Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Getting From Point A to Marathon

In January I was at "Point A"--I was a virtual couch potato.  I set my sights on running the Rocket City Marathon in December of this year, so I mapped out a course of training I felt was going to be very slow--to avoid injury.

View Larger Map

I started with my end goal in mind--December 11, 2010, 26.2 miles.

Hal Higdon's Novice Supreme Training Plan looked like a perfect option.  It starts out with a 1.5 mile run//3 mile long run//9 total weekly miles and is 30 weeks long.  Counting back, that meant I would need to start that plan on May 24th (notice, today is May 26th).

View Larger Map

Using that plan meant I had from January 11th (my "Day One") until that day to be able to run three miles without stopping.  At the time, when I wasn't running at all, running THREE WHOLE MILES without stopping seemed a daunting task, but I had 19 weeks, I knew I would get there.

I decided to start out with Hal Higdon's 30/60 plan-30 minutes every other day, progressing from walking the whole time, to running for 15 minutes straight.   That would take me from day one until March 10th.

View Larger Map

From there I intended to put another training plan in the works that would get me up to a three mile long run (with a total weekly mileage of nine).

Knowing I wasn't supposed to add more than 10% onto my mileage each week, I tried to do the backwards math to see where I needed to be on March 10th, but I decided at that point I was over thinking the whole thing.  I told myself, "just go out and do it...see what happens".  I still had my end goal of Rocket City in mind...and, I had a starting point that would take me closer to the route I had planned for the "final leg" (the 30 week "Novice Supreme" route), but I didn't have the "middle leg" of the journey planned out.

View Larger Map


I kind of forgot where I had intended to be on May 24th somewhere along the way.  And, I know exactly where my adventure from Point A to the Novice Supreme waypoint took a wrong turn.  It was Feb 5th.  That day I was attacked by the deadly RACE BUG. 

I was feeling pretty good in my training.  The day before I had a GREAT run.  I walked my 10 minute warm up and then trained strictly to my heart rate.  I started out with a whopping two and a half minute run.  From there it was pretty consistent--45-55 second walk break followed by 60-90 second run intervals.  My run pace averaged out to 10:30!!  I ended that rulk feeling great.  I wanted to go further, but stopped myself--remembering to go slow to avoid injury.

The next day....(pause for scary theme music)....I decided to run a 5K race.  The day after that decision, I ran what ended up being a 3K.  I started out at a pace of 8:30--without warming up.  By the way, it was 35 degrees outside (with a wind chill of 26).  I slowed my pace down a bit after my heart rate reached what I now know to be 85% of my max.  My average pace ended up being 11:48, with a sprint to the finish (at a pace of 7:18).  I was hurting....but that darn RACE BUG masked the pain.  I felt like a real runner.  I came in fourth in my age group!!  I passed some people!  I ran the whole way!!  I had it bad.

I started looking, and found, a training group.  Originally I signed up for the 5K training group.  I toyed with the idea that I could train for the 10K, but decided to keep in mind the "let's not get injured" motto I'd adopted from the beginning.  I signed up for the Monday morning 5K group....only to find out that group was actually going to meet on  Tuesday morning (a time I already had booked).  The only other option was going to be Monday night (another time I already had booked).  I found out the 10K group was meeting on Tuesday night.  Gasp!  I was free that night!

I found out they had a "walk/run" group and they started out with a mere 2.5 miles.  I could go as slow as I needed to go--no big deal.  At that point, I lost complete sight of the 30-week final leg of my intended journey.  You know, the epitome of the "slow-and-steady-wins-the-race" route to Marathon bliss.  (Winning = finishing.)  My eyes became clouded with RACE stars.  I got greedy.  I wanted more than just nine total weekly miles, more than a measly three mile long run, come May 24th.  With the 10K group, I would be running a 6.2 mile long run that week!

I rationalized with myself.  I thought, 5K on April 17th (Cookie Dash), 8K on May 2nd (SteepleChase), 10K on Memorial Day (Cotton Row), 15K on October 9th (Monte Sano 15K), Huntsville Half on November 13th and ...Marathon nirvana on December 11th.   I completely forgot if I was running just nine weekly miles by May 24th I'd be on target for Rocket City.  If I had only taken the few minutes I took just now to do the backwards math.....I would have known I only needed to be running 3.3 weekly miles by March 10th.  That would allow me to increase 10% each week to get to nine weekly miles by the start of my 30 week Novice Supreme marathon training plan.  My "long run" only needed to be maybe 1.5 miles---not 6.2.

I overestimated my ability.  And then, I overlooked the pain I was in.  To make it even worse, when I went to the doctor, he told me I needed to alter my route by laying off completely for at least four weeks.  The director of the running group I'm in told me at that point they could switch me over to the other group....but my pride stopped me.  I didn't want to give up on my goal to run a 10K on Memorial Day....losing sight of the ultimate goal of running a marathon on December 11th.  I became very near sighted, not realizing my detour would bring me to a point devastatingly distant from my intended way point.

View Larger Map

Now I just don't know if I can make it to the Marathon by December 11th.  Even as I write that sentence  I'm telling myself IT WILL HAPPEN.  I might not be running the whole way, and my training might look very different....but there is more than one route from Point A, or Point Periostitis where I currently find myself, to Marathon.  I just have to find it without getting lost, or re-routed.

I know one thing's for sure--I won't try to take a plane to get there...I'd surely be delayed!!

Thanks for taking this trip with me...come back real soon now, ya' hear?!


Sunday, May 23, 2010


 ((my pain is right where the big calf muscle meets the bone-NOT the areas circled on this photo))

I'm really blessed that I go to church with my orthopedic doctor because I was able to get my results today!  Periostitis*---inflammation of the lining of the bone. 

I could really tell he wanted to say, "I told you so" but he managed to resist the urge nicely.  See, when I saw him eight weeks ago, he told me I should really lay off running for 4-6 weeks.  I refused to hear that, so he told me to "take it easy".  Well, I think I have been taking it (relatively) easy.  For the most part, I ran three days a week instead of four.  I have gone slower.  I've taken liberal walk breaks. 

I think the physical therapy I was getting the first few weeks really did some good, and when I stopped going (because the physical therapist said my leg wasn't going to heal if I kept running on it so I elected to tough it out until my big race)...the pain started ramping up again.  Interestingly enough, a lot of muscle pain I was having initially is gone--it really is all in the bone.  (So the diagnosis I got really fits with the experience I've been having.)

He basically told me now I really "need to" not run for 6-8 weeks.  He said this kind of "injury" rarely turns into a stress fracture.  It just hurts, and it won't stop hurting until it "heals".  Ice, anti-inflammatories, rest.  That's really all I can do about it.  The good news is that I can swim, bike and even strength train; the eliptical is better than running, but still not good for it.  I don't see how it's different from biking, ...well, except for the fact my hiney would be sitting in a seat while biking so my full body weight wouldn't be on my leg.  Okay, so it does make sense.

Do I wish I had taken off early on?  No.  I think I've gained a lot of ground in the last eight weeks.  I think my muscles were hurting in the beginning, and now they don't because I'm stronger.  I think I "proved" that I really can run through pain....because it really has been painful almost the whole time (at least in the beginning of every run, sometimes the whole time).  Am I still going to do my race?  Certainly.  I won't PR or anything.  I probably won't even do as well as my recent training run, but I will finish.  Will I take off 6-8 weeks?  Well, I'll certainly take off (after the race which is a week from Monday) for at least four weeks...maybe will be pushing it well beyond reasonable and eight is OUT OF THE QUESTION.

I've already scoped out a spinning class at the gym I belong to as well as a pool where I can train!  Maybe a sprint-distance triathlon could be in my future.....

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

*BTW, I've been questioning Dr. Google about periostitis, and he seems to think it's the same as shin splints...but my real live doctor said it wasn't actually shin splints.  From what I've read so far, the term "shin splints" isn't a medical term, but is widely used for any pain in the shin area.  So, my guess is periostitis is just more specific.

Week 11 & 12 Recaps


Week 11-total miles 14.5.   I did a couple of trail "runs" by myself, at a slow pace, and I did a Cotton Row training run (at a very respectable pace).

Week 12-total miles 11.  Other than the Week Five when I had to lay completely off this was my worst training week.  I walked Monday's miles start to finish and made an appointment for an MRI when it was over.  Tuesday with my group, I started out limping, but I tried very hard to just push through the pain.  It didn't work.  It really HURT to keep trying to run....which I stubbornly did the whole 4.5 miles, with very little success.  Thursday I tried to do a 3 mile trail run.  Although my average pace was 15 (yes, that's basically fast walking), I did manage to get a good little sprint in at the end, which felt great.  But, Saturday when I was supposed to be doing 5 miles with my group, I was anxiously awaiting the results of my MRI.


Since I go to church with my doctor, I got my MRI results today--I'll make a whole separate post on that, but suffice it to say I learned that putting off recovery from an injury doesn't really get you anywhere good.

I also learned there is a difference between just "taking it easy" and "rest".  Taking it easy means not going full throttle with training (this is pretty much what I've done the last 8 weeks).  Rest, on the other hand, means do NOT run. 


As much as I hate to...I'm going to rest my leg for a minimum of six weeks.  I want it to get better.  So, I'm going to consider taking up swimming and/or biking.  Maybe I can train for the HiWAAY Huntsville Sprint Tritahlon (minus the running of course)?  The only down side--I don't own a bike.  But, since biking and swimming are both good, maybe I can convince my husband that the bike is a necessary therapy aide?? ((Honey, just think of what it will do for my legs!)) 


I haven't been following any certain "way of eating", I've just been watching what I eat, and trying to eat organic as much as possible (little or no processed food, and "no" high fructose corn syrup).  This morning, I was down a few pounds, but I don't expect that to stick.  It's been like that all year, down a few, back up to base-line.  The good news is I haven't gained!!    I go to the doctor tomorrow to have a full allergy panel done.  It's going to take about 3 weeks for the results to get back, but I completely expect to find out I'm "intolerant" of several foods I eat regularly.  I'm excited to find out because I'm very hopeful that eliminating those foods will 1) allow me to eventually get off thyroid medications,  2) help me lose weight, and 3) allow me to sleep and feel better overall.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Remembering Where I Came From

WARNING:  This is a very self indulgent post, but I'm going to publish it anyway...feel free to skip on over to the next blog on your reader roll!  I still love you.  I promise, I'll post something better next time!  :D

No, this post is not about where I grew's about how far I've come in my training.  I am SO GLAD I've been blogging faithfully about running.  I am such an in-the-moment kind of gal, I forget what it was like any moment before the one I'm in right now.   Since I went for an MRI this morning, I've been feeling a little down-a lot down.  There's part of me that wants there to be something "wrong" so that this pain I've been feeling since close to the beginning of when I started running (as evidenced by my blog entries) isn't just me being a "princess".  At the same time,  I don't want to stop running, even for a short time for PT, so if they were to say it's just strain, then it would seem to me I could keep running and just learn to suck it up.  But, if they do find something, then there will be an "answer"--stretches, strengthening exercises, ice/heat, massage, medications, injections--and I would know after a certain amount of time (even if I did have to stop running for a short time) that I would be able to run "pain free".  If they don't find anything I'm going to be left with nothing to point my finger to.  I don't know if I have what it takes to run through this pain.  It really hurts.  Granted, there have been better days than others, but, right now, I can't even run from my front door to my car!!

Okay,'s very interesting to go back and read how excited I was that first time I ran longer than a minute in one stretch.  Another very interesting thing is to see how fast I was going initially.  My pace was much faster in the beginning.  Granted, I couldn't run for long, but boy was my pace fast.  That seems to tell me I can run fast.  Even yesterday (after going almost 3 full miles to "warm up") on a hurting calf (but not as much as it was when I started the walun for the day)---I kicked it up at the end to a pace of 7:52.  It felt good to run.  It didn't feel "good", but man do I love to run.  I can not wait for my leg "issue" to be solved one way or another.

I think the truth is that I just started out too fast.  One thing I was adamant about in the beginning was training VERY slowly.  I "should have" signed up for the 5K training, like I had originally planned.  But, when it came down to it, I "thought" I could handle the 10K training.  But, even that might not have helped, because as I've read back through my original posts, my leg pain showed up very early on.  I think, no matter what, the truth is that I should have done some strength training in the very beginning--especially for the front calf muscles.  What's bad is that I KNEW that.  I knew it from a trainer I worked with a couple of years ago...and I knew it when I first started running.  I just didn't trust myself to believe what I thought my body was telling me!

It's funny because I feel about running sort of the way I feel about my husband.  In the beginning, I was consumed.  It/he was all I thought about all the time.  Now, it's/he's part of my life like my arms and legs.  It's more than just an emotional love or's/he's a part of me in a deeper way.  I don't feel the same exact euphoria because I think that was sort of the newness of the relationship, but the love of running, and the love I have for my husband is so deep that to lose it/him would be like not being able to having my heart stop beating.

Okay....I'll stop gushing now (but only on the blog, I'm still doing it on the inside--just in case you were wondering).

I saw a post on a running forum written by someone who was so excited that she had just run a whole mile without walking.  She was so excited because it had ONLY taken a year to get to that point.  She said her next goal was to run a 5K by New Year's.  It really put into perspective for me the fact that I just started running, at 40 (with arthritis I might add), in January.  Five months of training and I ran 5 miles straight just a couple of weeks ago (with only a 10 second walk break), and 6.23 miles last week with only a couple of walk breaks.  I'm so hard on myself because I look at that achievement and I'm so quick to down play it in my mind-to waive it off like shooing a fly away from the picnic table.  As if what I've accomplished means nothing---less than nothing.  I would NEVER do that with anyone else.  I would cheer my heart out for anyone else, but (so far) not for myself.


Yea me.  There, I said it....and I'm not going to take it back!  I've gone from never having been a runner to being able to call myself a runner. 

Hi, my name is Dana and I'm a runner!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cotton Row Training Run

Thanks to a blogger who has disappeared from the blogosphere (or I'd link to him)...I found out how to embed my Garmin data into a post.  You'll start to see a lot more maps/data of my runs.  I sincerely hope there are no stalkers out there reading my posts...but I refuse to live in fear.  (But, I will start carrying a tazer with me, just in case!) :D running group had it's first full blown training run on the 10K course for the race we've been working towards the past 11 weeks.  I was extremely nervous about it.  I didn't have a good running week at all.  It's been hot and humid and my leg has been bothering me a bit so I haven't run as much as I would have liked.  Today, there were A LOT of extra runners out there because it was an "official" training run.  I think I was more nervous about this training run than I would have been if it had been the actual race day.  I think that's because on race day, everyone is more into themselves-they are more inwardly focused.  Maybe it's that I'M more inwardly focused.  Maybe no one ever really does care about my performance, but I only think that's the case on race days??  Who knows, but the point is, I was nervous for so many reasons...and as it turns out, for no good reason.  It was a great run for me.  I ran 6.23 miles.  Well, here's all the data (I think you can click on it and see everything in detail):

I ran with Speedy--remember her from the Cookie Dash?  I'm so glad to have met her.  I'll resist the urge to gush about my new friend...but suffice it to say, she's a keeper.

Side note:  the friends I've made through this training group are a very unexpected pleasant surprise added benefit.  I've made several friends who (whom?) I'm sure I'll stay in touch with after the group is over.

Okay, back to the topic at hand...the training run.  I'll make another post about my week, but it's been tough running-wise.  So tough that I called the doctor's office Friday after my attempt at running to make an appointment for an MRI.  I've just got to find out what's going on in my left leg.  The main problem is that I'm afraid to push it too hard because I don't know if there's an injury or if it's a conditioning issue.  If I knew I wasn't going to end up with a stress fracture I'd want to push myself harder than I do.  I'd like to think I can withstand the pain...but it's the fear of not being able to keep running that holds me back.  

I had very low expectations for Saturday's run.  I expected to be at the VERY back of the pack...maybe not last, but maybe with only a couple of people behind me.  While there were only a handful of people who came in after us, we were NOT in the last group of people.  I did "have to" take some walk breaks, but not many.

I tried using Gu on this run.  (I got a sample of Chocolate Explosion flavor at SteepleChase.)  I don't really know if it did anything or not.  I took it at the 3 mile mark, and it seems as though I felt good at 4 miles, but I usually do feel good at 4 miles.  It's "always" the beginning of the run that is so hard for me.  Usually at the end of runs I feel like I could keep on going longer.  I "always" have to stop myself from running longer because I don't want to get hurt.  I think I'll try taking some at the beginning of the next run to see what that does.

I am so glad we (I) did the training run.  I think I'll definitely go out there again at least once or twice before the race.  It was nice to get a feel for the course and know what to expect.  Not that I expect to do "well" by popular standards...but just about everything in life is relative, right?  I just want to do well for me.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!


Monday, May 17, 2010

The (Almost) Princess and the Blister

Find this picture here.

We've all heard the story of the the whiny little princess who couldn't sleep because of a little pea under her mattress, right?  I always thought it was a far-fetched tale, until I metaphorically "slept in her bed".  No, I haven't been sleeping on 29 thousand mattresses and this has nothing to do with my bed....

Let me explain.

See, the princess had been pampered her whole life.  Something out of the ordinary, namely a little pea under her mattress, caused her cushy status quo to be upset.   That tiny thing was a HUGE discomfort to her, whereas someone who is used to sleeping on rocks would have slept like a bear in winter on that "lumpy" bed.  It's a matter of relativity.

The idea that pain could be relative came crashing into my world last week and I simply must share the story with you.

I put on a pair of shoes I haven't worn in quite a while to go out the other night.  A short while later I felt an old familiar "rub".  Before I even had time to act, a blister formed and popped.  I could barely walk until I got a band aide over that tender patch of skin.
As I was hobbling into the restaurant, hoping to get my wound dressed before dinner, I whined to my husband about how my blister was killing me.  (If you're like me, you looked at the pictures before you started reading this post.....I sure hope they didn't gross you out too much!)  My husband was laughing at me, sarcastically asking if he needed to carry me into the restaurant.  I thought, "If he only knew the kind of pain I was in, he wouldn't be making light of the situation."

As I was lamenting over the hole in my foot, waiting for the server to bring me some "supplies", I got to thinking.   Pain really is relative--there are varying degrees of it.  It's not like I had my foot run over by a train or something really horrible like that.  I mean, come on, it was a blister for crying out loud.  I could hear the words of wisdom from reachdown: "Suck it up, buttercup!"  That's when it hit me--the reason the princess couldn't sleep was not that the pea hurt, but it caused a situation that she just wasn't used to. 

I'm hoping that's what's been going on with my left calf.  I'm hoping that the pain I've been feeling is just a "pea".  I think if the princess was told she had to "suck it up" and just DEAL instead of being pampered and babied, she'd learn to sleep.  Right?  Isn't that how people learn to overcome whatever is standing between them and their goal??  They "suck it up" and DEAL. 

Intestinal's just not something I was ever forced to have in my cushy, pampered life.  I'm hoping that's one thing I'm learning from running.  It's the reason I've been trying to stick with the program...even though I've altered the plan a bit.  (After all, I'm still learning the difference between discomfort and injury....I should be able to deal with discomfort, such as a little blister, but at the same time, I don't want an injury to take me away from running for weeks (or for good).

So, I'm going to continue my efforts toward learning to sleep on a pea!!

By the way, you don't really believe that's a picture of MY blister, do you?  Come on--that's obviously a man's foot.  I can assure you, my pampered feet do NOT look like that...and I would never, not in a million years, be able to walk on that thing, much less run.

That picture, dear reader, is one of Eric Charette's foot after running 161.1 miles in four days (at the point this picture was taken).  He then ran another 10.1 miles the next day to finish out the Alabama Pinhoti Trail Adventure Run (total time: 4 days, 5 hours, 39 minutes and 25 seconds).  I'll post a picture of MY blister later in the week.  I didn't want to spoil my great story of the relativity of pain with a picture of the pea!! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How To Turn a 3.25 Mile Run Into Five

The short solution to the title:  make a wrong turn on a mountain top trail that takes you in a big circle.

The long version:

I went out the other morning to tackle a solo trail run.  I was a little nervous, having never been on the mountain trails alone.  Hey, what can I say?  I watch Criminal Minds and CSI along with all those true crime shows.  The solo running girl ALWAYS gets hacked up by a chain saw, or snatched up for a cult's satanic ritualistic sacrifice.  I'm pretty sure there's not even cell phone coverage up there--the expression "there's no one out here to hear you scream" comes to mind. 

Okay, so being accosted, raped, murdered or mutilated is the worst of my worries (and the most far-fetched because I'm just not that paranoid)....but the biggest (and most realistic) fear I have about running on the trails (especially solo) is falling and breaking (or spraining) my ankle.  I read about one of the Run Like a Mother authors (can't remember which right now) falling on a trail run and having to limp/crawl out of the woods.  ((Yeah, that wasn't the real story, but that's the image I ended up with in my mind anyway!!))  And, again...the expression "there's no one out here to hear you scream" comes to mind. 

Added to that, I don't think I've ever mentioned how directionally challenged I am.   I need my Tom Tom to get from my bed to the bathroom!!  I can barely find my way out of my own cul de sac.  I read a great quote from Marc Parent today in Runner's World...something like "I would put a GPS on my soup spoon if I could." Yup, that about sums me up.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I had visions of my husband coming home to an empty house and my daughter calling him to say I never showed up to get her from school (attributed to any one of the aforementioned reasons, or a combination thereof).  So, I gave hubby a call at work to let him know where I was, just to be safe.  Looking at the very clearly marked sign...I told him which trail I was running--a 3.25er--and therefore I was also able to tell him when I should be done (given both a best case--running a good pace the whole time--, and worst case--being "forced" to walk most/all of it scenario).  He added to my fear by telling me to be very careful and to not get lost.  (It feels be so intimately known by the love of my life, but not very comforting at that moment.)

Throwing caution to the wind, I set out for my adventure.  As I mentioned the other day, I have discovered I really love trail running.  I kept hearing about how great it is, and now I know why.  Both times I've gone out there I've noticed I start out much faster than I usually do.  I have this feeling like I could run forever when I first get going.  "Forever" lasted until the auto lap on my Garmin chirped to let me know I'd gone a mile.  After my first walk break, I thought that chirp might have marked the beginning of the end for me because I couldn't seem to get back into the "I could run forever" groove.  My legs just weren't submitting to my desire to have a nice trail run....or my will wasn't submitting to my run (I read that on a running forum today and wanted to use it).

As usual on my runs I became completely engaged in an internal to-run-or-to-walk/run dialogue that would rival a political debate, when I came upon the sign that I recognized as the mid-way point which directs back to the parking lot (or you also have the option to go down a ridiculously steep path off the side of the mountain--naturally, I opted for the parking lot).  I continued running and walking and beating myself up because I wasn't just running, when I heard the familiar (mile two) chirp from my wrist.

I began contemplating if I felt up to going 6.5 miles, thinking I would do the loop twice, and quickly ousted the thought from my head realizing I haven't really limped in a week.  Knowing I want to keep it that way, I decided it was smarter to stick with a less is better plan and decided to be happy with 3.25.  About that time I got to a spot on the trail that has several options for direction.  Unfortunately for me, none of the options were marked with the one I needed.  I couldn't remember seeing that spot in the road when I was out with hubby, but that was not alarming (see paragraph three of this post).  I made the most logical choice and continued on with my debate...I mean, run, er, uh...rulk.

The mile three chirp sounded and internally I breathed a little sigh because the run was almost over.  I didn't know if that sigh (which, come to think of it could have been external as well) was because I did or didn't want it to end.  Part of me wanted it over if only to end the litany of names I was calling myself for not being able to suck it up and just RUN.  Part of me wanted the run to continue because I was loving being out there so much, no matter what speed I was going.  I threw the hag in my head off the side of the mountain and decided it didn't matter how fast or slow I was going, I was there to enjoy the journey...when I realized I'd been rulking much longer than it should have taken to get from the last chirp to the parking lot that should have been only .25 miles away.  I resisted the urge to check with my wrist to see what Garmin had to say about the distance, but instead decided to just keep running (which I was doing more of now that my energy wasn't directed toward debate).  When........

I found myself staring at the back of that familiar sign again.  The one that was pointing back in the very direction I had just come from (the single path that leads to the parking lot).  You know, the one where the only other option couldn't be called running, or even would have to be called repelling given the steep nose-dive it takes.  I had to laugh....I had just backtracked about a full mile because the only place I could think of where there was even an option for me to have gotten turned around was that spot in the road I didn't remember from my run with hubby.

I decided at that point God had given me a gift.  With the hag (almost) fully out of my head, I had another chance to enjoy more of my run.  Emptied of the debate, ready to enjoy the journey,  I turned around and headed back, hopefully toward the parking lot.  The second time around I paid closer attention to the path and realized it made a left right turn I had not noticed before (just slightly BEFORE that understandably unfamiliar spot).  Did I take walk breaks?  Yes (although after the mile four chirp, not nearly as many).  Did I get upset with myself?  Well, honestly...maybe I did, but by then it was okay.

Whereas before the three mile mark I was questioning my goal of running a 10K in a couple of weeks right along with wishing I had cell phone service on that mountain so I could reschedule the doctor's appointment I had canceled....when the five mile chirp sounded I was seriously considering running another loop and thanking God I had missed the turn!!

By the way, it didn't take me as long to rulk the five miles as the worst-case-scenario-time I guessed it would take me to walk 3.25...but when I called hubby to let him know I hadn't been wife-napped, he had been having such a hectic day he had completely forgotten I was even out there! 

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trail Running

My husband used to be a big-time cross country runner.  He was super fast until a couple of injuries (neither caused from running) took him out of running.  (The final straw was an ankle surgery that will keep him from ever running the way he did back in the day.)  Since I started running in January, I've been trying to convince him to train with me.  I feel like I'm slow enough that he should be able to do what I do with no problems, if he were to train with me.  I think it wasn't my begging, but just my complete and total obsession with running (that rekindled his own addiction), and a couple of hikes he's done recently, that finally convinced him to get some new trail shoes and join me for a run! Well, truthfully, he was going to hike/run with or without me, it was my begging and pleading that convinced him to let me set the pace and distance.

I have to say, I think (other than the fact I was completely disappointed in my performance), the trail run with DH (darling husband) has been my favorite run so far.  I loved every single minute.  If I hadn't been in a hurry to get to a race my buddies were going to run in, we could have stayed out there for hours longer.

We live within walking distance to some spectacular hiking trails, but the climb up to the ridge, where it's good running, is more than I care to do before a run, so we drove up to the top of the mountain planning to run a loop around the plateau.

The weather was PERFECT, a tad bit chilly in fact (perfect for a run).  We had a little bit of a warm up (about a third of a mile) and then took off at a quick-for-me pace of about 10:31.  We did a few run/walk intervals and then did some short sprint intervals (the fastest pace was 5:14--but that was only a few seconds!).  I can say that running with DH would certainly make me faster!!  Well, that is IF I can figure out what's going on with my left calf.  I did pretty good the whole time we were out there...but I had a hard time walking that night.  Today (Monday), it's feeling better than it usually does on a Monday--but I also barely ran five miles last week, so it certainly should feel better!!


The thing I loved the most was being able to run with my husband.  The fact that we were out in that beautiful setting made it that much better.  I stopped a few times to take some pictures....really it was an excuse to catch my breath, but taking pictures sounded better!!  They were taken with my phone, so they aren't the best quality...but there's not a camera out there than could capture what we were seeing.

And, the truth is, there just aren't words to capture just how I felt running with my husband.  I love that man with a love I never thought possible.  ...Okay, I'll stop gushing....

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Week 9 & 10 Recaps


WEEK 9--Monday-Body Pump.  Tuesday I ran with my group.  It was horribly painful.  Thankfully I had a coach who ran with me or I know I wouldn't have made it.  I ran a little bit faster, but ended up at the end having to walk some.  I was in pain the rest of the week so I "worked on" recovery.  Then, Saturday I ran the SteepleChase 8k.  

WEEK 10--Monday I had to get blood work done so I just "ran" on the elliptical for 30 minutes.  Tuesday I knew I wasn't going to be able to meet up with my running group so I went out that morning to run on the mountain we did the hill repeats the other week.  I felt a little sore, and VERY tired, but I decided running would be a good way to get past that.  WRONG.  I was supposed to do 4.5 miles, I made it (not on the hill, just on the more flat part of the road) just over 2 miles, including my warm up and cool down.  I ended up limping the whole time, and I felt like I was moving through molasses.  I decided to "listen to my body" and just rest for the day and tried to regroup the next day.  Wednesday I went back to Body Pump.  It was horrible.  I tried to push past feeling so weak and tired, but after it was over, I barely made it home without falling asleep at the wheel!!  I came home and collapsed on the bed.  Friday I pretty much stayed in bed or on the couch all day long.  Saturday was the only redeeming day of the whole week.  (Yes, I did do something Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...and what I did would have "counted" in January.  In fact I would have been tickled to death in January with those days---but I'm not happy with my performance now.)  I got up early and went with my darling husband to run on a beautiful hiking trail.  I'm going to write up a whole post about it later on.  I'm not happy with how little I ran, or how much I "had to" walk, but it was a fantastic run if I shut off my internal critic!!  After the mountain run, I went out and cheered my buddies on in their second 10K--they did GREAT.


I think now that the week is over, I might have gotten a little too hot at the race...and I might have overdone it just a little bit.  It didn't seem like it at the time, but that's the only thing I can think of that would have made me feel so incredibly bad all week.  (It wasn't hormonal, that should have been the week before....but who knows.)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE running with my husband.  He was a running beast back in the day.  He had a couple of injuries that set him back, and he's been out of running for many years so I can almost keep up with him for a few minutes!!  I would just love it if he would slow his pace down to my speed and train with me.  I'm doing my best to talk him into it because Saturday's run was probably the best one ever.  Like I said earlier, I'll devote a whole post to it later on.

I LOVE running trails.  My husband has told me since before I started that he knew I would, and I do.  I loved everything about it.  It was unbelievably peaceful.  I was worried I would trip, or twist an ankle, but surprisingly, I didn't!

I love running with my husband!!

This running thing will not be something that will continually move forward every single week.  I feel like I had a major set back this week, but the truth is I'm still running and I want to keep on running, so it wasn't a bad week after all.  I'm going back to the doctor after the Cotton Row 10K (which might be a mistake to wait, but that's the plan I'm sticking with right now)...and then after that I'm going to have to re-evaluate my plan to train for the marathon in December.  It's frustrating, but I'm learning that I might just have to slow down the plan.  I am NOT happy about it.

Did I mention ... I LOVE running with my husband???


I'm going back to the doctor after Memorial Day (after the 10K).  In the mean time I'm just going to take it easy and realize this 10K might just SUCK.
I'm going to keep trying to beg my husband to run with me.

I'm going to incorporate more trail running into my plan.

I'm going to keep using the TriggerPoint massage thingy.

I'm going to rest when I think I need to rest.

I'm going to keep strength training.


I'm going back to a 30-40-30 plan (zone) because I really do think I had more energy with that ratio of food.  I'm going to stick to less processed food, more fresh fruits and veggies and more fish.  
I'm considering going to a DO to have allergy and hormone tests done.  I've read so much lately about gluten intolerance and what it does to hormone levels, I think it's worth checking into anyway.
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Ever since the Steeplechase 8K I ran on Saturday, I've been exhausted.  Tuesday I went out to run my scheduled 4.5 miles and felt like I was trying to run through molasses.  Every muscle in my body felt heavy and tired.  Yesterday, after Body Pump, I barely made it home without falling asleep behind the wheel.  I walked in, fell over on the bed and took about a 2 hour "nap" (is it still called a "nap" if it's before noon?).  Usually I'm pretty energized after a work out, but not this week.  I woke up this morning yawning.  I think I've been eating and hydrating about the same as I always have.  I think I've been getting a decent amount of sleep (especially yesterday's nap!)...I just can't seem to get moving.

I decided the "listen to your body" advice sounded good, so I opted not to run this morning, but to come come after taking my daughter to school for another morning nap.  I'll run tonight.  I will.  I promise.

(Before anyone asks...yes, I had blood work done earlier this week-if there's a medical issue, it should turn up.  Until I get results, I'm going to assume everything's okay and keep plugging along.)

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

SteepleChase 8K

Excuses I could have used for not running the full 4.97 miles:

  • It was humid and as a greenhouse yesterday morning.
  • I had to get up at 4:45 to get to the race on time.
  • I didn't get enough sleep.
  • I didn't hydrate well yesterday.
  • I haven't run since doing hill repeats on Tuesday because I could barely walk pain-free.
  • My leg hurt.
  • My knee hurt.
  • The course was a little hilly in places.
  • Everyone around me was walk/running and talking about how hard it was.
  • Last, but not least, my monthly "intruder" announced her arrival yesterday...
...but, I didn't use any of them at all!!  I ran the whole thing (except for 10 seconds that I'm not going to count)!!  I ran slow-my average pace was about 11:43-but I ran the whole way.  My (official) time was  58:50.

I spent a little time yesterday beating myself up for all the things I did wrong...but today, I'm going to let that go and be proud that I did it....especially since I could hardly walk last night.  I seriously have to find out what's going on inside my left leg.  It's about to drive me crazy. are the things I did right:

  • I set out all my clothes and stuff the night before because I had to leave the house no later than 5am.
  • I warmed up before the race.  I used to feel really silly warming up since I run so slow, but the last two times I've put that thought out of my head and warmed up anyway-and I'm convinced it makes a huge difference.  When I first start to run, I sort of hobble/limp the first quarter or half mile.  Not to mention it's very painful.  Getting that out of the way first helps the race start off more smoothly.
  • I remembered my water bottle.  It was so incredibly humid, I would have died without water.  At the aid stations, I didn't stop, I just grabbed a cup as I ran by and then poured it into my bottle...running the whole time.
  • I focused on staying positive.  It was interesting to hear all the women talking where I was running-the front of the back of the pack-or the back of the middle of the pack depending on how you look at it.  Most all of them were in pairs.  There seemed to be one friend who was talking about all the things that were wrong-it's hot, I can't breathe, I can't do this, I ate too close to start time-I'm feeling sick.  The other friend was the cheerleader.  That's what it's like in my head most of the time!  Except the complainer is usually MUCH louder and the cheerleader is lazy!  Yesterday my cheerleader did a pretty good beat down on my complainer!
  • I ran up the hills.  My goal was to run the whole way.  I decided a slower time was worth the psychological pay off for running the whole 5 miles without having to walk.   After doing 4.5 miles of repeats Tuesday, those "hills" were NOTHING.  And, because I ran the hills every time the other night, I already knew I was completely capable of doing it.  ((BTW, the reason I could do it was a direct result of the training I received from my coaches.))
  • I tried very hard not to compare myself with anyone else there.  There were several walk/runners who kept passing and falling behind me.  I considered trying to set a goal to "beat" some of them...but I decided to run my own race and not worry about them.  (BTW, only 2 of them passed me in the end-and I cheered them on the whole way.)
  • Most importantly-to me-I had a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed myself.  I talked to some of the other racers, I talked to the spectators (cheering on the sidelines is an amazing motivator!!), I met some new people...I smiled.  I had a really good time.  That's not to say I didn't have a good time before, but I just realized I was having a good time DURING the race rather than after the fact this time!  Without all the worrying and self condemnation going on I was free to have fun in the process.

There has to be a balance between being positive and realizing there's always room for improvement.  So, here are the things I need to work on/remember for the future:

  • Don't take off so many days before a race.  I had a very hard time walking after the hill repeats Tuesday (yes, my left calf).  So I opted to skip out on my runs and my strength training all week long, "saving myself" for the race on Saturday.  I'm not convinced that hurt more than it helped.  I think it would have been better to get out and run EASY on it.  Who knows, it might have made things worse, but not taking off is what I'll try next time.
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before.  I only got about 5 1/2 hours sleep (I'm used to getting at least 7).
  • Two words--BODY GLIDE.  It does in fact make a difference, I'm sure of it.  Now, at my speed and distance, the difference doesn't really matter as far as time goes...but I forgot it so I could feel my shorts on my legs whereas I usually can't.
  • After Cotton Row--go to the doctor and get an MRI.  I need to find out what's going on in my leg for sure...and get it FIXED.  I have no idea if it slows me down or not.  It doesn't seem to really hurt while I'm running...but at the same time I don't really know.  If I knew without a doubt that I wasn't going to cause something to be worse I wouldn't worry SO much about being able to walk pain free afterwards...but as it is, I'm not sure if pushing myself is going to cause additional "damage".  After Cotton Row.  
  • Hydrate really well the day before. 
  • Continue to train.  I'm not fooling myself into thinking I could ever really WIN races, but my goal is going to be to finish in the top 1/2 of all finishers.  I think that's a good goal.  For this race that would have required a time of 51:02 or better.  Looking back at the last several races, that would mean I would need to run at about a 9:30 pace.  I think that's a realistic long-term goal.  I mean I can't do that now, but long term-maybe.
Next race:  Cotton Row 10K!!   The good thing about going a new distance-it's an automatic PR!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!