Sunday, February 26, 2012

Up all night...

It's been a rough couple of days.  My daughter got sick mid-week and she has been getting progressively worse and then of course my son got the "plague" too.  It's an upper respiratory type thing, croupy sounding cough and congestion.  Natalie seems to be on the mend now but Daniel is not fairing as well.  If tonight is as rough as last night he will be going to the doctor tomorrow.  He goes into horrible coughing fits at night and wakes up crying several times a night.  This is totally NOT normal for my normally heavy sleeper!  The coughs sound like his throat should be bleeding... breaks this mommy's heart! :-/

That being said, there was still a long run to be accomplished on Saturday.  I woke up at 5:15 Saturday so I could shave my legs and get dressed to be at the Y when they opened at 6 am.  The treadmills get surprisingly busy first thing in the morning.  I had everything I needed to have a fantastic run - a movie on my tablet, fuel, water, propel zero, and a comfortable running outfit.  Unfortunately, even with the best of planning sometimes your body just won't give as much as you would like.  I set the treadmill just under 10 minute miles and ran pretty comfortably for the first 3.5 miles.  At 3.5 I took my first walk break, then at 4.12 miles I had to take a bathroom break.  After that it just never got comfortable again.  I ran a large portion of it, but the walk breaks were more frequent than I would have liked.  I got through this run, one promise at a time.. "get to mile 7, then you can walk for a minute," "get to mile 8 and you can walk for a minute" etc...

Note the crooked sweating, has anyone seen this before?!  It's WEIRD and I don't get it! 

My run came in at almost 10.5 minutes per mile.   I am sort of torn about how I feel about that pace.  On one hand its slower than what I was running during my training for my first half marathon and feels SO much harder.  On the other, its actually about the pace the McMillan calculator suggests I should be running for my long training runs.  I guess the frustration is in a slower pace feeling harder.  I am trying to trust in the training, knowing that its recommended to run the slower speeds on your long runs.  I am trying to prevent injury, and from everything I read the biggest thing is to slow down and not push your body too hard. I am hoping that the "hardness" comes from the fact that these runs have been done on a treadmill while my training runs last time were outside.   Either way I am just going to stick with it and do the best I can to get the miles in and see what happens come April and May when I have my first two halves of the year.

I came home feeling sorry for myself, but decided to let it go and plan what was on the menu for dinner... the answer may come as a surprise to many of you who know how much I despise veggies...

Food Photographer, I am not!

This recipe was SO good and we will definitely be making it again.  We will probably use less cheese in the crust next time.  It was very tasty but we think you could easily reduce the cheese and it would still be as tasty.  Looking forward to trying this with a variety of toppings in the future.  The best part - Natalie ate it!  Typically she won't eat vegetables or pizza with sauce, so the fact that she ate this is nothing short of a miracle!  

Reader Poll:  Does anyone have any experience with how slowing down your training runs affected your time for half marathon distance races? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I never get any better...

Blogging is NOT my strong point.  I try to blog frequently but I feel like all I can come up with is a boring play by play of my life, and let's be honest who wants to read that.  I could promise I will be better and blog more often, but I don't want to make promises I can't keep.

Something you may notice is that when I am struggling I get "quiet" so to speak.  I don't know how to admit that I am failing at everything I want so badly for my life.  The things I want so badly....
 - to be a better mom to my kids
 - to eat clean and healthy
 - to be truly happy with the blessings in my life
 - to improve as an athlete
 - finally get to my goal weight and maintain it for life

The things I have been doing the last 6 months..
 - hiding in my house because I am afraid of being rejected/not being liked
 - relying on food to deal with emotions
 - spending far too much time on the computer
 - not spending enough time with my kids
 - eating crap 70% of the time and trying to make up for it the rest of the time
 - flat-lining as an athlete: runs aren't getting easier, I'm not getting faster, and I'm becoming very injury prone!
 - putting off important things because I don't have the motivation to do it
 - letting the little things get to me and not appreciating the overall blessings in my life.

So, now that I have laid it all out on the table, I am hoping to keep myself accountable for these things and work towards improving myself in the next few months.  As I have said before, the best thing about all these stumbling blocks is proving to myself that I can overcome them.  I will come back stronger, I HAVE to.

On the running front, I have been plugging along on my training plan.  I went to the ortho and he told me that he thought my shin pain was just shin splints, so I took a few days off and have been getting back to it slowly but surely.  I am doing what's on the schedule, nothing more.  I have to fight the urge to do more, I feel like I should be running every day, several miles a day because that's what everyone else does.  I want so badly to feel "hard core" but I have swallowed the "bitter pill" of knowing if I push it too much too quickly I will end up injured and not able to make it to to the start line of the marathon.  I can't WAIT to line up for that marathon, to accomplish something that I never thought possible.  So for now, slow and steady wins the race.  I am sticking to the lower mileage and have done the last 3 long runs on the treadmill to keep my pace slower.  I wish I could say that made it easier, unfortunately, that;s just not the case.  Hoping to be strong enough for the 3 half marathons I have coming up between now and May 5!

I did do something social this week - I went to "ladies night" at our local running store.  I got to meet up with one of my friends from my half marathon class, which was fantastic.  There wasn't a ton going on at the store: food, wine, mary kay, and an asics person, along with a store discount.  I don't know what I was expecting, but I was slightly disappointed.  I did of course buy something - seriously I can't go into that store without pulling out my credit card.  This time I got a pair of CW-X compression capris and an asics light weight hoody, both were on clearance and buy one, get one 50% off.  I spent money I shouldn't have but I have been eyeing the CWX pants for months and they were a good deal.  With the marathon training coming, I figured now was as good of time as any.   So, the next day I took them for a test drive.  Pardon the picture quality, my good phone was in for service.  I didn't do a long run in these capris, but boy did they feel good.  They made me feel strong and fast, can't wait to wear them for a long run to see how they do.

Anyway, I hope I haven't bored you all with my struggles.  I do hope to post more in the future.

For now, one last question:  If you had one quote that keeps you moving forward when you are feeling down, what would it be?  


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Running for Sherry!

Today was a day of meaningful running for me... the biggest reason? 

Most of you have heard by now the story of Sherry Arnold.  She was a devoted mother, wife, and teacher who went for a run in her small hometown in Montana and never returned home.   Two men have been arrested in connection with her disappearance and charged with aggravated kidnapping.  Apparently one of the men has admitted to killing her... unfortunately the authorities have yet to find her body.  Beth over at Shut Up and Run decided to put together a virtual run in her memory.

This story hit me like a ton of bricks when I first heard about it.  As a runner who does 99% of my runs alone, it gave me chills that this could have been me.  Since this announcement, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Sherry and pray for closure for her family.  Hopefully she can be brought home soon.

Today, we had a local 5k race, the Fanny Freezer, and many of us decided we would make this our "run for Sherry."  There were 5-6 of us who wore bibs in her memory and a few more who were running in her memory but were unable to print the bibs.

 Before the race I stepped aside to have a moment of silence and say some prayers for Sherry and her family.   I don't have many details about the race because for me this race was about remembering Sherry (and not falling on my butt).   But, I do want to mention that about 3/4 a mile into the race while lost in thoughts of Sherry I had a whoosh of "peacefulness" come over me.  It was almost like Sherry was there with me as I ran, it was very powerful.  Even though I never met her and didn't know of her before this happened, I feel a connection to her and will always remember her.

This was also a pretty meaningful run for me because it was the anniversary of my first road race!  I ran this exact race last year as my first ever race, so I was interested to see how I had improved.  Last year I ran the 5k in 30:06, this year my time was 25:06.  While it was not a PR, the conditions were less than ideal... it was FRIGID, there was snow and ice, and of course I am dealing with slight injury.   It was good enough to take second in my age group... hooray!  So, I definitely can't complain.  My shins did okay, but I did have some slight pain today, but the biggest complaints I have are my calves have totally seized up since the race and my lungs hurt SO bad for about an hour after the race, I just couldn't catch my breath!

about half way done

For my records, my splits:
mile 1 - 7:34 (WHY do I always go out way too fast?!?)
mile 2 - 8:19 (see, I died!)
mile 3 - 8:11
last .1 - 0:42 ish (somewhere around 7:00 min/mile pace)

waving at the finish

pushing to the finish

On the subject of my shins:  I went to the ortho and it was a total waste of my time.  He basically said "come back in 3 weeks if it still hurts."  Grrr!  He believes it is probably just shin splints and said a stress fracture wouldn't show on an xray at this point anyway.  So, I am taking some anti-inflammatory meds and resting this week.  Next week I will get back to training, I feel like I am going to be behind, but I may have to cut back the long runs for now depending on the shins!  The worst part of all this?  The meds I was prescribed keep me from sleeping at night, the last two nights I have been awake til nearly 6 am!!  Makes it really hard to take care of kids when you get that little of sleep!

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Did anyone else run in memory of Sherry?  I would love to hear about it and/or see your photos! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sorry that I have been absent from the blogosphere as of late.  I have been spending alot of time reflecting on my journey and where I am at currently.  It's coming up on the one one year anniversary of my first race, I am in week 6 of my (somewhat unofficial) training cycle for my first half marathon of 2012.  The year is just starting and my race schedule for 2012 is nearly complete, and its a busy one.

This last week, the fear is starting to creep in, I am afraid I have done too much too fast.  That I have over committed myself, that I am over-working my body.  For 27 years before I decided to get healthy, I have been abusing my body by not considering what I put in it.  I had little concern over the fact that weighing too much was putting undue stress on my body.  Even though I weigh less I realize that the damage has been done, as my PT put it, my body has been carrying around all that extra weight for years, you can't undo all the damage overnight. I am working on strengthening my muscles, working on flexibility.  But the runs are oh so rough right now and its a mental challenge for me.

I struggle to know what are normal pains versus pains I should be worried about.  I have dull aches and burning in my lower legs, pain in my ankles, and then occasional bouts of pain on the outside of my knee.  I have self diagnosed them and I am trying to do what I can to fix them.  The burning and ache in the legs I am attributing to shin splints, the ankles I am just assuming is because they are weak and unstable, and the knee I believe is related to my IT band.  All small things that aren't a huge deal on their own but add up to a very nervous Jenn.  So, I have really hit the strength training hard, and I am stretching as well as trying to slow my runs down.  I have also given up my goal of 1000 miles this year.  I am just going to follow my training plans and do what I can.  1000 miles would be awesome, but not if it causes injuries.

Oh what I wouldn't give for something other than HSA insurance right now.  I just can't see paying $500+ to go to a doctor and get everything evaluated!  I guess in a few weeks if I am not seeing improvements I will have to reconsider, but for now... just taking it easy.

Hope to have a more exciting post soon, but for tonight.. time to go rest!