remember full house? remember how when anything mildly bad (like spilling a scoop of ice cream, or owce cream, as she would say) would happen, little michelle would always shake her fist and say, “aw nuts?” and when something really bad (or really good, for that matter, like aunt becky walking down the stairs in a tight red dress) would happen, uncle jesse would stop the presses and scream out, “haaaaave meeeerrrrccccyyyyyyy”?
if you lived under a rock in the early 1990s and somehow missed TGIF on abc, i have unearthed these clips to provide more context:
i’ve been thinking about this a lot for the past week, because i have been dealing with my real first injury of marathon training. and when it happened, i really wasn’t sure if it would be a minor “aw nuts” sort of a thing, or a more major “haaaaave meeeerrrrccccyyyyyyy” situation.
it all started with a deal that the baby panda just couldn’t turn down. early this fall, we were at the mall. i wanted to go to ann taylor to search for boring work clothes, and so the panda went into self-preservation mode, and scampered off to the olympia sports store a few doors down. after trying on three shapeless boring dresses, and then at least two pairs of equally boring trousers, i realized that the panda had been gone for a long time. normally, he comes right back after making an escape to sulk in the ann taylor man chair. mildly concerned, but mostly intrigued, i decided to track him down.
and there he was at olympia sports, with a pile of shoeboxes in front of him. when he saw me, he cried (a la tobias funke), “THEY’RE HAVING A FIRE SALE! AND THEY SELL YOUR RUNNING SHOES!” in fact, he had found an amazing deal. two pairs of my shoes only cost $90 clams, which is usually what one pair costs me at my normal running store.
so we bought all of the pairs of saucony progrid omnis that they had, and then we mail ordered two additional pairs. it may have been the highlight of the panda’s fall season, especially after the buffalo bills blew what looked like a certain win against the patriots in spectacular fashion on monday night football. (if the bills HAD won that game, i am pretty sure that the great sneaker caper would have only ranked as the number two most exciting fall 2009 moment.)
since that day, i have been living in sneaker heaven, which has been wonderful. until two weeks ago, when i pulled out another new pair of sneakers from my stash and wore them for my five-mile run home from work.
normally, when i get new sneakers, they are a little achy the first time i wear them, possibly because their cushioning is a little harder and needs to be broken in. and these shoes were achy. but they were also achy the second time i wore them, which is not quite as normal. still, this didn’t really set off a red flag with me, and so i wore them on my doomsday run that i had been dreading– because of a lovely weekend getaway that i had planned with some friends and some unused comp time that i had at work, i took a friday off to run 13 miles by myself. as snookie would say, WAAAAAAH!
i was so nervous about this run. the furthest that i have ever run is 13.1 miles, and that’s only been during my three half marathons. i have never run it alone in a non-race situation. but before the run, i did all the right things: i ate a bagel with peanut butter and jelly on it, wore my best freakazoid spandex suit, stocked my fanny pack with gus and shot blocks, and, most importantly, called my sister, the smartest and most beautiful girl in the world, for a pep talk. then i hung up the phone and visualized myself on my arduous journey, and started to talk to myself, which i do all the time.
“okay, lonnie (my sister’s nickname for me), let’s rock this b*tch,” i quietly whispered. just kidding. i totally didn’t say that. i am still quoting mean girls. what i actually said was more like, “okay, lonnie… this is going to take like one million hours. so please, go slow.”
off i scooted. slow slow slow. around the fresh pond reservoir, up a big hill, down to the river, down to boston university, up the river to harvard square, through north cambridge, up a hill to teel square and into arlington. and then i took my last turn onto marathon street (which i totally planned. i know! nerd!), and it was official! 13.069 miles in the books! all by myself… with minimal pain, except for some more achiness and cramping in my right foot. i fleetingly wondered if it was from my new shoes, but then i decided that i didn’t care. instead, i took a much-needed shower and went to meet two of my favorite friends for a weekend in vermont.
that night, i hit the hay at about 11:30 p.m. then at 3:00 a.m., i was awoken by a dull pain of horror in my right heel. so painful, in fact, that i could not get back to sleep. i couldn’t do anything but lay there in vermont and obsess over the amount of pain in my foot. i took six (yes, six) motrin between 3:00 and 7:00 a.m., but it did absolutely nothing to ameliorate the situation. it was miserable.
luckily, because of the nature of our getaway, not much physical activity occurred over the weekend (aside from pushing a volkswagen up an icy slope, but that’s a minor detail), and i was able to completely rest my sore and aching foot. my dear pal fred (nee abigail) offered me some tylenol with codeine, but i decided to stick with red wine, which was a good decision, because i slept like a drugged infant on saturday night. but unfortunately, when i woke up the next morning, my foot still hurt like a mofo. i started to get worried– what if this was a really bad injury? what if i had to give up my marathoning cause? what if they had to amputate?
as soon as i got home, i decided to email coach rick. i was seriously freaking out, and perilously close to letting loose with a tortured “haaaaave meeeerrrrccccyyyyyyy!”
within an hour, i received the following response:
Thank you for letting me know about your heel pain. I have no doubt that it’s related to your new shoes. Even though the same model has the same name, don’t assume it’s actually identical. Shoe companies are notorious for changing things, especially the durometer of the midsole. This can affect the cushioning and feel of the shoe considerably. I would recommend that you place the insoles of your old shoes inside the new shoes and see if that helps. I wouldn’t run for two days. Continue to ice and cross-train on the elliptical trainer. You may also massage that area of your foot with a can of frozen juice.
Please keep me posted on how you’re doing!
Your coach, Rick
even though i had no idea what “durometer of the midsole” meant, and even though coach rick thought that a can of frozen juice would be more effective than my bottle of red wine treatment idea, i was thrilled! maybe my foot situation was more of an “aw nuts!”
this past week, i have taken things very easy. i didn’t run on monday or tuesday. instead, i spent some quality time on the elliptical trainer (which i secretly call the laura instant butt-grower– i swear, the hours that i have spent on those things over the years have only done one thing: added bulk to my posterior. SO ANNOYING.), and reclaimed my title as the official sweatiest girl at arlington health and fitness. then on wednesday, my pal nandi and i went to heat yoga, which was even sweatier than the gym. and then on thursday, i put on my old sneaks (damn you, midsole durometer) for my first run in almost a week. snowstorms had been predicted, but we thought we might have avoided them, because it had stopped snowing by the time nandi and i met in central square (aka the worst place in the world) at 5:30 p.m.
on the run, I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO FOOT PAIN! it was so wonderful! well, until we took a wrong turn on school street in somerville into a snowglobe. i seriously don’t know what happened– one minute the weather was fine, and then the next, our bodies were encased in blinding snow. luckily, the squall only lasted for about seven minutes, but afterward, we looked a lot like this guy, except for the weird blue claw hand, since we were wearing gloves:
so i was feeling pretty good, but not 100% in the clear just yet, because i had a 14-mile run with my team yesterday. as soon as i arrived at our meeting spot at the ungodly hour of 7:45 a.m. in the equally ungodly chilly temperature of 4 degrees, coach rick asked about my foot. and i blurted, “durometer of the midsole!” then, so he wouldn’t think i was weird, i followed that up with a much more normal statement of, “i took it easy this week, and it feels much better! but we’ll see!”
so, after an enlightening talk from a sports psychologist, we were off. 14 miles! in just about the coldest weather i have ever run in! and it was great. kelly, jess, and i were running fiends! and guess who else was there! my friend the blue shirt guy! (i only knew this because he was wearing his blue shirt again.) it was probably one of the best running experiences of my short career– we kept a great pace, and honestly, the run didn’t really feel like it was any more than 6 miles, although i guess it was more than double that. after we crossed the mass ave bridge, we stopped at a waterstop (staffed by the most amazing people ever who froze their booties off for hours, just to provide our team with water on our run. oh, and by the way, it was so cold that the water actually froze in the cups), and the blue shirt guy said, “hey, you girls are keeping up a FAST pace!”
it was awesome. and, today, my foot still doesn’t hurt!
so what’s the moral of this long-winded story? i guess that there are several:
- beware new shoesies and midsole durometers– they can be dangerous.
- red wine and frozen orange juice work miracles.
- if you’re training for a marathon, and think you might be hurt, it’s really important to take it easy, even if your head is telling you that you can’t afford the rest.
- oh, and most importantly, mary kate and ashely olsen definitely were better actresses when they were two.
when you reach me, by rebecca stead
wow. i didn’t know if this book could possibly live up to all of its post-newbery award hype, but it knocked my socks off. honestly, it’s hard for me to even communicate how good this book is, so i will quote elizabeth bird in her review for school library journal, when she gushes, “have you not heard of when you reach me by rebecca stead? well now you have. go read it. have you already read when you reach me by rebecca stead? excellent… now go read it again…. because it is one of the best children’s books i have ever read and books of this sort do not drop out of the sky every day. they don’t even drop out of the sky every year.”