Friday, May 19, 2017

You Should Expect This By Now

Yeah...soooo...once again, I signed up for a 5K months ago.  I had a training schedule in mind, and race day goals for a decent time, and was committed to putting the work in so I could be proud of myself for this one.  And once again, I haven't trained at all.  AT.  ALL.  The last time I ran was 3 miles in February.  So tomorrow morning I'm pulling the usual Bel running style and waking up and running a 5K with zero prep.  Oh, and did I mention I'm getting over a small chest cold?  So it's gonna feel really good too.

Clearly my goals aren't anything lofty.

1.  Finish without dying
2.  Run the entire 3.1 miles
3.  Finish in 38 minutes or less?

Not sure how attainable that last one is.  That 3 mile run in February I clocked in at just over 38 minutes.  Maybe the race day adrenaline will kick in and magic will happen??  I don't know.  But I'm tired of constantly doing this to myself.  I really want to put up decent numbers again but just don't have the time to train properly 😕

Anyway, wish me luck!!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Run 2017 Challenge

By now we all know that I'm the world's worst runner.  Well, according to my awesome tank top I'm actually the world's okayest runner.  But I am the worst with consistency and schedules.  Too often I get too busy to get a run in, or I get sick, or there's some kind of excuse to not get up and run.  I am the queen of waking up and running a 5K on race day with zero prep because it all just crept up on me.

So.  As inspiration to run more this year (and drop the 10 lbs I've gained back since September!  Yikes!) I joined the Run 2017 Challenge with my friend KA.  We will be running/walking 2017 miles in the year 2017.  Whether or not it's split between the two of us or done individually will all depend on how much we are actually able to get in on our own.  It's a lot, and it seems daunting, but I'm hoping for the best.

Today was the first run of the year, so I'm SUPER behind already.  Yikes!!  I ran 2 straight miles and then ran/walked to a little more than 3 to finish out a show I was watching on Netflix.  So far, my miles walked/ran for the year (because let's face it - it's all walking so far since today was the first I ran) are 24.4 miles.  I need to have 38.78 for the week if I am to hit 2017 on my own, and only 19.39 to carry my part of the team.  So I'm somewhere in the middle, lol.  I'm sure as the days and weeks go on I'll come up with some sort of a routine for this.  And I've agreed to do a bunch of 5K races with my friend LM throughout the year so that will help too.

Can't wait to see if we do it!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Running Stream of Consciousness

Ok, let's DO this!!  Ooh, Abba!  I love Abba!  This reminds me of Liz!  Liz will be running with me next week, that's going to be so much fun, I love running with Liz!  La-la-la, I got this, I can do this.  When I'm done with this I have to be quick because I have to take the kids's Christmas Card pictures before we go visit Santa.  Got it.  I'll be done running in under 30 minutes, half an hour to get myself ready, should be no problem.  That was really good cheesecake last night.  I shouldn't have eaten that.  I should run faster.  Let's go faster.  Ok, not that bad, I can handle this.  Yes, Divine Miss. M., I AM beautiful, damn it!!  Cheesecake and all!!  These earbuds are pretty cool, I don't even notice them in my ears like with the ones that come with the iPhone.  You know what would be really cool?  If I got Liz a pair of these, then we could both be listening to the same playlist while we run together.  I wonder if she'd be game for that.  Man, I'm really sweating, I should be close to my 2 miles now.  WHAT??!!  Only 0.6 miles so far??!!  This is ridiculous!!  I'm not even at a mile, I want to do 2 miles today, how on earth am I going to do 3.1 miles next week??!!  This is impossible, I am a total failure.   What was I thinking signing up for this stupid race?  I'm not a runner, I can't run things, I'm going to be so slow and Liz will want to be nice and stay with me but I'm just going to hold her back.  And she should really go for it because she's gotten really fast and I want her to PR this race...why is this song on here?  Nobody can run to this?  God, I can't even get a playlist right, I am an epic failure.  I hate running.  It's stupid.  I'm never running again, why do I DO this to myself??!!  Why, oh why does it have to be the quickest and most efficient way to burn calories and stay in shape??!!  Ugggghhhh!!  Will these 2 miles ever be OVER??!!  **sobbing**  OMG, Melissa Etheridge...yes, I run for hope, I run for life.  She's alive.  She beat cancer and is still kicking ass.  If she can beat cancer I can run 2 stupid miles.  Thank God I don't have cancer.  What if I have cancer?  I should have taken better care of myself.  I should have stopped smoking sooner, started eating better and exercising much sooner.  I should stop giving the kids hot dogs.  What if THEY have cancer??!!  OMG, I'm giving my kids cancer!!  **sobs more**  Ooh, 1.5 miles!!  Only half a mile to go!  That's not so bad! Yes Amy Steinberg, I should just keep on!!  Half a mile is nothing, I have done this tons of times.  I'm actually pretty amazing!  I can't believe I've even been able to run AT ALL with how sick I was as a kid, and I've done a whole bunch of 5K's.  There are so many people out there who can't even WALK a mile and here I am, sad that running 2 miles is hard.  Get over yourself Bel.  Put on your big girl pants, suck it up, and just run.  I am sooooo lucky.  I have a treadmill in my fucking basement.  I can run whenever I want.  I should run every day.  EVERY.  DAY.  Don't take this for granted, you won't have this time home forever.  Ooh!!  I'm almost done!!  1.85 miles!!  Let's go!!  Lets push it as fast as I can go!!  I can run at an 8 no problem!!  I can do this!  I can do this!!  I DID IT!!!  YES!!!    That was an amazing workout!!  I really need to do this again tomorrow.

And this, my friends, is why I cannot run a marathon.  This was me left alone with my thoughts for 2 miles.  I think if I did 26.2 you'd have to commit me at the end.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Running Is Hard

Today's run was supposed to be about distance.  And since it was a nice day out I decided to ditch the dreadmill and go outside.  In general, I like running outside much more than on a treadmill.  However, when you're trying to keep your speed down and add distance, outside makes it really, really difficult.  In my head, I said, "Don't go too fast" but my body didn't really get the message.  So I was out of breath & struggling for a lot of the run, and the sad part is that I didn't really even manage to shave much off my time from yesterday's run, averaging a pace of 10:45.  I also miscalculated my distance.  I looked at previous runs and I picked a course that was supposed to be about 2 miles.  However when I finished it today it was only 1.62 miles.  So I didn't add the distance I wanted to either.  Full run report here at MayMyRun

Overall a disappointing run but at least it's in the books.  I think from now on if I need to maintain a slower speed I'll stick to the treadmill and try to work on speed outside.

On a happy note - I got to try out my new birthday present from Wifey:  Dreaminex Bluetooth Headphones.  They were pretty cool!  Much more comfortable than regular earbuds.  And they are blue, which is my favorite color.  Also, I am finding that running is the easiest way for weight to drop off of me, so I'm back into some of my older running clothes, which also makes me happy :) 

Next Up:  A rest day and then hopefully I'll be able to add more runs in during the week.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Under 11 Minutes!!

Today's run my goal was just to run a whole mile faster.  So I started at a 5 instead of the 4 that I've been going with and worked my way up to a 6.2 at the very end.  It was tough.  I was winded, running harder than I have been so far.  I had been averaging just around 12 minutes per mile with minimal effort so I was hoping to make it around 11:30 or so, and I was pleasantly surprised when I came in just under 11 minutes, with a 10:56!!  Woo hoo!!  It hurt, but I did it. 

For my next run (whenever that will be) my goal will be to run 2 miles at a slower pace.  I need to add some distance to my workouts as well as speed, so I will try to vary my focus.  I don't have a lot of time before the race, so my expectations aren't too high, but we will see what I can do!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Two-In-One

I didn't get a chance to write about yesterday's run, so I'll do that with today's post.

Yesterday: (On MayMyRun)
Yet again, it's been about a week since I last ran.  Just did 1.5 miles in 18:01.  The first mile was 12:42, average pace of 12:30 since I sped up as I went along, so I'm still going slowly.  Nothing major to report.  I felt pretty good, it was an easy run.  My biggest discovery was while zoning out, staring at the window in front of the treadmill in my basement...I noticed the carcass of a bee. Disturbing since I'm allergic to bees & the basement is sealed so I have no idea how this sucker got in.  Glad it's dead already so I don't have to deal with it, but now I'm worried that there is a mega nest living in the walls of my house and the only solution is to burn down the entire house.  Perfectly rational train of thought.

Today:  (On MapMyRun)
I wanted to add in some speedwork, so I ran a full mile before I did anything.  Started at a 4 and slowly worked up to a 6 towards the very end of the mile.  First mile was done in 12:24, so I was faster than yesterday.  Then I alternated between walking anywhere between a 4 & a 5 and running at a 7+.  I did 0.75 miles over the course of 8:17.  Hopefully I will be able to add both speed and distance to my runs in the upcoming weeks...I only have 4 weeks left before the race!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Another Slow Morning Run

Day 2 of wake up & run.  It seems to be working - my brain isn't awake enough to negotiate reasons why I can't run yet.  The slower pace is making this much more manageable so I think I will stick with it for a while; I need to figure out how to work some speedwork into this - Not sure what the best idea is just yet.

Today's run was 1.25 miles in 17:52.  The first mile was done in 14:30, last quarter in 3:22. I've been keeping the treadmill at a 4 and increasing when I feel OK to.  If I get to run outside it's going to be hard to keep it slower so we will see what happens...

It's Sunday and I have a very crazy week ahead of me with prep for Halloween & an Open House we are hosting - Fingers crossed I can juggle it all!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Run After The Sickness

So I had to take a bit of an illness break.  Me & the kids all had some sort of wicked upper respiratory infection thingie, which for me triggers my asthma.  If I were to even try to run before my lungs were healed I would have gone into a full blown attack, and nobody wants that.  The first two weeks were because of illness 100%, this past week was schedule crazy - kids with half days, doctor appointments, madness.  I have to be better about leaving time for me to get runs in, so that's something I still need work on.

But for today's run I decided to take the advice of an article I read about how training too hard/fast might not be doing me any favors.  In the past, my average run speed on the treadmill was between a 5.5-7.0, depending on how ambitious I was feeling.  But I'm not there now, and I keep forgetting that.  This article said that for regular maintenance runs (which is all I'm doing because I'm not a real runner, I don't do long distances) I should be able to talk while running.  I should not be horribly out of breath or gasping for air, that the run should be rather easy on me and to save the hard stuff for speed training.  Apparently I wasn't doing this right.  All of my runs were leaving me completely out of breath & they were a struggle so today I decided to pull waaayyy back.  Even though my first few runs out there were already pulled back for my running norm, I pulled even further back.

Today I started at a 4.  That used to be a walking pace for me.  It's not anymore and that is sad, but I have to build up to that.  So I started at a 4 and actually felt really good about it.  I was able to breathe but I still felt like I was getting the exercise I need, sweat dripping, etc.  This was a straight out of bed morning run.  Like, I literally opened my eyes, drank some water and then headed down to the basement.  Didn't put on any running gear other than sneakers and ran in my PJ's.  Because I'm hardcore like that.  And after a bit of running at a 4 and waking up I increased to 4.2, 4.5, and then 5.  If you've been following along since the very beginning you know I like to end almost all of my runs with a quick dash and today was no exception.  I did the last 0.2 miles on 5.5.

I felt pretty good at the end - slightly winded from the final sprint, but I didn't feel defeated, which is how it has been.  I DO NOT like how long one simple mile took, but it wasn't agonizing.  My final time for 1 mile was 14:02.  Almost embarrassing - I think I ran my first ever mile much more quickly, but I guess I have to learn that I can't compare.

I hate that I fall off the running wagon so frequently so I'm going to try to be better - it's just really, really hard with the kids & their schedule but it is something I have to do.  So I turn to you - how do you stay on track?  What tools do you use to keep at it?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Jogging With The Jogger

This isn't pretty.

It's a gorgeous day out today so I lugged the jogging stroller up from the basement, wrapped The Boy in warm clothes & a blanket and took off running...er...jogging.  I cannot call this running because it was very slow & laborious.  This was a much different experience than running solo and my time shows that.  There is a learning curve here, I'm sure I'll get it but it's going to take some time.

This was only my second time out with a jogging stroller, the first time being the Strides For Survivors 5K Wifey & I did back in April, which was a beast.  So this is a double jogger and since The Girl is at school, only The Boy was with me, throwing the stroller out of balance.  So instead of being able to steer with one hand and keep the free hand in "running" mode, I had to keep 2 hands on the stroller at all times to avoid it veering off to the left.  Maybe half a mile into the run jog a muscle in my shoulder started to cramp from constantly re-directing & pulling to the one side, and did I mention that this thing isn't light?!

I have to say though, that The Boy did very well.  It was a much, much different experience with just him, not having the two of them fighting and pushing each other.  The weather was perfect for running, it was my best hour of the day (just before 10am) and The Boy loved seeing all the birds & squirrels running around doing their animal things.

 I took one of my old routes, which is about a mile and a half.  Once we got started and I saw that it was going to be slow, I figured I'd add some distance at least.  So when all was said & done, according to the MapMyRun report, I ran 1.47 miles in 17:26.  Average pace was 11:50, which was even longer than the time on the dreadmill the other day.  And a cool new thing I noticed, though I'm not so sure how "cool" I really feel exposing this but whatever...you can actually see the songs I listened to while running on the MapMyRun report within the app.  Super dorky.

So, it's going to take a while, but I'll find my groove with this thing.  Maybe it'll make me even faster when running solo?


Me & my new running buddy, post-run.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Outside is Better

Yesterday Morning was Day 2 of being back at it & running again.  Since it wasn't actually raining out & Wifey was home I decided to get out there and give it a go.  I decided to follow a semi-new route that would make it 1 mile roundtrip (most of my usual routes are 2+ miles and I'm not up to that yet).  It starts similarly to pretty much ALL of my routes because I'm fairly limited but it takes a different, shorter turn.

Lord, I love running outside so, so, so much more than on the dreadmill!!  I'm just out of my "Summer is Over" funk and embracing Fall to the fullest, which is actually one of my favorite seasons despite the cold, and this run was chock full of Fall wonderland.  Colorful leaves all around my feet, that crisp-yet-damp-chill cutting the air, the smell of fireplaces & wood-burning stoves filling my lungs, no bugs to contend with...it was great.

And on top of that, I cut my dreadmill run time by over 1 full minute, further proving that the treadmill actually hurts my performance.  So I'm going to try to run outside as much as possible.  I'm obviously going to be limited by rain & the Boy child but if I can make it work I will.

According to the MapMyRun report, I ran 1.01 miles in 10:27 so I'm getting there!  Not in as bad of shape as I thought, or as the treadmill was telling me, so there is hope!  LOL.

I'm taking today off because I just don't have time for a run but I'll be back at it on Monday so I'll check back then.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Back At It

It's that time of year again...time for me to register for a race & then be completely unprepared, having not run in months; not since the last 5K I was wholly unprepared for. 

Not this time.

This time I will do better!  This time I will prepare!  This time I will put up a better time than 38 minutes!!!  (And since my last race involved a double stroller and keeping the same pace as wifey uphill, I think I have a decent shot!)

So it started today.  Since it's rainy & gross out I took a lap on the dreadmill in the basement while I had the boy set up in front of the electronic babysitter.  (I don't feel bad about this anymore - he's older & even if I run a whole 5K, my absolute worst time was 39 minutes).  I want to ease into this so as not to be in a huge amount of pain in 2 days and so that I can gradually work up my times.  So I did 1 mile in 11:34. Not great, but it's 1 mile down, hopefully the first in a series of regular running days.

So I've registered again for the Race For The Hungry Holiday 5K here in Burlington (click here if you want to join me!) and LMG is running it again with me so that will be fun :)  My goals are fairly simple.
  1. Finish without incident or dying
  2. Run the entire 5K without walking
  3. Finish in under 35 minutes (I might make this a shorter time as my training continues & I get faster, but for now, 35 minutes seems reasonable).
Here goes nothing!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Stride For Survivors Race Recap

So last night Wifey & I ran the Stride for Survivors 5K, my first race since the Milltown Firecracker on July 4, 2014.  I did absolutely zero prep for this.  When I found out Wifey was coming with me, I assumed we would be part of the "walkers" since she doesn't like running races because of her knees, but about a week before the race she said she'd like to try to run it with me.

Clearly I had ZERO expectations for this, other than to not die.  Since we had little prep time, we also had no time to get a sitter for the kids, who I intended on bringing in a stroller to walk with us.  Now that we were running this I needed to find a double jogging stroller, thankfully my friend KO had one she was giving away so I am now the proud owner of a double jogger!!  Thanks KO!!  But this meant I was also going into this race never having used a double jogging stroller before too.

Getting Ready

Needless to say, I had a little bit of anxiety before this race.  Not having run for 10 months, having zero experience with this stroller, having zero experience pushing around an additional 75+ lbs in any stroller while running, and also running with Wifey who was just as undertrained as I was. This was a much different event than I have ever run before.  It was smaller than I expected, which was a good thing and actually very nice for the type of  run it was.  It was also at night - I am used to running races first thing in the morning.  I know what breakfast foods work for me, I know the rhythm of my body first thing in the morning, I know how to prep for that.  But at night...I had a full day of eating under my belt already, I didn't want to eat dinner right before running but I didn't want to not eat anything either so I settled for a high protein snack and called it a night.

Getting Started

We got to the start line and headed out.  This was not a timed race at all but of course I had my MapMyRun app going.  And as per usual, I forgot to start it straight away.  I think we got maybe 0.2 miles in before I started it, so you look at the run on the MMR site, you'll see it only registered about 2.83 miles instead of  the regular 3.1, and we initially took the "shortcut" version that was supposed to only be 2.5 miles because right out of the gate there was a flight of stairs to run down and we weren't going to attempt that with the stroller.  Little did I know there would be much, much more where that came from.  So we took the first "shortcut" and shaved a little bit of distance off too.

Deceiving but this is a double jogger!
I have to comment here about the stroller...I was pleasantly surprised by how it handled!!  It was smaller than my regular double stroller, which was very nice for maneuvering. I have also heard horror stories about people having a hard time navigating in general with the joggers because of the locked front wheel making turns difficult.  But this stroller made it very easy and I was super happy with it.  Whenever we had to go up a curb or run over tree roots or any kind of bump in the road, I braced myself and took it waaaayyy easier than I needed to because I expected it to be jerky and to toss the kids all over the place with any kind of bump like regular strollers do, but this thing went over everything with ease, and boy am I happy about that!!  Because to my surprise, we were also running our...

First Trail Run

Satellite view of the path on the water
Yup.  This was in Historic Smithville Park in Easthampton and the course was right through the woods.  It started on paved paths but then we were on the dirt running over tree roots, up & down hills, etc.  It was fairly awesome scenery & both Wifey & I are excited to go back there and do some running on our own!  We even ran on docks in the middle of the water!!  You can see them in the satellite view on google maps!! (to the right)  When we started out on the paved path we weren't doing horrible.  It was a slow pace but respectable, all things considered.  I was hopeful that we could achieve a decent time if we kept this up.  One of the hardest things was that I am used to not having to talk while running, but R being the curious and fiery little man that he is would not lay off the questions and I was struggling to find the breath to respond.  "Mommy!!  Are we winning??!!"  "Mommy!!  Look at the trees!!"  "MOMMY!!  I see a bird!!"  Nonstop the entire time.  It was so adorable, and so, so exhausting at the same time.  Another thing I did not anticipate were the flights of stairs we would need to climb up & down, the effort involved of traversing these with 75+ lbs in the stroller, and the toll it would take. 

Dealing With Stairs, Children & a Double Jogger

When we started the run, we were greeted with stairs immediately and were pretty much forced to do the shortcut at that point because of them.  We thought that would be the end of it.  Then we crossed a bridge and were faced with a flight going up.  Next to the stairs was a very small paved path that people on bikes were walking up.  The incline was very intimidating but we gave it a whirl.  I remained at the helm of the stroller pushing upwards while Wifey went backwards and pulled.  Attempting to run or walk this incline would have been rough on our own and with the stroller it was damn near impossible.  We actually stopped moving for a while.  At one point Wifey let go and I thought for sure me & the kids were going to go rolling down the hill, but we managed to get up and were fairly spent.  So this is where we walked for the first time.

That took a lot out of us and we would be faced with more stairs.  I don't know why we didn't think of it sooner, but when we got to a downward flight right before we got to the water, it was so steep we took the kids out of the stroller, I walked down the stairs with them, and Wifey carried the stroller.  It made us come to a complete stop for a while and it took a long time, but it was much, much safer than the previous flights.  I am so mad at myself for not thinking of it sooner, except it would have made our time much, much worse. 

Fun Time for the Kids & Conclusion

At the bottom of the stairs we got to the docks on the lake and the kids decided they wanted to run too.  And stop and look at the lillipads.  And the bugs.  And look for frogs.  For run time this means dawdling but I'm glad they got to enjoy some of this too. We let them run/walk/stop across the docks but when we got back to land back in the stroller they went.  We didn't have much left to go after that which was good because Wifey's knee was killing her so we jogged it in to the finish line.  Total time was 45:32, my longest time to date but with everything we encountered, and everything this run was about, I can't be too upset. 

I am so happy my kids got to do this with me and I can't wait for us to go explore this park some more!!  And now that I have the double jogger, I am hoping to be able to get more runs in because now I can just take the kids with me.  Fingers crossed!!!

For those curious, here's the course that we ran:


Monday, March 30, 2015

Here I Go Again...(on my own?)...

Well, running season is upon us.  "Real" runners will argue that there is no season, that running happens year-round, regardless of weather, etc.  But we all know that I'm not a "real" runner.  In fact, I've actually been a pretty crappy runner the past few years.

When I first started and really got into it & found my stride, I was pretty decent.  Running about 10-12 miles a week, holding a not horrible time of about 29-ish minutes for a 5K.  But these days, I have been tending to run twice a year, in races only, with little to no prep time.  And 5K's have been taking me 35-40 minutes.  So I want to fix that.  Plus running will help me drop these last 5 pounds that I can't seem to shake.

In true Bel fashion, I have signed myself up for a 5K at the end of April, and I haven't run at all since I think July of 2014.  So, yeah.  But I have a few weeks to do some conditioning, so I am hopeful that I might be able to set some goals for this race other than to just finish it or just run the entire thing.  The only thing that would stop me is that Wifey is doing this with me (and we will probably have both kids in tow) so we may end up making this a walk, especially since it's a fun run/walk type event and nothing will even be officially timed.  BUT, I want to know that I COULD HAVE run it.  And knowing me, I will probably make sure I do a run that weekend to try to get an estimated time for myself anyway.

So, with the first race of the season on the books, here goes nothing!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Milltown Firecracker 5K Race Recap

All things considered, I didn't do too bad of a job!!  Had I these results a year or two ago, I'd be angry with myself, but things are different, my situation is different, and I'm almost giddy about how well I did.  Again, all things considered.

The Night Before

By now you know that whenever I run a race I have certain things that I like to stick to.   I have a routine the night before and certain things I like a certain way the day of.  All of it went out the window for this race.

Usually I like to feel prepared for a race.  I make sure I'm in good running condition before and I have a well planned out schedule for the entire week beforehand, with goals of beating my PR.  (Of course, until recently anyway.)  There was zero prep time for this race.  I didn't even get to stretch too much in the days leading up to it, forget about running!

The night before was no different.  There was a group of us running in this race, and I was staying at my friend KL's house night night before with both of my kids.  Of course, we were up too late chatting it up, making Jell-O shots & having a few (maybe too many?) drinks.  We were staying in KL's family's camper next to their house, and both kids decided that they wanted to share the bed with me instead of sleeping in their own in the other room.  Most of the night was filled with kicks to the side from restless toddlers instead of actual sleep, so it's not surprising that between that & the white noise of the air conditioning I slept through my alarm leaving only half an hour to get ready and also get both of my kids ready for the day!

Getting Started

I had to focus my energy on getting the kids ready for the day before I left so that left me barely paying attention to what I was doing for myself.  In the shuffle of everything I didn't get to eat my bagel with Nutella - not only was there not enough time to make it, but there wouldn't have been enough time for me to digest enough to feel OK running.  I didn't even have enough time to get coffee in me!!  I did manage to get down a Nature Valley Crunchy Apple Crisp bar and one of the Gatorade fuel packs.  Somehow I actually felt OK after that.  I guess the pre-race gitters were just as powerful as my morning coffee!!

One of my friends LMG (who I ran with in December) was also running with me & in a similar situation.  She hasn't run for a very long time either and was hoping that the two of us would be in about the same shape.  In December we were pretty much at the same level for everything and were able to stay with each other for the entirety of the race.  We knew KL was going to take off since she is one of the fastest runners we know, and LMG's husband TG we were pretty sure was going to be right there with Kristin.

We made our way to the starting line with only moments to spare.  I got my MMR app ready & started my newly updated running playlist, which was actually quite angry!!  Seconds before we started I got a huge rush of, "OMG, what am I doing, this is INSANE!" and then Insane Clown Posse's "Let's Go All The Way" came on and I got a huge burst of energy.  I was ready, let's DO this!!

Setting The Pace

I knew right out of the gate that I couldn't go too fast.  My body felt different, I knew I was slower and I didn't want to burn out too quickly.  I had three goals for this race - 1.  Finish  2.  Run the whole race  3.  Finish in under 40 minutes.  If I was going to finish I had to pace myself.  Right away I felt myself struggling to keep up with LMG.  I pushed it for a while, but before we even hit a mile I had to pull back.  I was hoping we could have run together, but I was really happy that she was doing so well and I definitely didn't want to be holding her back.  The good news is that I was able to see her for the entirety of the race, with the exception of a few of the turns, so I was never that far behind her.  It kept me focused; if I had a visual and thought that it was even remotely possible to catch up with her it kept me motivated to push on.

In so many races I have done there has been one person that I use as a focus, that I have a silent race with within the race.  One person who is maybe a bit faster than me but not so fast that it would be impossible to catch up to, and for this race it was LMG for sure.  Trying to catch up definitely fueled me in those moments of despair, and there were plenty!

Fun Motivation

One of the cool things about this race is that it loops past where KL lives a total of three times.  So back at her house some of our friends & family waited outside with our kids, looking for us to run by.  And I have to say, the first time I ran by and saw my daughter running out to wave at me my heart fluttered and I got a little emotional.  I have never brought my kids to a race before, usually because it's far away and not really convenient for someone to sit there for half an hour or more with them.  But this just worked out and I am so happy it did.  They weren't there the first time we passed the house, but they were the second time.  I'm happy that they got to see me running, even if I was struggling.  I want them to set goals like this for themselves and to work towards them, even if it's hard.  I want them to know that it's OK to struggle with something, and I am so happy that it gave me a chance to clearly lead by example.

I heard the MMR announce in my ear the one mile mark, and I was shocked to hear that I had done it in only 10:49!  I thought it would be in the 12's, so that gave me another surge of energy.  I ran the first mile without stopping but I could tell that I was running out of juice.  I wanted to put off walking for as long as possible because I know what happens with that - Once I break from running I will continue to break from running.  I don't know why, it just happens.  Maybe there is some kind of science behind this?  So I ran about 1.25 miles and went to a walk long enough to catch my breath a little bit.  It was at a hill at just the same point where I had to slow down last year, only last year I slowed my running down here, I didn't walk yet. 

I want to say I walked for less than a minute.  I wanted to keep the slow parts down to a minimum.  That second mile was hard on me.  It wasn't very hot out yet but I was feeling it.  There were people running hoses for us runners to go through so I was happy to find some relief in those on occasion, but there is no way around it - this is not an easy race.  Running at home is fairly flat and the other races I have done have maybe one slight incline but that's about it.  Milltown is just very hilly and it kicked my butt.  I walked a total of three times I think.  I hope that one year I am in decent enough shape to run this whole race at in respectable time!

Finishing




Somewhere right before the 3 mile mark I met up with KL's sister CR (who I ran my first non-Color Run 5K with) and that added a bit of motivation for me.  It was good to be running with someone again, I was really starting to struggle to keep the pace up.  As we approached passing KL's house & the kids again, someone had a stereo in their driveway blaring Rocky's theme, "Gonna Fly Now".  This was both hysterical & motivational.  I knew we were nearing the end of the race and it was a nice distraction from the pain I was now feeling in my lower back.  That was quickly followed with a run past the kids and everyone who was sitting outside of the house waiting for the parade to start.  This time we were closer to them and I was able to yell out, "Hi babies!" to my kids and I heard them yelling, "Go Mommy!" as AM (LMG's mother) was encouraging them to do.  It was amazing.  My playlist promptly moved into the happy, "Ain't it Fun" by Paramore, I saw LMG & TG waiting at the finish line, and when I saw the clock I was happy to see I was under 40 minutes.

It was a great feeling to know that I had accomplished 2 out of my 3 goals for this, AND I beat my time from my last race in December.  Like I said, all things considered I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

What I am not happy about is the lack of stretching I did afterwards.  There was a lot of chaos and rushing around trying to get ready for the parade to start, I only stretched out my lower back after the finish line, I never stretched my legs,  So yesterday & today I am REALLY paying for it!

The Final results

According to the official race results, I ran 38:31.  I placed 420 out of 443, which isn't great at all but I don't care about that too much.  According to MapMyRun, I did 3.27 miles so I ran it long, in 38:20. 

I hope the next time I race I have some prep time & endurance back under my belt so I can start aiming for faster times.  But we shall see what happens.  I am just happy that I was able to do this race again & that I wasn't disappointed in the results :)

Me & LMG sharing a post-race brew as we get ready to watch the parade.  Our second race together!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jumping In, Head First, No Life Jacket

I seem to see a pattern of events in my running lifestyle.  Life throws me some obstacles that prevent me from running, and then once those things are no longer an issue I go right into running a race with very little to no prep time.  This month has been no different.

I found out yesterday that I am OK to run for the time being.  Yesterday was Tuesday & there is a 5K race on Friday, so of course I signed up for it, leaving me with absolutely ZERO time to get a single run in before race day.  Under "normal" running circumstances, I'd be having a panic attack right now.  I haven't run since February, I have no idea what my current endurance is and no way of finding out until I cross that start line either, I'm 15 lbs heavier than I have ever been while running AND it's the hardest race I've run to date:  The Milltown 4th of July Firecracker 5K. But I'm not panicked.

I'm actually 100% calm about it & even a bit giddy!  It's kind of like learning to swim.  Some people swear that the best way to learn to swim is to just jump in the water, head first, with no life jacket.  Maybe running is like that for me.  There's no better way to see what you're made of than by just going for it.  Stop stressing and just try.  And I have some great company running with me.  KL, who ran with me last year, and LMG who did the Race For the Hungry Holiday 5K with me back in December.

And of course I will be making sure not to get injured.  Going in completely blind isn't always smart, but I will prevent injury.  It's a 5K, not a marathon so I'm fairly confident that I won't do any damage to myself.  I'll be stretching every day leading up to the race, and if possible I'll hop on the treadmill today to get in a walk/jog, just to get things moving at a faster pace than usual.  Other than that there isn't really anything else that I can do so why not just have fun with it!?

Of course, nothing is as simple as that and I do have a few goals.
  1. Finish.  That is always #1.  Just finish.  While I am not always proud of my time, I have yet to have a DNF next to my name so I want to keep it like that for as long as possible.
  2. Run the whole 3.1 miles.  This one will be tough.  I didn't even run the whole thing last year, but I am hoping that the difference in weather can change that.  Plus, I'm not after any lofty speed goals so there is no reason I can't just take it slow & steady.
  3. Finish in less than 40 minutes.  This is possible.  Last year's Firecracker run was just over 35 minutes, and we did the race in December in 39 minutes.  Walk or run, we should be done in 40.
It's funny how goals change with your situation.  My old goals were to beat 28 minutes and now I just want to run.  Goals change as life changes, and running seems to be my go to for therapy these days.  When I get beat down I feel like running is my way of fighting back.  Life says you can't but running proves that you can. The days where you can get up and put one foot in front of the other are a big, "Screw you!" to the days that you can't or aren't allowed to.  They make you feel empowered and like you have a tiny piece of control over something in this crazy, crazy world.

So "Screw you!" no running days!!  LOL

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Race For The Hungry Holiday 2013 5K Recap

We lived!!  And there was no rain!!  So much to say about this race today.

The Night Before

This was a first.  Usually I have some pre-race jitters the night before, but this race was different.  I guess because there wasn't a lot of pressure (self-imposed, of course) to do well.  The goal was simply to finish & I knew that barring any acts of crazy nature (or rogue vehicles) I'd finish.  So with zero pressure on me, the night before was pretty easy.  I went to bed at a reasonable time, my gear had already been laid out for a few days since I had to buy things that were appropriately sized - my old running clothes were no longer acceptable in public, LOL. 

Getting Started

Luckily I didn't have to wake up insanely early for this race since it's not that far away so my morning routine was easy as well. I had my half a bagel with Nutella and some coffee and was feeling pretty good by the time LMG got here.  I packed a Gatorade Prime like I did for the Milltown Firecracker 5K in July and drank that in the car as we were getting ready after we picked up our race packets.  Speaking of race packets, guess what number I got?  Just guess?  I can't believe this one keeps recurring!!  This is my sister's number, it's the number I had at last year's race, it's the number 35.  Seeing that, I knew she was with me & that I'd probably do better than I had hoped.

As we headed to the starting line, it was absolutely freezing!  According to the Weather Channel, at 9:00am it was supposed to be 43 and sunny.  According to the thermometer in my car, it was only 35.  Yikes!  It was rough while we were waiting but once we got moving, we were totally fine.  I was definitely dressed appropriately for the race and don't feel like I over- or under-dressed.

Setting The Pace

This was LMG's first race and I had never run with her before so I had no idea what to expect.  Would she be leagues ahead of me, would I have to slow down for her, I just didn't know.  I didn't want to hold her back if she was faster and had more endurance than me but I also didn't want to be crazy far behind where I could have run.  But as we started and the crowd dispersed a little bit we fell into a decent pace.  I asked her if this was her normal speed or if she was adjusting for me and she said that this is how she usually runs, so I was ecstatic that we seemed to be at about the same level.  As we continued, it turned out that we had the same stamina as well.  We both walked at the same spots and ran at the same spots.  I don't really think that either of us held the other back at all.  If anything, the fact that we were staying together kept me going because I didn't want to let her down on her first race, but I didn't feel like I was pushing too far or couldn't keep up either, so we did stay together the whole race.

I am extremely happy to report that I ran more than a mile straight, which is double what I have been doing on the treadmill!!  According to the MapMyRun report, we did the first mile in 11:25!  Again, faster than I had been running this week too!  You can see on the graphic that we slowed down a bit when we hit the largest hill we would come across, and ended up walking at about the 1.35 mile mark.  Not too bad - I ran for over 1.25 miles straight, which was more than I was hoping for. 

We did walk up the rest of the hill, and at the 1.67 mile mark we picked up the running again.  So we walked for just over a quarter mile at that point, but it was a well earned break and even walking the hill wasn't the easiest.  So we completed the 2nd mile in 13:18 and that was the longest we walked for the whole race.  The third mile we had two brief points where we walked because one of us was struggling, but it was very briefly and we were able to do that mile in 12:22.

According to MMR, we completed the race in 39:10.  Since this race doesn't use chips to track us, I think that time is more accurate than the official results, which show 39:23 & 39:24, a difference of a mere 13 seconds.  We were 215 & 216 out of 237 and 116 & 117 out of 134 for our age group, with an average pace of 12:40.

While these were by far my slowest race results, about 10 full minutes longer than my best race results, I am probably the most proud of these.  I had 5 days to prep after an almost 5 month hiatus, I surpassed my goal of running a full mile straight, more than doubling what I was doing during this week, and I finished in less than 40 minutes.  The only way it could have been any better was if I had run the entire thing, and I just don't think that was a possibility for this race, this time around.  I achieved ALL of the goals I set for this race, so yeah, I am happy :)

We finished!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 3 of 3

Well that's it folks.  My last run before the race is complete.  A few interesting things to point out.

1.  I wasn't as sore today as I was yesterday, so yay for that!  Even my ribs were hurting!  I guess I overdid it with the rest of the workouts too.  I keep forgetting that I have been out of it for so long that it's going to take me time to get back to where I was.  Hopefully with tomorrow's rest I'll be ache-free for Saturday morning. 

2.  I don't know if this is a real thing or not, or if there is some sort of explanation behind it.  Maybe you can tell me.  It actually hurts to run slower.  When I picked things back up on Tuesday I wanted to ease into things so I started and stayed running at a 5 on the treadmill.  Much slower than I had been running before, but I figured I'd take it easy and pace myself since I didn't want to hurt myself or overdo it right away.  And that's where I started running yesterday too.  Eventually yesterday I bumped it up to a 5.3 but it all kinda felt the same.  Tonight, however, I was feeling brave.  I felt like I had my sea legs back, so to speak (feeling more in my body than out of it now for sure!) so after a few minutes of 5 and then a 5.5 I said, "What the heck" and went up to a 6.  And it wasn't so bad!  It actually felt easier to run at that speed than the 5!  At the 5, it felt like my heart was going to explode and like I had no control over my legs, but at the 6 I was grounded.  It's so weird.  I don't know if this is common or even a real thing or all in my head.  But it made me feel better :)  So I got some speed back, but didn't do much as far as endurance goes.  I still had to walk after about half a mile.

I completed the first mile in 12:12...not too shabby, took some time off from yesterday.  Almost a 12 minute mile which is respectable.  I did a grand total of 1.5 miles in 18:06.  So while the progress is slow I am definitely making some.

But can I just say that I LOATHE the treadmill!!  I never thought I would say that!  I hate not being able to just organically speed up and slow down, it has to be in finite increments and none of them are ever right.  I wonder if I will be able to run further outside than I am on the treadmill...we shall see in 2 days!!

Now, there is a chance that weather could be an issue for this race.  Right now there is a 50% chance of rain in the morning but I will keep you posted if anything changes.  The website says, "CHECK BACK TO THIS SITE IF THERE IS INCLEMENT WEATHER.  This event will be held rain or shine."  Puh-LEEEESE keep your fingers crossed for DRY weather!!  I don't care if it's warm, I don't care if it's sunny.  But I would like it to be dry!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Day 2 of 3

Finally things work in my favor!!  The boy took it upon himself to go down for a nap nice and early at 1:00 so I took the opportunity the let the technology babysit the girl and I went downstairs for a run. 

I wish I could say that things were different than yesterday but they were not.  I get about half a mile in and then I need to walk.  I walked for shorter spurts today than the 0.1 but my walking and running was slower.  My body is hurting from being plunged back into activity!  Not only did I run yesterday but I did my whole workout routine after - pushups, situps, weights, etc.  I'm figuring that since my whole body feels off I need to get my core strengthened again.  So my core was pretty sore today too!  All in all I covered 1.25 miles in 15:23.

One more day of work tomorrow and then what will be will be.  I'm hoping that race day adrenaline will allow me to get a solid mile in before walking.  Any hopes I had of running the whole race are gone.  I want to be optimistic, but I have to be realistic too.  I'm keeping in mind that this race wasn't even going to be a possibility at all 3 weeks ago, so I'm thankful that I even get the opportunity to run this week :)  And for starting from scratch after a 14+ week hiatus, half a mile isn't too shabby!!  When I go back and look at where I started from over a year and a half ago, jogging for 60 seconds at a time was daunting.  So I've still come a long way, even though my performance is nowhere it had climbed to.  Plus it's for a good cause.  And there will be people dressed up like reindeer and Santa Claus.  And brunch at my house after.  Whatever happens, it's going to be a great day!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And We Begin Again...

For those of you waiting eagerly for an update on my last post, I'll start with confirming that pretty much as soon as I posted it I registered for this year's Race For The Hungry Holiday 5K in Burlington.  So it was just a matter of getting clearance to actually run.  My doctor appointment was yesterday and I was happy to hear that I had clearance to not only run again but he was thrilled and a bit shocked that I had signed up for a race so soon.  He actually called me a badass and told me to have at it.  So that's all good news :)

I consulted briefly with one of my running heroes and she advised me that there really wasn't much training to do with only 5 days prep, but that we could hope to work out any soreness before the race.  She gave me a schedule of:
  • Monday:  Run
  • Tuesday:  Run
  • Wednesday:  Rest
  • Thursday:  Run
  • Friday:  Rest
  • Saturday:  RACE DAY!!
Sounded good and reasonable to me!  So I was all geared up to get back into the swing of things and then it dawned on me:  Wifey will be gone the ENTIRE WEEK not to return until Friday night!!  Yikes!  Finding the time to run with 2 kids and no help was going to be challenging.  I figured I had two options.  I could either wait until they were both asleep and run at night.  We all know that I don't function well at night and anything after 9pm is going to be a lost cause, or I could force a nap on the boy during the day and bring the girl downstairs with me.  Clearly I was hoping for the second option.

Monday is upon us and K was getting over some kind of stomach funkiness.  We went to my mother's house in the afternoon so the boy fell asleep in the car ride up there, so there was no option 2 for Monday.  My best bet was to get them to sleep early and run after that.  I strategically stayed at my mother's house until 7:30, hoping they would fall asleep and be out for the night in the car.  No such luck.  Not only were they both awake for the whole ride, but the boy was WIRED!  When all was said and done, they were down around 10:00.  There was no way I was taking to the treadmill at that hour.  Ugh.  So let's recalculate the run schedule:
  • Tuesday:  Run
  • Wednesday:  Run
  • Thursday:  Run
  • Friday:  Rest
  • Saturday:  RACE DAY!!
Not thrilled but there's not really another option.  So here we are, today is Tuesday and I just did my first run since August, and let me tell you it was horrible!  I was hoping to get through a straight mile without walking and if I could do further, great.  But I greatly overestimated my abilities and underestimated how much my body had changed.  I'm still carrying about 5 extra pounds on me, which doesn't sound like a lot but it sure feels like a lot when you're trying to run! I wasn't very far along, but I guess my body changed more than I had thought.  I guess it being the 3rd time around the shift happens more quickly.  My running clothes felt strange and looked even more horrible, and running itself just felt foreign.  This was not what I remembered running to be like.  I could feel the extra fat pulling my stomach down as I took each step, my legs felt like lead, and the whole of my posture and form just felt wrong.  Like my body wasn't moving the way it was supposed to.  I'm trying to remember what it was like when I first started running; I remember it hurting, sure.  I remember being unsure if I was doing it right.  But I felt like I was in my own body.  Tonight I didn't feel like I was me, I felt like I was running in someone else's body.  It was foreign, it was wrong.  My center of gravity and balance was shifted.  All of this makes sense of course, but I didn't think that all of this would have happened within 12 weeks.  Hopefully as time passes and things go back to "normal" I will feel more like I'm in my own body, but who knows how long that is going to take?

But here we are, we have a race to run, and these are the cards that were dealt.  Tonight I managed to run a half mile, walked for 0.1, and then ran the other 0.4 in a total of 12:33.  Dreary.  Blech.  But I have to remember that I am starting from scratch basically, and I can't expect 9:30 miles right now.  Apparently I can't even expect a mile right now!  lol.  But we still have two more days.  I know there won't be much of an improvement but the only way it's going to get any better is to run through it.  My goal for the race at this point is to just finish in whatever way possible.  Just finish.

I made sure to stretch, but I am sure that I will be sore as heck tomorrow anyway so the foam roller is on standby!  Here we go!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

To Run or Not To Run...

Whelp...you've most definitely noticed an absence in my running.  I have some good reasons behind it.

I found out I was pregnant in September and hadn't run for several weeks and when I did it was sporadic.  The rule with exercise and pregnancy is that you can continue with anything you're accustomed to doing on a regular basis but you shouldn't add anything new.  Since I had been out of running for so long, my doctor and I decided that I should wait until I was out of my first trimester before I added a bit of running back into my schedule.

My situation has changed (you can read about it here if you want to - I'm not really addressing it on this blog), and now I have two more weeks of "rest" ahead of me before I can slowly add on some running time.  My dilemma is this:  I should get clearance to run again on Dec. 2nd and there is a race that I really, REALLY want to do again this year (Burlington Twp's Race For The Hungry Holiday 5K).  Both Wifey & I did it last year and had a blast!

I've pulled races out of my butt before in the past, but I haven't seriously run anything since July.  And it was awful.  That would be 5 months of no running and 5 DAYS to prepare for a 5K.  Clearly my expectations should be low, if anything at all.
  1. Finish
  2. Run the whole thing (not likely)
And really, that would be it.  Anything more than that is 100% unrealistic.  I think I'm looking at hoping to get through a mile of running at a time with decent walks in-between.

So what do you think?  Should I register?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Slow Start But Getting Back Into The Swing Of It

Well, the good thing is that I can say that I ran a mile.  It was in 10:53, which isn't great, but all things considered I'll take it.  This was a hard mile.

I felt great at first - I started off slow.  Like, really slow.  Like at a 5 slow.  I got bored of that real fast and gradually increased my speed just to make sure my lungs could handle it.  At 5.7 was where I started to feel it.  And not the, "Oh, I'm out of shape & this hurts" feel it but the, "Something is wrong with my lungs and this doesn't feel right" feel it.  I did push to a 6 for about a bit but that was definitely too much for right now so I had to slow back down, but I did finish and I ran the complete mile.

I have a lot of work ahead of me and to be honest, I'm not sure what the right course is.  Do I go for further tomorrow?  Do I do just another mile?  Do I not run at all?  I will probably run again if time allows for it, and I guess I'll see how another mile feels and go from there.  My lungs are definitely not 100% yet so I don't want to overdo it but I also don't want to not do anything either.  Clearly I can handle some activity so I guess we'll see what happens.

Wish me luck!  Have any of you been through this & know what the right way to get back into it is?  (you know, both of you who read this, LOL)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Running In The Near Future Perhaps?

Well I'm definitely feeling better now, thank God!  It took a while but I am finally able to exert myself a little more and not feel like I am struggling to breathe.  And by "exert myself a little more" I mean drag the kids shopping and running my normal 5,000 errands a day with them in tow.  I can carry heavier things without wanting to die, and I'm carrying things up & down the basement stairs with relative ease, and I'm off of all of my medications.  So this is all good news.

But the big question is:  Am I recovered enough to run?

I will find out either tomorrow or Thursday.  Wifey's travel schedule is all over the pace this week & she's actually going to be in WA over the weekend.  So if I'm going to try to get a run in, it has to be while she's home and that only leaves tomorrow & Thursday.

I plan on taking it easy to see where I'm at.  I'm thinking a slow mile is a good place to start and if it goes well tomorrow I might go for 2 on Thursday, but we will see.  I don't want to overdo it too soon, and I'm learning that it's really easy to do that.  I was feeling pretty good and we went to visit a friend of mine over this past weekend and she has a huge in-ground pool that we were enjoying.  I swear, I felt like a kid again!  I was jumping in & out, I tried to dive, I think I even did a flip into the pool - things I probably haven't done since I was about 12!  And I felt good in the beginning but I started to feel the strain in my lungs after a while so I backed off.

So keep your fingers crossed that this goes well - The Color Run is at the end of this month & I REALLY want to be in shape for this!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pneumonia Hiatus

Grrrrr.  Arrgh. 

Well, it looks like it's going to be a while before I'm running or doing much of anything again.  Right now walking down the hallway is leaving me breathless.  I found out on Tuesday that I have pneumonia after a weekend of being horribly sick.  It took me a while to realize that I was actually sick though.  Maybe it's because the symptoms were vague, maybe it's because I made some stupid decisions, maybe it's because I procrastinate going to the doctor too much.  Probably all of those things.  But here's why things were so shady...

Last week we bought a pool to put up in our backyard.  Nothing fancy, just one of those do-it-yourself type things but it's a big deal to us and especially to our kids.  The first step in setting this up is making sure you level the ground where you're going to put the pool.  With Wifey's crazy schedule, unless I wanted to wait for her help on the weekends and have this project take forever I knew it fell to me to deal with during the week.  And let's face it - it's mid/end July - there's not a ton of summer left so if we're enjoying this thing it has to go up soon!

I don't know if you remember last week or not, but this was the forecast, and I think the actual temps were even higher than predicted:


So I spent every day that week outside pulling up grass & weeds and leveling the ground.  It doesn't sound like it would be much work but it WAS!!  Those grass & weeds had some deep roots to be pulled up and that weather was H-O-T!  I set the kids up in the kiddie pool that we've had so that I could do the work outside & keep my eye on them, and also so I could keep myself cool on breaks.  I knew it was hot, I knew we were in a heat advisory, and I made sure that I was drinking a lot of water and some Gatorade to keep those electrolytes up.  I took plenty of water breaks and pool breaks and out of the sun breaks and come Thursday I had cleared the area we would be setting up the pool in.  Yay!  But I felt like I had been through the wringer.  4 days of hard work in pretty intense heat was getting to me.  I was slow on Thursday, I took more breaks than I had to any day before that, I just didn't have any more energy left.  So I took Friday off & took the kids to a friend's house. 

But on Saturday Wifey was home so I wanted to take advantage of her being here to help lug and empty the fifteen 50 lb bags of sand we had to put on the leveled ground.  I should mention here that on Friday night I imbibed quite a bit on some very delicious double chocolate stout.  Not the smartest decision I ever made but we all need a night to let loose once in a while, right?  And I worked hard all week so I deserved a night of fun.  I should also mention that at the beginning of the evening I felt like I had a sunburn even thought I didn't have the slightest trace of one.  Chocked it up to the beginning "warm" phase of alcohol and didn't think about it again.  However, this is where I believe my fever may have started.  So when I woke up on Saturday sluggish & dehydrated I wasn't all that surprised.  So I got some food in me, drank a lot of water, had some caffeine, and got myself in what I thought was pretty decent shape before we got outside back into the heat.

The second we got started I knew something was off.  At first I was thinking it was just dehydration from the hangover but I had felt relatively OK by the time we went outside.  But once we started working I was super sluggish & needed a break about every 10 minutes.  Clearly I still needed fluids but I also started feeling like I was completely worn down and couldn't catch my breath, similar to how I felt during the 4th Of July 5K, but at least that made sense to me.  This wasn't that much work and I was dripping with sweat and panting like I had just run 2 miles.  Sure Wifey was sweaty too but it was pouring off of me unnecessarily and she was barely glistening.  I was struggling, I felt a headache coming on, I couldn't catch my breath, it was horrible.  I pushed though (taking many, many breaks) and I got the pool set up & filling with water.

By the time we came inside & showered and started talking about dinner I knew something was off but I couldn't figure it out.  Nothing really went together;  I was just overall blah, I was still dripping with sweat and couldn't catch my breath right away.  It felt like my heart was beating out of my chest at about a million miles an hour but I assumed I just overdid it for the day and that I was probably dehydrated from both the drinking the night before and now the day of work I put in.  Add in the week that I just had and I assumed it was all just catching up with me.  I was hoping a lot of fluids and some rest would help me out. I took it super easy the rest of the night, Wifey put both kids to bed and I myself went to bed soon after. 

Sunday was no better - I woke up tired and with a headache.  Luckily we didn't have any real work to do.  We had to finish filling the pool with water and start running the filter, all things within my capabilities, or so I thought at the time.  But whenever I stood up I was dizzy, I started having blurry vision on and off, the headache I woke up with got worse, and now there was a burning sensation in my lungs and a crazy cough that I couldn't describe because it wasn't a throat tickle cough but more like a lung spasm cough if that makes any sense to you.  I also had cramps & aches everywhere in my neck and back.  What I thought was remarkably odd was when Wifey and I walked outside at night to put something in our shed.  It was in the 80 degree zone so not too hot at all and we merely walked and did not exert ourselves - no work was done.  When we were walking back to the house I was dripping with sweat like I had just worked out for an hour and she wasn't sweating at all.  Here is where I finally took my temperature and saw it was about 101. OK, something is brewing here.  Maybe this is more than just heat exhaustion and dehydration...

When I woke up on Monday I couldn't even sit up.  I had nothing left in me.  Zero energy, zero breath, nothing.  Migraine stage headache, pains in my neck, shoulders and lower back, leg cramps, rocking a fever in the 102's, and a cough and burning lungs that would not quit.  At one point my ears even started ringing and I wondered if I was starting to lose my hearing.  I had no idea what was wrong with me.  I thought I'd let it ride for the rest of the day, my fever isn't THAT high and if it's still there in the morning I'd call the doctor.  I kept thinking, "OK, it's not the flu because I'd have a cold.  It's not appendicitis because I'd have abdominal pain.  I've had bronchitis & this is nothing like that.  Whatever this is will pass soon or get worse & I'll know what it is.  And if it's not gone by tomorrow I'll go to the Dr."  Of course nothing changes until about 9:00pm when I can't call a doctor and my only options are wait until morning or go to the ER.  I didn't think it was an emergency at first but when my fever reached 103.5 and kept rising after taking a fever reducer, I seriously considered the ER and regretted not calling my doctor earlier in the morning.  I decided that if it reached 105 we'd go.  We got close to 104 but it did start coming down.  I was vigilant about taking acetaminophen every 4 hours to keep it at bay but even with that it wouldn't stay lower than 101.

When I went to the doctor on Tuesday he surprised me with his possible diagnosis and with what he wanted me to do.  He thought it might be a form of meningitis and wanted me to go to the ER for a workup to rule it out. Figures.  I should have just gone the night before & avoided all of this nonsense!  Luckily after a ton of bloodwork and a chest X-Ray I was cleared of meningitis and diagnosed with pneumonia and a decent amount of dehydration.  Yay!  And the neck and back pain are probably just from the yardwork for the past week.  The nurse thought it was odd that I was happy to have pneumonia and I explained that I'd take pneumonia over meningitis any day!  Plus it meant that I got to avoid having a spinal tap.  I didn't really want to have a spinal tap.  The only Spinal Tap I like goes to eleven.  This one would want ten to be louder.

So now I'm probably taking more medication that I have collectively over the past 4 years (that's a whole other blog), and I still feel kinda crappy.  I have a follow up with the doctor tomorrow so hopefully he can shed some light on when I'll get some relief from this.  I hope it's sooner rather than later because right now I can't make it through much.  I had a 40 minute phone conversation with my sister and I had to hang up because I couldn't breathe anymore.  This is reminding me of my asthmatic youth where my lungs would hold me back from everything.  The rest of my body feels fine - I have energy back, I have pep, my headache is gone, the other aches aren't so bad either, but my lungs can't keep up.  It's just frustrating, especially with 2 young kids who want to run all over the place and I just can't right now.

You have probably guessed that I didn't run the Christmas In July Boardwalk 5K that was this past Sunday.  I can't imagine why?!  I have my first DNS :(  I guess we all incur them at some point.  But it will probably be a while before I am able to run again.  Hopefully I can still do the Color Run at the end of next month, and I'm actually happy that I haven't already registered for more races yet this season because I just don't know what to expect.

So keep your fingers crossed that this doesn't take long!  I'm really, psychotically looking forward to fall running & I can't do that if I can't train!  I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Maybe I'm a Winter Runner?

July is hot.  And humid.  And it sucks to run in.  There was a point today where I thought my face was literally going to catch fire and the purple didn't go away for about an hour.  I don't think I like running in the heat.

This is funny to me because I prefer the heat to the cold in just about every other scenario in life.  In fact, I usually feel like I can't function in cold at all!  But while hitting the pavement today I was longing for that frigid day in December where it was much easier to breathe, where I knew I wasn't going to overheat, where even though my fingers were frozen the rest of my body was still plenty warm.

It dawned on me today that while I started running last summer, I never really ran outside until September!  Sure, there were the 2 color runs but the weather was nowhere near as hot as it is now and definitely not as humid.  I spent all of my early training days on a treadmill in my air-conditioned basement, and now I think I'm paying for it!

Today's run was on a different-ish route around my house.  There really aren't too many roads so no matter what I'm going to end up doing what I've done before, but today I started in a different direction than I normally do and went out to one of the main roads - Lucky for me it had a sidewalk!  Less than a mile in I could already feel the heat in my face and was struggling to breathe. I wasn't sure how far I would make it and I really didn't have a route in mind so I figured I'd play it by ear.  I would have liked to have completed 3.1 miles because I have another race next weekend, but after I hit the 2 mile mark I knew I didn't have another mile in me and headed home.

The good news for today is that I did the 2.25 miles all running - I did not walk at all and so that's an improvement from last week's race!  I completed my first mile in 10:03 and my average pace was 10:21.  You can see all of the stats on MapMyRun.  Not my fastest by any means, but not my slowest either!  So I'm getting there.  I need some more work before I'm back at last year's pace but I'm not embarrassed by today's performance, lol. 

Also, I have a new appreciation for Gatorade.  With all of my past runs I have done strictly water and then I grab something light after the run, like a banana or a granola bar or something.  I've never really tried the whole sports drink thing before, never really needed to.  But for my past 2 runs, I was too overheated to even think about eating anything.  At the race last week they were handing out cups of Gatorade at the finish line and I was more than happy with that.  And again today when I got back home, I couldn't think about food but instead reached for the Gatorade.  So I'm a fan of it in this oppressive heat!  I never in a million years thought I'd be looking forward to a winter run, lol!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Milltown Firecracker 5K Race Recap

This was a doozy!

I was running this with my friend Kristin.  Both of us were nervous because neither of us was in our top racing form.  She has always been much faster than me and is in better shape than me in general, so when she was nervous I became much more nervous!  She tried out the course a few days before the race and struggled with it which added to my apprehension but I said, let's see what happens!  I trained for a total of 2 days for this race, I was sore from the prep time (or lack thereof, however you want to look at it), there was going to be 92% humidity while we were running, and there were lots of hills which I have never run on.  Ever.  What could possibly go wrong?! *note the sarcasam*

The Night Before

Since this race was an hour away from my house Kristin picked up my registration packet (or "death bag" as she coined it) for me.  I spent the night at my mom's house and when I got my racing bib I was happy to see that my racing number was 308.  This was the number of the house I "grew up" in in Old Bridge.  I put grew up in in quotation marks because we didn't move into this house until I was 15 but it was the first house that our family bought after years of apartment living, it was the house where we had so much fun, it was the house that all of our friends hung out at.  Swinging door policy there - there was never a day or night when someone wasn't over and it was awesome. When I saw that number I breathed a slight sigh of relief, hoping it was a good omen for the next morning. 

Getting Started

Off to a bad start as usual - I snoozed through my alarm for about half an hour, leaving only half an hour to get ready.  Typical, but not the end of the world.  I didn't have a good night of sleep because my mother's upstairs neighbor was walking around late at night, sounds I am not used to anymore especially since we don't even have an upstairs level to our house.  On top of that, the neighbor has 2 small dogs, so in the middle of the night while they were prancing around, my half-asleep mind thought I was hearing my children coming into my bedroom so every time they walked, I woke up.

I have been using a Keurig for so long now that I think I have forgotten how to make coffee.  What I made in my mother's regular coffee pot was absolutely awful so I couldn't drink it.  My usual pre-race bagel for breakfast wasn't sitting too well with me either so I didn't eat all of it and instead for the first time I grabbed a Gatorade "Prime" sports fuel pack.  I had a Fruit Punch flavored one and that sat much better in my stomach than any food did though I was still hoping there would be time for a bathroom break before the race. 

I actually didn't do too bad for time but we were a little later than we had hoped.  We walked to the park where the race was starting from Kristin's house and as we got to the park entrance, we saw that there was already a large group of people lined up and an announ
cer was counting down the start!  Were we really that late?!  Were we actually going to miss the race?!  Like idiots we started running toward the crowd that was now running directly at us, only to realize...it was the fun run.  Yup.  We just tried to run to catch the start line of the fun run.  *smh*

There was still time for a bathroom break but they were the oh so lovely port-a-johns.  And they only had 2 unlocked.  And one of them had a seat covered with...well...poop.  I don't know how you even do that.  So one john for hundreds of racers.  We spent the rest of our time before the race on line for the bathroom.  We barely made it to the starting line but we did it.  This start was strange to me...maybe I just didn't hear it, but the announcer didn't count us down, he just said to get ready and a few minutes passed us by and he said nothing else.  Then seemigly out of the blue the gun went off and we got started!

Setting The Pace

Pace was difficult for me.  I mean, it usually is anyway btu this time it was different.  The start was hard because I felt like it took a long time for everyone to spread out and it was probably because the first thing you do is run up a hill, lol.  I stayed with Kristin for almost the first mile which I was happy with because I know she's a fast runner.  Checking my stats, my first mile was done in 9:39, which is average for where I was when I actually WAS running, haha.  And then when I did slow down, I was still able to see Kristin ahead of me.  I kept thinking that if I can see her, maybe I'll be able to dig deep and catch up with her again.  And then we hit a monstrous hill.  OK, so it wasn't monstrous.  And it wasn't even the biggest hill in the race.  We hit that probably about a mile or so in.  But somewhere around 2 miles is when I HAD to slow even more.  I am not proud, but I had to walk up the rest of the hills.  I tried as hard as I could to run them but it was just too much.  And in all honesty, at that point there probably wasn't much of a difference between my running and walking speed anyway.  So, adios Goal #1 - to finish without walking.

Relief Along The Way

Today was hot.  And the humidity was killer.  It was like trying to breathe with a hot, wet sponge over your face.  I am not used to that at all!  One of the things that I did like about this race is that the residents of Milltown really like to get involved with it.  Not only were there additional water stations courtesy of random people standing in front of their houses, but other stood outside with hoses or sprinklers for us to run through and for that I am very grateful.  I don't know how I would have done if I didn't get to run through a few hoses!  One person was handing out shots of vodka...no thank you.  Not only am I running, but it's 8:00 in the morning!  Fun that they would offer though!

There was one guy who was running completely barefoot.  I don't know why.  I get that some people have a theory about being natural and feeling the earth and the impact to your body and it protects something, blah, blah, blah, but even they wear a type of shoe for that. Before the 2 mile mark I passed no shoe guy because he was walking as well.  I don't know how he even did that because the soles of my feet were burning from the hot blacktop...and I was wearing socks & sneakers!  To each their own I guess, right?  I hope his feet are OK!

Finishing

This was a tough course for me for about a million reasons.  My MapMyRun time read 35:40 and the official time was 35:43.  Both are my worst time to date.  Including my first ever 5K while training last year.  So adios Goal #2 - to finish in under 35:00 (originally it was 32:00 but I changed it yesterday).

Bel = 0, The Race = 1.  We need to fix this!

While I am disappointed in both my time & my performance, I am still proud of myself.  I never stopped even though there were PLENTY of times I wanted to.  I could hear my body screaming at me and my mind screaming at me, "Just sit down for a minute!" and I never did.  Yes I walked but I didn't stop moving.  I was afraid of this run and totally unprepared but I did it anyway and I survived.  So there's the silver lining :)

Oh, I also forgot to mention that this was my first race with one of those chips attached to the bib, so yay for that!  I like it when the MMR time is that close to the actual time :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

One Year Running Anniversary & Last Run Until Race Day!!!

My little man wasn't feeling so hot this morning and he took a nap pretty early so I decided to take advantage of it and went for a run in the basement.

My goal today was to hit 3 (or 3.1) miles.  I did not accomplish that, but I was a bit faster than yesterday.  I made it 2.25 miles in 21:42.  That's not great, but I feel better about those numbers.  I am still very worried about how I will do on Thursday and am afraid I won't finish without walking.  But I've prepped as much as one can in 3 days & what will be will be! 

I am definitely taking tomorrow off from working out completely.  After 2 days of running, I'm starting to feel it in my hip flexors again - apparently this is just my running sore spot.  Some people have bad knees, some people get tight hamstrings, apparently I do something to my flexors.  I felt none of this with the Insanity workouts but woke up this morning with some soreness in my hips.  So I grabbed the foam roller immediately after my run and then stretched, stretched, stretched.  I will probably stretch & roll tomorrow just to keep everything loose, but that's it.

Funny - Insanity takes more out of me and I hurt over more of my body but I was able to do that 4 days in a row without a break.  Running is "easier", I feel it less all over, but when I do hurt it is a bigger pain and I can't do it as many consecutive days in a row.  Interesting.

I have no idea what to expect for Thursday but it does feel great to be back in the game again, even if I'm not 100% ready.  One year of this has taught me not to stress too much and just go for it so I'm hoping that will hold true for me this time too.  Can you believe that?!  June 20th marked one full year since I first stepped foot on the treadmill & began this crazy journey!!  I actually didn't even realize it until I checked the date while writing this blog entry.  Amazing.  I feel like I made more progress in those first few months than I have in the last 9!  I am still amazed that I am able to run at all but hopefully I'll make more progress this year.  Here's to many more years of running in my future!