Monday, September 24, 2012

Marathon Monday

This week started out according to plan, I was logging my necessary miles plus a few extra with my daughter as she runs to complete her kids marathon.  (Mommy note:  I can't wait until Friday to run the final 1.2 miles with her and watch her receive the medal!)  Then Thursday I had a case of "don't wannas" and I guess I should have listened to them because I ended up injured as a result of my run that day.  I managed to strain my latissimus dorsi  - LOVELY.  I couldn't stand up straight for nearly two days! I was determined to not let it derail my training too far though.

Tuesday: 3 miles with the BOB plus 1 with Natalie
Wednesday: 6 miles plus 1.72 with Natalie
Thursday: 4 miles with the BOB (should have been 35 tempo but I wasn't feeling it so I ran 4 miles "easy")
Sunday: 10.03  miles in 3 separate runs (13 scheduled)
   Total for the week: 25.75

The "long run" Sunday was split into shorter distances.  The first run was 1.5 miles and I stopped due to pain my back.  Later in the day I decided to give it another shot and run with my daughter as long as my back and her legs would allow - we made it 3.5 miles before she pooped out (a distance record for her). Then after dinner I decided I wanted to try a few more miles so I set out to run what I could - ended up with a 5 miler.  Not the 13 I had scheduled but I will take it given the injury.

This injury has really affected me mentally.  I am trying to push past it, but its a struggle.  All I have wanted to do since it happened is eat.  I know its the past "fat girl" pushing her way back in.  In the past I have always used food as a coping mechanism.  I am trying hard to push her out of my head, but I have to admit I haven't done well so far.  So in addition to coping with the injury I may gain 10-15 pounds! :(  

I try to keep reminding myself that my time doesn't really matter in December, but the truth is I do have a time goal in mind and I really hope to hit it.  I worry if my training is derailed too far I won't be able to meet my time goal.  On the other hand, I do have faith that I could finish the 26.2 miles.  It may be me being cocky, but I would like to think that I could complete 26.2 miles tomorrow if I had to - it would just involve more walking than I desire. So, I just keep saying, "You are completing 26.2 miles for those who can't...." and your time doesn't matter. 

As far as how I am dealing physically, I have muscle relaxers and vicodin but I haven't been taking them much.  I can mostly stand up straight.  When I am fatigued, though, I still lean a bit to one side.  I am wearing an ace bandage around my rib cage supporting the lat muscle as best as possible.  It seems to help so I will keep doing that until I feel better.  I am also using the heating pad quite frequently.  

I am still debating my plans for this week, per the schedule I should have 3 runs during the week: 3, 7, and 4 milers.  Then I have two races on the schedule Saturday for a total of 10 miles.  I am debating not running the scheduled runs this week to rest up for the races on Saturday (which I don't plan to race, I just want to complete without pain).  However, there is a part of me that is tied to the schedule - I HATE not doing what I am supposed to.  Only time will tell I suppose... 

Any exciting racing going on this weekend?  Any tips on getting this muscle healed quicker?? 

Friday, September 21, 2012


My marathon training must have been going too well, I was getting the miles and and not feeling too worn out or any real pains beyond a few aches.  Then yesterday happened.

I was dreading going out for a run, no real aches or pains just wasn't feeling it.  I quieted the voice in my head telling myself not to be lazy and just get out there and run.  It was supposed to be a 35 minute tempo run but since I wasn't feeling well I decided to just go out with the jogging stroller and see where I ended up. About 3 miles in I decided I wanted to run another mile and call it quits.

Then it happened, at around 3.5 miles I noticed a pain in my upper back just below my shoulder blades.  I assumed it was just fatigue from pushing the stroller since it had been a few days.  I pushed on, the pain got worse but I just kept running.  Stupid decision maybe, but I figured it was minor and that it would teach me to push through the pain come race day.

I got home and took tylenol, then a few hours later some ibuprofen, all the while sitting on my heating pad.  It got so bad that I couldn't move at all without excruciating pain.  I knew I needed to go to the doctor and get something for the pain but I had pictures to do first.

Yes, in excruciating pain I showered, got dressed, put on makeup, bathed two kids and got them dressed.  I put them and the two dogs in the car and headed for pictures knowing full well I couldn't stand up straight and wanted to just burst into tears.  You see, these photos were supposed to be done in JULY and we have had to reschedule just shy of a million times so I wasn't about to cancel.

My hair wasn't done and neither was Natalie's (I did manage to run a brush through both and throw a few clips in hers) but I am hoping that we got at least something decent to use in Christmas cards this year.  The poses had to be worked around my limited range of movement and I pray that my smile masks how much pain I was in.

Anyway, back on topic... my back was on fire so we headed to the local urgent care clinic.  I checked in and when they told me it was an hour wait I lost it, tears streamed down my face.  An hour or so later came the diagnosis of a strained lat.  I got a steroid shot, muscle relaxers, and vicodin and they sent me on my way.  I am hoping the pain passes quickly so I can get back to running but for now my training is derailed!  The crappy thing is I can't even really cross train because it hurts to breathe or move at all.

Hope that everyone else is having a better Friday!  Any exciting plans?  Fill me in so I can live vicariously through you from the comfort of my recliner!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marathon Monday

I just completed week number 7 of my marathon training... in 11 "short" weeks I will be running a marathon - WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!?  There are times when incredible self doubt creeps in and this weekend was one of those times.  My long run was not an easy one and it left me wondering how I could possibly double that distance in 11 weeks!

Tuesday:  6.01 miles with the BOB plus 1 with Natalie
Wednesday: 3 miles with the BOB plus 1.72 with Natalie
Thursday: 3 miles (hills)
Saturday: 12 miles
   Total for the week: 26.73 - a new personal record for weekly distance!

A couple notes about my training this week:
  1.  Tuesday was my longest run to date with the BOB and I would be lying if I said it wasn't really hard.
  2.  I ran negative splits with the BOB: 8:48, 8:30, and 8:00.  That third mile split marks what I believe is my fastest mile to date with the BOB.
  3.  Hill workout details: 5 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 4, 5, and 6%, 2 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 6, 7, and 8%,  2 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 6, 7, and 8%, 2 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8%, 5 min @ 1%
  4. My long run was a disaster, not that my pace shows it - 1:49:38 or an average pace of 9:08.  However, I stopped my watch several times due to problems.  Once at the end of mile 6 due to a bathroom break, at the end of mile 9 due to needing to fuel (was woozy and seeing double), and then again once more for sharp pain in my shoulder around mile 10.5.    Its frustrating that it was such a struggle but I have to remember that every run that I complete is a success.  The hard runs really do make me a stronger runner.

Tell me, how is your training going?  What are you training for?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Race Recap: Defenders Dash 11k

Saturday was a day of firsts for me: I ran a mile warm up before my 11k this morning.  I have never run a warm up of any significant distance before a race.   And then I followed the race up with a mile cool-down.  If only I had stretched, I could call myself a serious athlete.

When I was planning out my marathon training, this week called for a 5k or 10k.   Last year, I ran the Defender Dash 5k, this year they offered an 11k.  I decided it would fit perfectly into my training schedule.   I love this race because its a "race to honor" those who defend and protect (be it military, police, etc).  Being that my dad served in the ARMY, I find it really important to show those who serve and protect how much we appreciate what they do.

The line up was kind of tricky, the 5k and 11k went off at the same time but we were lined up behind the 5kers.  They told us that we would get a seperate horn for our start but that it would be at the same time as the 5k.  Unfortunately, the horn didn't go off as it should have for us so I stort of "stuttered" my start... this will be important later.

Waving to Natalie as she cheers me on!
I started off strong, but tried to remind myself this wasn't a 5k.  It is always easy to get caught up in the excitement of the race and go out too strong.  I felt confident though, and I didn't feel like I was going too fast.  Then I saw my mile 1 split and I knew I had to slow down.  Miles 2 and 3 rolled on by, I was loving my position in the race and I just couldn't seem to bring the pace down.  I was running with/slightly behind a group of 4-5 guys, and there were 3-4 people in front of them and then there was me - so I was holding about 10th place and I was the second female.

Mile 1: 8:02
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 8:04

Then it hit me, my stomach was revolting against me.  I kind of predicted this before the race, I just knew when I woke up my stomach wasn't going to be kind.  Despite the Immodium my stomach was cramping and I wasn't sure I was going to make it.  Miles 4 and 5 were a combination of me pushing myself as hard as I could for as long as I could and then walking to cope with cramps.  I knew I was falling behind the leaders, but at this point I was still in about 10th place and the second place female.... I was confident that I could hold onto that.

Mile 4: 8:52
Mile 5: 8:51

Then mile 6 hit and I truly for the first time ever in my running career was searching for grass tall enough that I could duck off the course.   I suppose I should be embarassed to admit that, but I think it speaks volumes for how badly I was suffering.  And, it makes me proud to know that I pushed through it and finished the race, even if the last 1.85 miles required much more walking than I was okay with.  Even if I watched not one or two, but four women plus one guy pass me in the last mile or so.  I crossed the finish line and that was a huge victory given the circumstances!

Mile 6: 9:54
Mile 6.85: 8:21 (9:50 pace)

Garmin Time: 59:59 - thats my story and I am sticking to it!
Official time: 1:00.01.9 - this was gun time (remember that "stutter start"... it cost me)

"Finishers Medal"

My age group "coin" for 1st place
Overall: 16/ 42
**First in age group**

The truth is I wasn't sure what to expect.  I ran 13.1 miles the weekend before and I just wasn't feeling in the groove of the race.  I allowed myself to set an "easy goal" of wanting to finish in 1:10 or less, but I knew I really wanted to finish in under an hour.    I missed that goal unfortunately, but I know on that day I gave it everything I had and I couldn't have done much better.   When you nearly "toss your cookies" on the person cutting the timing chip off your shoe you know finished with everything you had...

I wish I could have done better, and in hindsight I do wonder if I had gone out slightly slower those first miles if I couldn't have done a bit better over all.  However, you can't redo a race.. just hope to learn something from this one and move forward!

Would I recommend this race?  ABSOLUTELY!  And here's why.. 
  - awesome race swag: NICE reusable back sack, Ellison cookies (a full pack, from a local bakery and they are YUMMY), "finishers medal" for 11k, nice tech tee (though I doubt that is a womens cut, which they advertised!), age group awards 3 deep in both races
  - well organized, all the volunteers were nice and very encouraging
  - love finishing under the American flag
  - money goes to a great cause
  - its a "challenging" course for the area, you don't get many chances to run hills around here (215 ft gained over 7 miles... pathetic to most of you, but for us Hoosier... challenging!)
  - great post race spread: TONS of water, gatorade, oranges, apples, bananas and granola bars

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marathon Monday

Week 6 didn't go quite as planned but overall I was pleased with how things went, especially considering I just ran a half on September 1st.  

Monday: 6 miles (1 mile was "warm up" with a friend who is doing C25k)
Tuesday: 3.5 miles (1.5 was with Natalie)
Thursday: 3.5 miles (1.5 was with Natalie)
Saturday: 8.85 miles (11k race with a mile warm up and cool down)

Total for the week: 21.85 

The biggest thing that didn't go "as planned" was that I shuffled my days of running around to fit what I was up to.  Tuesday and Thursday should have been 3 miles each with a 5 miler on Wednesday.  While I got the required mileage in (actually more), Tuesday should have been a speed workout and I just wasn't up to it so after the 1.5 miles with Natalie I just ran 2 "tempo" miles... or something like that... 8 minute miles for two miles straight! Woot!

Typically I would recap my long run, but since it was a race this week, I plan to do that in a later post!  

Today is the last day of my giveaway, any donation over $5 gets you an entry to win a prize... see the details here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Testimonial Tuesday: Sparkle Tech Skirt

It's no secret - I am a big girl.  Yes, I have lost 125 pounds, but I am still not built like the stereotypical runner.  In addition to the loose skin that I have from weight loss, I am tall and have a large bone structure.  I have curves and no matter how much weight I lose, I always will!  My body shape has made finding running apparel very challenging.  Winter isn't too difficult, I can buy running pants and pull a cover-up type skirt over them and call it a day.  However, when the summer rolls around things are much more complicated.

I started out by looking at running shorts but I couldn't stand how badly the rode up between my thighs when I ran.  Next, I discovered running skirts.  I liked the idea of a skirt because it wouldn't ride up between my thighs and offered a bit more coverage.  I bought a nike skirt and its what I wore for my first half marathon - complete with LOTS of body glide.  Because I am nearly 6 foot tall, it just didn't work out for me - I felt exposed and the shorts underneath just weren't long enough to prevent riding up.

Being a blogger, I found many people swore by so I ordered a couple of skirts from there to try.  Unfortunately, the shorts under rode up terribly and the waistband didn't fit correctly.  I would have spent every mile pulling down the shorts and pulling up the back of the skirt.  After this failure I just about gave up.  There were other sites but I didn't want to keep ordering and returning because shipping costs can really add up.

I had been contemplating one more company for a while but couldn't bring myself to spend more money to be disappointed.  I received an email about a sale form said company, and I decided on a whim to give my skirt search one last try.   Enter Sparkle Skirts, my running life will never be the same again!

I worked with Leah, the queen mum of Sparkle, and from the very beginning she provided excellent customer service.  I contacted her months ago about sizing concerns and she answered all my questions thoroughly and quickly.  At the time I decided not to order for budget reasons.   The sale was a VERY busy time for Leah but she still managed to respond to emails in a timely  and friendly manner.  I would argue that she provided the best customer service I have ever received.

What do I love about my Sparkle Tech skirt?  
    - the shorts DO NOT ride up
    - the skirt is long enough to provide coverage but not long enough to interfere
    - the cut of the skirt camouflages any flaws you might want to hide
    - the pockets on each leg allow me to carry my camera and cell phone with no bouncing
    - the huge zipper pocket at the waist holds money, ID, and fuel with room to spare
    - the waistband comes up  high enough that it doesn't create a muffin top
    - the waistband stays in place even during long runs
    - its fun and there are tons of cute options available
    - you get noticed on the course and it can be a great motivator during a race
    - no more cringing at race photos, I know my thighs/rear will be covered, no questions asked
    - the skirt is light weight and much more breathable than any of my other skirts
    - all skirts are made in the US
    - skirt fit true to size
    - super fast delivery (I got my skirt within 3 days during the busy sale)

Here are a few photos of my skirt (Peacock in Bordeaux) in action..

I have worn my sparkle skirt exclusively for every long run since I received it as well as a couple races and I honestly haven't found anything wrong with it.  The only problem?  I need another one (or 2, or 4!)

I've been drooling at the other skirts on the website since I received my first one... they are all so awesome and I can't wait to build my collection!  Check them out,  Leah is super and these skirts are amazing!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Marathon Monday - Week 5 Recap

Just finished up week 5 in my marathon training - things are progressing nicely and so far I am holding up okay.  I have some aches and pains but nothing that keeps me from getting the miles logged.    I am going to keep this short, but wanted to summarize how I did this week.

Tuesday: 5 miles with the BOB
Wednesday: 3 miles with the BOB plus 1 mile with Natalie
Saturday: 13.2
   Total for the week: 22.2

My long run this week was a half marathon.  I ran the half with my friend who was running her first half, so we took it easy and just enjoyed ourselves (as much as you can while running 13.1 miles).   I loved running with a friend and even more so it was great to get the time on my feet.  And, it gave me the confidence that in a few months I will be able to finish 26.2 miles.  I can't wait to run 26.2 for the patients at St Jude.

A Different Kind of Race

This past Friday I ventured two hours down the highway for the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon.  I signed up for this race in January because I LOVED the medal from last year and the price was great - I paid just under $40 for race entry and the t-shirt (purchasing the shirt was optional).  When I signed up I booked a room at the host hotel for 2 nights and hoped to turn in into a girls' weekend.

Just as I was about to cancel the second night and drive home immediately after the race my friend decided she would fly into town and we would run the half together and have a fun-filled weekend away from the duties of motherhood.

For the sake of honesty, when I arrived at the expo on Friday I was slightly disappointed.  It was set up as advertised, but I guess I was expecting more.  Packet pickup was well organized, quick and easy.  And, the shirts are nice, long sleeve women's cut with a cute design - the only thing that could have made it better was if the shirt was a color other than white! They offered massages, dry facials, and manicures which is great if those are your thing but the lines seemed long when I was there so I skipped those.  Outside of that they had a fashion show where they previewed some 2013 asics running gear.  There were surprisingly few booths to buy things and the selection seemed pretty limited.  I should have expected this knowing it was a smaller race but it all sounded so exciting on the website so I had built it up in my mind.   My only other complaint was that things were on different floors of the hotel, and the stuff on the 3rd floor was set up in the hallway and if there were any other people looking at things it could get slightly difficult to navigate.

Post expo, we wandered the streets of Indy and headed to Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner - I had the Chicken Penne - YUM!  After dinner we wandered a bit more and headed to catch a movie at the theater in Circle Centre Mall.  It was a much different evening than I normally have pre-race but I enjoyed every bite of that alfredo sauce and every minute of the movie.  (Note to self: next time take a coat, it was FREEZING in the theater!)   After getting back to the room, we laid out our gear and crashed for the evening - somewhere around 11pm I think.

The alarm went off very early the next morning - 4am for me!  With my stomach I have to get up and eat breakfast early, take my meds, and unfortunately I can't just go back to sleep.  It would have been nice to sleep in, the hotel was right at the start line, so literally many people were rolling out of bed 20-30 minutes prior to the start!

I don't plan to do a mile by mile countdown of the race (at least not here), it wasn't that kind of race for me.   This race was about supporting a friend who was taking on her first half and just having a good time, earning a pretty medal, and getting the miles in for marathon training.   The race started "red-flagged" due the humidity - thank you Isaac!   It was predicted to rain, but it held off - although I wonder if the rain might have felt better than the ridiculous humidity!

The course was nice and flat, I wish I could say that I looked around and appreciated the scenery but I honestly sort of spaced out to what was around me.  There were several long stretches on roads which I expected to be harder than they were.  There were definitely some areas that the "earthy" smell was a bit overwhelming and hard to deal with.  For me, the worst part was running along the road in front of the state fair grounds, we got more than our fair share of exhaust fumes in our mouths!  That and towards the end when you run RIGHT past the post race festivities and still have nearly a mile to run - that was slightly cruel!

There were plenty of water stops and porta potties and all of the race volunteers were friendly and encouraging.  While there weren't many spectators, those that were out were awesome and it was nice to see the guys out supporting the women in their lives.

It was nice to cross the finish line with a friend and be handed a rose and a beautiful medal.  There was a great post race set up - massages, mimosas, bloody marys, oaken barrel beer, shrimp, chocolate milk, and wraps of some sort.  I chose to only take advantage of the chocolate milk but it was cold and so refreshing!

Overall the race was a huge success and I would definitely do it again and recommend it to all of my friends. 

So often I get carried away with the restrictions I have to place on myself to have a speedy half and my competitive spirit sometimes overrides the feeling of accomplishment I should be feeling.  I think I will make a yearly tradition of finding a race and making it a getaway.  It was so nice to run this race and not worry about a PR and to be able to enjoy the social aspect of racing.

A HUGE congratulations to my friend Nikki on completing her first half - you did awesome!