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make my big decision

29 May

Here’s the scoop… many moons ago I did my first half marathon.  I was super nervous!  I joined a local run camp that met every Saturday morning during the winter.  I did it with my friend (we alternated driving) and then I met two incredible people/running partners that helped me power through.  I always knew I needed and wanted to meet up with them.

1:2 with my medal

I finished in 2:04, which I was and still am, damn proud of.  It currently stands as my PR and as you can see by the goofy grin on my face I was overflowing with excitement.  Then I kind of fell off the quality training track.  Part of me was a bit burned out and the other part was the lack of structure.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed sleeping in on Saturdays again (we got up and running around 8 am if memory serves) but I also knew it helped me cross the finish line strong.

can I do this?

can I do this?

So, there is another training camp starting on June 21st.  It’s 18 weeks long and can either be 1/2 marathon training or the full 26.2.  Since I have the Detroit marathon on the docket I would use this as my training.  It’s $120 for the entire duration and offers Saturday runs, a weekly run if you want to and track sessions.  Training camp will end the week after my race so it’s perfect timing really.

What’s the problem?  Saturday runs START at 7 am.  Not to mention, I haven’t been very good with sticking with a training plan since that first 1/2.  My discipline is kind of in the toilet and I’m very good at putting off what I could do today until tomorrow (or the next day).  I’m worried I will lay down the cash and then drift by the wayside.

thomas jefferson doesn’t look too impressed

On the other hand, I want to do WELL in Detroit.  I’m eager to hit a time that starts with a 4 rather than a 5.  It may seem silly but I want to cross the finish line feeling like I did when I crossed the finish line of the Dopey – that I gave it my all.

dopey 1/2 bib/medal

By the way, did you know I sometimes wear my Dopey medal around when I’m at home?

I’m probably making a decision based on this post.  I’m just doubting my follow through.  I need encouragement.  I need accountability.  I need some confidence.  I need… something.  Clearly.  The first day of camp will be the weekend of my Charlevoix 1/2 marathon but I’m not too worried about this as I can jump in the next weekend.

One more thing.  I signed up for camp one other time in the past – probably two winters ago?  First time around I was in the 10 min pace group.  I certainly didn’t belong there the next time around and our first run I was huffing and puffing long behind the rest of the group.  So much so that one of the coaches was hanging back simply to make sure I didn’t get lost.  I was deeply embarrassed and felt like a failure.  At least when I train on my own, I’m the only one to witness those unfortunate running days.

a pretty accurate description of my those running days

What do you think after reading all of this?  Share your words of wisdom!  Make my decision!


running realizations

7 May

Yesterday I had a good run.  I was sitting on the couch after a long day of work.  I didn’t want to go running.  I was grouchy.  My hand hurt.  I was tired (actually not super tired but enough so I used it as an excuse).  And then there was just this, “I don’t want to get off of the couch” feeling.  But I used these excuses the day before so I needed to buck up, buttercup.

So, at 7:20 pm, I got up, changed and went for it.  I have reversed my normal route, which has two really tough hills.  My hand has been hurting when running as I haven’t been wearing my ace bandage when I go.  Finally, I clued in this was a bad idea since all of the jostling wasn’t doing me any favors.  Thankfully, the less amount of hand pain offset the pain in my lungs and legs!

I also wore my new shoes outside for the first time.  At first they felt a little off in the heel area but soon they were comfortable.  I definitely can feel the higher heel drop as my piriformis acted up a bit.  I concentrated on landing mid-foot and this will need to be more of a focus.  Considering I will be wearing these for the 25k on Saturday (I don’t have a choice, the Hokas are causing blisters and my other shoes are shot), it should be interesting.

The funny part is, there were times when I was keeping some good time.  My phone would show my current pace and it would be 10:07.  I swear, lifting my knees and turning my feet over faster has completely changed my running.  HOWEVER, I don’t have the endurance/fitness to keep up with this!  I had to walk a couple of times and/or stop and catch my breath.  My overall pace was about 11:15 including these breaks.  The nice part is knowing I can hit these numbers again.  For a long time I just figured I had lost all speed and couldn’t physically do it anymore.  Realizing I simply wasn’t picking up my feet is a major boost.  Endurance and fitness can be earned the more effort I put into it.

wahoo – run fast!

Yesterday was also a moment of truth.  I did 5.75 miles.  I couldn’t get the last .25 as I got a work call otherwise I would have finished 6.  This run made me realize Saturday is going to be painful.  I’ve been fooling myself into thinking 15 miles was totally doable.  While I still believe I can finish it, I’ve adjusted my goals to comply with my current running fitness.  Here is my plan:

1.  Enjoy the run.  Last time I did this race I put SO MUCH pressure on myself and set some very unrealistic goals.  At the end I was crying because I missed the mark and was incredibly disappointed in myself.  I don’t want to repeat this.  I made sure to enjoy my Dopey experience and plan on repeating this mindset.  I’m also wearing my Minnie polka dot skirt for funsies.

Minnie mouse skirt and zen-y attitude... I'm ready

Minnie mouse skirt and zen-y attitude… I’m ready

2.  Embrace the pain – physically and mentally.  I’m preparing for it.  I have a mantra.  There isn’t anything I can do about it now so accepting it is the first step – in my opinion.  My legs will hurt and I will want to give up – I refuse to.

3.  Not go out too fast!  I’ve noticed on my last few training runs I have shot out of the cannon and then wanted to crawl through the rest of the miles.  I’m a huge fan of negative splits (aren’t we all??) so I need to keep my mind and body focused on slow and steady.

this illustrates what happens to a “T”

4.  The first three miles always suck for me.  It’s one of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of 5k’s.  It takes me this long to warm up and typically it dampens my spirit.  Thoughts like, “is this going to be how the rest of the run will be?!” bombard my brain.  Despite knowing things will get better it’s hard to get my head on track and my spirit sinks a bit.  Again, accepting this and relaxing.

5.  Realistic goals. A) Finish. B) Under 3:30.  C) Under 3:15.  D) Under 3 hrs.  I’ve decided to wear my garmin but not have it show pace.  I will keep it on regular watch mode so I can track my progress but not get caught up in the numbers.

Ha!  This is a bit of a long post.  Clearly there are some things on my mind.  I focused on running today because it’s been an up and down week and I don’t like moaning and groaning too much on here.  Or at least I don’t want to today!  Hope you enjoy your Wednesday!

ridiculous running shoe journey

22 Apr

I’ve mentioned it a few times many times that I’m on a search for the PERFECT shoe.  I want the clouds to part and rays of sunshine to fall on my beautiful, perfect new-running-shoe-fitted-feet.  This is the ideal.  But I will settle for something super-duper fabulous.

these are the emotions I want to feel

During Dopey, I saw a number of hokas running past me.  Considering I recently went from a stability shoe to a neutral with loads of cushion, I figured this would the PERFECT shoe.  Not to mention, Sweaty Emily raves about them and she runs a billion miles.  Then Kara from It’s a Dog Lick Baby World got them and I think she is very neato so I wanted to be like her.

did I mention I did this?!

did I mention I did this?!

A chunk of change later and I was the proud owner of a pair of Hokas.  Let’s just put it out there that these puppies aren’t the cutest things ever and they make my feet look giant.  Nevertheless, I was willing to overlook these for a sweet ride.

I wasn’t disappointed – at least not for a while.  They initially felt very large and clunky.  I kind of wondered if they were too big?  I ordered a size down so I could see if this was it and these rubbed against the side of my feet – the right side worse than the left.  So, I kept the 8.5’s thinking these would be the right choice.

Sadly they are not my earth-shattering dream shoes I hoped for.  The blisters on both feet are just getting worse and running is uncomfortable/painful.  I think my right foot is wider as this one is more irritated.  I thought I could push through it and I will but I need to mix them up with shoes that fit me better.  My Brooks Glycerin’s are good but my current pair are DONEZO.  I looked on amazon and they didn’t have any in my size so I will look somewhere else.  Amazon did suggest some Asics Nimbus though.  I started out my running career with Asics and maybe it’s time to go back?

p.s. NEVER look up “blister” under images… trust me

Clearly, I am incredibly wishy-washy when it comes to shoes.  My “journey” is silly and *perhaps* my standards are just a bit high.  OR I need to stop falling into the trap of hearing/reading about what others are wearing and thinking these will make me run like them.  While I don’t really believe this will make it true, some part of me wonders if there is magic in shoes…  I also should have gone to Hogwarts for my undergrad but you know… the owl got lost.

There you have it.  My Asics are coming today and I need to find the Glycerin’s right quick-like (just in case the Asics don’t work).  I have a 25k on 5/10 and I need time to break in the new shoes.  Not to mention, running in the Hokas on back to back days is making my feet all hurty.  I will stock up on some moleskin because Hokas last for 700ish miles.  I’m probably the only person who is disappointed by this.  I do want to say, I like a lot about the hokas.  The cushion is great and it definitely helps encourage mid-foot striking.  They also have a mad love affair with my treadmill.  I can’t explain it but running in these on the ‘mill is so much easier than in other shoes for me.

Oh no!  Another angsty post – here, look at this funny t-rex – maybe it will help you forget about my whining!

man, I love a good t-rex meme!

man, I love a good t-rex meme!


c’mon quad, give your calf buddy a hand

9 Apr

I’ve definitely jacked up my calf.  I am less than thrilled.

For the last month and half, my left calf has been bothering me.  It’s been really tight and I didn’t pay much mind to it.  I figured it would work itself out naturally.  WRONG!  On my ill-fated run in Indy (yes, I’m going to keep linking to this!) the last mile and half, my calf was screaming.  This is the reason I turned around – when I would attempt to run, it felt like my calf muscle was trying to break free from my leg.  It actually scared me a bit.

Unfortunately, because I was in a hurry when I got back, I didn’t stretch at all.  I did a decent job of cooling down as I walked to Baskin and Robbins that evening and walking to the restaurant for dinner.  However, the knot in my calf was displeased with me in the subsequent days.

the unhappy camper

the unhappy camper

Saturday, I headed out for a run and within the first few steps my calf was bothering me.  I hadn’t even gone a mile before I had to stop and stretch.  I proceeded to do this at each stoplight and it did help a bit.  I also noticed engaging my quads really helped.  Hmmm… perhaps I’ve been relying too much on my calves as my source of power while running?

My purely unscientific theory is running on the treadmill this whole winter has changed my stride a bit and I’m not using my bigger leg muscles much.  So, I picked up my knees and did my best to put my quads to work.  The good: I was running at a quicker pace.  The better:  it made my calf feel better.  The not so good: WOW!  It was exhausting!  Haha, these muscles certainly are not as strong – I see some squats and wall sits in my future!

hmm… this holds true for both my arms and legs…

It could also be time to retire my Brooks.  I’ve been wearing them since Oct?  Early Nov?  This includes all of the training for Dopey so they may be ready for greener pastures.  I do have my Hokas but I’m still on the fence as to whether or not these are MY shoes.  I keep going back for my Brooks when leaving for a run so I think this probably means something.

I foam rolled, stretched, iced, compressed and rested on Sunday.  I had plans to run but I realized this was a dumb idea.  I took Monday off as well and iced away.  Tuesday was a mentally taxing day at work and I had extra coffee and work stress coursing through my veins.  Part of me was screaming, “THE COUCH!  THE COUCH WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER!”  Then there was another part that was whispering, “what about a run?”  Somehow, the whispering part of me won out and I hit the streets.  I concentrated on lifting my knees and landing as close to midfoot as I could.

thanks for being there for me, couch!

Ta-da!  My calf felt much better during the run.  I also wore some compression socks and stretched 3 or 4 times at stop lights.  I wore newer shoes and spent some quality time working the knot out when I got home.  Funny enough, I had the energy to run 5 miles or more but I didn’t want to push it too much.  I think I ran somewhere between 4 and 4.5.  I originally thought I would only be able to run 3 so this made me happy!  A side note, picking my knees up is proving I’ve been shuffling about during my runs!  Just need to keep adjusting my form… and taking care of this little whiny calf!

long run tips from a lazy runner

24 Mar

Here’s the deal… I’m not one of those folks who LOVES exercise.  I don’t thrive off of the idea of it and I don’t come home from work or greet the day with a loud, “Wahooo!  I get to work out today!”.  In fact, if you were to invite me to some kind of boot camp class or a movie, I would choose the latter, every.single.time.  I would rather go-go-gadget the remote, or coffee than my Hokas.

This should indicate just how much I actually like running.  I get up on my own accord and run some miles.  Yep, plural.  Weird.  That being said, the long run isn’t easy for me – the impending miles seem a bit overwhelming to be honest.  So here are my tips to get through, you know, just in case you are a lazy runner like me.

1.  Get off of the couch.  Yes, this is one of the hardest steps.  Then procrastinate a bit more before getting ready.  Yesterday I tried out a new hairstyle.  Look at the Health and Fitness pinterest page for some motivation or read a running blog to get all jazzed.  Then I really have to get off of the couch.

oh man, I would kill this guy but it looks fairly effective

2.  Wear comfortable underwear (or dress for success, whatever this means for you).  I’m not one of the commando runners and proper undies is very important for me.  Uncomfortable ones will make me cut short a run every time.  I could continue but I’ll leave it at that.  The rest of the outfit should be comfortable and make you feel confident.  I have this jacket from Costco that was cheap and fits so well!  It’s super cute and locks and loads my upper half.  Oh and it has lots of pockets!  Yesterday, I wore a shirt from a race I didn’t run.  Shaming can be a helpful motivator as well.

3.  A good playlist.  This is probably obvious but a good one can really amp me up.  There are certain songs which basically keep me running even when I don’t want to.  There are other songs that remind me of people in my life and I end up thinking about them as I run.  Sometimes I leave the tunes behind but this is typically on the shorter runs.  It’s kind of like bribery by music.

4.  Plan your route.  On a long run a few months ago I thought out a route that I swore would be 19 miles round trip.  Planning out a 19 mile route is actually tougher than I anticipated and not even half way through I was very discouraged because the miles weren’t adding up.  It was like running through quicksand without making any progress.  And it broke my spirit.  When I plan it out, at least I don’t have any misconceptions of how many miles I am running.  Reality seems to help… well, sort of.  I can be in denial that I am running X miles but then not have my soul crushed when my garmin registers 3 when it feels like 10.

5.  Visualize.  When I am starting to hurt I think of past races where I surpassed my own expectations.  I make sure to stick with recent races.  Or I think about how I will feel at the finish line of my next race.  This is what I did with Dopey and I was surprised by the effectiveness.  Plus it got me excited to get to the finish line.

you can insert any race there!

6.  Create a mantra.  Some people will do things like, “kill the hill” or something along these lines.  Mine?  I say, “focus on form, not on pace”.  Sometimes “pace” turns to “pain” – it just depends on which mile I am running.  I know, it doesn’t seem like something that shoots my motivation through the roof but it has a good beat and keeps me focused.  I don’t think a mantra has to make a tiger roar – it has to get me through the miles.

this is more like what my mantra makes me feel like

7.  Rest day.  Tell yourself you only have 2 more runs until it’s a rest day!  Or at least a cross training day.  I never count the days, as in 2 more days until a rest day since this makes it seem very far away.  Counting the actual runs makes it seem much closer!

8.  Walk breaks.  I used to think walk breaks were the worst!  I felt as though I failed.  Now, I’ve learned to recognize the benefit of walk breaks.  I read an article that talked about how walk breaks also build endurance so I started to be okay with them.  I still like it better when I can run the whole route but you know, I don’t feel like a failure anymore.

great advice!

9.  Stick to downhills.  At least as much as possible.  Yesterday I started my route backwards so I climbed the toughest hill first and then the rest of the run was a bit better.  It’s fairly hilly around me anyway but I didn’t incorporate some of the more beastly ones.  I was too tired from Saturday when I didn’t follow my own advice.

10.  Work off your circadian rhythm.  On weekends I love to sleep in a bit, drink coffee, hang out on the couch and catch up on whatever is on the telly.  I like running in the afternoon/evenings much better.  Careful about waiting too long – this can lead to, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.  Trust me.

because I’ve gotten dumber since graduating, I thought it was a “cicada rhythm”. I’m slightly ashamed.

11.  Tweet.  Not when you are done – before!  And ask for encouragement.  Our twitter friends come through with “you can do it!” and the cheers help me out.  Then tweet when you are finished.  You/I deserve the accolades.  Also, I always imagine cars driving past me thinking one of the following:  “Go runner girl go!” – this is from a fellow runner.  “Wow, I wish I could do this too” – this is from someone who wants to run.  “What an idiot!” – this is from someone has some respect but doesn’t understand running.  Chances are no one is thinking anything but I like to pretend I have cheerleaders everywhere.

12. Take the phone.  This way, you won’t feel rushed to get back for an important call or possibly miss that text you’re hoping comes through from that certain someone.  Taking your phone alleviates this (not that he texted anyway but this is more of a personal issue!).  Oh and for safety.

oh man, isn’t this the truth?!

13.  Be proud.  Yay!  We did it!  I’m not sure if long runs are harder for lazy runners or not but I know it takes quite the effort to get up and go.  You know how people say, once you are out there you are fine?  Nope.  I can be out there and cut it short.  Or how about, just get dressed and then you don’t have any excuses.  Nope.  I’ve been half way dressed and decided not to go.  Completing the miles is always a big deal for me.  It doesn’t come naturally and I push hard to accomplish each mile.  Then there is that endorphin rush when I am finished (most of the time) and then I’m all jacked to do it again next time.  This running thing is quite strange.

I am excellent with excuses.  So, I have to be very diligent when it comes to long runs because I can think of TONS of thing to do other than hit the pavement.  Like take a nap.  Since I want the end result, a sub-2 half marathon time, be in better shape and some kick ass leg muscles, I need to do the work.  So annoying.  I wish that once you have run a marathon or a 1/2 that your body could always do it.  You know, like riding a bike.  Then all you would have to do is some extra speed training.  Maybe in another universe…

this really is the truth

this really is the truth

fight the urge to compare!

30 Jan

A while back I wrote about how I didn’t cry when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon.  Everyone told me I would since I just completed this huge experience but I didn’t.  I was proud I finished but disappointed because I thought I would do better.  I wrote how I was hoping to have this major flood of emotion when I crossed the finish line in the final race of the Dopey Challenge.

I should be crying after all of these miles, right?

I should be crying after all of these miles, right?

And I did.  I cried a bit and was bursting with pride… but not for long.  First of all, I was surrounded by people who had just completed the Dopey.  There were 7,000 of us total who attempted and I am not sure what the final total was who finished but I am thinking most people did.  Then there was the conversation I overheard the night before the marathon on the bus back to my hotel.  The gentleman said, “I’m doing the Goofy.  I didn’t get into the Dopey but seriously, the Dopey is the same as the Goofy with just a few training runs before it.”  Hmmm… sour grapes much?

It did kind of stick with me though – was this really a big deal?  Was it simply a couple of training runs?  I thought about this and remembered earlier that day while running the half my legs were indeed, fatigued from the two days prior.  So, I (essentially) stamped out that little bit of doubt.

Of course, missing the under six hour mark by two minutes stuck in my craw a bit!  Haha, I know this is beyond ridiculous!  Pretty soon I did hear stories of others who finished the marathon portion of Dopey MUCH speedier than me and I started wondering if what I just did was actually all that great.

When I got home, I had two friends in particular who pointed out how proud of myself I should be.  In fact, they both said “I hope you are proud of yourself…”.  Not to mention, these weren’t two of my friends who I would have ever expected this from.  Hmm… is there a sign on my forehead describing how I downplay my achievements?!

My mom used to do this all the time.  She was an amazing artist but could never see it on her own.  It drove me nuts.  She would constantly compare herself to others.  Sound familiar?  When I realized I am guilty of the same thing I knew it was a habit that had to stop.  The achievements of others only over shadows mine if I make it so.

There are loads of memes out there that talk about this phenomenon so I know it’s common.  I don’t want to do it anymore.  It’s silly and feeling proud of myself is such a GREAT feeling!  Not to mention, when/if I have kids of my own I don’t want to pass this along to them.  While it’s part of human nature, I can make it less of a part of my nature.  It is something I need to commit to, I already know it.  It’s very similar to breaking my habit of amping up my anxiety by playing situations/conversations over and over again in my mind.  By saying “stop” out loud, I’ve been curbing this pattern and it has helped!

So, I am confident I can change this about myself.  Besides, who doesn’t want to embrace their accomplishments?!  Heck beyond embracing them, CELEBRATING them!

in style of course

how is it possible NOT to appreciate a snow day?!

28 Jan

Alright, I don’t have wee small children so I am guessing having the whole day to myself is probably a little different from attempting to entertain the kiddies.  Especially when going outside freezes their face “that way”.

I, on the other hand, embraced a snow day with open arms!  Yes, I still needed to work a bit but it was from home, on my couch, snuggled in a blanket.  It was wonderful.

this is how it felt  as I was working

Yesterday, I worked, cuddled with Simon while taking a nap and then did some running!  Wahoo!  The couch’s siren call is much greater than my treadmill’s but I got it done.  I did 6.2 miles and there were a few surprises:

1.  It was the longest I’ve run since Dopey.

2.  When I first started running, I almost felt like I had forgotten how!  I ran last week so this was a weird new calf learning how to walk thing.

or a dog in socks

3.  I did some running in my Hokas.  At first it was very strange.  I mean they are comfortable and not heavy at all, just different.

4.  After running in them for about a mile and half it started to feel more normal.  Usually, I’m a bit stop and go on the treadmill but I fell into a decent rhythm.  I’m going to credit the shoes.

5.  I did four miles in the Hokas, after doing the first two in my Brooks.  I don’t think I will run much more than that at a time until they are broken in a bit more so my feet and legs get accustomed.

used this to ice my ank

used this to ice my wonky ankle

6.  I can’t quite tell if the shoes are too big or not.  I tried them on at the Disney expo and the woman who fit me said “these feel about right”.  Is this a definitive answer?  Am I over thinking this?  They feel big but let’s face it, these shoes don’t look the most streamlined so I can’t tell.  I ordered a pair of 8’s so I can do a comparison to the 8.5.  At first, I felt my heel slipping out but once I tightened the laces it was better.  Enter some neurosis about wanting the PERFECT shoe.  Seriously, it’s an illness.

7.  I got to look at my beautiful organizational handiwork!

ooo - so pretty!

ooo – so pretty!

I know folks talk about how they lose fitness and whatnot if they aren’t running much.  Yesterday’s run felt great and the lack of pressure was welcomed with open arms.  I didn’t realize how much I fixated on the challenge with every run.  Many thoughts that consisted of, “if you can’t run x distance today how are you going to run 48.6?” or “if you don’t do this run you are never going to make it through the whole weekend!”  You know, lots of self-support going on there!

But things have changed.  As previously mentioned, Mile 14 changed my running world a bit and gave me the boost of ego that I needed!  Oh look, this picture just happened to fall into this post!

I might actually frame this

I might actually frame this

Happy winter y’all!

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