And.. I’m back!

3 months later I promise I’m still alive.

I strongly believe that if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t say anything. So that’s how it’s been lately.

Sure, things have been happening and I’ve been running (infrequently but we’ll get to that…) but I really didn’t feel the need to update you on my daily life, seeing how this is a running blog.

About that infrequent running.

After the NYC Half Marathon I felt like I needed a break. Mentally and physically I needed a break from running. The physical therapy and the “training” leading up to the half was exhausting and stressful. That’s not why I run. I run to be free, happy, and healthy.

Although I made a huge PR even coming off an injury I definitely needed some time off. So I took it.

I ran a totally of 5 TIMES in April. May was a little closer to 10 but definitely not the standard I’d made for myself over the past 18 months.

I had some good and bad runs, but I was still running and that’s all that mattered.

I needed the time off to prevent burnout from my upcoming marathon training, to get my head in the right place, to figure out some goals, and to enjoy a social life again.

Thankfully I can say it was just what the doctor ordered, because now I feel like I’m supposed to be where I am at.

Last year during marathon training there was a stint of time where I traveled about 8 out of 10 weekends in a row between weddings, celebrations, and beach trips. This summer was much like that but instead of falling during marathon training it fell before hand. I am SO thankful for that. I feel like I can 100% focus on training this bout and not feel guilty about cheating myself.

So what have I been up to?

In April I celebrated my 25th birthday at the beach in Hilton Head with family.

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In May I organized a beach camping trip with a group of our friends.

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Then Brandon and I went on a cruise leaving out of Puerto Rico and sailing the southern Caribbean to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.

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In June we visited my little brother in D.C. who is interning with a major company for the summer.

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I also realized I was less than a month away from marathon training so began to up my mileage. Imagine my surprise when I was still pulling out runs in the 8:xx min/mile.

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Then we celebrated a friend’s birthday in Charleston, SC..

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And I wrapped up my travels with my best friend’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas last weekend!

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(view from our hotel at The Cosmopolitan)

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(early at Marquee)

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(Bride and Matron of Honor)

During these exciting few months I’ve been thinking of my goals for the Marine Corps Marathon and what kind of training plan I’d like to follow.

Since running my last marathon I was surprised at my speed when I began training for the NYC Half Marathon, so I’d like to incorporate speed work in my plan this time around.

It seems as though I could be prone to injury, so I’m looking for quality than quantity out of my next training plan.

Going along those same lines, I want to practice yoga at least once a week to help prevent injury.

Today I sat down and vowed to not get up until I had made my plan. I did just that and am excited for the next 18 weeks leading up to my second marathon!

I’m glad I got fueling mostly under my belt during training last summer, but I definitely need some tweaking in order to feel 100% confortable on race day.

Here’s to another training cycle to 26.2!

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Happy New Year!

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4 days later but still deserves a greeting as the first post of 2012!

Hope you had a great holiday and got to spends lots of time with family and friends. B and I went back to Indiana for Christmas and the following week! It was a great vacation and the first time we had been home since last Christmas.

We’d seen our families since then, just hadn’t been home. So many weddings and things going on the past year we used all our vacation for!

So here it is 2012.

We rang in the New Year in Charlotte!

Great night to end a great year. 2011 was good to us!

Moving onto 2012 fairly quickly.. New Years Resolutions. Ugh. I hate new years resolutions because why do you need a new year to do something different? Just do it.

That being said, I love goals and any excuse to make new ones (I.E. running my first half and full marathons in the same year). I think of new year resolutions more like goals for the next year.

I’m also a firm believer in once you set a goal, you should write it down and share it with others to hold you accountable and to have something to look back on.

Beth’s 2012 Goals

Career
Hopefully start some consulting on the side of my full-time job. Many leads, just have to actually DO IT!

Professional Development
Earn a certification either dietetics or fitness related. I’ve been looking into several certifications that interest me and have yet to decide which one to plunge into!

Spiritually
Finally go to mass at a church we’ve heard great things about.

Experiment in the Kitchen
I normally end up eating several meatless meals each week but I want to incorporate more complete vegetarian meals into my diet. I am in no way trying to become vegetarian, but I do recognize that eating a diet high in plants, whole grains, nuts, etc. does lead to a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease (both of which run in my family). I rarely eat red meat as it is and I definitely do not consider meat to be a must-have at the dinner table.
I’d like to experiment with tofu and quinoa, etc. I work at a place that makes it super easy to eat vegetarian, but I want to be able to cook that way too. Big difference!

Yoga
At least once a week either at home or at the gym.

Running
Add a few more medals to my medal hanger (Christmas present from my parents –love!) Keeping this one conservative since I’m not sure how far my hip will let me push. 

Creativity
Possibly print off some of the 23087084752+ pictures I’ve taken since getting married and DO something with them!

So there you have it. Nothing too ambitious but still something to work on.

Do you have any 2012 Goals?

Shout out to all the January Joiners out there! (January Joiners are the people that join the gym in January to fulfill new years resolutions.) Don’t let the veterans make you feel inferior, we’re all there for the same reason – to be healthy!

Veterans, you were once new to a gym too, so don’t be a diva/divo when you have to wait a little longer for your equipment – plan ahead!

Hope you all had a great hump day! Smile

1 Week Post-Marathon and Goals

It’s been one week since I ran my first marathon.

How did it go?

Well.. a lot better than I thought, actually.

This is me and I’m excited!!

The drive home to Greensboro from Savannah on Sunday went pretty well. Since I was a passenger, I had plenty of time to massage my quads/hamstrings for the 6+ hour drive home. Thank goodness for that.

You may have seen me putting on my compression socks after the marathon..

I will swear by these as long as I run. They work.

I debated for 8 months whether or not to buy these and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. They’re amazing, and I had NO calf/shin/ankle/foot soreness after wearing these. See a scientific review here and my thoughts on these earlier in the year here. I wore the socks from 30 minutes post race – 36 hours after.

Monday
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness set in. It was the most painful day of recovery, ever. Hands down. I walked funny, I avoided stairs, I did not bend down to pick anything up. I seeked handicap ramps into buildings on campus to avoid stairs. When I had to attempt stairs, I ended up breaking into a sweat and on the verge of tears. I think I got some pretty weird glances at work, but whatever. I ran my heart out, I’m not sorry.

I should mention that Brandon ended up with a stress fracture in his foot and came home from Savannah with a boot. This meant I would be taking the dog out, every time, up and down 36 steps. Thank goodness my mother-in-law was here Monday and Tuesday to help me with this painful task. When I did take the pup out, I took the stairs backwards. You may look crazy or like you’re 85, but it sure beats crying as you walk down a flight of stairs.

I came home from work that day and immediately foam rolled for 30+ minutes. Another invention that has boosted my quality of life during training.

Tuesday
More relief.  I could take the stairs up, but coming down was still quite a task. I massaged my quads, foam rolled when I got home from work, but overall it was a great improvement from Monday.

Wednesday
Feeling more confident with stairs. Up was no problem and down was progressing towards normal.

After work, my friend Tyna met me at campus for a run. This was the first day of running for me since the marathon and is really the first advised day of running, per Hal Higdon.

We went for an easy, slow 3 mile run. My pace was near 11 minutes/mile. Holy Moley.  All that damage to my muscles was showing. It felt good to get back out there though.

I had some left hamstring pain during the run and some right foot pain..

I stretched out the pain of my hamstring and kept going, but eventually I became concerned about my foot pain and called it quits at 3 miles. I was fine with that and came home to rest and ice it.

Thursday
Foot pain still present, hips feeling a little out of line or something..

Friday
Same story as Thursday.

Saturday
Tired of not getting any physical activity other than walking at work, I went to the gym for Spin class. It was non-impact so I didn’t have to worry about my hips or foot, I could still get a good cardio workout in, and felt semi-normal for having some kind of exercise on a Saturday morning.

I can tell I will miss my long runs if I can’t get back into them soon.

Other than that, recovery has been going well.

I’ve been adapting my eating to mimic how much exercise I’m doing. That has actually been easier than I thought it would be.

During training I was eating A. LOT. I was burning a lot of calories and therefore, had to eat more to fuel.

Now that I’m not running 25-30+ miles per week, I my appetite has markedly decreased. I’m not craving simple sugars (desserts) as much as I was (for calories) and I am relatively at a good place with calorie balance.

GOALS
I am SO EXCITED to not have a plan, for once this year.

Let me remind you that 2011 started off with training for my first half marathon in April.

Training starting in late January-April.

2 months off from training, had me preparing for marathon training.

July 5, 2011 Marathon Training Began.

I have not been training for a race for a grand total of 3 out of 11 months of 2011.

I’ve made great gains this year. I’ve developed as a person. I have more self-confidence than I ever have.

To finish out 2011, I have a goal to complete at least one more race. For fun though, not to set a new PR (personal record). It could be a 5k, 10k, half marathon, whatever. I just want to do one more before 2011 wraps up.

My goal for winter is to incorporate more yoga into my weekly exercise routine. I need the flexibility and I loved it when I did it for a few weeks back in May. I felt so strong, so centered.

I just want to do what I feel like doing, in the form of exercise. If I want to do elliptical for 45 minutes, I’ll do it. If I want to take a Spin or Body Pump class, I’ll do it.

I love the holidays and I’ll still run, but I’ll do it because I love it, not as part of a plan.

I’m looking ahead to 2012 and looking at which races I’ll be participating in. A few I have in mind are: Cooper Bridge Run,  Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville, The Flying Pig, The Indianapolis Mini Marathon, The Chicago Marathon and maybe the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon.

No matter what happens, I know I’ll be running.

Here’s to finishing goals, coming out stronger, and setting new goals to look forward to!!

One Foot in Front of the Other

As the days are flying by to Saturday I’m REALLY getting excited for it to get here!

I started my packing pile this weekend and will finish completely packing tonight! We’re leaving right after work tomorrow and I don’t want to be rushed and accidentally forget something.

I know I haven’t actually run the race yet, but I’m so excited for the challenge ahead of me. Training in itself was a challenge and I got through that, so I’m excited to see what the new challenge I face will be like.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions: Why do you get so excited to run? Why do you run so far? Don’t you get bored? You’re might get hurt.

The way I see it, there are parts of life as an adult (generally speaking) you just don’t get to experience all the time.

Sometimes there’s not much excitement. I’m all about having a routine but sometimes it just gets mundane.

Sometimes there are no surprises, no good ones at least. “Oh the car needs fixed again..”

Sometimes you’re so stuck in a rut you forget what you’re capable of doing. “I have these responsibilities and I have no time for anything else.”

Some people combat this by finding a new job, traveling to new places, learning a new hobby, adopting a puppy, having a baby..but for now, I run.

Nerd alert: In college, I kind of liked exams because it was a challenge to me. I studied and went to class, did homework and then took a test to see what I knew. It’s probably bad but, it was almost as if I was seeing “how good I was” at that topic.

In running, I now like races to “see what I know.” I do core exercises, focus on fueling, read articles on various running topics, follow my running schedule, then race and see how well I do. I know there’s only a certain amount I can keep improving, but as long as I’m doing something I’m content. That’s enough to keep me confident, keep me excited, and always shooting for a goal. If I’m doing nothing, I’m definitely not improving so that’s not going to help anything.

Sometimes I know I set my goals pretty high. What’s that cheesy line? “Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll land upon the stars.” Yeah.. that’s my relationship with running. Don’t get me wrong, I’m zealous but not over-zealous. I don’t want to end up on the injured list. I think that would be pretty horrible. But that’s another post..

Anyway, here’s to setting goals and achieving them.

Here’s to putting your mind to something you thought you would never do.

Here’s to starting AND finishing.

Here’s to believing you can do it. Don’t mind anyone else.

Here’s to you.