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. 🙂

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“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.

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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.

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?

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.