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.

Happy National Running Day!

What a cool day.  I’ve loved watching my twitter feed blow up with running stuff all day. 🙂  I got in 2.3 miles myself this evening.  We’ve had crazy thunder storms in my area of Minnesota all day today but I finished my 7 max pace sprints on the treadmill followed by some strength training.  I am pooped!  I’ve somehow been able to get through all of my planned workouts this week, even with the recovery issue.  IMG_0439

Happy National Running Day!IMG_0438

Recover or Risk It?

If there’s one thing I hate to hear it’s “you can’t”.  But what if the “you can’t” is coming from your doctor?  I had some oral surgery yesterday and was really dismayed when the doctor told me to suspend working out for 5 days.  This might not seem like a big deal but so far I have a perfect streak going and have not missed a single workout in the past 10 weeks!  I was super psyched about that.  I’m also afraid if I miss one, I open myself up to skipping more.  I don’t want to open that door of “well, I did it that other time, so I can skip this one too”.

I just feel like a little kid and want to stomp my foot and yell “it’s not fair!”.  Taking 5 days off was not mentioned at all in the pre-op meeting.  If it were I could have snuck in a few workouts before, a few after and still been generally fine.  Now I feel like I need to either skip workouts or risk “pain and bleeding” (neither of which sound like fun).

Advice?  What would you do?

Race Recap: Lebanon 10K Trail Race (with video)

The Lebanon 10K trail race is one of five races in the Endless Summer Trail Run Series (ESTRS) hosted by Twin Cities Running Company and Rocksteady Running.

Looking back and reviewing my thoughts on this race I realized that it gave me a lot of firsts for one little 10K run.

  1. This was my first race where it rained through the entire event.
  2. First race I’ve ever gone to completely solo.  Drove there myself.  Check in and packet pickup on my own.  Started running alone.  After party of one.  Drove home by myself.  There are pros and cons to this.  I had the freedom to do things on at my own pace and didn’t worry about where anyone else was or how to meet up or any of those coordination items.  That said, it was super lonely!  I don’t think I would go it alone again if I could avoid it.  The after party was especially lonely.  It was a great event with pizza and beer and I just didn’t have anyone to share it with and recount the race with.
  3. Not my first trail race but it was my first trail 10K!
  4. First 10K that was a 3 mile loop twice.
  5. First race on a Tuesday evening after work.
  6. First race while recording with a GoPro.

The night before was a Monday evening.  I packed everything I would need into my gym bag instead of laying it out as I would for other races simply because the race was after work and not my first item of the day.  I also knew it would probably be rainy so I brought my rain jacket, a plastic sandwich bag for my phone and a towel for after the race.

After work on Tuesday I drove over to Lebanon Hills Regional Park and parked in the overflow lot.  Check in was IMG_0376seamless.  I gave the volunteers my name and bib # and was good to go.  Race registration also included glassware from Solomon.  Since my car was at the overflow lot, it was raining, and I didn’t have anyone with me to hold my stuff I hid my glass by one of the picnic tables.  Felt very sneaky for doing this but it worked out fine and was waiting for me when I finished.

I have to give race directors a shout out for starting on time.  And I mean really on time.  Super punctual.  The race was scheduled to start at 6:30 and we started exactly at 6:30 pm.

The race started on asphalt and quickly progressed into the trail through the woods.  It had been raining for 4 days in the Minneapolis area prior to Tuesday.  The mud was out of control and it was very difficult to not slip and fall.  Great workout but made for some slow running.IMG_0386

The first 3 miles felt like they flew by.  I had turned off the voice notifications on my Map My Run app to avoid bothering anyone and I didn’t notice any mile markers.  If they were there, I didn’t see them.  The whole time I didn’t know how far I was which I think made the time seem to go by faster.  Aid station was great (back at the start/finish) with water, gels, and really supportive volunteers cheering.  The second loop felt like it went by more slowly.  I think this was because I knew I was repeating everything I had just run through, I was more tired, and more soaked by then.  (Disclaimer: It wasn’t pouring, just a heavy mist/drizzle.  If it had been an outright downpour I might not have stuck it out!)  The park trail was beautiful despite the weather.  Picture lots of green foliage with wood bridges throughout.

I finished in little under an hour and 17 minutes.  Not too shabby for me considering the muddy trail and rain!  It was a great workout and I am proud of my time.IMG_0385

Afterwards there was pizza and beer.  Pizza and lemonade for me since I was driving myself home.  I have to say though, it tasted like the best meal ever after running in the rain for an hour!  This was a very well organized race and I truly enjoyed myself.  The volunteers were so nice, helpful, and encouraging.  I would absolutely run another ESTRS race again.  Next time though, I’m bringing some friends! 🙂

Marathon Training Recap – Week 1 (with video)

Yay!  First week of marathon training is done!  Video recap below. 🙂

This week’s workouts were really tough.  I had to push out my usual Thursday run to Friday which put some difficult speed work (for me) the day before my long run.  I will try to avoid that in the future and give myself the rest day between.  Those back to back runs were just a struggle.

Here’s what next week looks like.

training week 2

 

In other news, I took a break off of dieting.  It’s just been one of those crazy hectic weeks and I didn’t feel like logging anything which isn’t like me.  I’m not eating badly, just not counting every little thing. 🙂  Do you ever have one of those days?  Or weeks?

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Also, saw some geese yesterday on my long run.  Cute!

 

I’d App That

If you haven’t guessed already, I love documenting and tracking everything about my fitness.  Here are a few of my favorites that I use on a weekly/daily basis.

What are your favorites?  What am I missing? 🙂

  1. MyFitnessPal – I use MFP daily to track calories in/out.  (1,070 consecutive days going strong!) (Free!)
  2. MapMyRun – I signed up for the MVP access on MapMyRun (includes all MapMyFitness apps) and love this app for tracking my runs.  The route genius feature is ultimately what sold me on this over Runkeeper which was my go-to prior to MapMyRun. (Free but I payed for the MVP version, I think $20/year?)
  3. Gipis – I use Gipis for my marathon training plan.  When I start a run I initiate Gipis and MapMyRun simultaneously so the data is saved both places.  For treadmill runs I upload to both manually after my run. (Free!)
  4. Fitbit – I took a year off of Fitbit only because it was becoming something of an obsession.  However, I just picked this back up again recently to track how my steps add up with my marathon training.  I am also interested in tracking my sleep to be sure I am getting enough rest as well. (The Fitbit app is free but you purchase the device.)
  5. FitnessBuilder – I’ve been using Fitness Builder for my strength training workouts.  Right now I’m working through the dumbbells program twice a week since I have that equipment both at home and at the LA Fitness I frequent.  I like that it has timer and you can save the weights used.  The weights used on the same exercise last time are shown below which help me gauge what to use for the current workout. (Free!)
  6. Withings – This app links to some other apps I have like MFP.  I mostly use this to log my weight.  I weigh-in once per week on the scale which then sends that data to the app on my phone.  (App is free but you purchase the scale.)IMG_0268

That’s all I’ve got for now!  I’ve tried many others and either disliked or become bored with them.  Would love to know what else is out there though.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

When Running is (Literally) a Nightmare

Last month I ran my first trail race.  The very next day my monthly subscription of Running Times came in the mail and wouldn’t you know, it was a special edition on trail running.  I think it’s the combination of the timing of these two things that has had me on a streak of watching YouTube videos on ultra racing.  I just think it’s completely fascinating that people can run as far as they do.  I’ve been awestruck and mesmerized.  But I guess one way you may know you have a running problem is it enters your dreams and even nightmares.

Usually any dreams I have of running are great ones – crossing the finish line or accomplishing something amazing, sometimes just the feeling of fresh air and wind in my hair.  Last night though, I had a terrible nightmare.  I dreamed that my husband had given me a special present for our anniversary this year – he had registered me for the Leadville 100 mile ultramarathon.  And this is not just any ultramarathon – it’s super hard, and also qualifies finishers into Western States (my amateur perception is “Western” is the “Boston” of trail ultras).

So back to my dream… Of course I felt way in over my head but entered a crazy training regimen with an insane drill sergeant woman in the frozen tundra.  (Why I had to practice running through snow and ice for an August race, I’m not sure.  It’s my subconscious.  She’s not always super practical.)  Once that’s over I actually show up to run the Leadville 100, because again – my subconscious isn’t smart.  I somehow run the first 56 miles and find myself in extreme pain and agony.  I think I’m having a heart attack, I feel like every muscle in my legs are breaking down, my toes have gone from sore to painful to numb.  I physically feel like I’ve just run every inch of those mountainous 56 miles.  I find myself at the aid station.  I’m at a cross roads like one of those choose your own adventure books: continue, try to finish, and probably die or drop out of the race.  I chose to drop out.  I was immediately filled with regret and despair.  I felt ashamed and horrible.  The fact that 56 miles is…well…a lot, didn’t matter.

I woke up drenched in sweat and the thing that immediately popped in my head to make me feel better was “It’s okay, it was just a dream, Leadville registration closed months ago.”  Nope, not sure how I knew that but it somehow did slow my heart rate.  I think this dream did deliver a few good messages.  1.) My husband loves me and is super supportive.  2.) I need to remember to respect the distance of my races.  I’ve underestimated a few and always regretted it.  3.) I probably need to stop thinking about running for just a bit to give my mind a break.

So what does one do when they’re trying to not think about running?  Well, I know what I do.  I run.  🙂

treadmill workout 5-4-15

treadmill workout – 5/4/15

 

Last Week of Build Up! (with video)

I’m so excited to get started on the actual marathon training!  Just one more week of the build up phase before I start my plan.  I’ve been using the Gipis app on my iPhone and completely love it.  The coaching works pretty well and I’ve been able to stick with it for the past 6 weeks thus far.  I haven’t missed a single workout, yay! 🙂

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Yesterday was long run day but the scheduled run was pretty short compared to what I’ve been doing. Just 55 minutes.  Classic me, I completely underestimated the workout.  I didn’t bring water because I figured it was less than an hour and I’d be fine.  It turned out to be much warmer than I thought it was and I started feeling completely exhausted halfway through.  At any rate, more learning: don’t forget water for any long run and take heat seriously.  I know some can run for hours without fluids but I just run better if I have something on hand, especially when it’s super hot like yesterday.  I also need to find a good sunscreen.  I’ve been using a Neutrogena spray on but I don’t think it’s working very well.

In my excitement over my upcoming marathon training I’ve started a vlog to accompany this blog!  Check out my first video if you’re interested. 🙂

 

No Meal Prep? No Problem.

Google “meal prep” and you’ll find oodles of information on how to spend a few hours one day a week to get all your food ready for the rest of the week.  I completely idolize those of you who can do this!  What a cool thing to be able to have everything ready to go.  This just wasn’t a solution for me.

So what is the alternative?  Fast food and vending machines?  No thanks.  I know my body needs actual nutrition to power me through my day at my office, my quality time with my kids, and my killer workouts.  I rely on grab and go breakfasts, lunches and snacks to get me through the day, then throw together something super fast for dinner.  I had to change the way I thought about food to get here though.  It didn’t come over night and I had to get out of my comfort zone and be creative.

Packing:
For starters, you don’t have to use fancy Tupperware or lunch bags.  I take a grocery store plastic bag, walk around my kitchen to collect all my food, then throw it in my big stuff-I-need-for-work-bag.

 

Always in my big bag: a can opener, a bowl, a fork, a spoon, a vegetable peeler, water bottle, salt & pepper and a small food scale.  (I wash utensils and stuff in the office break room or wash it when I get home.)

What to Pack – 1 minute:
You don’t have to portion things out into individual portions!  Just take the whole container. Stuff can be portioned out as you need it.  Example: Just take a whole cucumber.  I used to think I had to peel it, cut it, Tupperware it.  That takes time.  Time I don’t have.  Ranch dressing?  Throw the whole bottle in there.  Frozen veggies?  Take the whole bag.  Deli meat?  Take the whole package.  Things that can be purchased already in small containers is great too – individualize oatmeal pouches, yogurt, fruit cups, cheese sticks, etc.

Unpacking – 3 minutes:
When I get to work I take out my grocery bag of food, remove anything I don’t want refrigerated onto my desk.  Take the rest of the food and my water down to the break room.  Fridge the grocery bag and fill up my water.

Breakfasts (I like stuff I can eat in the car on the way to the office)
English muffin
Granola bar
Banana
Protein powder in water or milk or coffee

Lunches (protein + vegetable)
Deli meat (turkey, chicken, ham) with carrots
Can of tuna (straight out of the can) with a cucumber
Eggs (scrambled in the microwave) with broccoli

Snacks
Fruit
Greek yogurt
Instant oatmeal
Cheese

These are just a few ideas I’ve found helpful for me, but I’m sure there are more!

What are your go-to food and meal ideas to get you through the week?

Having it All vs. Doing it All

I’ve never no-showed a race.  In fact, I rarely ever no-show anything at all.  If I say I will do something, I do it.  If I say I will be somewhere, I’m there.  If I register for it, I show up and run.  Until this weekend.  A few months ago I registered for the Get in Gear 10k.  Later my husband let me know that our 8 year old would have a hockey tournament – we just didn’t know what time of day.  A couple weeks ago, in looking at my training plan realized that it called for an 8 mile run that day.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize that 6 miles is not quite 8 miles.  I decided to change my distance for Get in Gear to the half marathon.  A few days ago we found out my son had two big tournament games the day of Get in Gear (yesterday).  One at 8:15 am and another at 1:15 pm.  The race was scheduled for 9:00 am.  No way to do both.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t even consider skipping the hockey tournament.  It was extremely tempting.  I really enjoy race days, they are the best.  Sitting in a cold ice arena for hours is not always super fun.  It crossed my mind but in the end I knew I needed to be there for him.  When there’s a conflict – the Mom card trumps all.  I got my first Did Not Start (or DNS in the running world).  Kind of a bummer but I don’t regret it.  I didn’t skip it because I forgot or slept late or was feeling lazy.  I skipped it because my guy needed me.  And he did.  The first game of the tournament was a shut out, 0 to 10.  The second was another loss at 1 to 10.  He was super disapointed and I would have felt even worse if I hadn’t been there to give hugs and encouragement.

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Sometimes having it all doesn’t mean doing it all.  Sometimes the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned.  Sometimes that last minute email gets answered the next day.  Sometimes grad homework is turned in at the last minute (like this week!).  And sometimes a DNS happens.  That’s life as a parent.  We sacrifice our own wants for our kids’ well being and happiness and it’s okay (and encouraged!) to give ourselves room to do that guilt free.

But it doesn’t have to be a total sacrifice.  I skipped the race and am very glad I did.  I gave up the half marathon but didn’t give up my training.  It would have been easy to just say ‘oh well, that’s that, wasn’t meant to be’.  But I still had those 8 miles on my training 8 mile trail trainingplan so I cranked out them out on some trials.  (This trail stuff is growing on me although we ran into several harmless but startling snakes which I didn’t appreciate.)  Had a great workout with a good friend in spite of the scheduling issues.

Sidebar: Looking for some feedback!  I have been watching YouTube videos lately for running, workout and training tips.  Playing around with the idea of doing some video blogging of my own.  Thoughts?  Good idea?  Silly idea?  Have you tried it or have any tips?  Would welcome any comments. 🙂