a series of unfortunate (running) events

Where to start.

My weekly long(est) run started out on Saturday morning at 6:30 am. I was up early because I was good and went to bed at a decent time. I opened up the weekly Marathon Training Team email and realized that we were supposed to run that same day at that exact time instead of Sunday like normal.

Crap.

Now, Al and I will have to run on Sunday by ourselves without the distraction of friends and the downtown Richmond architecture.

Hurricane Isaac (or Tropical Storm by that time?) was supposed to dump a ton of rain all weekend so I made sure I had my hat on to keep the water out of my face. I was excited about a potential downpour. Somehow it always feels childlike and silly to be running in the rain, so to me it’s fun. 🙂

We started off running and instantly realized that the humidity was awful, like I’m breathing through a straw awful. I could’t wait for that rain to come… but it never did.

I was holding my water bottle in one hand and didn’t want to occupy my other with my hat so I kept it on my head. Wearing a hat when it’s not raining makes me feel overheated. I was sweating to death but kept on.

In hopes of not getting bored, we went on a new-to-us route. Between miles 2 and 3 the humidity made me feel like I could barely lift my feet. With lead in my legs, a new sidewalk, and a cloudy morning, I tripped and fell to the ground. I laid there for a second from the shock. While getting up and brushing grass and dirt from my multiple wounds I said to Al, “I have to keep running!” and I did. I’m pretty proud of that because the other two times I’ve fallen during this training, I just stopped and walked home.

It’s embarrassing and a little traumatizing when you fall, I wouldn’t recommend it.

This fall was the worst which makes my fight to keep going even better. My right hand and my poor Garmin were pretty scraped. So was my left thigh and knee.

I have to mention that I was wearing my watch backwards on the inside of my wrist because when it rains I feel like it gets less wet. Who knows if that’s true but if I had known it wasn’t going to rain at all, my Garmin would have been worn like normal and not scuffed. Bah, Humbug!

At around mile 4 some guy driving on the other side of the road honked at us, yelled something, and then flicked us off. How pleasant. At that point I was very glad that Al decided to run at my pace with me even though it’s very slow to him. He was silent most of the time because he wasn’t feeling the run at all but it was nice to have a buddy!

After a hour and 45 minutes we were done.

I felt amazing… and then I noticed all the scrapes. I had planned on walking the dogs with Al but tended to my wounds instead.

I really didn’t mind the cuts but what I did mind was the tiny scrape on my Garmin. That thing is expensive and pretty! Oh well, that’s what it is, just a ‘thing’ right?

Oh and I don’t have my one sleeve rolled up in the photo above because I think I’m a badass, I have it rolled up because I had/have a nice strip of Poison Ivy on my upper arm. I had to use 5 bandaids to cover it up to prevent chaffing or the urge to itch my arm off during the run. Good times.

Let’s just say with the new injuries, the Poison Ivy rash, and the multiple bruises and scrapes from work this week, I look like a hot mess but I couldn’t be more proud. I love my job helping animals, am proud of taking care of my own dogs properly (I got the Poison Ivy while walking them), and even that series of unfortunate events, we still got in a good run.

Have you ever fallen during a run? Please tell me you have.

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patrick henry half marathon

I ran 13.1 miles this past Saturday. No biggie. (!!!)

Al and I are officially halfway through our marathon training. We both ran the Patrick Henry Half Marathon successfully without any emergency pit stops, injuries, or giant blisters. It was awesome.

My morning started out at 2:20 am with major stomach issues. I’m not one to have physical problems when I’m nervous so it must’ve been the bag of Baked Lays I ate for dinner (mistake #1). I took a shot of Pepto and attempted to fall back asleep.

When the alarm went of at 4:15 I was still in trouble. In between another shot of Pepto and some Imodium I told Al that I didn’t think I’d be able to race. I couldn’t stand let alone run at that point!

An hour later I felt a bit better and focused on getting out the door. I went to put on my shoes and I realized my favorite running socks as well as one of my running sleeves were gone. I knew it was Olivia so I ran upstairs to the living room where she usually takes her victims and found only my running sleeve. She doesn’t play with toys but what she does do is relocate socks and bras to different parts of the house. It’s not a big deal and is usually pretty cute because she doesn’t destroy the items but at this point I was making us late! I ran to every room of the house and the backyard but couldn’t find the socks so I had to settle for a different pair.

Superstition and lucky clothing is a big part of sports or at least it was to me growing up so losing my socks kinda stunk. Not too big of a deal but just another bump in the road.

We finally made it to the race location and went to get our bibs.

Our names weren’t on the list.

The lady at check-in asked us if we had a receipt or our bank statement. Of course not lady! We weren’t registered and they only took cash or check so we walked back to our car which was thankfully parked somewhat close at a friend’s house. She told us where the banks were and we headed out to get cash.

Back at the registration tent with our shirts and bibs, I dropped off our bag and we headed to the porta potties. I had to pee terribly, my stomach still wasn’t settled, and the line was a mile long but we had to at least attempt to relieve ourselves.

Twenty minutes later we were at the starting line where I found my friends. We were off!

The first 4 or 5 miles were tough. I was worried about emergency bathroom breaks and my legs felt soooo heavy. The Thursday before, I ran a 3 mile hills workout not knowing that I was supposed to run a regular 3 miles so my legs were tired (mistake #2).

In the beginning I tried to not stop running at the water stops (mistake #3) but I seriously can’t drink and run at the same time. I usually choke or don’t get enough fluids in when I run so I decided to stop and walk quickly as I chugged. I think this also helped my tired legs loosen up.

As my legs warmed up and the miles passed, the skies opened and dumped tons of ran. I was so grateful. I almost got too chilly at one point but that sure beats sweating to death in the southern sun!

I’d been warned about mile 11 with the big hill. I told my running buddy, Tamra that I’d probably be speeding up at that mile to get up and over the hill and finish strong. She encouraged me and was so positive! She has run the race two times before and has already finished two marathons! A great inspiration.

At the hill we ran into one of our coaches who started telling a dirty joke to help distract us on the incline. It was the perfect motivation to help me speed up and get away! A dirty joke when I’m tired and focused? No gracias.

My knees had been aching since mile 3 but those last two miles were much worse. Cardio-wise I could have easily sped up to get a better time but my knees were killing me. I could feel that if I ran any faster I’d have a calf, knee, or hip injury on my hands so I stayed steady.

As I ran down the home stretch I could see the finish line and hear the cheers. A couple girls that I had passed earlier whizzed by me. I thought to myself, I could totally speed up and pass them! But no, this is a training run. I’ve got plenty of time to run more half marathons after the Richmond Marathon is over in November.

I crossed the finish line and kept walking. My bottom half ached horribly as I grabbed my metal and smiled at the volunteers.

YES!!

My official time was 02:18:04 which is about a 10:32 pace. I wanted a 10:30 average so I got pretty close. I was at the back of the pack overall which is okay by me. This was a very fast group of runners! But even with a pretty rocky start, I finished easily and could have gone a couple more miles. A perfect pace for a marathon training run.

After this run, I’ve learned that you’ve got to prepare as best you can but things will most likely go wrong at some point. Just go with it and conquer.

The more races I run, the more I learn. By November I’ll have it all down pat.

Have you run any races recently?

agility with the girls

If I could spend most of my days learning something new, I’d be so very happy.  It’s such a great feeling to overcome that first bump in the road, the point at which you start to improve.

A couple of people at work have taken their dogs to classes at the Richmond SPCA.  I decided to copy them for a couple of reasons: the combination of learning something new not just by myself but with Al and the dogs and also being able to support a non-profit, no-kill shelter.  A win for us, a win for the animals at the shelter!

Yesterday, we had our second agility class (of seven).  We never really had that first bump in the learning curve.  I think it was only getting over my fear of failure!  I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to handle the girls and that they’d be crazy but so far so good!

The girls will do anything for treats which helps a ton.  Olivia rarely sits still on a leash but she will (somewhat) for some food!

Look how thrilled Al is to be at the class.  He sure does love his treat holder/fanny pack.  Haha.

I promise the man does love the class, especially since Roary is one of the best there!  #truth

The girls have already successfully done about five obstacles and it’s only the second class which I find amazing.  It’s so fun to watch them understand want we want and execute it.  It also gives Al and I a bit more confidence in our handling abilities which is just what I wanted.

Look at Roary go!  The girl loves herself some cheese balls.

There is a fee for the classes but I think it’s so worth it.  It’s nice to know we can support the shelter while spending good, quality time together.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Have you taken your dogs to classes?

the mental side of training

Al and I have successfully completed one whole month of marathon training!!

I think I already knew this but the mental side of the training is by far the hardest part. I made it through two tough mental challenges this week.

I have a big fear of getting injured – of not being able to even start the race let alone finish it.

I’ve been recording my workouts and thoughts about each one in my training manual. After just four weeks I’ve figured out what I need to do to stay healthy and uninjured: SLEEP, eat, hydrate, stretch, foam roll, do yoga, and cross train. It’s a long list, but I’m trying to keep up with it.

This week life got in the way a couple times. There were multiple days of getting off of work after 7 which forced me to skip the yoga classes that I know help me with my IT bands and hips. I also had to work Saturday which is normally my cross training day.

Training and injury prevention is about structure but I’m also realizing that it’s about flexibility. Because I was unable to make it to yoga, I was too sore to run on Thursday so I ran on Friday instead. I doubled up on my workouts and moved my Saturday cross training to Friday as well since I had to work.

I ran nice and slow on the dreadmill treadmill and then I swam a good 1500 meters that really helped loosen up those tight running muscles.

I loooove a good plan but this week showed me that I can adapt when obstacles get in the way. Next week if I can’t make it to yoga again, I’m going to roll out my mat and do a session at home. I have plenty of classes to choose from in my iTunes library. No excuses!

I’ve got a fear of the distance itself.

26.2 miles is flippin’ far! Enough said.

Yesterday, we didn’t even run close to that but the mental challenge was ridiculous.

A couple of factors added to the fear. It was already hot and humid at 7 am when we started running and, well, I didn’t want to die in it. I was afraid of getting lost because the big running pack spreads out and I often end up running without many people in sight. Lastly, it was 7 miles and I hadn’t run that since March when the weather and course were totally different.

I started off super tired and feeling sorry for myself. My legs felt like lead. Everybody was passing me! I kept looking at my watch. I was running a 10:00 minute mile. I thought, Well either my watch isn’t working (because I planned on running ‘easy’ and was expecting a 11:30 pace to fight the challenge) or these people are going to pass out at the end!

By mile three I was still feeling pathetic and people were still passing me. I reminded myself that there was a water station at the halfway point so I’d be able to stop for a second and mentally regroup.

The 30 second break was just what I needed. I saw some of the people standing around that had passed me miles before. Their fast starts were getting to them. And the Powerade I drank was the best thing EVER! All I needed were some electrolytes and a confidence boost. I started running again and felt 100 times better.

The rest of the course was mostly in the shade which was nice. I stopped again at the second water station and kept on. I passed a couple more fast-starters while keeping my 10:00 minute pace. I couldn’t believe I was keeping that pace in the heat and for that distance! I thought, Maybe this training is working! Maybe I can actually stick to this pace at the marathon!

I was so shocked because our coaches have told us that our pace will start to slow when the distance increases. Obviously 7 miles isn’t far compared to what we will be doing in the months ahead so my pace might still decrease but I tried to run ‘slow’ on purpose and kept the pace up naturally. Sweet.

I heard the 6th beep (6th mile) from my Garmin and laughed out loud. I only had a mile left. I was so proud to go from almost bottoming out mentally in the beginning to feeling super tough in just an hour.

Even though you aren’t supposed to on the long runs, I sped up my pace because I could (!!). I felt like I could run a couple more miles without much trouble. Thank goodness because we’ll be running 8 miles next week!

I know there will be a lot more hurdles in the coming months and it’s going to be rough but I’ve got the tools to help me overcome them. Can I get a HECK YEAH?!

Yikes, that was intense. Excuse me while I come back down from my runner’s high.

Tell me about a mental hurdle you’ve overcome!

SlimKicker & a giveaway

A while back I wrote about my bad habit of eating candy.  I said I would stop cold turkey.  A couple weeks later I talked about making healthy decisions and how I was going to give myself a little pat on the back for choosing the healthy route.

Well the healthy choices are going really well and so is my acknowledgement of them but the candy? I might need a little more help with that.

Someone out there in the universe knew this because I recently got an email from Sue over at SlimKicker!

SlimKicker is a calorie counter and game that helps motivate you to stay healthy. It turns your diet and fitness goals into a level-up game with points, rewards and challenges.  You level up by tracking healthy calories and exercises, and completing challenges such as quitting soda for a week.  They also have healthy recipe suggestions on their recipe section and on Pinterest.

I’m not one to count calories because it just didn’t work for me and I already track my marathon training but you know I LOVE a good game! I signed up with SlimKicker and started my own 7 day ‘No Eating Candy’ challenge. After the first week I hope to restart the challenge with two weeks, three weeks and then up to a month.  After over two months of challenges (added up) and daily check-ins to the app, I should have a new healthy habit on my hands and lots of points under my belt.

I just think this is such a great idea.  Everyone loves a good game and we all have little habits that we might want to improve!

Now you get to participate!

I’ve teamed up with SlimKicker to give you a change to win this snazzy Slow Cooker.  You could make so many healthy recipes in this baby!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with a fun, creative fitness or diet challenge. One or two sentences is fine. SlimKicker will then pick their favorite and I’ll announce the winner in about a week!

Good luck and have a great weekend!

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Please note, this giveaway is limited to only readers in the USA.

live a little

Wow, it has been a tiring week. Lots of people were on vacation at work so I filled in for them. I give props to everyone who works full time in the medical field. I can’t imagine trying to take care of the dogs (let alone kids) and also live a healthy lifestyle after being on my feet all week! Those people are gods.

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I, like many people, live in the past or the future. We’re too worried and worked up. We go through life wandering until we realize we aren’t really living.

I found a great Oprah quote that explains where I’m going with this:

Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift. — Oprah Winfrey

Often times if I’m in a funk and can’t seem to stick to my healthy habits, I decide that the day is a wash and give up. Thinking to myself, ‘ Tomorrow I’ll start eating healthy’ or ‘Next week I’ll get back to the gym’.

That’s one of the reasons I wrote this post to help me stay on track. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s about doing little healthy things that can add up to more of a routine. But what happens when you can’t bring yourself to do just one? What happens when you keep putting things off and struggle to make healthy habits a routine?

This week I was supposed to start running again. Up until Wednesday I used the excuse of a very busy work week to skip my running. ‘Next week I’ll start running again, I just don’t have time.’ is what I thought to myself.

There were two things that helped me get out of this cycle of not living in the present.

One is a mantra I picked up from Elisa. She uses the word ‘believe’ to help her get through her training workouts. I thought I’d try it out not just for workouts but every time I landed in a funk and negative thoughts would creep in. Let me tell you it works! I’ve been using the word since Monday and I haven’t felt this happy in months. Saying the word in my head stops those negative thoughts and helps me move on with what I’m doing in the present. I believed I could eat healthy this week and I did. I believed I could stay chipper this week and I did. I believed I’d run this week and I did. It’s amazing what a little word can do!

The second is not a thing but a person. I look up to all the Vets that I work with but I have really taken to one in particular. She’s a runner for one thing, has run a marathon (!!), and is a healthy, happy person. No matter how ridiculous a patient’s parents are, she is friendly and kind. It’s an amazing thing to watch! Such a genuine person.

I hold her on a pedestal so to my surprise on Wednesday, I found out that she has trouble motivating herself to workout and struggles with negative thoughts too! We both love to workout and know we need it to mentally and physically feel good but to just DO it is tough. As I left for work she said, ‘Have a good workout!’. Of course I groaned and said I really wasn’t sure if I could do it.

‘Believe.’

On my drive home I got to thinking. The Vet was so motivating and had lifted my spirits. I decided to live in the present for her. I physically didn’t have the time and energy to workout that night but I WAS going to wake up at 5:00 am and run. I hadn’t ran since the 10k and really needed to get back into it. She would be so excited for me when I told her at work. Maybe I’d even help her get back into working out too.

I got out all my running clothes and placed them in the bathroom so I’d be able to just get up and go. At 5am on Thursday, I ran. I ran for four miles and felt great! Like I thought, she was super excited for me when I got to work.

It’s funny how things work out in life. If I hadn’t started a blog I wouldn’t have met Elisa and learned of her mantra. If I hadn’t changed careers I would’ve never met the Vet and had the motivation to run and run far.

Last night my husband said, ‘I believe that all things happen for a reason. It’ll all work out.’ He’s so right.

I’m currently living in the present and hope to continue on with my moments, mornings, and Mondays. Now that I have a little more help to do them, I know I’ll be able to.

I’ll leave you with another Oprah quote to finish up:

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” — Oprah Winfrey

So true Oprah!!

What do you do to get yourself out of a funk?

easter on parade: a doggy challenge

My ‘big’ girls, Roary and Olivia are my favorite but they each have their own behavioral issues.

Roary is a friendly gal, a little too friendly at times. Last week when we had the ducts cleaned in our house, she decided that the men were intruders, then proceeded to bark at them. This went on for a bit until she realized they would pet and entertain her. Then to get their attention throughout the day there was major tail wagging and when that didn’t suffice, she would jump up on them. I often attempt to train her to stop barking and jumping and she HAS gotten better.

Olivia is the opposite. Every time the men where in a room with her, she’d pace and try to escape as soon as possible. There may have been a few barks in there too but they were more of a ‘please go away, you scare me!’ and not a ‘get out of my house or else!!’.

Belle even barked when the guys came in because she saw Roary doing it! She’s not part of this post, but I thought it was pretty funny/cute.

Al enjoys not smiling in photos, I think it’s a Marine thing.

This past weekend I found out about a pet-friendly event happening in Richmond called Easter on Parade. We took both Roary and Olivia.

I thought it was more of a craft festival with kids games but what we did was ‘parade’ around a giant 4 block circle along with 25,000 other people, some dressed in crazy easter hats and some not. It felt a lot like last weekend at the 10k where I spent most of my time weaving around the slower folks.

All negativity aside, it was a beautiful day and a great learning experience for the girls!

Ha, you can see their personalities in this picture – Olivia looking away from all the scary people and Roary hoping to investigate.

Both Al and I were nervous about how each dog would react to THAT many people. Neither of them had been in a similar situation before so we kept the training light, letting them do what they wanted, but still keeping their leashes short. Surprising they both did great! I’m a proud mama.

Olivia got skittish once in a while, especially if there were loud noises. We had to take two detours around a drummer and also a band because she wouldn’t move. If you remember where she started when we first got her, you know this is an amazing achievement!

Roary also did well. She just took it all in attempting to sniff. Only two times did she lunge (not in an aggressive way) at someone or something that she really wanted to interact with.

Towards the end of the walk we took a break in the shade to let the girls cool off a bit. They calmly sniffed as they watched lots of dogs, people, and a transvestite (?) walk by them.

I’m glad to know that we are on the right track with these girls. We love them so much!!

It was a nice little Easter Sunday.

What did you do this Easter? Any dog training? 😉