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.

runforboston_298 Boston-Marathon-2013

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Another Kind of Workout

Monday morning I woke up for a great 5.4 mi run. It was a beautiful spring morning and all was right in the world.

5.4miles

I even managed to pace myself pretty well throughout.

Moving on to Tuesday, I had a Living Social deal about to expire for a wine tasting for two, 2 wine glasses, 2 souvenir t-shirts, and $15 towards a wine purchase.

I knew Brandon and I wouldn’t make it before this weekend so I invited my friend, Tyna to join me.


(photos courtesy of Tyna)

We arrived about 30 minutes prior to closing, so we were the only customers there and got to taste a lot of wine! Not just any wine, but really good wine! You never know what you’re getting with those coupon deals, but I’m more delightfully surprised than not, yesterday was one of those days.

After Chardonnay, Riesling, “First In Flight,” “Carolina Blush,” Cabernet, 2 other reds, and a dessert port wine, I purchased 2 of my favorites and we ventured out to enjoy the patio area they had set up.

After-work pictures are always so flattering.

What a great spontaneous way to spend a Tuesday evening!

Let me preface this next part with, over the past 3 weeks, we’ve been letting Owen, our 1.5 year old dog, spend his days relaxing on our bed and staring out the window instead of chilling in his kennel. All has gone well up to this point.

I walked in the door last night however, and all I could say was, “Oh. My. Gosh.”

photo (2)

He helped himself to some leisurely reading while we were at work (thankfully Brandon already read those books and we both have Kindle’s now!) and dug into an empty shoe box.

Today he’s in his kennel.

After dinner last night (the main reason for this post) I subbed for a teammate on Brandon’s kickball team!

Unfortunately, I was unable to document this with pictures because I was too busy running to kick the ball before it reached home plate (re-do), playing third base and outfield, and never actually making it on base. I WAS the most valuable “runs batted in” player though.

Gotta focus on the positive, right?

We ended up winning (I don’t remember the score) but I wish I could play on the team as a regular instead of just that once. It’s a coed team and the other players were really nice! I hope it’s something Brandon and I continue to do even after this league is over.

So that’s my random mid-week update. Hopefully getting to Body Pump tonight for some weights!

Happy Hump Day!

Do you have any funny animal stories when you come home and see what they’ve been up to all day?

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

Physical Therapy Day1

How’s your week going?

As I mentioned on Tuesday, yesterday was my first physical therapy appointment. I’ve been excited since I made the appointment last week and I wasn’t disappointed.

I was evaluated and treated by Justin, my physical therapist. He seemed very knowledgeable and I feel confident in his treatment plan.

We first talked about my history with how I got the injury (or how I think I got it since I honestly have no idea). I went into a lot of detail about my training for the marathon, when and why I switched my shoes (from a supportive shoe to a neutral shoe), how I didn’t feel any major pain other than what I guessed was “normal marathon pain” after running for 4+ hours at a 9:30 mile pace during the marathon. We talked about what the pain has been like since the marathon, when it flares up, what kind of activity am I doing when it flares up, and how I’ve been coping.

Whew.

To start, he had me run on the treadmill for about 5 minutes while he recorded my feet up-close from behind, my entire body from behind, and my entire body from the side. This helped him see how/where I was landing on my feet, how my hips were landing, their positioning during my strides, and also a general sense of how my running efficiency was.

A+ on the running efficiency; could’ve told you that. 😉 Being an efficient runner means you’re not flailing your arms expending extra energy or bobbing up and down too high. This helps you conserve energy and oxygen for more efficient delivery of oxygen to your muscles and less wasted energy on your arms or too much up and down movement vs. propelling yourself forward. When you look at elite runners (I’m by no means claiming that I’m elite..), they don’t have that up and down bounce that some novice runners may have. Here’s what it looks like:

Efficient runner: Arms tight to the body, propelling forward, head in a pretty even straight line.

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Non-Efficient Runner (brought to you by Beth’s artistic talent and Microsoft Paint): Uses energy to move up instead of forward, creating a bounce-like run.

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If you’ve never seen this episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel run in Central Park, it’s the epitome of non-efficient running. Although I hope none of you actually run like that. Haha

Back to the PT appointment.

The PT noticed my left foot rolls inward a little bit during my landing; something my neutral shoe is not helping with in terms of support. Before I switched shoes I was wearing Brooks Adrenalines but those, he said, are a little too much support than what I need. He instead suggested a mid-line support shoe like Brooks Ravenna (my favorite brand’s version of this line of support). He even wrote me a cute little “prescription” for new shoes to take to my running store. Discount, perhaps?

He also noticed my right hip drops when I land on my left foot. He said this could definitely indicate a sign of hip weakness. With that, he gave me three different exercises to do at home in between my appointments to help strengthen my hips.

I asked him if my left hip was trying to overcompensate for my right hip weakness, even though both hips are weak, and he said it was a definite possibility. So, more exercising for me!

Wanna hear the best news? (Besides an excuse to get new running shoes..)

He said I could run! Since my 2 mile runs didn’t really bother me last week in terms of pain, he said I might as well continue to run. I told him about the NYC Half Marathon and he said it seems pretty do-able.

He wants me to start running just for time instead of distance for now. 10 minutes the first couple of runs, then we can increase it. As long as I don’t run back-to-back days, I can run as many times a week that I want. He also said that since I’d tried not running on it or doing anything for the month of December, it’s probably better that I run on it anyway since we know resting didn’t help it. He also confirmed that running will act as more of a strengthening exercise. Music to my ears!

I’m hoping I’ll get to the running store and try on a pair of new running shoes this week or early next week. It feels too soon to get new shoes since I just got the Brooks Ghost 4’s in October and barely put any miles on them, but if it’ll help me run pain-free, I’ll do anything. (Buyers Note: My PT said Brooks is an excellent running shoe; just be sure to get fitted at your local running store or by a PT to know what kind of support/non-support shoe is best for your running style.)

I go back to PT next Wednesday and every week after that until the end of February. Let’s see what we can do!

Have you ever had physical therapy? Did it help your injury/rehabilitation?

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

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!!

Almost Half Way There!

Recap of last week’s long run: I ran 14 miles before work on Wednesday with only 4 hours of sleep. I tried Gu Mint Chocolate and it was much more tasty than the Strawberry Banana flavor, FYI. Got 7 miles into the run and it was as if the heavens opened up and there sat Chick-Fil-A. Perfect stop for a bathroom break and water to slurp down my Gu. 7 miles later and I’m back at home, surprisingly doing and feeling pretty chipper. Then off to work I went!

This week, week 8: So.. I’ve decided that 18 weeks is a long time to train for a marathon, or anything for that matter.

Coming off a weekend of traveling and staying up way past my bedtime..I’m going to admit that I have yet to run this week.

Honestly, I just haven’t felt like lacing up my running shoes.

I’m really thrown for a loop here but I know that with still 10 weeks until the marathon, I’ll be ok.

I’m hoping to get a mid to long run in tomorrow (7-15 miles) since I’ll be traveling again this weekend, and the next. Next weekend’s long run is supposed to be only 13 miles, so if worse comes to worse I’ll just flip weeks.

I hate how much I have to alter the training plan, but I gotta do what works for me and my schedule too. It is summer after all and I want to enjoy what’s left of it!

                Straight from Las Vegas, the Bellagio Hotel Fountains!

Moral of the story: Just because I love to run, doesn’t mean I don’t have days that I don’t want to run. We all know we feel better mentally and physically after a run, though sometimes it’s the last thing we want to do.

Believe in the Run

Nature Attacks

My first run in double digits since April! I was supposed to run 6 miles this week and 11 miles next week, but I’ll be out-of-town and won’t have time for 11, so I’m flipping this week and next week’s long runs.

B had to work yesterday (and today) so I got up with him at 5am, ate some breakfast (2 waffles with natural peanut butter), let it digest, planned my route, and by then the sun was just about up. Off I went!

The first 2 miles were actually kind of brutal. Getting used to the humidity (it was still 77F and 82% humidity at 6:00am) and getting my legs warmed up. I run in the afternoons for a reason! Once I got past 2 miles though, I was smooth sailin’.

Mile 1: 9’08”/mi
Mile 2: 9’23”/mi
Mile 3: 9’05”/mi

I didn’t run in the park since it was so early, instead I ran on the city sidewalks toward Guilford College. I was thinking it would be a longer distance than it really was but it was only 3.5 miles to the college, so I ended up going a lot further than I thought I would have to. No big deal though, still safe and had sidewalks.

Once I got to the college I was pretty thirsty. I ran around the campus looking for outdoor water fountains and found none. Drag. I brought money with me in case I needed to stop at any convenience stores along the way, but I decided to wait.

I finally got to my turn-around point (passing several streets that would have taken me home much faster) and got attacked by a cicada. I saw it just as I was about to step over it and that’s when it decided to fly up and greet me. On my face, on my shoulder, and in my hair. Luckily there was a biker less than 100 yards away who got to witness my freak-out. Awesome.

On the way back home I realized if I kept going I was going to have to run for another mile once I actually got there. No thanks. I decided to run around the college campus again until I was closer to 5.5 miles.

I brought along some Orange Clif Block Shots and wanted to try them out again. I used them during my half marathon but they gave me major GI issues. I only ate one during this run and am glad I did. I could feel my stomach getting unhappy and decided not to eat anymore. I will be visiting Off ‘N Running this week or next to find another fuel source to experiment with before 12 miles in 2 weeks.

Mile 4: 9’12”
Mile 5: 9’13”

Nature must love me. As I was approaching a trashcan on campus, something was inside and started thrashing around when I got closer, jumped out right beside me as I squealed, and ran in the opposite direction. It was a squirrel. I think if I don’t have a heart attack from running, nature will give me one.

That was about enough adventure as I could stand and I still found no bubblers (water fountains).  I headed back for an uneventful but hot run home. I was actually getting pretty used to the heat at this point and didn’t find it too hot. Surprising.

Mile 6: 9’12”
Mile 7: 8’54”
Mile 8: 8’58”
Mile 9: 8’50”
Mile 10: 8’50”
Mile 11: 8’43”

I knew I was going to need some water or sports drink when I got home. We didn’t have any sports drinks and my bananas were too ripe to eat. I decided to finish my run at the gas station by our apartment and get some Powerade and a banana. I got there and they had no bananas, so I just got two 32oz Powerades. It totally hit the spot and I walked the 0.5 mile home pretty pleased that I was finished running and it wasn’t even 8am!

I attempted an ice bath after the run, but without the ice. I had the tub start filling up with cold water and I got in before it was full so the shock wouldn’t be so bad. It wasn’t that bad and actually, I don’t think it was cold enough. I’ll have to add a bowl of ice next time. It was great to cool me down though! After a shower I foam rolled for 20 minutes and started chores.

I can say that I’m not near as sore as I thought I would be for the day after. I did get a lot of rest yesterday though. I probably slept for 2-3 hours that afternoon and still went to bed at 10:30pm. That could have had to do with only 6.5 hours of sleep the night before, too. I ate well the rest of the day and made sure I had the calories, so I’ve got to figure out a way to help with the fatigue. I know it’s part of it, but I can’t imagine how it will be after a 20 mile run, much less after the marathon!

I’m a lot better today though and am heading to the gym for cross-training day as soon as laundry finishes up! I made some Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins this morning, and am excited for B to get home and try them out!

My {Life} Running Soundtrack

As most of you prepare for your long run this weekend, I thought I’d share my current music playlist I am running to these days..

I love the beat and energy from songs you’d normally hear while out dancing or on the radio. Country and rock just don’t work for me. Gotta have a fast tempo for feet to match!

A lot of these songs were popular when I was still in college, so I’ve kept them around because I love them.

P.S. I don’t like “explicit” versions of the songs I listen to, so the only one you’ll see is #1.

Here are a few of my favorites right now (play no attention to the actual videos) :

Whip My Hair– Willow Smith

Cheers – Rhianna

I’m the Best – Nicki Minaj

Wait –Chris Brown

I Can Transform Ya – Chris Brown (all-time favorite running song!)

Body Language – Jesse McCartney, T-Pain

Whatcha Say – Jason Derulo

Drop It Low – Easter Dean ft. Chris Brown (this video is ridiculous, ha)

My runs aren’t complete without hearing each of these at least once!

Feel free to share any good running/workout songs with me, too. I’m always looking for variety!

Find Your Passion

Another week of training here and gone. 

 

 

We had unusually cooler weather here in NC this past week so I took advantage of it and ran outside 3 of my 4 running days this week. Not looking forward to the nineties returning this week.

I got to take Owen on my 3 mile run Thursday, which he loved! He still had lots of energy afterwards; I thought he’d be pooped!

Yesterday was a 9 miler. Mother Nature let me sleep in and since it was cool, I didn’t get out there until 11am. I was actually a little chilly as I began the run – quite refreshing! I ended up running from Military Park on the Greenway to Country Park, around the lake and woods, back to Military Park for 2 big loops there and finishing out strong right back at my car. Couldn’t have planned it better. I got to enjoy the smells of families cooking out at Country Park for birthdays and gatherings and could practically taste the burgers as they cooked. Yum!

As I was running yesterday, I couldn’t help but congratulate my body on how far we have come in the past 7 months. While I’ve always loved running, I never imagined myself training for a marathon. Now, with a half behind me and this training going so well *so far* I can see myself running, finishing, and being proud of being a marathoner. It’s hard, too, to imagine just this February I began the half training and now I’m only a few miles shy of running a half marathon every weekend. That will be coming in the next few weeks!

My body amazes me at how fast it can adapt to the training, how fast it can gain strength, and how fast it can recover in just the 2- 2.5 months I had “off” between the half marathon and the marathon training. Every week I have the opportunity to push it a little farther, and it always responds back with, “is that all you got?” The 9 miles yesterday seemed stronger than the 8 miles last week. I wonder how far I could have truly gone had I not stuck to the training plan and just kept going.

That’s another part of training. No matter how much you want to run farther than the set mileage that day – it’s not a good idea. The training plan was developed this way for a reason, so stick to it. Why mess with success? You’re putting your body at risk for premature injury and fatigue. Patience.

Anyway, this “my body amazes me” attitude started back in college when I began to run. Since then I’ve gained the attitude and confidence that I have today about body image. I know I’m petite, but I’m not a stick, and I am perfectly, 110% okay with that. My legs power me up hills, my abs keep me injury-free by having correct form, my hips stabilize me and also prevent injury so long as they are given proper attention. I love to feel my feet strike the ground and power me forward. I love to know my heart is getting stronger with every hill. I love that my body is getting more efficient at using oxygen. I just love running.

It’s not just the running that I love; it’s the nutrition knowledge to nourish my body in between runs that I love, too. Since I know what these nutrients do biochemically in my body and how that correlates with exercise, I love making different meals to get all my nutrients in for the day. I love to see how my body responds to pre and post run meals/snacks. I love reading about it and I’ve even busted out my undergraduate metabolism and exercise physiology textbooks. Did I mention I am also a nerd?

This is how I can get so much satisfaction out of my job, too. I have the amazing opportunity to work with college athletes and students to help them figure all this out. To work with all students to begin lifelong habits (or at least gain the knowledge) as undergraduates is nothing short of amazing. I can’t tell you the amount of gratitude I’ve seen working with this population.

I feel as if I’ve completed my circle. Personally and professionally they intertwine and I am fortunate to get to do something that I love. Running has provided so much clarity for me this year and I’m so excited to see what the next 16 weeks of training has to offer. I’m excited to see what else I can learn about my body and how I can put it #1. Nourishment, recovery, and rest are just as much part of training as the actual running itself. I love all aspects of it. I’ve found my niche, my hobby, my release from everyday life.

I realize I may not always be able to run. Due to injuries, schedules, or one day, old age. You can bet I won’t give up though. It’s not in me. It’s not who I am. I’ll run for as long as I can.

If you aren’t as passionate about running as I am, that’s perfectly fine. Just find something you are passionate about. A life is a terrible thing to waste.