Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm alive!

I could apologize for my absence and promise it wouldn't happen again, but I won't because most likely it will.  Summer is always a busy time for me, and I am sure it is for most of my readers as well. 

I ventured out of state for oral surgery on the 20th.  The oral surgery went as good as can be expected when they remove 3 wisdom teeth at once.  I had heard horror stories, luckily I didn't do too badly.  It hurt a lot, but I stopped taking the prescribed pain meds on day two so that's to be expected.  While I would have loved to sat on my butt doped up, it wasn't possible because I had to care for my kiddos after the second day. 

Unfortunately, I ended up in the ER Friday night.  I had several scary dizzy spells on Friday and after calling my insurance "nurse line" they urged me to visit the ER.  After 4 hours, a pregnancy test, several other blood tests, and a cat scan I was diagnosed as being slightly dehydrated and having vertigo.  They gave me meds and said it should get better, its most likely a result of the oral surgery - I SURE HOPE SO!  

The meds make me ridiculously exhausted so I can't drive home until I don't need them anymore and the dizzy spells are made worse by riding in/driving a car.  Needless to say I am still in Alabama - I am hoping to head home later in the week, but thats all dependent on this stupid vertigo. 

I did do something insanely stupid - I walked my planned 5k despite the vertigo!  I knew walking wouldn't be too taxing and I was walking with my mom so if I got dizzy I wasn't going to be alone.  Luckily, I only had a few moments of feeling spacey.    My time was  nothing to write home about, in fact I was nearly one of the last people to finish, but the feeling of helping my mom finish her first 5k was way better than a middle of the pack time anyways!  I will do a full race report when I get home!

I haven't been able to keep up on the blogs the last few weeks with sleeping so much - so please, help me catch up!  Anything exciting I should know about?  What are your plans for the next few weeks?  Any exciting races?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Indy Mini Marathon Recap

So, its over... the post half marathon blues have taken hold.  I stress myself out like crazy leading up to these - what am I going to wear, will the weather cooperate, will my stomach cooperate, will I be able to finish, will I PR? All these thoughts swirl in my head for weeks leading up to a half marathon and then suddenly its over and I have a void.  No wonder I sign up for back to back events!

Anyway, on to this particular race.  The weather was a big factor in this race - leading up to the race we were concerned about thunderstorms and high temps/humidity.  Luckily the storms never showed up, but the humidity was terrible.  The temps themselves were okay - I want to say they were in the 60/70s during the race, but it was 90ish% humidity!  I was hot the minute I started running!

Going into this race I wasn't sure what to expect as I really haven't put in much running time since my half on April 7.  I had only run 2 "long runs" (and at 6 miles I am not sure they qualified) and a handful of short runs.  I wanted to train more, but I was doing the "smart thing" and resting an injury. I didn't know what it was but it hurt to run and I knew I wasn't supposed to run through pain.

(for those of you who don't want to read this ridiculously long recap, if you scroll to the bottom I highlight the good, bad, and ugly)

ANYWAY, the first 5k was great... I felt relaxed, I felt strong, I was running a good pace.

Then, I hit that wall that I have been hitting on my long runs - at mile 3 my foot started throbbing.  Instead of pushing through it, I mentally crumpled - I still had 10 miles to go and I really didn't want to walk but at the time it seemed like my only option.  I called my mom in tears as I watched hundreds and hundreds of people pass me.  We talked for a few minutes (I know, poor race etiquette, but I needed it) and after the pep talk I tried to formulate a plan to finish in a reasonable amount of time without injuring myself further.  I pretty much just ran when I could and walked when I had to, I tried to run 15 minutes at a time and then allow myself up to 5 minutes to walk.  As with previous runs, the pain traveled up to my hip - I am assuming as a result of babying the foot.

I was ecstatic when we hit the speedway, that meant once we were done there we were half done.  Then, we got inside and I lost all my energy - many people say the track is incredible to run on - I found it depressing.  There was no crowd support (,minus a few cheerleaders) and it seemed to go on FOREVER.  Add to it the heat and I walked far more of the speedway than I would have liked.  I did convince myself to run across the yard of bricks though, so I was happy for that...

I was never so happy to see something end as I was when I ran out of the speedway.  Unfortunately, I realized I had a small pebble in my shoe, but I wasn't about to stop and lose more time to take it out - so I ran for close to 2 miles with a rock bouncing around in my shoe (yeah, that was annoying).  I decided I needed a walk break, and figured I should go ahead and get the rock out of my shoe.   After that walk break, it was really hard to run again.  My hips and legs were getting stiff and I just wanted to be done.  I did the best I could to hold it together.

Somewhere around mile 11 I met someone who I will call my "life saver" - I was walking near a woman who was a bit older than me (okay, maybe more than a bit).  She looked over and said... "come on, only a few miles left... lets go."  I love running with others so I was happy to oblige. Turns out she had been running for a long time, this was her 18th Indy Mini.  We talked about training, and races, and marathons.  She was very encouraging and enlightening.  We ran together until just after mile 12 when we took a walk break. Then, somewhere around mile 12.5 we started running again - she ended up needing another walk break but encouraged me to keep running and finish strong.  I thanked her for providing me the motivation to run when I really didn't think I could and she told me she was glad I came with her because she needed it to.  It seemed like the finish line would never get there (the race measured long for me -13.3 miles), but then I saw my kids off to the side watching for me. It brought a smile to my face and after a high five from my daughter I was off again.  I nearly cried when I saw the finish line - this was a hard race for me both mentally and physically,  but I was done and I couldn't have been happier!

That's me, bad form and all!

high-fives from my daughter!

The good:
 - no storms
 - I finished
 - I finished in under 2:30 (this was my "if I don't finish in x:xx I might cry" goal)
 - not even a hint of tummy trouble
 - volunteers and spectators
 - excellent water stations/gatorade stations and misting stations along the route
 - overall, the race was very well organized
 - the medal

Love this medal! 

The bad:
 - I started in my assigned corral, wish I had started further back!
 - I finished in 2:22:31 - a personal worst
 - my foot causing me pain which then traveled to my hip
 - too much walking as a result of a "mental breakdown" due to above mentioned pain
 - the event photographer didn't get a good finish line photo (understandable,  it was busy)
 - due to the crowds, it was hard to push to the finish like I normally do, watching the video, I even bumped into someone because people were slamming on the brakes as soon as they crossed the finish line (this big girl has momentum and can't stop on a dime!)
 - I didn't love the post race food: a bottle of water, a banana, cookie, and fruit snacks (they were out of several things and I never found the chocolate milk - it was "hidden" in the family reunion area)

The ugly:
 - the humidity combined with the heat, I saw SO many people go down and need medical attention.  All said, I think they only treated 240 for heat related issues, but its scared me to see people unresponsive with IVs and oxygen along the course

All in all, it was a great race and I plan to run it again to show that course who's boss!  (After I run the Flying Pig, of course!)

When you have a bad race, do you feel the need to repeat it even if you normally wouldn't to prove to yourself that you can do better? 

For any of you who haven't already, please consider donating to St Jude through my fundraising page.  While the race is in December, the fundraising deadline is sooner.  I would love to surpass my goal! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012


This blog post is going to be a stream of consciousness type entry, so I apologize in advance if it is hard to follow.

As some of you  may know, I started running last January.  Prior to that I had never run more than a few steps at a time.  I don't even remember doing any running in school - in fact, I joined swimming in high school to avoid the general PE class that would have required running.  In January, I made a resolution that I wanted to run one 5k and walk a half marathon.  I started out with no clue what I was doing... I would run as fast as I could for as long as I could.  

Then, I ran my first race in February and I did okay... my time was much better than I expected and I didn't come in last.   So, I signed up for a few more races... some 5ks and a 10k.   Then in June, I ran a really small trail run and came in as the first overall female.  This was probably the "worst" thing that could have happened to me.  You see, I never took up running to be competitive.  I had zero faith in myself, I didn't think I would ever have even a chance of placing at a race.  That race stirred the competitive spirit and me.  I started pushing myself to run harder and faster. 

At this time I had decided to take a half marathon class to keep me on track with training to "walk/run" the Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon.  When I started the class though, I decided... heck, why not run as much of it as I can.  My fitness progressed and I was doing better than I expected.  So, mentally I set a really tough goal for myself for that race - I wanted to run a sub 2 hour half marathon.  I knew this was probably a bit of a stretch for me.  I mean, even 8 months ago I would have been happy to just finish in the 4 hour.  Yet, when I crossed the finish line in 2:01 and some change I was heartbroken.   I HAD to prove I could break 2 hours.  

Luckily, I had another half planned for the next month.  My body had other plans for me though, the day after the F4F half my foot started bothering me.  I was diagnosed with peroneal tendonitis and told to rest.  So, when it came time for St Louis RnR half, I had no clue if I would even be able to run.  However, I decided to give it a go - obviously I didn't come away with a PR because I hadn't really run much in the last month.  I ran around a 2:10 - but I was still happy with that given the crowds and the course. 

I came home even more determined - so I decided to sign up for the Veterans Half in November.  I didn't really post much about it. I kept it low key.  I went that morning and did really well for the first 6 miles.  Then I started faltering, so I decided to do a walk/run interval and posted a huge PR.  Not only that - I finally broke 2 hours.  I was in tears as I crossed the finish line in 1:56 and some change.  I finally felt like I was making progress as a runner.

I don't know where the arbitrary sub-2 hour goal to make me feel good enough came from.  But, it felt great to accomplish it.  I spent much of the winter maintaining my fitness through running challenges and such.  Come spring, I had big expectations for myself.  I mean, I had been running 4-5 months longer than I had in November - I should be able to perform better right?

Not the case.  My first showing at a long distance event I missed my goal, then I ran Oak Barrel and I finished in about 2:20.  I chalk that one up to the hills and not being properly trained for that, so I tried not to let it get me down. Fast forward to this weekend, I was set to run the Indy Mini.  Now, I have been having some foot pain, so I didn't expect that I would PR, but I was still expecting to do well.  I was expecting I could finish in 2:10.  

I went out strong, then it started - my foot started hurting.  From there it all went downhill.   Now, I know that part of the issue with my time is actually my injury.  However, there is a part of me that wonders if I didn't let myself use the injury as a crutch.  I mean, yes.. it hurt, but people run in pain all the time.  What made me different?  Why did I fall apart mentally the minute I started hurting?  And, once I walked the first time .. where was the strength to keep going after I started running again?    It's almost like I am letting my expectations, my desires for success be overwhelmed by my sense of self doubt.  I crossed the finish line in Indy at 2:22:31.  

I almost wish I had never run a 1:56 because now I expect that I should be able to run that time for all my events.  Obviously, your expectations are going to be based on what you are capable of.  If I didn't know I was capable of faster, I would probably be happy with a 2:22.  I mean, really... its a respectable time for a half marathon.  I think anyone that finishes a half marathon is a rock star.  Yet, I expect more of myself.

I am extremely proud of the 5 half marathons I have completed.  I am proud that I have signed up to run a full marathon in December.  I am proud that I am not letting these stumbling blocks stop me, but I really want to get back to where I know I could be running.  I think the key to that is balancing my expectations, realistic expectations, and mental toughness. 

Anyone have any tips for developing mental toughness?  
Once it gets tough I have a hard time pushing myself.  That's not to say I quit,  because I don't.  But, I will allow myself to walk when I probably don't need to because I don't have the confidence to push through moments of weakness I guess.  

(coming up this week  - a better recap of Indy Mini)

ETA:  Don't get me wrong, I am so happy with how I have done thus far, I am just struggling with the back-sliding I am dealing with.  I am still grateful for the ability to complete these runs. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Natalie's Virtual Run Winner!

Alright, this is going to be a bit lame because I am running out of time tonight, but I wanted to make sure I got this posted!

So, out of the participants in the virtual race who donated I wrote all names down and random order and then labeled each with a number.  Using random.org, I selected the lucky winner...

Congratulations to Audrey from A Mama's Goals

I will get with you on Sunday or Monday and get your prize out to you asap! :)

Thanks again for all your support...

If you haven't done so already, please click my fundraising page link over in the right side column and read my story... I would love your help raising money for St Jude!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eating to Run?

When I first started my journey, all of my food choices were based on what would most effectively allow me to drop weight.  I was not necessarily making the healthiest choices, but I was staying within my allotted calories and for the most part I was eating much better than I had been prior to starting the weight loss journey.  A good example - my kids were still eating a lot of fast food back then, when I bought them a kid's meal I would steal a chicken nugget and a few fries to get the satisfaction of eating something that I craved.  Then I would eat a "healthy" meal when I got home.

Now... I still have cheats, I don't believe I would be successful without them.  In fact, just today I ate cheetos! (YUM!)  The key for me is to control the portion of what I am craving.   This weekend after my half marathon, I plan to have a nice lunch out with the family where I order whatever I want and I plan to follow it up with a cupcake from a gourmet cupcake shop down in Indy.  It may be what gets me through the half marathon!

The struggle?  I don't want to feel like I am running to eat, I want to feel like the food that I eat is fueling my running.  That is it positively fueling my body to accomplish the things I throw at it.  That being said, I am trying to lose 10 more pounds.  I have been "stuck" at my current weight for the most part since last August.  I have gone up some and down some, but I always seem to settle back in at 185 pounds.  I am 5'11 and a pretty large bone structure, so I know I will never be "skinny" but I want to get to 175 so that I can say I am officially not overweight per the BMI standards.


Anyway, back to the issue at hand.  I am struggling to know what is the right thing to do with my food choices. Obviously, I am focusing on eating vegetables and fruits as well as low proteins.  I haven't been eating many carbs in an effort to keep my calories low.  I know that I probably need to increase these especially as I get into my marathon training schedule come June.  However, what I don't know is how many calories to eat!  I started using myfitnesspal.com and it tells me to lose 1 pound a week I should eat 1570 calories.  And, when I exercise it tells me to eat back those calories.  However, I know that there are alot of people who say you shouldn't eat them back if you are attempting to lose weight.

I have a feeling its going to be a fine balance, between making sure I am getting enough calories to fuel my running and not eating too many calories which would cause me to bulk up (which definitely won't  help me run a  marathon).  I have been contemplating going and seeing either a nutritionist or a registered dietitian but even they can't seem to agree on what is the "right" thing to do!

I am going to try something for a few weeks and see how it goes I guess and go from there... my goals the next few weeks:
 - keep my net calories around 1200 per day
 - continue to drink 8 x 16.9 ounce bottles of water
 - limit diet coke intake to one per day
 - lean protein
 - lots of fruits and veggies
 - adding some bread and pasta to boost my carb intake

Does anyone else find it a struggle to balance the nutrition you need as a runner with the calorie restricting you need to lose weight?

I am not doing so well with my goal to reach $750 before Saturday - in an effort to get the donations flowing again, I have a creative idea.  If I reach $750 by the end of Saturday May 5, I will draw a winner to receive a prize!  I will be giving one entry per $10 you donate.  And to make things a bit more fun, if you share this somewhere, please let me know and you will get a bonus entry! Please visit my fundraising page and make a donation if you can ---> My Fundraising Page