with two minutes to spare. I should keep an 11-minute-pace, knowing the course is mostly downhill.

Darkness makes it hard to see the road, but I don't want to pull out my headlamp - it'll take too long, plus I enjoy not being able to really see what's going on. I feel faster this way, and I'm in a wonderful zone. I don't want this to stop! But the last HUGE, STEEP hill looms in front of me. I decide to walk it as J says he's gassed but needs to run it. An older gentleman races past me as he runs to the top. Way to go! I hit the top and launch downhill again. Three-quarters of a mile to go, mostly downhill.

I fly down, down, down. It's dark and I can't read my Garmin (which button turns on the light?!) and that's probably a good thing. I pick up the pace, feeling amazing. The older gentleman is trying to pass me again but I won't let him. I turn up the music - Silversun Pickups singing about making it to the finish line - so I don't have to hear his loud breathing and footsteps. Three-tenths to go; the finish line lights are a giant spotlight, silhouetting the line of people cheering us in. The older gentleman flies past me with his final burst of energy. I see a small, dark shape on the side of the road next to a larger one. It's Ash and Chris. Ash keeps up with me for a good tenth of a mile before slowing down. I'm feeling good and want to finish strong. Faster and faster and faster.

Sabino Sunset Run 007

I finish in 1:26, setting a PR for this course. I'm so happy. I walk back up the road to Chris and Ash and we walk back to the finish line.

AB 11B Sabino Sunset Run

Ash watches a wild west gunslinger who is funny and entertaining while I get colder and colder and wish the food line wasn't so long. I'm too cold, so we head home, picking up some chocolate milk on the way home. Ash goes to bed and Chris and I split a ham-and-gruyere cheese pizza-type thing while discussing future races and how my fueling/training strategy actually really worked on this race. I finally kick Chris out; it's late, I'm tired and I still need to shower.

Fresh and clean, I fall asleep happy and sore and promising myself I will find a few more fun races this year and train for them. That will help my clothes fit again.

"Long" Run

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7 Falls 11C

I headed out last weekend to "run" (I use that term *very* loosely) Seven Falls - eight miles of gorgeous scenery in the canyon next door to Sabino. The creek was rushing, the temps were perfect and the run/hike was...well...let's just say I haven't done any distance in awhile :) In other words, it was awesome. But I was really really sore for three days after.

Rock Hopper Angie 01C

At one point, I extended my arms out to the sides, running back and forth across the trail as I headed down: I was flying. It felt so wonderful.

Rock Hopper Angie 02C

While on the trails, I "ran" into a friend, who managed to catch some shots of me crossing the creek.

Rock Hopper Angie 04C

Review: SofSole Products

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The good folks at SofSole sent me three products to review: Spa Socks, Performance Socks and a pair of Adapt moldable insoles.

First up, the moldable adapt insoles. I like insoles. Insoles make my feet feel good. Unfortunately, my favorite shoes (a pair of Sauconys) added extra cushioning to the bottom of the shoes this season, meaning I can't add any sort of insole other than the factory-made ones :( The Adapt insoles were too bulky for my shoes/big feet. I'm going to try them in my (larger) trail shoes this weekend. They should fit, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they do. Getting them started was pretty easy - trim them to size (some sort of hint on the best way to do so would have been appreciated), toss 'em in the oven for 2 minutes, then slip in the shoes and stand on them (evenly distribute your weight! otherwise you'll end up with a few extra dented toes on one side like me :) ). Stay tuned for the review after I try them in my trail shoes.

I tried the running socks - a little short on the ankles (I don't like my shoes to rub my skin) - but other than that, they fit well, stayed in place, kept my feet cool and dry and when I took my shoes off, there were no red rubbed spots on the top of my foot (a problem that's been getting worse for me in general). I was quite pleased with the performance. If they had a pair with the material going up my ankle a little higher (similar to my favorite belegas), I'd be a lifetime buyer.

And the Spa socks? One word: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. My favorite time to wear them is after soccer - I spend Sunday afternoon in these socks. Yes, every Sunday afternoon. They are soft and luxurious and make me feel soft and comfortable and special. I know! Socks - making me feel special?! But I love them :)

I was contacted a while back to review a book titled "The Secret of Transitions" by Jim Manton. He is a life coach based out of the Phoenix area who has written a slim novel detailing ways to approach life that help with transitions.

I was contacted to review the book based on the amount of transitions I've gone through in my life. I love this type of book and find myself mulling over authors' thoughts and experiences in comparison to my own.

Even though it's a slim volume, I took my time digesting each chapter as I worked my way through the book. I found his writing easy to understand, and each small chapter gave me days' worth of ideas to mull over. I found myself reaching for my journal, prompted to write, not from his questions at the end of each chapter, but days later, once I had time to really process his thoughts.

The only drawback with this book was the idea expressed that everyone *needs* a life coach. I wondered if the point of the book was only to advertise his services? But then I decided that didn't matter. I still found great inspiration, thoughts and advice throughout. You can find it here.

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