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.

Early Morning Running Success Continues

One week of early morning running in the books!  I was up at 5:30 again on Thursday and this morning (Saturday) at 5:00.  I can’t believe how well it’s gone.  It’s been so incredibly nice to have a break from the heat and humidity.  Moving runs to the morning has also helped me stick to my training plan without having to go crazy rescheduling everything.  I’ve also been sleeping better – finally!  I just need to find a way to keep it going now.

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"!).

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”!).

I’ve also been really making an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables.  I read or heard somewhere that runners eat a lot of fruit.  So that’s what I’m doing.  No other logic really but I’ve felt more healthy this week.

Do you run early?  What keeps you motivated to keep it up?  How do you wake up before the sun day in and day out to lace up and get out there?

In other news, here’s a little video on this week’s paddling club outing.

And of course I can’t leave out the weekly marathon training update.

What are you up to this weekend? 🙂

The Early Runner Gets the Sprinkler

While my tagline for this blog is “wake up, lace up, show up”, for me this mostly applies to race day.   I truly believe that a big part of being successful in anything is making the effort to just be there.  When the alarm goes off early in the morning on race day, wake up, lace up, show up has been my mantra.  Basically – just get yourself out the door and you’ll be fine.

However, this has not been my mantra for training.  I train whenever I can get it in.  I’ve assumed that as long as I get the run in at some point, I’ll be fine.  I am usually up late studying or getting my stuff/my kids stuff ready for the next day until 11:00 pm or midnight, occasionally 1:00 am these days.  I need to be up by at least 6:00 or 6:30 to get ready for my day.  The few times I’ve tried to get up early to run, I’m just too dog tired or don’t feel like it.  I also have this nagging feeling that I’ll be too sluggish to really put in a good effort and I’ll just dial in the workout instead of giving it everything I’ve got as I do with my evening or lunchtime runs.

That said, I’ve had some issues come up that have been problematic with my evening runs and the blaring facts point to switching to morning running.  So here’s the situation with the evening runs…

  1. Trouble sleeping: I’m having trouble with insomnia lately.  Just can’t fall asleep.  It’s hard to calm down by 11:00 when I may have just come home from a 45 minute run at 10:00 pm.
  2. Scheduling: Additional evening activities (golf/kayaking/kids lacrosse) are taking away from my running time so I run either super late or move my workout or scramble to finish homework at the last minute on Sunday or all of the above.
  3. Weather: It’s getting hotter.  Even in Minnesota.  My runs this weekend were brutally difficult, made worse by the blaring sun, even in the evening hours.

All of this smacked me in the face yesterday afternoon.  I looked at my husband and said “I have to start running in the mornings”.  To which he said “Good luck”.  I told him I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it and proceeded to whine and complain about waking up early.  He said “Just do it.  Put out your stuff the night before and go before your brain even registers you’re outside.”  I figured this is all easy enough for Mr.Snooze-55-times to say but whatever, maybe it’s worth trying.

My alarm this morning went off at 5:30 am.  I didn’t hit snooze.  I got up, got a drink of water.  I wanted to go back to bed but I didn’t.  I put my stuff out and went outside.  I have to say, I felt great.  It was one of my best runs I’ve had this month.  It was another speed interval workout and I was able to hit all of the intervals without issue.  The sun was just coming up and the air was cool.  As an added bonus toward the end of the run when things started to heat up, I got an unanticipated treat – sprinklers!  Getting a nice mist when you’re pouring sweat is a pretty sweet little bonus.

I was home in time to get in a half a banana and a protein shake before my shower.  I also have the luxury of knowing that this evening I have golf lessons with my boys, then some homework and plenty of time to relax with the hubs.  No 15 minutes changing, half hour running, 15 minute shower and recover.  I actually kind of hate how well this went because it means I probably need to make the effort to get out there early on a more regular basis. 🙂  Operation wake up, lace up, show up continues this week.  Stay tuned!

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New Stuff!

Who doesn’t love new stuff?  I know I certainly do. 🙂  It’s been a week of new things both activity-wise and stuff wise.  I started golf lessons for the first time this week and also went kayaking for the first time this week.  Kayaking is pretty darn fun but I’m not sure if I like it more than stand up paddle boarding yet.  I have yet to get the board out this summer but it’s early yet. 🙂

To support said new-found hobbies my super supportive hubby bought me some new starter golf clubs and I also invested (I use the word invested because it makes it sound less frivolous) in some water sandals for kayaking and canoeing this summer.IMG_0612

I’m taking the golf lessons with my two boys which has been really fun.  We’re all learning together!  My husband already plays so he was eager to get the rest of us started.  Turns out golf is super complicated.  So far there just seem to be a lot of rules on how to swing the club and then also game etiquette but I’m enjoying it and think it will be a fun family activity.

I actually tried kayaking as part of a weekly paddle club my friend and I joined that started this week.  It alternates between kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding every Thursday.  Automatic cross training – yay!  I meant to take some pictures or video of the kayaking but was nervous about the water factor.  I may get braver and bring the go-pro with it’s waterproof armor at some point though.

In other news… here is this week’s video update.  Tonight’s run was AWFUL!  I haven’t had such a bad run in a long time.  The heat and humidity also took a toll but I will be back out there tomorrow.  Marathon training must go on.

Running Long on the Treadmill without Losing your Sanity

My husband has been out of town this weekend for so I wasn’t able to get in my normal long run outside.  I was faced with the following choices:  skip the long run, move the long run, or get it in on the treadmill.  All of these sounded terrible so I considered the one that would help my training plan the most – the treadmill.

The cons of treadmill workouts are many:

  1. It’s boring.
  2. No fresh air.
  3. It’s boring.
  4. No sense of adventure.
  5. It’s boring.
  6. No natural hills.
  7. It’s boring.
  8. Nothing to look at… and it’s boring.

There are some pros though as well:

  1. Convenience to home amenities.
  2. You can “bring” more stuff than you could outside – food, fluids, band-aids, technology, etc.
  3. …. alright I just have those 2.

But sometimes you just *have* to do it!  Here is a short video I put together to sum up how I execute a long run on the treadmill when there aren’t other options.

I also filmed a short video recap of my week’s training. 🙂  Hope everyone is having a great week!  Have you ever had to run long on the treadmill?  How did it go?  Would you do it again?

 

One Lovely Blog Award (with video)

Thank you Alison of MostlyHealthyLiving for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award!  I was so flattered you thought of me for this recognition.

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To quote Alison’s quote from her nominator Eat2Health Blog: “This award is another friendly way of getting to know your fellow bloggers whilst helping to give your blog supportive and mainstream exposure, and of course some recognition for all of your hard work!”

The recipient’s participation is to then disclose 7 things about them and nominate 15 other bloggers.  I’m happy to play along so here we go! 🙂

  1. I love 80’s music.  When it’s treadmill time I flip on Pandora’s 80’s Cardio playlist and am good to go.
  2. I love sandwiches.  Quite a bit.  Also my favorite post-race food.  If someone suggests eating something else after a race I get sad.
  3. I have a really unique sneeze.  I have never sneezed around someone for the first time without a comment on it.  Not sure if I should feel proud or self conscious of that…
  4. I like to use smiley faces as much as I can in any digital interaction – email, texting, tweeting, even here.  I try to not use them but feel like it makes my tone too serious. 🙂 🙂 🙂
  5. I really love making dinner and eating at home.  Like many of us, my hubby and I are on the go so much with full time jobs, kids activities, my grad work and marathon training, his hockey that we often eat fast food for dinner or grab something that can pack easily.  It’s so nice to spend time cooking and eating a real meal.
  6. In my teen years I liked to dress up in period costume and participate in civil war reenactments.
  7. As a kid I was home schooled.  I also composed music, sketched, bred finches, and collected stamps for fun.  (I was super popular.) 🙂

And my nominees for the One Lovely Blog Award are below!  I have truly enjoyed reading all of the blogs I’ve listed and highly recommend you check them out.  Looks like Alison and I ‘run’ in the same circles so some of you were already nominated by MostlyHealthyLiving too.  Double nominations for you! 🙂

Don’t feel obligated to participate if you’re not feeling up to it but I would love to read your blog posts on this and learn even more about you. 🙂

  1. Run with Faust
  2. Pirate Bobcat
  3. Live Slim
  4. Piper’s Run
  5. Slacker Runner
  6. Runs on Syrup
  7. Tangent Media
  8. Miss Adventures in Running
  9. See Sebby Run
  10. The Tipsy Runner
  11. Running in Paradise
  12. Dashafitness
  13. Darlin’ Rae
  14. Destination: Minneapolis
  15. Chronicles of a SAHM

In closing, here is a video I shot of my training run on Monday while messing around with the GoPro.

And a little teaser for my upcoming race recap of the Lebanon 10K Trail Race I participated in yesterday. 🙂  Let’s just say there was some mud involved.
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Fueled by Birthday Cake (with video)

Wow, it’s been a crazy busy week.  Work has been super nuts and we’ve had family in town with a couple of birthday parties, one being for my son who just turned 7.  So much fun though!  It can be a challenge though to train for a marathon around life obligations.  That said, where there’s a will there’s a way.  Plus it’s also helpful when family is supportive. 🙂  I was able to stick to my training plan and get a run in on Saturday.  It also worked out that Saturday’s normal long run was actually only about a half hour this week.

I left the house Saturday’s run thinking I would be extra sluggish after eating bagels, pizza, sandwiches IMG_0362and birthday cake all day.  It was after my son’s party.  It was getting dark and it was rainy.  It was just IMG_0355one of those I-don’t-feel-like-doing-this-but-know-I-need-to runs.  I laced up, grabbed a rain jacket and got out there.  The 5 minute warm up was tedious but I did feel better to be out in the fresh air.  Once I hit the faster part of the workout though I felt surprisingly strong and was able to finish the rest of the workout at the required pace without even feeling tired or exhausted at the end.  Not every run is one of those runs where I feel amazing and like I’m nailing it so I’ve grown to appreciate those days where everything just seems to work out. 🙂

I also published this week’s video blog on YouTube!  Enjoy!