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

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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?

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?