Race Recap: Women Rock – Starlet Challenge

Women Rock is the first 10K I ever ran.  I first ran this race in 2013 and it was the first event I ever trained for consistently.  In 2013 the 10k was the longest distance I had ever run.  It gave me the confidence to spontaneously register for and run a half marathon only a couple weeks later (didn’t train for it, but did survive and finish!).

Last year I ran the 10K again and beat my previous time.  This year I wanted a new challenge and registered for the Women Rock Super Starlet Challenge.  The challenge involved a night 2.5K race on Friday night, followed by a half marathon and a 5K on Saturday.  My hope when I registered for this in December was to PR my half on this race.  However, this time last week with my injury I was thinking I wouldn’t be running it at all.

In light of the injury I down graded back to the 10K along with the other races which would fulfill the Rock Starlet Challenge (minus the “super”) and still earn me 4 beautiful medals.  My coach advised walking the 2.5k night race followed by walk run intervals on the 10K and 5k.  Not wanting to ruin my chances at running the upcoming marathon, that’s what I did.  And it worked!  I finished the races, had fun with my friends and the ankle still seems to be on the mend at this point.11947689_10207394826725719_3750133041126512164_n

No race video on this one.  I was really focusing on taking it easy and avoiding further damage.

I honestly thought at this point in the game I would be racking up the PRs and setting new records for distance.  As it stands, I still have yet to run a distance PR through any of my marathon training at all.  (My longest distance in training is the 16 miles I ran on August 16th which earned my injury.  My longest distance ever is 16.86 miles I ran for a trail race in April.)

This struggle in the road to 26.2 is not what I was expecting at all.  I was assuming I would work through scheduling issues with finding time for long runs and mentally pushing through exercising through long periods of time.  Instead I am babying this ankle and am an emotional wreck due to my disappointment in myself with these injuries.  I know this is causing major setbacks in my mileage in these remaining and very important final weeks.

But, it’s still an experience and I’m learning what to do and what not to do for next time, if there is one… we’ll see. 🙂

Marathon Training is Hard

News flash!  Marathon training is hard!  This week has been especially difficult because I haven’t done anything.  One might think that a week off of running would feel good after so much running.  Far from it.  I have been loving the increase in mileage and miss it very much.  I’ve had to take the week off due to an ankle injury.  Specifically peroneal tendonitis.  My friend Scott explains it well here:

In talking with my orthopedic surgeon, this happened from the combination of increasing my mileage and also changing my form.  I had been a solid mid foot runner until late last November when I did some research, read some books and figured fore foot running was the new awesomesauce and so I need to do it.  I completely changed my form and specifically my foot fall.  This was okay for the first few months but now that I’m running higher mileage it’s impacting me in a negative way.  So the new focus is now rehabbing this ankle injury, getting back into shoes that I know work (hello Asics!) and getting comfortable with my comfort zone which is the mid foot running again.

I honestly thought marathon training was going to be difficult due to just the sheer volume of extra miles and time on the road.  I was not anticipating any injury (I’m lucky to be a pretty healthy person).  I was also not anticipating the need to find this special combination of things that work.  And there is a LOT of experimentation that goes in to this.  Nutrition, shoes, hydration, socks, speed, form, the list goes on.

And, Summer is almost over.  I decided I wanted to run this marathon last October.  I’ve been working on and dreaming of this for a year.  I still need to get this ankle functioning again, find the perfect combination of everything, and finish building up my mileage.

6 weeks.  I can do this.  Right?

More Marathon Training

Marathon training continues!  Here is a recap of this week’s workouts and another video on running shoes.  I will keep it short here today.  Most/all of my social media time this month is devoted to project #ZenVEDA (vlogging every day in August).  If you’d like to see the videos, I invite you to check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9h2ufxKuGBQb9a1EXMldOA 🙂

Oh, and check out this neat virtual race at the end of the month!  You’re all invited to join if interested.  And it’s free! 🙂

Get Out of MY Park!

View from today's 10+ mile run at about 6 am this morning.  That wood bridge is actually on some sort of pontoon system - challenging to run across (almost made me "seasick"!).

MY Bunker Hills Park in the early morning.

My new coach had a 13 mile run on my schedule yesterday.  While I have run plenty of half marathons, this was my longest training/unsupported run yet.  I left my house at about 7:00 am ready to start my run through the park that backs up to my neighborhood.

Let me take a moment to describe this park.

My park.

Bunker Hills Regional Park is filled with a maze of paved bike paths on undulating hills.  I know these twisting bike paths better than I know the lines on my own palms.  When I started running, I ran Bunker.  I’ve run two 5Ks through Bunker.  I’ve participated in running groups through Bunker.  However, I prefer to run alone.  And it is usually pretty quiet.  Only a few other people pushing strollers, jogging or walking.

Much to my dismay, yesterday the park was packed with people!  Lots of them!  Everywhere!  People riding bikes, people walking, people pushing strollers, people roller blading, people on skate boards, people sitting around, people running.  Lots of other people running.  I literally wanted to shout “GET OUT OF MY WAY!  GET OUT OF MY PARK!”

But as I was heading out of the park (frustrated and sweaty) and on to the next leg of my run I wondered what were they all doing in there today?

And a thought occurred to me.  I bet some of these people are just kids looking to have fun outside on their bikes, just like I was.  I bet some of these mothers pushing strollers are just looking for some time out of the house and an opportunity to work off that baby weight just like I was.  I bet some of these people are learning to run just like I did.  And… I bet at least some of these people are training for the same damn marathon I am.

I knew I needed to check my mental game at that point and I did.  There will not be a field of 1 starting this marathon, nor would I want there to be.  Everyone has their own fitness journey they are working through, and yes some of those journeys happened to be through my park yesterday.

This morning I ran through Bunker again as usual for my scheduled 3 mile run.  It was almost empty.  Which actually made me a little sad.  Come back everyone!  I will share next time.  I promise.  🙂

Regroup, Reevaluate, & Rally

Last week’s half marathon damaged me in more ways than one.  My foot ached so bad by the end I spent the rest of that day and the next two days limping.  I earned a nice pink sunburn and some exquisite chafing in some areas I will not enumerate.  I would not have physically been able to finish, had last weekend been marathon day.  In addition the the physical damage, the race was one of two half marathons in a span of three weeks where my performance was much slower than I had anticipated.

All in all it left me with…

Damaged feet.

Damaged skin.

And (probably worst of all), a damaged ego.

When this happens you just have one choice.  Quit.  Just give up.  Throw in the towel.  Who needs it anyway?  Lots of people live perfectly healthy happy lives without running a marathon!  That was my exact outlook four days ago.  I cried at my kitchen table and told my husband I was out.  I was done.  I didn’t need this.

He wouldn’t accept it.  He told me the truth – I was being stupid.  He knows me well enough to explain what the ultimate future of this decision would mean.  With nothing to train for and look forward to, I would stop running.  Running has been my go to stress relief for the past two years and I would lose out on this happiness.

He pointed out the positives: I had an adventure with my longtime BRF and made a new running friend this past weekend.  I achieved Half Fanatics status.  I tried new foods and new things.  I had a fun weekend in a new city.  Things I wouldn’t have done without the race.

After lots of tears (and snot – it wasn’t pretty), I realized he was right.  To give up on training would mean giving up on running, racing and all that comes with it.

So I spent last week regrouping, reevaluating and rallying.

I saw the doctor on Thursday.  Diagnosis = plantar fasciitis (not a stress fracture!).

Over the weekend I found a great coach and am starting a new running plan tomorrow.  The plan I was using was great for building speed but I need to turn my focus to true endurance to get ready for this marathon.

It was a rough week but I am back.  I will continue to run.  I run to race.

Race Recap: Rock & Roll Chicago (w/video)

WOW!  This race totally blew my socks off.  Not literally.  No socks were harmed in the running of this race. Here is a recap of my experience running the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Chicago last weekend.  I will skip the details of the weekend and zoom right to the actual race.

The entertainment was non stop!  Bands! Guys on stilts!  Cheerleaders! And cheering stations everywhere!

I also loved all of the amenities.  Plenty of aid stations and medical tents with water and Gatorade.  Aid stations toward the end had gels which included the Rock and Roll official flavor: Salted Watermelon. (Full disclosure: I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet.)  Cool sponges and mist stations were also very nice.  Ice cold towels at the finish and plenty of snacks.

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Pre-race pic!

Start: It took about 20-25 minutes for our wave to start after the official 6:30 start time.  I’m not sure how many people ran this thing but it was in the thousands.  I was really impressed with how well organized this race was, especially considering how many people ran.  I got to hang out with a friend while waiting so the wait time flew by.  Gun went off and off we went!

I originally wanted to try to PR at this race.  Looking at the forecast on Thursday though (extreme heat warning and humidity) I readjusted my plans and aimed for a goal of 2 hours, 30 minutes.  Not a PR but would be my best half this year.

Mile 1: Went out too fast.  What’s new right?

Mile 2: Even faster.  That’s how I roll.

Mile 3: Energizer bunny!  Just keep going!

Mile 4 & 5: Still rocking it, at this point feeling pretty confident.  Took a short walk break for a gel somewhere around 4.5.

Mile 6 & 7: This is where my feet starts to hurt every other run.  But today they didn’t.  And it felt awesome.  I popped in the headphones and started sprinting.  At this point I knew I could meet get a PR in spite of the ridiculous heat and humidity.  I felt great.

Mile 8: Heat took over and I had to take a break from sprinting.  I immediately realized my mistake.  The arch of my left foot felt like it was shattering, ripping, almost collapsing on every foot fall.

Mile 9: The pain was excruciating but I kept limp jogging through it as best I could.

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And of course the sweaty post-race pic. 🙂

Mile 10-13: It was just unbearable.  I switched to jog/walk intervals to finish.

Finish time was 2 hours 47 minutes.  My slowest half ever.  It was also an extremely fun experience despite the pain and slow finish time.  I definitely recommend Rock and Roll and would love to run another half in this series.

This race also qualified me for Half Fanatics. 🙂  Inmate # 12395.

Chicago Race Weekend Adventure

I ran with some good friends in the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon yesterday but this is not a race recap.  I know we all love a good race recap and there will be one!  This however, is just a summary of how this fun girls weekend away went. 🙂

Friday

Tara and I left work early to get on the road to Chicago.  Met at my house, loaded the car, swung by the gas station for snacks and were on the road by 1:00 pm.  All was going well until this thing fell partway off the bottom of the car and started flapping.

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Called the hubs who said it was fine to drive without it.  Tara was able to rip it the rest of the way off the car and we threw it in the trunk.  As we were about to pull away a police car pulled up behind us to make sure all was well.  We explained the situation, showed her the thing and were off.

As we came into Chicago we got a little lost downtown trying to get to our hotel.  Turns out GPS is pretty much garbage in the underground roadway system below the city.  We asked a homeless guy for directions.  He was extremely nice and helpful.  Meant to give him $2 but gave wound up giving him $11 by accident in my flustered-lost-in-Chicago state.  I’m sure he needed it more than I did though so I don’t feel guilty.

We left the car with the valet at the hotel and hauled our luggage in to the front desk only to find out that we were at… dum dum DUM!  The wrong hotel.  Turns out there is a Hyatt Regency Chicago and a Hyatt Regency McCormick Place within a few miles of one another.  We were at the former but had reservations at the latter.  Back out with the luggage we went, waited for valet to bring the car back and were back on the road within 15 minutes (that felt like 4 hours).

Finally made it to the right hotel, checked in, ate at the hotel restaurant (amazing meal!) and went to bed.

Saturday

We slept in before grabbing a quick but expensive (8$ for yogurt and a water!) breakfast from the hotel cafe before heading to the race expo.

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The expo was probably the most exciting I’ve ever experienced.  So many vendors!  And free stuff! And games!  And samples!  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The Humana Rock and Roll series certainly knows how to put on an expo.

I could only handle the excitement for so long before I was expo’ed out.  Tara kept shopping (and shop, she did!) while I called the kiddos back home.

Later we walked to Kim and Carlos’ hot dog stand and had real Chicago hot dogs.  We didn’t even ask for ketchup (which is apparently taboo there).  And… we loved them!  I couldn’t believe putting so many random items on a hot dog would taste good but I’m glad I tried it.IMG_0856[1]After lunch we boarded a tour bus to see more of the city and found ourselves at Navy Pier for a couple hours.

Then it rained.  A lot.

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Interestingly, Taylor Swift was in Chicago for her 1989 tour.  We didn’t meet Taylor but we did see throngs of Taylor Swift fans on our way eat dinner with a couple friends from our running group.  Speaking of dinner, we learned Giordanos Pizza is pretty darn popular.  So popular, the wait we were quoted was an 1 hour, 45 minutes just to sit down.  Very long story short, we did get to eat the popular pizza but it actually took closer to only a half hour to get a table.  We also learned deep dish pizza takes 45 minutes to cook.  But, it was well worth the wait.  Hooray for pre-race carb loading!906044_10207313500382164_4269535551185497722_o

Sunday

Sunday we were up early for the race.

IMG_0894[1]The cafe was out of bagels so I inhaled half a cheese danish while we waited for the shuttle with our other friend from our group who was also running.  At the start area we went through all of the normal race rituals – porta potty, selfies, find the corral, etc.

Ran.

Yup.  That’s all I will say about it for now. 🙂

After the race we took some more selfies before heading back to the hotel to shower, pack and check out.  On the way home we had fun entertaining ourselves with games like ‘would you rather’.  For example: “Would you rather have a tiny rhino or a giant hamster” (Tara wants the rhino and I’ll take the hamster.)  Hey don’t judge – when you’re in the car for 7+ hours you need these things to survive. 🙂

That was it!  It was an amazing weekend of fun and fitness with fabulous friends.

Of course the week would not be complete without the weekly video update. 🙂

Experiencing the Sandias (w/videos)

I’m in New Mexico for work this week and had an opportunity to check out the Sandia Mountains.  The views here are so beautiful.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  I had planned to get a rigorous long trail run in but it just wasn’t that kind of day.   To my dismay, I’m learning to accept that not every workout is going to be completely kick ass.  What’s important is forward drive and constant improvement.

Here are some videos and pictures for your enjoyment. 🙂

And this week’s weekly update from the weekend…because I forgot to post it here. 🙂

Maintenance Magic: Gaining and Losing Weight

mfp 7.9For years I’ve been a die hard MyFitnessPal.com fan.  I have logged in consecutively for 1129 days now.  Through all of that logging I’ve maintained my weight between 130 and 140 lbs.  But I desperately need a break from counting every little crumb.  So I took one.  I didn’t track any nutrition during the months of May or June.  However, this little break combined with some hefty 4th of July holiday eating spiked my weight from 130 lbs to 137.  I have dreamed for years of getting back to 125 but have learned that look and feel do not always accompany the number on the scale.  That said, my 5’2″ frame is not very comfortable wearing 137 pounds and what goes up must come down.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s diet time.   I’ve also been wanting to chase this elusive “race weight” people talk about.  That amazing body composition that makes you feel lighter and faster.  Usually when I diet at all I lose some weight but inevitably feel tired and sluggish from the reduced calories and my running performance suffers.  I gain weight and feel bloated and slow.  There has to be a happy medium, but getting there is obviously the tricky part.  I haven’t seen much affect of my weight on my running but that could also be because my weight hasn’t fluctuated outside of these 10 lbs.mfp 2 7.9

Since Monday when I stepped on the scale at 137 lbs I’ve cut back on calories, sodas, and starchy carbs.  I’ve lost about 5 lbs in 3 days.  I know my body well enough though to know that the initial loss is mostly water weight from all of the unhealthy treats I had during the holiday weekend.  Just need to keep at it!  What’s interesting is a few years ago when I started all of this, all I wanted was to lose weight.  Now losing weight is much lower on my list of health and fitness priorities and I know that will be the challenge for me.  I need to find ways to prioritize healthy eating.

What has been your experience with weight loss?  

Do you have a “race weight”?  

Race Recap: Red White & Boom (w/video)

Happy belated 4th of July!  Had a great race experience yesterday.  Here’s a recap of the day!

Made sure to eat a carb-o-licious spaghetti dinner on Friday evening with the family and laid out all of my race gear and outfit.  Got to bed early at about 10:30 pm and got a good night’s sleep before waking up at 4:00 on Saturday morning.

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Tara and I left my house at 5:00 pm and were to the start in (what we thought) was plenty of time.  Dumped my bag at the bag drop and waited in line for the porta-potties.  And waited…and waited…and waited.  Tara left for the start.  I was late.  It was my own fault.  I had actually paid a little extra $$ for the “VIP Experience” which included separate porta-potties, but forgot that little perk at the time.  Bummer!

I missed the start for a few minutes but caught up with Tara quickly.  Was feeling fantastic!  Was hitting my splits really well.  No stomach issues, no leg issues, no motivation issues.  I actually thought I had a shot at beating my (ridiculously fast for me) PR of 2:21:22.  That is until somewhere around mile 5.  My feet of all things just kinda gave out.  I was in an amazing amount of pain.  Every foot fall was excruciating.  I even attempted heel striking on purpose to take the pressure off the balls of my feet but that only made things worse.  I tried to recover but it just all fell apart when I had to switch to walk/jog intervals.

I chalk it up to another stupid mistake.  I knew my shoes were about over due.  My precious Asics Gel Kayano 21s have approximately 500 miles on them and should have been replaced about a month ago.  I knew better but just didn’t prioritize my time properly to get over to the running store.IMG_0697

All in all though it was still such a fun race!  Twin Cities in Motion does a great job with organizing really nice events.  The volunteers were so nice, friendly and helpful and really made running (limping?) 13.1 miles enjoyable.

After the race, it was time for cooking out, hanging out with family and friends and watching the fireworks display.  I hope you had a fantastic 4th too!

And don’t worry 2:21:22… I’ve got all Summer, and I’m coming for you.