struggle bus friday

Great scott – trying to wake up and get out of bed today was extremely difficult.  Like stupid difficult.  The kicker of it all was I was in bed and asleep by about 10:20 pm last night.  My sleep tracker did say I only got 3 hrs and 56 mins of restful sleep.  Unfortunately, this is the most “restful sleep” I’ve gotten in a night all week.  I’m no expert but perhaps this is a reason for my lethargy?!

Even worse, last night, I came home changed into my running clothes and sat on the couch to digest my energy bites and a banana before running.  I finally got off the couch but only to put my sweatpants on.

No running for me.  It’s the third day in a row so I really don’t have a choice but to run tonight because…

I have a race tomorrow.

It’s the first race I’ve done since a Turkey Trot back in Nov.  I’m not kidding, part of me is wondering if I even remember how to race.  I mean, I know it involves running so that’s probably all I need to worry about.  Well, that and dressing for 20* weather – could be important, too.

I don’t have any expectations of this 8k.  It’s a distance I’ve never run, located in a place I’ve never been and with lots of ice.  We need to leave at 6:30 am for the 2.5 hr drive and 10 am start.  I recently purchased some Bolthouse Farms juices and protein coffee drinks.  This will be my pre-race fuel/coffee beverage.

I purchased these along with 3 protein drinks including the salted caramel coffee one for the morn.
I purchased these along with 3 protein drinks including the salted caramel coffee one for the morn.

Then I’m just going to run.

After that we’ll be chowing down on some fried chicken at an establishment that has been touted as MI most “iconic” restaurant, the Bavarian Inn… where they are known for their fried chicken?  I don’t get it either.  A trip to a Frankenmuth Brewery, to Bronner’s – not on my have to do list but I’ve been told I need to see it.  I’m not the tour guide, just a tourist.  Then any other place that catches our fancy.  I’m looking forward to it.

So there you go.  Oh and I caved and had a second, albeit small, coffee this afternoon.  There was no hope – my eyes and brain needed fuel.


Be prepared…

Get this – I worked out on MONDAY!  No kidding peoples, this is unheard of for me.  Now, I’ve worked out on both a Friday AND a Monday.  Man, I love cloneAmy.

I got 3.5 miles in on Monday and 3.5 on Tuesday.  Tonight will be a rest day since I’m headed to a friend’s house for dinner.  When she asked me about any dietary restrictions, I felt like a giant pain in the ass.  I sent her a list of the most problematic ones – not even a list of the bothersome ones.  I think this could eventually even itself out (foods on my no-go list might go to the every once in a while list) but if not then I will be hosting dinners at my place hence forth!

it will be waffles every time

The 8k is a week and a half away.  I think I said I was going to run outside before the race but now I’m not so sure.  I like being all cozy in my apt while watching  Netflix.  Sure, the treadmill is tedious and it is certainly harder for me to run on as opposed to running outside but it’s cold outside.  Please insert all of the whining here.

It absolutely will be a brisk slap in the face when I venture out in the tundra on the 7th but I might as well experience the chill along with running outside for the first time in months (seriously, this isn’t an exaggeration) for some double whammy fun.

press your luck reference – anyone?

I will say, while I am not in super great shape, I’ve been focusing on consistency so I will finish.  And hey!  It’s a distance I’ve never raced before – new PR!  I did order a new running shirt/jacket thing for the race.  I’m going to call it my birthday present to myself.

Yep, next week is my birthday.  It’s weird it got here so fast.  I’m a bit freaked out by it.  I’m attempting to age gracefully but all I can see is that I AM ALMOST 40!  I still don’t understand how this happened.  You know how older folks say they still feel like they are in their 20’s or something?  I do – I feel like I’m still in my early thirties.  Maybe my body is falling apart like a person who is getting older but that’s it.  The rest of me has no concept of where this aging came from.

I do recognize the alternative sucks, I’m being ridiculous and I should be embracing the day of my birth.  I just pictured my life being very different at this age.  I don’t think my life is bad but there are things I want and are ready for and I want them NOW.  Did I mention I am not very patient?

This is a weird post.  There is a possibility of a more coherent one in the upcoming days but the aforementioned birthday is throwing a weird wrench in my mood.  I’m sure things will be a bit all over the place for a few days!

proud of this self

All too often I catch myself thinking of the “failures” in my life.  Maybe it was how I didn’t train enough, or didn’t do as well with a work project or haven’t done a load of laundry in about 3 weeks (this is no joke-it’s scary up in this apt!).

So today I am going to write on the items I currently pride myself on.  Once again, a list – I think I love these things!

I'm slightly obsessed with these
I’m slightly obsessed with these, too

1.  I’ve stuck with my gluten-free lifestyle.  I could be a bit overly concerned with it, although I’m guessing this is necessary in the beginning of any big change.  I de-glutened my cupboards on Sunday and found I tend to hoard food along with items.  It was a good lesson for me.  Again, I don’t think gluten isn’t going end society as we know it but it doesn’t work for my body.

2.  I’ve stayed strong in the face of a PLATTER of delicious cookies, carrot cake with loads of cream cheese frosting and naturally, my favorite brownies with frosting in the cafeteria.  Please know, it’s not the sugar I’m worried about.  I was having a convo with a co-worker and she said, “well, a little bit of gluten won’t hurt, you probably don’t need to worry about it”.  But this is a deep and twisty rabbit hole I’m not willing to jump into.

I ate pie instead

3.  SO MANY RACE EMAILS!  Goodness, they just keep coming, “join us!”.  And I really want to, honest but I know racing isn’t good for me right now.  Heck, running is barely right for me.  My stomach doesn’t approve of the jostling – at least in the beginning.  I can’t tell if it would calm down after a few miles since I haven’t made it past 1.5.  Oh well, I haven’t signed up – I’ve stayed strong.

4.  I’ve stayed very focused at work.  Every night this past week was a late night in my work world.  It wasn’t pleasant and by last night I was exhausted.  Nevertheless, I met deadlines, performed well in an important meeting, and accomplished a to-do list that never stopped growing.  I’m a firm believer in a healthy work-life balance and I am the guardian of my own time.  However, my work days were packed to the gills and work-life balance sometimes must be heavy on the work side of things.  Accepting it is just as important.  I gotter done real good this week and last.

5.  I made turkey pot pie from scratch!  It was a TON of work but I am so impressed with myself.  The recipe called for a bit too much thyme so just a note to self for next time.  Yep, I even crafted my own pie crust – for both this and my pumpkin pie.  And just let me say, not only was my pot pie very good but it was beautiful!

in a heat shaped pan no less
in a heat shaped pan no less

6.  It was an ugly sickness week.  Stomach and hormones combined is a nasty and painful result.  Again, I didn’t let it beat me emotionally or physically.  Oh I spent  some time on my couch but not a one sick day.  Progress.

simon is a perfect sickness partner
simon is a perfect sickness partner

7.  I haven’t given into my own personal sugar monster!  I’ve indulged – I don’t think abstaining is the right choice for me but I don’t need it.

These are all related and each one took some effort to accomplish.  It’s easy for me to push something off until the next day… and then the day after that.  Retraining habits man, it’s no easy feat.  I appreciate this and am damn proud of myself!

5k success

Yesterday was the Campus Classic.  This was the first race I ever ran and I’ve run it every year since.  Friday I realized I haven’t run a 5k since Dopey.  Suddenly I became a bit nervous!  I actually walked out of my apartment without my bib – race day jitters at their finest.

I laid out my outfit the night before.  My “cougar skirt” from Skirt Sports, my favorite race shirt and some arm warmers.  It’s been a mild fall so I didn’t want to overdress – this turned out to be perfect.  Office mate was running it too (his first 5k in years!) and he surprised me and our other co-worker with matching socks.

pink cheetah sockHot pink cheetah knee-highs definitely made me go faster.

The course is hilly.  It’s tough for sure and at one point a fellow runner asked, “are you serious? how many MORE hills?!”  I grunted in agreement because anything else would have taken too much effort.  Nevertheless, I was really pleased with my efforts.  I ran two miles on Friday night but those were the first two miles I’d run in two weeks so my hopes weren’t very high.  I didn’t walk at all AND my last mile was a minute faster than my previous two!  Who am I?!  Now, the last mile didn’t have the two steep hills as the first two but it certainly wasn’t flat.

I started sprinting a bit early as I was SPENT by the time I crossed the finish line.  Funny thing, I spent a lot of time trudging through long runs, which is what I needed to do.  Running a short and hard effort brought me back to my running roots.  I came home and signed up for another 5k next weekend.  It’s a much smaller race than the Campus Classic but it’s also held on campus, which means… hills.  Again.  I’m looking forward to it.

After the race a few of us met to partake in one other Homecoming event – a pancake breakfast.  This wasn’t just an assembly line of hotcakes mind you.  Oh no, there was a professional pancake flipper in attendance!  I know, I didn’t even know this was a profession!  I’m guessing it’s more of a calling though…

this griddle fascinated me
this griddle fascinated me
pancake flipper action shot!
pancake flipper action shot!

It was cool!  He had this machine thing that “poured” batter in a line and he was able to move it down the griddle.  Then you stood a couple of feet from him and he flipped the pancake at you.  It was so neat!  Of course, that meant you had to catch it.  It was a bit of pressure to say the least.  To my pleasure I caught both pancakes – phew!

I don't know these people but they caught their breakfast!
I don’t know these people but they caught their breakfast!

Then my couch greeted me with open arms – it’s so welcoming.

park to park 1/2 – this race is cursed.

Last year this race brought this happen stance:

the place of "the incident"
the place of “the incident”

My car key was the only thing that survived.  My handheld, fuel – all went down the toilet – literally.  As I mentioned last year, my scream sent dogs running.  I wanted to have some good memories of this race so I headed back to Holland, MI for another go-around.

I should have stayed in bed.

On Friday, I was telling office mate about my race.  He asked when it was and I confidently announced, “Sunday”.  He asked the time and I figured it was 7 or 8 am (standard start times) and proceeded to look it up.  Strike 1.  The race was on Saturday.  I started laughing, it was a bit maniacal, I admit.  How could this be?  Thank goodness I checked.

I set everything out on Friday night; typically I just wing it in the morning so I was proud of myself.  I woke up on time, 5:15 am and before falling asleep I decided I wanted to KT tape my arch, which has been nagging me.  I did so, although I couldn’t seem to get the tape just such.  Nevermind, I got into the car and hit the road.

I got there with a little over 45 minutes to spare.  I would have been there earlier but construction had me a bit turned around.  On my way to packet pick up, I spotted a real live bathroom that I missed last year!  I was overjoyed!  I utilized the flushable facilities and went to figure out my bib number.  It wasn’t there.  Strike 2.  Turns out I wasn’t registered or they didn’t have my name.  I didn’t have a confirmation with me (seriously, I am not that organized) so I rushed to fork over $60 and high tailed it back to my car for my running gear.

In the car, I decided the KT tape was bugging me too much.  I didn’t take it all off, just one of the stability pieces.  Foreshadowing everyone.  I got to the start line, and off we went.  I hadn’t even run .3 of a mile before my stomach was making whale sounds.  Truth is, it had been jumpy prior to the start line but I figured it was nerves.  Strike 3.

I’m not kidding – I even tried talking all sweet like to my poor tummy.

I should have stayed in bed.

I’m conflicted on the outcome of this race.  Some parts went fairly well while other parts are staying with me – and not in a good way.  Here we are:

Good: I nailed my fueling.  Honey Stinger chews are fantastic.

Bad:  My stomach jumped around the whole race.  I wanted to curl up on the road side for a few hours.  Bad stomach cramps, nausea, heartburn – there was no lovin’ in my tummy.  No pit stops but I used a lot of grit to stay on the course.

Good:  My pace isn’t really fast.  But it was steady.  I picked up some SportLegs and tried it for the first time on Saturday.  This stuff is legit – it definitely helped with leg fatigue.

Bad:  My ankle started barking somewhere in those miles.  I don’t remember which one.  Maybe from the ill-fated KT tape job?

Good: I woke up on time, made it to register, used a REAL toilet and managed to keep my panic out of the red zone despite the race hiccups.

Good: I finished!  Considering I’ve done nothing but falter this entire training season, this was my # 1 goal (remember when # meant a number?  the good ol’ days).  I really wanted to enjoy the run and let go of any unrealistic expectations that my body wasn’t able to fulfill.  Done and done.  And I survived this cursed race.

Good:  It was a decent confidence boost for the Detroit marathon.  True, I’ll have to do 13.1 mile MORE and this won’t be pleasant but I’ll cross the finish line.

I’m glad I did it.  Now, a couple of weeks out, I’m still happy about my decision, although my ankle is still filing grievances.  This will be a work in progress and I’m sure I’ll be limping across Detroit.  But I can do anything for 5 or 6 hours.  THEN a doctor can fix me!

park to park 14

I know, I’m a terrible patient.

running & sickness aren’t besties

Here is a recap of an actual race I ran this past Saturday!

The Peacock Strut is one of my all-time favorite races.  It was the first 10k I ever did, is a local race, is cheap and is only about 20-25 minutes from my apartment so even when I have to work, I can still race (as was the situation this weekend).  The thing is, I was waffling about running it this year.  I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to make the whole distance given my sketchy training lately.  Not to mention, I’ve been feeling crummy off and on as of late, more than likely anxiety induced and Friday wasn’t great within the health realm.

I know, gross but seriously people, my tummy is pissy pants

I told office mate I was going to run it.  He is a good person for me to tell my plans to because he checks up – as I’ve asked him to.  Because I felt crummy, I didn’t go sign up/pick up my packet the night before.  This certainly wasn’t a good way to boost my wavering commitment to running.  Nevertheless, I managed to drag my sorry bum out of bed in the morning and right out into the rain.  Strike two.  I’ve never run in the rain and it being chilly AND rainy wasn’t on my agenda for the morning.

Was there a strike three?  Nah, not really.  I sat in the car as I had some extra time before the race and pep talked myself into walking to the start line.  In the rain.  The weather channel said there was a 20% chance of rain (LIES!) but that it would be over in 25 mins.  I kept telling myself I could withstand anything for 25 mins!

okay, so I was in a really bad mood at this point

The race went well!  I really like the course and my form was on point.  I had to stop to fix my shoe early on – do any of you have one foot that needs/likes the laces tighter but the other foot doesn’t?  I find this odd.  I didn’t wear any sort of timing device nor did I have my headphones.  It was nice.  I was worried I would need to stop and walk as I wasn’t trying to be conservative with my pace.  Then I decided to just go for it and started a mantra of, “run this mile” since worrying about the future ones wasn’t doing any good.  Wouldn’t you know it?  No walking and kept to what I felt to be a fairly consistent pace!

It wasn’t my fastest 10k ever – in fact, maybe it was my slowest?  I’m good with this.  I came home after some sweaty errands (sorry for my stinky-self fellow shoppers!) and ran three more miles for a total of 9 miles for the day.  And get this, 4 miles on Sunday!  Maybe my first back to back weekend runs ever!

Oh the sicky-ness I mentioned above?  Hung around a bit and then came back with a vengeance on Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday.  Fever on Sunday and Monday and you know, some vomiting to round out the fun.  Never a dull moment with this health of mine!

running is like xanax

The weather gods have been kind to me as of late.  Not that I’ve necessarily taken advantage of all of the beautiful running weather but where I have it’s been good.

I’m sure this connects… or it doesn’t and it just made me laugh

Yesterday it dawned on me that it was a perfect day for a lunch run.  It was humid but overcast with a breeze, so good for a midday run.  I got home from the office quickly, changed and was out the door.

I have been remembering to take water with me and even though it wasn’t as hot as my Saturday run, I still drank almost half of a bottle of water.  I’m improving!  The run felt pretty decent but I can definitely tell much of my endurance is lost.  Of course this rattles my confidence some since I have another 1/2 marathon next weekend (July 21st).  I know I will simply need to “suck it up buttercup,” my new slogan.  I mentioned it before but I want to eliminate the urge/choice that I can simply skip a race because it will be hard.  I can do tough things.  I can follow through.  I know it and now I need to believe it.  So no backing out of next weekend.  My fate is sealed.  Then I’ll get a medal.

well, it’s one of the reasons I race – love me some bling

Saturday night I took to the streets for an easy run.  It was kind of lousy.  After an afternoon marathon of Orange is the New Black (still haven’t finished season one – working on it) I got up to go.  You know, laying on the couch all day does NOT make for fresh running legs.  It makes for lethargic, lead filled legs that scream, “take us back to the couch, crazy woman!”  After running/walking my way through a few miles, I cried uncle and bagged it.  While it was toasty and humid out, I could have persevered, I just completely set myself up for failure.  Wait – this is my MO.

The run yesterday did help to shake away some of the lingering anxiety from Sunday.  Why do I forget the power of movement and endorphins?!  Lately, I’ve been wishing my doctor wouldn’t have balked at giving me Xanax for days like Sunday when I can’t get the inner shakes under control.  Yes, I understand the whole “highly addictive” piece however, I think I could fight that… Nonetheless, she said no.  I need to remember that a run can certainly act like a Xanax without the feeling of being hung over the next day (always a bonus).  Maybe if I tattoo this on my forearm I’ll remember.

running is great!

time needs to stop now!

Ugh – Monday and Tuesday I continued to feel under the weather.  I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so lethargic and it dawned on me that pain killers probably aren’t keeping me bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Yesterday, one of my fellow Dopey runners posted the following on my fb timeline: “Only 70 more sleeps!”.  I think I threw up a little in my mouth.  Remember how yesterday I said I should chill out because I’m not in peak training?  Well, that went out the window as soon as I read that!

So, I watched “Spirit of the Marathon” last night.  It really is such a good story and is so inspirational.  My favorite runner is Lori O’Connor.  It didn’t tell her finishing time but I was finally able to locate it (yes, I was a stalker) and she finished in 4:21.  I just really liked her determination and her confidence in herself.  She knew she had put forth the training and come race day she was ready.  I’m excited to feel this way!  And I know I’m on my way!

be prepared – this will be used again!

I also want to put a shout out to my baby brother!  It was his birthday yesterday!  This whacky kid (adult) ran his first marathon when he was 12 or 13.  He thought the finish line was closer than it was and basically sprinted the last few miles.  He ran that puppy in 3:30-something.  I know, AMAZING!

here is my mom and an almost baby kevin!
here is my mom and an almost baby kevin!
kevin was 8 months old when he started walking!  he is already wearing his marathon shorts!
kevin was 8 months old when he started walking! he is already wearing his marathon shorts!
everyone used to think we were twins - I loved it
everyone used to think we were twins – I loved it

Happy Birthday Kev!

runnin’ just as fast I can

hmm, where have all the Tiffany gifs gone?

This morning was the annual Campus Classic.  It was the first race I ever ran (I trained a whole summer for it and never dreamed I would be able to finish) so it has a special place in my heart.  (Plus the start line is less than 5 mins from my front door.)  I’ve done it every year since and it’s always been hard.  They changed the course this year and seriously, they made it harder than ever.  It’s all around campus and they made the course hit every freakin’ hill there was.

But I was happy with my time, especially considering the hills.  TONS of people were walking and my goal was to keep pushing through.  It was harder than I anticipated since by the first mile we had already run up a long hill and my legs already felt shot!

When I got done, I finally knew it was time for some new shoes.  On long runs my feet have been really hurting, the outer part of my under foot has been bugging me, on Thursday I hurt my ankle and a few other issues.  Turns out, I don’t need stability shoes anymore.  Mind blown.

I went to my local running store and the woman, Ty, was awesome.  She brought out 4 different pairs and we set out to test them.  They let me run outside in each, which was great.  It came down to Brooks Glycerin and Mizuno Enigma.  I ended up with the Glycerin, however, in a few months I might pick up the Engima to switch off and on during the week.  Oh and I got the “Aquarius Blue” glycerin even before I knew the name – total fate friends.

Trust me, they are oh-so pretty.  And of course, practically the Rolls Royce of shoes.  Thanks feet, you have expensive tastes.

As I mentioned, I think I sprained my ankle a bit this week.  It’s really been bothering me so I’m icing and limping a bunch.  I won some Rock Tape from a blog (thanks Wine to Weightlifting) about a year ago so last night I watched a taping video.  I was skeptical but it really helped!  I was surprised.  It wasn’t perfect but a lot less pain then when I’ve been walking around.  So yeah, I recommend it.

If you are running, hope you have some happy miles this weekend

my race doubleheader

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 6:26 am and for a moment I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.  Truth be told, I even considered it.  Had this been even a few months ago, I probably would have done it (and did).  But I was running with my friend so I figured ditching her would be kind of rude.  I also had set everything I was going to wear out the night before like a good runner should.  In the morning I decided I didn’t want to wear any of it and completely overhauled my whole outfit.  I’m my own kind of “good runner”!

As I mentioned the other day, the Peacock Strut is my favorite 10k.  When I signed up, I saw it was the same price to sign up for both the 10k and the 5k.  I knew I was going to need to get more miles in anyway so I decided to go for it.

this was my friend's first 10k!
this was my friend’s first 10k!

It didn’t dawn on me until a few days later that I was going to RACE two events.  I knew taking it easy would be difficult for me because the competitive spirit is so addicting!  Saturday, it was a very cool morning, in the low 50’s, which is great.  You have to walk up this long-ish hill to get to the start of the race and I was chilly.  But these are great conditions to be sweating my bum off so I sucked it up and waited for the air horn.  Right before the start, my iPod battery died so I was hoping this wasn’t a terrible omen for the race ahead!

The 10k went well!  I got stuck behind this group of women around the 3.5 mile and this part of the course is the out and back and I didn’t want to step into the other “lane of traffic”.  I was also concerned that if I did pass them, I wouldn’t be able to keep the pace.  This was dumb and I think ended up biting me in the hiney.  Finally, I did get past them and I picked it up.  I knew I was going to still have to run the 5k but I wanted to run the mile I was in NOW.

I finished the 10k in 1:08 and a few seconds.  I think this is the slowest 10k I have ever done so I was kind of bummed.  I also didn’t think I had much hope for a successful 5k.  I shoved some Honey Stinger chews in my mouth and hiked back UP that stinkin’ hill!  The start was a bit closer but not by a whole lot.  I actually had never had Honey Stinger chews but they were awesome!  So YUMMY!

I’ve never had good luck with 5k’s.  My PR is 28 mins, which isn’t very fast considering how much I used to run; especially considering my 10k PR is 52 mins.  I’ve also never warmed up before running a 5k and I am beginning to think this might help!  Instead of the 10k being a hinderance, it definitely helped being warm and ready to run.  My 5k time was 33 mins.  My last 5k time was 33 mins and I certainly hadn’t run 6 miles prior!  I was very pleased with this outcome.

stronger than you thinkThe finish line ends on a hill.  It’s short but a bit steep and at the end of the 5k I felt like I was climbing Mt Everest!  Haha, I’m sure I looked like an idiot as I was almost falling over!  OH!  And as I was nearing the finish line for the 10k, I almost fell into the pond  when I turned the corner.  Yep, I’m a disaster.

All in all, this was a very good plan!  I decided to include the portion I walked to get up the hill for the start of the 5k and this rounded out a happy 10 miles.  It was certainly the boost I needed for this upcoming half on the 28th.  I also realized sometimes I am ridiculous.  Why wouldn’t have I been able to accomplish this?  I’ve achieved many things as a runner.  I’ve run two marathons.  I’ve run a handful of halfs, a 25k, 10ks and 5ks.  An overnight relay and a regular relay!  Oh and a mudrun, which I don’t think I will ever do again!  The other night I was whining about a bad run and how I “pretend to run” to a friend.  His response, “whatever, you ARE a runner”.  This stuck with me and helped fuel me through today when I wanted to walk!  All the times as of late when I felt I couldn’t keep going were my mind playing tricks on me.  Clearly, I can run nine miles without walking.

I feel like I have these running epiphanies every few months!  Since my mental game has been lacking (especially as of late) this was the perfect time for this epiphany.  So there you go, your body is always more capable than you realize.  Trust me – I’ve tested this!