Is Treadmill Season Over Yet?

I cannot tell you how completely excited I am for Spring. It’s been a relatively mild winter for Minnesota but it has been cold enough and icy enough to keep me inside and on the treadmill throughout the majority of my training runs. I need to get outside soon for pure peace of mind if nothing else. 🙂

The half marathon I’ve been training for (RnR New Orleans) is now less than 2 weeks away! I am so completely psyched to get out and race again. It’s been over 6 months! I have also never actually trained for a half marathon before so I’m excited to see how the training will affect how I feel during and after this race. I am not aiming for a PR this time considering the injury recovery but I would really like to finish pain-free and happy. 🙂

Let’s Try this Marathon Thing One More Time

When I decided not to run what would have been my first marathon in October 2015, I more or less dropped this blog too.  Grad school and a promotion at work consumed my life and I focused on those things and recovery.  But now I’m back and feel like I have something to write about again!

I’m registered for the Delaware marathon on May 8th.  I am very excited for this race and am trying to do everything completely by the book this time as possible.  I’m running my miles to the very best of my ability, working with a coach, watching what I eat, and this week even started adding back in strength and cross training.  It’s actually feeling like it can happen this time!  I’m especially excited for what will be the first race post injury: Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon.  My only goal for this race is to genuinely have a good time and not hurt myself.  I think it’s a reasonable goal. 🙂

 

Updates: Running Vegan?

If you could think of the worst time of the year to give up meat, what would it be?  Early summer before all of the cook outs?  What about before an annual fish fry?  Or…How about a couple weeks before Thanksgiving?  Well, that’s what I’ve done.  And actually, it’s not awful.

A few weeks ago I started watching a few YouTube videos and found myself watching Gary Yourofsky’s “Best Speech Ever”.  I heard him talk.  Cried for half an hour and decided I couldn’t eat animal products.  Then I cried for another half an hour when I realized we hadn’t had dinner yet and I had no idea what to make.  I was internally freaking out.

I declared it a “snacking” dinner.  We just got a bunch of small things and called it good.  I think had a bagel and some grapes.  Not an awesome meal, but I realized there are things available that really don’t include meat or animal products.

The next day I dug in with research.  I watch lots of YouTube “what I eat in a day vegan” videos, read blogs, poured through recipes.  I went to the store and came home with a trunk load of vegetables, some Earth Balance (amazing vegan butter substitute), bread and pitas.  I joined a couple Facebook support groups, listened to podcasts and found some helpful iPhone apps.  I tried some new recipes, then some others.  I started to experiment with tofu, tempeh, vegan cheeses, agave, and nutritional yeast (or “nooch” as the cool kids call it).

I started to feel absolutely incredible.  My face started to noticeably clear up almost immediately.  I lost a little bit of weight.  My running didn’t suffer at all.

I’m not ready to commit to this for life, but right now life is pretty good.

Now I just need to survive Turkey Day. 🙂  I’ll keep you posted.

Fitness Update and (belated) Happy Halloween!

Wow, how is it already November?!  Last week was good as fitness endeavors continue.

What I didn’t mention in the video is that I signed up for swim lessons!  They start this Thursday.  I’m both excited and a little nervous.  It’s impressive and strange how those first-day-of-school-jitters are still around even though childhood is long gone.  Will I look like a dork?  Will the other swimmers think I look funny?  Did I get the right swim suit?  Should I bring goggles?  Even if I decide not to pursue triathlons, I’ve always wanted to learn how to swim and think it’s a good life skill.  My boys laugh at me because I am taking swim lessons and they are already good swimmers and super comfortable in the water.  So stay tuned for adventure in not drowning. 🙂

Marathons and Ragnar and Tri’s Oh My!

I went through a period of feeling like I would never run again, never race again.  I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s where I was mentally.  The ankle pain was ridiculous for weeks and when you’re in that mode it gets difficult to imagine doing the things you love again.  But, now that my ankle is feeling stronger I’ve been more confident in registering for races and looking toward some pretty nifty new goals in 2016.

IMG_1952

My yellow brick road. 🙂

I had thought that once I had finished 2015 I would have completed my first marathon.  It didn’t happen and won’t at this point.  I’m okay with that.  However, I thought that I would have moved on to some other things.  I wanted to start looking at multiple marathons in one year, a 50K, Ragnar Relay and I’ve been interested in triathlons for a few years now.

The 50K is not going to happen, so let’s just scratch that right now.  Goals need to be realistic.  I think 2 marathons in one years is a pretty good start as far as endurance running is concerned.  I want to get those under my belt and then see how a longer distance feels after completing those.

Ready for Women Rock 2014!

My ruby slippers. 🙂

However, the rest of it seems… kinda feasible!  Multiple marathons should be a go as long as I’m diligent in my recovery, pay attention to my body, and avoid injury at all cost now that I know injury is an actual thing that actually does happen if you’re not careful.  My BRF is captaining a Ragnar Relay team that we’re organizing for August, and I’m looking into triathlons.  By “looking into” I should have said “learning how to swim”.  So stay tuned on that one.  Adventures in not drowning soon to come!

So that is what is going on this week.  Otherwise I’ve just been focusing on getting back into shape, losing a little weight and making sure I don’t forget to take care of this ankle and take it for granted.

 

More Races! More Running!

New Race!
Things just keep getting better!  This week I registered for the New Orleans Rock and Roll half marathon with my BRF in February.  We really enjoyed the Rock and Roll Chicago half marathon earlier this year and am super pumped for this next one!  I’ve never been to New Orleans so it will be an adventure to check out a new city too.  It’s also nice to be feeling well enough to feel like a half marathon in February will actually be possible. 🙂

Ankle Stuff!
The ankle is actually mostly feeling better lately.  I would give it a solid 97%!  I’ve started using alternating head and ice in the evenings which seems to be helping.  And I’ve only needed the ibuprofen a few times this last week.

IMG_1853

Pic from yesterday’s run. Who doesn’t love Fall!?

Running Stuff!
Last week I really focused on building a post run recovery routine.  I make sure to do some calf stretches while taking in some extra fluids.  This seems to be helping the ankle as well.  I’m trying to build in healthy habits to reduce risk of injury as my workouts build in intensity.  And they have been!  I’ve been working with my coach and the workouts have been gradually increasing steadily each week.  The progress is really encouraging and it’s so nice to get out while the weather is still beautiful.

IMG_1846

My super sister in law helped me with this healthy protein pumpkin muffin recipe – thanks lady!

Recipes & Losing Weight!
I’ve also been working on trying new recipes and finding healthy ways to enjoy Fall favorites while dieting.  I have been trying to lose a few lbs and realize that pumpkin spice lattes every day won’t get me there. 🙂

And if you’re interested, here is this week’s update on YouTube. 🙂

Registered for First Marathon for the Second Time

So many updates!  I finished and passed my very last Ph.D. course, we got the house on the market to move to another area of town, and I’m starting to ease back into running!  Just a little running but it’s enough to keep me sane for now. 🙂

In even more exciting news, I’ve registered for another marathon.  It’s an interesting experience, registering for your first marathon for the second time.  The first time was filled with pure adrenaline and the excitement of “Wow I can’t believe I’m doing this! I’m going to run a marathon!”.  The second time was more bitter sweet and hopeful.  I really hope I can pull it off this time.  I am also filled with an intense grit and determination to do this.  Several people have asked me why I won’t just wait until the Twin Cities marathon in 2016.  The answer is simple, I just can’t.  I would rather train through sub zero temperatures, snow storms, slush and sleet that is Minnesota Winter instead of wait another whole year to have a chance to accomplish this.  I only hope I’m not jinxing it by registering before I’m even fully recovered from this injury.

I picked the Delaware Marathon in Wilmington, DE.  The reason I chose this race is simple – it’s a chance to return to where I grew up and see the city in a whole new light.  I’ve learned that running through a city truly gives you a new perspective and I didn’t start running until years after I had moved away.  My parents and grandparents live relatively close to there which will make it a fantastic family get-together as well.  I had been looking at a few races but when I found this one, I had such a good feeling and knew it was the one.  It’s a smaller race and I didn’t want to miss my chance so I registered.  I registered for my first marathon, again.

I also just registered for a race in February (RNR Half Marathon – New Orleans)!  I enjoyed the Rock and Roll Chicago so much and when I heard my BRF was running this one I just couldn’t pass up another girls weekend and fun race experience. 🙂

At this point I’m done with all races for 2015 and looking forward to complete recovery by the end of the year.  I can’t wait to put my all into training for this awesome home town marathon. 🙂

Why are you Hitting Yourself!?

I had a really interesting epiphany today.  And that is that if something hurts, you probably shouldn’t do it.  Seems logical enough right?  During this injury I’ve had a lot of time to think about how I hurt myself in the first place.  And I did do this to myself which makes it all the more frustrating.  There was no freak collision with a vehicle, no tripped in pothole, no rabid animal.  Just me, overusing my ankle, repetitively slamming through the pain for almost three and a half hours.  And so I’ve spent the last 6 weeks reliving that run trying to figure out why it happened and what I can do to prevent it.  I know I pushed too hard – but why would I do that?

I was at the gym today doing some lunges with dumbbells.  About halfway through the set I felt a really bad pain in my tailbone, almost like my spine was on the brink of shattering.  This was definitely not a “just push through and feel the burn” kind of pain.  It shouldn’t have been there and I had no business continuing.  But I didn’t stop.  I checked my form, decided that was fine and I should keep going.  The only thought I had was “It’s fine, I’m almost through the set and then it will stop hurting”.  And then it occurred to me.  That is exactly how this ankle issue happened.  And it’s exactly how the plantar fasciitis happened a few months ago, and it’s exactly how the exertion migraines happened with the weight lifting that landed me in the ER before that.  It’s that concept of – this is okay because eventually I’ll reach my goal of what I want to do, and the pain will stop.  What I’ve learned however, is sometimes the pain doesn’t stop.  Actual damage is a real and present danger.

At any rate.  Marathon training (even marathon training recovery) is still giving me powerful lessons.  I didn’t finish all of the sets and did eventually stop the stupid lunges.  When I started exercising a long time ago I had had trouble motivating and pushing myself and would phone in half my workouts.  Then I learned to love pushing myself and loved finding continual improvement.

I’ve learned another valuable lesson today though, and that is when to pull back.  When to check myself and realize I am human, and do have limits.  It’s humbling, but it’s real.

Weekly video update – not much but still doing what I can. 🙂

“Slow” Work?

A few months ago I was focused almost exclusively on speed work in my running.  In fact I think that it is probably one of the main mistakes I made in my downward spiral that ended with this injury issue I’ve been working through.  I had wanted a fast-for-me marathon finish time for my debut marathon, but instead will now be sitting out completely; an option I didn’t even think was really possible.

At any rate, I’ve been doing what I can in the mean time to recover (video down below).  The slower pace has some benefits too.  Mostly, I’m spending a lot more quality time with my boys and with our dog.  I’ve gone on several walks with my sons and last week my 9 year old biked 6 miles with me.  It was a PR for him in distance! 🙂  He now wants to make it a regular thing we do together, which is so amazingly awesome. It’s been really great to get outside with them and get some exercise together.  No, these low intensity family workouts are not going to earn me any medals or PRs.  I don’t finish feeling sweaty and badass.  However, these workouts are completely priceless.  We’re spending quality time together moving, getting fresh air and talking about things away from the video games.  So right now I’m working on this “slow work”, and plan to do more of it, even when I get back to training.  I don’t need a medal to know we’re doing something good by staying active together.

12017464_10207490779604481_6074915072073973988_o

What ideas do you have for family fitness?  Always looking for more ideas to incorporate. 🙂

A Difficult Decision

After a short yet very painful run on Monday I realized this isn’t my marathon year.  Letting go of something I’ve worked so hard for for 11 months is not easy.  This injury has hurt in more ways than one.  I spent a lot of time negotiating with myself and trying to find a way to just run it anyway without the training build up.  After a lot of research and consulting with my coach I just don’t believe that is a healthy option for me at this point.

Once I realized that I was really out of the race, I had a week of what I will just call an adult (okay maybe not even that grown up) hissy fit.  I wanted to run this marathon so badly.  I had honestly been looking forward to this last month of difficult long runs more than the race itself and I never even got to run my longest distance in training.  It sucks.  Am I over it?  Nope.  But I’m definitely  getting there.  Here is a video recap of that decision, and a new (and probably smarter) plan for 2016.