Sunday, December 20, 2009

Birthday Run

Yesterday I celebrated my 32nd birthday.  I had to work this weekend, so I decided Friday would be the day for my birthday celebration run.  I had been looking forward to a nice, easy run all week.  Unfortunately my cold had other plans.  Regardless, I slept in until about 7:45am and headed out for an 8 mile run.  Since I wasn't feeling fantastic, I thought I'd run the same route as my last 8 mile autopilot run.  I was hoping to have the same experience, but it didn't quite happen.  I noticed every single little incline in my legs and my lungs were huffing and puffing to keep up!  I'm ashamed to admit that I actually had to stop and walk a few minutes towards the end.  I just didn't have it in me.  Luckily hubby had taken the day off and was decidedly in charge of the kids for the day.  I came home, showered and crawled into bed....and remained there until it was time to get ready for my family birthday party at 4:45pm!  Hubby and the kids even brought me my lunch in bed.  It was fantastic and I felt 100% better by the end of the day.

As for my birthday gifts, hubby didn't disappoint!  I had requested some running items and that's exactly what I got.  Last winter I bought a good jacket and some tops to run in.  This year I requested some nice, warm pants and a vest for the spring/fall.  I had to do some exchanging, but I ended up with:

This vest from LOLE
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These Saucony ViperLite XPT pants
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This Saucony neck warmer....for those chiiiiiilly days in Ohio
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More of my favorite socks (for summer)....Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro

and

New Pearl Izumi gloves, to replace mine that had ripped.

I love new running gear....gives me that extra motivation to get out of bed in the morning.  I have no excuse now, not to get out there and get my runs in!   Hopefully this week I can get over my cold and get back to enjoyable running!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Under the Weather and Upcoming Plans!

Last week was trudging along nicely (well, with the exception of hubby being gone and having to travel to Michigan during a blizzard warning) when Thursday night I started to get that achy, fever coming-on sensation.  Sure enough Friday morning my alarm goes off at 5:00 am (had planned to do 2 levels of Jillian's 30 Day Shred before work) and I'm weak, shivering and hurt....everywhere.  The worst pain was in my head/neck area.  I had slept horribly the night before and could barely keep my eyes open.  I decided working out wasn't going to happen, so I pushed snooze for another hour.  This is major for me....I haven't skipped a workout in over a year.  I knew I was really sick when I didn't even have guilt over it!  So the alarm goes off again at 6:00 am and I decide to get up and shower.  Usually getting going helps me to feel better.  I felt like a zombie stumbling around my room, bathroom and shower, but I get dressed for work, took some medicine and debated on whether or not  I should go in to work.  The babysitter (my MIL) was already on her way to our house and it was my day at work to get the workload planned for all the dietitians.  I figured I might as well go in and put in an hour at work and see how I felt.  I couldn't take my temperature at home (all the thermometers were in the kids' rooms, who were still sleeping when I left) so I walked on to one of the nursing units and had a nurse take my temperature.  100.4 degrees.  Not too high, but high enough to be sent home.  So home I went....with dread.  You see, once you become a mother....it doesn't matter if you're sick.  The show must go on!!  My MIL was just leaving to take Braden to preschool when I got home.  She was nice enough to also agree to pick him up and bring him home.  It was bitterly cold that day and she didn't want Caroline out in the weather (she's been sick for 2 weeks now).  And this is where I become a heartless daughter in law.  I should have just been happy to not have to drag 2 kids to/from preschool but instead...I found myself angry at my MIL.  Couldn't she just take both of them to her house for the day?  Let me rest and get better?  I'm NEVER sick. The fact that I actually told her I was sick and not feeling well is pretty significant.  I don't complain.  I didn't want to be waited on hand and foot, I just wanted a reprieve from my job as "Mommy".  If only for 2 hours!  Luckily taking care of one child is much easier than two, so Caroline let me catch a few minutes of sleep here and there as I went from couch, to chair, to couch, etc!  I couldn't keep my eyes open.  2 hours later MIL and Braden come home.  She fixes lunch and does a little craft project with them and then she leaves.  This is the part that really gets me....As she's leaving, she laughs and says "hopefully you can make it 2 more hours until nap time!" Yeah, thanks.  What's worse, is that she knew hubby wasn't home and wouldn't be home until later that night.  When you feel like death warmed over and you have 9+ hours to spend with your children....alone.....that seems like an eternity. Note to self:  when my daughter or daughter in law is sick with no husband in town and 2 young children to care for, make every possible effort to help her out!

So I did indeed make it to nap time, where both kids took a gloriously long 3 hour nap.  THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS!  Now, I  had registered to do the Jingle Bell Run 5K for the local Arthritis foundation on Saturday.  I could pick up my packet that night or do it the day of the race.  Being new to running, I wasn't quite sure what would happen if I never showed up to pick up my packet or the race, but I had spent $30 to register and I was surely going to at least get my t-shirt!  I still wasn't feeling great, but with medicine and ibuprofen every 4 hours, it was manageable!  I had about 4 hours at this point until hubby was going to be home.  I couldn't entertain them at home any longer, so out we went to pick up my packet/t-shirt.  Well, I felt like a jackass telling them I just wanted my t-shirt, so I picked up the timing chip/bib number as well.  I earned major Mom points by taking them to McDonalds on the way home.  Next thing I knew, hubby was walking in the door and my role as family CEO was officially over (for a few hours, at least).

Saturday morning comes around, it's 18 degrees outside and I'm still running a low-grade fever (99.6 degrees) and can barely swallow, my throat hurts so bad.  I take 600 mg of ibuprofen, more cold medicine and lay in bed debating on what to do.  About 30 minutes later, I'm feeling marginally better and decide I might as well go run the darn 5K.  I had friends expecting me there, and I didn't want to disappoint them!  Afterall, I knew I would feel real guilty about skipping another workout AND wasting $30.  So we ran the 5K.  I don't even know my official finishing time.  I didn't even care.  I just downloaded my Garmin and it said 30:something.  Not a PR by any stretch, but at least I wasn't lying in bed.  We just ran at an easy, conversational pace and enjoyed the festive holiday run.  I felt great afterwards and had no regrets.  I met up with my kids and hubby at a local donut shop, and called it a day.

My run this morning wasn't quite as good.  The cold has now descended into my lungs, making breathing (especially while running) that much harder.  I got in 4 miles (usually do 5-6) at a snail's pace and called it good!  I'm hoping to be back on track by Thursday, as my mileage last week was pretty pathetic.  This Saturday is my 32nd birthday and while I have to work this weekend, I'm hoping to get in a nice longish run before work.  Who would have thought a year ago, that I'd actually prefer to get up and go running on my birthday?  Oh yeah and guess what..... I officially have another race on my calendar.  My friends and I are going to run the Indianapolis 500 Festival mini-marathon on May 8th.  My bib number is something like 34446....I just saw on the webpage that it SOLD OUT yesterday at 35,000 registrants.  Talk about cutting it close!  Apparently it's the largest half marathon in the nation and has sold out for 9 years in a row now.  I love big races and am very excited about this.  The funny thing is that during registration if you selected an estimated finishing time before 2:30, you could provide documentation to get a seeded/ preferred start.   Now my best time is 2:18, but I could care less where I start!  My friends and I just want to start/run together, so we'll risk our luck and just start with the masses.  Could be chaos....but then it seems like every race I run is! 
Still to be decided is the April 24th half marathon at the Kentucky Derby Festival.  These would be 2 weeks apart, but completely doable and maybe a bit challenging.  Training will likely start the first week of January and I'm ready for it!  It just feels so good to have something on the training horizon. What has my life become?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Autopilot

I got up bright and early this morning to do my long-ish run for the week.  Hubby is heading out of town tomorrow and I'm doing a 5K race on Saturday (my usual long day).  If I wanted to get a long run in, it had to be today!  The alarm went off at 5:15.  Despite going to bed early last night, I didn't feel very rested.  That seems to happen to me a lot before a long run, or really whenever I know I'll be running a new route.  Weird?  So I headed out on a familiar route, one that I ran many times during my marathon training.  The dingo knows it by heart. And thank goodness he does, because I was on complete autopilot.  I thought it was going to be colder than it was, so I was bundled up and ready!  Each mile ticked by more smoothly than the last.  I didn't look at my watch once or even stop it for our dingo stops (coincedentally, poor Cooper has thrown up more on this route than any other one....I wonder what the deal is?) and traffic lights.  I was just in the zone and before I knew it, 8 miles had whisked by and I was on the homestretch.  It's days like this that I love running!  No aches, no pains, no general annoyances.  No worrying about my pace or if I'm working hard enough.  Just running. 

You see, I have some major guilt about my running.  I never feel like I'm running hard enough or long enough.  Reading through this month's Runner's World was completely deflating.  Just when I think I'm okay with my workout routine, I see that really..... it's not good enough.  I'm a slacker because I only run 3 days a week.  I'm a slacker because I never do speed work.  I'm a slacker because I have no desire to do trail runs or a speedy 5K.  I feel like I'm an imposter of a runner and I desperately need to make peace with myself.  People with more responsibility and less time do more than what I do.  When it comess down to it, I settle for mediocre....and maybe that's okay, but the voices in my head tell me to do more, work harder.  This morning I was able to shut them off and it was GREAT!  I'm not really sure what all this means....I just know I'm really conflicted.  Perhaps if the scale were moving in the right direction I'd be less conflicted, but until then... the voices will continue.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Walk of Shame??

Saturday morning, at about 5:45 am, I set out for a 9 mile run.  It was the coldest morning of the season, but for some reason that just invigorates me more.  It definitely keeps me moving!  I had decided the night before to run a different route.  I had done this route with my sister during a few of our long runs this summer, but I'd never run it alone (well, I always have my trusty dingo-dog with me).  I tend to run along fairly busy streets, just to keep the other dog-walkers out of our way.  Of course, at 6:00am with temperatures in the 20's, I didn't have to worry about that.  The route was pretty well lit with overhead street lights and the coldness and quiteness gave me a sense of peace.  I was really enjoying my run.  Until I noticed a man walking out of a neighborhood, screaming into his cell phone.  I had my iPod playing and I could still hear him over the music.  He was across the street (a 4-lane road) from me.  I quickly looked him over....fairly young, jeans, plaid button-down shirt, blonde hair.  No coat, no gloves, no hat.  Defnitely not prepared for a stroll in the cold.  The dingo barely gave him a second glance, which is unusual for him.  Usually he's Cap-i-tain Cautious, barking at anything that moves.  So I kept running, faster and faster.  Splits for the 2 miles that I was on that road were under 9 minute miles.  I was scared.  I immediately think the worst in scenarios like this.  Rapist or serial killer usually top my list.  I never turned around to see where the guy went or if he was even following me.  I didn't want to know.  I just wanted to keep running until I felt more secure (a lighted shopping center, gas station, etc).  Unfortunately this stretch of road was 1) the darkest part of my whole route and 2) home to a large, vacant, factory/plant.  I prayed the entire time for God to keep me safe.  I rejoiced when cars would drive by.  I was just hoping there was a guardian angel in one of those cars, who would keep this guy from hurting me.  My mind was racing in the quiet darkness.   I began thinking about what I would do if a car (now or sometime else) drove by and tried to abduct me.  What would I do?  I don't carry anything valuable on me when running (besides my iPod and watch).  I'd have nothing to "barter" with, you know.  It was a pretty sobering thought.  I'd essentially be defenseless.  So back to the present situation and I realized I should probably change my intended route.  I was suppose to do a couple mile lap repeats around a city park/lake.  Parts of the lake path are not well-lit and border upon the aforementioned vacant factory.  I didn't think that sounded too safe, so I started to consider an alternate route.  Upon turning into the park, I come across another man (dressed more appropriately for the weather in a hooded sweatshirt, but still odd to see walking at 6:30 in the pitch black morning).  I was afraid I was over-reacting to the first guy, but after seeing the second creepy guy, I knew I had to change my route.  I sped up faster and faster and went on my way.  About 7:00am the sun started peeking out and I immediately felt safer.  My mind was still buzzing about the preceding events, until I found a scenario that I could accept.  My conclusion....the first guy had probably just snuck out of some chick's house after a one-night stand.  The good old Walk of Shame.  That's got to be it, right?!  I can't really accept what could have happened or any other scenario for that matter.  It would keep me from running, indefinitely! 

So in light of Saturday's events, I've decided to take a couple of safety measures.  1) I'll always leave my route up on the computer (oddly enough, I had done that on Saturday) for hubby.  2)  I need to find a way to take my cell phone with me....no matter what.  Guess I'll be wearing my SPI belt all the time.  3)  I need to get some pepper spray to carry.  Now that I'll be wearing my SPI belt, I'll have a place to put it.  I've made excuses for way too long about safety precautions.  Saturday's adventure was a wake up call....even if it was just some poor guy's Walk of Shame.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day PR!

No, I'm not talking about the amount of food/calories I ate yesterday (although I'm afraid that would be pretty impressive too), but rather the 5 mile Turkey Trot I ran.  The Turkey Trot makes it officially one year, since I started running.  It's crazy to think about all that I've accomplished in one year.  I have so much to be thankful for this year, and my running/health is a major one!  What made yesterday's race even better, was getting to run it with my hubby (well, for the most part).
Our day started at 6:15am.  Race time was at 8:00am.  7,000 people had signed up to run the race, so I knew parking and logistics could be problematic.  It seems like race day is always "hurry up and wait"!  Yesterday was no different.  It was fairly chilly (around 38 degrees), which made the waiting part that much worse.  We found our place in line, right in front of the sub 50 minute pace sign.  Slowly but surely time ticked away until it was "go" time.  The first mile was heavily congested.  It eventually thinned out a tiny bit but then became clustered again around 2 - 2.5 miles.  Turn arounds are the worst!  I lost hubby at this point, which was expected (and okayed this time!).  There was a local police SWAT team running (carrying a flag and singing their little chants) and whenever I'd slow my pace ever so slightly, they would swarm me.  After a mile or so of this, I decided enough was enough!  I broke free from the pack and found my own groove....far, far away from the SWAT team.  I had hoped to break 50 minutes.  Everytime I looked down at my watch, I was on pace to do this.  The last 1.5 mile was tough.  At the 4 mile mark, I wanted to stop and walk.  I hurt and was no longer having fun!  I told myself "only 10 more minutes".  I can do anything for 10 minutes, right?!  With the finish line in site (the absolute WORST part of any race for me - except the marathon) I kept pushing.  I crossed the line at 47:11 (9:27 pace).  I thought I was gonna puke...low blood sugar and a hard effort had gotten the best of me!  Luckily, it passed quickly and I went on to get my chip cut off my shoe and wait for my hubby.  The food/water area was so crazy, we didn't even attempt to get anyting and just headed home.  I know 9:27 isn't a fast pace, but this represents over a 4 minute PR from last year's race.  Hubby finished in around 51 minutes (longest run prior to the race was 3.1 miles...about a month ago).  We're both really happy with our times and even happier that we got out and exercised on an otherwise glutenous day!  I hope this can continue to be a Thanksgiving Day tradition for many more years to come!

As a completely selfish aside....I generally feel pretty crummy about how "slow" I am.  Turns out I beat all the people I knew who were running (this may or may not include people new to running, ha, ha)!  Well, except for my speedy sister who apparently turned in 7:00 minute miles!  I feel honored that she slowed down for me the past year!!  ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What motivates you?

A few weeks ago I posted about all the negative thoughts that were running through my mind that day.  We've all had runs like that.  Today as I was running, I was thinking about all the things that keep me going.  I've been struggling to get out of bed in the mornings, which is completely silly because I always feel 100 times better after I've gotten up and exercised.  Although I was logging way more miles during the marathon training, I was only exercising 4 (sometimes 5 ) days a week.  Getting up at the crack of dawn 6 days a week is dragging me down!  I need some motivation....so without further ado....this is what keeps me moving during those cold, dark, morning runs.

1.  If I just keep running, I'll stay warmer
2.  Seeing other runners/walkers (although today it was in the mid-40's and every dog walker was out....I kinda wish they'd just stay at home.  Don't they know I run with a crazy dingo who really doesn't like other dogs??)
3.  I have to be home by X:XX am in order for hubby to get to work on time!
4.  Seeing people smoking in their cars at stop lights (random)
5.  Passing people at the bus stops
6.  A good song (currently it's Beyonce's Single Ladies)
7.  Running a new route
8.  Having a race on the schedule (I'm doing the Thanksgiving day 5 miler and just registered for the Arthritis Foundation 5K in December)
9. Thinking about what I'm going to have for breakfast (lame, I know)
10.  The sooner I get home, the sooner I can snuggle in bed with my kiddos

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Warm breeze....in the Fall???

This week was pretty non-descript in my running life.  I've told myself I need to do at least 15-20 miles  a week to maintain my fitness, until the next training cycle comes around.  Now whether or not there's any validity to that, I don't know....but the numbers work for me.  I've been playing around with the HRM and found that 88 bpm probably really is an accurate HR for my "easy" pace.  The past two Thursdays I've tried to pick up the pace (remember I'm a snail....).  Here are this Thursday's stats:

Mile 1: 9:51/152
Mile 2:  9:20/168
Mile 3:  9:33/161
Mile4:  9:20/155
Mile 5:  9:55/164 (gradual uphill)

Compared to my "easy" pace (this week's long-ish run) on a hilly route:
Mile 1:  9:56/150
Mile 2:  10:32/136
Mile 3:  10:32/116
Mile 4:  10:27/77
Mile 5:  10:33/84
Mile 6:  10:55/90
Mile 7:  11:12/74 (didn't stop my watch at the traffic light)
Mile 8:  10:05/69

I still have some doubts as to the precision of my stats, but it's close enough.  I'd also still like to find some research/training information based on HR guidelines.  It's still on my "to do" list. 

We've been having some funky weather for November in Ohio.  I watched the news before falling asleep on Friday night and it said it was going to be 44 degrees in the morning.  So I get up, put on my capris and a heavier short-sleeved tech tee, go outside and FREEZE.  Back upstairs I go to find something else to wear.  I finally decided on a lighter-weight long sleeved tech tee and the capris.  Back outside I go and as I'm heading down the street, I realize I can see my breath and my fingers are quite cold.  Oops....but I was already committed to this run and I wasn't turning back!  The first runner I pass is in complete winter gear from head to toe.  I immediately feel like an idiot.  I'm just sure I'll be the laughing-stalk of the running community as I try to pull my long sleeves over my fingers to keep warm.  Well, next thing I know, I'm huffing and puffing it up a big hill and I don't feel cold at all anymore.  In fact, after about 4 miles, I feel a WARM BREEZE.  I thought for sure I must be hypoxic or something....I mean just 40-ish minutes ago I could see my breath and now I'm being washed over in a warm breeze?  It was quite bizarre but it was at that point that I just allowed myself to relax and enjoy this fall run.  The dingo had a couple of issues (including a poo bag explosion) but all in all, it was a great Saturday morning run.

Things were also pretty non-descript in my Mommy life, too this week!  We muddled through a week of daycare and alternative care for Ms. Caroline (the daycare essentially kicked her out).  I got my H1N1 shot at the hospital and then drug the kids out to the county health department expo to get their shots.  At previous expos, people had been waiting 2-4 hours in line.  I didn't know what to expect, so I packed the diaper bag with the portable DVD player/movies, books, cars, ponies, and of course snacks.  I hauled the kids in the wagon as they finished up their lunch.  About 20 minutes into the line, Braden decides he needs to go to the potty.  Umm....what?  No way.  I had a change of clothes in the car and if he peed his pants, well then he peed his pants.  I wasn't about to give up my spot in line!  Looking back, I should have just gotten out of line and let him go.  We were out of there in just over an hour.  They both cried  horribly sad cries when they got their shots, but otherwise it was pretty smooth sailing.  Braden even kept his pants dry!  Hooray!  Caroline made herself comfy in the wagon most of the time, while reading "Go Dog Go".  I didn't even need half the stuff I'd brought to entertain them.  I feel better knowing that they are now at least partially protected from the flu.  I tend to be quite the germ-a-phobe, but I also can't stand staying in the house all winter.  Hopefully this will help!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Excuses and Race Day Photos


Today's run was about 8 miles too long.  My head and heart weren't in it....and I thought of a million excuses to turn around and go home.  Among those excuses these were my favorite:

1.  The wind - I started out doing about 3 miles directly into the wind.  I felt like I was moving in slow motion.  Was it even windy today?  I don't know....but it sure felt like it!

2.  The 4:00am wake up call - Thanks to a 4 year old who had a "bad dream" and was found to be feverish.

3.  Returning neuroma pain - No advil and no stops/walk breaks will always bring this pain back.

4.  Post-Marathon fatigue - So this is what that feels like.  Yes, this was a bit of a stretch.

5.  Friday's 30 Day Shred workout....Yes I'm a wimp.  Although my legs were fine, I could feel my shoulders/back tightening up the further I ran.

6.  Maybe I'm coming down with something (see #2).  Is it H1N1's turn at our house?

7.  Too hot - Once I turned away from the wind,  I found I was too hot and thirsty.   

8.  Knee pain??? What's this all about?  It's been bothering me since my first post-marathon run. Icing it made me it feel like I was 80 years old (well, I can imagine).  Great...

Despite the internal struggle in my head....I ended up doing 8.3 miles and felt like I had done about 18.  Ugh...  Thank goodness for a rest day tomorrow!

Something else I've been wondering about....if you buy the official "race day photos", what do you do with them?  There's a couple good shots of me and my sister on the marathon course, but I can't figure out what I'd do with them.  I don't have an office at home and I share my office at work with at least 1-3 other people.  Although my family is very proud of me, I don't think they want to see my face in the dining room, family room or kitchen.  As stated earlier this week....I don't particularly care for myself in photos (especially spandex shorts with an ugly belt up to my boobs)...I wouldn't want to wake up or go to bed looking at a photo of myself!  Perhaps they should just go in a scrap book.  Guess I need to get to work on that!  I haven't printed out photos in 2 years.  That's a whole other issue!  In any case, here's a few of the pics the photographers on the course took.









Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tools of the Trade

After letting it sit idly for 2 months, I finally got out the heart rate monitor that goes with my Garmin fitness watch.  I couldn't bear to put another thing on me, in the midst of horrible heat and humidity so I never used it.  Well, now that I'm back to cross-training regularly, I thought it would be a good idea to track my heart rate to make sure I'm working in my "target" zone.  I haven't taken physiology in oh.... 10 or 11 years and since I don't work in the cardiac field I'm a bit rusty on what this means.  After some quick internet research, I came to find that for a female, 31 year old, my target heart rate should be anywhere from 108 - 170.  Apparently there's a wide discrepancy on this subject, so if anyone has a more accurate formula for determining your THR, I'd love to see it!  So with this new knowledge, I strapped on the HR monitor for this morning's 5.5 mile run.  I didn't look at my watch once, because I wanted this to be a true baseline.  The result....I averaged 88 beats per minute with a MAX of 158 bpm.  Did I mention that I did my "hilly" route??  So my first thoughts are either that the HRM must be as "accurate" as my Garmin foot pod (the day of the marathon, it said I ran 27.97 miles) or I'm running at a seriously comfortable pace.  I certainly feel like I'm working hard when I'm running.  I'm out of breath when I stop running.  I'm sweating.  Apparently these aren't good indicators!!  Wouldn't you want the bulk of your run to at least be within the minimum of your target range, for optimal calorie/fat burning?  These are the things I will now search out.  Maybe instead of focusing on mileage, I'll focus on heart rate training.  I need to drop about 10 pounds and this may be a better way to do it?

Another interesting tool that I got a chance to use is indirect calorimetry.  Essentially by  measuring the amount of oxygen the body consumes, it calculates the number of calories you burn in a day at rest (called your resting energy expenditure or REE).  Well, since I did this at the end of the day, after activity, food and caffeine, my results would be more of a Total Energy Expenditure. With that said, my results showed that I expend 1915 calories a day.  In order to lose weight, I'd need to cut down to 1415 calories daily, to lose 1 pound a week.  Not too shabby, especially if I include my exercise in there.  I found a really interesting website that helps you calculate your needs to maintain your weight or lose weight and will even come up with meal plans for you!  Hey....that's MY job!  In any case, since the majority of people don't have access to a dietitian, here's the site:  http://www.thedietdiary.com/diet/nutrition/RestingEnergy.html .  Pretty interesting (for a dietitian at least). 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Back to the daily grind...

Last week I was clearly trying to fool myself into thinking that running and cross-training 6 days a week was just as good as training for a marathon.  While I'm not really ready to comitt to another training cycle, it would be nice to have something, anything on the horizon.  Well okay, we are signed up to do the 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  Woohoo!  But after watching the NYC marathon coverage (and secretly stalking a doctor I work with on the marathon course online) I couldn't help but think of what's to come for me.  Last Friday I hatched a plan to start applying for the NYC marathon.  I figure if nothing else....I can put it on my race calendar for 2013~ LOL!  More immediate will likely be a half (or 2....) in the spring and potentially Chicago next Fall.  I've always loved Chicago, thanks to a few trips to visit my sister there while she was in PT school at Northwestern.  It wouldn't be a horrible drive and after reading a few Chicago marathon 2009 recaps....sounds like a stellar race!  And so begins my search for the proper training plan.  I will never be competitive, but I'd like to push myself a bit.  I find it completely amazing that I finished a marathon after only 62 training runs and 440 miles (granted I had enough time to "stop and have a BBQ" but that's neither here nor there, now is it?!).  I have some time to do my research and ultimately it will be what's most convenient for me and my family life!




So speaking of my family....my wonderful sister suprised me with this long-admired tee shirt from Run Happy Tees!!  Well, the one I have is blue and short-sleeved, but you get the point!  If I liked myself in pictures, I might take a pic for you!  I have searched and searched for this shirt, ever since I saw it at the Pig expo last May!  Leave it to my thoughtful sister to find it for me!  One more thing to cross off my "Wish List"!

Other than that, life goes on.  My parents are in Italy as I type.... My sweet Caroline cried for about 6 hours today at daycare.  So sad...  Trick or Treat was fun on Saturday night!  The kids had a blast and best of all, I hid their candy Sunday morning and they haven't asked for it since.  Out of sight, out of mind!  Playdate tomorrow and election day!  There's a lot of really important issues on the ballot....so I can't forget to VOTE!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

5K to Carpet Cleaning....

Yes, yes, I do lead a glamorous life!  As you know, this week has been busy, busy, busy. I'm glad to say that once the carpet-cleaning-man leaves my home....my stress will be over for the week!!  Who would have thought that getting your carpet (and area rugs) cleaned would be so stressful?! 

So yes, I tend to do things non-traditionally.  After running a marathon on October 18th, I decided to try out a 5K.  I've always been a bit weary of 5Ks because they are essentially sprints and I'm pretty sure God created me as one of those non-fast-twitch-muscle-types!  Regardless, it was for a good cause and hubby was excited to "race".  Now mind you, this was my first post-marathon run and the devil Jillian had cursed me the day previous.  But all excuses aside, I had hoped to run under 30 minutes.  I came in at 30:13 (9:45/mile).  I was a bit disappointed, until I realized I don't really have a competitive bone in my body and I'm just glad to have had the experience.  Pretty lame, I know.  Now hubby and I had made no verbal commitments to stay together.  I mean, the furthest he had run prior to the race was 1.9 miles.  I figured there would be some walking involved for him.  He finished at a respectable 32:12 (10:24/mile).  He was pretty angry at me for not staying with him the entire time, but holy cow....he had run THREE times time prior to the race.  He did fantastic and I'm only a tad bit envious of his ability to "get in shape" so quickly.  Men.... My pride/ego will not get in the way next time, so for the Turkey Trot....we will stay together!

The rest of the week's activities have gone on as scheduled.  I won't say "without a hitch" because there's always a hitch when kids are involved!  The costume parade was fun (minus the 10 minutes I had to spend fighting with the kids to actually put their costumes on and get in the car).  The flu mist vaccinations went remarkably smoothly.  Making the oreo/spider cookies was a major PITB, but I got it done at 11pm.  Work yesterday was....work.  Last night we de-cluttered and rearranged furniture in preparation for today's carpet cleaning.  Today sweet Caroline had to spend 4 hours at the daycare to continue "transitioning" into her classroom.  My parents (and usual babysitters) are leaving for a 2 week Meditterrean cruise today.  That means I had to find an alternate babysitting service!  She's never been left with anyone but family and she's such a sensitive....Mommy's girl!  I've been taking her for a few hours at a time for the last 2 weeks to the daycare.  She cries and cries and is just so pathetic.  Luckily I only work part time and she'll only have to go 4 days in the next two weeks.  Just more emotional (and physical) stess to add to my life.

I'm so glad to be back on my workout schedule.  Getting up at 5:15am yesterday was no fun, but it feels good to use muscles that haven't been used in awhile!  My workout plan is as follows (hubby permitting):

Monday - Weight training/Cardio
Tuesday - Run
Wednesday - Cardio
Thursday - Run
Friday - Weight training/Cardio
Saturday - Run (longish)
Sunday - RELAX!

I don't belong to a gym (essentially because I'm cheap and don't really have the time to *go* to a gym) so all my workouts are done at home in my state of the art workout room....aka the dark, dingy basement.  Whatever...it gets the job done.  I've compiled quite a collection of workout DVDs and when I get bored of those, I check out videos from the library.  Gosh, I'm such a Mom.  But like I said...it gets the job done!  And speaking of getting the job done....my carpets are clean!!  Time to go pick up my baby girl and have one last lunch with my parents and sister before they leave.

Monday, October 26, 2009

She's baaaaaack!

With hubby deciding to take up running, I lost my Monday morning run time.  I don't exercise in the evening.  It's generally against everything I believe in (get up, get it out of the way, don't have it hang over your head all day)!  So I brought back an oldie-but-goodie......Jillian!  Jillian effectively helped me to lose 60 pounds in 6 months (along with watching caloric intake, of course), so I'm a believer in her workouts.  Today I decided to do "No More Trouble Zones".    I got this video when I was training for my first 1/2 and have really only done it in it's entirety a handful of times.  I got out my lightest weights (5 pounds) and got through the whole thing.  I've gotta say though, 12 hours later, I'm already feeling it!  It's good to feel that again (and not have to worry about it impeding my "training").  The other great news is that my right leg/shin didn't hurt at all.  I guess taking a whole week off from exercise paid off.  We'll see tomorrow.  I'm lacing up my shoes tomorrow for my first post-marathon run.  Hubby and I (and another couple) are doing a Halloween 5K to support the local Children's Hospital.  This is my FIRST 5K....and I definitely won't be "racing".  That word really doesn't even fit in my vocabulary.  Hubby just starting running (again) last week, he's up to about 1.5-2 miles.  We'll be taking it slooooow!  Since we signed up so late, the race shirts were picked over.  I never thought I would be swimming in a size large.  Oh well....it's for a good cause, right?!  And I will NOT be wearing a costume.  I had to dress up for a Halloween party this weekend (Phidippides none the less....gotta show off that medal somehow, right?!). 

Tomorrow is going to be busy, busy.  My Mom's group is going to a local assisted living facility to put on a Halloween costume parade.  Then the kids get their flu mist vaccines later in the day (note to self: have bribery items available).  Tomorrow night is the 5K run.  Oh yeah, and I have to bring the treats for Braden's party at preschool on Wednesday.  I spent a large amount of time today searching for everything I need for THESE little cuties, and still haven't found everything I need!  So annoying.  I guess I can add another trip to the grocery store to the agenda for tomorrow.  I can sleep when I'm dead....right?




One last thing....Tall Mom is having another great giveaway, thanks to the people at Brooks and their new Brooks For Her line.  What better way to show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness than to sport one of their products down the road?!  I'm thinking I'd look pretty nice in the jacket, myself!  Check out the links above to find your PINK gear!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Virgin is no more....New Look and New Name!!

Thanks to my creative director (aka Hubby), The Virgin Marathon Mommy has a new name!!  Welcome to


26.2 and a Mommy too!

With the new name and all, I figured it was only fitting to change the background design, too!  Now, I'm not really sure how to change the actual domain name....so for the time being, you can find me here....just with a new title!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Post-Marathon Musings...

I have so much swimming around in my head and will likely never be able to get it all out concisely! I find myself somewhere between feeling like I just did something really great to it not being a big deal at all. And really in the grand scheme of things, it isn't a big deal. I've just devoted the past 16 weeks of my life to it and find it hard to just let it go.... So with that said, here are some things that really stand out to me.

Race-Day Miracles:
1) Beautiful, sunny, cool, dry, skies!
2) NO tummy issues!
3) NO pain at all in my right leg/shin!
4) Feeling great at the finish line
5) No wardrobe mishaps
6) Not having to stop once to go potty! (I didn't even go until we got back to the hotel!)
7) Deciding at mile 24 that there would definitely be another marathon in my future!


Fun Memories:
1) The guy running near us (with a pink head dress) yelling and screaming at the top of his lungs. We were hoping we'd have his energy around mile 23, but he was only doing the half.
2) My sister getting called "Gi-nay" at one of the water stations. She's my soul sister!
3) The Asian kid yelling out "vanilla" in the most monotonous voice ever at the Cliff Shot station
4) Cheering for and thanking the bands/entertainment along the course
5) Seeing all the little kids out cheering for their mom/dad
6) Dedicating the last 6 miles to special people in my life:
Mile 20 - Taylor Jones (my 4 year old friend fighting AML)
Mile 21 - My grandparents
Mile 22 - My parents
Mile 23 - My hubby
Mile 24 - My kiddos
Mile 25 - God
Mile 26 - ME!

Marathon Mishaps:
1) Forgetting my handheld water bottle in the hotel room
2) Bummer of a Expo
3) Horrible race week anxiety
4) Being told by a MD at work that I had enough time to stop and have a barbeque with my finishing time.....

I find myself in that post-race funk. The DOMS was pretty much gone by Wednesday. My right leg pain has resurfaced, so I decided to take a whole week off from running/exercising. I've exercised 4-6 days/ week for the past 17 months straight. I feel like a sloth doing nothing! Hubby has now decided he wants to start running, so it looks like my running days will be cut back to 3 days a week. That's fine with me, considering the winter months are ahead! I really feel like I've lost a lot of muscle tone (from lack of serious weight training the past 16 weeks), so I look forward to adding some more cross-training into my exercise routine.

So what's next?? I'm thinking maybe the Kentucky Derby MiniMarathon on April 24, 2010.... and maybe the Flying Pig Half on May 2, 2010? With only being able to run 3 days per week over the winter, a full just isn't in the near future!

I'm hoping to have more pictures soon.....


Here's a pic of the sweet roses huby got me:
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He must have not got the matchy-match memo.... Oh well, yellow is pretty close to orange! :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marathon Recap!

I have a feeling this is going to be a long one.....just a warning!

Pre-Race/Expo:
We left for Columbus on Saturday afternoon around 11:15am. Despite the multitude of delicious and different restaurants in the city, I asked hubby if he wouldn't mind taking me to Cracker Barrel for lunch. He reluctantly agreed. My mood had been so tense leading up to the race that he wasn't about to ask why! If you know anything about my hubby and I, it is that we love good food! We love going to new places, preferably non-chain type places. Sadly, if you remember, I had made the Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings before my first 16 miler and 20 miler. I don't tend to be too superstitious, but that meal had served me well in the past, so I figured....why not?! We enjoyed a delicous (and child-free) lunch and then headed to the Expo. We got there around 2:00pm. The expo was a bit of a let down, but it was nice to peruse the booths child-free! Hubby had never been to an expo before, so he enjoyed it too. I picked up my t-shirt, poster and bib and we headed to the hotel to check in. It wasn't really until then that it hit me....I was going to run a FULL marathon. Our dinner reservations weren't until 7:00pm, so I tried to take a little nap, but was too anxious. I pulled out my book (Dan Brown's new one) but found that to be even more anxiety-inducing! I painted my fingernails ORANGE (you know, to match my shoes, shirt, and hair ribbon). I thought Tall Mom would be so proud! Dinner at Buca di Beppo was good and fun, as usual. After dinner we called it a night and headed back to the hotel. I laid everything out for the next morning. I opened up my book again and found my heart racing and the pages turning quicker and quicker at 11:00pm. I knew I had to put the book down and just try to sleep! I probably got about 4 or 5 decent hours of sleep.
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(BIL, Sister, Mom, Dad, Me and Hubby after dinner)

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(my gear all ready to go!)

Race:
When the alarm went off at 6:30am, I was READY to get up! We were to meet my sister and Mike in the lobby of the hotel at 7:00am. I gulped down my blueberry Roctane, took my Immodium AD and we were off.
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(Me and my sweet $4 Goodwill "throw away" pants that I couldn't part with)

The city was full of life for so early in the morning. Cars and people were pouring into the city from everywhere. We got about 1/4 of a mile from our hotel and I realized I had left my amphipod in the hotel room fridge! Oops! Nice hubby ran back and got it for me! As we got to the starting area, it was jam-packed with runners and spectators. We couldn't get anywhere, so we ended up starting by the 5:30 pace group. We were so far back, we couldn't hear any instructions (didn't even know they were giving any!) or the gun go off. About 12 minutes later, we finally crossed the starting line and we were off. They had a band playing at the start and the streets were lined with spectators. It was so exciting as we scanned the sidelines for family and friends. It was pretty chilly (around 33 degrees) but the sun was just coming up and it looked to be a beautifull day ahead.

Miles 1-5:
This part of the course was essentially flat and lined with people almost the entire stretch. We passed by the Franklin Park Conservatory and headed into an area of town called Bexley. This is home to some of the most gorgeous, old mansions in the state! We went through a couple of the neighborhoods (where the governor was out shaking hands with the runners), and looped around the park and back to the road we initially came down on. Hubby was on his bike, in hopes of catching us every 5 miles or so on the course. I had hoped to take off my sweatshirt and take my first GU around mile 5, when we saw my hubby. He wasn't able to get as far as he (I) had wanted, so we ended up seeing my parents first, around mile 5.5. My Mom had made a sign for us that said "Run Like Two Hot Mamas" and my Dad had a fun horn he was squeezing. I took off my sweatshirt at this point and took my first GU. We took a quick picture and then we were off.

Miles 6-10:
Around mile 6.5, we finally found hubby. He claims we were running faster than anticipated! I was happy to see him, but wasn't ready to take my pants off yet!
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(first hubby encounter on the course)
He took off on his bike and planned to meet us again around mile 10. From there, we headed back into the downtown area and into German Village. This area is very quaint and had lots of spectators. We looped around yet another park and into the Brewery District.

Miles 10-15:
By mile 11 we still hadn't seen hubby again and I was getting anxious. I wanted to stay on track with my GUs (but didn't want to make everyone stop 15 billion times) and I was ready to take my pants off! Mike was also in need of some ibuprofen, which hubby had in his bag. I ended up just taking my GU on the run around mile 11. Finally, around mile 12, we saw hubby again. I gave him my pants, took my ibuprofen, gave Mike some ibuprofen, filled my water bottle and we were off! He planned to catch us around mile 15, but I had wised up that these were not concrete plans! It was tough getting around the city on bike! We continued up High Street another 3 miles. I thought this stretch of road would be pretty long, but it actually went by pretty fast. We saw the half-marathoners turn off for their finish on the left. Mentally, I just couldn't look at the finish line, so I kept looking straight ahead and trudged up one of the only real hills on the course. I said to my sister "no turning back now!" and we held our heads high as we continued on the FULL marathon course.
*Our half split was 2:22:53 *

Miles 16-19:
The bulk of this section of the course took us through The Ohio State University campus. Ohio State is not known as a particularly pretty campus, but on this day, it was beautiful and so nostalgic! We ran down 15th Avenue, home to sorority/fraternity row. Sadly, it was SILENT. We all guessed they were still hung over from the night before. We found my parents cheering wildly across the street from my beloved Kappa Delta house. About a half-mile later, we saw hubby again. I remember telling him "I feel good!" and he was off to catch us around mile 20. I took my 3rd GU somewhere around 15 or 16. I just kept thinking of my training book (take your nutrition early and often). I still hadn't had to stop to pee by this point, despite taking in what seemed like lots of water. Miles 17-18 found us out on the West Campus of OSU and was one of the only areas of poorly supported course. By mile 19 though, we had re-entered some neighborhoods and it was nice to see people cheering again! I was hoping to see my friend around here, but she never made it out.

Miles 20-24:

I had decided that at mile 20, I would turn on my iPod for added support. We had lost our friend Mike by this time and I was slowing down. My sister was consistently 10-20 feet ahead of me. I wanted to be mentally psyched up and prepared for this last part of the journey. I was scared for what these next few miles might bring. I think the anticipation was worse than the reality of it! I had the perfect playlist lined up. At mile 20 my sister stopped to use the port-o-potty, I put on my headphones, stretched, took my 4th GU, filled my water bottle and "cleared the slate" mentally. The first song up was "The Final Countdown". I got chills as tears welled up in my eyes. This was it. I was fulfilling a long awaited dream. I felt like I was floating through the air. I couldn't believe how good I felt. The next song up was "Everlasting God". Couldn't have come at a better time. By this time I was running down the street, oblivious to all the spectators, in my own world, mouthing the words to the song. This was my zen moment!! I knew we were heading into a boring portion of the course and I think mentally that brought me down. I started to contemplate walking (besides through the water stations, which we had pretty much been doing the entire time). At mile 23 I took my 5th and final GU and my sister told me "We're not stopping again!" It was starting to hurt to start/stop at this point. I agreed, but knew my legs were getting pretty tight and sore. Around mile 24 we saw hubby (and my BIL). This was the first time I *needed* him for support. He rode along with me for a bit and then finally just got off his bike and walked with me. It was just what I needed to re-charge my legs/mind. I'm not sure I ever really hit the wall, but if I did, this was my moment. They were handing out candy buckeyes and while the thought of them made me want to puke at that point in time, hubby got a couple for post-race. Hubby and BIL then went on to catch us at the finish line.

Miles 25-26:

These last few miles are a blur. I never had the "so close, yet so far away" feeling that I'd experienced in my previous half marathons. They had lined the course with balloon archways and flags. By this point, it was a celebration! I had my iPod blaring by this time and looked over to see my hubby (suprisngly) running next to me. I knew I was close and I felt great. I'll never forget heading up the last little incline and the song "Open The Eyes of My Heart" was on. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Running felt effortless. My parents were right around mile marker 26. We took one last quick picture, turned the corner and ran down the hill to the finish line. The finish line was packed with people. I couldn't see or hear any of them though. I was in my own, happy world. Nothing else mattered and I suddenly wanted time to stop. I wanted to take it all in and remember this moment. I grabbed my sisters hand and we held them high as we crossed the finish line. We had done it and felt GREAT doing it. Our finishing time was 4:56:50.

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(Mile 26!!!!)

Post-Race:
I really expected to feel completely horrible in the finishing area. We got wrapped in our mylar blankets and had medals placed around our necks. I had to hold back tears at this point! Next up was the photo area. No fake smile needed this time! I was on top of the world. We got our finishers hat and made our way through the food. Water, bagels, bananas, donuts, milk, chips. I took a bottle of water, ate a donut in about 10 seconds flat, grabbed a bottle of milk and bag of chips and made our way out. Luckily, we ran right into hubby and my parents. We exchanged congratulatory hugs, took pictures and realized we needed to head back to the hotel to check out ASAP! Hubby had ditched his bike along the way, so he needed to go back and get his bike. I walked back to the hotel by myself and was in shock. Did I really just finish a marathon? Could it really have been that easy? I mean, if *I* completed a marathon, it's got to be easy, right?! It didn't matter though. Nothing mattered. I had set a goal and accomplished it.

Back at the hotel I made 3 trips to the ice machine to fill up ice buckets for my ice bath (hubby was still getting his bike and putting it in the car). This was crucial to my recovery and I wasn't about to skip it! I settled into the ice bath, turned on my iPod again and this is when the tears came. Tears of joy, of course! The water didn't even seem cold to me anymore as I was transported back to the zen place in my mind! 15 minutes passed quickly, but I was still happy to get out and into some warm water! I showered quickly, got dressed and we checked out of the hotel with about 6 minutes to spare! We met my sister and BIL in the lobby and headed out to a yummy Mexican lunch. Mexican food and ice cream almost always follow my long runs! After lunch we headed home to see the kids. It was good to see them and they were happy to see us! Although I was getting kind of stiff and achy, I really felt pretty good. I couldn't believe it.

And really, if I had one word to describe this experience, it would be unbelievable. To this day, if I hadn't had pictures of myself actually doing it, I don't know that I would have believed it! My muscles on Monday morning told a different story though! They were very much believers in the marathon experience! I still have so much to process and have a feeling of sadness that this whole great event is over. You never get your first time back..... Which leads me to ponder. What should the new name of my blog be?? I'm no longer a marathon virgin.

Stay tuned....and more pictures to come!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 63 - MARATHON FINISHER!!!!!

Holy Cow....I did it!! I felt GREAT, had FUN and finished under my goal of 5 hours!!


4:56:50

Details to follow......

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And then there was one.....Or 26.2!!!

We're leaving in just a few minutes to head up to Columbus. I can't believe this day is finally here. I slept great last night, thanks to Advil PM. 9+ hours! Can't beat that with 2 little ones in the house! I've checked and double checked everything. Although I still feel like I might be forgetting something.... don't you hate that?! Hubby and I will grab some lunch on the way, stop at the Expo (which will hopefully be much better than the Air Force expo) and then check into our hotel. We have reservations at 7:00 pm at Buca di Beppo. Carb-loading at it's best!! My best friend (who lives in Columbus) is meeting us for dinner. She's always a blast to be around and will be just what my mind needs! I've been looking at our long run splits, trying to figure out what pace we should aim for. As I've said all along, I have no time goal. My "race plan" is a simple one: Take it one GU at a time! That said, we will probably hang out somewhere between 4:45-5:00 hours. Sad, but true! Keeping a pace group in our sights will hopefully keep us motivated, although it sounds like the spectators in Columbus are fantastic. Let's hope!! I'm really looking forward to running through my alma mater. I put some OSU Marching Band on my iPod to get me in the spirit! Well, there's not much else to say. I'm ready and committed to finish this thing strong. It's go time, baby!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 62: First Time Jitters....An Analogy

This is technically day 62 of my training, but with my schedule calling for only a 3 mile walk to keep me loose.....I opted for sleeping in until 8:00am. I wanted to rest my right leg and it was cold and rainy....and I would have had to get up at 5:15am to do it!

The marathon jitters are upon me. I never thought I'd lose my appetite, but it's gone. Now don't think for a second that that has caused me to stop eating (that would be crazy), but it's more utilitarian at this point. No fun in it! Another unusual event for me....insomnia. I could drink a 2 liter of diet coke right before bed and sleep all night. This week, I've laid awake for too many hours to count. Reminds me of the kiddos' newborn days, which got me thinking..... Pregnancy/birth really is a lot like training/running a marathon.

You find out you're pregnant and are filled with joy, excitement and a healthy dose of fear. My first day of training was June 29th. I felt on top of the world, embarking on this great endeavor. I was also terrified. I'd only been running 9 months at that time. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew I'd be demanding more of myself than ever before. People say that pregnancy is the easiest part of parenting, but that doesn't mean it's easy. The aches, pains, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and never-ending worry is brutal. During training, I questioned every single twinge, I questioned whether I was following the right training plan, I questioned why I was doing this, I was FULL of questions. But I was confident. I wanted this so badly. I was devoted (or obsessed as some people may say). Pregnancy carries it's share of ups and downs. I remember the extreme joy I felt when I found out we were having a little boy. I remember carefully picking out the baby's bedding, room decor, furniture, etc. I also remember being terrified of the labor and delivery process. Could I handle it? Was it really all that bad? Would my baby be healthy? Had these 40 weeks of gestation prepared me for D-day? And that feeling right there is where I'm at right now with my marathon training. Would my training be as useless as the birth preparation classes were? Will I be able to break through the wall, or will I crumble like I did turning transitional labor? What's done is done. I didn't miss one training run, I didn't skip out on one single mile of ANY of the training runs. I followed the rules. I did all that I could. But will it be enough, come M-day? I can only hope those last 6.2 miles are as "easy" as the pushing phase of labor. 4 contractions, 21 minutes and just like that it was done. I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy in my arms. Complete and utter joy and satisfaction washed over my body and mind. A true Miracle and Blessing from God had been given to us. This is the joy I look forward to at the finish line. I'm trying to remain positive. As the week has gone on, I've gone from worried, to scared, to psyched! I'm ready to take this thing on. I'm ready for it to be DONE. FINISHED. COMPLETED. I will prevail. There is no alternative. And you know what else I'm looking forward to....SLEEP. Unlike a new parent, you can be sure that Sunday night, I will sleep!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 61 - Dogs' Day....

It's definitely not the dog day's of summer, but the 50 degree temperatures brought out every.single.dogwalker. in the neighborhood! That never makes for a smooth run. We even ran into a stray dog. I felt badly that I didn't have my cell phone on me to call the safety department. Hopefully the little guy made it home safely! Enough about the dogs though. For our "last" run the dingo and I tackled some hills. I wanted to push myself, in hopes of gaining some more confidence. My leg was iffy in the beginning, but the pain did eventually subside, AND I haven't had to alter my stride any! It's weird, because now the spot is *really* tender to the touch. More tender to the touch than it's ever been. Not sure what that means. In any case, I feel pretty confident that keeping me dosed up on ibuprofen will take care of that issue on M-day. I just like to know what I'm really dealing with and haven't been taking the ibuprofen. I made it up all the hills and felt pretty good. I'm debating on whether I'll even do the scheduled 3 mile walk on Thursday? I know it won't do anything for my training, it's just to keep me loose. I'd really like to rest this leg as much as possible. We'll see.... I'm still debating what to wear on M-day too. I foresee a trip to Dick's today. Time to ice the leg and shower. The day must go on!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 60 - It's the Final Countdown!

Thanks to the new addition of "Monsters of Rock" to my iPod playlist, this was the first song to play during my workout today. Pretty fitting....with 6 days to go!! As much as I've disliked having to get up on Monday mornings, before work, to run....it was bittersweet knowing that this would be my last Monday morning run (for awhile at least). 3 miles just seems like a joke to me, but when my leg pain returned, I was happy it was only 3! It seems weird that tomorrow will be my last "real" run before the marathon. Thursday calls for a 3 mile walk. So, true to my nature, I've started making lists and trying to mentally prepare for this weekend. Without the heavy running schedule, I have so much more time! I had my first marathon dream. I had gotten there late and forgotten to take my Immodium, Roctane and ibuprofen before the race. I wasn't panicked in my dream. I just told my hubby to meet me a bit sooner on the race course so I could take them. Yeah...those are my pre-run lifelines....like I would be that calm! In any case, it was nice to be so calm about it. That's exactly the mentality I'm trying to channel!! Tonight I plan on finalizing my marathon playlist. Not sure if I'll actually end up listening to it. There's suppose to be 60 bands on the course and I do have my sister to talk to! I just want to be prepared in case I have a repeat of my AF 1/2. Oh wait, postive thinking.... In any case, it makes me feel better to check these mundane things off my list.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 59 - Affirmation

Today's run was an affirmation. An affirmation of all the hardwork and dedication I've put towards this marathon. It wasn't my best-feeling run by a long shot, but I did it! I decided to "sleep in" and not run until closer to the marathon start time (7:30am). I haven't run that late in a long while, and I wanted to see how I felt at that time. I got decent sleep last night, thanks to 600mg ibuprofen and a cold/allergy pill. The achiness in my throat/neck and chest was gone! My right leg felt good! I took a couple puffs on my inhaler just to help open my lungs more. I was a bit underdressed for the weather (I'm such a bad judge), but warmed up pretty quickly. As we started out I noticed the pain in my right leg was significantly less. I didn't even have to do the silly gimp-run-short-step maneuver I'd been having to do for the first 5-10 minutes of the past 2 weeks' runs!! I'd rate my pain at about a 4/10. My lungs were not too happy to be out there today and let me know about if for the first 3 miles. I almost felt like a beginning runner. So out of breath, that I wanted to puke! Not a great feeling. But I pushed past it, got the gunk out of my lungs and went on with the run. I noticed Every.Single.Incline. Minor or major incline, my lack of oxygen was evident in my leg muscles and lungs! Still, I trudged on. Somewhere around 5 miles I realized my right leg didn't hurt AT ALL. I had to think about the pain to even get it to register at a 1/10! Thank you GOD! What did start bothering me however, was that pesky neuroma pain in my right toes. I took a few short walk breaks through intersections and that was enough for the pain to dissipate some. I didn't even notice it the last mile or so!

Clearly this wasn't a great run, but I perservered and pushed through it. Something I didn't do during the AF Half. I remembered why I set out on this adventure and how much it truly means to me. My positive attitude is back. I have a sense of renewed strength and determination. I will NOT let thoughts of me (or the kids) getting sick ruin my pre-race week. And with that said, I will eat, hydrate and rest for the coming week. 8 more days baby!!

PS - I decided rain or shine on Marathon Day, I needed to get a couple more pairs of my favorite running socks. Retail therapy can go a long way for a girl's attitude too!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 58 - Paranoia

I was feeling so good after Tuesday's run. I took Wednesday off and then ran a measly 3 miles on Thursday. Although the pain started at a 6/10 and went down to a 3/10 (better than Tuesday), my leg started to hurt more AFTER the run. What the heck?! Sadly, that's not my biggest issue (anymore). I'm pretty sure if I continue to ice/stretch/strengthen/ibuprofen, I'll be okay.

I am so freaked out by getting sick. I had a cold last week, which went away early this week. By Wednesday night I was starting to feel sick again. I can tell it's all in my throat right now, which means it will settle into my chest soon. ACK!! Add to that the H1N1/seasonal flu paranoia at work (remember, I work at a hospital) and I'm Freaked.Out. I don't want to take the kids anywhere. They are germ magnets!! I don't want to do anything but sit around and sip hot tea and antioxidant-full soups. I don't even like tea....but if there's something that will make me better, I'm all for it! Hopefully this is all just part of the normal first-timer taper jitters. I wake up giving myself these little mental pep talks (rest WILL make me stronger, I will NOT get sick, etc, etc). Doesn't actually make for very restful sleep, if you know what I mean. Add to that uncertainty about what I'm actually wearing on M-day. Guess I could check a 10-day forcast now....YIKES!! I felt so strong and confident after our 20-miler. Where did that go.....I'm pleading for it to return!

ETA: Great, I just checked the 10-day forcast. 60% chance of RAIN. Low of 43 degrees, high 55 degrees. I'll take the temperatures....just not the RAIN. Boo, hoo!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 57 - Let the healing begin!

Today's run wasn't anything spectacular. My pace is actually getting slower and slower. I'll blame it on 1) my right leg 2) a dingo who has decided he needs to stop frequently 3) I've become a bit weary of sidewalks in the pitch black. My leg pain was at about a 7/10 at the beginning of the run and after it was warmed up, went down to about a 4/10. Very manageable and now that I know my leg's not breaking with every step...I'm okay with that! I wore a new top today. I found it on sale and had to have it for my winter wardrobe. The one I have is in a dark pink, but it looks just like THIS. I was a tad bit too hot in it this morning, but it was so comfy! I was thinking about wearing it on M-Day....but we'll just have to see what the weather has in store. I don't know if the hood would bother me after so many miles/hours? I stretched and iced my leg good after my run, and will work on my strength exercises later. I really hope the healing can begin.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 55 & 56 - The beginning of the end

My taper has officially begun!! A 9.5 mile "long run" just isn't right! But I'm really not complaining. I've been stuffy, had a runny nose and headache for the past 6 days. To top it off, our long run on Saturday started out by me completely biting it on the ground. Silly pitch-black morning runs. My right leg/shin has continued to hurt, despite icing and ibuprofen. I've been trying to take care of myself, resting as much as possible, wearing supportive shoes as much as possible, etc. After today's measly 3.5 mile run with the pain feeling no better than it did last Monday, I made an appointment at the sports injury clinic at my hospital. I knew regardless of what the MD said, I was probably going to still keep running. I was just hoping he'd have some advice to help, or at least not further hurt myself. So I came home from work, woke the kids up from their peaceful naps and loaded them into the car for the appointment. Luckily I had time to gather up some good behavior bribery items (markers/coloring book/new matchbox car/tiny play doh container/swedish fish). Worked like a charm because the kids were really good. Caroline didn't really want me to go get the x-ray done, but a nice PT came in to entertain her. Aren't those PTs just the nicest people?! Anyway, the x-ray showed no stress fracture. Hooray!! Apparently they can take 2-4 weeks to show up on an x-ray though, so I'm not out of the woods. The pain appeared after my 20-miler, about 9 days ago. There was no sign of healing activity around the bone, so I guess that's good too. I was given some exercises and stretches to do and told to call back in a week if the pain isn't gone or at least better. Then he would do a bone scan for a definitive diagnosis. He also told me in no uncertain terms that there would be "no marathon" if the bone scan came back positive for a stress fracture. I feel kinda silly that this really could just be shin splints. I hadn't been doing any of my shin splint exercises, because the pain was so much more intense than my typical shin pain. My right calf has been one big ball of muscle knots for the past few weeks, so it does make sense. Perhaps it will help me mentally to know that with each step my right tibia isn't going to break in half.... So the ball is in my court and I will call back if I'm not feeling better. Mmmm....maybe? We'll see.

As a side note, he did point out two spots on my right tibia that showed previous damage. He said severe illness, a break, trauma, stress, etc could cause these rings (like rings on a tree). But these were from childhood....like early teenage years. Interestingly enough, I've never had any sort of damage or trauma. I did aerobics and dance when I was younger, but nothing serious. Just kind of interesting. And with that, I'm off to stretch and do my exercises (and pray for complete and utter healing for M-day).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 54 - Frost!

Brrrrr.....is all I have to say about this morning's weather! Luckily I warmed up quickly. The good news is that I got in all 5 miles of my hilly route and my toes/neuroma didn't hurt at all. The bad news is that I was painfully slow and my right shin still hurts. I took ibuprofen before bed, so that helped some. The pain eventually does go away (after about 4 miles). I've been icing like crazy and trying to rest. As much as you can rest taking care of 2 small children. I just don't know what else to do. I seriously considered skipping my run, but I've never done that. I didn't want to break my streak! Thank goodness for tapering and "long" run of only 9 miles this weekend. I've mentioned that I'm a worrier by nature and I can't help but worry about this. It hurts and I want it to go away! I'd go to the doctor, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to hear what he'd have to say. Not this close to the marathon, at least. So with that said, I'm accepting any and all healing prayers and words of wisdom!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 53 - 8 miles of sweat rings and lactation

Today's run was marginally better than yesterday's. My right shin still feels like it could snap with every step, but I think it feels a tad bit better. It's amazing what ibuprofen can do! I was only able to ice it twice today, but I kept my running shoes on and I didn't even notice the pain *most* of the day. I also started to get sharp, shooting pains/burning from my right toes around mile 6. It's like the pain makes it way down my legs and just settles in my toes for the remainder of the run. I really don't get it. I felt FINE during my long run on Saturday. Perhaps these are just after-effects? Who knows....but they have 19 days to vanish!!

I ran a new route today and it was loooong and boring. The head-on chilly wind didn't help a bit either. Guess it's time to start planning my routes according to the direction of the wind. You must remember, this is only my second winter running. I'm still figuring a lot of these things out! I wore the shirt that I had hoped to wear for M-day. I say "hoped" because it's a no-go right now! It fit fine. The color's great. But I look like I had lactated down the front of my shirt by the time I got home. I also had unsightly sweat rings in the crooks of my elbows, underarms, etc. If I can't find anything else, it will do.....but here's to hoping something better/more comfortable will be found!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 52 - Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad RUN

Okay, so maybe it wasn't that bad, but I knew it was going to be a bad run when I was woken up at 3:00am by thunder and couldn't go back to sleep until 4:00am, just to be woken back up at 5:00am by crying children. Add to that a "stride-breaking" pain that shot down my right shin upon the first step, chilly wind gusts, a near fall thanks to a fallen walnut and a dingo that acted like he'd never ran with me before and my "easy" 5-miler was less than enjoyable. I have no idea what's going on with my right leg. This is a pain I've never felt before. All my other "issues" and complaints thus far I've been able to work through. This is the first time it hurt so bad to run that I contemplated quitting. I really thought my shin bone might snap in half. The good news is that after 3 or 4 miles, the pain subsided (only to come back the second I took my shoes off and walked around barefoot). It was also my first run with my new insoles, and while my toes still hurt, it was manageable. So I iced my leg 3 times throughout the day and took some ibuprofen. The pain is much less noticeable when I wear my running shoes, so they've only come off to sleep! I wish I could say I wasn't worried about it, but obviously I am. I'm a worrier by nature and the marathon is in 3 weeks! Looks like I'll be taking my "rest" days seriously this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 50 & 51- Hip Hip Hooray...20 Miles DONE!!


Gosh, I have not been a good blogger this week! The good news is that there's not much to report. I did end up getting some insoles for my running shoes. After scouring the internet and coming home with a "burning" sensation in my toes after Thursday's 5-miler, a "diagnosis" of a neuroma was made. The knowledgeable guy at the running store got me fitted for a pair of insoles (with a 60-day money back guarantee). Of course, he advised me to NOT wear them for the 20-miler today, but I have been wearing them around casually and they definitely make a difference. That said, I completed today's 20-miler without much pain at all in my toes. Go figure.
As for the 20-miler today. I was really dreading it. I was anxious and nervous. Turns out it was all for not. Although it was rainy/drizzly/foggy/humid the whole time, it was all in all a great run. With our multiple stops (thank you Tim Hortons and McDonald's) and a couple of doozy-hills, it took us around 3:52. Not too bad for my first 20-miler (remember one year ago I couldn't even run 2 miles)! I stayed on track taking my GUs, carried my water and sipped consistently, and took 800 mg of ibuprofen at about mile 10. The multiple potty and water refill stops were just what my feet needed to keep going and finish the distance. Our poor feet got a bit beat up with the soggy socks and all. I've gotta say though, my SmartWools really did well. I think I'll have a couple of small blisters on the sides of my feet, but nothing bad. Our feet definitely looked like they had been submerged in a bath tub for 4 hours, by the time we got home.
The post-run ice bath was breath-taking as usual! My calves are pretty tight and my bum hurts. Nothing a steady stream of ibuprofen can't help! As much as I would like to do a 22-miler next week to give me more confidence....my mind has been set on 3 weeks of tapering. And as I found out last week, if my mind's not in it....the run will be bad!! So I finish this week with a weekly total of 40 miles. My biggest yet. Perhaps it's not as high as it could be, but according to my training plan/book, it's just enough. That's what I'm looking for. Just enough to get me across that finish line. And based on today's run and our past 3 long runs, I think I'll have enough steam in the engine to go 26.2. Hooray for tapering! Here's a few more pics from the morning.

The family greets us when we return:
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Mommy....where have you been?
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Our toes....
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Days 48 & 49 - Blocked!

Tragedy of all tragedies...the hospital I work at decided to BLOCK blogger.com! I rely on work to get caught up on my emails, bloggy world and updating this blog! Add to that a home office remodel (on a whim) and I'm a bit behind. The good news is that there's really nothing to report. I did a slow 5-miler on Monday. Felt pretty good, besides the pain on the underside of my right toes. Tuesday I did 8 miles. I'm happy to report my shin pain *seems* to be gone (knock on wood). But dear God....the pain on the underside of my toes is ANNOYING. The weird thing is that the pain disappears as soon as I quit running. It has to be related to the biomechanics of running and/or my new shoes.

Another RANDOM event....the dingo and I were nearing the half-way mark of the 8-miler yesterday and he started getting sick. I slowed down to let him throw up and I notice a lady with a dog coming towards me. It's pretty dark at this time and she has a flashlight. As I get closer, I realize it's my BOSS. It was a bit awkard....but we were able to laugh about it today. Tomorrow will be my last run before our big one this weekend. 20 miles. After last weekend, I don't know what to expect....but all of our other long runs have gone well, so here's hoping that trend continues. Here's also hoping the humidity goes away!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 47 - Breakdown...

(I started writing this on Saturday....just now getting around to finishing it)
I've put off coming in here for hours now. Trying to process how and where the breakdown occurred. Did I go out too fast, was it too warm, did I not drink enough? The truth is...my mind (and heart) weren't there today. I gave in too easily. I gave in to the pain and I gave in to my weakness. Needless to say, I'm disappointed and now I have nothing but dread looking ahead to October 18th. Maybe I'm not cut out to run a marathon? Maybe my Dad was right....I haven't been running long enough (or had enough of a base) to start training for a marathon. Maybe that's why my legs and feet hate me so much. Maybe I needed this experience to make me stronger. To help me to rededicate myself to my training. To make me take better care of myself.
So here's how it all went down.....
Race time was 8:30am (3 hours LATER than we've been doing our long runs). Needless to say, my pre-run routine was messed up! BUT on the bright side, I had no tummy issues because of it! My sister picked me up a bit before 7:00am. We made our way to the base with plenty of time, parked and caught the bus to the starting line. It was in the low 50's at this time and pretty chilly! As we were arriving at the starting area, the marathoners were just starting out. Today, I was glad to not be going the full 26.2! We saw the F-16 Jets do their flyover and they were off! I got chills just thinking that in a month, that would be us! We hung out for the next hour and with a few minutes to spare, we made our way to the 9:10 pace group. I had no intention of maintaining that pace, but thought it was worth a shot. The mood was more serious (throughout the whole race, too) than in our first HM.
The opening ceremony for the half began, the jets did their flyover again and then we were off! It had warmed up a bit, as by 8:30 the sun was fully up. Right from the start, my belt/pouch began to ride up, DESPITE me taking advice from Heather at Run Faster Mommy, to pin it to keep it in place. Ugh, ugh, ugh. The first mile was nice and flat. Between mile 1-2 there was a decent-sized hill. All I could think about was my &*%$$#^ belt, though. I fiddled with it for the first 5 miles and when we stopped for a much needed pee break, I attempted to adjust it. Of course then I made it too tight. I felt pretty good at this point though, although we had been steadily going up a slight incline. Between mile 5 and 6 we hit another hill and I decided to take off the belt and just carry it. We averaged 9:08-9:23/mile the first 5 miles, according to Garmin (which I found out is a bit "off"). Around mile 6 was also the GU station. I took a Roctane GU about 30 minutes before the race, so this was my second GU of the day. Mile 6 was our slowest with the GU and hydration stations at 12:06/mile. From here on....it's pretty much a blur. It was hot and sunny, my calves hurt, my right toes began to feel like they were being pressed "up" and I just wasn't into it. Miles 7-10 we were running between 9:22 - 9:53/mile. Mile 8 had a long, drawn out incline (highway ramp). It was this point that I essentially just gave up. I gave in to the pain and had to walk. Miles 10.5-11.5 there were a handful of small hills, that just took it out of me. Our pace for those miles was 10:08-11:16/mile. I think I stopped at every single hydration station, just for the chance to slow down and take a break. Mile 11 we arrived back on base (to a heavy metal rock band). The end was near....but so far away! There were no more hills, but around mile 12 I needed another short walk break. I was hurting and tired and as I told my sister.....I didn't want to look like a "drowned rat" coming down the finish line straightaway! The last mile was essentially a big U-shape and there were spectators all along this part. I guess hubby thought I had dropped out of the race, because as we were coming down the backstretch to the finish line, he called me on my cell, wondering where I was. I searched and searched for them along the sidelines and finally found them! Braden had wanted to run with me, so hubby and the kids were stationed along the finish line straightaway, about 100 yards from the finish line. Braden held my hand as we ran to the finish line. He was so excited to run with me, but a bit disappointed when he didn't get a medal himself. I of course, gave him mine to wear! Our official time was 2:18:22. A slight PR from my first half.
We made our way through the finishers area. Braden loved all the food, water, chocolate milk, etc! I downed 2-3 bottles of water within minutes. I was apparently dehydrated, because I didn't end up peeing for 2 hours! I all in all, felt pretty good. My legs were tight and my feet hurt....but was else is new? We made our way back to hubby and Caroline and headed home for the day. I'm not going to lie. I was extremely disappointed with myself....not because of our finishing time, but because I couldn't push through the pain and fatigue. That said, the next morning in our newspaper, there was a follow up story about the runner who was recently killed while training for this race. I thought....how silly that I'm upset that I had to walk some of the race, when she didn't even get to the race! I should feel LUCKY that God gave me another day on this Earth with my family. Add to that the news that a friend/mother in my online parenting community lost her husband in Afghanistan and it gave me true perspective. Running is not the end all, be all.
So what did I learn:
1) I need to carry my own water with me. I hate having to anticipate the next hydration station.
2) I need to take my GUs every 45 minutes. I'm too drained if I don't!
3) I'm going to run with my iPod for the marathon. I was not in a chatty mood Saturday and I was just left with my own negative thoughts floating around my head. Distraction please!
4) I MUST figure out what is causing the pain on the underside of my toes. OUCH!
5) Spectators make a world of difference. With the race being held on an Air Force base, there were only TWO spectator spots.
6) I will not be disappointed with ANY finishing time for the marathon. I'm realizing it may take well over 5 hours....

So, here are some pics from the day:

Braden and Caroline with their race-day shirts
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Waiting...waiting...waiting (Braden, Caroline and our friends' kids)
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Our cheering squad is spoted
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Braden running to the finish with us
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Happy Family (I'm wearing the technical tee they gave us)
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 46 - Expo!

So today was the eagerly awaited race expo....and I was sadly disappointed. This race isn't as big as the HM we did previously, and the expo showed it. I did get a Nathan Runner's Pak. It holds my cell phone and 6 or 7 GUs. Perfect (I hope)! I don't think I'm going to use it for this weekend's half....There's a GU station mid-way through and I think I will carry my own water for this race. It can hold an additional GU(s). I'm not quite sure about my GU strategy for this race. I'd like to stick with the every 45 minute routine that I've been following (hopefully training my belly too), but I probably don't need to re-fuel that often for such a "short" distance. Funny that 13.1 miles is now considered short!

As for my run this morning, the dingo and I set out on our 5 mile hilly route. I felt fine....the hills were a nice distraction from my aches and pains. My shins didn't hurt at all (and haven't all day). My feet are still adjusting to my shoes though. Our time was pretty good, considering I never stopped my watch once. Well, good for me!

Tonight I plan on making the kids and Daddy their race-day shirts. I've never done iron-on decals, so hopefully it won't be a huge disaster. The race shirt I got today is pretty nice. It's a short-sleeved technical tee in royal blue. Pictures to come, of course! Tomorrow night we're heading to our friends' house for a pasta buffet and carbo-loading. Should be fun! I really hope things go well on Saturday. The nice girl at the running store warned me that you can pysche yourself out for these "shorter" races. Kind of like when OSU is so busy preparing for Michigan that they overlook Northwestern (no offense, Gina). We'll see..... Hopefully I'll have a good race report on Saturday!