Monday, May 20, 2013

April-May Recap and Heading East

So much has happened in the past few weeks! I'm not sure where to even start. Perhaps with running since this is a running blog?

April and May brought track season into our family's life. What a fun time we had! This is the first time that two of my three boys have done a sport that they *both* really enjoyed. There was never any whining about going to practice and they just LOVED the meets. The only complaint? Well, the longest event was 200 yds. And Evan sprints like his momma, which isn't good. The boy has endurance for DAYS from his swim training. During practice, the coach had them run 800s and sometimes 1600s, and Evan was able to maintain pace while the other kids STRUGGLED. The other kids, however, spanked him in those short distances, and he was bummed that he didn't make it to any individual event finals for the end-of-season championships.

 Evan during some sort of relay event. Can't remember which one. 

Tyler during the 50yd. hurdles. Just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. (Instagram filter is sort of weird though.)

As for running and me, I had two races scheduled for May. Actually, not so much racing really, but rather a much-needed girls weekend with a couple of back to back half marathon fun training runs.

I could seriously write a LENGTHY blog entry on the logistical NIGHTMARE that was my trip to the midwest, but for the sake of time, I'll give bullet points:

  • All flights going to Indianapolis (out of Chicago) were cancelled Friday night (weather).
  • I decided to go get my bags and rent a car to drive to Indy (3 hour drive) but was told at customer service that it was going to take "4-5 hours" to get my bag. WTF? (It was already 6:00 pm, mind you).
  • Sat down and thought to myself, "What do I do?!?!"
  • Gave up and called my father-in-law. He so kindly came and picked me up and brought me back to his house where he and my MIL made a delicious dinner and pumped me full of wine. I was sans luggage though. Boo. Had to wear same clothes the next day.
  • Got to Indy race morning. Missed race, obviously, with added bonus of  having my luggage NOT arrive on my flight. Apparently it was in Washington, D.C. WTF? Talked to United customer service and they arranged for my luggage to be driven to my Cincinnati hotel once it showed up in Indy.
  • Got to Cincy. Went ahead and bought new shoes and borrowed running gear from my girlfriends (wore race shirt I got at expo.). Smart move on my part because my luggage did not show up at the hotel until Sunday morning... AFTER THE RACE!!!! GRRR!!!
  • Made it out of Cincy ok, but my flight out of Denver to LAX was delayed due to wildfires.
  • Missed connecting flight out of LAX to Yuma. Oh, and it was the last flight to Yuma that day. Awesome.
  • Spent night at airport Hilton.
  • All United flights out of LAX to Yuma were booked Monday. Had to be re-booked on US Airways to Phoenix. Then Phoenix to Yuma.
  • Luggage didn't arrive into Yuma until that night. Had to make another trip to the airport to pick it up.
Seriously, I wanted to put a gun to my head by the end of the weekend. But... my girlfriends were totally worth it and to be completely honest, I don't think a double half weekend was in my best interest.

Flying Pig Half Marathon finishers!
How awesome that the finish line said "Finish Swine." HA!

So why wasn't it meant to be? Because my stupid feet have plantar fasciitis. Both of them. It's like it just happened overnight in April. Of course, I'd tried taping my feet and running through it (for weeks), but last Monday, I'd finally had enough. All last week was cross-training: pool running, Arc Trainer, and some crazy kettlebell/TRX workouts with my husband in our back yard (Holy cow---talk about not feeling in shape! 24 minutes of TORTURE!). I'm not sure if they feel a ton better, but I'm about to tape up again and go for a slow 5 to see how it goes. Maybe I'll be able to phase back in some running.

If I have to be injured, however, this is a good time at least. We are moving to Washington, D.C. on Thursday!!! The packers are actually going to show up in about 1-1/2 hours, so I have to get my rear in gear and get out the door before a busy day. More on the move later!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Springing Back Slowly

Ok, I'm going to try to get this one done quickly because I'm trying to log some extra sleep... More on that in a bit.

So 3 weeks ago, I ran a "fun run." It was awesome. Can I just say that I am glad I had the foresight before my marathon in January to know that anything run in the next few months following it would (and should) be just for "fun?" I told myself that I wouldn't be racing again until the fall. When my girlfriend and I toed the line at the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Diego, there wasn't a thought in my mind of running anywhere but by her side. So I did. It was great. I think we ran right around a 9:30 pace. Easy breezy comfy Sunday stroll.

Complete with hot chocolate and fondue at the end in lieu of a medal. Seriously the most enjoyable race I've ever done.

In May I'm doing some traveling and I plan on running back-to-back halves with two more girlfriends. It'll be more of the same! I can't wait. More on that in my next post.

For now, I'm trying to survive a 17-day stint with the hubs gone. ((sigh))

A little perspective though. My girlfriend pictured with me above... Her husband just got back from a YEAR in Afghanistan. Oh, and she has four kids too. Two sets of twins. God bless her. She really is my hero. Truly an amazing mom, wife, and friend!
My running has been coming along. I'm still not feeling incredible though I will say that I feel better actually running most days than I do walking around. So weird! I ended up back on Strength Running a couple of days ago and found a post that talked about a "Body Maintenance Day." It's really nothing new, but it was a reminder to myself (once again) that, "Hey, you should be doing this stuff." Jason Fitzgerald lists the following items for a Body Maintenance Day:

  • 100% clean and healthy diet – no cheating
  • light core workout, but nothing too taxing
  • foam roller on all body parts
  • ice bath
  • an extra 1+ hours of sleep
  • no taxing work like yard care or home maintenance
  • no alcohol
  • compression socks worn all day

I did almost all of the items it talked about except for a couple. This morning was a pancake breakfast fundraiser at my oldest sons' school, so I went ahead and graciously accepted the stack o' hotcakes and two sausages. Not exactly part of a "clean and healthy" diet, but I really would have felt like a huge snob if I'd have gone through the line and said, "No thanks." Anyway, the rest of the day was clean and healthy, so I consider it a 90% success.

Then I got home and was supposed to do: light core workout, foam rolling, ice bath (as per his directions in the post).

I completely forgot the core workout. Don't ask me why.

I did spend about 45 minutes with my foam roller (and trigger point kit), however. Yay! I was really good about foam rolling in the later stages of my marathon training but have since neglected it.

Right afterwards, I had my youngest and middle sons help me out with my ice bath (my oldest was volunteering at the pancake breakfast). They were a little too excited about this, I have to say. They loved pouring ice into the tub and listening to me scream.

My youngest also thought I needed some toys with me in the tub... to include a pair of goggles and a toothbrush (??).

Afterwards, I donned the compression gear (socks and shorts). 

While I was dying for one earlier, I didn't have a drink. And I'm about to go to bed and get a bit of extra sleep (probably not an hour though). So all in all, it's been a pretty good maintenance day. Excited to see how I feel tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, it's almost time for Boston! Woohoo!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

6 Weeks

It has taken me 6 weeks to fully recover from my marathon. Yikes. Just this week, I've been able to return to what I would consider "discomfort-free" running at a pace that reflects my running fitness.

To be completely honest, I've had to step away from blogs because many of them have left me feeling completely lame. So many runners seems to be able to "bounce back" pretty quickly, but I felt completely broken after this last marathon, and it's been a tough road back. In a way, I almost feel like I am starting over completely. My mileage has been fairly minimal due to both physical issues as well as logistical ones.

I knew that the spring would SUCK with my husband traveling frequently... and boy does it. Our household is set up for two parents and when he is gone. Holy hell. The stress of taking care of three kids, managing my "almost" full-time job, and fitting in running is HARD. Over the past few weeks, those "extras" that you are supposed to be doing while running have been nonexistent for me. Hmmmm. Maybe that's part of the reason it's taken me 6 weeks to recover and not 2-3? (DUH):

  • Hydrating--What's that?
  • Eating properly--Um...
  • Core work-NOT
  • Strength training-Next
  • Foam rolling, stretching, massage-LOL
  • Getting enough sleep-Zzzzzzzz. Huh? What? (I'm pretending to fall asleep and then wake up at the computer if that wasn't obvious to you.)
Anyway, it is what it is. Trying to get motivated here to get back to those much needed things before I injure myself again.

I ordered some Nuun to help me get motivated to drink more! And also because my kids were asking for it. They love the "fizzy tablets" as they call them. 

Anyone tried the cherry limeade flavor? I'm excited!

And a quick kid brag before I head off to grade approximately 2643 papers. Last week was the 2013 Arizona Short Course Age Group Championships (aka: state meet). Not going to lie... It was cold, windy, and rainy Friday-Saturday, and Evan had a rough meet. He pulled it together on sunny Sunday, however, and qualified for the 100-yd breaststroke finals. He ended up finishing 16th overall in the 100-yd breast and 17th overall in the 50-yd breast. Proud of my little guy for breaking the top 20 in the 10-Under age group for the ENTIRE STATE. There were only a handful of 9 year-olds who made it to finals (mostly 10 year-olds... that extra year makes a big difference). Looking forward to continuing to watch him grow as an athlete.

Check out everyone in the background all "parka'd" up. Poor Evan was FREEEEEEEEZING. I'm proud of him for even jumping into the pool! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Post Marathon Total Body Destruction

Once upon a time, I was a strong, fierce 3:31 marathoner.

These days, I've felt more like the old lady from the LifeCall commercial. Remember?
"I've fallen, and I can't get up!"

Recovery has been ROUGH.

The quick back story here is that through no fault of my coach's or my own, I went into my most recent marathon a bit overtrained.

Looking back, I think it all started unraveling 3 weeks before the race. I ran a 5K on January 5th, and I managed a sweet PR! (20:37) I didn't blog about it because I am lazy. The following day (Sunday), I ran an *easy* 22-miler at 9:02P. Then my legs proceeded to DIE. I truly never knew what "dead legs" were before then, but now I do. My recovery run on Monday was run at 9:52P. I even wore my HR monitor so that I wouldn't push the pace. Not that I really could anyway because my legs would go no faster. Tuesday was a 4 X 1200 track workout where I absolutely couldn't hit my numbers. By Wednesday, I decided a rest day was in order. I did bounce back on Thursday, but I think by then, my R leg "sensation" had started. It was the same sensation that I had back in summer 2011.

I ended up running a solid 18-miler with a FAST friend here two weeks before the marathon. I was really worried about my leg at that point, but it turned out to be ok. We ran it at an 8:35P, and I didn't feel like my leg was getting worse. It definitely wasn't getting better but no worse, so I tried to relax.

From there, my legs never really felt like they came back. My calves were extremely sore and tender, and for 2 weeks, I babied them like crazy. Soaked them in my chilly pool, rolled them, had my husband (and a therapist!) massage them, used Biofreeze, slept in compression socks/calf sleeves almost every night.... It just wasn't enough. 

I flatlined on the graph.
(This is a great running website/blog, btw.)

I got a bit panicky and neurotic during my taper because I never got back to the "fresh leg" feeling that one should before one's race. I finally had a decent shakeout run two days before, but by then, I think I had mentally convinced myself that I was going to have a great race. I had willed my legs to give me a good run before the big dance. That being said, I could still feel the R leg niggle.

Anyway, I did have a solid race, and I'm happy with my time. A PR is a PR! Was it the time that I had planned to run? NO. My training and race paces indicated that a sub-3:30 was not only possible, it was probable. Didn't happen though, and that's ok. Next time for sure! Like my coach said a couple of weeks ago when we were trying to figure out what happened and if we made any errors, "Nothing worthwhile comes without risk."

It's been 22 days since the race, and I am JUST NOW starting to feel like I am getting back to my old self. I took Sunday (1/27) off after my race and then my coach encouraged me to start doing an "active recovery" because it would be way more beneficial than having me sit around while I waited to stop being sore. I did an easy elliptical workout on M/T (1/28-1/29), took Wednesday off (work is crazy for me on W), and then I tried a 2.5 mile run on Thursday (1/31). Ouch. And then even more ouch the next day. I was NOT ready, and my R leg was MAD. Back to the Arc Trainer.

Then I went out of town for a conference the week after that, got violently ill (totally lost my voice) and didn't do anything for 6 days (2/3-2/8). UGH! 

I did attempt a 5-mile run Saturday (2/9) after having rested my leg for those 6 days. It felt ok. Feeling optimistic, I tried an easy 8-miler the following day (2/10), and while the run again felt ok, when I woke up Monday morning, I could barely walk. (((sigh))) Back to the elliptical...

This past week, I returned to the Alter G. Such a blessing to have that available to me. I was able to get up to 85% of my body weight by Friday, and yesterday, I decided to see how I could handle another easy 5 mile run on the canals (where I do a lot of my training). It felt better than ok. I iced/rolled as soon as I got home, and I'm happy to report that this morning, I'm not limping! I'm going to try another 5 miles later. God willing, it will feel like yesterday's success. 

At any rate, there really is no rush. I knew that mentally and physically, I'd want a break after this winter marathon. My spring consists of several fun run races with friends and a cross-country move with the family. Eeeek! I don't have it in me to chase a PR right now!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yuma Territorial Marathon: Race Report

Seriously, I am the worst blogger ever. I can't even remember the last time that I blogged, but I thought I would jump on here and give a quick, boring race report for my marathon. Does that inspire confidence for you to keep reading or what?

Honestly, there's no way to make my race report interesting because the race itself could not have possibly been more boring. Um, wow. Sometimes you do what you gotta do though, and this was one of those times. I knew several months ago that we would have a crazy winter/spring schedule, so logistically, running the Yuma Territorial Marathon was really the smartest decision I could make. And sure enough, my husband is going out of town TOMORROW, so I got my winter marathon in the books just in time. His traveling schedule is only going to get worse from here on out. It really wouldn't have been feasible for me to train for a marathon past right about the January time frame.

So anyway, the race...

Not sure if you knew this, but Yuma, AZ is actually listed as the sunniest city in the world in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Bottled water from the bitchin' race packet they gave us. Even my 9-year old thought the goodies were lame. He did like taking one of the ink pens though.

Yeah, so it's sunny practically 365 here, oh, except for marathon day. That's right! Torrential downpour the first 3 miles of the race. Awesome. Eh, what can you do? At least it wasn't hot! I'll stop whining because many of the bloggers that I follow just did CIM, and that looked much, much worse. At least it stopped after about 30 minutes today. The rest of the race was sort of drizzly/misty but no big deal.

So in a nutshell, here is my race:


Imagine a view like this but wetter.

This but again, wetter. 

I reached the turn-around point around 1:45:45 if I remember correctly. There was one girl WAY ahead of me (she ended up winning it in 3:17), and there were two others that I figured I'd be able to catch, as they looked like they were fading. 

I had stopped to pee some time after mile 17. Just like in my last marathon. I ran to the port-o-potty announcing to everyone, "I have too many kids!" (mom bladder). I'm sure they were like, "WTH is she talking about?"

I tried to pull my shorts over to the side to be quicker but somehow didn't pull them over far enough and ended up drenching my entire R side with piss. Fantastic. Why did I even bother stopping?

More fields. More highway. More nothing. No one to run with. Or pass. Or anything. The nearest person was about 2-3 minutes ahead of me. 

Finally entered the town of Somerton proper and was overwhelmed with greasy Mexican food smell. YUK. Not at all appetizing late in a marathon.

Hill during Miles 24-25. This is where I saw my only cheerleaders on the course--My friends Holly and Bill!* 

(*Unfortunately, my husband was not able to come because Evan had a swim meet. You can't just drop Evan off alone because he's 9 and will miss events without a parent goading/nagging him to get ready.)

I looked at my Garmin and was gunning hard for that sub-3:30, but it just wasn't in the cards today. I think it was the combo of the rain, extra humidity, boring course, mental fatigue from boring course... Who knows? 


Final results: 3:31:15, 2nd place female, 11th overall (There were 49 people in the marathon!)

Still pretty pleased with the end result. 7 minute PR, BQ, podium... Can't beat that.

Apologies that I haven't read/commented on any blogs lately. I'm teaching 4 classes this semester and am DYING. Will catch back up soon!

*Also, I have no idea why the font suddenly got smaller. Sorry!