Thursday, May 29, 2014

Running Hiatus

Hello friends!

As you can tell from the title of this blog, I'm going to take a small break/reduction from running. I'm nervous about doing this but I need to focus on making my body stronger since I'm encountering a lot of issues.

On Memorial Day I ran the Old Fort 5 miler in my hometown. It was a warm day but beautiful for running. I started off too fast trying to keep up with my dad and exhausted myself by mile 2.5. I've never wanted to give up so badly in a race before but I kept buggering on. Finished 57:40. I ran the race in my Brooks PureFlow and felt okay during it. Afterwards, and still today, I had crazy awful pain in my feet, ankles, shins and calves. I'm relegating those shoes for 3 miles tops. Also the heel drop (the millimeters difference between the forefoot and heel) is not working with my body. Talk about Achilles tendon pain! Whew! So I'm back in my normal running shoes for training after I heal up.

I've been experiencing some knee pain over the past 2 weeks. One major reason for this is the large amount of weak muscle in my thighs and around my knees. I'm going to be focusing on building up strength by going back to Insanity. Insanity has always helped to build up strength in my lower and upper body. I realize now how important strength training is if you want to run long distances. Weak muscles will not help anything. I like Insanity because it is very cardio based so I won't lose conditioning but I will get much stronger. I'm still going to do a long run and 1-2 short runs a week depending on how I feel. I know the first 2 weeks will be the hardest and afterwards it will get easier...until month 2!
Note awesome strong thighs. That's what I'm aiming for.
I have a lot of work ahead of me! ^_^

In other news, I'm sincerely thinking about becoming a Beachbody coach. I love their exercise programs and I feel they really work for me. I'd love to help other people reach their fitness goals and I believe Beachbody has some really great programs. I need to talk to the husband first before I make any concrete decisions though. I like the thought of being my own boss. We'll see.

Rainy day here. Bleh. Hope everyone is having a good day out there!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What They Don't tell You About Marathon Training: The Aches and Pains Edition

Hello world!

Today was supposed to be a strength day but it ended up being a rest day. Why?

My lower body feels like it has started a revolution and its name is PAIN.

I think I officially have runners knee. My left knee feels like it is on fire under the patella. My calves are hella tight today and hurt like mad. Everything is tight and painful from the hip down. The only solace I have is that my arches are very happy today. Yay arches!

The majority of my day off today was spent glued to my stick (see photo below) trying to work out all the knots and tightness in my muscles. I feel like I'm finally making some progress now at almost 10 pm. I learned a valuable lesson. I need to stretch before and after running regardless of distance.
Hurts so good.

I loathe admire people who can just jump up and run and have no aches or pains whatsoever. There are plenty of people who have never had an ache, pain, or injury while running. Whatever.

Not me. I know the main reason why is because I'm still overweight. I love food. I'm working on building a healthy relationship with it, but that takes more time than weight loss ads will have you believe. At least for me. I learn and do everything the hard way.

I try to be as optimistic as I can about running and training. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the way crossing the finish line makes me feel, especially at my first half marathon, but getting there is a whole other story.

When I crossed the finish line at the half marathon, I instantly forgot how much blood, sweat and tears went into making that race possible. I forgot about freezing my butt off during the winter just to get some miles in. I forgot about that crazy 12.5 mile run in the rain that wasn't the most pleasant experience, but hey, who needs skin that's dry? I forgot about all the little aches and pains and tight muscles that plagued training.

I have a feeling that this is the first of many walls during this training. A marathon is different than any other race I have encountered so far. Don't get me wrong, the half marathon was very difficult, especially the last 3 miles when the GU+Gatorade mix decided to revolt in my digestive system. I proved to myself that I can run for 2 hrs 42 minutes. Now double that and that is the insanity I'm going to put myself through in October.

This is the very first time that I've honestly thought to myself, "What did you sign yourself up for? Are you mad? Yes, obviously, but seriously, why?" I'm still not quite sure of the answer, but I'm sure I'll find it over the next few months. Look for a post entitled something like, Why I ran a marathon. All I know is that race is going to hurt, but I still cannot wait to give it a go!

I would ask for advice on this pain thing, but I already know the answer:

Going to continue icing my bum knee and massaging my calves so I'll be ready to go for a 5k tomorrow, because of this sweet challenge from Runkeeper:
I can win this LG Lifeband contraption! All you have to do is log a 5k with the Runkeeper app and you're entered. Plus you get a free month of their elite service. Woot woot! I want to see all the fancy stats! If you buy the thing (at $149.95 retail), you get 6 months of Runkeeper Elite for free. I love my Garmin too much to spend that amount of money on a new piece of gear, but if I win and get a free one I'll test it out and see if it is better than my pretty pretty pink Garmin watch. If you're a sap for free things like me, get over to Runkeeper and get your booty in gear!


Friday, May 16, 2014

How Running is Changing My Body Image

Running continues to change my life in many ways. I have a much improved cardiovascular system, my blood pressure is B-E-A-UTIFUL, and new muscles have formed all over my body.

Yet, my body is still FAR from perfect. I can list 100+ things about my body that I'd like to improve, but you know what?

I need this sign as a reminder.

For the first time since I was 4 years old, I'm starting to get some confidence back concerning my body and body image. I can remember traipsing around Sesame Place water park when I was four with my little, slightly round stomach protruding out. I happily splashed around and played with my parents (this was before my little sister came into the picture so I was spoiled!). The only thing I remember thinking about that was body related was how the seat on the fire truck was really hot when I was taking a picture in it.
If I ever have a daughter, I never want her to be as wrapped up with weight as I am/was.

And then I grew up. I became aware of my body compared to others in 2nd grade. I was told by the doctor that I was overweight and put on my very first "diet". No more whole milk, no more soda, no this, that and the other thing. And so began the saga of always labeling myself as "fat".

Currently I am overweight. I'm working to change this as I train for the marathon. I'm much more active than I've ever been, and I love it. Well, I don't love it all the time like when my muscles are tight and cause me a lot of pain, but you know what I mean!

Through running, I've become much more aware of my body. I know when I need water and/or nutrition. I know what aches and pains to push through, and which ones to stop before I do something regrettable. I'm amazed at what my body can do and what it is capable of.
Found this on Deviant Art. Very Awesome!

Now that I'm officially a "half-marathon-er," I have an extra spring in my step. I may not look like someone who runs a half marathon (and soon a full!), but I'm still a runner and I never give up. My confidence level is much higher than it has ever been, and I've noticed my increased willingness to wear tank tops and shorter shorts (I used to stick to shorts that landed at or a tiny bit above my knee).
River has no qualms about body image.
Here she is claiming my closet as her own and photo-bombing my picture.

Sure, people can think what they want. Other people may look and comment, but that says more about them than it does about me. I'd never wear anything that is indecent like those shorts that look like underwear. I draw the line at going that short. I wear things that fit and cover up my ample backside (that I am also proud of! My glutes are lookin' good!), and make sure any other private areas are covered and respectable.
Oh yeah, sweet glutes

For the first time in forever...[cue music from Frozen] I love my body. My body is SO MUCH MORE than what it appears to be. Many times we take for granted how amazing the human body is and only look at the appearance. The next time you feel down on yourself take a few seconds to think about what your body can do instead of how it looks. Chin up buttercup!
Look at those high arches on my feet! *rawr*

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wine in the Woods 5K Recap and Struggling with Training Motivation

The Wine in the Woods 5k was an interesting race.

First, it was the very first race I went to completely alone. I gave my stressed out husband a pass to relax and sleep in for this one since he has been amazing getting up at 5 am for other races, like the half marathon. Second, it was a lot warmer and sunnier than I was expecting. Around mile 2, I was regretting my decision not to bring a small water bottle with me. There were no water stops on the course. Finally, the course got VERY hilly at the end and I did NOT pace myself accordingly. I wanted to set a PR so I basically ran at tempo speed. I finished with a final time of 34 minutes 12 seconds. Still a good time and a minute improvement over my last 5k, but I was hoping for 32-33 minutes. I was disappointed, but after putting things into perspective, I'm really proud of that time even though it was hot, humid and hilly.

Having such a negative view of that race time explains the frame of mind I've been in for the past week. I'm forgetting where I've come from. My first 5k, only 13 months ago, had a finish time of 41 minutes. Running takes TIME to improve.

Found this on Facebook. Perfect!

I've been exhausted this week so far and find it very hard to get moving. Sunday was the last time I've run and the last two days have been lazy. Monday I was truly sore and needed to recoup. Yesterday I was in a bad place mentally and just wanted to lay around. Work helped pull me out of the funk and remind myself why I'm doing this insane training and insane race. I was able to help a woman with hydration and fueling advice for her first full marathon. It was nice to have someone to bond with and relate to.

A very smart woman suggested that I list some things that I am grateful for to help me get out of training funks. So here we go!

Gratitude List, Running Edition:

  • In a tad over a year's time, I've improved my 5k time by 7 minutes! I'm thankful for improving this much this fast. I know others have improved faster, and still others have improved at a slower pace. 
  • I've successfully completed 5Ks, 10Ks, a half marathon and all different distances in between.
  • I love all the running blogs available on the internet and following running groups on facebook. It makes me feel less alone.
  • I love the inclusive culture of running. I like to cheer for the runners coming in after me because I was there not too long ago and it feels great to come in to a cheering crowd. 
  • I'm grateful for having a wonderful running mentor, my father, and even though he worries about me training for a marathon so fast, he's nothing but supportive.
  • I'm grateful for being able to afford to purchase running shoes and gear. 
  • I'm mega grateful for my job at the running store so I can geek out with other runners, teach new runners things I wish I had known starting out, help injured runners with great products that have helped me heal from certain injuries, and, of course, afford my habit. ; )
  • I'm grateful for my legs and the ability to run while I can.
  • I'm grateful for the amazing runners high that pops up during a run every now and again
  • I'm grateful for a hot shower after a long run and my foot rubz ball to help work out any aches and pains.
  • And finally, I'm thankful for my amazing husband who is a great support, race photographer, and motivator to get out there and kick some asphalt! He's my rock!
I honestly can say that I feel better after making that list. Sometimes we need to get back to why we started doing what we love and why we love it in order to stay motivated. My challenge to everyone would to make a gratitude list of your own when you're feeling down. It helped me feel better, and I hope it helps someone else. 

Now I'm going for a 7 mile run.

Friday, May 9, 2014

End of Marathon Training Week 1 (almost)

Tomorrow morning I finish up week 1 of marathon training with a 5k.

I'm excited to race again, and I love the 5k distance! Packet pickup is at my work so that makes it extremely convenient. I'm going to try to race in my Brooks PureFlow shoes and see what happens. I feel like they make me faster.
I adore these shoes <3

I'll do a recap of the race tomorrow. I'd post more today but I've been very exhausted. Victory of the week was still getting in training. Time for a nap before work. I think I'm regressing to my preschool self.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Recovery Run and New Socks!

This morning after the monsoon-like weather we've been having the sun made an appearance! Yes! So you know what that means?


Since this was my first run since the half marathon, I decided to warm up with a mile walk. After walking I ran 2 miles for a grand total of 3. Not much but I'm still recovering from the half marathon. Next week starts marathon training, hurrah!

The best part of my run was trying out my new socks! (NOTE: I am not getting paid/free gear by Balega for this short review. Although that would be awesome!)
Yes, I even got this color. I love loud running gear!
I chose to try out Balega Hidden Comfort socks since they always feel so soft and wonderful. The socks fulfilled my expectations of soft and wonderful! Even though the run was short, they were very comfortable and stood up well to the puddles I splashed through. For running in the rain or through puddles, I still prefer my DryMax socks, but these are a great second choice. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how these perform in the winter, but for now I'm happy to see the sun and enjoy the summer!

Next week proves to be an interesting start to 5 intense months of training. My schedule is 4 days of running, 1 day of strength training, 1 day of yoga, and 1 day of rest. I'm nervous because it is intense, but it'll be worth it when I cross the finish line and then take a long nap!

Here's to working toward another dream and making it a reality!