Marathon Countdown: 23 Days

Training for my first marathon has surprised me in so many ways.  This past week has just been a complete roller coaster of emotions.  I’m starting to obsess over this race.  I’ve planned for races before. I’ve looked forward to them, but I’ve never obsessed quite like this.  I think I’m probably driving my family bonkers with my constant running chatter.

Last weekend I ran my first 22 miler.  I ran it in the evening after traveling all day to get home from (an awesome!) visit with my little sister and her new baby in NC.   It was just a really long way to run after an already full day.  It took me over 4 and a half hours which just felt like a long time.  I did feel very strong at the 16 mile mark which is usually my “yikes, this is really hard!” mileage.IMG_3133

At this point I have no doubt in my ability to run this race.  I feel completely confident I can run it.  Which feels pretty darn good!

But I don’t want to.

What!?  I’m just really sick of running at this point.  I don’t want to do it.  I don’t like doing it.  I want to do other things for exercise.  I used to take lots of classes at the gym.  I used to cycle.  I used to jump rope.  I used to do HIIT and tabata and kick boxing and weight lifting and paddle boarding.

And now I run.  I run a lot (for me anyway).  And I’m tired of it.

But marathons are hard right?  There are supposed to be moments that aren’t super fun and rainbow sparkles with sunshine!

I think the problem may be that I’m doing a lot of running and not a lot of racing lately.  I am so close to this thing I really want to see it through.  I don’t want to be this close and say “yeah, I almost ran a marathon and then didn’t”.  I’ve already been there and done that.  So I need to figure this thing out and learn to like running again.

As it turns out, I actually do have a race tomorrow morning and I’m hoping that will jump start my love of running, racing and training again.  Because I am going to run this marathon.

It would be nice if I didn’t hate the next 23 days of preparing for it. 🙂

Big Milestone – The 20 Miler!

So excited and relieved to have been able to run this distance today!  Feeling more excited about and committed to my training than ever this week.  No long blog post today but here is a short video recap of today’s marathon training run.

Race Recap: Rock n’ Roll New Orleans

It finally happened!  I ran my first race after injury recovery.  This was also the first race I’ve ever traveled to via plane.  Here’s a breakdown of the weekend’s events and the race itself.

Friday
I took Friday off of work.  I woke up and ran, dropped my husband Luan off at work, came back home, ran again (had to catch up on the Fitbit challenge!) to total 4 miles.  Showered and finished packing.  I’d had a sore throat for the past couple days and continued chugging airborne every chance I got.  Tara got to my place right on time.  We loaded her stuff into my car and went to pick up Luan so he could take us to the airport.  Check in was a breeze (we used the super secret extra checkpoint with virtually no line for security clearance) and had a leisurely lunch before boarding our direct flight to New Orleans.  Once there we checked in at our gorgeously historic hotel (so pretty, we lucked out!) and had lunch with some friends from one of our running groups online.

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Our Hotel: Le Pavillon

Saturday
On Saturday we slept in a bit and had lunch at the Ruby Slipper.

The food was amazing!  After breakfast we picked up tickets to the city bus tour and rode that to the race expo.  After picking up our packets, gels, and a few other unnecessary items we got back on the bus.  We were especially excited to visit one of New Orleans creepy cemeteries.  At least I think they’re extra creepy since the dead are kept in tombs instead of underground.  On our way we went to stop at a restaurant for lunch.  Turns out it was only the 4th day this place was open and the service was extra slow.  We wound up waiting an hour for salads before leaving with only mimosas in our tummies.

After touring the graveyard we got back on the tour bus and enjoyed a tour of the rest of the city before returning to our hotel.  We had Mexican food for dinner at Juan’s Flying Burrito – yum!  IMG_2861.JPG

Sunday/Race Day
I didn’t sleep well the night before the race.  Big mistake but what can you do?  I was a giant bundle of nerves and just extremely excited for the race the next day.  I was still nerves and anxious energy in the morning and didn’t have an appetite so breakfast was not what I was used to.  My usual giant bowl of oatmeal or bagel was substituted by a cereal bar.  We then went down to the start which was only a couple of blocks from our hotel.  So completely convenient!  I’m used to spending 30-45 minutes driving around trying to find parking and walking to the start so this was really amazing.

I’m not sure how many people ran but it was a very popular race.  We were back in Corral 22 and waited maybe 45 minutes to an hour after the gun to start.  As I was waiting it hit me.  I was starving.  Bummer.  With only 3 gels I knew this was going to be a challenge.

Mile 1-3: I was just so happy to be racing!  I kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast.  I new I wanted my pace those first few miles to be at about an 11:30 minute mile.  By mile 3 my stomach couldn’t take it anymore and I popped the first gel which I wouldn’t usually use until mile 4.

Mile 4-8: The next few miles I just really did my best to keep my pace and not slow down too much.  At this point I knew the lack of fuel was going to turn into a real problem sooner than later.  My left foot also started to get numb around 5, which I was actually really freaked out about. Usually when that starts I can’t get it to go away but it was gone by mile 8 (small victories!).  Wound up using the second gel at mile 7 (again, ahead of schedule).

Mile 9-11: Used the 3rd gel and just tried to hack it as best I could.  They had a different kind of nutrition I’d never heard of before but I didn’t know if something new would be better or worse than nothing.  The heat started to mess with me at this point a bit too.

Mile 11-13: I had been looking forward to these last few miles of the race and had hoped I’d be able to pick up the pace.  I was just completely exhausted.  Started taking a couple really short walk breaks here and there but just slowed overall.

Mile 13-13.1: I finished!  I can’t explain how happy I was. I was tired, spent, starving, nauseous but no joints or ligaments or tendons were hurt and I was done. 🙂

Moments after finishing I started feeling really ill.  All the cold/flu symptoms I had been fighting just hit me all at once like a ton of bricks.  I took a few minutes to just sit and waited for Tara to finish.  After the race we were both ready to call it a day and head back to the hotel for some serious R & R after the Rock ‘n Roll.  A few hours of sleeping and cheesy movies later and we were ready to check out Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street was (I think?) relatively peaceful on the evening we were there.  It was Sunday night and there were people milling around with a party atmosphere but nothing ridiculous.  This was my first time to New Orleans but my assumption is also that most of the crazy was probably going on a few weeks earlier during Mardi Gras.

And just as we were settling in for a quiet balcony dinner, there was a parade!  A parade!  On Sunday night!  Totally random but we really enjoyed it.  It almost felt like celebration for finishing the race. 🙂  And maybe it was.IMG_2896.JPG

 

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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! 🙂

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.

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! 🙂