Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Savoring the sights along the way

Sometimes we get so focused on our pace or mileage goals and miss some wonderful sights along the way.  The UP side of taking it a little slower right now and spending a little more time off road is a lot of peace, quiet, wildlife, and Bella shenanigans!
Morning swim amidst our run
Local pterodactyl?

Bella hunting beaver
Tired pup after running, hunting, and swimming
Today, I was reflecting on where I normally am on the Saturday before the Boston Marathon - at the Expo!  This is the first year in a really long time that we're not heading into the Expo for one or both of us. Don't feel too bad though, because I'm living vicariously through all of you in real, Facebook, and blog world - just without the crowds!

Even though I'm enjoying Boston Marathon weekend in a more quiet way this year, I'm so excited for all of you preparing for your big day.  Carbo loading, reminding yourselves that the taper didn't ruin you, and trying not to celebrate too soon the almost perfect running weather that is forecast for Monday.....you're going to rock your race and be a part of something special.  And I'll be ringing my virtual cowbell the whole time!  

Don't forget to look up from your Garmin, be generous with your high fives, and take it all in. Most of all...HAVE FUN!!




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not broken, just bent....

Remember those two epic training weeks I shouted about from the tallest buildings?  The feeling of being able to sustain higher mileage for two weeks gave me a big boost of confidence, until…..

Everything hurt.

  • First it was the stabbing shin pain.  Not while running.  While laying down.  Ruh-Roh...
  • Then came the Achilles screeches every time I walked.  Ouchie...
  • Bringing up the rear was my arch.  One word:  tender.  #@%^!

I’ve been running long enough to know that my sudden high mileage antics over two weeks was flirting with potential injury.  I’m happy to say that I am not injured.  I know this because I haven’t run in 4 days, have settled on a steady diet of ibuprofen, and have iced all the angry places.  And I’m definitely feeling progress.  If there’s one thing I do really well is to back off when something doesn’t feel right.  Not broken, just bent

It's always frustrating when something like this happens.  I felt fantastic in every way while running all of those miles.  But that was then, this is now...and frankly, this wasn't a surprise.  Fortunately, I’m in a low mileage week anyway (though I hadn’t planned on zero miles as of Thursday).  I have a marathon next weekend that I’m using as a training run for Pineland Farms 50K, but plan on sticking to my plan of running a slower training run.  After that marathon, I have a half marathon the following week and then a 6 hour trail race on the heels of that.  As long as I stick to my plan, I should be just fine.

No panic for this chick.  I will continue to ice and rest, easing back into running this weekend.  And I will slap myself silly the next time I contemplate such a steep spike in mileage like that again.  Please remind me?


Monday, April 14, 2014

Emotional

Like many I’m sure, I’m feeling emotional as the one anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing approaches.  I was nowhere near the danger and, gratefully welcomed Scott home after his completion of last year's race.  I can’t even imagine if I had been at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.  I also can’t imagine if Scott had been injured or worse.  But even though I wasn’t directly impacted, I feel so very much affected.

I’ve been hypnotized by the news recently and some well-done specials that portrayed a number of bombing victims’ experiences over the past year.  I’ve read articles and have been brought to tears by all that they have lost and all that they are fighting to get back.  And then I remember that we’ve all lost something.  Security.  Safety.  An expectation that supporting runners at a race will not leave you struggling to survive or mourning a loved one’s tragic and senseless passing. 

I’ve had moments where I can’t help but visualize what that feeling was like that day.  At 2:48 pm, all was right in the world and runners from all walks of life were meeting their goal of running Boston.  And then at 2:49 pm, lives, limbs, and innocence were lost.  This was in our backyard; our race; our tradition.  Just like that, it was all changed.

Although I did qualify for Boston this year and was proud of that feat, I didn’t make the final “cut” (that crazy 18 seconds).  Of course I felt the initial disappointment.  But as the year has unfolded and has lead up to this anniversary and the first running of the marathon since the bombing, I’m actually really OK with not running and frankly, with not being there.  Not this year anyway.  I will take the day off and spend it with Scott.  We’ll probably grab a run together, watch the race from home, and I know I will hold him tighter, thankful again that he escaped physically unscathed.

I’m so impressed with the resilience of the bombing victims and their families and for all those returning this year.  I don’t think I’m afraid per se, but it just doesn’t feel like a place I want to be just yet.  Like everyone, I want to see the 2014 Boston Marathon go off without a hitch and I want to see 2013’s bombing coverage replaced with 2014’s coverage filled with running, endurance, cheering, strength, and life.  

Those lost and injured will never be forgotten, but the human race will continue to move forward and take the memories of this tragedy and introduce memories of life, promise, and peace in its place.  I wish that for us all – and for our race called Boston Marathon.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Epic Mileage Week (aka flirting with threshold)

Last week, I had an epic mileage week.  Normally a low mileage runner, completing a 53 mile training week made me very happy.  And I was amazed at how, once again, my body has more to give than I originally thought.  Back in 2012 at StoneCat, I ran my first 50 miler.  Just as my first marathon back in 2002, I didn’t know what my body would do. Would it seize up?  Would it break?  Would it implode?  None of the above.  So heading into this past weekend, I was entering unchartered training territory.


Saturday
I had 18 miles on my calendar, so headed out with Bella to run 2.5 of that on trails.  That little warm up is such a great way to ease into my run at the same time as providing Bella some great off-lead running.  Totally a win/win.  I dropped her at home and continued onward to complete what would turn out to be 18.5.

My nutrition strategy continues to be a challenge, but it’s mostly the nutrition post-long run.  Usually, I wait too long to eat anything, get dizzy/foggy, and then force something like Eggo waffles down my throat to tame the beast.  By then, it’s too little, too late.  That ritual sets the tone for the day/night and I end up feeling pretty ‘blah’.  After my 18.5, I had some leftover BBQ pulled chicken and salad at the ready.  Even though I tend not to have an appetite post-long run, I’ve been forcing it more immediately after and voila, finding myself feeling less ‘blah’.  Later that day, I even caught a quick catnap with Bella.  Ah, the deliciousness of a nap!

Good thing too, because I wasn’t finished running….

Michelle from Average Girl Doing Average Things and I “met” virtually via blog and realized awhile back that I live very close to some of her family.  She mentioned to me that she’d be down my way this past weekend and that maybe we could finally meet face-to-face and grab a run.  Cool!   Although I already had my official run done for the day, I couldn’t say no!  I was looking forward to meeting her and figured I could run a few more, right?


A few more lead to 7.5 miles.  But they were such fun miles!  We chatted the whole way, got to know each other in a way only runners can, and did a lot of laughing.  It was such a great way to finally meet and it was such a perfect end to my day.  So, I essentially ended up running an informal marathon that day.  I honestly felt really good, but now I was a wee bit nervous about my 10 mile run date with Sue the next morning.  How would my legs behave?

Sunday
After a night fueled by approximately two hours of sleep, I dressed again to run and headed to the beach to meet Sue and Kellie.  They knew of my mileage shenanigans the day before and were totally accepting of my potentially slower pace.  We headed out and I was thrilled that my legs cooperated!  We chatted the whole way (shocking, I know) and before we knew it, 10 miles was covered.  I got home and realized “wow I’m tired!”.  Oh, and ravenous.

I took Monday as my normal rest day and was grateful for it.  On Tuesday, I ran my planned 4 miles around the lake at lunch and was once again thrilled that my legs had some spunk!  The moral of this story is that I seem to be redefining and shifting my threshold and it’s pretty exciting.  I have 6 weeks until my 50K and 28 weeks until Ghost Train, so although some of my friends have recently dubbed me “a machine”, I have a long way to go to strengthen and leverage this “machine” to get me to the start AND finish of my biggest race thus far.

Are you a high or low mileage runner?


Friday, April 4, 2014

Now I know where I get it….

…my sense of humor and my strength. 

This week, I got that dreaded text from Mom telling me she fell at work.  Oh no…my heart stopped.   Fortunately, she’s OK and didn’t hit her head, but she did break her left shoulder and badly bruised her right knee.  The other fortunate thing is that she is an RN, so when she fell, she was in a hospital setting already.  I packed up my laptop, let me peeps know I was leaving, and headed to Mom’s.

One of the first things Mom did was jump on Facebook to post this picture and funny status –


Followed by an explanation “I was on my way to take my patient to the ER and I fell.  I got a room before she did!”

The next thing she did was curse the doctors for giving her a cane to assist her with walking (the knee was BAD).  She said, “That cane makes me look old!”.  So we decided she would mosaic tile it when she was done with it.  She lit up!  I advised her to keep the cane in pristine condition so the tile would stick.  Take that stupid cane!

One after another, we cracked jokes about the circumstance she was now in.  Not that it was in anyway funny that she hurt herself, but the fact is, the damage was done.  Isn’t it how we handle the hard/bad stuff that happens that tells the true story of our strength?  Pain and injury are tough to process and muddle through, but it happens.  Mom’s already walking better and has probably already started her “stupid cane” mosaic project by now…She certainly is not feeling sorry for herself.  Thanks for the “strength” and “sense of humor” genes Mom!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Walking/Running the Talk

My ultra training has begun and that means no more shenanigans.  Shenanigans?  Me?  Yes, as in "well, I'll just skip my run today because...." or "another rest day isn't so bad..."  I've always struggled with the Monday-to-Friday runs.  Always.  Work gets the best of me and often bleeds into my lunch time when I might run, then I get home to find Bella ready and rearing to play, and lastly, all the household stuff like cooking dinner, picking up, fixing the roof, retiling the bathroom, building an addition, etc seem to take over.  Before I know it, the opportunity to run has passed and my weekly mileage plummets.

No more!!!

The last two weeks have been an exercise in commitment and discipline for me.  I haven't been a high mileage runner (even when I ran StoneCat 50!), often excusing a mid-week run day here and there from my training calendar.  But these last two weeks, I've kept EVERY important running date I made with myself.  Today was a bit more challenging because today's run called for 6 miles.  So, I coordinated my schedule to best fit a 6 mile run at lunch with time to shower and emerge back to my desk looking relatively put together. 

I had a fantastic run!  I ran around the lake and, at the 3 mile mark, turned around and headed INTO the wind to return to work.  Although the wind added some resistance, it also gave me a different perspective since I rarely run that direction around the lake.  I wondered if I'd have any kind of kick in me after running 6.5 miles yesterday at a decent clip.  And I did!!


When I returned, a girl I met recently (and ran the lake with once) stopped me in the foyer and struck up a conversation:

Girl:    "Hey good run?"
Me:    "Yes, and so nice out finally!  No mittens!!" 
Girl:    "Hm, I should get out there...it is still officially lunch hour afterall" 
Me:    "Oh you totally should!"

We said our "see ya's" and I hit the shower.

On my way back to my desk, I saw her again, but this time she was headed to the bathroom/shower carrying HER gym bag and, with a big smile, said "I'm getting out there!" 

Nothing like walking/running the talk and then realizing your walk/run inspired someone else.  Good feeling!



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wet and Wild

Here is a view into what my run looked and felt like this morning – WET and WILD!


And it was, well, FUN too!

I chose an out and back route for the 10 miles I planned for today.  I conquered some crazy hills on my 16 miler yesterday, so I wasn’t looking for hills today.  With most out and backs however, one is likely to feel the wind.  In one’s face.  At some point.


My windinmyface moments were captured during my first 5 miles out.  With that wind also came driving rain; fortunately it was driving more sideways than directly into my face.  Small win.  The wind was harsh and made my now soaked mittens feel like a freezer, keeping the cold nice and close to my hands.  Some of the puddles started on one side of the street and flowed directly across.  I wasn’t afraid of getting any more wet than I already was, but let’s face it, I also wasn’t looking for the “cold water oozing into shoes” feeling.  I took my favorite Salted Caramel GU along with me and devoured it just before my mile 5 turnaround.  Caramel always perks me up and almost made me forget the weather elements.


The return home was less harsh, so other than tired legs (the goal of back-to-back long runs is to run on tired legs), I steadily motored home with far less weather drama than I experienced on my way out.  Upon my arrival, Scott offered words of encouragement/praise (what’s better than hearing “I’m proud of you” from your loved ones?), but also had brought me home a little reward.  God he knows me so well…


I always say that it’s easier to run in these kind of elements when it happens while you’re already on your run.  Knowingly leaving a warm house to head out into driving rain takes some commitment and guts.  Although I do have my treadmill and used it quite frequently this winter, I realize there is great value in training not only my legs and my mind, but my guts too.

Who else had a rainy/snowy/windy run today?