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Cool Runnings

Today’s training run was hell, if hell had frozen over.

Even though we’re approaching mid-March, it is still snowing in Indiana. I’ve lived here for years, but I don’t remember any winter being this long. I’m stuck in a never-ending purgatory where it snows every weekend and the skies are grey for eternity.

Today the trail was covered in an inch of snow, so the group opted to instead run down a lightly-traveled side street that had been plowed. I had to futz with my MP3 player before we started, so I ended up trailing behind the pack. I never caught up with them either because I am slow and the traffic lights were against me. This made me 1) feel like a dork ostracized from the cool kids and 2) fear for my life as I ran down the opposite side of the street on my own while wearing headphones. If I were with the pack there’d be a good chance a rogue SUV would hit someone else and not me. I was glad I was wearing my red shirt because I was easy to see, and if I did get hit you wouldn’t be able to see the blood stains on the fabric.

I knew it was going to be a crappy run when I was outpaced by a 10-year-old in snow boots running down the sidewalk beside me. Of course, 10-year-olds run on sugar and chocolate, whereas I try to eat a nutritionally sound diet, so I was at a disadvantage. Running on plowed pavement was indeed easier than running on snow-covered trail – except when it wasn’t. The trail is basically flat, whereas the street had several hills. Oh God, did it have hills.

I was scheduled to run for 80 minutes, but I stopped to walk three times for three different reasons. The first time, I was tired from the hill and feeling slow anyway because I’d been ditched by the pack. When I got to the water stop I jokingly asked if there was anyone behind me and the waterboy told me no. Ouch! The second time, I slowed down to mess with my MP3 player which…sta..rted..to..ski….p..beac…ause…it…was…froz..en. Did I mention that it was 20 degrees? With a horrible headwind that froze my nose? As much as I hated running the last 40 minutes without music, it was much worse trying to run to the digital era’s equivalent of a skipping record. I tried warming up my player by sticking it inside my vest, but that didn’t work. So I took my headphones off, but at a water stop I rubbed my ear and realized my earlobes were NUMB. So I put the headphones back on as earmuffs. I kept running back up the street and finally saw the traffic light where I’d be able to turn. All I had to do was get to the red light, then I’d be on my way back to the store. Only not. Wrong traffic light. I had to run another 3 blocks. I started walking for the third time out of protest to my demolished hope.

I finally got back to the store after 83 minutes and 6.8 miles. That’s a 12:13 pace, which is total crap for me, but somewhat reasonable when you factor in all the walking. I’m just glad I didn’t get frostbite. Even after I sat in the warm store for 15 minutes for the nutrition seminar, my arms were still cold. I really should have worn another layer, but I didn’t account for the wind when I got dressed. During the seminar I got to do free taste-testing of recovery drinks, jelly beans, and chewy stuff that has a name that I can’t remember. It was like candy packaged with a good excuse to eat it. I also scored a free gel pack that I’ll try during my next long run. Hopefully it won’t FREEZE.

Headache Update

Good news: On a scale of 1-10, my headache has dropped from a 5 to a 2.

Bad news: I haven’t had caffeine since Wednesday.

I never realized how much I depend on caffeine to keep me awake until I felt like taking a nap under my desk at the end of the week. However, if I’ve got to be one of the seven dwarves, I’ll take Sleepy over Grumpy any day.

My headache is still here, but it’s died down to a level where it’s not hindering my ability to live. It’s like having a neighbor turn down the stereo so the subwoofer is no longer making my couch vibrate, but I can still here some noise through the walls even if I can’t make out the lyrics.

I’ve had a problem with headaches since I was 21. My first month-long headache was triggered when I was driving to South Bend to visit a friend, but was detoured by a chemical spill on the highway and got lost on the back roads of Indiana before everyone and their dog had a cell phone. When I did make it back to the main road, I started speeding to make up lost time and got pulled over by the state police.

I was kind of stressed out.

I got a tension headache. It didn’t go away for a month. I went to my doctor and she gave me some magic pills that made the headache go away. I’ve been taking them ever since. Whenever I’ve tried going off the pills, the headaches come back. I probably should have mentioned this before y’all e-mailed me telling me I had Lyme disease, bad vision, and a mutant staph infection on my lip.

ETA: A couple people have asked what medication I’m on. I think it’s best that you consult with your doctor about starting any medication. I’m not going to say what I’m on so I don’t influence anyone to take something that is not appropriate for them.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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Cindy • March 8, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Hi PQ,

You are awesome! I am so impressed with your stick-to-it-tiveness. Really. How many people would keep going, on a training run (not a race…just a training run!). You are a role model for the world. I feel like I should go out and do something…we don’t have snow this time, but pouring rain instead. We’re expecting floods. Maybe I should go… nah… I’ll wait until morning.

Keep up the great work!


Dinah soar • March 8, 2008 at 7:08 pm

I’m so glad to hear your head is feeling better…I know how miserable headaches can be…as for the longest winter…we’re having that here in middle TN too…woke up to snow on the ground and snow still falling…that’s not common here, especially in March.


scone • March 8, 2008 at 7:14 pm

So glad you’re feeling better. And about these magic pills– do they work for migraines? Please share!


debbie • March 8, 2008 at 8:03 pm

you go girl, so happy to read this!!

p.s. what are those magic pills?


Becca • March 8, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I bow to you PastaQueen. I’m also in Indy and today when I had to spend 3 minutes outdoors loading groceries into my car, I wept like a child from the stinging cold. I drove home and soothed myself with coffee (decaf – don’t be jealous) in front of the fireplace.

To have run anywhere in Indiana today without the threat of imminent death at your heels was insane. Congratulations on not quitting (or pushing down child in snow boots out of pure irritation)


AndrewE • March 8, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Oh boy, I can’t imagine running in those conditions. You are a legend.


Kay • March 8, 2008 at 11:33 pm

A belated congrats on that 10k. You are rockin’ that cinnamon crunch bagel. Man, I gotta get into running!




kathryn • March 9, 2008 at 12:31 am

The headache sounds hellish.


badmother309 • March 9, 2008 at 8:26 am

Fantastic run – I can’t imagine running in those conditions – but how great to have a group to run with and a seminar afterwards. There’s a lot to be said for living in the city. How’s the massive white head though – frozen into submission?

PQ – I wish. Now it looks like a recovering scab.


Lynne • March 9, 2008 at 9:53 am

Everyone has a bad run… No, there are some people that never make it outside to begin with… I am fighting that monster right now!!!

EVENTUALLY Spring will come… Don’t lose hope – and,Are wearing a hat when it’s 20 degrees! If not, it’s no wonder you got cold!!


Sarah • March 9, 2008 at 11:08 am

Glad you’re starting to feel better. Hope that headache goes away completely soon.

I agree – snow is crap! What is this? Why did our ancestors ever say, “Hmmm, this would be a nice place to live? Where it’s freezing for half the year and unbearably humid for the other?”

But kudos to you for continuing to run in those conditions. I can’t believe your MP3 player actually stopped working as a result of it. That’s when you know you’re hardcore.

PQ – Or that it’s time to buy a new MP3 player.


Dana • March 9, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Preach it. I’m in Ohio and SICK of this weather. It’s either snowing, raining, or too cold to go out for long without a car. I normally wouldn’t care, but I have a three-year-old, and small children lose body heat quickly. Grrr. Stir-crazy up in here.


Lyn • March 9, 2008 at 1:42 pm

You’re so brave. One of my goals is to be able to walk in the March of Dimes (maybe not this year but next). I have a preemie. Anyway I don’t think running is in my future (bad knees) but you certainly inspire me to aim for a good long “marathon” walk! Pushing our limits is part of growing. Way to go :)


Nienuh • March 9, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Maybe this is just unsollicited assvice, but have you ever tried manual therapy? I used to have “tension headaches” about twice a year, which did not go away by themselves. The pain was behind my left or right eye or just above my nose. My doctor send me to a manual therapist who did something magical (and scary) to my neck and upper back and the pain stopped almost instantly. The upper vertebraes were blocked. When i feel the headache coming up now, i try to go in the first week and it’s gone.


VerseFameBeauty • March 9, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Manual therapy could be your lifesaver, seriously. I had a two-day migraine/tension headache combo last week (unusual for me; they are usually, at max, 12-hour affairs) and managed to get to the chiropractor. He adjusted me normally and 75% of the headache was gone, then adjusted one more thing in my neck when I said it wasn’t totally gone and wham! I walked out of the office completely headache free!


G.G. • March 10, 2008 at 9:47 am

So glad you’re feeling better! I ditched the caffeine in December for health-related reasons. Took a little while, but I don’t miss it at all now.

Any would you believe we had snow this weekend in central Mississippi? Probably would have looked like frost to someone from Indiana!


MamaMaven • March 10, 2008 at 11:20 am

Glad the headache is better! I’ve found some great relief in acupuncture for headaches if you ever decide you want to give something alternative a try.

Congrats on finishing the run, I find running in the cold wind nearly impossible. I ran yesterday morning in similar temps but without the snow and I just couldn’t get warm for the rest of the day!


sarah j • March 10, 2008 at 12:15 pm

I have also had to cut all caffeine out of my life recently and the afternoon slump is literally that.. I feel like I want to nap under the desk. Two things have helped… a. small amt of peanut butter on celery.. the crunch and protein seem to perk me up and b. steamed non-fat milk from starbucks-like place… with a bit of cinammon on it. The second is both nutritiionally invigorating and spiritually…since it gets me away from my desk. Though, you could probably nuke it too.. just be careful!


Laura • March 10, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Oh I hear you on the weather. This sucks so bad. I remember once when it snowed on April 1st, and it was like an April fool’s joke. Snow, in So. Indiana, in April. Ha!

I cannot believe you ran in 20* weather, in the snow. You are building some major mental stamina, not to mention physical abilities. If you can run in that, you can run in anything. Of course, this summer we’ll be (or at least I’ll be) complaining about the humidity and heat.

Glad the headache is getting better! Hope it’s on the way OUT.


KateG • March 11, 2008 at 9:19 am

Sorry you haven’t been feeling well – tension headaches are the worst! I started getting them in college and for a while the doctors thought it was my sinuses, but then the sinus scan was clear. Basically I stress out too much and it manifests as physical pain. Which is not good because I sometimes have to wonder if I am in actual pain or just stressed out – or a combination. I’m glad your pain is down to a 2 and hope that cutting the caffeine will work well!


Tim Wilson • March 13, 2008 at 9:50 am

I fully understand those not so awesome runs. You are an inspiration and I am very impressed with what you have done.

I just found your blog today, and read a little bit about your journey. I have been on a similar journey over the past 15 months.

Keep up the good work!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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