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Friday, January 31, 2014

Total slog fest.

This run was a total slog. I felt awful from the get go. My legs felt fine, but it was a total head game from start to finish just to keep my legs moving.

It started with the fact that I did not want to run. I'm still in a bit of a funk. I had to leave work early today (about an hour after showing up in fact) to take my daughter to the doctors. My husband had noticed hives on her when getting her ready for daycare. So I was home all day with a bored toddler. My daughter wasn't in bed until 8:30.

I didn't have a chance to get on the treadmill until 9:30. I seriously did not want to run, but I made myself get dressed and lace up, because I missed the run thursday, and I was really worried that after the last week of missed runs, it would be too easy for this to be the beginning of the backslide away from training.

I felt alright when I started, but my heart really wasn't in the run from the get go. I kept thinking about how long I had to go, and had to keep consciously distracting myself. Around mile two I started really struggling. I could not believe I had only run two miles, it really felt like I had been running a really long time.

I had to start negotiating with myself to keep running. I had serious doubts I would finish out three miles, let alone the four miles that were on the schedule. I told myself to just finish out three miles. Since my phone is on my arm, I didn't notice when I ticked over three miles. I told myself it was only one more mile, just tough it out. I just really wanted to be done at this point, mentally I was totally done. So I started doing sprints. One minute sprint, one minute back down to normal pace for the last half mile.

It was rough, it wasn't pretty.

I'm just happy I finished it out.

Try again tomorrow.

Alright, out with it then. I did not run last night. I could spout off a million excuses (and I will): I was tired, my daughter wasn't in bed until 8:30, We ate dinner too late....But the truth is I was just in a serious funk. I don't know if it's the weather, or the awful winter we're having, or this persistent cough, but it took me a million times more energy and a whole lot longer to get everything done that needed to get done.

I'm going to do yesterdays run tonight, when I get a chance. I know, intellectually, that it'll help to get the run done. But sometimes, it's just so hard to lace up.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Back to it!

I know this post is late, but I actually did get a run in on tuesday. It was great!  I'm still coughing quite a bit, but I decided I could not take another week off from my training. I really was starting to feel it after the entire week off. Running really has become a sort of stress relief for me, which is weird.

I had four miles on the schedule, but seeing how I'd been feeling, I didn't know if I was actually going to finish out the four miles. I made a deal with myself to run at a comfortable pace, not to worry about speed, and to just make it to at least three miles.

The first mile felt ok, my legs felt fresh and I was surprised that I wasn't coughing. At All. For some reason, while I was running, my lungs opened up and I felt awesome.

Around mile two I started having some funky issue with my left big toe. I'm still not sure what it was, It just kinda hurt every time I landed on that foot. I changed my stride up a bit to land more on the center of my foot than the ball of my foot, and it worked itself out after a while. 

Right around mile three I started feeling it. I hadn't run in a week after all. The arch of my left foot started to complain, and I just felt....tired. I managed to push through it, and make it all the way to finish out the four miles, but that last bit was a bit rough for a while. 

I'm hoping that at some point, I will stop having to have the argument with myself every time I run. The "I want to quit, I'm tired." "Just keep going you're not that tired." argument. 

It's funny because thinking about it, the run was actually really enjoyable and relatively easy, but reading this you'd think I had slogged through the whole run. Really I'm just noting the rough parts, since for the rest of it, I was just cruising. I've got another four miles on the schedule tonight, we'll see how it goes.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Just when I felt like things were getting back on track, I'm flattened by Teh Sick. I haven't run since Sunday. Tuesday, I was coughing quite a bit, and thought "I'll rest up, get better, and only have missed one run." Except that yesterday, Thursday, the coughing was still in full effect. I was going to try a run regardless, but by the time I had a chance to run (around 8pm) I was coughing every couple of minutes, and not little coughs either, full nasty coughing fits.

So I'm resting up, and hoping I'll be able to run again this weekend, and maybe, maybe, still hit my 10 mile goal for the week.

Monday, January 20, 2014

This weekend I ran for Meg, and for me.

It's been all over the web, the story of the Runner, Meg Menzies, who was killed by a drunk driver. This weekend I dedicated my runs to #megsmiles. I had wanted to do the runs outside, but weather and a sick husband made me change my plans.

Saturday, I had been planning on running with a local running group outside for my miles, as they were dedicating the run to #megsmiles, however when I woke up to get ready, my poor husband could barely open his eyes, let alone put together a coherent sentence. There was no way I could leave him
home alone with a toddler, so my run had to wait until later. Luckily he started feeling well enough to watch the toddler by the afternoon, so I was able to go upstairs and do my run on the treadmill.

I had 4 miles on the schedule, and I was feeling good. I considered making it five, but I had a long run coming up on Sunday, so I decided not to push it. I started out feeling comfortable, I was watching Arrow, and I was able to just kinda watch the show and not really pay attention to the fact that I was running. With about a half mile left, I started really concentrating on my running, not because I had to, but because this was a run for meg, and I wanted to really feel everything about it. I let myself concentrate on how my legs felt, how my lungs felt, everything. When I finished I took a quick shower and then hugged my husband and daughter really tight.

Sunday, I found out that everyone was extending the dedication to cover the entire weekend. I had 8 miles on the schedule, which was further than I have ever run before. Of course from here on out that's going to be every long run for a while. I wasn't feeling well in the morning, I was worried I was catching what had sidelined my husband on Saturday, but I was determined to get the run in, especially considering i needed a few more miles to make my goal for the Winter Miles Challenge. I wasn't able to get time for a run until around 5:30, and I had to peel myself away from the AFC championship game to do it, but I did it. I set myself up with two water bottles with sport tops, a Salted Caramel Gu, a packet of Shot blocks to try and a strawberry flavored Honey Stinger Waffle to try as well. I plugged into netflix to watch Arrow and set my pace a little slower than normal.

Surprisingly most of the run felt good. I remember that I didn't really even check my milage until halfway through mile 4. I remember thinking that I was halfway done at that point, and being really happy about it. Miles five and six went by really quickly, and I didn't really start to feel it until the last mile. For some reason after mile 7 I really had to push to finish it out. Every time I wanted to quit, I thought about meg again. I thought about how lucky I was to be running, how lucky I was to be able to feel the way my legs were starting to ache, and my hips were starting to complain.

After I finished I did some foam rolling and stretching, and had a glass of chocolate milk to help with the recovery. Today, I'm tired, and a little sore, but nothing near where I would have expected to be after an eight mile run.

I don't know if I've talked about this before, but when I started running, the first time, running even a mile seemed like a daunting task. My goal was a 5k, which I did, but even that distance seemed really long when I ran it. I never really trained past that point until recently. When I picked up running again last year, it was to loose weight, and to, again, train for a 5k. I had a trainer and I ended up running up to five miles (I think) during my training plan, and even ran the Firecracker Five Miler (which just about killed me.) Even then, I think the distances seems really long. I remember thinking I would never run further than five miles, and when I thought about marathons, even half marathons, the distances seemed crazy. I'm not sure when that changed. I can't pinpoint the moment when going out to run four miles was suddenly a "short" run, and when going out to run 13 miles stopped sounding crazy. It was recent, I do know that. I remember reading a blog and the writer was talking about they're recent long run (I can't remember which blog, but I think the run was around 16 miles,) and it struck me that I no longer saw that number and thought "Wow, that's incredible, and crazy. I would never do that." It still sounded long, but all of a sudden it sounded attainable.

My husband pointed out to me, while I was a sweaty mess stretching on our living room floor, that I was on the other side of halfway to my half-marathon goal. That I was closer to my goal than to the start. The fact that I had done it with enough energy left in my body to be present for my daughter for the next two hours before she went to bed (and not a collapsed mess on the floor,) was icing on the cake. Yes, it'll be different running outside, with hills and wind and everything, but I have a long time before the half marathon (a little over 13 weeks,) and depending on how I double up the weeks, up to 9 weeks left on the training schedule before I surpass the half marathon distance. Today is one of the days where I look at my goal, and think, I am actually going to do this.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A good solid four miles.

Last night's run was good. It felt awesome to get myself back on the treadmill, and to really nail a run.

I hadn't been feeling very good before the run, so it meant a lot that I got myself to do the run at all. I was totally stressed out from work, and I wasn't able to make time to run until late (after 8:00.) Sometime after I got home from work my right shoulder and neck started bothering me. It felt like all the usual excuses were piling up, but I really did not want to miss another run. Missing this run would have meant missing my weekly milage goal for the Winter Miles Challenge, and putting me further off my half marathon training.

I had four miles on the schedule, and negotiated with myself that I would try for four, but if I only did three that would be fine. I just needed to get on the treadmill and get a run in.

I'm back to watching Arrow while I run, and while I'm still not really into the show, it's showing some promise (and I keep hearing that it gets really good, so I'm holding out hope.)

I set the pace at a comfortably slow level, and just kinda relaxed into the run. Honestly I didn't feel like I was working too hard until the last mile and a half. For some reason, right around 2.5 miles I hit a wall. I'm thinking it was mostly mental, because I was able to push myself through it, and felt alright again until the last half mile. I really had to push to finish out that last half mile. I was so ready to be done with the run. I did make it to four miles though, which makes me feel good.

The run felt really cathartic too. I was able to give myself a break from some serious stress that's been dumped into my life lately, both from a situation at work and from some issues with my daughters day care (nothing that puts her in danger, just stuff that makes me uncomfortable.) When I hit those walls at 2.5 miles and with 1/2 mile to go, I poured all of my frustration and stress from those situations into my run, pumped the speed momentarily, and just pounded it all out. By the end of the run, I was covered in sweat, and feeling a million times lighter.

My shoulder/neck wasn't bothering me too much while I ran, but oh my as soon as I got downstairs to stretch out did it let me know it was still an issue. I tried stretching, I tried foam rolling, and I tried Advil. I most likely should have gotten out the heat pad, but by then it was time for bed, so I just tried to sleep it off.

Obviously, since I'm still talking about it, sleeping it off didn't work. This morning I'm trying really hard not to wear my right shoulder as an earring. I've taken Advil, and I'm wishing I had a heat pad at work. I'm lucky today is a rest day, I may try some yoga later to loosen it up. It really didn't affect my run, but it sure affects my motivation to run.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Just when I'm finally getting back on track, I get sidelined with teh sickness. Honestly, I could have run last night, but I felt so full on awful that I did not. I'm still a little off this morning, but I'm drinking a ton of tea and eating oranges and hoping it's enough to kick this, whatever it is, to the curb by tomorrow. I really don't want to miss my milage goal this week.

I did hit my milage goal for the Winter Miles challenge last week. My goal was 10, I did 17. I briefly thought of bumping it up, but the next level is 20, and I can't push it that hard. Hopefully I'll get back into it tomorrow and be able to hit my goal by the end of the week.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A whole lot of running this weekend. Back on track!

Ok, lets get right to it. I did not run thursday, because I had my study group and did not get home until...oh 11:30 at night. I did however run every day since. Yes, I ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So lets get to the run recaps.

Friday, I did not want to run. My daughter had been home sick on friday. She was super clingy and cranky, and my husband was ready for a break. Also, I was feeling like I might be coming down with whatever she had. I would like you to note the time that I actually got around to doing the run. 9:18 pm. Yeah, latest run ever, but I did it. And not only did I do it, I did four miles (because I thought that was what was on the schedule,) where as I was only supposed to do three. Oops. But the run felt good, no issues with my legs, or my lungs.  Then again I wasn't really pushing it, just kind of cruising along at my normal pace, until the end there where I just wanted to be done, so I kicked up the speed on the treadmill a bit.

Saturday, I was supposed to join my running group for a group run at 9am, which should not have been an issue. Except it was. Saturday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My head hurt, my sinuses were stuffed, my throat was sore enough that I didn't want to talk and I ached all over. So I did not get out of bed. My husband was nice enough to take care of the kidlet and let me sleep....until 11. I literally did not get out of bed until 11:00. When I rolled over and saw the clock I couldn't believe it. I never sleep that late (anymore...) but I did feel a whole lot better, still not 100% but I'd say 85%. Unfortunately, right as I was getting up, my daughter was going down for a nap, and my husband was also. He had developed a giant migraine while letting me sleep, and needed to sleep it off. So while the house slept, I did stuff around the house that I'd been putting off. Like assembling the "kitchen" set my daughter had gotten for christmas. The next person who buys her something with assembly required who does not do said assembly is getting a swift kick to the...you know it'd be easier to just make them take it back. Anyways, the upshot was I didn't get on the treadmill until later that evening, and I was really not feeling it. I toughed it out for three miles, trying to keep my pace respectable, but you can tell in my splits that I was really struggling at some points. I was running on tired legs, I know, and I was also trying not to push too hard, since I knew I had a long run the next day.

Sunday I tried to schedule myself a little better. After our customary Brunch, and an outing to buy my daughter new shoes (she outgrows things every couple of months right now,) some house cleaning (that desperately needed to be done) and some other random procrastination, I set myself up best I could on the treadmill. I had a salted carmel Gu, a Honey stinger waffle, a bag of Honey stinger gel chew things (hey I wanted variety, and I'm still trying to figure out what works for me,) and a giant bottle of water.

I was really nervous because this was my first real long run attempt since the holidays.  This was also the first time I had attempted to run three days in a row in a very long time.

As soon as the run started, I realized one mistake I had made. The water bottle I had chosen had a large mouth, instead of a nice sport top. This made drinking from it problematic. I was feeling ok otherwise for the beginning of the run. I kept my pace right around cruising speed for me and let myself get caught up in the movie I was watching (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol if your interested.) About half an hour into the run, I started in on the Gu packet. I was curious to see how I would tolerate it while actually running. I "sipped" the packet, taking small amounts chased by small amounts of water. Again the water remained a problem, and I ended up getting a bit spilled down the front of my chin as I tried to drink. The Gu itself was easy to take though, and my stomach seemed to handle it fine.

I started to hit a wall at about 50 minutes. I was just mentally tired. Even the movie was not keeping my mind off the fact that I had been running so long. I do think it was more mental fatigue than physical, and I made a pact with myself that I could take a walk break at one hour. I tried to eat some of the gummies (since they were already open) but I found them hard to chew, since at that point I was breathing through my mouth, and chewing required me to close my mouth. I still like the gummies, but I think the Gu packets are winning as far as ease of use while running.

I took my walk break at one hour, and had some water, since it was much easier to drink from the bottle while walking. I had an epiphany that I should slow down to drink from the bottle. Yeah brilliant right? So for the rest of the run, I would slow the treadmill down a bit every five minutes or so to drink some water. I did take another walk break about ten minutes after the first one, but then I powered through the rest of the run.

After taking a look at my splits, I'm happy that I managed to keep them right around 11 min/miles. In fact my average pace was 11'17" min/miles, which I'm pretty happy with. I realize that my times might be a little off (the nike+ app has been notorious for reporting bad splits, and I tend to run a little slower outside,) but I think it's close enough that I should be ok running seven miles right around 11:30 min/miles without feeling like I'm dying.

There were a couple of points (right around 3 miles, and right around 5 miles are when I really remember) that I did not think I would finish out the 7 miles. I kept having the argument with myself that if I stopped short of the seven miles I would be disappointed with myself, but then again, it was still a respectable run, and I could always repeat the training week right? But the fact that that half marathon is coming up fast kept me going. I know I still have a long time to train for it (14, almost 15 weeks,) but it still feels like it's coming up faster than I'm training for. Oh yeah and according to nike+ I ran my fastest 10k so far!

After I finished, I walked for a bit, sipping water and having another gummie chew thing. Then I jumped in the shower to "ice" my legs a bit and rinse off, since we still had to go grocery shopping (which involves about half an hour of walking around Wegmans.) We stopped and had dinner at the Food Bar thing at Wegmans, and I tried my best not to Eat. All. The. Foods.

By the time we got home, my knees were not happy with me. After we got the kidlet to bed, I basically curled up on the couch with a heating pad on my back (which was now complaining fiercely, most likely from carrying said kidlet,) and my legs up on the coffee table. I had to take some advil before bed, but my legs feel fine today.

Today I have a rest day on the schedule, I'm planning on doing some light yoga to help loosen up my muscles and some foam rolling to keep things from feeling awful on tuesday. I feel good about being back on the schedule, even if I did switch it around a bit to fit the runs in this last week. The fact that I was able to do three runs in a row and still finish out the seven mile long run on sunday shows me just how far I've come with my training. It's a good feeling.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Decent Run, tried some Gu

This is a little late, but only because I completely forgot my phone at home yesterday, which meant I didn't have access to any of my run data. I figured I might as well wait until I had everything with me to write it out.

Tuesday was the first "official" day back on my training plan. I held myself back to the last week I completed (Week 3), and I'm going to go from there. I had a three mile run on the schedule.

I hadn't eaten since lunch (way too long ago), so I decided to try another one of the refueling products I'd gotten for christmas. I was hesitant to try the Gu's mostly because the idea of goop in a packet kinda weirded me out. But I had a couple of the salted carmel ones, and everyone I'd read raved they were tasty, so I poured myself a big cup of water and opened it up. Now mind you, I was eating this (is eating even the right word?) slightly before my run (about 15 minutes before it ended up), but I do think it made a big difference in my run, and more importantly on how I felt after my run. I was surprised that the texture did not bother me at all, and the flavor was just as advertised. It honestly tasted like candy, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Taken slowly with sips of water in between small amounts of the Gu, it was actually kinda good. Next I'll try it during my long run this weekend and see if I have an issue with it then.

The run felt good, solid, no real moments where I felt "oh my god why am I doing this I'll never finish out the three miles!" I played around with my speed a bit, since I was kind of crunched for time (I started my run later than I would have liked, and it was tuesday, so dinner at the in-laws night.) I managed to keep my splits close to 11 min/miles. Whatever issue I was having with my calves and the new shoes has worked itself out. There was no pain. My legs felt good too, I never really felt like I was working super hard, although when I pumped the speed up, I could definitely feel it in my lungs and heart rate.

Again, what the Gu did the most for was after my run. I was not hungry. Normally I'm starving by the time I get to my in-laws, and have to struggle not to devour everything I can get my hands on. Which is a real problem because they have lots of tasty, mostly healthy, food. I end up in a struggle not to eat an entire stick of Soprasatta or a whole bowl of crackers, or to overload my plate at dinner.

This time I was able to eat sensibly, and even turn down desert, well second desert. I did have a small piece of baclava, but I did say no to the brownies! I think on tuesdays, having a snack before I run is going to be key to not over eating at dinner. I'm going to experiment with different snacks, since it seems like a waste to be eating something like a Gu just for appetite control. Maybe a banana with some peanut butter would work.

Tonight I am supposed to do a run, however I have study group for an online course I'm taking, so the run may or may not happen. I was thinking I would move my run this week to friday, and then in the future I'm going to try and see about getting up earlier on the thursdays that I have study group. We'll see which is a more viable option. I am really not a morning person.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Starting off my "new year"

Ugh. I'm trying so hard to get back on track. The holidays really threw me off. I've decided that having resolutions start on the first in the middle of a busy holiday week was just mean, so I started my resolutions this past sunday. It works out because the Winter Miles Challenge actually starts today (Monday.)

Sunday I decided to ease myself back into my training schedule, with a short 3 mile run. Yes it was supposed to be a long run, but I figured I just needed to get on the treadmill and pound out a short run to get myself moving again.

I hadn't eaten in a while (really since breakfast-and I was doing this run around 5), so I decided that I'd try eating a Honey Stinger Vanilla Waffle while I ran. I also had my water bottle with me, and Captain America on the laptop.

I absolutely loved the Waffle thing. It tasted good, and was easy to eat while I ran. I'm totally going to try to use those when I do long runs. The water bottle was a partial fail though, because it was too small. Or I might have been too dehydrated already. One or the other.

The run itself felt good. I kept a steady pace, and I never got the calf pain that I'd been having earlier. I take that to mean I've adjusted to the new shoes. I didn't really ever feel like I was dying, and had enough left in me to push the pace for the last quarter mile. I noshed on the waffle thing all throughout the run and was downing water. Like I said, I ran out of water well before the end of the run. I'm going to have to try using a bigger water bottle next time!

I think it was a good start to my "new year." Hopefully I can keep the momentum up the rest of this week, and finish out the week on my training schedule to get back into it. I'm down to four months until Race Day!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years Eve Run, and a couple resolutions/goals for the year

I ended 2013 with a short 3 mile run on New Years Eve. I ran on the treadmill, because the weather up here is awful right now. It's cold enough that salt isn't going to work, and when I was running it would have been too dark for me to see any ice to avoid it. I kept it easy, since I'm still breaking in the new shoes. The run felt ok, although I'm still having some calf issues since switching shoes. I think it's just a matter of using new muscles, but we'll see. Other than the calf issues, I'm really liking the new shoes. They make me feel like a real runner (almost ^_^.)

So, I suppose I should do a New Years post, with resolutions and everything.

This year my resolutions are simple, and I hope attainable goals. I want to run more, so with that in mind I've set a few goals, The half marathon in April, a total yearly goal of 500 miles, and the goal of running at least three times a week, every week.

I do have a few non running resolutions, or goals. I signed up for an online CS class, which started this week. And I want to loose weight by my brothers wedding in August. I think if I stick to my running goals, and keep watching what I eat, the weight loss will take care of it's self.

Really that was it though. Which surprised me. I usually have the urge to completely overhaul my life at every "start point," so every new years, every birthday, every sunday, you know. But this year I got to the new year and I thought, I've already started on the paths I want, I just need to keep on. I just really need to keep upping my game, to keep reaching for those goals.

Keep the lesson running keeps teaching me firmly in my mind. The finish may be the goal, but the only thing you need to focus on is the next few steps.