Weekend Race

Week 1 of training is almost complete! Wednesday is my “we’ll see how we feel day” for marathon training. If I’m feeling strong I may run a few miles or if not, I’ll cross-train at the gym. This week I cross-trained an did a Body Pump class. I would’ve liked to also do elliptical or the bike beforehand, but it wasn’t in the cards. The class was good as always, but I kept my weights lighter than I usually would chose for legs so they weren’t too fatigued for my 6 mile run Thursday morning.

Thursday morning came and I could definitely tell I went back to Body Pump. I wasn’t too sore, but my legs didn’t quite feel refreshed. I’m ok with that though because learning to run on fatigued legs is part of training. The leggies (yep, that’s a word) are going to get fatigued on marathon day; better to practice before then.

The 6 miles were good. It was my first tempo run and I did a straight out-and-back course.

I’m not very good at slowing down after the tempo part is over though..

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Case in point: Mile 5.

It was supposed to be 2 miles easy pace, 2 miles tempo (gradually building up to a faster pace), 2 miles easy. Clearly I had a need for speed. In all fairness, mile 5 was the downhill of one of the biggest hills I run so I had some extra “ump.” Just like mile 2 was the uphill. Why slow down when you can fly?!

So yeah, tempos are supposed to be slower than my interval days on Tuesdays but faster than my long runs on Saturdays. It’ll be interesting to see how I progress over training with tempo runs. Once I’m in a groove of running fast I don’t like to slow down. Learn child. Learn.

Today is a scheduled rest day, which I love that Fridays are rest days BTW. I can tell I’ve stepped it up with training in the past week because I’ve been a little extra tired and hungry. Just when I got into the groove of eating while not training I have to switch it up once again. Last night I was in bed by 8 and slept through the whole night. 9 hours on a weekday? I’ll take it!

Tomorrow I’m running the Freedom Fun Run 10k here in Greensboro.

It will be my first Greensboro race (shame on me) and my first official 10k. I’m really excited for it! I have two friends that are running with me so it should be a good way to kick off training. Since my schedule calls for 8 miles tomorrow, I’m running two miles before the race to beat the heat. We’re having our first summer weekend with temps over 100. Oi. The joys of summer in the south!

Do you have any Fourth of July races planned?

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Travel Day

It’s a travel day!

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Leaving for NYC after work and thankfully have a direct flight into LaGuardia arriving at 6:30 this evening.

Definitely excited this day/weekend is finally here after 3 months of worrying if I’d even be able to run the race. Now I finally feel excitement and anticipation!

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Goals for the race:

1. Have fun. Who knows if I’ll get the chance to run NYC again on a closed course without tourists and New Yorkers crowding the streets for me to weave through.

2. Remember how I felt just 8 weeks ago. Unsure if I’d be able run this race. Unsure I’d even be able to train for this race. Unsure if I’d be able to race again this year.

3. Be thankful. That I am able to do everything I was unsure and worried about in #2.

4. Race. Whatever happens, happens. The course begins with 6 hilly miles in Central Park, then out on a flat course until the end of 13.1 miles. I’ve said it before and if I can match my last half marathon time (or improve it) great! If not..See #2.

You can participate, too!

If you’re awake early on Sunday, log onto NYC’s ABC 7 website from 7-9am EST to watch the start of the race and commentary during the race. Several USA Olympic team members (Desiree, Kara, & Meb) will be running, so you can see them as well!

If you happen to get a glimpse of me, my bib # is 8018 and I’ll be wearing a neon green shirt. Good luck with that though!

If you want to track me during the race to see where I’m at, you can sign up for runner tracking (I believe it’s $0.99?) to be sent to your cell phone, Twitter, or Facebook account.

In addition to the race, I’m meeting my parents and younger brother who’ve never been to NYC for a fun family weekend. Can’t wait to watch as they take it all in!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and good luck if you’re running a Shamrock Race!

Your Turn

I challenge you to sign up for a race this weekend. What? Your city isn’t hosting one this weekend? Well you’re in luck!

This weekend, on Saturday, January 21 is the Inaugural Twitter Road Race. The distance is a 5k (3.1 miles).

If you want to learn more about it, see the Race Details per, the race director.

Basically, Sign up, choose your own course (even a treadmill if the cold is too much!), choose your own pace, and your racing buddies (4-legged friend?) if you like to run with friends.

When you’re finished, fill out a form similar to your registration form with your official time. You can also tweet about your running using #TwitterRoadRace. Results will be posted in the 24 hours following.

It’s not a competition, just a great way to have fun!

This time of year can be challenging to get motivated, especially once the newness of New Years Resolutions starts to wear off. Also, what a great way to connect with other runners in the healthy-living community! Check out who’s running on the registration page to see if you know anyone!

I signed up…hope to “see” you there!

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P.S. Just incase you’re traveling or can’t do it this weekend, there is another virtual race next weekend called, Freeze Your Thorns Off 5k. Prizes are involved with this one! Happy Running!!

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Mistletoe 5k and Half Marathon

Holiday cheer is spreading into the running community as Saturday I participated in the Mistletoe 5k. I was originally planning on running the half marathon but I got sidelined.

Saturday began early with a 6:15am wake up call. I stayed with my friend, Tyna, the night before so I didn’t have to drive over to Winston-Salem by myself early. That extra 45 minutes of rest was much appreciated!

Our friend Jenna, who just moved to Durham, NC this week, also participated in the race with us! We got there early to register Jenna for the 5k and there was SUCH a long line for packet pick-up/race day registration.

Because we have superior time management skills, we grabbed this photo op as we waited in line for 35+ minutes.

The race organizers said last year they had around 2,700 participants and this year there were over 4,000 runners signed up! What a huge accomplishment by the organization and so much money raised to fight childhood obesity. YAY!

So after Jenna got signed up we made our way to the half marathon starting line. Tyna was ready to run!

The gun went off and they began the 13.1 mile run through Winston-Salem.

It was apparently a hilly course and they even got to run up to Wake Forest University’s campus.

After we saw Tyna off, Jenna and I made our way down to the 5k starting line.

There were so many families, kids, and people of all ages at the starting line. It was awesome to see how active the community is here.

Our 5k began and we were off!

Well, sort of. Let me back up.

I signed up for the race just 4 days beforehand, a record of cutting it close for me. I wasn’t sure if I would be running or walking the race because of my hip, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be running. Thursday (2 days before the race) I tried to run 3 miles in hopes of me being able to run the 5k. I’ve been on a 2 week running hiatus for a painful hip. At my sports medicine doctor appointment a few weeks ago, he said I should try to run a few days before the race and see where I stand. I didn’t get very far.

The run felt awesome but I could only run 1 mile until my hip started hurting. I was trying not to get my hopes up because for the first ¾ mi I felt back to normal, so excited, endorphins pumping, I was back to doing what I love.

After the ¾ mi, I started to feel pain in my left hip. I wanted to see how far I could go because I wasn’t sure if I was being over cautious and just imagining the pain because I was so worried about it, or if it was physically there. It was definitely there and after a mile I had to stop. So that pretty much determined my “race” on Saturday. No running for me.

Back to the race.

I planned on walking the whole 5k. Jenna walked with me for about a mile of the race, maybe more, then ran to the finish. I kept walking and saw a completely different race than I normally see.

I saw 70 year olds running, I saw groups of middle-aged women walking and running, I saw kids running with their parents, I saw kids running with an organization called “Girls on the Run” and for most of them it was their first race ever. So exciting to watch them.

I finished in 46 minutes with little hip pain during the walk. As I was coming in for the finish I felt a little embarrassed with all the runners flying past me, but I had to remember why I was in this situation to begin with. I also didn’t want to push myself to run when I knew it would be doing me more harm than good. Still, my pride took a little hit.

I guess more accurately stated, the experience was pretty humbling. Exactly 1 month ago I ran a full marathon and today, I’d do just about anything to run a 5k pain-free. It really made me reevaluate my road to recovery.

I met up with Jenna after crossing the finish and we went to the food tents. They had the best spread of treats I’ve ever seen at a race! They had the usual bananas, peanut butter, water, sports drink, but they also had these pre-made PB&J graham cracker sandwiches that were pretty yummy.

Yes, I realize this is elementary school food and highly processed. I can’t deny PB&J though, seriously so addicting.

The best part of all was that Panera catered! There was a variety of breads to choose from and they even had cups of warm chicken noodle soup. Perfect since it was maybe 45 degrees outside.

After we enjoyed our warm cups of soup we tried to find our car so we could go meet Tyna at mile 10 to cheer her on. Unfortunately, we misplaced the car so we ended up missing her. We decided just to stay down at the finish and see her there instead.

Jenna waited between mile 12 and 13 so she could run the last leg with Tyna. I stayed closer to the finish line and waited for her there with her boyfriend’s brother and girlfriend who drove up from Charlotte just to cheer her on!

We saw her coming around the bend and cheered for her as she began her sprint towards the finish line.

She finished under 2 hours which was her goal (and AWESOME!), so although it was a hilly course, Tyna was super happy with what she had accomplished..and with only 4 weeks of training! Talk about determination!

(Photo courtesy of Tyna)

After the race we went to Foothills Brewery in downtown Winston-Salem and grabbed a celebratory beer and some lunch. It was a great way to end an exciting morning and a perfect place to warm up!

Next year, I definitely want to run this race. The organization of the race was well done, it’s a local race (no traveling or hotels required!), and it’s benefitting a great cause.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

(Photo courtesy of Tyna)

Did you participate in any holiday races this weekend or have one coming up?

Staying Active Without Running…

As you know, I had to take running hiatus after paying a visit to the sports medicine doctor 2 weeks ago. I can report back I’ve been a compliant patient and haven’t ran.

I’ve incorporated yoga into my routine once a week (for starters) and strength training (my own routine of free weights 3 days per week.) My main source of cardio has been the elliptical.

I know, I know. The dreaded elliptical.

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It actually hasn’t been too bad! I’ve gone in the mornings before work and listened to CNN (since I listen on my drive to work anyway), watched the TODAY show (which I never get to see anymore!) or just take some time to think things through.

When I’m not on the elliptical, I’ve been on the arc trainer which is, I think, a better workout. I can really “dig in” to those strides and to me, feels the most like running without the impact.

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I’ve taken the occasional spin class, but honestly I work out as “me” time. It’s the part of my day I can decide to do whatever I want, think about whatever I want, for as long as I want. I tend to get bored and zone out with spin because they’re always telling you to increase/decrease your resistance, pretend you’re climbing up a hill, etc. I’d rather just bike than spin.

One class I DO love and have loved for many years, is Group Power. The original version is Body Pump, but my gym offers Group Power which is just another company’s variation of it. Essentially, it’s 60 minutes of choreographed strength exercises led by a certified instructor. There are around 8 songs per hour and each song focuses on a certain muscle group. It normally goes: Warm-Up, Legs, Back, Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Legs again, abs, cool-down. Maybe not in that order but you get the picture.

Don’t be afraid if you can’t lift a lot of weight. It’s for all ages – I’m actually the youngest one in there, normally. I have had plenty of grannies and grandpa’s show me up with the amount of weight they’re using!

I first took Body Pump when I still lived at home before I went off to my senior year of college, again the summer before our wedding, and I occasionally hit up a class now and again. Since I’ve dedicated so much time to running this year, it’s great to get back into strength training.

So while I haven’t been running, I’ve sufficiently found ways to stay active and happy.

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Remember the Mistletoe Half Marathon I mentioned? I’m still not running the half, but today I did sign up for the 5k!

Amazing how exciting that is for me and not even a month ago I ran a marathon. But this really is  exciting. I haven’t ran again since my appointment 2 weeks ago, so on Thursday I’m going to take the legs for a test drive. If my hip doesn’t have any pain (which, it’s been holding up very well during the other exercise I’ve been doing) then I’ll go ahead and run. If it hurts too bad, I’ll just have to walk the 5k. No big deal – I signed up for fun and it’s for a GREAT cause!

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Do you have any fun holiday runs planned for this month?

I’ve Been Benched

Well, I tried. I set a goal and was determined to finish it out. One minor issue.. that hip/foot pain I was telling you about never really went away.

After I tried running on it last Tuesday for a mere 2.5 miles I had to quit. My goal was to get in 4 or 5 miles that day but there was no way that was happening because of my hip pain. I promised myself if I had any intense pain during that run I’d go straight to the doctor.

I found a sports medicine doctor through a friend of mine and was there at 9:30am the next day. He had me do a few tests, moving my foot in different directions, which didn’t bother it.

He moved my leg in a few different directions with me putting resistance against him and that didn’t hurt. He had me jump 10 times on my right foot then 10 times on my left foot and that didn’t bother me at all. We discussed my training plan leading up to the marathon and I told him I did everything I could to come to the starting line injury-free, which I did.

He told me on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being perfectly healthy and 10 being a stress fracture, I was at about a 3. He said that people with stress fractures can’t even do 3 of those hops on their affected leg. I caught it early and I was smart for coming in. His words, not mine, promise!

“So you know that half marathon you were talking about? I wouldn’t recommend that you run it.”

While I could probably run the half marathon, I could end up hurting myself a lot worse and end up more towards an 8 or worse, a 10 on the “stress fracture number scale.” I was actually very relieved to hear this coming from him because, being who I am, I felt like I needed to buck up so I could finish this goal I had set.

“If it’s really important to you, you could do it, but if you feel pain you should stop.”

“No, it’s not important at all, just a fun run I thought would be cool to do.”

“Good, I’m glad to hear that. Give yourself a 3 week break from running and you should be good as new. If not, come back to see me.”

I asked him about cross-training (spin, elliptical, yoga, etc.) and he said he didn’t have a problem with me doing that since I told him earlier that I didn’t have any pain when I did those exercises.

He offered to do an MRI but wasn’t pushy about it. It would most likely tell us what we already knew. I had “made my hip angry” and it needs some time to cool off. It wouldn’t change the road to recovery.

He asked me about a prescription strength dosage of ibuprofen but he said if I wasn’t going to use it there was no sense in filling it. It’s true, I wouldn’t have used it. The pain isn’t constant, only when I run.

He asked me about my diet and calcium but he already knew I am a registered dietitian so he didn’t spend much time on that subject. (and I always get 3 servings of dairy or other form of calcium+ vitamin D each day.. you should too!!)

Overall, I really liked this MD. He’s a straight shooter who is used to dealing with sports injuries and runners, he wasn’t pushy for unnecessary scans, and he didn’t try to force drugs on me. A+, Dr. Kendall, A+.

So, what now?

LOTS!! Over the past week I’ve been attending spin classes, group power classes, yoga, getting some time back on the elliptical, and focusing more on what my fitness goals should be over the winter outside of running. I’ve discovered that doing all this running has left me extremely weak in my upper body so that is definitely something I’ll be working on, along with flexibility and overall strength.

On the flip side, I’d be lying to you if I said I don’t miss running.

Today was the first day that running starting to consume my thoughts. I missed coming into work this morning without a long run behind me from the weekend.

I went to the gym today after work to do elliptical and accidentally (by habit) walked to the row of treadmills instead. I sighed and literally had to pull against the desire to start flying on that thing. I got to my elliptical and did my interval workout and felt a lot better once I started sweating and working hard.

By the time my workout was over I felt good, just not as good as after a run. A run completely takes it out of you. When I was working out today I know I got some of that energy that had built up over the weekend out, but it wasn’t like a run. I feel like I have so much pent-up energy, still.

Alas! In order to run injury-free in the future, I’ve got to do this now. I honestly don’t mind the change-up from only running to other forms physical activity. I just wish I could run a couple of miles a week to “cure the itch.”

So what about that half marathon? Well, that’s not happening, but there is a 5k (3.1 miles) option I may do if I’m feeling good a couple of days before then. If not,  I’ll wait it out and continue to let my body heal itself. It’s the least I can do after a year of demanding so much from it!

Keep On Keepin’ On

Declaration: Mistletoe Half Marathon

Ok that’s it. I’m rested. I’m ready to run.

Clear the road people, Beth needs to stretch her legs!

I was probably ready yesterday but I gave myself 2 extra days. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will officially be back into running since the marathon.

My foot pain is gone (we’ll see if it returns when I start to run, in which case I’m going straight to the doctor to get it looked at) my hip pain is relatively gone. I just need some yoga in my life and I think the hip pain will go away. Yoga is on the list for a workout sometime this week, I just need to check the class schedule at my gym.

I’m thinking about trying an actual Yoga Studio to get the full experience. I just have a hard time paying for both a gym membership and a yoga studio, especially when my gym offers yoga a few times each week. We’ll see how that goes..

As I was driving  riding back from Savannah last weekend, I was setting my sights on which race to run next. I had been talking with my friend, Tyna, and we decided to do a 5k together. I got to looking at the race organization’s website a little closer and found out there was a half marathon option!

So..as of last week I committed myself to a half marathon not even a full month out from the full marathon.

I’m not going for speed records at this race though, it’s simply for fun. I even bought a few fun surprises for race day!

The race is the Mistletoe Half Marathon in Winston-Salem and it benefits the awareness and support of programs that are committed to stop childhood obesity. It’s on December 3rd and I’m so excited to just have fun and run for a great cause!

Are you signed up for any Turkey Trots or Holiday fun runs in your city?