Thursday, May 10, 2012


I have been thinking, for a few days, about how to adequately blog about the experience that I had on Sunday.  Since I still have no idea how to do that, you're going to get this.

First, it should be clear by now that I did survive the Borgess Run for the Health of It half marathon.  YAY!  And, for those of you who are wondering, so did the rest of our group (Jeremy, Lisa, Wendy, Petra, and Mario).  It was one of the scariest and most overwhelming things that I have ever done... and I'm so glad that I did it.  Not quite glad enough to sign up for another one in the next few months, but glad nonetheless.

As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not a "runner."  I am not fast, nor am I really graceful (and much less so, now that I've run the half marathon).  My goals for this event were 1) to finish (in a vertical position, and preferably in under 3 hours) and 2) raise as much money as possible for Heartline Ministries.  I am happy to report that I completed the 13.19 miles (I know!  What the heck?!) in an official time of 2:53:34.  And Gary (the Garmin) has my actual MOVING time at 2:42:08; you see, I did stop my watch when I was in line for or actually in the port-a-pottys.  So my moving time was walking and/or running, versus standing in line.  And for the other goal?  We raised $3,435 for Heartline Ministries!  Yes, it was so worth it!  Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who donated money toward our efforts.  It will be a great blessing to Heartline Ministries and to those who are served by them.  :)

So... the event.  It's a long way to run, and I was slightly intimidated when I got passed by the marathon participants.  They started 20 minutes before we did, and several of them managed to pass me by, over the course of their 26.2 miles -- showoffs.  My family (dressed in bright green, matching 'TEAM BAKKER' tee shirts) were able to find us at a few different places along the route, which was SO great!  It was such an encouragement for me to see them cheering and high-fiving as we went by.  I loved that part!  Petra, one of my actual runner friends, ran with me the whole time.  She was blessed with an abundance of patience, which came in handy for her that day.  I kept telling her to go and do her thing, but she stayed with me and encouraged me through the whole thing.  Not only did she stay with me, but at each mile marker, she did some sort of cheer and dance, to celebrate every accomplishment along the way.  She was great!

My hip started giving me problems shortly after the 5 mile marker.  Unfortunately, it only got worse as I went along.  This prompted me to walk more than I wanted to, but it was okay.  And somehow, after training for almost 300 miles without any blisters on my feet, I managed to get a big blister on one foot during the run.  I figured that it's probably just a little exclamation point from my slightly annoyed body... we. are. done. here!  As I rounded the last corner, for the last tenth of a mile, I could see the finish line.  It was very surreal, and I noticed that my breathing pattern changed (from panting) to not being able to catch my breath (as in hyperventilating) from the excitement of it all.  There were people lined up along both sides, cheering loudly; the clock was ticking above the finish line; it was thrilling.  I honestly wanted to speed up for that last little bit, but I had nothing extra left; I stayed the same speed and ran through the finish as they announced my name over the speaker "Congratulations Laura Bakker -- half marathoner!"  That's when I really lost it -- and went full on into the ugly cry.  Nice ladies around me were patting me on the arm and the shoulder, telling me good job; it was all so unbelievable to me.  I had completed a half marathon.  Seriously.

I looked around for Jeremy, and finally found him in the crowd.  He and Mario had finished in 1:51:54.  Ummm... can you say ROCK STAR???  I am so proud of him!  He was shooting to finish in 2 hours, and clearly blew that out of the water.  Petra finished at the same time that I did and Lisa came through (at blazing speed, I might add... she freaking looked like a Kenyan for the last 30-40 feet of the thing!) at 3:06:12, and Wendy (who ran with Lisa) was right behind her.  All in all, we did well.  We celebrated, we took pictures, we drank chocolate milk, and we went back to the hotel.  I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm still limping.  My hip and knee are feeling better each day, but not quite back to good yet.  But they'll get there.  It was still worth it.

Thank you all again, for supporting me through all of this.  It's been quite an experience.  And a special thank you to my friends and family for contributing over $3,000 toward our total -- you all seriously amaze me!  To God be the glory; great things He hath done!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I guess that I really should slow it down a little...

The hip flexor!  I have finally figured out what to call that hip injury that I've been talking about -- it's a hip flexor strain.  Along the way to this revelation, I was plenty insulted, but I also had an opportunity to laugh so hard that I snorted.
First, the insults:
- this injury is usually caused by tight muscles or poor flexibility (ummm... okay, but I am 41 now; flexibility is a little tougher at this point)
- it's also caused by core weakness (it's all right for me to make fun of my lack of any muscles in my core, but NOT WebMD - thank you very much!)
- and lastly, when the lower abdominal muscles do not stabilize the pelvis, the hip flexor muscles (A-HA! I obviously do have at least ONE muscle in my abdominal area!) will try to compensate for this weakness, and become overworked.
Up to this point, I was getting really annoyed with all of the explanations, because I do a plenty good job of degrading my body WITHOUT the help of online doctors!  That's when I came across this next sentence -- "The most common cause of hip flexor injury is acute trauma. You may experience one specific instance when you felt your hip flexor pull. This may have been when you broke into a sprint, made a cut, or kicked a ball."  Since I can assure you that I've not "made a cut" or kicked a ball for...... ever, it must be all of those sprints that I keep breaking into!  :)  That, for anyone who knows me, is enough to make me injure something else, by laughing so freaking hard!  "Oh yes, excuse my limping; I injured my hip flexor when I broke into a sprint the other day..."  ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.  Anyway, now you know all you could probably ever need to know about a hip flexor injury -- you're welcome.  Oh, and also they don't respond quite as quickly to laser therapy, although I'm hoping that it will respond... and before Sunday would be really nice.

You'll be happy to know that my arms do not appear to have any sort of injury (yet).  Yes, my feet, my knees, my legs and my hips have had more than their fair share lately, but my arms appear to be still intact.  This is exhilarating news to me, as they will most definitely come in handy as I army crawl across the finish line on Sunday, after my lower body gives out.  Now THAT will be a sight to see, folks!

I've been making a big push to get (almost) last-minute donations for Heartline Ministries, since that is the purpose of all of this craziness -- to raise money.  Anyone who is still interested in donating, every little bit will help!  Use the link at the top right side of this page to make a secure, tax-deductible Paypal donation.  Otherwise, if you'd rather send a check, let me know; I can get you the address for that too.

Thanks again, and please keep praying!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

par for the course...

Sometimes, I just have to laugh at myself, to keep from crying like a baby.  Let me back up a couple of days...

Wednesday's laser therapy ended up being almost fabulous.  I've chosen to block the parts of the visit that freaked me out, and decided to go with the outcome from the appointment.  It was really close to fabulous.  The one downside was my hip/leg/whatever that had kept getting so sore when I did my longer runs.  That spot, for whaver reason (ummm... possibly the yanking of my foot on Wednesday? but I digress...) was fairly "tender" when I left the chiropractor's office.  But, my foot -- I don't exactly know why, or how it works, but the treatment had my foot feeling REALLY good.  That night, I got on the treadmill (because it was dark outside) and started running (jogging); I made it all of 1 1/2 miles before my hip/leg/whatever was too sore to keep going.  Actually, I probably could've kept going, but the tears that would have ensued would probably have landed on the treadmill belt and made me slip and fall, because that's how things have been going for me lately.

Friday was my next laser appointment for my foot, just to be sure that it was good to go.  I went; they lasered (can that be used as a verb?) my foot, and I asked about my hip area.  I know that you'll be shocked to know that it was out of whack, and needed... an adjustment.  That one was no big deal; he fixed it and then they lasered that too.  I'm not even a little bit kidding when I tell you that, if they had a room that was filled with this laser treatment, I would totally move in there.  I am sold on the power of the laser, at this point.  My hip was also feeling noticeably better after the treatment.  So... I went home and hopped on the treadmill again.  I really had no good excuse for being on the treadmill, versus outside yesterday, aside from the fact that it was windy and I'm a fair-weather runner when it comes to running outside.  Anyway, there I was, trotting along, feeling pretty good -- considering that I basically had not run for a week at this point.  My goal for the day was to do 7 miles.  I got all the way to 6 1/4 before I fell off the edge of the treadmill and nearly wrecked both my lasered foot and lasered hip -- not to mention my knees!  Honestly, I wish that I could've had a video camera to catch this mess.  I typically will jump off of the moving belt, onto the edges, to get a quick drink of water.  When I attempted this yesterday, I barely caught the edge of the edge.  My right foot slid off, onto the floor.  Thankfully I had a grip on the bars, which kept my knees from hitting the belt, but my left leg was still on the edge of other side.  The angle that I achieved in order to keep my left knee from being sandpapered off by the belt was just right to bend my foot, ankle, and hip into directions that were not exactly healthy.  Long story longer... I could very well need more laser treatments next week, because I'm a klutz.

My theory on all of this is that satan knows that I'm getting nervous, and so he's throwing all of these little issues up in here, to make me more insecure.  I'm already a hot mess, so it's really not necessary to keep going with these freaking road blocks, satan!  But, as I've mentioned before, I WILL COMPLETE this half marathon, even if I'm crawling (which is exactly why I was so protective of my knees being sandpapered in the treadmill incident).  So, satan can do his worst; I've got Someone stronger in my corner.  :)

Please keep praying...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ummm... I'm kind of going to be needing that leg...

A good friend of mine suggested that if I didn't have a bone-related problem (as in a broken one), that I should try a chiropractor for my foot pain.  My wonderfully wise father suggested that I look into cold laser therapy (which he found to be successful in relieving his back pain a couple of weeks ago).  Today, I found a chiropractor who has the (relatively new) laser equipment, so I scheduled an appointment.  I figured that we might as well get this show on the road; I really need to get some runs going again before May 6.

Dr. Steve (the very quiet and laid back chiropractor) looked at my foot and listened to my sad little tale about Friday's run.  He then informed me that my foot was "almost completely jammed," and asked me if I would follow him into the other room for "an adjustment," if I was all right with that.  I mentioned my hesitation (having never had an "adjustment" at a chiropractor's office) and he assured me that it wouldn't hurt.  Dr. Steve even went so far as to tell me that a lot of people think that it feels good -- relieving tension and pressure, or some kind of crap like that.

I laid on the table and he started getting a very secure grip on my foot.  Before I knew what happened, he had JERKED my foot, and therefore my entire left leg -- almost clean off of my body.  I literally slid partially off of the table!  My reaction?  Ummm... I have a half marathon in 11 days, and will be NEEDING MY LEFT LEG STILL INTACT, Sir.  Suddenly, CRACK -- what the??  he just did it again!  And still, I had not yet experienced this "feels good -- relieving tension and pressure" that quiet, laid back Dr. Steve had spoken of earlier.  This went on for a total of 6 "adjustments" and then he asked me to follow him back into the other room for the cold laser therapy.  Clearly, I was somewhat hesitant to just jump up and follow along at this point.  But since the laser treatment (which was my original reason for the appointment) was waiting in the other room, I went.

They put this laser on my foot for 5 minutes; no pain, no nothing (except for some really cool glasses that they made me wear, to protect my eyes from the laser).  The machine turned off, and Dr. Steve's assistant informed me that I would probably want to schedule another laser treatment for Friday, and that I was free to go.  I put my sock and shoe back on and stood up... there was substantially less pain in my foot than there had been 20 minutes earlier.  No joke.  I'm not saying that it's healed, because I can still feel where it's injured, but it is noticeably better and I am not really limping at this point.  :)  Let's just hope and pray that on Friday, I will be able to get in and out of there with just the laser treatment.  Although, considering that my left leg is probably 1-2 inches longer than my right one after my "adjustments," who knows what I'll need.

Monday, April 23, 2012

okay people; it's getting serious...

I'm off to the podiatrist... let's pray that she can figure out what's going on with my foot  :)

** UPDATE **
I did go to the doctor yesterday and, praise the Lord, I do not have a fracture of any kind.  What I do have, however, is a sprained muscle ligament something-or-other that goes from the bottom of my foot, up around the side.  Apparently it's something that takes 4-6 weeks (WEEKS!) to heal.  This could be problematic, in that the half marathon is in less than two weeks.  Her recommendations?  Try to rest it (ahem...), and to do contrast baths twice per day.  "What's a contrast bath?" you ask?  Well, let me tell you; it's all kinds of fun.  Picture this:  two tubs of water.  One tub contains 104 degree water, which I soak my foot in for 3 minutes.  The other tub contains cold water and lots of ice, which I immediately put my foot into, after it comes out of the hot water -- for about 75 seconds.  Oh yea, it's really fun.  You should try it.

Now, the real question is how much of a break do I let myself take from running, and still try to be ready for May 6?  I don't know the answer to that yet.  I am, however, starting to get rather nervous.  The doctor also mentioned that since these injuries don't heal in two weeks, "the half marathon is going to hurt."  And that I should follow that up with an extended break from the impact on that foot.  Just peachy.

On a happier note, we received new donations last week.  Thank you to Jeff & Tracy McMartin, Paula Guest, Susan Rhem-Westhoff, (Judge) Bobby & Kim Chamberlain, and Tiffany House, for pushing our total funds raised up to $2,870!  It's an amazing feeling, to know that so many people are encouraging me in this way; words really can't explain.  I just feel very blessed to have so many wonderful and generous people that I am able to call my friends.  Thank you so much.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

1/100th of a mile...

The plan; run 13 miles (building the drama of that last tenth of a mile until May 6).  The reality; ran 12.99 miles.  Kept running all the way in the driveway, up to the garage door; looked at Gary (the Garmin) and it said 12.99Not 13 miles!  At that point, I was exhausted, sore, and not even close to wanting to turn around and run the other way again.  That stupid 1/100th of a mile would have to wait.  Freaking 1/100th of a mile... UGH!

Now for the gory details... my body will probably never forgive me for this kind of trauma.  My knees are doing all right (as in not great, but still intact); I invested into KT tape, and it's a miracle how much support I can achieve from carefully and artistically placed tape around my knees.  The unfortunate part is that if I wrap this miracle tape around all of the parts of my body that are hurting, I'll look like a colorful mummy.  Cute?  Yes; but not really effective to try to actually move in a running-type of motion.  As I walked down the stairs to do laundry today, my quadricep muscles made it very clear to me that they're still quite upset with my choice of activity yesterday -- even 24 hours after we finished running.  My left foot has been in some sort of funky cramp mode ALL DANG DAY, which I can't seem to get loosened up.  And my leg/hip area that was sore earlier this week is still not quite on board with my choice to run. and run. and run.  Long story short -- my body is all kinds of pissed off.  BUT, it's my last long training run, and it's checked off.  :)  Hallelujah and yee-haw!

It's interesting and strange to me how you have to play little games with your mind when you're running for 12.99 miles.  For example, as I trotted through the 2 mile mark, it occurred to me that I had 11 miles to go.  That's not really a comforting thought.  I turned my music up really loud and tried not to look at Gary (the Garmin) again; I told myself that I could look when I got to my dentist's office (bathroom stop).  At one point during the run, I found myself actually doing math in my head -- and it wasn't even math that related to the run.  It was just miscellaneous math to distract myself -- and I hate math.  I did a lot of praying during the middle 4-5 miles, which was actually a pleasant distraction.  And at mile 9 1/2 I let myself rejoice in the fact that it was my last double digit distance until the event.  That thought gave me a little burst of excitement that enabled me to run 3 1/2 more miles.  As it turns out, lots of obscure things go through one's mind when they're out running for hours on end.

Didn't receive our update on fundraising yet for the week, but I'll be sure to keep you posted as soon as I get it.   :)  Thanks for the encouragement and the prayers!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

amazing gifts...

Today I am grateful.  Grateful for the amazing gift of friendship, and how blessed I am to have so many wonderfully supportive friends in my life.  Grateful, too, for their generosity and how it will impact Heartline.  As of my donations report from last Friday, we have raised $2,635 for Heartline.  I want to take this opportunity to thank those who donated last week:  Julie Stahl, Matt & Sarah Beecham, Jim & Stephanie Baas, and Jim & Denise Stokes.  I am humbled by your generous hearts, and thankful for your support -- truly.  And I'm excited for all of the good things that will be done with that money.  As I've mentioned before, it takes $1,000 for a safe, clean c-section in Haiti.  We're almost to three of those!  It makes me giddy.  :)

Onto running... I have my big run coming up (13 miles) and admittedly I am nervous.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I'm freaking scared.  My knees are holding up (thanks to an investment into KT tape) but my hip/leg area has been pretty sore.  I've spent a lot of time with ice on it, and have taken ibuprofin regularly for a few days, but it's still not good.  The thought of running 13 miles on it isn't really too appealing.  Not to mention that it's supposed to rain for the next couple of days, which will mean that the 13 will be damp, to say the least.  But, much like the USPS, I will go - regardless of rain, sleet, or snow.  Okay, if it happens to snow, I won't be running outside; I mean, I'm not THAT dedicated.

Anyway, thank you all again for your prayers and financial support.  It really does encourage me and I really do appreciate you.  Keep up the good work.  ;)