Marathons and Ragnar and Tri’s Oh My!

I went through a period of feeling like I would never run again, never race again.  I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s where I was mentally.  The ankle pain was ridiculous for weeks and when you’re in that mode it gets difficult to imagine doing the things you love again.  But, now that my ankle is feeling stronger I’ve been more confident in registering for races and looking toward some pretty nifty new goals in 2016.

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My yellow brick road. 🙂

I had thought that once I had finished 2015 I would have completed my first marathon.  It didn’t happen and won’t at this point.  I’m okay with that.  However, I thought that I would have moved on to some other things.  I wanted to start looking at multiple marathons in one year, a 50K, Ragnar Relay and I’ve been interested in triathlons for a few years now.

The 50K is not going to happen, so let’s just scratch that right now.  Goals need to be realistic.  I think 2 marathons in one years is a pretty good start as far as endurance running is concerned.  I want to get those under my belt and then see how a longer distance feels after completing those.

Ready for Women Rock 2014!

My ruby slippers. 🙂

However, the rest of it seems… kinda feasible!  Multiple marathons should be a go as long as I’m diligent in my recovery, pay attention to my body, and avoid injury at all cost now that I know injury is an actual thing that actually does happen if you’re not careful.  My BRF is captaining a Ragnar Relay team that we’re organizing for August, and I’m looking into triathlons.  By “looking into” I should have said “learning how to swim”.  So stay tuned on that one.  Adventures in not drowning soon to come!

So that is what is going on this week.  Otherwise I’ve just been focusing on getting back into shape, losing a little weight and making sure I don’t forget to take care of this ankle and take it for granted.

 

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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.

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. 🙂

Race Recap: Blair’s Balloons for Hope 5K (w/video)

My kids have been asking me to take them to run a 5K for the past few months.  I ran this same 5K last year and when I got an email on Thursday about last minute registration for 2015’s race I realized it would be the perfect first 5K to run as a family.  I remembered the post race snacks were great, it didn’t start too early (that would appeal to the hubs), and there is a medal at the end which is pretty rare for a 5K.

Here’s the video of our race!

We got up bright and early, had some biscuits and jam and headed over to packet pickup before the race.  Packet pickup was perfectly smooth, no lines and very well organized.

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The race started right on time at 10:00 am and we were off!  My 7 year old took off sprinting and my husband jogged after him leaving my 9 year old and I to walk jog together.  We did an easy jog the first half mile and then started taking walk breaks.  We had some tough moments but got into a groove after a few minutes.  He agreed to run on the downhills and past any volunteers.  I can’t tell you how proud of him I was.  He was a real trooper and did a great job jogging when it counted.  Afterwards we had some post race snacks included bagels, cookies, coffee cake, bananas, and full size water bottles.

We had a great time and got some great pics!

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And before I forget – here’s a quick update on the marathon training.

How was your weekend? 🙂