Two Firsts: A DNF and Cop Car Selfies

Two Firsts: A DNF and Cop Car Selfies

I sat in the Blue Bird bus, made in my hometown, with my legs hitting the seat in front of me. I wondered how I’m THIS much bigger than I was when I rode nearly the same bus to and from school. I was on the “hump seat.” You know the one. The one that sits over the rear wheel and you have a built in footrest. I always loved that seat and tried to get it every day.

The bus took us to the church for the start of the Tartan Trot 5k/10k. I was signed up for the 10k — ready to take on the 6.2 miles that I had run last year as my first 10k ever. It’s a rough course, but this time? I was prepared.

I met up with Faith and Sharon and saw Lindsey and Stephen. I checked out guys in kilts with fabulous legs, because YES, you wear kilts to run this race if you have one. Sharon and I made our way to the start, snapped our official pre-race selfie and hit the pavement.


Things were going great. I was having my best race ever. Was running a pace a good minute faster than normal. Passed my house and my boys were sitting out with water and a smile.

Strangely, in spite of running the fastest time ever, I was running in the last 3 or 4 people the whole time. That’s ok. Small race and all.

About the 5k mark, I noticed my breathing was very labored, however, I had just posted my best 5k time at 39:00. I trudged on. But by the time I got to the top of a horrible hill, I couldn’t breathe.

Not a dramatic “I can’t breathe” but a full on “I think I may black out, I can’t breathe” kind. Like the scary kind.

Of course, my inhaler was in my bathroom drawer.

The good news is, I was almost last, which means there was a police escort right behind me. I kindly asked him if he had an inhaler. He didn’t (why would he?) so I trudged on for about 20 more steps.

Then I gave up.

I quit.

At 3.91 miles and 49:59, I quit my first race ever. I got my first DNF.

I hopped in the back of the car with the officer, which was another first.

And I snapped a quick selfie, another first, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?



The officer was nice. He asked me over and over if I needed to go on to the finish, but I was ok once I was able to get a really deep breath and had coughed for about 10 minutes straight. We followed the end of the pack and I was deposited safely at the church where the officer kindly opened the door for me. I mean, he kinda had to because I was locked in like a convict, but I’m going to just go on thinking he did it because I was special.

Sharon walked around with me as I bypassed the finish line and got my t-shirt and banana.

People said “congratulations” and I just said “thanks.” It’s a strange feeling to not finish. The logical part of me says it could be worse, that I’m healthy and it’s good I DID stop when I did. But my heart is mad at myself.

We didn’t take the Blue Bird bus back to the parking lot. We moseyed the .83 miles back to our cars. It was nice.

There’s a first time for everything. And I’m blessed that my first time to not finish a race was close to my house and close to someone who could help. And I’m even MORE blessed that my first time in the back seat of a cop car was for an asthma attack and not something else.

Just Write: Performance Enhancing Drugs

Just Write: Performance Enhancing Drugs

It’s not a secret that I run. It’s not a secret that I have osteoarthritis that does, in fact, give me fits. I swell, I hurt, but I go on.

When I started running, I had just been to the rheumatologist for the most severe swelling I’ve ever experienced. And that’s saying a LOT if you ever saw me while  I was pregnant with Charlie!

When I went, I showed her my feet and ankles and she gasped! THAT is not a real good sign. She immediately prescribed me a high dose diuretic and over the next two days, TWELVE pounds was pulled off my body — of fluid!

Don’t believe me?

feetSo after doing a battery of tests, I was placed on a medication that gives me a low dose diuretic and pain reliever/anti-inflammatory every day. I’ve tried to not take it, but I immediately puff up like the Pre-Rheum picture. It’s a no-go.

Fast forward to the present time. I see my rheumatologist every 3-6 months. I have a toe that’s fused together now, that won’t bend at all. I still run on it. I have fingers that sometimes don’t want to work enough to carry containers of plants at work.

I have knees that will probably have to be replaced. But you know what? I’m going to get the good out of these, without wearing them out too quickly.

Last time I was in her office, it was about a month before the Wine & Dine half marathon. She asked if I’d ever had a cortisone shot. I felt like she was offering me illicit drugs. I was like, “Uh, no? Should I have? What is it? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?”

A little numbing spray and a few injections later, and I was all set. I had bionic knees. The shots didn’t make me faster, but they made me not feel so much joint pain while running.

Today I went back for more performance enhancing drugs, er, cortisone shots. This time it didn’t bother me so much. It goes quickly from feeling like you have jell-o in your knees to feeling like your legs are full of lead. But after work, I hauled myself to the gym and did 2 miles on the elliptical. I took it easy and slow.

A little performance enhancing drugs never hurt anybody did they?

(Looking past you, Mr. Armstrong.)

This has been my installment of Just Write, hosted by Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary.


The Anatomy of A Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Run

pushes Garmin button. 3-2-1-run.

Ugh. This is no good. Get yourself in the right headspace, Jana. 
That’s better. This will be an easy 5-7 miles.
Maybe I’ll do 8. Or maybe just 5. We’ll see. 
Mile 1. Please let my joints loosen up.
Did I remember my meds? I know I took them. 
Mile 2. Did I really take my meds?
Why do I feel like I forgot how to run?
My legs aren’t working right.
One of my legs feels longer than the other. 
Mile 3. 
Do I look like I’m shuffling? Because I feel like I’m shuffling. 
Or maybe I’m limping. Why am I limping. 
Mile 4. This is ok. Much better. I’m in my groove. Will finish strong.
Mile 4.5. Sweet goodness, this is horrible. 
Seriously, why are my legs not working? 
Do I need to see a doctor about my legs obviously being different lengths? 
What if they tell me not to run anymore. I love it. 
Mile 4.75 There’s my groove again. YAY! Wait, what? It’s over? 
That was a HORRIBLE run. 
What the hell happened? 

You know what happened? I finished 5 miles.

Five horrible, no good, very bad miles, but 5 miles nonetheless.


Wordless Wednesday: Finishing

Wordless Wednesday: Finishing

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

1 mile run – 8:20 finish.

He flew over the finish line.

HL Finish W&D13

RunDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

RunDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

Alternate title: I was right when I said this was probably a bad idea. But I can’t wait to do it again!

I wasn’t prepared.

I was supposed to go run a half marathon and I wasn’t prepared. The Jana of 2012 would have laughed that there was even a SLIGHT possibility that I could venture into the corral, move towards the start line, and find my way mile by mile to the finish.

I wasn’t prepared to be wowed by my body.

Spoiler: I did it.


Last Thursday morning, at 3am, the three of us ventured out to the Happiest Place on Earth.

We were there by noon, checked into our room at the Polynesian Resort, one of my favorite hotels on Disney’s property. The monorail goes right overhead while you’re walking into the lobby. If that doesn’t make you excited upon arrival, I’m not sure what does!


On Thursday afternoon, we enjoyed Hollywood studios. It was great to catch up and meet up with Kadye, a friend who works at Disney. She showed us around and gave us super cool trivia and tidbits of information.

Friday, we spent the day at Magic Kingdom. I have a really super cool story to tell y’all about that on Tuesday! Stay tuned. The day was truly magical. We rode everything we wanted to, including Space Mountain! At night, the castle was transformed from “regular” Cinderella’s Castle into “icy holiday” Cinderella’s Castle. Did I cry? Uh, maybe, what of it?


When we returned to the hotel, my sister met me there with my nephew. He spent the night with us because the boys were going to run the 1 mile race the next morning. They had to get their Indiana Jones costumes all situated and have time to goof off together.

On Saturday morning, we did breakfast and then headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Kids Races.

How fun are these?? They have everything from a Diaper Dash, 100m, 200m, 400m, and 1 mile race. The kids are so excited and just love being the center of attention.

The boys were dressed as Indiana Jones, both from different scenes. There were princesses and Snow Whites and other characters participating. The costumes weren’t as prolific as they were at the Princess Half, but there were still some!

The boys did a great job! Henry finished in 8:20 and S finished in 11:04. Not bad at all, huh?


The rest of the day was spent with my sister’s family at the pool at the Polynesian. We had a great time there, watching all the kids play and hydrating for the evening race.

Ok, so my hydrating was accompanied by some carbs in the form of a liquor drink…


At 7pm, I boarded the bus for the race. Well, not after pacing the room for what seemed like forever, downing a flatbread pizza, adjusting my bib at least 11 times, and generally wanting to throw up.


I was alone. I think this was the hardest part for me, and the part that caused me the most anxiety. I knew a few people who were running, all from online, and had plans to meet up before the race, but I know how things like that go… it just never happens in crowds of 15,000 people. It’s hard.

But once I got to the holding area for the race, I hooked up with Michele, who is from “home.” And then I hooked up with Claudia and her cool husband Josh. I was able to hang out with them pre-race and I could feel my anxiety falling away. We were in the same corral – J for Jana – but I knew that as soon as the fireworks signaled the start, we would go our separate ways.

Luckily, after about 4 times of Claudia passing me and then me passing Claudia, we decided we were obviously around the same pace and we could just run together. We would take it slow because neither of us were properly trained, she had a lingering injury, and I’m just slow!

Things went great. We got into a great rhythm and really stayed with a 2/1 run/walk interval. We walked through water stops. We stopped for her to stretch her injury.

It felt good. It felt really good.


We soared through Animal Kingdom’s hills, past Expedition Everest and the Tree of Life.

We avoided confrontation with Darth Vader in Hollywood Studios. We actually stopped in the middle of the course to take pictures in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios. If you haven’t been there to see this? You MUST go.

We ran through the back lots, on dark highways, up and down more hills than the Princess Half had, and enjoyed the scenery.

Around mile 8, after feeling really good for nearly ¾ of the race, my right thigh and hip started hurting. Unusual because it’s not a normal arthritis impacted joint to have pain in. Maybe it was the cortisone shot I had that made me run a little funny or HA! maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t trained and had run 8 miles already! Yeah, that’s probably it.

We trekked through Epcot, hobbling and whining, and longing for the finish to magically appear before us. The crowds got thicker and the cheers got louder. The promise of beer and wine and that shiny medal pushed us through.

Claudia and I ran hard across the finish line – our time slow and steady at 3:34:30. Certainly not a PR, but certainly a PA (Personal Achievement).

We got our medals and hightailed it to the beer. I mean, that’s why we ran, right?


Josh and Claudia were gracious enough to let me hang out with them post-race. We toasted and whined and generally felt like dying, but we laughed and had a great time!


Sleep was my friend. The boys let me sleep in while they started on Epcot without me on Sunday. But once I gathered myself, got dressed, threw that medal around my neck for the day, I realized something.

Without a doubt, what I’ve done for my body and for myself is more than I know. My body didn’t let me down. My mind didn’t let me down. I believed I could and I did. I don’t know if I could have if Claudia and I didn’t do it together, but it doesn’t matter. We did it. We believed in ourselves.

The pride I wore the next day is something I can’t put into words. But maybe, just maybe, you can see it in my face.


Thank you, RunDisney, for another amazing race. See you in February for the Glass Slipper Challenge! This time I’ll be ready for you!

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