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No Thinking Required

It is true that the body can only do so much.   It can only do what it can do and no more.   That is a fact.   BUT what if it can’t reach it’s full potential because the mind doesn’t believe.   If the mind opts out before the body is ready, it will take the body with it.   It is in control.

Training teaches us to push through, push past, and to work through the pain.

It is just as important to train mentally as it is physically.   The Ying and the Yang of training.   The body can only do what the body can do, but with the mind on board that is where the magic can happen.

I went out for a run tonight.   I knew that if I didn’t get my run in today that it wouldn’t happen.   I wanted this run.   I want to get back to running on a more consistent basis.  I pushed myself to get out the door when truthfully I was very comfy on the couch watching Tanked.    If I win the lottery, I am so having them make me a huge tank in my new house.   (Dreaming the dream).

Anywho….

I made myself get out the door.   In the back of my mind, I wanted to get at least 5 miles in if not 6.   I told myself that I would settle for 3 to get myself out the door.   Suited up for a night run and out the door I went.    One of the beautiful things about night running is that I have no idea what pace I’m running because I can’t see my watch.   So I was running by feel.   There was no over thinking.   Just running.

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On my run, I was thinking about things and just running to run.   I felt good on the run .   I think it would classify as a conversational pace running night if I had anyone to chat with.   I was just enjoying the big beautiful moon and what might be considered perfect running temperatures.    No thinking.   No over analyzing.   Just running.

Here’s the thing though…. I ended up with beautiful negative splits.

11:57, 11:50, 11:28, 11:06, 10:58

5 miles that I just enjoyed.

So the lesson that I took from tonight is that although I know that the body can only do what the body can do.    I also know that sometimes my mind hold me back.   Sometimes I over think.   Sometimes I worry too much.  Sometimes it’s ok to just run.

I may see some more “naked” no watching the watch runs in my future.

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Running through the Suck

Yesterday I went for my last long training run before I start to taper for the NY Half.    It was a good training run for a whole different reason than most.   It was good because as a whole it sucked.

Say what?

Going into the run…. I was tired form not getting enough sleep.   The day before I had screwed up with taking my medications.   On top of that on Saturday I had run hills had left my legs sore.

The run was a success for a host of reasons.   First, I pushed myself out the door to go.   Second, I did not shorten it and got the 11 miles in.   And lastly, I never gave up.

Aerobically I felt good on this run.   That is something because aerobically, I felt like I could keep going.   But the sore legs, feet hurting, and tingling from low calcium would have been valid reasons to stop.

BUT

I pushed through.   I stopped when needed to stretch.   I walked when needed to.   I used extra cal-ez and reminded myself to drink it which helped with tingles.   This run makes me realize that I will finish this half no matter what.   All runners no matter their health have good running days and bad one.   This is why we train.   So on those bad running days, we know that we can still get it done.

They say that to be a runner, you must learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.   Pain is not always your enemy.   You just need to know where the line between pushing through and when your body has had enough.   You can only do that by training.   Yesterday’s run was uncomfortable, but a good uncomfortable.

After the run, a friend texted me

“I am proud of you for running through the suck….. this is getting used to a different normal for you, and it is that much harder for you than another runner.”

And that my friends is why we train.

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Rain, Rain, I’ll Still Come Out to Play

Some people wait for the sunshine to run.   Some people will begrudgingly run in the rain.   And some people will not only run in the rain, but happily do it.  today was such a day.   I’ve been for the most part sticking to my training schedule.   I’ve been feeling good about getting the miles in, but I will say that I’ve hated getting them in.   The reason is because most of my recent miles have been on the treadmill.   Treadmill runs with no music as I can not find my skullcandy headphones.  (boo)

Miles are miles and sometimes that is all you need.   That is what I’ve needed.   But running more than 3 miles on a treadmill with no music is akin to torture.   Plus I hate running at the gym feeling like a hamster on a wheel.   I like to be outside where I can play my music through my phone and hear my own thoughts.

So today, I wanted to get out and do 5 miles.   My time was limited as I needed to be washed up and ready for work by 11:30 and I wanted to be in the air.    Today’s weather was warmer but still a little cool with rain.   I suited up appropriately with my hat to keep the rain off my face and a running rain jacket.    It was time to reclaim my “I will run in any weather badge” that I’ve lost this past winter. Besides I needed to have some true alone time alone brought by an outside run.

Today was a run about running.   About getting 5 miles in.    About seeing if I could carry a conversation with myself.   Once I warmed up and got going, I actually took off my rain jacket and wrapped it around my waste.   I flipped my Garmin around so as to not see the pace, heart rate, or any such thing.   And I ran.    I tried to stay in control of the run.   I tried to keep a conversational pace but sometimes I needed to remind myself of that.

  I just ran.  There was some walking, but not much.   I enjoyed the rain which I believe kept me from overheating.   I’m really not joking when I say that I run hot.  I honestly would pick a day like today for the NY Half.   Off and on rain to keep me cool, but I’m getting ahead of myself.   First I have to keep this training up.   If I could run in the rain though but keep my feet dry that would be amazing.

So today with no thought.   No set paces.   no plan other than to push myself and get 5 miles in, I had the best run I have had in ages.   I’ll blame it on the rain,  but this was the best run I’ve had in ages and I’ll take it!

 

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Oh Snap!

The other day while perusing Facebook, one of my FB friends posted that it was only 50 days till Chicago Marathon.

Say What???

Well two days later and we are down to only 48 days!

Oh Snap…..

I will say that although I’m not feeling that I will be putting in a podium level performance (nor was I ever), I am feeling a little more confident about getting to the finish line.   I do believe that is part of training too.   Not just to get your body ready, but also to get your mind ready.

As I said before, last week when I did the 6 mile run following the 3 to 1 walk ratio, it felt good.    I came home and ordered my own Gymboss timer which luckily came for my scheduled long run.    Even better, I had a friend who was going to run the first 8 miles with me.

Since we both wanted to go about our day and it was supposed to be a hot day, we decided to start at 8:00 AM at a local park.    I will say when my alarm went off very early, I had two thoughts.   The first being, “Why am I doing this?”   The second being, “I am in so much trouble once the school year starts.”    This was my first early morning run in a LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time.    For a while, I couldn’t do the early morning runs, but now it is a matter of liking to sleep in more than anything else.    As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes it is necessary to get up early to run.   This was one of those days.

It’s amazing how much the park was buzzing on an early Sunday morning.

There is something to running with a friend that does take your mind off of the discomfort of running so many miles.    We followed the 3 to 1 method chatting away.    Then it was time for my friend to depart and me to finish it up on my own.   I had my big girl panties on and off I went.   I admit that the second part of my run wasn’t as fun as the first.    It was getting hotter.    My legs were getting heavier.    Most of all, there was nothing to distract me from what I was doing.  (Ha!).

The beauty of where I was running though is that once I left the park, there really was no turning back.   If I wanted to get back to my car, I just had to keep plugging along.   I was feeling the effects of both the miles and the heat as it was up to 85 by the end.   I even took to dumping water down my back and front of my shirt.    I readily admit that by the time I was hitting mile 13 that I may (yes, I was) been walking more than I should.    My pace does reflect it.

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You know what?

It’s ok because I didn’t stop.   I kept moving forward and I finished.

Really what more can you ask for?   Just keep moving forward.

Then when was all said and done, I actually walked another mile after hitting 15 since I did actually need to get back to my car which brought my total mileage up to 16 for the day.

One step closer.

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All Is Not As it Seems

 

 

Still Plugging Along.    Still trying to figure it out.   One thing I’m trying to get a hold of is my Pace.   It is ALL over the place.   It is not reflected in the picture of my runs, but like peoples post’s on Facebook many times when you look a little closer everything isn’t as pretty as it seems.

Case in point.

This was last night’s run.   On face value it looks like a beautiful run.    Paces are on target.   I’ve got some nice negative splits going.   But when you look a little closer all is not as it seems.

This run started in the evening which on a normal day would mean that it was cooler.   Not so much right now.   It was still hot and the humidly was so thick that you could cut it.   This was supposed to be just an easy and slow run.    Started out accordingly.   Once I got out there, I knew due to the heat I more than likely do a walk/run.

Now I admit that I don’t follow the plan accordingly for the walk/run method.   Maybe I should.   Maybe I won’t.   One of the reasons is because I like to adjust my walk dependent upon the course.   I would much rather run down the hill than up it.   And I admit that part of me is digging my heals in a bit and really not wanting to embrace it.   Not because I don’t think it’s a valid plan or there is anything wrong with it.   It is 100% because it’s not a plan that I got to choose and was foisted upon me.

Heals dug in.

Not smart and I’m trying.   Oh so trying to get my head out of the neither region and realize that this is me.

So here is what the truth of my pretty split run.    I started out running.   Did some walking.   Then some running.   Then some walking.   Then some fast running trying to make up time.   Followed by heavy breathing and walking.    Pattern repeated.

This was not a smart run.   My paces bounced all over the pace.   I even sprinted at the end hitting a 7:39 pace.   That, I admit, was fun and felt good.    Not smart.   I need to be smarter.

Yes, this type of running will fly when running 3 miles and I might even be able to do it for a half.   But as everyone knows a Marathon is a whole different beast.   As those who have been here for a while remember, I hit the wall and I hit it hard at the NYCM by running the first half like I didn’t have the second half to run.  I even questioned Was It A Waste?  Not a smart race.   I was able to push through the wall and finish NY, but I honestly don’t know if my body could break through the wall if it hit it now.

I need to pull it all together.   I need to give up this dream that I’m still going to pull a 4:30 in Chicago.   Yes, it’s still there.   Come on, you know I’m an optimist.   I think this is what is my biggest problem is.  I keep hoping that some how my body will fix itself and things will work again like they did before.

  Plus I have forgotten how to hold a pace.  I used to be able to run beautiful cut-down runs holding my pace within 5 -10 seconds of set pace.  Practice makes perfect and I’m out of practice.   I think that if I went out yesterday and ran the whole 3 miles at a 11:45 pace or slower that I could have run more consistently.   Probably wouldn’t have needed to walk either.   It’s harder than it sounds.

Now before you say, leave your watch at home.   That’s not happening.   I’ve also set it to where I can’t see the pace and that doesn’t help.   This is just another step forward in the acceptance process of where I am and I’m still fighting it.   Just because I know it, does not make it an easier.

One Day at a Time.

One Run at a Time.

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Putting the Pieces back together

Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

 

I admit it, I’ve been feeling a little bit like Humpty for a while.   Say, since November 18th.    That being said, I have recently been coming to terms with my cracked shell and the realization that it’s up to me to put the pieces together again.   They might fit a little different, but that’s the way things go.

I’ve also realized thanks to the reminder of Training Peaks that I am now six weeks into my training.   They were also nice enough to point out that the Chicago Marathon is only twelve weeks away.    Time flies and I know it will be here before we know it.

I’ve been happy with my training recently.   I think it has something to do with the above realization.   Anyhow, I am (trying) to not beat myself up anymore and just roll with it.

You know what?

I’ve had some good runs recently.    Now my good runs to a front of the packer might make them scratch their head, but I’ve been happy and isn’t that enough?   Why yes, yes it is!

Case in point

Last night I went out for 7  miles.   I was comfy on the couch after a nice dinner, but forced myself to leave the mindless TV watching to go for my run.    It was bordering on becoming dark, so I suited up accordingly.    I forgot how nice it is to run at night when the streets are quiet and everyone is inside their house.   I went out knowing it would be a slow run.   Still trying to balance the walk/run thing and just figured that I would just let things take a natural progression.   Another plus is that once it got dark enough, I could NOT see my Garmin for pace.

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I ran just to run.

I ran for the miles

I ran just to enjoy the night.

I ran just to see how I would run.

Most of all, I allowed my mind just to focus on the run.

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Here are my paces and to be honest, I am actually very happy with them.

Once I hit my groove at mile 3 and after miles 4 I had negative splits.   Not bad considering that I wasn’t aiming for  them or thinking about pace.   I did consistently ask if “I needed to walk” or “If I wanted to walk.”   I found that last night I didn’t need to walk as much.   I think part of it was that I was having a good day, I was well hydrated, and I am slowly getting back to running mojo.   Either way, I will take a good run when I can get one.

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Yes, I am sore today and was much sorer last night than I should have been for 7 miles.   I’m noticing that it is my feet and my right quad that seem to be paying the price.   Going to see if I can squeeze in a massage this week and I really should foam roll more.

I’m also putting the pieces together for Chicago logistically speaking.    As soon as I realized that I got into Chicago, I did book a room for the day before the marathon and leaving the day after.   I’ve literally gotten into a car and driven home after running the Marine Corps Marathon and thought, “never again.”    I also figured that I would just see how things play out.   They seem to be playing out nicely:)

One of the other Moms in my Moms Run This Town group is also running Chicago.   We’ve started formulating a plan to fly to Chicago on Friday.   We can get a room near the airport for Friday night.   Then the next day move to the hotel room that I already have booked.  (Yes, I tried to see if I could add Friday onto my stay, but it was a no go).   Anyway, it is nice to know that we are in this together.   Plus she’s a sweetheart and it should be lots of fun!

I do so love it when a plan comes together and it finally seems like things are coming together for Chicago.

Unstoppable

 

 

I am lucky.   I know that.   I know it could be so much worse.   I know there are people fighting much harder battles than me. Knowing this does not make it easier.   It actually makes it worse because of the guilt.

I’m a lucky girl, but I don’t always feel lucky. And I hate that feeling.   Who am I to complain when I have been so blessed and am so lucky?

A small voice whispers, “Me.”

I’m an avoider by nature.   I see nothing wrong with burying your hand in the sand.  The problem with that is eventually you realize that you can’t breath and you’ve made the situation so much worse.

I didn’t realize it until after my run today, but I’m kind of there now.   Remember this week started Chicago Marathon training.   I’ve stuck to the plan.  Three easy runs.  Three days in a row for three miles.   Easy Peasy.

Or in my mind it should have been.

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The first run I did at  my local YMCA on the treadmill.   The second run was a fun run with friends.   Then today I was on my own.   Things were going good.   The run in my mind was much harder than it should have been.   I mean seriously it’s only three miles. and the weather is perfect for running.   What more could a girl ask for?

On the run as often happens, my mind processes things.   It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these runs and I needed this time with my thoughts.   I’m keeping a nice easy pace.    Today I want to run the whole thing with no walking.   Should be easy enough.   Mission accomplished.

Here’s the thing though….   By the end of the run, I am literally huffing and puffing.   A lot.   I end the run at my house happy as can be.  I even snap a picture.   You can see that I’m tired.   You can see that I’m sweating pretty decently for a short run.

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Here’s what you don’t see…..

At this point, my face is tingling.    My right arm is tingling.  This causes me irritation because IT WAS ONLY THREE MILES ON A COOL DAY.

If the picture was taken 5 minutes later, you would see me having a good cry.    It sounds bad and it wasn’t pretty, but I think it may have been just what I’ve needed.    During my run, I was thinking how far I had come with my running and where I am now.    It’s several major steps back.   I’m not even at square one anymore because at least when I started on this journey the only thing holding me back was myself.   That is not the case right now.   There is so much out of my control right now.   So many things that I never had to think about before.

Seriously.

It sucks.

But I’ve had my good cry which was well beyond due.   Yes, I’ve been dealing with the actual physical aspects but it’s time I deal and come to terms with the big picture.  I’m pulling my big girl panties on and I’m just going to keep moving forward.  I’m a lucky girl, but sometimes even a lucky girl needs a moment.   I may get where I was before in my running, but I need to accept where I am today.   I also need to accept that it’s ok.   In talking to others that have hypoparathyroidism the key is giving your body what it needs and taking it as it comes.  There are things in my control, but there are also things out of my control and there are things that change depending on the day.   So I will do what I can and start accepting what I can’t.   Giving up control is hard.

This disease will not stop me.

 

 

Running by the Numbers

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Running is all a numbers game if you let it get to you.

What is my pace?

How many miles can I get in today?

How much time to I have to run today?

How many weeks do I still have left in my training plan?

On and on it goes if you let it get to you.

I will admit, that sometimes I let it get to me.    But often, I just go with the flow.   It’s funny, sometimes I get so caught up in the numbers and sometimes I am clueless.   Like when I’m out for a run, I do admit that I am pace driven.   This is not a bad thing because usually I am saying to my running partner that we need to slow down.    When you train to run faster by running your many miles slower, it can be a struggle to keep the pace slower.   And, again, it’s not that I’m fast.   It’s just that most of my runs are 10:40 or slower.   Last week, I had a few that were at 11:30.   It was nice, but I had to be conscious of my pace as it was creeping up.

For example, I was going about my training acting as if the New York City Marathon was some far off distant race.   Then, bam, someone posts something showing that it is only a month away.

How did that happen?

Where did the time go?

My friends are all running their last long runs of 18 or 20 miles.   Then I realize that the longest that I’ve run is 16 for my long run.   It sounds bad.   It sounds like I’m not getting properly prepared.   Part of me starts to panic.   Then I remember that I hate those long runs.   I don’t mean hate those long runs like every runner training for a marathon hates/dreads running them.   I mean, I hate running them because for me, mentally, they don’t build me up but usually tear me down.  These runs do not leave me feeling prepared for my marathon.   They leave me wondering what I am doing.  So I opt to train without them if possible.   Last year I did one 18 miler before Marine Corps and that was it.

Now just because I am not running three 18 to 20 mile runs does not mean that I am going into NY unprepared.   It does not mean that I’ve been slacking on my running because shockingly I haven’t been even though I thought that I really was.   The truth lies in the numbers.   Last month I ran 145 miles.   What does piss me off is that there was a day that I missed a 5 mile recovery run due to not enough hours in the day to do it.   I would have been at a very impressive 150, but I will settle for the 145 if I must.

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I was talking to a friend today about my running on tired legs and this is why I don’t do those dreaded 18 plus mile training runs.   I’m certainly getting the miles in.   I’m certainly training my body and legs to keep going when they don’t feel like it, but I’m doing it the way that works for me.    Usually my training plan will call for me to do a 6 to 8 mile cutdown followed the next day with a longer slower paced run of 10 to 16 miles depending on the week.   This works for me.

I admit that I do have the luxury of doing this type of training plan because I do have the ability to run more days a week than some.   I know those who have to fit their training plan into a 3 to 4 day running schedule.    I would much rather run 5 to 6 days during a week.

The key to knowing what training plan will work for you is to know what you will need both mentally and physically.   Sometimes it is trial and error, but once you find the right fit it’s like finding the right running shoe and there is no going back.

So now, I’m faced with the realization that the marathon is less than a month away.   The funny thing is that before I get there I have one other big task to do next weekend.

It’s Hat Trick Time again baby.

Oh yeah.

We’ll talk more about that tomorrow though:)

Do you run by the numbers?

Quiet Please

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Yesterday, I had what my coach calls a cut-down.    I guess it is similar to a tempo run but a little different.

When I first started with my coach it took me a while to adjust to these runs.    With most things, it gets better with practice.   I find these runs are also a great way to get good at learning to keep pace.   The thing is when I started my cut-downs were not as fast as they are now.    Here was yesterdays scheduled run:

1 mile easy
1 miles @ 8:55-9:05
1 miles @ 8:45-55
1 miles @ 8:35-45
1 miles @ 8:20-35
1 miles easy

Just looking at these paces makes me wonder what I am doing.   But this week I am determined to get all my assigned runs in at my assigned paces if possible.   If nothing else I am comitted to stop making lame excuses.    Although it’s not always easy.

I knew that I wanted to do this cut-down on a treadmill.   I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to go till the evening.   Then evening comes and I’m ready to go…… But first

Hubby has been home sick and I run to pick him up some soup (yeah, I’m good like that)

Literally while pulling into parking lot of YMCA – “Mom, can you pick me and my friends (they are out at local festival) and they are going to come back and hang out our house.”   I’m like sure when only to find out that he meant right then.   Out of the parking lot I go.

Hubby, “Are you still planning to go run?”

AHHHHHH,    yes I am.   On a day less committed, I might have said no.   Not last night.   So finally get to the treadmill and think that maybe I won’t do the full 6.   Maybe I’ll only do 5.   Maybe I won’t run as fast as cut-down calls for.   On and on that little voice goes and mile by mile I shut her down.

Was the run hard.   You bet, but I think that is the point.    I’m always amazed when a hard run is over that I could actually do it.    There is a sense of accomplishment not only with completing a hard run, but shutting down that inner voice that wants you to take the easy way out.

Some days the voice is quiet, but on these days where it is a constant struggle to shut it up I know I am that much stronger.   It is learning to shut up this voice that will help me push through the wall in a marathon or any hard run for that matter.    For most or at least for me, the wall is not based on pain or at least pain that can’t be run through.  It is when the voice becomes to loud and I fall into the trap and listen to her.   These are the runs that teach me that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.   These are the runs that will remind me that that voice is a liar.

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How Slow Can You GO?

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We all know that I’ve never claimed to be an expert at running.    I readily admit that I have so much to learn, but that isn’t to say that I don’t have some knowledge as I’ve been at it a few years now.  A running friend recently asked me about my running.   She’s gearing up for marathon training as many of my running friends are and she wanted to know about my paces.   She specifically wanted to  know about the “running slower” in training.   As most of you know, my coach and now me, swear by this approach.   My coach can give you all the schooled reasons why it makes more sense to train slower (Chronic Runner), I can just give you my take on it.

Before I wisely started working with my coach, I would estimate that almost ALL of my runs were at the same pace.   It didn’t matter if it was a long run, a short run, or anywhere in between.   You could count on an almost steady 10:20 pace.   I thought I was doing good, but I was wrong.    It wasn’t good for my body and it wasn’t good for my training.

I know that concept of slowing down to speed up sounds entirely crazy.    I know it doesn’t make any sense.   It goes against the grain.   You think to yourself if I’m going to get faster, I need to run faster and I need to run faster a lot.    Well, yes, yes you do need to run faster.   Here is the thing though.  You don’t need to run faster ALL the time and honestly most of the time you should be running slower.   Seriously.  No joke.  No lie.

The first thing that my coach had me do when I started with her was to slooooooow down.   Most of my daily runs except the ones designed for speed were slowed down to 11 minute pace or slower.   I didn’t get it.   I thought this doesn’t make sense, but I listened.   I followed her advice.   These slower days balanced out with days where I pushed it and ran hard.     There was a balance that I didn’t have before.   It was the key that I was missing (that and most of the key chain).    I didn’t always understand, but I understood enough to know that she was right.

Here is the thing too.    Before I slowed down, I battled plantar fasciitis.   I battled it a lot.   Taping my foot.   Running in pain.   I just thought, “this is part of being a runner.”   I was wrong.   Now, I am not saying that I am always pain free.   I am not saying that new shoes and inserts have not also helped.   What I am saying is that running slower when I didn’t need to be running fast helped.   Not only with injuries, but also allowing my body to have the juice it needed on days I needed to run fast and then allow it  recover from those hard days too.

Here is the bottom line from all this slowing down.    I am an average runner.   I do not have what is considered the “runners body.”   I am short with short (but powerful) legs.   I am a few pounds overweight.   You know what all of that means?   NOTHING.    Really.    Not only have I been able to run longer distances without injury since slowing down, but I have also run faster than I ever thought I could.    In my 5K last week that I PR’d in 26:26.   I ran the fasted mile that I have ever run. EVER.   I ran a mile in 8:12.    This was unimaginable to me.   This still boggles my mind.   Yes, I realize it’s only a mile but my 3rd mile of the 5K was 8:19.     I may never get any faster that this, but I know that I would never have made it here if I hadn’t slowed down.

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How slow can you go?