Hello Again

Over the past week I’ve been thinking a lot about running. 1 week ago today, this happened. This past week has been full of ups and downs but the most that it’s been is inspiring.

Not really a word you hear when you think of events such as these play out, but this is different. This past week I discovered why I love running. I don’t love the hours alone running in the wee hours of summer. I don’t love the shoes, the body glide, the race fees, the Gu or the sunscreen. I love the community that I surround myself with as a runner. This blog post says it best.

So while I’ve taken a break from blogging – I most definitely have not stopped running. No, I’ve not stopped running.

I’ll try to fill in the races I’ve run during my hiatus. Albeit they won’t be nearly as detailed or as fun as if I was just off a race, but I love having the ability to look back on these posts and remember exactly what it was like.

So as I take on another summer of marathon training, the upcoming posts will be recaps of the Cannonball Half Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Bark in the Park 5k and the Tar Hill 10 Miler.

 

I’ve never felt so inspired about running. I’ve never felt so passionate. If you’re a runner, you’re a part of my family and I can’t wait to meet you at the next starting line.

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Happy 4th of July!


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I hope you all are soaking up lots of time with family and friends this holiday. I’m flying to Indiana tomorrow for my best friend’s wedding weekend, so Matron of Honor duties are about to commence!

Despite it being a holiday week + a very fun event at the end of the week, marathon training continues.

Instead of having a cross-training day Sunday and Yoga on Monday, I skipped the cross-training and just did Yoga on Sunday, pushing everything this week up a day.

Sunday: Yoga
Monday: Key Workout #1 (intervals)
Tuesday:cross-training (30 minutes elliptical + plyometrics, weights)
Wednesday: Key Workout #2 (tempo run)
Thursday: Travel Day to Indiana (day off)
Friday: Long run of 9 miles before all the activities begin for the day!

I’m excited about running again in Indiana. When I flew up last summer to help Adrienne dress shop I took advantage of the hill-less roads and I plan on doing the same on Friday.

This week’s runs have been going great, particularly today though.

Remember last week when I didn’t quite do a great job of pacing for a tempo run? Well.. I tried a little harder today and I nailed it!

tempo

2 miles easy x 2 miles tempo x 2 miles easy

I was pretty proud that I could see a progression and slow-down at the respectively planned miles. Small wins, folks.

On an unrelated note, I think it’s about time for new shoes. I bought the current pair that I am running in back in late January when I started physical therapy. I love the shoes, so I’ll most likely re-buy them (Brooks Ravenna’s) but I’ve been noticing some upper metatarsal pain after my runs this week. This is probably the longest I’ve gone since getting new shoes ( I’ve only put about 200 miles on this pair) however, the length of time I’ve had them suggests it’s time for new.

Well, I’m off to Indiana for the weekend! Have a fun and safe Fourth of July and as always.. Run Happy! –Brooks

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Photo credit: Brooks

Did you run or race today?

Birthday Wish

Have you heard the news?

Oreo turns 100 this year! March 6th to be exact.

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Is this any coincidence that my birthday is just a month and one day later?

I think not.

Oreo’s have got to be my all-time favorite cookie.

Totally worth eating an entire sleeve, all-time favorite cookie.

So, here’s a great recipe to use your birthday cake Oreo’s in and to celebrate all of your accomplishments. You know, like getting up for the day or brushing your teeth.

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And just in case you didn’t know what to get me, I accept birthday presents in the form of Oreos.

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Running These Days

I’ve made my return from being MIA over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been so busy I’ve definitely slacked in this area so here’s a catch-up. Sorry in advance for such length.

New Years Goals:

I’ve stayed true to the new goals I set for 2012 and experimented in the kitchen by cooking tofu a couple weeks ago! I followed this tutorial and it turned out pretty good. It didn’t take too terribly long to make and the husband approved. I served it with onions, mushrooms and asparagus over whole grain pasta. Yum!

Running

Still working on that hip. Here’s what has been going down.

I’ve completed 6 physical therapy sessions with 5 left to go. I love going to those appointments. My therapist is also a runner, so we always have something to talk about while I’m in therapy. He’s got me doing a series of different exercises while I’m with him in addition to the exercises I’m doing at home.

He’s definitely (and so have I) noticed that I’m getting stronger which is encouraging. I seriously leave my appointments with my hip muscles totally fatigued. He has me doing more challenging exercises which I love because I love being challenged and continuously improving.

I had my first run of more than 20 minutes about 1.5 weeks ago. I ran outside for 2.9 miles and felt pretty freakin’ amazing. I had been so reluctant and a little fearful to run more than 20 minutes because I thought I’d end up hurting myself further. When I didn’t, I was elated!

That was Saturday. On Monday I ran 3.1 miles pain-free, finally ran that 5k I was supposed to run back in December. Then on Wednesday I ran 3.6 miles…on the treadmill. After the run (the next day) I had a lot of pain. I went to PT on Friday and we did exercises but a lot of soft tissue work. Feels like a massage, I love it.

In the mean time, Thursday before that PT appointment I went back to my sports medicine doctor who noticed I was looking brighter and a lot happier since the last time I’d seen him. I told him about my progress and he was happy, but told me I definitely qualified for an MRI because of the chronicity of the pain. I asked him how it would change our treatment plan and he was honest and said it probably wouldn’t change anything unless he saw something that surprised him since we already ruled out a stress fracture and I have great range of motion in my hip. So I opted out again.

While I was there, I asked him what he thought my chances of running a marathon this year was. Thankfully he told me he thought I would definitely be ready for one towards the end of the year and I was pretty pumped. I’ve been feverishly searching and contemplating which one I want to register for, but I don’t think I’ll do it until I’m further healed. I would hate to sign up and then be unable to run – especially when marathons can be upwards of $100 a pop. To be determined..

Yesterday I was back at physical therapy and I told Justin about my PT sessions and running from the previous week (he was gone on vacation and I had other therapists). He said he heard and said as soon as he knew I ran on the treadmill that pretty much gave it away.

He explained that I should run outside because the treadmill drags your foot backwards instead of your body doing the work, creating a constant resistance that your hip flexors (i.e. my problem area) has to compensate for. I was happy to hear it was something that simple. I thought it was the distance that was giving me the problem but he assured me the distance was fine.

After a warm-up we did all soft-tissue work. He taught me a few different stretches and a dynamic warm-up to perform before I run. I left there feeling like a whole new person. That’s why every time I get down on myself for still having pain, I get hope again because I leave there a-ok.

I’m feeling good today, as I started the day off with a 3 mile morning run. It was awesome to start the day with an outside run; I wish I could do it more often. I go back to therapy tomorrow, so yay for that.

This whole injury thing is so complex. I have a physical injury but mentally, it’s been so much harder.

I asked my PT about doing the NYC Half Marathon and he said he doesn’t see a problem with me doing it so long as I know to take walk breaks throughout. I told him my attitude about it which is:

I have no expectations of setting a PR and beating my last half marathon time. I’m going out there just to run, have fun, and enjoy a big city race. I realize I’ll probably have to stop and walk a lot but I’m fine with that. I definitely wouldn’t be doing the race had I not already paid for it and a planned a trip, but I’ll do what I can and what my body allows me to do when that day comes.

He said I have a really good outlook about it so I’m glad I am where I need to be mentally, even if I’m not there physically. My health is more important to me than any race will ever be and I keep reminding myself of that.

Am I frustrated that I can’t run long distances? Of course. I miss doing what I love.

 But I can still run.

There are a lot of sayings out there that mention things like, “you don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it.” I can honestly say that I did know what I had and I still realize it. I was thankful every single day of marathon training that I could lace up my shoes and run. I didn’t care that it was 98 degrees, that I was tired, or that I missed out on after-work drinks with friends.

I remember thanking God during the majority of my runs for allowing my body to be able to do this. I still thank Him, because my injury is nothing compared to what some people are going through.

I think ultimately this injury has made me grow into a better runner. I’ve been able to focus more on myself as a runner, what my body can do, and how to listen to it. I am still ever grateful for every mile I run, even if that tops at 3 right now.

I’ve still got some progress to make and I do get frustrated, probably every day. But I know I’m better for it and I can’t wait to see how I come out on the other side.

No excuses

Coffee and Fog

I don’t know about you, but today was a coffee kind of morning. It was another foggy drive into work and was glad I had my cup of joe.

I had an early morning yesterday when my alarm went off at 4:35am to get a sweat session in before work. I knew it would be raining once I got out of work yesterday, which always dampens (no pun intended) my motivation, so I went in the morning for 35 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes of free weights and calisthenics.

I’m also guilty of staying up later than usual to watch The Bachelor. Did you watch see it? It was Class-A girl drama at it’s finest.

Blakely sucks (we’re being honest, right?) and was the main cause of drama last night. She’s from NC but we won’t claim her.

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Kacie B. got the first date and is such a sweetheart. She’s got my vote for now.

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Last but certainly not least, Jenna. She’s from NYC and loooves attention.

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 She also loooves to cry. Yep, more crying.

I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t already watched it, so enough of that. Something about that show is so addicting and you can’t deny it. Is it the girl drama? Crying? Backstabbing? Lying? It’s always a great reminder that my life is pretty “normal” and drama-free, thank goodness.

Since I mentioned coffee earlier, I found this great infographic explaining the benefits of Coffee vs. Tea. I’m more of a learner by seeing and doing than hearing, so I thought I’d share!

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I’m normally a 1-cup-of-coffee-a-day-girl and I always brush my teeth afterwards as not to stain my teeth. At night, I sometimes have 1 cup of decaf tea or coffee when it’s cold outside. I just love feeling warmed up from the inside-out!

Are you a coffee or tea drinker?

Do you have any special way you drink coffee or tea?

Not Out of the Woods Yet

Hi Friends! Happy first day of autumn! Since I saw you last, I completed another PDR (personal distance record). 18 miles!

Being the planner that I am, I ran after work last Thursday because we were flying to Chicago that weekend for a wedding that we were both in. I knew I wouldn’t have time while I was there to run for 2.5+ hours.

I got started at about 5:00, 2 Cliff Razz gels in hand, and I was on my way.

Everything went surprisingly well considering my last long run after work of 15 miles went AWFUL. I took a gel 45 minutes into the run and again at one hour and 45 minutes. I felt like I had a ton of energy, no aches or pains, beautiful weather, and good tunes.

So then I start to notice I’m losing daylight…and I’m still about 4 miles from being out of the park I was running in. It wasn’t dark yet but with all the trees around it made it darker and harder to see far ahead on my path.

I’m passing fewer people as they head to their cars. I see the park lights start to come on. All I could think about was the last run like this I had when I was training for the half marathon back in March; scared out of my mind running as fast as I could to get out of that park.

I have a huge fear of woods at night. Lurking murders, wildebeests, you get my drift. So here I was, on mile 13, realizing it’s going to happen again. My heart beats faster just remembering it.

I was literally sprinting through the next 4 miles to get me out of there. Good thing I just had that gel. I was scared out of my mind when I saw a man walking towards me on the path with a sharp walking stick and was pretty sure he was going to murder me right there.

I was praying and thinking of that story about the woman, who when walking home alone in a city one night, saw 2 burly men who had unbeknownst to her just attacked another woman a few minutes earlier, and started praying. Then later after the men were caught and being interrogated by police, they were asked why they didn’t attack the other girl (the one praying) and they said there was a man with her. I was hoping that was the type of thing going on at that particular moment of my life.. (wishful thinking?)

So, obviously I am fine and nothing happened. He nodded and I kept running, looking over my shoulder every 5 seconds to make sure he wasn’t running after me. He wasn’t. I wanted to cry but I still wasn’t out of the woods yet. (Nice pun)

Of course it kept getting darker; I mean it still takes me about 33-35 minutes to run 4 miles so I really wasn’t comforted by the fact that I had escaped that one.

Next up, the wild.

I heard something moving really fast in the woods and it sounded big. I about shat my pants. I was pretty sure I was going to get my arm, or worse, my leg gnawed off. I never saw the creature, thankfully. But this is what I imagined it looked like.

Definitely something that wanders in central North Carolina, right?

When I had about half a mile left until I was out of the woods, I came up on this open grassy area and saw 3-4 LARGE deer? I don’t know what the heck they were. They weren’t colored like deer and they seemed much too big to be deer. I’m thinking moose-size. But I’m small so maybe my perception is skewed.

I was sure that they were going to charge after me and then I started thinking of that episode of Planet Earth when they are documenting the attack of a gazelle by wild dogs in Africa or someplace like that. I’m sure you’ve seen it, the dogs all run together in a pack after the gazelle but then they start breaking off one by one to take their positions so they can hunt and eat the gazelle.

I was the gazelle in this story.

I was imagining this exact scene unfolding on my suburban greenway trail in North Carolina. *sigh*

I made it back home safely and finishing in the complete dark around 7:30-7:45pm-ish. Not bad, but I had a little help from my hormones with several “fight or flight” circumstances. I would prefer to finish slower and without the drama, thanks.

Overall it really was a strong run, strong all the way through. Seriously, the best long run I’ve had. If I ran like that on race day I would be really proud of myself. I’ll chalk that up to a good night’s sleep the night before, proper eating and hydration all day before the run, my gels, and timing of the gels during the run.

This week’s running has gone fairly well, despite having to run Tuesday and Wednesday on the dreadmill because of rain. 6.5 miles on Tuesday and Wednesday and 5 on Thursday. This week is a step-down week so I only have 13 this weekend. Funny how I say only. I was training to run that distance not too long ago.

Sorry for the novel of a post.

Take Home Message: Now that the days are shorter, I’ll definitely save any more long runs for the weekends. I only have 2 PDR runs left in training (wow!), which I will be able to complete on my normal long-run-day of Saturday. YAY!

Do you have any fears you sometimes face when you run?