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?

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!

5 things i learned from my first 10k

I did it!

I ran the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k  in 1 hour and 23 seconds.

It’s not the time I wanted but I’m so happy I conquered my first 10K!!

This is only my third race and definitely the largest (over 40,000 people!). Because of the size, there were a lot of variables that I hadn’t run into during my earlier 5k races so I learned a lot.  These are things I really wouldn’t have been able to know unless someone told me so for any future racers out there, I’m going to help you out!

Five things I learned from my first 10k:

1. Rain clothing – I brought a hat to wear because rain was in the forecast. It didn’t rain during the race but it did during that 2 mile walk to the start. The hat keeps the water from getting in your eyes and also keeps you a bit warmer if the temperature cools off from the rain. During the run I held my hat the whole time since I didn’t need it but because it’s just a lightweight baseball cap, it was easy to fold it up into the visor and run without it being a distraction. Better to be prepared than be caught hat-less in a downpour!

Another rain tip that I didn’t do but should have -> My coaches from the YMCA training team said to cut a hole in a trash bag and wear it like a poncho. You wear this until the race starts to keep dry. Once you’re done with it you can just throw it in the trash! Such a great idea. It would have been nice to have started the race warm and dry.

2. Fueling – Hydrate not just the day of or the day before but all week long. Same thing with healthy food. Course we should be eating healthy and drinking lots all the time but if not then definitely the week before a race. You’ll have so much more energy on race day and you won’t have to worry about excess bathroom breaks from chugging water the day of.

Also skip the alcohol that week! Even though my husband knows he shouldn’t drink before the race, he drank beer the night before. Let’s just say he had major pains during the first mile and paranoia the rest. 🙂

3. Park far away – If it’s a giant race then don’t try and attempt to park close. We spent probably 30 extra minutes in traffic trying to find a place to park until we gave up and drove back to my sister’s apartment. We then walked the 2 miles to the start of the race… in the rain. It ended up being great despite the rain because we got to warm up our legs and also see the top runners fly by us! A 4-5 minute mile is unfathomable! They were gazelles. My point is, take the extra time to park and walk. It’ll keep you from being stressed out when trying to park and dodge all the people near the race site.

4. Start in the right wave – One of the main reasons my time was slower that I wanted was because I originally placed my sister and I in with the 12:00 minute pace runners . I had NO idea we would be much faster than that once our training was over. We spent a TON of time running fast then running much slower to weave around people. I don’t have knee problems but my knees were quite sore from all the twisting and side stepping. My friend Liz who also ran the race said that her Nike + told her she ran an extra .2 miles from all the weaving! My advice to you is that if you know you’ll be pretty dedicated when training then up your pace group just in case. If you’re in the group that’s too fast well they can just run around you instead! Ha.

Oh I forgot to mention that my husband was in a faster pace wave to start but he decided he wanted to start with us (way slower) so he had it even worse! Course he still beat us by a lot but he had to pass a lot more people. Tough.

5. Enjoy it! – During the race I had a cold so I spent a good amount of time coughing WHILE weaving, slowing, and going. I could have been miserable the whole time but by mile 2 I snapped out of it and enjoyed the sites. If there are obstacles in your way, it’s okay. You can always run more races but not that specific one for another year! So stay in the present and enjoy!

———-

Now that I’m a seasoned racer (ha), it’s time for a marathon! My husband and I won’t be doing the Marine Corp Marathon because it sold out in 2 hours! BUT we will be running the Anthem Richmond Marathon on November 1oth. Look for more run-related posts as I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot more when I’m training to run 26.2 miles. Only TWENTY MILES more than the 10k, EEK!

Did you learn anything? I hope so. If not, do you have any racing tips that I missed?

and i ran

I ran so far away. Flock of Seagulls anyone?

———-

Saturday I wasn’t able to make it to BARK. Not because I was lazy and bailed on the dogs but because my feet were killing me from some good blisters that formed on both of my big toes. Mmm, what a great way to pull you in right? Ha.

So don’t wear crappy socks while running! Also, when your coach tells you to wear wool and not cotton socks on a rainy run day, make sure you actually wear wool socks and not cheaper cotton ones instead! Lesson learned. You know when the sand is super hot at the beach but instead of putting your sandals on to walk across it (sandals and sand = sand kicked up on the back of your legs which is the worst) you tiptoe/run while saying saying ‘Ow’ ‘Ooch’ ‘Eech’ the whole time? Yeah, picture me doing that in the house all day Saturday.

This isn’t even the point of my post. The point is that the blisters were worth it. I ran for an hour on Saturday. A WHOLE HOUR. While you watched two episodes of Income Property, I ran… the whole time. This seriously boggles my mind.

One hour and 49 seconds. I ran for 6 miles.

But I’m seriously not writing this to brag, I’m writing to say that you can run (and like it) too!

If you read my previous running post, you know that I used to hate running. During that time, I regularly went to the gym to run on the dreadmill treadmill. There would always be a girl who was already running when I got there and still running when I left! Sometimes she was still running after I finished my ab and weights workouts! I’d often calculate in my mind how long she’d been trucking along and many times it was about an hour. I’d think, ‘Man I’d DIE if I ran for a hour!’ or ‘Isn’t that super boring?’. Saturday I didn’t die and I wasn’t super bored. Craziness.

It’s all about your approach.

Here are a couple of things I do to enjoy and succeed at running:

  1. Take your time – if you can’t talk, you’re running way too fast (unless your doing sprints on purpose).
  2. Add distance slowly – to give you an idea, with our 10k training we’ve added an extra mile about every two weeks.
  3. Enjoy the scenery – this helps me tremendously. If your neighborhood is boring like mine, go somewhere else!
  4. Focus on your form – here’s a good article about the subject.
  5. Stay positive – even this summer when I was enjoying running, I didn’t think I could run for a whole hour. Negativity is a waste of time! If I’m struggling on a run I often think of the words ‘strength’ and ‘peace’.
  6. Just do itNike is right. You’ll regret not trying more than the actual run.

The sign up for the Marine Corp Marathon opens in 2 days so my husband and I will be registering for it soon! While running those six miles on Saturday the negativity crept in and I thought, ‘How the heck can I run more than four times the amount I’m doing now?! There’s no way.’. Then, I instantly erased that negative thought by realizing that I didn’t have to run that far tomorrow, next month, or even this summer. I have plenty of time to train. I just need to take it slow and the mileage will add up.

Do you have any exercise hurdles that you’ve overcome? How’d you do it?

———-

We’re running seven miles next Saturday but I’ll be sure to wear the right socks so that I make it to BARK afterward! The sooner we go again, the sooner we can choose our new foster dog. 🙂

running

I ran two miles with Roary this afternoon. It was so nice to get outside and exercise after an 8 hour work day. If you asked me a few years back how my run went I definitely would have grumbled and walked away with tears in my eyes.

I grew up playing sports, mostly volleyball. I was one of the best players on the team but I was ALWAYS the slowest sprinter/runner. For years on end I hated running with a passion. First off, I sucked at it! As a competitive athlete I hated being crappy at something.  Also, it was too tiring and too painful – my asthma would act up and I’d burst into hyperventilating tears. <- one of these incidents happened during a run with my husband when we first started dating, HA. He’s a keeper.

My main issue with running was that I could hear my labored breathing all the time. Hearing my breathing would make me anxious and want to stop. To ‘fix’ the problem I would blast my iPod so loud that I couldn’t hear anything at all. This still didn’t make running enjoyable, I just kept obsessing over how stinking long ‘Irreplaceable’ by Beyoncé was!

A change in my approach to running happened when my husband was deployed around this time last year and I was stuck walking the hyper dog 3 times a day. I decided to ditch the iPod, run a shorter distance, and fix my heel-banging stride. For six months, Monday through Friday, I took in the night sky (I woke up at 4:45am for my commute) and ran more on my toes at a nice, relaxing pace. I loved it! I added daytime runs on the weekends and enjoyed the sunrise (you can’t expect me to sleep in way later on the weekend when I get up so early during the weekday!). Roary and I even did sprints once in a while because it was fun!

roary dazed after a summer run

I ran my first 5k in December and my second on January 1st. Training for the 10k starts in a couple weeks! I’m so excited for the challenge and have high hopes for the Marine Corps marathon in the fall. Yikes!

I still find it crazy that I now enjoy something that I used to despise so so much. I guess the point of this post is if you think you hate something maybe you should try a different approach? You may be in for a pleasant surprise.