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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Getting my Mojo back, and a long overdue Turkey Trot Recap

First, People, I do believe the malaise that I had fallen victim to these weeks gone by has finally lifted. I went for a run last night, and it was good.

It was a treadmill run, sure, but I was able to set my speed and cruse, and even do some faster sprints towards the end. The most important part, though, was that I enjoyed the run. I didn't just tolerate it. It left me looking forward to my next run, and super excited about the 5k this weekend.

Now about the Turkey Trot....

I was super nervous in the morning leading up to this race. First, it started way later than any other race I've run - it had a 10am start time. Second, I would have to take a shuttle bus. This was only the second time I'd had to take a shuttle bus to the start of a race, and the first time I would be doing it alone. Third, it was a 4.4 mile race, and I had not been running a lot, or long distances, for a while. I had done one 4 mile run on the treadmill the week before to make sure I could, but I had not run on pavement in weeks.

I packed myself up and got myself to the shuttle busses early, around 8:45, to make sure I got on a bus and to the start line on time.

This is where I made mistake #1, I left my gloves in the car. (This is foreshadowing. Yes it is.)

Proof that it was snowing!
The shuttle bus ride was quick. Once we got to the "start area" I kinda wandered around, half looking for some friends who were going to be doing the 2.2 mile route. Eventually I settled on tucking myself in at the edge of the "warming tent." I noticed right around this point that it was snowing. I took a photograph for proof, and because I was bored, posted it to Facebook. This would be my first ever race run in falling snow.

Freezing before the race
I was starting to get cold at this point. Really cold. Cold enough that I pulled my brand new buff up over my nose to try to warm up. I was really glad that I bought that thing. About 9:30 I started wishing I had brought my gloves with me.

The crowd before the start
Right around 9:50 people started meandering over to the start line, and I meandered right along with them. Apparently there were two start lines, with the 2.2 mile start line a little up the road from where we were starting. This proved to be problematic as they had to push the start time back a bit as people took their time getting off the road. But eventually we were off.

The race started on a moderate down hill, which made for a very fast start. Unfortunately that down hill was followed by a moderately steep up hill almost immediately. So right off the bat, I had to push hard up a hill, while still at that "OMG I'M RACING" pumped up pace, and no where near warmed up. I could feel the cold in my lungs, and I know it affected the rest of my race. I tried pulling the buff up over my nose a few times, but I was breathing so hard from that uphill that it just got in the way too much, so I settled my pace down a bit and just worked on recovering.

The race was a big loop, and after I settled into my pace, I started having a good time. The snow was falling gently, and it was just a really cool atmosphere. At some point in the race, the two distances merged for a while. Which was kinda cool and also kinda annoying. All of a sudden there were a ton of people, mostly walkers, in the road, and I had to do a lot of rabbeting back and forth to get around them. It was cool though, because most of the people doing the 2.2 were dressed up for the occasion, and were all in very festive moods.

The 4.4ers split off again after a while, and the crowd got thinner again. I spent a good portion of this second "4.4 only" bit leapfrogging a couple, the tall man type person was wearing a t-shirt that read "Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran." I spent a lot of time thinking about how if he could get through that, I could get through 4 measly miles in the cold.

There were also a few firefighters running in full gear. They were from the Webster FD, which, in case anyone doesn't know was the department who lost two firefighters to a crazy ambush in 2012. It's also the department the younger brother of one of Hubs best friends. So I spent a lot of time thinking about that while I ran.

Let me tell you, this run was the perfect one to be doing on Thanksgiving. There were points when I was running that I was so thankful for so many things that I got a little choked up. When the snow was drifting down and i was just kinda cruising along, I thought about my Mom (who has Multiple Sclerosis and is wheelchair bound) and how lucky I am to be able to run.

We joined back up with the 2.2ers for the final leg into the park, where I had a few surprises. First was a big hill. Which was a bad surprise, but I managed to chug my way up it.

Then there was a downhill trail scramble. There were almost 5 thousand runners in this thing, and I was smack in mid pack, so around 2 thousand people had run down this hill before me. It was a muddy mess. I was doing ok, taking short, quick, light steps, when a real giant of a man went down, hard, right in front of me. I actually had to jump over him to avoid crashing down on top of him. I skidded to a stop and took a few steps back up the hill to make sure he was ok. He was, and was already getting up by the time I to up to him, so I turned back around and started down the final grassy stretch to the finish.

The crowd at the finish line was huge and really loud. I was able to kick my legs into a half sprint through the chute, and finish strong, despite the muddy conditions.

The crowds around the finish line
As I walked through the crowd I saw two of the firemen who had raced in full gear. I decided, in my race addled state, to thank them. I must have seemed like a crazy person walking up to them, holding out my hand and saying "I just wanted to say thank you." But it felt important to me that I do it. So yeah, I was that crazy person thanking random strangers.

The hardest part of this run, actually was afterwards, when I had to wait for a shuttle bus back to my car. It was a long, cold wait. I did however meet some really interesting people in line! This guy asked me about my hat, turns out his mom has MS as well. His dad was there running with him, turns out the guy was a Marine (well they both were), who was stationed with my Uncle for a while at Camp Lejeune . Weird small world sometimes!

New shoes officially christened!
Proof of the mud!

Overall it was a great race. Not my fastest, I averaged just over a 12 min/mile, but a solid effort. I was also able to do something I have never done before in a race, I was able to actually start passing people towards the end of the race, and give a final kick at the end. Knowing I wasn't completely spent after the race was a great feeling too. Even after standing in the shuttle bus line, I was able to do Thanksgiving dinner without needing a nap!

Kinda towards the back of the 4.4ers (the 2310), but I know I was ahead of a lot of the 2.2ers ^_~

Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting Motivated Again

After the past couple weeks of sickness, both the munchkin's and mine, I'm staring down the barrel of a 5k I signed up for. I haven't run in two weeks. I know the 5k will be fine, I will most definitely not PR, but I will finish it.

The race will also be the munchkin's first. I signed her up for the 1/2 mile kids race! I'm super excited to get her running, since she is already (at 2 1/2) enamored with running in her own toddler way. She plays "ready set go" with her Daddy, Standing at one end of the driveway and running to him at the other end, and will run in circles around our house telling me she gonna run "two miles!" She also, as I've said here before, is fascinated with watching me run, and also with the very fact that I run. She'll point to my sneakers when I'm lacing up and say "You go running mommy?" I'm hoping to keep that love alive in her as she gets past the energizer bunny stage.

Which is why it's so very important to me that I find that love again myself, and I think I'm starting to. The newest issue of Runners World showed up this weekend, and while idly flipping through the pages I felt that pang. That longing to be running that I haven't felt in a long time.

So this is it. My declaration that I will not give up. That I'm going to get myself moving again, and keep myself moving.

This will be my mantra:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The struggle

I've been having some serious issues with my motivation lately. I've still been able to get it together and force myself to run, but the love? The love is missing.

I still feel great during and after a run, but that totally obsessed, reading everything about running I can get my hands on, dreaming of new gear and new races, LOVE isn't there.

It's resulted in me kinda dropping the ball with the whole blog thing. I still have a turkey trot to recap (and boy was it a doozy of a run.) I've fallen way behind on reading my favorite blogs (which I feel awful about because I honestly enjoy reading them!)

I just...can't get the motivation up to do more than the minimum right now. Which is awful. I had hoped the Turkey Trot would kick me back into gear, and it did, running wise I guess. I've upped my milage during my runs. But I'm having a serious "meh" about the whole thing. It's just this thing I do. And if that Turkey Trot wasn't enough to bring back the love, I'm worried that nothing will. Seriously it was an amazing run.

I'm hoping I'm just tired, the munchkin has been sick just about every other week for the past month and a half. (I say just about because she got sick three weeks in a row in there) Right now it's Croup, which any parent of a kid who's had Croup can tell you, makes for very long nights.

I'll get to that turkey trot write up as soon as I can. Hopefully that'll bring back the love.

Monday, November 10, 2014

One more step back towards where I need to be.

I did get my run in thursday, a nice solid three mile run. I just set the treadmill and cruised, which is odd considering how....not level my pace chart turned out. Yes, my treadmill is awful, but it still works(ish) and it's better than running after dark outside around where I live.

So. Yeah Thursday run. It was fine I guess. Really just another run, which is awesome, because it means I'm getting back to where I was. Just doing three miles easy.

The next chance I got to run was Saturday, and I did another easy three miles. Right around two miles I started feeling....sluggish I guess is the best word. Just, kinda not into it. Not like I was working super hard, just....like my legs were definitely not fresh.

It occurred to me later that I'm actually dramatically upping my weekly milage right now. Going from not running, to one run, to two runs, and now getting three, three mile runs in in one week. I'm not surprised my legs felt off.

Other than the sluggish feeling in my legs for the last mile, the run was ok. Not great, but not terrible.

I've got two days off before the next run, so hopefully that'll be enough time for my legs to rest up and adjust. I'm going to try to add in one more run next week (run sat/sun.) And then, as long as that goes well, I'm going to go back to following a slow build up plan, and hopefully get myself back in half marathon shape to run the same half I ran this year, The Flower City Half. The race isn't until the end of April, so I should be ok stretching the plan out a bit, and working on increasing my speed after I build my distance back up.

More immediately, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and register for a local Turkey Trot. It's a 4.4 mile, relatively flat course. I plan on running it very conservatively, but I think it'll do my confidence good to get out there for a run on Thanksgiving.

It will also be a good test of how my body is dealing with the pace I'm putting miles back on. So far, I haven't had any bad issues, beyond the sluggish legs on saturday. I did get a wicked migraine on Sunday, but that had more to do with playing with the munchkin around than the runs. I really need to start working some strength training into my program if I intend to keep swinging my 35 lb. toddler around.

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but it feels good to have a plan, and a few races to shoot for.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Keeping it going.

Last week was kind of a bust run wise. A friend needed to do some emergency car shopping so we ended up watching her little girl (who is exactly five days older than the munchkin) on both of the days that I had runs planned. So, no runs, but plenty of toddler play time. Which I believe should count as a workout. For serious.

So far this week, I've gotten one run in, on Monday. I did an easy three miles on the treadmill, just kinda chugging along. The Hubs agreed that twice a week he will pick the munchkin up from daycare so I can go straight home and get my runs in. Tonight will be the second of those nights this week. I'm hoping to add in some outdoor runs on the weekend and get myself back into a regular workout groove again.

The run on Monday was good. It felt natural and comfortable. I didn't play with my pace too much, I just kinda cruised.

So far the new Mizuno's are working out well. They really do feel similar to my Brooks. Score one for Runners' World and their shoe reviews!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Don't Call it a Comeback

The day after my letter to myself, my kind of declaration that I would push myself to find the time to run, my toddler got sick. Really sick. The kind of sick where the doctor has you come straight in and the words "we are going to do everything we can to keep her out of the hospital" are used.

The next week was a blur of doctors appointments, nebulizer treatments, missed days at work, and very little sleep.

Luckily, the Munchkin pulled through like a champ, and no hospitalization was necessary.

But a whole week disappeared. The only exercise I got that whole week beyond the normal exercise of schlepping a toddler to and fro was a two mile walk along the canal to get us both out of the house on Friday.

While walking along with the Munchkin tucked in the stroller, and admiring the amazing leaves on the trees, I got the urge to run. I really wanted to just book along the path with those super colorful leaves whirring past all around me. So I did a couple of short sprints (in jeans mind you.)

It was upsetting how quickly I got winded sprinting along, but I reminded myself that a)I was sprinting at top speed, and b)I was pushing a 35 lb. toddler in a stroller.

But those short sprints made up my mind. I was determined to find time to get myself back to running. Just as soon as I got my kid back to healthy.

So since she was healthy and back at Day Care on Tuesday, I decided that was it. I had to run. My (very understanding) Hubby agreed to pick the Munchkin up so I would have time to run before he got home and we had to head to his parents for Family dinner night. I get out at 4:30, he gets out at 5:00, we both work the same distance from home, so I'd have between 30 & 45 minutes before he got home, depending on how long it took him to get the Munchkin ready to leave Day Care.

It worked beautifully. I got home, changed and jumped on the treadmill. I queued up an episode of Fringe (which yes, I have been saving for the treadmill.) I set an easy pace, and decided I'd go for a time goal and not a distance goal. Half an hour to start.

New Shoes!
I am breaking in a brand new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 17's, which I got on a super awesome sale online. When I first got on the treadmill, they felt a little bigger than my Brooks Ravenna's, but I think that's mostly because I haven't been wearing my running shoes a lot lately (I wear a size bigger in my running shoes than my normal every day shoes.) As soon as I settled into the run, I mostly forgot I was wearing new shoes. Which I guess is a good thing!

The run itself felt awesome. I averaged around a 12' pace. I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard, and, if I hadn't run out of time, I felt I could have run longer. My legs felt good, and so did my feet. There were none of the nagging aches and twinges I'd been having before my unexpected month long vacation from running. I did a couple of faster "intervals" towards the end of the run, just bumping the speed up a bit to stretch my legs out and get my lungs working.

After a half hour, The Hubby still wasn't home, so I had time to jump in the shower, ice my legs, and then take a full, hot, relaxing shower. It was awesome.

I'm resting the legs today, even though they feel good. I'm going to try to do some upper body strength work later tonight when I get home from work. Maybe some Yoga if I feel motivated.

It's not a comeback....yet.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A letter to my Running Self.

Dear Running Self,

I miss you. Seriously.

I know we're both busy, heaven knows, with work and a toddler, and a husband who all need some of our attention.

But without you, I'm not myself. I'm not running (ha ha!) on all cylinders. My temper is shorter, I find myself getting overly anxious about random things, and weirdly I have less energy.

I need you back in my life. I need to spend time with you to let out my frustration from the day, to help me work through the anxieties in my head, and to give me the stamina to keep going through my day.

So here's my promise to you, I will try to find you again. I will try to start waking up a half hour earlier so that I can at least try to start shoehorning in some runs around my schedule. I will make you a priority again.

I can't promise you that I'll be able to maintain a regular training schedule right now, Life it just too crazy, but I do promise that this will be more than a once a week attempt.

Stressed and Tired Self.