Welcome back to the grind. Sort of. This week, my coach decided to still let me have some control over how or what I did on my runs, but he gave me (mostly) the mileage to log. Most of these did tell me to cover my watch or not wear it. So, while he gave me a distance range, this week, I kept it on the goal distance, rather than going one mile shorter or longer (which he always gives as an option).
I also got the chance to break in my new, gorgeous Newton Distance 8 shoes on my long run this weekend. I LOVE this shoe!! I probably should have broke them in a bit more before taking them for a long run, but I run so often in Newton’s that I figured it would be fine. It was. I could just tell they were new.
With under 90 days and counting to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon…let’s dive into this week’s training.
Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN – 6-8 MILES – GOAL 7 MILES – EASY EFFORT – TRY NO WATCH AGAIN
I have just sort of made it a practice now to cover my watch and try to not cheat and look at the pace. It takes a lot of pressure and stress of the run when I’m not checking every mile what my pace was and then judging myself for it. Nope. Done with that. So…yes…the sweat band over the watch is the new norm. He upped my usual Monday run by 1 mile, and I was up for the challenge. I just ran easy, never pushing pace, save for one spot in the run where I apparently scared a man who was walking past a road I was coming down. He jumped and held out his hand to keep his distance and said, “You scared the shit out of me.” I was proud of how easy and good I felt on this run for the entire 7 miles. I could have gone the extra mile…but I knew I wanted to fit in my additional hip strengthener exercises that morning, and I needed enough time to do that in. I also met with Corey, who had this crazy full body-type workout for me.
Tuesday: SPEED WORK: MONA FARTLEKS
If you recall my runs from last week, I used Mona Fartleks as my “FUN RUN,” where Daniel told me to choose a workout that I enjoyed doing and run that. SO…when I saw it on tap this week, I was excited to put in the work for it. Originally, I had intended to go to the track in the evening and run with a group, however, there was a high chance of thunderstorms and it was 95 degrees at 6:30 when it started…so I opted to do it early and alone. I am going to get to that track one of these days! So, if you’re new to the blog or skipped over the explanation, Mona Fartleks run like this: 2 mile warm up, 2×90 sec, 4×60 sec, 4×30 sec, 4×15 sec (with equal recovery after each at a pace faster than base pace), 2 mile cool down. It works out to be about 21 minutes of hard running. And while it is challenging, the shorter segments make it really fun. Trust me. They do. Ever done these? You should. I finished off the morning with my 2nd round of additional hip strengtheners to the stretches and exercises I have been doing since physical therapy.
Wednesday:INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
Same run as last week. Same instructions. Only difference was…this time I was told to go to spin class. It was on the schedule. Daniel said that if I enjoyed it so much and was missing it…do it again. So I repeated my run from last week, keeping that pace REALLY easy. Then…stretches and PT exercises before heading to my Wednesday morning spin class. Endurance ride. Over an hour on the bike, but Michelle always makes it fun, interesting, and gives us inspirational and good tunes. And I got to hang with some of my friends on the bikes. LOVE! It made me so happy.
Thursday: TEMPO RUN – AFTER WARMUP, GET AROUND 8 MILES IN AT TEMPO EFFORT (NOT PACE SPECIFIC). IF YOU NEED TO BREAK IT UP, FEEL FREE TO DO SO.
UGH. Tempo runs in the summer suck. THEY SUCK. I hate them. I don’t want to do them. I never can properly mentally prepare for them. I was determined this week not to let this one best me. While I was given the option to break it up…I wanted to fight through it. I stopped for traffic when I had to, and a couple of times due to humidity, but I mostly achieved the goal. I did 1 Miles WU; 8 Miles @ Tempo; 2 Miles CD. It was a total of 11 miles on a Thursday. Double-digit weekday miles are HARD to fit in, but I managed it. I did. And I may not have killed it, but I was very happy with my effort.
FRIDAY: Always a rest day. I usually sleep in…but I had a restless evening. I woke up around 1 am and never could get back to sleep. I got up before my 5 am alarm and showered. Stretched. And I was going to settle in to read a book (I am on a different one now), but time got away from me. It was also a half day at the office. I ate lunch at Core Life. I went to an eye doctor appointment, and now own new glasses and…CONTACTS. I love being able to see distance without glasses, but it took me FOREVER to get them out of my eyes. I was about to have a little panic cry…but I calmed myself down and got it done. After some mindless TV watching and Instagram scrolling…I went to bed. And slept really well. I was long running with friends the following morning, but not until much later than I usually run. Worth it. I love running with people so I will do whatever pace if it means I have company. Very glad for the good rest.
SATURDAY: 15-17 MILES WITH LAST 2-3 MILES FAST FINISH – GOAL 16 MILES
I met up with Christine and Ron at 7:30 am. I had eaten a small bite at home. Then used Maurten 160 (in hindsight, should have gone 320) before heading out. We were going out to keep an easy pace in the 9 minute mile range, and did that for most of it. Another good reason for me to long run with people…they are better and keeping an eye on pace than I am and tell me when to ease it back. I love that about the people I run with. Ron was going for 9 miles and Christine and I had 16. We ran the first 10 with Ron, dropping him off at Seneca Park before we headed into Cherokee Park, making it almost all the way up Dog Hill before we had to turn around. And while I did take off at Mile 13 for that “fast finish,” it wasn’t THAT fast when looking at my pace. Take into account though that this direction lies some CRAZY uphill that goes on for a long ass time. So, I put in the effort, even if the pace was affected by these climbs. There are a few. I finished up on the loop, which was slightly crowded and I was forced to stop as I was behind some ladies who were walking and had 2 double strollers coming the other way. It was fine. I grabbed some water and then started back up. Pace overall was right where it should have been. I was starving by the time I finished, so it was off to Wild Eggs for brunch. And it was perfection.
SUNDAY: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! RECOVERY RUN!
I chased the sunrise again this week. I head out just as the world was getting light around me and just enjoyed the miles, keeping pace easy and letting my legs just go with the flow. I ran the same route, stopping over halfway through to snap a photo of the sunrise over a lake in a park…and then finished it all back up. The weather felt amazing. Low 60s and a low dewpoint. Loved it. Felt so good. I covered my watch and never glanced at it. I run better without the pressure, it seems. My watch never stressed me out like this before, so not sure why I’m letting it have so much control over me and how I feel and react to each run. This has been a good change for me.
With a glimpse at this coming week’s schedule…it’s going to require a lot of work. Two long-ish runs coming up hot this weekend. Both with some paces to hit. Hopefully my body will let me put in the work and get it done. Crossing fingers. I’d really love to nail a workout at some point this training period. We shall see.
How can I describe this week? What word can I use that will basically sum everything up? Oh…I know…
From mornings in the 80s to real feel temps in the triple digits…this week did everything it could to destroy me. I persevered, but I was wrecked at the end of it. But, let’s hear it for getting it done. Even if it wasn’t pretty. And even if it wasn’t perfect.
(And we all know that I’m a perfectionist because…Virgo…so that’s not easy for me to deal with).
So…how about we dive into the week that wrapped up my first month of training with today (Sunday, July 21, 2019), marking 16 weeks out from the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. So, let’s all settle into ice baths (HA…just kidding…I don’t do ice baths), stay cool, and review the events of this crazy week.
Monday: Every Monday, I pretty much have the same run. 5-7 miles (aiming for 6) and an easy recovery pace. It was 80 degrees at 3:30 am, so I knew that this wasn’t going to be a day where pace was even pushed. Once my legs warmed up and woke up, I fell into a natural stride and the easy pace started to finally feel good. I extended it to the full 7 miles for that reason. I went ahead and did my additional hip strengtheners during my stretches because I had just enough time to fit it in. And later that afternoon, I had my personal training session with Corey. And we had it outside. Which was super fun because it wasn’t overly humid out. Basically…a little bit of everything.
Tuesday: Hello, speed work. One of these days I hope to get to the track and see how I do on a flat track. But this week…it wasn’t going to work. Nope. Not one bit. The speed work this week was my favorite of the workouts that Daniel assigns: Mona Fartleks. These are fun and challenging and definitely keep it interesting. Mona Fartleks work like this: 2 mile warm up; 2×90 seconds, 4×60 seconds, 4×30 seconds, 4×15 seconds (with equal recovery time in between each rep); 2 mile cool down. I felt like I was moving faster than I apparently was. I blame the humidity.
Wednesday: It was a recovery day. A short, easy, deliberate pace for me. I got up at usual time though because I always try to fit in two days of my additional hip strengtheners, and they take some times. The shorter run did allow for this. And I took it easy on the run (somehow did negative splits…I can never do this when I try), and then got in the stretches and additional exercises. This morning, I also had my 6 year check-up with my dermatologist. He cleared me for another year, but did say that he wanted me to start running with a hat or do rag covering the top of my head. MEH. I hate how I look in hats, and my head gets really hot when I cover it with anything. But, my skin is more important, so I got on Amazon and placed an order from Buff, for both a hat and buff to use on my head. I had my second day of personal training with Corey this afternoon too. He had some serious fresh hell exercises ready for me.
Thursday: Welcome to Day #1 of the Extreme Heat Warning that was going to span the entire rest of the week. So, believe me when I say that I was looking forward to taking Friday off. It was HOT that morning. Around 80 degrees before the sun was up. MEH. I had 9 miles on tap. Nothing fast. Nothing hard. Just a base pace run. It wasn’t easy in air you can wear. Not at all. I was so soaked in sweat that morning that my running shorts wanted to fall off my hips. This sort of heat is serious business and people who downplay it are not smart people. Whether you react to it or not…it’s hot. Be safe. I survived, even though I looked like I had gone swimming.
Friday: Day off. Rest. Slept in. Showered. Stretched. Read some more of “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered,” by the My Favorite Murder ladies – Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. If you don’t listen to that podcast…YOU NEED TO! If you haven’t read the book…YOU NEED TO! Trust me. Went to work that day. Then went out for some sushi at Dragon King’s Daughter…because it was too hot too cook and…we made it through a busy week…why not treat yourself a little? I love vegan sushi. It made me happy. Plus…it was not just good carb loading for my weekend ahead, but also had some additional sodium to prep for the heat.
Saturday: Long run day. One of them. Because we were back to some back-to-back workout runs that I did a couple of weeks ago. I met up with my friend Ron, on an extremely hot morning. It was real feel 90 degrees and we started at 6:30 am. Cathy got up early on a weekend to actually drop me off at the starting point, because she had a cooler full of cold water bottles and she was going to meet us at the turn-around point so we could cool off with cold water to drink and pour over us as needed. This was also my first time running in the ultra-light Buff hat. I still think it makes my head hot. I will fight you. Ron and I kept the pace easy, but challenging. And he’s really good about telling me to ease back on pace because sometimes I feel good and that helps me to keep out of the “now I feel like crap” zone that likely will come sooner rather than later. We did 10 miles together. His training ended there. I still had 2 more “fast finish” miles to go. MEH. I took another cold water break before I left to go and get those done. I knew in the heat that it would not be super fast, but the effort was there. Both miles were in the low 8s which is in my marathon pace zone…but definitely not the fast finish I can usual produce. Iced coffee, a shower, and some air conditioned shopping later…I started to feel recovered. With heat indexes in the triple digits, and me needing to not be dehydrated going into Sunday, we skipped the Louisville City FC match (we would have baked). I went to bed after watching Chernobyl on HBO (we started it on Wednesday night) and hoped to rest up because I was setting yet another early alarm.
Sunday: I had texted Daniel on Saturday afternoon regarding my Sunday workout. I knew it was going to be impossible. He told me to go off of effort and not pace. But even with effort, this run was pretty much impossible to do without multiple, numerous, sometimes air-conditioned stops. I loaded up a cooler when I headed out to put on the back of my car. It had one bottle of water to drink and one bottle to use to pour over my head. I had frozen two small (5 oz) bottles the night before to allow to melt while I was running so I could snag them from the pockets of my Nathan hydration vest and pour over my head if needed before I could get to a good point near my car. I looped this entire run. I wore the Buff as a do rag, despite being out before the sun was up. I just wanted to see if it made my head overheat. The jury is still out on that. But I died. I died so hard on this run. No mile came without a stop or two. My effort was not as hard as I would normally push. It makes me feel like I just can’t string together hard pushes in runs, even when racing, and it’s bothering me so much. I know that it was 90 degrees at 4 am this day…but it still bothers me on a fundamental level. Want me to feel out of shape…let me fail at a workout. And this one was the one that nearly killed me a couple of weeks ago. 1 mile warm up; 3×4 miles @ marathon pace (with 4 minutes recovery); 1 mile cool down. It was bad. It went completely off the rails for the second time. And I just need to prove to MYSELF that I can do these more challenging workouts. I’m tired of feeling like I failed or having people make me feel like I’m a failure for wilting in this heat. I drank water, finished off Chernobyl, and have been meal prepping ever since.
It was a rough week, friends. I just need things to start clicking. I need to start feeling excited, confident, and prepared. I’m not there right now. I’m not even excited. And that’s definitely not where I want to mentally be with 4 months to go. So, we’ll see what happens in this coming week.
Fingers crossed that the heat never gets this hot again. But it’s only July. So I won’t hold my breath.
What a roller coaster of a week. It had ups and downs and lots of emotional spirals that had nothing to do with the training itself…but life. And people in my life. Funny how outside stuff can affect you in different ways. I will never learn that some people will always feel the need to try to tell me how to do things or what to feel…and some people will try to tear me down because they are unhappy with they are…and some people are just jackasses.
I’ve dealt with a lot of jackasses. When I’m down, I don’t need to be kicked. And when I’m up, I don’t need to be torn down.
With all that emotional baggage, let’s dive into this week.
Monday: Another Monday morning recovery run. He wanted this to be SLOW so my legs would be fresh for the first of two speed sessions this week on Tuesday. He gives me a range and asks me to aim for the middle of the mileage. My legs were a bit stiff from all the time on the treadmill at the hotel over the weekend, but once I found my stride, I felt good. I kept the pace conversational. This was a good run in and of itself and I ended up with the higher of the mileage range. 7 Miles total. I also wasn’t meeting with my personal trainer this week, so I felt like it would all balance out in the end. It can be a fine line between doing enough and overdoing it. I wanted to be very cognizant of how I felt each day and adjust as needed. I added my extra hip strengtheners into my morning PT exercises as well.
Tuesday: Speed work. God…I hate speed work. I value it and why it is part of a training plan (especially one where I need to be able to hit and maintain a certain pace)…but it doesn’t come easy for me. Ever. And this week, Daniel was hooking me up with some FRESH HELL. My first ever 1600 Flat Pyramid workout. This is what that looks like: 1 Mile WU; 400m-800m-1600m-1600m-800m-400m; 1 Mile CD. I was instructed to do a 400m-800m recovery jog in between each rep. And the effort on the reps should be “controlled hard” and likely faster than tempo pace, but not quite as fast as rep pace where I get a full recovery. It wasn’t fun. I wasn’t a fan. But I got it done. And I felt powerful at the end of it. I squeezed in my second day of the additional hip strengtheners to the morning stretches and PT exercises.
Wednesday: Wednesday turned into a replay of Monday’s run. So, I ran it exactly as I had done on Monday. 7 Miles. Slow. Easy. This one ended up being a bit faster than the run I did on Monday…and I was pretty certain that would come back to bite me the following morning. That being said, I was hoping that my time stretching and foam rolling would help counterbalance that. I wasn’t checking my watch constantly, because that’s a bad habit that I don’t want to have…so I ran by feel. I ran too fast. No personal training this week…so that was it for Wednesday.
Thursday: Speed Work Session #2. And it was a damn Ladder Tempo that I have yet to master. This is the third time that Daniel has given me this particular workout, and it always seems to fall on the warmest morning of the week. This was the same. It was almost 90 degrees before the sun came up that day. The Ladder Tempo works like this: 1 Mile WU; 3 Miles @ Tempo; 0.5 Miles Recovery; 2 Miles @ Tempo; 0.5 Miles Recovery; 1 Mile @ Tempo; 1 Mile CD. The tempo part he wanted me to aim for a pace between 7:20-7:50, but to adjust as needed to run by feel in the heat/humidity. I’m not good at altering things when paces are assigned. And after the 2nd Mile of the first tempo…I paused and went inside to grab 2 bottles ice cold water…one to drink in addition to the water with Nuun in my hydration pack, and one to pour over my head. I made plenty of stops to pull these out of the cooler and attempt to keep cool when I was dying. I don’t mean to complain about the heat…and normally I wouldn’t…but the heat is KILLING me this year. And it’s mentally draining when I’m struggling to hit paces that never used to be this hard.
Friday: Rest Day. I stretched. I hydrated. I had my friend Michelle over for dinner, wine (I didn’t drink much because of a long run the next morning). I stayed up late. I laughed a lot. I needed every moment of that. Even if it meant I went into my long run a bit sleep deprived.
Saturday: Long Run. I had 16-17 on tap this week. My friend Christine had 14…so we arranged it so that we could do some of the run together. The humidity lifted that morning, so it didn’t feel as dreadful out. It was also the Bra Top Squad meet-up at Seneca Park. So, Christine and I were going to run about 11 miles and then finish up at Seneca with the rest of the ladies that showed up. The sun came out. It did warm up, but it wasn’t the killer heat that had been mentally and physically tearing me down. Christine and I tackled some hills together (which should make our basically flat marathon seem easy) and worked through our run to the meetup. After the picture, we parted and I went on to run 6 more miles and ended with 17 for the day. It was the lift I needed, to be honest. I needed to feel good. I was happy with it, even with the laps around the park for the final solo miles. Cathy was on hand blaring inspirational music from her phone each time I passed.
Sunday: Recovery run day. I had 4 miles to do, and I headed out early to fit them in. I made sure to include one big hill…but I also had a nice downhill in the last mile. I felt pretty good the entire time. And I paused to take a couple pictures in the early morning light. Then, I made breakfast and headed out to see Spider-Man: Far From Home at the theater. After that…I had to finish up some grocery shopping, run some errands, meal prep, and finish up the second season of Westworld. All of which I accomplished.
As of 8:15 pm tonight, my new schedule hasn’t posted. But Monday usually is 6 easy miles…so I’m going with the theory that it will remain that way this week. The rest…well, we’ll see. But I need to get some rest. So…stay tuned for (hopefully) some additional blogs this week. And I’ll catch you all up on what happens this coming week after I work through it.
The last couple of months have been crazy-busy. Go-go-go-go-go. Do this. Do that. Travel here. Travel there. Work. Catch up on work. Work overtime. Cook. Gotta eat. Food is fuel. Train. Run. Run. Train more. More. Keep training. Run. Keep running. Still gotta work. This work won’t do itself. Oh…yeah…sleep. That’s kinda important too, right?
Needless to say…the simple things…those every day things that often fall to the wayside…well…they fell to the wayside.
I’m not just talking about my presence here on this blog or even online. I mean…making time to do something as simple as vacuum my apartment. Or dust the shelves. Or put away things from race expos and food expos. Or…just organize the apartment. And if you know me, you know clutter and disorder drive me crazy. It’s been pretty hard to breathe.
Today, that all came to a head. I woke up this morning and causally lingered in bed and played on my broken (aka: shadowbanned) Instagram account, hoping that it might be visible again. It’s not. Meh. I got up and did my stretches and exercises and worked in some foam rolling. And then…despite the light drizzle and nip in the air…I went out for a run. And I felt good. I smiled a lot. I didn’t worry over pace or speed or hills or flats or anything. I just did what my legs wanted to do from one mile to the next. My mind was on the numerous people I know who were tackling the Ironman Louisville today. I’ve been tracking them all day and it’s been both nerve-wracking and exciting all at once. Had the weather been less wet…I would have actually been out there cheering in person. But I honestly (for reasons to be explained in an upcoming blog) just couldn’t bring myself to do it today.
But, while using the app to track their amazing progress and great feats of athleticism, what I did manage to do was this:
Went for a short run in the rain.
Made breakfast for my roomie and I
Cut up and baked a large, organic kabocha squash (my favorite)
Went to Target to pick up my prescription
Went to the mall to just move around a little since weather was so shitty
Went to Meijer so my roomie could pick up her prescription and then we finished grocery shopping.
Organized the pantry at home (finally putting away the GFFAF Festival goodies/finds)
Organized the snacks/running fuel drawer
Cooked dinner from scratch (delicious stuffed peppers)
Folded and put away laundry
Watched Top Chef (I’m catching up on all the seasons I missed since the upcoming season is in Kentucky (and some in Louisville))
And a lot of dishes and cleaning and prepping and all that in between.
The best part of the day though…had to be the impromptu dance party via Marco Polo with my friend Natalie. It was a good way to get shit done and yet…still keep a lighthearted and fun-loving perspective on it. It was so much fun. And we hit each other with some good songs. But my roomie and I slapped her with some Baby Shark…so we might win. HA.
I’m finally down on the couch and relaxing. Not ready to go to bed yet, despite feeling utterly exhausted. But that will come in about an hour. I’m so happy with how productive I was today and all that got done. I mean…my roomie even painted her pumpkins today. Cross that off the list too.
Anyone else have a busy and productive weekend? Anyone else cheering on friends at Ironman Louisville? Any suggestions to help me keep up with life…hit me up. Because my organizational skills are starting to wane. And that’s not like me.
If there is one thing I might have taken for granted or just not done properly in the past…it’s taken recovery time. No runner likes time off. I have yet to meet one who actually does proper recovery after hard efforts or distance races.
I actually did this time.
Some of it might have been forced. After all…thanks to the petri dish of germs that is Disney (especially on Marathon Weekend), I came down with the Disney Flu. Yay. And no, this doesn’t come with fun Mickey Ears and character experiences. It comes with a big dose of Theraflu and sleep.
I mean…it has been non-stop since I returned from the freezer that was Orlando over Marathon weekend. Coughing. The coughing is the killer. I am finally able to breathe again. Thank you for calming down sinuses. Remember…a co-worker gave me a sinus-only cold before I even left for Dopey. Run all the races. Go to all the parks. Is it any wonder I ended up like this?
Has my recovery been a bit forced? Perhaps. But here’s the thing…
I set a goal this year. A goal of having an injury-free 2018. So when my running coach tells me to rest…dammit…I’m resting. When my mileage is lower than I like it to be…well…so be it. Trust the process, right? I have a few other big goals I’m hoping to reach in the next year or two…so I have to learn to believe in myself…and the method that will help me get there more efficiently than…past attempts.
I admit to, in the past, rushing back into activities. I bounce back quickly. I do. But I also break down too. We all do. We just don’t always like to admit to it.
Here’s the thing…we might feel good…but we put our bodies through a lot and push it to the limit, not just in races…but in training too. Maybe moreso in training…and we’re LESS likely to take recovery/rest days during training. I don’t care what distance you raced…if you raced…RECOVER!! Like…actually recover!! Would I have taken time off if I hadn’t caught the Disney Crud? Yep. I actually would have. Like I said, I have big goals this year and to achieve them, I need to respect my body and learn a little patience.
I mean…granted, I hurt for about 3 days following the Dopey Challenge…but I also pushed through most of the 48.6 (and more) miles that I covered over the course of the weekend. And that’s just running. I still had parks to visit in between. Because, as much as I’d love to lay low…I pay for those Disney tickets and they aren’t cheap. By God, I was going to get my money’s worth. Park hopping…princess hunting…fast passing rides…all of it. I was doing it. And…I did it. All.
But it doesn’t have to be The Dopey Challenge to make taking down time a priority. Any race…any distance…anywhere where you push yourself more or further…do yourself a favor. Take some time off. Depending on the race distance…it could be a week…it could be two…it could be more. Don’t think you HAVE to get to the gym the day after a half marathon or hop on a spin bike or even go for a “recovery run.” Let’s face it…whether you back of the speed or not…a 6 mile run is generally a 6 mile run…”recovery” or not. I listened to a podcast recently from a running coach who said that there was absolutely no such thing as a recovery run. You’re still putting in an effort and working the same muscles that your regular runs do. And most people don’t actually run these that much slower. Your entire body needs to heal up to get stronger…don’t rush the process. You might feel good immediately after the event…but you’ve still put that body through a lot. You might feel good a week after…and you still might need more down time, depending on the distance that you ran.
Remember…there is no such thing as over-training…just under recovery.
RECOVERY…is super important. I have been fortunate enough that my recovery time has fallen when it’s gotten stupid cold outside, with the addition of some ice and snow on the ground. Bonus. I’m always cold…so I hate running in the cold. And I especially hate winter weather running.
In addition, let me be the first to remind you that you should NEVER stop eating properly or regularly despite recovery time. Your body needs all those nutrition benefits, especially as you recover from a hard effort. With the Disney Flu…I have still maintained my regular food times. I mean, I do live on a schedule. What I have done is simply change what I have been eating. Mostly because I can’t taste flavors right now…and just eating food for texture isn’t working for me. So, soup and chili have been my go-tos. But I am making sure I am hitting all my nutrition needs every day. And yes…I’m eating well and I’m definitely eating enough calories each day. Eat well, eat enough, eat healthy. So many people focus on weight and get really crazy with their nutrition. When you’re training, you need to eat. And you need to eat well. When you’re recovering…you also need to eat…and yes…you need to eat well. Now is not the time to cut down on your nutrition. I promise…you aren’t going to get fat.
As I stated, for the past two weeks…all I’ve really wanted it soup. That being said…I love that soup has so many different varieties out there because it keeps it interesting. I’ve been serving mine up with different gluten-free crackers. And sometimes I add avocado or something to bulk it up. I mean…who doesn’t love tomato soup with a grilled (vegan) cheese sandwich? I know my body needs certain things to stay in good shape even when I’m not working out as much. NEVER skimp on nutrition when you are training or recovering.
So…I’m on the mend. I took time off from work to sleep and recovery both before I left for Disney (initial sinus bleh) and then basically all the rest of the week after I got back from Disney. Sleep and rest and proper nutrition have definitely helped me bounce back from not just the races…but the sickness too. My muscles don’t ache anymore (also…thank you Roll Recovery!) because I’ve let them heal and get stronger. I’ve been using my new Roll Recovery R8 and R3…as well as my foam roller. And stretching. Never underestimate the power of stretching. I even went to 2 of my spin classes this past week. I took it easy. I didn’t push as hard as I normally would. And I still felt like it kicked my ass. I’m not mad. I’m taking my time.
That being said…if you thought I was a germophobe before…you should see me now…
Remember, friends…living your best life is all about balance. Find time to rest…recovery…find balance…eat well…play…laugh…and yes…return to that activity you love…once your body is stronger from the respect and rest you allowed it.
I took 2 weeks off…and I still feel I fatigue easily. I’m easing back into with with longer walks and short run segments. And I still feel like I’m a badass. I’m a very smart…totally recovered…less injury-prone badass!!
I’m not the average girl from your video
And I ain’t built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
It’s been a hard journey for me the past couple of years, but I think I’m finally headed in the right direction. But before I go any further, I want to give a HUGE shout-out to my amazing friend, Kari…who watched a few of my stories on Instagram back in the summer and sent me directly to a few podcasts and links…and that has been helped me out immensely…especially during this time of year.
Through Kari, I discovered Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist, well-being coach, and a certified health and fitness specialist. And from Scritchfield…I have discovered the practice of Body Kindness.
Over the summer and through the fall, I have done my best to put the practices of spiraling up and self-compassion to work. And I’ve made leaps and bounds in this regard. I’m proud of myself. After two years of consistent injuries that, basically, kept me from really being active, I put on a good 15 to 20 pounds. And those pounds weren’t from eating a poor diet…not at all. My food choices go up on Instagram on a daily basis and I keep nothing from it. But the lack of exercise brought about a good amount of stress…which brought about bouts of binge eating/stress eating. Every. Day. To the point that certain foods in the apartment had to be hidden in my roommate’s room just to ensure that I wouldn’t devour them one morning when I was the only one awake and stressing out over something that I really coudn’t fix at that moment or at all. I felt uncomfortable in my skin, and while I was still at what would be considered a healthy weight for my size…I was SO mad at myself for letting myself get like this. I was angry every time I would get on the scale and see the number. I was so certain that, when I was cleared to run, the weight would slow me down.
Over those months, I did get back to running…and the weight stayed on. No big deal. I’m not someone who runs to burn calories. I’ve never been someone who tries to compensate food intake for exercise and burning off calories. I don’t do calculations in my head or add on miles or hit the gym a little harder. That’s not me. That’s never been me. So, in that respect, I already was grasping the overarching concept of Body Kindness.
But what really makes it challenging for someone like me…is seeing perfectly healthy people who are in the same boat as me…jump into a program like Weight Watchers to drop weight by a certain date. Hell, I was told to look into Weight Watchers…and I’m at a healthy weight…just not a happy weight (to me). And at the same time, I had a friend who went to the extreme side of the spectrum and wasn’t eating and was over-exercising and was down to just skin and bones…and it was scary. And it was perspective. And thankfully, she is getting help and will hopefully get stronger physically and mentally through her recovery program. But it was a lot of stress and anguish because…I love my friends deeply and when they go through shit…I go through shit with them. And I was thankful that I had been introduced to this concept of Body Kindness and Intuitive Eating…because that could have spiraled out of control quickly. And that’s not to say that the stress and those triggers didn’t get to me…but the way I dealt with it changed.
I work in an office packed with women. And the holidays are made for feasting and treats and parties and drinks and…the inevitable conversations happen at the water cooler…
“I ate one of those donuts today…I am so bad.”
“I’m being SO bad!” *said while balancing a plate with a cinnamon roll on it*
*At holiday pitch-in* “I had lost weight, but I’ve been so bad today and I know I put it all back on!”
“Look at all this bad food. Brownies, cookies, cakes…”
“Well, this has fruit in it, so that’s good, right?”
“All that food in there…I really need to go back to dieting tomorrow.”
“I feel so guilty…I had dessert after eating my holiday meal.”
I wish I could say I was joking. But, sadly, I’m not. With the advent of the holidays comes the inevitable around the New Year…the resolutions.
But it’s not just the, “I’m going to eat better and workout more,” mentality anymore. Nope. Now we have detoxes and juice cleanses and diet pills and fasting and keto and paleo and Whole 30…or meals that are just snacks and not providing you with the nutrition your body really needs to function. But let’s face it…diets don’t work. They don’t. If they did…there wouldn’t be multi-million dollar corporations built up around them. I mean, think about it…the reason they exist is because people have to keep going back to them. Mind…blown!
Diets and “quick fixes” are everywhere. But are they really that “good” for you? Diets, cleanses, detoxes…what they advocate is a huge calorie deficit. Most people don’t even hit the “standard” (and still low, especially if you’re active) 1200 a day. If you’re active…you HAVE to eat more. And I’ve had it out with people before regarding calories in vs. calories out…and I was told that I wasn’t losing weight because I was eating more than 1200 calories a day. Yeah…I also ran 10 miles and need to put nutrition back into my body! But the way it was done made it seem like I was in the wrong because I refused to be super restrictive. When I am training for an endurance race, I make sure my body is fed properly after any hard effort. It’s how it recovers faster and gets stronger. Diets, detoxes, and juice cleanses…yeah…you lose weight. You lose water weight. You lose fat. But you also start losing muscle mass. And I’m a runner. I don’t want to lose muscle. Muscle is what helps this body move faster, get stronger, and hopefully…not get injured as often. No matter what the person who created this meal plan and ran this group said to me…I wasn’t going to waiver on the type of nutrition that I needed to do the activities that I am doing. BUT…she did this in a public forum and made me feel like a failure or that I was doing everything wrong.
I’ve witnessed first hand the effects of starving the body of nutrition and recovery…watching someone I really care for waste away from over exercising and under fueling. If she did eat, she’d figure up how many hot yoga classes she’d need to do or how many extra miles she would need to run simply to negate the meager amount of food she did give her body. Not fueling enough does horrible things to your body. Especially when you’re active. But even those of us who aren’t runners or cyclists or gym rats…your body needs fuel regardless and when you’re operating on an empty tank…it turns to other means to get the energy it means to function. Fat…and then muscle. And, guess what…the heart is a muscle and eventually, that’s going to stop working properly too.
I am the first to admit that I do get triggered by certain aspects of the diet culture. Even today, as I’m comfortably settling into the idea of Body Kindness. I literally want to throw things when someone makes a reference to their paleo/keto dessert. Or the person who went vegan to lose weight and was disappointed when they didn’t. Or the diet pills someone is taking because it helps make them less hungry during the day. Or those “progress” pics that people put up that pretty much shame everyone who has put on even a pound because we’re not standing there in a sports bra with a smaller tummy or abs of steel. Or when people eat a handful of almonds and call it lunch. Or when someone says that they need to go to the gym because of what they ate the day before. The words “juice cleanse,” “cleanse,” “detox,” and “diet”…they all set off alarm bells in my head. Because, this “healthy” person is doing all this on Instagram…shouldn’t I too. And maybe if I did…I could be that skinny and strong and…whatever.
But…I’m not that person. And it took me the better part of the year to get to this point. And to say that none of this triggers me at any point would be a lie. I’m a perfectionist in my own right, and not feeling perfectly healthy or perfectly athletic has been challenging. But…here’s my takeaway…
Four years ago…and 20 pounds lighter, I ran a race on Thanksgiving that I run every year. I was at the peak of my running and the fittest I had ever felt. And I ran 5 miles in 36:52. I never cracked it since 2013…sometimes that race having me around 38 minutes. This year…with 2 years of hip injuries and 15-20 pounds more on me…I ran comfortably for the entire race, never feeling like I was pushing myself to go faster and I finished…in 36:36. I wasn’t dieting or fighting the scale. I was giving myself permission to eat better, more, and what my body needed as I was also in the midst of a marathon build-up too. So…lighter doesn’t necessarily mean faster. And faster doesn’t necessarily come because you follow a strict diet. Hard work is what gets you there.
And trust me…there is nothing easy about learning to love yourself the way you are. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself. But, just for a moment, take a breath and forget about your clothing size and that number on a scale. Forget about seeing yourself fitting in with the social norm. That’s the great thing about being a human being. We’re all different. Perfectly imperfect. And we don’t have to miss out on experiences and treats and foods because we’re told by society what is “good” and what is “bad.”
This journey hasn’t been easy and, yes…I still struggle. Even today I struggle, especially with the “perfect squares” of those “perfect people” in social media. I struggle when I hear someone say they are being bad when they are just taking part in a holiday part or pitch-in. I hate hearing people tell me how much cardio they’re going to have to do the following day because they enjoyed a bit of dessert after their holiday meal. Guess what…it’s okay to indulge…in life, in food, in activities. It’s not okay to paralyze yourself and to stop living a full and happy life because of what the scale might tell you in the morning. Your self worth is not built upon what you are eating and how much of it you are consuming.
And I promise…it’s impossible to gain 3 pounds in one day…and it’s water weight…and it too shall pass.
So…how about this holiday season we share a bit of kindness with others, but also take a moment to spare some of that kindness for ourselves. Don’t stress the small things. Don’t miss out on something due to social stigmas and labels. Enjoy every moment and every bite and every bit of movement you manage that day, that week, that month.
Magic happens when we are not just compassionate, but also self-compassionate. So take a deep breath, and enjoy the foods and activities and moments that come with the season. It will lower your stress…it will brighten your mood…and in the end…you’ll feel better.
Here’s what I have gained since turning my back on the diet culture…late night sushi runs with friends…wine tastings with friends…dinner parties with friends…game nights, brunches, dinners, new ethnic food outings, movie nights, fun runs, vacation planning with friends, so many more invites…so much more quality time with people…bonding…laughing…joy. My life gained so much joy and shed so much unhappiness and stress and feeling self-conscious and unworthy. What I was gaining was way more important than what I had been trying to lose.
I really started living and being and enjoying the little things as well as the big things. There are always bumps and setbacks. I’m not 100% yet. But I’m clearing a path and have gained so much mental health in the process that it’s really become physical heath as well. I’m not saying I don’t stress and cry and feel upset and out of control and lost…I do. But I have outlets and I have people who carry me through it and lift me up and don’t make me feel like I’m failing at everything. I’m a beautiful work in progress.
And that’s truly what makes the journey epic in the end.
Be happy. Life life. Do epic shit. Be full. And be well.
As part of my self-care, self-esteem building, bettering-of-myself experiment that is an ongoing series of successes and (yes) failures…I’m expanding my mind and still attempting to squeeze in a bit of ME TIME, which feels almost impossible these days…but I work with what I have.
Therefore…I’m listening to music…
In fact, I was fortunate enough to attend the U2 show in Louisville, KY this past weekend. And while it was hot and I wilted and melted until the sun went down, the show was amazing and I (as always) cried during Where The Streets Have No Name as well as Running To Stand Still. U2 and I have been in a musical relationship since I was a child…and, while I have seen them numerous times in concert, this show was on my home turf and I wasn’t going to miss it. I’m glad I went.
Honestly, I needed that show. I’ve sort of given up finding inspiration in music. Why search for new music, when some of the best lyrics, some of the best songs, are in the old favorites? I stand corrected!
I’ve also started diving back into some books. In fact, I’m working on three at this very moment. Yes…at the same time.
So, what is on my reading list at the moment? Well, at the encouragement of my sister, I am working through 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, on my Kindle.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with this book, but in case you’re not…here is the synopsis from Amazon.com:
You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
At work, I often listen to podcasts these days, but there is still room for my beloved audio books. It’s so easy to listen to a book while I do my work…so I can escape and still be productive. Let’s here it for multitasking. I am currently listening to Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, which is the very book that Lin-Manuel Miranda was reading when he was inspired to write the Broadway musical Hamilton.
It’s fascinating and a nice escape for the first part of my day at work. Once again, here is the synopsis from Amazon.com:
In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”
Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.
Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.
And finally…at the encouragement of my amazing, inspiring, and brilliant friend, Melissa, I picked up a book this past weekend to read. She said that it would really help me through the struggle-bus thought process I am currently working through. So far, she’s right. I haven’t gotten far, but I’m going to make a point to sit down and power through this book. It’s called You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.
It’s very motivating, the bit that I have squeezed in to read. And I find myself nodding and cheering for myself to get this excited about my life. Maybe it will help. I think it will. I’ve already found SO many sentences that I can apply to my current struggles. In case you’re confused…here is the synopsis from Amazon.com:
Bestselling author, speaker and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, cuts through the din of the self-help genre with her own verbal meat cleaver in You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. In this refreshingly blunt how-to guide, Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, life-changing insights, easy exercises and the occasional swear word.
Via chapters such as “Your Brain is Your Bitch,” “Fear is for Suckers” and “My Subconscious Made Me Do It,” Sincero takes you on a wild joy ride to your own transformation, helping you create the money, relationships, career and general all around awesomeness you so desire. And should you be one of those people who would rather take a bullet than get busted with a self-help book in your hands, fear not. Sincero, a former skeptic herself, delivers the goods minus the New-Age cheese, giving even the snarkiest of poo-pooers exactly what they need to get out of their ruts and start kicking some ass.
By the end of You Are a Badass, you will understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to start living the kind of life you used to be jealous of.
So…that’s what is on my reading list currently, but why stop there? I’ve become so immersed in podcasts as of late. And while I love a good true crime podcast, I have been directed to, or even discovered through my own hunting, some uplifting and amazing podcasts that I’ve been diving into at work as well. These include:
Make Your Body Work: Live Healthier, Smarter, and Happier – Dave Smith, Canada’s Top Fitness Professional
Fit Bottomed Girls – Margo Donohue, Jennipher Walters, and Kristen Seymour
The Love, Food Podcast – Julie Duffy Dillon, Registered Dietitian, Food Behavior Expert, and Body Image Guru
Body Kindness – Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN
I really need to think more about working toward my nutrition degree or becoming a dietician. I love learning new things and also…learning how to be kinder to myself during these very trying, often stressful times as I attempt to get this body back to a place where I feel comfortable with it.
AND…I have been out to the movies and had to see, because…reasons, WONDER WOMAN. It was campy and fun and amazing and everything that it needed to be. I was nicknamed Wonder Woman years ago by my running store/group…so this was a must see. And if you haven’t seen it yet…I highly recommend it!
I have numerous more movies on my TO SEE list…so we’ll see how many I manage to get through before they leave theaters.
So…that’s what I’ve been up to lately. And yesterday, I broke out my Vitamix and whipped up an amazing smoothie for breakfast that I’ll share the recipe for in a different entry.
What books/podcasts/music/television shows have you been enjoying lately? I want to hear all about them. Comment below!! I’m always looking for new things to get into!
This was it. This was the terminus of my job as a 2016-2017 #KDFMarathon/miniMarathon Race Ambassador. And it was race day. RACE DAY!! I love race day!
And, trust me, it took me a lot of sweat and tears to be able to get to that start line. Because if you had asked me in January, when my hip flexor froze up, if I would have been able to run it…I wouldn’t have been too sure. As it was, I had to drop from the full to the half…so there was that.
I wanted to be stubborn and just do it. I’m not a newbie to marathons. I have run 11 of them total, but I also haven’t really been able to train for one since I ran the Charleston Marathon in January 2015. Boston was a bust. And Kauai…well…it didn’t exactly boost my self-esteem and “can-do” marathon mentality.
I wasn’t ready for a full. Two months of training lost to a paralyzed hip flexor…and a very cautious and slow build-up in mileage put me at my first double digit run (10 miles) exactly one month before race day. To press on and do the full would have been a fool’s errand.
I’ve learned to be a little more patient with myself and allow myself to heal and train right. So, the miniMarathon it was. You win some…you lose some. I did manage to run most of the Disney World Star Wars Dark Side Marathon on Sunday. It was steamy and humid…and for the last 5 miles, I was run/walking. It was okay. These days I worry more about running smart than that finish time. When it’s hot and the race is flagged (and…for the record, both the Dark Side Half & KDF were yellow flagged due to humidity)…you just run it the best you can without putting yourself at risk for heatstroke or worse.
My second half marathon in the same week was starting off well. I only ran one time in between to two races. I didn’t need more. Wednesday morning, I hit up 4 very easy miles and called it a week. And on Thursday, I left work early to meet up with Jack, Paul and Amy (3 others in my Ambassador family) to volunteer at the expo as a greeter. I convinced quite a lot of my friends to come to the expo that day…both local and from out of town. And it was hopping! It was great seeing everyone and helping people out when they had questions. I was feeling good and confident. And being able to hang with other ambassadors and just be relaxed and help others relax…and drink free wine samples…it was actually what I needed. I was feeling good.
Friday I spent most of the day sitting at work…which is not something I normally do, but my coach had decided to have me aim for a 1:40 half on Saturday, so I really wanted to do right by my legs and my body. And, that evening, I went to the Galt House and picked up fellow Marathon Maniac, and good friend, Michael, to have a pre-race dinner. Normally, I would just cook an Annie May’s Sweet Café gluten-free/vegan pizza at home and call it a day, but I had wanted to meet up with Michael. We ended up at North End Cafe. He had the Lemonade Blueberry Pancakes, and I got the Curry Sauté with Tofu for dinner. As I have been to races where safe gluten-free pizza isn’t always readily available, I have played around some with my night before meal ritual. But nothing works like gluten-free pizza.
After we dropped Michael back off at the hotel and went home, I finished making up the “Finish Line Lemon Blossoms” for my friends. After my PT exercises and some foam rolling…I called it a night. I set my traditional 2 alarms for the race, but didn’t bother to get up in enough time to squeeze in my PT stuff…because it was going to be storming or raining in the morning. I figured I skipped them at Disney…I could supplement my walk to the start line for the warmups and I’d be ready to go.
And at 5 am…the 7:30 am start was delayed. For half an hour.
This definitely made the morning slightly easier. I was already dressed and had my hair up and everything, so I got to sit and relax a little longer…savor my breakfast…that sort of thing. Dread the humidity. Because…it was humid. And the sun wasn’t even up yet. In fact, the rain only served to make it steamier. I was having anxiety over the humidity the night before, texting my coach about my push for a 1:40 and how the humidity might slaughter that attempt…especially since I was in my “uniform” of the Ambassador shirt (which had sleeves). I’m not a fan of racing in sleeves unless it’s cold. When it’s hot…it’s a simple bra top or a tank. So this was going to be a new experience too. I figured if it got too unbearable, I could shed the shirt and then attempt to wriggle back into it before the finish line.
So…delay #1 was in the works.
The official KDFMarathon Ambassador photo was going to now be taken at 7:30…so we headed that way and actually got down to Slugger Field (and the parking lot) at around 7 a.m. This gave me time for one of my efficient and essential power naps!! I got my nap on good!! With about 10 minutes to go, I got a text from my running partner, Matthew, saying that he was at the statue in front of Slugger Field, so I got up and headed that way.
A few more ambassadors were gathered, but the whole team wasn’t there yet. This has been a thing in all these months. Races and such, we never quite managed to get everyone in a photo together. #goals
Anyway…no sooner had the photos been taken, I snagged my pre-race fuel (a simple banana!) and downed it while talking to Matthew, Natalie, and my fellow Ambassadors, who were hanging for a moment.
And then…another delay.
Race start was now set for 8:30. And I had now eaten my banana a whole hour before the start, rather than half an hour. Roll with it. I wasn’t planning on exerting myself before the race so I figured I’d be fine. We all started to make our way toward the corrals regardless (it wasn’t even raining!), when we were told to take cover. My group ducked under the cover of the Old National Bank near the race start with a crowd of other runners and passed the time just chatting away. Even my running coach and her crew joined us under there. It was sort of a nervous energy, but a positive energy at that point.
Cathy left shortly after we got up there, because she likes getting a good spot at the start line and the finish line. So, she gathered up my rain jacket (which had been keeping Natalie warm) and went to go find her spot, telling me she’d be on the right at the start and on the left at the finish.
With the 8:30 a.m. start time coming up, we opted to head out of the shelter to get to the corrals. And no sooner had we stepped out from under the bank building and down the steps…
Delay #3. Race start was now 9:00 a.m.
My group and I decided we would duck into the bank building and rest our legs by sitting on the floor there instead of standing around outside. It was more comfortable out of the humidity, regardless. With race start happening soon, we decided to make a last ditch move for the port-a-potties for those who needed them. I didn’t. I drank a ton of water the day before, but on race morning, I keep it light so I don’t have to pee. I did tell my friends that I would hold their stuff for them though. As we were heading out, the doors to the bank building seemed to be giving people some trouble. We stepped out though for our mission.
On the way to the toilets, my amazing friend, Kelsie, spotted me. Matthew and I gave her a hug and we stood around and talked for a brief moment. Then we went on so I could hold gear. I should mention that my fellow Ambassador and friend, Tonya, had gone on ahead of us too. I had her plastic bag for race start should rain happen. But we still had NO rain. Just delays. After everyone cycled through, we started back toward the bank for a few more moments of sitting down and resting before…hopefully, a real start.
And this is where we discover that the people (Tonya was now included) that were inside the bank building were now TRAPPED inside the bank building. Apparently, the Old National Bank’s doors were timed to lock at a certain time. And…guess what…they were locked. Runners were trapped inside with 15 or so minutes to go before the race start. I walked up to the window and Tonya was front-and-center.
Tonya had texted my phone, which Cathy had at this point, so Cathy sprang into action when the S.O.S. came through, alerting some officers, who wrangled up fire department and security to, hopefully, get the runners out. With like…only 10 minutes to spare…this happened. Thank goodness.
So…with no further delays and an announcement being made that 9:00 a.m. was go-time for real…everyone started to get to their corrals. Matthew and I ducked into Corral C to start making our way forward to A. We ducked under rope flags and everything to move forward in our corral. I spotted Greg, from Frankfort, Kentucky, who was pacing the 1:50 half marathon group. I said hi and he asked if I was running with him because he thought I was up in Tim’s group (that would be the 1:40 group). I said that Linda (our coach) had said that all plans were out the window with the delays and to just go have fun, but I was moving up.
And we did. Almost to the front. Like…we were behind the elite line. We saw elite bibs. Elite bibs have no corral letter on them.
Matthew and I decided we were out of our league up there and he spotted Tim’s pacing group…so we decided to move back. A bit.
And we found Kelsie again. So…this was perfect. I was starting the race off with friends…it was going to be a good time. Despite the fact that I was now starving. And it was humid.
Did I mention that I was starving?
I had fueled for an 8 a.m. start. I think my corral (Corral A) went off at 9:15 a.m. That banana was LONG gone. And I didn’t want to hit up my mid-race nutrition, because I needed that after Mile 6. I looked at Matthew and Kelsie and I said…”AND…now I’m starving.” They were too.
My coach was right…everything was a mess now…it was best just to go and have some fun.
Matthew and I decided we would attempt to at least keep Tim (remember…that’s the 1:40 pacer) in our sites. The starting gun went off…and the three of us took off. I don’t know where we dropped Kelsie, but she was doing this race right. No watch. No goals save to finish. I want to do that more. Just run how I feel and for fun. What a freeing feeling that has to be!
Matthew and I pounded out the first four miles pretty much together. The rain poured down on us shortly after the start and I looked at him and said, “We SO would have been done by now!” Soaked from humidity, rain, and exertion, we pressed on. Matthew commented that he felt like he couldn’t catch his breath. The air was heavy with humidity, so I totally knew how he felt.
I lost him after a turn. I thought he might have gone on ahead.
As we hit Mile 5…I did 2 things. I slowed for a moment to pull the KDF Marathon Race Ambassador shirt off so I could cool down. This happened just as I heard, “There’s Karen.” So I waived, tucked my Ambassador shirt into my fuel belt…and then I fueled. A whole mile early. Because my legs were starting to resist my determination to keep going. Everything was a cluster now.
Tim and the rest of the 1:40 group were still in site…but not really within distance to catch now. And my body was not feeling the pace. I told myself to hang on through Churchill Downs. So…for at least 3 more miles. I could suffer for that long, right?
I managed. My pace dropped little-by-little until I rounded the corner at the split…hit Mile 9…and took a walk at the water station. I carry my own water with me on half marathons and marathons. Usually if it’s a double-digit run, I have water and fuel with me. I didn’t care. I hit that water stop, I slowed. I took a cup from a lovely volunteer. I took a sip. The rest went on over my head. It cooled me down…and I made myself start running again.
From here on out…it was down to running smart…not running fast. Since any attempts to hit a certain time goal went away with the 90 minute delays…now it was just about crossing that finish line. I didn’t care how long it took me…I was down to the last 5 miles regardless. I managed to make water stops the rest of the way toward the finish…even when I said I would keep running and no more walking…if I needed to throw water over my head…I did it. And, as I found out in Disney, that really works.
It did, however, work better at Disney…when I wasn’t under-fueled and also dying from the humidity. At about Mile 11, I had caught up to Pete, a guy who ran with Matthew and I a couple of times before the Norton Sports Health Training Program kicked in and before I was injured. I had to slow again for one last shower of water, so he got too far ahead of me again. I had to slow to walk and water myself for about 3 more times before I knew that finish line was close. This was my Dark Side Half Marathon all over again. But worse. My splits were hitting in the 8’s…which I never touched (despite walk breaks) at Disney.
But I am nothing if not persistent.
I could taste that finish line. And it wasn’t far. I could hear the announcer. I could see Slugger Field. That meant…it was just around the corner.
And there it was…the turn!!
I never put the Ambassador shirt back on. I had it tucked in my belt…but to stop to wriggle back into it might mean I wouldn’t start again.
I took the turn. And while I didn’t feel like moving any faster, I attempted to pick up my pace. That finish line was in site…all I had to do was run over it. I focused on that line alone. I heard Cathy screaming on the sideline…and I ran down the stretch and passed under the arch.
I was…done. I also felt like crap.
But Dan spotted me at the finish line and called out my name over the bullhorn. HA!
I continued down the line, slowly, trying to catch my breath and cool down. The medals were right ahead, so as I strolled that way, Cathy caught up to me at the fence. She told me my official finish time, which I couldn’t believe, given how slow my pace had gotten as the morning went on and the miles progressed. We attempted to formulate a meeting place after I would go through the official finish photo area and the place where they store food and chocolate milk and Powerade. And as we were discussing…Paul from the Ambassadors came in. Then another running partner of mine, Ron, was in. And then…Matthew. I hadn’t moved except to go and congratulate Paul. I found Ron. And Matthew somehow slipped by me, but Cathy found him and he was at the fence when I returned.
We all managed to make our way to the runner reunion area, grabbing snacks along the way. As I emerged…with banana and chips (I have never seen Cathy so happy to see a bag of chips in my hand), I actually reconnected with Kelsie…who gave that finish line her famous kick and brought it in strong. I really need her to teach me where she finds that late energy because I’m usually dying at the finish line. She needed to head out, so after a photo, she left and Ron went to claim his free beer. Cathy told me to take my phone and see if I could catch more of the 30 people I was tracking while she went to get the bags out of the car that had my clothes to change into and a cooler with food and a big bottle of water. Tonya came in but texted to say she was in medical. And Amy came in. I never found her in the crowd. I did find former co-workers from IU Southeast, Dana & Graham, after they finished. So that was cool!
Cathy and I were camped out under the overpass for the rest of the day. When my phone told me one of my people were in…I’d attempt to go find them. I mostly succeeded. I only missed a few. I caught Natalie, who I really wanted to find above all, as it was her first marathon, and she was having Siri hit me up for motivation as she made her way to that finish line. She did great! I also did distribute Lemon Blossoms. They were very well received. My friend Jack even picked me up when I handed him a whole container. And he had just run a marathon.
I thought everyone was in at that point…but I was wrong. But that is a long, complicated, and amazing story all its own.
So, the official results of the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon are that I finished in 1:43:12. That, mind you, is almost exactly 2 minutes slower than my time last year. MEH! That being said, I wasn’t expecting to hit 1:43 at all after the walking began, so I’ll gladly take this. Given the conditions, I’m beyond happy with this result. I was 403/8737 finishers overall. I was 85/5010 female finishers. And I was 15/794 finishers in my division. Given that I had just raced a humid half marathon on Sunday…walked Disney World the rest of Sunday and all of Monday…traveled home…worked overtime…worked the expo…and then ran again in the humidity…I exceeded all expectations I had. Honestly. There were fewer runners this year (by about 2000) in the mini…but my stats improved on every single category…despite running slower. I count that as a win too!
Here’s my takeaway…
I came into this event at first meeting with a group of strangers at the KDF Marathon Headquarters. I found a great group of supportive, amazing, inspiring people who are like family to me now. So many friendships were formed in this year’s KDF Ambassador group. I was so fortunate to have been able to be a part of it. I may not have signed up the most people for the race, but I went to events…I promoted the race…I even went to the training runs (even on the coldest mornings) when I couldn’t run and encouraged others…cheered…high fived…and walked. The marathon slipped away when my training had to wait almost 3 months to even start.
Dropping to the mini was hard…but it was the smartest decision I could have made. I would never have survived the full after a humid Florida race series and the 90 minute delays. With nutrition and scheduling off…this was a blessing in disguise.
The delays have taught me a lot about being a bit more prepared for whatever race morning might throw my way.
I saw so many people finish. I helped a few out when they needed help. I hugged so many of my sweaty friends. I saw people set goals…and whether they crushed them or fell short…they completed what the started. And that, friends, is what the spirit of race day is all about.
My time as a KDF Marathon Ambassador is coming to a close, but the memories, friends, emotions, and moments that I now carry with me…those will last a lifetime.
Wow, I’m behind on posts in the weeks leading up to the races I have coming up. Trust me when I say…I’ve been busy!
When I left you about a month ago…I was getting back to running, easing my mileage back up, adding in some speed work and hills, etc. Right? Right. Not all at once, mind you. That would be Looney Tunes.
So…basically my easing back into things started with a race weekend. As you know from the previous blog, I ran (not raced) the Rodes City Run 10K with my friend Matthew. It was a good way to train, and I learned that small, climbing hills and even the 10K distance were a challenge for this now endurance-less distance runner. My endurance was shot. Gone. Kaput.
I knew this needed to change. I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it, especially on my own. That being said…I made a promise to not give up and to keep on going!
The following weekend, after Rodes, I was up to 7 miles for my long run (my PT wanted me to increase my long run each week by 1 mile). Not only was I the milk maid for the #KDFMarathon training run (this simply means I provide the bottles of TruMoo in coolers for those doing the training run. As we know, chocolate milk has been proven to be one of the most amazing recovery drinks around due to the protein:carb ratio). I’m lactose intolerant and don’t handle dairy well at all, so I can’t use this method…but a lot of these runners look forward to that little reward at the end. The run, however, was starting at SWAGS South. And this meant…we were running Iroquois. I guess I was about to test this hip flexor out against the hills of Iroquois Park. It was an all-female cast of characters for the KDF Race Ambassadors that day too!
Talk about trial-by-fire. My running partner, Matthew, joined me and while everyone else was going 10 that day…we were hitting up 7. It was nice to have company, because…once again…I had to do my own thing. I just hoped no one followed me as I did it, because that would really screw up the mileage. There were 2 options that day for those doing the entire 10. Run to the top of the park (recommended for the marathon runners) or run past that hill and go around the base to some other road. I didn’t pay that close of attention because Matthew and I were doing neither. We ended up running to the water stop at the base of the giant hill leading to the top of Iroquois. We grabbed some water…and then continued on around the base, turning the opposite way of the half marathon runners and going more toward the amphitheater. We didn’t quite make it there before needing to turn around, so we just sort of turned into a lot, found a path, and ended up way off where we needed to be to get back. Garmins paused and we crossed through the grass to the main road and got back to the run. The hills did slow me down, but it was probably the best way to get back to running on hills. There is no getting around them in Iroquois. I was tired as we finished up…but as I was the Milk Maid…I needed to wait around for the chocolate milk to be gone.
Which I ended up icing the last 5 bottles because it was after noon…and I had a 2:30 pm Louisville City FC match to get to. First kick. And it was a draw. No purple smoke that day. But we had gorgeous weather. And I got a sunburn. Life was good. Well, maybe not the sunburn part…
Well, that following weekend would be my first real test. And here’s why. I wasn’t allowed to jump from 7 miles up to 10 because…well…obviously injuries happen to me. A lot. And the whole point was to ease the mileage back up there. The challenge, however, was that there was no training run on tap. Why not? Well…two reasons…
Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington, Ky, and the Papa John’s 10 Miler in Louisville, Ky. Most of my fellow local runners and ambassadors were taking part in either RTB (and my coach was providing the pacers), or doing the last leg of the Triple Crown of Running with the Papa John’s 10 Miler (aka: my favorite local race…and I couldn’t do it this year BOO!). My running partner, Matthew, was out of town on a family trip. So…there was me, myself, and I.
And on a morning in the low 40s…it was not easy for me to haul my butt out of my nice warm bed, do all my physical therapy exercises and stretching and get myself out the door to run by myself for 8 miles. I don’t mind running alone. I don’t. I do it all the time. I just prefer to run with people. It takes my mind off all the mental stuff. And it’s that mental stuff that tends to mess with me. So the sun was long up before I finished up the stretches and stuff and made myself get out on the road.
The first three miles were awful…and that was the flat part of the course I was running. All that being said, I found my stride when the hills came into play. And these are some pretty tough hills. I wasn’t worried about speed or time…just the miles…but I felt so amazing for those last five miles. And when all was said and done, I finished up in just over an hour. And I felt good at the end. I showered. My roommate made an great recovery breakfast for me. And the weekend was now officially on.
Did I happen to mention that a few other things happened that weekend that sort of altered the way my weekends as of late were rolling? As a side…I started prepping healthy and vegan meals for friends of mine. I love doing this stuff. The problem was, my little side business was growing faster than I could keep up with. I was spending Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday morning in my tiny little kitchen. And there was more stress than letting the cooking relax me like it had been. So, due to upcoming races and out-of-town trips, I cancelled service through May so that I could come up with a better way of doing this for people, that wouldn’t take up all of my spare time and still allow me the opportunity to help others. I’m still working on that. But for the first time in 2 months, I didn’t have to jump right into the kitchen to meal prep meals that I wasn’t going to even eat. That was also part of the issue. I was cooking for everyone else and letting my own food prep and nutrition slide. That wasn’t the point of this. So I needed to take a step back and figure it all out. It’s a work in progress.
My roommate and I did FINALLY get patio furniture for the balcony. She hung up some lights and now…I just want to have people over to kick back outside, eat some food, drink some wine, relax, and just talk.
Doesn’t it look amazing? I’m so happy with it. Since putting it all up, we’ve been dining al fresco pretty much every night for dinner. When it hasn’t been too chilly out. And I think that only happened once.
Let me fan-girl rave here, as well, about something I found and wanted to share with all you ice cream lovers.
That’s a coconut milk ice cream. It’s completely dairy free. And it is made from real ingredients. None of that low calorie, low nutrition, chemical-laden crap (Halo Top and Arctic Zero, I’m looking at you) that people actually buy. If you’re worried about calories to that extent, maybe you just shouldn’t eat ice cream. If you’ve found a happy, balanced lifestyle…a serving (1/2 cup) of Nada Moo will astound you. It’s the creamiest, most amazing non-dairy ice cream I have ever had. And I’ve pretty much had them all. Locally, I’ve only been able to find a few of the flavors. Vanilla…Ahhh is the only one I can find that I have yet to try. Otherwise I have indulged in, and enjoyed, Gotta Do Chocolate, Lotta Mint Chip, Cookies and Crème, That Snickerdoodle Dough, and Mmm…Maple Pecan. If you live in the Louisville area and spot any other flavor…please alert me!
Which now brings us to this past week. I got up to meet at Senaca Park for the training run for the half marathon. I was supposed to do 9. The group for th half was doing 10. I figured, if I felt good, and the hills didn’t kill me, I could do my first double-digit run since the Disneyland Light Side Half Marathon (which I did injured, as you recall). The running gods were with me. Matthew and I took on the hills of Cherokee Park and did, for me, the entire route as it was mapped out ahead of time for the training run. And these runs have been going on since Rebel Challenge weekend when I was in California. I walked around for most of these runs, showing up in the cold just to suffer longer than most as I was not allowed to run. This run felt so good and gave me the mental boost I needed. Double digits. And now…taper.
It was an all-female cast of KDF Ambassador characters that morning too. And I also ended up being overdressed, despite the 39° start. When I finished about an hour and a half later…I was dying in the sunlight. It heated up quickly. I was wishing I had gone with shorts at that point.
And this past month, I’ve gotten back into a training plan using my coach, incorporated strides after my easy paces, stuck to my assigned paces, and yes…have done 1 round of fartleks, and 2 rounds of 4x400s as far as my speed work goes. So, yes…I am incorporating it. Speed work and I are still…not friends. In fact, I normally wake up those days not feeling well because it does just wind me up. And I have yet to have speed work day go smoothly. But, at least I’m out there getting it done, right?
Oh…and with the free time I have at the moment…I also snuck in a bit more “ME TIME” by going to the movie theater to see Beauty & The Beast. And it was a beautiful, amazing movie. And I’m glad, after putting it on the back burner and never having a moment to just go see it…that I finally made time.
Tapering because I have 2 weekends in a row of half marathons coming up. I think I’m running 8 with the group this weekend. And that’s it. That’s what I’ve been up to. Pretty boring, right?
Stay tuned…I’m sure there is more to come. But I need to foam roll and get some sleep…because it’s another wake up at the ass crack of dawn morning with body pump and some cardio after. But, hey, I’m getting stronger and faster and better…and that’s only for the better.
Ever feel like you just don’t have enough hours in the day? Because I thought that after I got through The Kauai Marathon and home from the rest of the vacation in Hawaii and San Francisco. When in fact…I’m pretty much spending every day like this…
Complete calm…and then panic. Yep. That pretty much sums it up. I have promised a few blogs on products and places, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to really sit down and give the blog the attention that it deserves.
Let’s start with training these days…
I’m really not training for anything as of late. I’m focusing a lot on my form and just making myself a better runner overall. Slowing down is not easy for me, but I’m really, really, really trying. That being said…speed work is back on the training plan. And I did the same training run 2 weeks in a row, and failed to hit the pace my running coach assigned the first week…but nailed it this past Tuesday morning. That was a good feeling.
I’m continuing with my spin classes…because it’s fantastic cross-training. Eventually, I’d love to get up the nerve to clip back into my road bike and give that a go. I’m just still working on getting over my vehicle-induced fall back in the summer. So, for now…it’s a whole lot of this:
And, I’ve finally gotten around to incorporating the strength training into my weekly gym routine. It’s only been…almost a year…since my physical therapist insisted I start doing this. So…yeah…weights are slowly working themselves into my routine. It’s not easy, because strength training doesn’t excite me. I’m a cardio girl…and weights tend to not even make me crack a sweat, even while lifting heavy. So…there is that…
AND…to top all of this off…my running has been pretty much shit since running the Kauai Marathon. Hawaii sort of…killed me. The hip has stopped hurting, but the ligament in my foot is still troubling me. And…a friend of mine noted the limp-run I was doing back when I got my stress fracture last year was back. Note that is why I am focusing more on form rather than speed (except on speed work days). But, I find that while I physically feel okay (aside from the extra weight I wish I wasn’t carrying around right now…but it just won’t go away!) and capable, mentally I am struggling. I find myself stopping more…crying more…and just having to talk myself through each run. This is where I really miss running with people. It helps me. It does. It’s a big, big work in progress for sure. I know this all takes time but…I’m so tired of it.
And…work has pretty much been insane since I got back from my trip. Non-stop. There are days I don’t get to take a full break because I have so much to do. And there are days that work has had to come home…or that I’ve had to put in overtime just to make sure things that needed to get done. Honestly, I would love to have a moment to just have some breathing space. You know…where you can just sit for a moment and do something non-work related at work…
It’s good for the soul.
But these days, I feel like my workload should be decreasing, but it’s getting bigger. I’m not really complaining. The job security is great, but I feel that so much of my day is spent doing this…
…non-stop…at the office…sometimes at home…
…while certain other person(s) are basically spending their day like this:
All that being said…I’m going to make a point to commit a bit more to this blog. Because I love writing and I love writing here. And I love all of you who read this and tune in…whether it’s a rant, a post on running, a recipe, a product, a restaurant…you guys are loyal and I love you.
For now, I do have a free evening free of…stressful stuff…so I’m off to watch Hell’s Kitchen!!
Because Gordon Ramsay makes everything better. For realsies!!