Sunday, December 15, 2013

I’m (almost) a Marathoner

Yesterday I ran 23 miles. Actually, it was 23.15 miles but hey, who’s counting?


A few months ago I convinced hubby to request a Saturday off (yes, it really sucks that he works all.weekend.long) so I could run a half marathon and tack some miles on to make an even (or possibly odd) 23 miles for the day. I hadn’t run a race in 2013 yet due to the severe bout of flu I had last winter and had to bail on the 15k in January and then this wretched move to NOLA shot any dreams that I had of running the ATL Half for the third year in a row. When I discovered a half in December, I knew I had to take it. My plan for the day was to get down there early, run a two mile warm up, run the half and then tack on 8 miles and be done.

When I picked up my bib at the running store (yes the race was so small the “packet pick up” was at a store) I asked how big the race was. The woman tried to tell me it was a big race. I figured that since the quantity of bibs for the 5k AND the Half was smaller than the letter “B” at the ATL half, she didn’t know what big was. I was right. I had hubby and boys drop me off at the entrance to City Park so I could put in my two miles. I ran past the start line so I could get the lay of the scene and discovered I had tons of time. I had enough time to get three miles in and stretch before the National Anthem.

The Ole Man River Half started promptly at 8 am. The temperature was a cool 66, feels like 66. The wretched humidity was up to 94%. I could feel the cool, thick air as I hopped out of the car and I knew it was going to be a hard 23 miles. I’m not sure how or why, but the first 7 miles (remember 3 before the half, so 4 into the half) were well under the 12 minute pace. Once again, I blew my wad by going out way too fast for the distance and humidity that day. I guess it was race day jitters? I should know better by now. I even went into the day knowing that it was a possibility. Once my watched beeped 7 miles (4 into the half), I knew I was done. Crap. 9 miles left of the race and 16 miles left to run. I struggled. My pace slowed down and then the headwinds at the lake started working against me. The overpasses felt like mountains. It sprinkled a bit. I think that some people would call it rain, but I knew the “rain” could be much worse. Thankfully, it didn’t outright rain or I would have been screwed. Then the clouds burned off and the darned sun came out. I could feel the road starting to melt in the sun. The second half of the race was all a blur. Finally, I entered back into the park and the beautiful oak trees created some shade. As I entered the finish chute, I saw hubby and the boys holding the most amazing signs cheering me on. I literally cried when I saw them. The boys hopped in and brought me across the finish line!

I told hubby that was the hardest half I have ever run and he quickly reminded me that I have never put in 3 miles before a race. I did a quick stretch and walked with them back to the car. They went to play mini golf in the park and I pushed on through for the last 7 miles. Mid race I had planned to just bail. Jump in the car and go home with them. But then I saw those beautiful signs and I knew I couldn’t give up. I’m not a quitter. I adjusted my run-walk ratio to 2:2 and pushed on. I did it. I finished 23 miles and I felt like wonder woman! My IT band didn’t hurt like it did on my 20 miler. I think I could have pushed on for another 3.1 miles and completed the marathon distance. Don’t get me wrong, I hurt, but I was uncomfortable vs. the severe pain I felt last time.

What worked for this race:
Aspaeris pivot compression shorts really helped my IT band
Body glide on my feet and under the front of my bra line
Gels every 4 miles
Clif bar to munch on throughout the run (no real hunger pains mid run)
Hydration: 2-10 oz flasks of nuun + 2-8 oz flaks of nuun on my fuel belt+ 24 oz hand held of nuun in the front pocket of my race vest (hydration pack) + race vest full of water.

Lessons Learned:
Body glide on my shoulder straps and at the back of my bra- hello chafing!
Hydrate with electrolytes in the 24 hours before the race. When I finished the half, my hands were the equivalent of Fred Flintstone feet. I asked a friend who is almost done with nursing school and is an endurance athlete and she told me that I was dehydrated and I need to hydrate the day before with a combination of nuun and coconut water. I’m going to try that next time. I’ll keep y’all posted.

I didn’t PR on this race or even this run. I was incredibly proud of myself for keeping my pace below 12 minutes for the first 7 miles, even if it means that I struggled the last part of my run. The reason being is that when I finish this marathon and train for my next half, I will have a MAJOR half marathon PR. My endurance-athlete nurse friend told me that running doesn’t get easier, you just get faster. I have been sad that my pace has actually slowed down by a full minute this training round. I try to remind myself that my distance is doubling and unless you’re Kenyan, a marathon is not a sprint. Yesterday’s paces proved to me that with the proper training and focus, I will kick some major asphalt on my next half marathon.

Two weeks of light running then the big 26.0, then the long waited taper. I feel like I’ve been training for a year now.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Half Marathon + 10 miles = Saturday's long run
I remember when 13.1 used to scare me...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Is there anything worse...

...than trying to run on the treadmill while refereeing two boys?


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Twenty Freaking Miles

Holy heck and shoot fire! Twenty miles is not for the feint of heart! Saturday, November 23 I ran 20 miles. TWENTY FREAKING MILES!!! I have never run that far and it was mind blowing! I prepared a 6.63 mile loop that I ran three times and then tacked on a bit more to get an even 20. I started just before 6:30 in the morning. I had gotten up early to eat a bowl of oatmeal and drink some water. My nerves woke me up early and I could barely finish my oatmeal. I threw a Clif bar in a Ziploc bag and planned to much on it during the run. I brought four gels and took them every four miles. I had my hydration vest full of water and my fuel belt was full of nuun (two 8 ounce flasks up front, two 10 ounce flasks in the back). The temperature was 64, feels like 64 with 94%+ humidity. The minute I stepped outside and felt the humidity I knew it would take longer than originally planned for this run. 

As expected, the humidity really weighed me down. I started munching on my Clif bar around five miles. Take a bite and swig some water. I have found that I get incredibly hungry mid-run and I need to eat something or my stomach growls so bad it feels like severe stomach cramping. Taking gels every four miles really worked. My run/walk ratios were 4/1 (minutes). About 15 miles in, I decided that I was absolutely crazy for doing this! I even ran into my neighbor and told them that I was 15 miles in to a 20 mile run, he and his wife just looked at me like I was crazy! I admitted to them that right about then, I was either crazy or incredibly stupid. I felt both!

I can honestly say that this was the hardest physical run I have ever had. I struggled to keep my mind in the game. Knowing that I had three loops made it easier. The first loop was just that, but by the second loop, I was telling myself that I only had to pass that house one more time. I only had to pass that tree one more time. That really helped. About 18 miles in, my body decided to start fighting me. I guess it had enough of the abuse. My IT band got incredibly tight and started affecting my knee. I could feel some major blisters on my feet. I pushed on through and had to walk more than I’d like those last 1.5 miles, but my garmin read 20.01 miles when I finally got home! And yes, I immediately took a picture of it!

What worked this time:
My hydration was good. I could have brought more nuun since I burned through it due to the humidity. I think I will bring my 16 ounce handheld full next time and strap it into my hydration vest
Fueling was epic! The Clif bar really helped and the gels did their job.
Body Glide got all of the hot spots from the last run so no chafing.
Mentally I was able to hang on and stay in the game.

Lessons learned:
One more flask of nuun for humidity.
Body glide my feet for blisters.
Try my Aspaeris compression shorts  to keep my IT band in check

Overall, this was an epic run and I couldn’t stop telling people for the next 36 hours that I had run 20 miles! I can’t wait to say that I am a marathoner and to put that 26.2 magnet on the back of my car!

Next up: I will run 23 miles on 12/14. I am actually going to run a half down at City Park and then tack on 10 more miles. I will need to remind myself to not race this event, but treat it like a long run. I’m notorious for blowing my wad in the first 10k of a half and struggle on through.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

And I Crushed It!

I woke up before my alarm today. I tossed and turned all night, anticipating said alarm. 17 miles on tap for this morning and I was dreading them. My last few long runs have left a lot to be desired and the thought of running 17 undesirable miles brought me to tears. I sucked it up, got out of bed, got dressed and made myself some oatmeal. My plan was to run four miles outside and then finish up with 13 on the treadmill. I’ve been trying to run outside as much as I can when hubby is home to watch the boys. I know that my marathon is outside and not on the treadmill and let’s face it; outside running is far more enjoyable. I did my first four miles and they were magnificent. I have no idea what my splits are because my Garmin was dead this morning. Epic fail. Before stepping out the door, I grabbed one of the gels that I had laid out for my treadmill set and threw it into the pocket of my skirt. After the first four miles, I was stretching my calves and felt the gel. I decided what the heck, today was made for running. So I sucked down the gel and ran another four. If I had thrown anymore in my pocket I would have finished up my whole run outside. It was that good. My legs felt light, my lungs cooperated, there was a beautiful sunrise and the birds were singing. It was a perfect morning for running!

I ran a total of 8 miles outside at 1:33:29. The temperature was 63 degrees, 83% humidity and a dew point of 58. I ran 9 miles inside at 1:52:30. A total of 17 miles at 3:25:59. I still cannot figure out my proper pace on the treadmill. I feel like I am putting in a solid effort and I’m averaging 12 minute miles. The same pace outside gives me 10:30 minute miles. Perceived effort I guess?

Starting my run, I made the conscious effort to start out slow and steady, 17 miles is no joke and I wanted to finish strong instead of the usual crash and burn. I ran 4 minutes and walked 1 minute. In my past runs, I have run 4 walked 30 seconds and the wheels always come off in the second half. The 4:1 ratio (that I even kept on the treadmill) was perfect. I will keep that ratio for my next long runs (20 mi, 23 mi and 26 mi), only three more to go before race day! I took a gel every four miles (4, 8, 12 and 16). I had just water for the first 8 miles outside and then started alternating with water and nuun for the last 9. Like I said, I finished strong and didn’t feel too dehydrated by the end. I was covered in salt and had some nasty chaffing. Nothing that a little preemptive body glide can’t fix next time around.

I did eat half of a Clif bar after the 8 miles outside. I have noticed on my past runs that I get so hungry mid run I start to cramp. Trying to decide if I should bring a Clif bar on race day cut into 3rds in a Ziploc or just grab a kids’ Z bar. I will experiment on the last three long runs! I am elated that there are only three more to go! This has been a hard distance to train for. A half marathon definitely fits into my family time much easier than a full. As of this moment, I am not sure if I will run another full until the boys are much older and can stay home by themselves. I do know that it could completely change post race and I’ll probably sign up for my next one immediately. I am running a half marathon next month. It coincides with my 23 miler. I will run the race (my only 2013 race) and then come home and run 10 more.

What worked for today:
Carb loading yesterday was a success! Waffle with Greek yogurt for breakfast, sandwich and salad for lunch, snack, and spaghetti for dinner
Pre and during run fueling was a success! Oatmeal this morning, gels every 4 miles, half a clif bar mid run, water and nuun
Sticking to the 4:1 ratio

Lessons learned:
Body Glide. Body Glide. Body Glide
Need to get sunglasses for outside running
Charge the Garmin

I really needed this run today. It re-ignited my passion for running and proved that I am much stronger than I think.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Monday, October 21, 2013

14 Miles and a little tip

Saturday I ran 14 miles. The plan was to run four outside and finish up the last ten on the treadmill so hubby could get to work on time. Too bad the rain started before five am. I could hear it hitting the tin roof and I knew that all 14 miles would be logged on the treadmill. I have a love-hate relationship with my treadmill. I love it! It is an absolutely blessing and I’m no longer a slave to hubby’s work schedule OR the crazy New Orleans weather! I hate it because it is so darned boring to run on.

Two weeks ago, I was scheduled to run 12 miles while being home visiting family. I had a plan to run it on Sunday, 10/6. For some reason I thought I could squeeze 12 miles into the craziness known as my brother’s wedding. As you can guess, my plan was an epic fail. The combination of jet lag, staying up too late and having a tad too much to drink at the reception meant all I could think about the next morning was a big, fat, greasy cheeseburger. I did hop on my brother’s treadmill a few days later but it was too late in the afternoon to pull off all 12 miles, so I logged six.

Having skipped those 12 miles, I knew I had to approach the impending 14 with caution. I started of WAY slower than usual and gradually increased the speed. I never ran faster than 5.3. I am still working on walk breaks when on the treadmill. I started off thinking I’d walk every four miles when I took my gels. After the first four miles, I realized that I was incredibly tired and struggling physically and mentally. Then I decided that walking every two miles could get my through. By the time I reached the halfway point, I knew I was going to have to walk every mile. So I ran .9 miles and walked .1 until the last two when all I wanted to do was cut off my legs at the knees and be done. I finished all fourteen miles and am incredibly proud of myself for not quitting like I wanted to. I tried to not let this crappy run discourage me too much. That is what happens when you skip a long run. Thankfully, I don’t have anything on the horizon that will cause the miss of another long run. 

My next long distance will be 17 miles and that is a very daunting number. The farthest I have ever run is 15. I will continue to work on my treadmill walk breaks knowing that on race day I will maintain a 4:1 ratio. Run four minutes, walk one minute. I’d love to be able to negative split this race (something I have never been able to do since I blow my wad in the first half of each race), but I will focus on finishing. It is my first full marathon and all I want to do is cross that finish line!

Lesson learned: don’t skip your long run!

It's a great day for running y'all!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

10.5 Miles on the dreadmill and I loved (almost) every minute of it!

I never did get out and finish up those 9 miles that I bailed on. I figured out that the humidity combined with poor carb-loading the day before caused me to dehydrate and made me pretty miserable. I finished up my training week and continued on, slightly worried about the next long run of 10.5 miles. I had some decent evening runs and ran a solid 4 miles last week. It took me a good week to recuperate from that epic fail. I was dreading my mileage increase and actually started to dread my short 30-minute runs. Afraid of my run? That has not happened to me before and I was quite ashamed. Then, I was gifted the best present in the whole wide world, this beautiful thing:

Source: Nordic Track

The Nordic Track C900 Pro. I actually ordered the C900, on sale with a 10% off coupon AND free shipping. They were out of the C900 and upgraded me (free of charge) to the C900 Pro! It came early Friday afternoon. It took me all day to assemble it. I woke up Saturday morning more sore than I have felt after racing a half marathon. My quads hurt from all the up and down during assembly. I guess I need to start incorporating squats into my weight training? I actually had to take a hot shower last night and then rub my quads down with icy hot to loosen them up for this morning’s run. It worked.

I set my alarm for 6, got up and ate some oatmeal and crawled back into bed with half a cup of coffee. When I was able to focus my eyes clearly, I got back out of bed and put on my running skirt. I wanted to start by 6:45 so I could be done shortly after the boys woke up. Too bad the noise of me on the treadmill woke them up! I was only half a mile in when they came out of their room. They did enjoy watching me run. For ten minutes. Then they moved on to more important things like playing chess or with their legos.

I did experience some technical difficulties due to user error. I was 1.25 miles in and decided it would be a good idea to move the key clip to me so the machine would turn off if I managed to tumble. I didn’t tumble, but I did manage to unplug the machine and it deleted my stats from the screen. I plugged it back in and made the mental note that I was running to 9.25 miles instead of 10.5. For some reason, I remember that I had just burned 200 calories but can’t remember the time. Ha! My next “technical difficulty” was around mile 8.5 (give or take some mileage). I didn’t realize that the machine would turn off after 1.5 hours of use. It did. Thankfully it kept my distance and I could quickly turn up the speed to the pace I had been keeping. There is nothing worse than running at a set pace and then have it slow down unexpectedly. Next time I will anticipate this turn off.

I wore my race vest full of water and kept and handheld bottle of nuun on the cup holder. I took a gel at mile 4 and at mile 8. Even though I was running inside, I didn’t want to dehydrate myself again. I only took walk breaks at mile 4 (with a gel), mile 7 (my legs were needing a rest due to the sore quads) and mile 8 (second gel). The unplanned walk break at mile 7 was due to my legs not being used to running longer distances.

It is hard to run any distance on it with the screen (slowly) counting up your distance but once I hit 5 miles I knew I was halfway done and it seemed to go quicker. I would consider today’s run an epic success! I know that training for a marathon on a treadmill is not ideal, but in this New Orleans humidity, I need a reprieve! The good news is that it is a flat course AND the humidity will be much less in February.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Walk of Shame

Today’s schedule had a nine-mile run on tap. I was set. I had eaten the right amount of carbs for dinner last night, drank tons of nuun yesterday and munched on a few pretzels. I knew it would be a muggy run this morning, but I was prepared for it. Or so I thought. I’ve been enjoying my low-humidity evening runs a bit too much I guess. I stepped out the door at 6:25 this morning and all I could think was, "Ugh, nine miles in this?" 

The first mile was slow, the humidity was pressing down on my body and I was still trying to wake up. My second mile got easier. The third mile, I was starting to feel it. My face and neck were getting too warm. I pulled out my chilly pad from the back of my race vest and put it around my neck. It helped a little. By 3.5 miles I got the worst side stitch I have ever had. I stopped running and figured I could walk it off. By the time my garmin ticked mile four, I was in even more pain. That was when I decided to throw the towel in and walk home. That was one painful mile to home. I swear that the Sheriff that passed me on the road would have pulled over and put me in his car if he had not been in the inside lane on Esplanade!

Thankfully I made it home with no accidents. I wasn’t sure if either end was going to erupt based on the level of pain I was experiencing. I got in the shower and then crawled back into bed and slept it off. I’m feeling better this afternoon, but still have that dehydration headache. Not sure what happened this morning, fingers crossed it was a one-time event.

Lessons learned from this epic fail:
1)    Use the chilly pad immediately on the long run. There is NO reason to let myself get overheated first, start off cool and maintain a comfortable level.
2)    Find a breakfast that works. I had half of a banana and half of a piece of toast this morning. That combo obviously wasn’t enough.
3)    Suck it up and run. I know I made the right decision this morning, but it is incredibly hard to run in 97% humidity (or more!). My choice is either muggy mornings or HOT (95 feels like 101+) in the evenings where I will definitely overheat AND run out of daylight.

I will run the missing four miles tomorrow. I know it is not ideal, and I’m really upset that I had to bail this morning, but it was the right decision. I knew it was going to be a hard run when my stomach felt off this morning as I was getting out of bed. Even before the cramp I found myself wishing cars would run the stop sign and hit me so I wouldn’t have to finish, it was that hard; then the cramping hit. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind and my body was physically off. The good news is that my new treadmill should be here in two weeks or less so my next long run can be done on it’s proper day with no care to the heat, humidity or hubby’s work schedule. I know treadmill running isn’t ideal, but it’s incredibly practical for my current situation.

Regardless of the craptastic run, I am glad that I was able to get out and do five miles this morning! 

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Take That Humidity

Yesterday I ran 8 miles. I was actually scheduled to run 7.5 but I was so close to the 8 mile mark I decided to finish up that last .5 miles. I struggle with running half miles, they are hard to plan for on my usual routs and I struggle with them mentally: if I can run .5 miles, why not go all the way to 1?

I was up at 5:30 that morning. I didn’t sleep well the night before, not sure why. I usually anticipate my alarm on my early running days, but that night was just due to random insomnia. I ate half a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and half of a banana. I tried to drink some water, but not too much. Just a few minutes past six, I had foam rolled and was ready to go. It was early dawn, the sun was just starting to wake up. It was 77 degrees with 100% humidity. I could sure feel that humidity. The first three miles were hard. I felt slow, heavy and sluggish. Once the sun came up, the humidity started to drop and I noticed a difference. Even a 3% drop is easily noticeable. I took a gel at 4 miles. I was thankful for my new hydration vest. The Nathan Intensity 2L vest was perfect! I could take a swig as needed and not slow down to fumble with my flasks. I did bring two flasks of nuun in my hydration belt and two flasks of water for dousing my face, neck and head. By the end of the run, my flasks were empty but my vest was over half full. Great news for longer distances in this NOLA humidity! I passed a few other runners, a bit uncommon for my morning runs. Not sure why everyone decided to wake up at 6am to run? Maybe it was the rain we had the day before?

These 8 miles were indeed the hardest I have ever run, but I kept them all under 13 minute miles (don’t forget I said 100% humidity) and that made me feel good. I think that as the humidity drops, I will find my speed. I hope.

I spent the rest of the afternoon drinking the rest of my water and watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King with the family. For dinner we had some rocking steak fajitas and I might have had a gin a tonic. Overall, it was an epic day.

Today, the boys and I went for a short walk. I’m only a tad sore from yesterday. I mostly feel tired and run down. I’m guessing that is from the humidity. Looking forward to another three miles either tomorrow night or Saturday morning- depending on the weather and how I’m feeling.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Evening Running

Due to a change in hubby’s work schedule, I will now be running my 30 minute runs in the evening after he gets home from work and can watch the boys. I wasn’t too happy when I found this out. I’m a morning runner, not an evening runner. Last night was my first attempt. I started at 6:30. The temperature was 81 degrees feels like 86 degrees with 76% humidity. It has been a tad cooler this week, waiting for 92-L to hit. Incidentally, it bypassed us completely and went to Atlanta.

I ate dinner at 5:00 with the boys. Hubby got home and I headed out immediately. I was surprised at my quicker than normal pace. I thought that I would burn up quickly and then crash. I didn’t. I set a new 5k PR since moving to NOLA! I guess it was the fact that I had eaten before this run? I don’t normally eat before running in the morning. About a mile in, I realized that running in the evening isn’t as bad as I had made it out to be. I could hear the metallic rhythm of the cicadas in the trees. They are MUCH louder here than the ATL! I could smell people grilling their dinners. There were so many people out and about in the streets and their yards. I’m used to the hotbox combination of sewer and pot combined with dead streets at 6:00 am. This was much different, almost pleasant. I even found a quarter in my last mile home! We’ll see on my next evening run if this was a one-time experience or if I’m going to look forward to my evening runs.

Next up is 7.5 miles on Wednesday. My Nathan Intensity 2L race vest has arrived, so I know I will stay hydrated. I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Hardest Six Miles I Have Ever Run

I just finished week five of the Jeff Galloway Finish It Marathon Training Plan. My long run was six miles. I can honestly say that they were the hardest six miles I have ever run in my life. I started off at quarter after six in the morning. It was already 80 degrees with 91% humidity. The heat index brought the temperature up even higher. I scarfed down half of a banana knowing I’d need fuel but not wanting to waste time eating a full breakfast and waiting for it to digest. I stepped out of the front door and it felt like I was in a sauna. Ugh. I had a full fuel belt: two flasks of nuun up front and two flasks of water in the back. I set my garmin and started my timer. My legs were slow, the heat and humidity kept pushing me down making me slower. The miles slowly ticked away and I took a gel at mile three. I don’t normally take gels with me on six miles, but figured with the lack of breakfast combined with the weather, I should bring one. I’m glad I did. At each walk break (4 min run, 30 second walk) I would take a sip of nuun. After the second mile I started sipping water and splashing it on my face. After three miles I started pouring water on my neck and my head. By mile five my fuel belt was sucked dry. The only thing that got me home was knowing I had only one mile left.

Lessons learned for a successful run in August in New Orleans:
  1. I need to find something I can eat (before my long runs) and then run immediately. Half a banana works. I wonder if I should try adding some Greek yogurt as well? Training for my half marathons, I would eat a bowl of oatmeal. Unfortunately, oatmeal is too hot and I don’t want to get up that early to eat and then wait for digestion.
  2. I need to leave the house at SIX am and not any later. Once that sun comes up, it gets H-O-T!
  3. I need to bring more liquids. Problem solved. I ordered a Nathan Intensity 2 Liter vest. It should be here before my next long run (7.5 miles)
  4. I should consider getting a Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad to keep my neck cool. I loose a lot of water by dousing my neck and head.
Rough run aside, it was pretty awesome knowing I ran six miles in weather most people don’t even leave the house in! Pretty GBA in my book. I’m looking forward to my new vest and experimenting with breakfast options that don’t give me a mid run gut ache.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Marathon Training

Yup, it’s official. I’m training for my first marathon! I started this week and I’m thankful to be using the Galloway Method due to the intense humidity in NOLA. Phew! Post run, I’m a thirsty, tired, fatigued and getting headaches. I’ve been chugging nuun and coconut water like it’s going out of style! I think it is helping. I hope. This week I’m “base building” by running 3 miles max. I’m cool with that since I’m still acclimating to the weather here. I have found that hitting the road by 7 am is ideal, and regardless of the distance, I need to bring a TON of water and some nuun. As my distance increases, I will need to start up some salt tabs since I sweat like a pig!

Regardless of the humidity, it’s a great day for running y’all!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How Running Has Changed Me (and helped me maintain my stress)

These last 2.5 months have been incredibly hard and I’m glad as heck they are done.

Hubby got transferred to New Orleans in April and I stayed in the ATL with the boys to finish up school. I now have a new found respect for single parents and military spouses. Single parenting sucks! I found solace in running. Knowing that each footstep I took was bringing me closer to June 1, our move date. As therapeutic my running was it was also bittersweet. Knowing that these were my last two months running the streets of my neighborhood. I found myself on those streets. I started walking and pulling my boys (a combined weight of 80+ pounds) in a wagon to prepare for my hysterectomy. Post surgery, I started walking. My walking moved to wogging. I bought my first pair of running shoes and decided to give this running thing a try. I fell in love. I lost twenty pounds. I found my confidence. I found my strength. I grew up. I conquered 5k, I crushed 10k, I ran my first 13.1 and I pulverized 15 miles! 

In my last week before the move, my family back home in Seattle called to tell me that my Gram was in the hospital and she had 24 hours left to live. My Gram was my best friend in college. We were roommates, foot twins and shouldered each other through the grief of my PopPop’s passing. She had been battling lung cancer for over six years. (She never smoked a day in her life.) She had 24 hours to live and I was 3,000 miles away. I have never felt so crushed and so helpless in my life. Thankfully I was able to face time with her for over an hour at 1:00 in the morning ATL time. I was able to see her, smile at her and tell her that I love her. I only wish that I could have given her a hug. She was tired and in pain, but I was not able to see that she was dying. After our chat, she took a turn for the worse and died 14 hours later. I find comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and that she is with PopPop. My last words to her were asking her to give PopPop a hug from me and telling her I love her. Her last words to me were telling me what an honor it is to be my Grandma and goodbye.

Goodbye. It’s so final.

She passed on a Tuesday, the movers came to box up our house on Thursday and they loaded the truck on Friday. I don’t know how I made it through that week; probably because of the flask of Jim Beam that I kept in my purse. We left the ATL on Saturday morning and started our drive to NOLA. We only made it as far as Montgomery, AL when the transmission on my car blew. All I could do is laugh. After everything that I had been through: single parent for two months, my Gram dying, moving and then the transmission blows. Long story short: AAA towed the car to a garage, they don’t work on transmissions, hubby took a taxi to the airport, finally found a rental car, drove back to the garage in said rental car, the nice assistant manager offered to lock up my car in the garage over night, we drive the remaining miles to NOLA and eventually fall asleep in hubby’s corporate apartment. The next morning (Sunday), I attempt to have AAA tow my car to a garage that works on transmissions. Epic fail. You can’t have a car towed to a closed garage without being present. We end up spending moocho dinero to have the car towed from Montgomery all the way to NOLA. We meet the tow truck at a transmission shop and drop the key. We spend the next few days lounging around the apartment, trying to catch our breath. Wednesday, the moving truck arrives. They unload and I start unpacking frantically so I can turn around and pack suitcases for the boys and myself.

Thursday morning at 6:50 am, the boys and I hop a plane to Seattle for Gram’s memorial. If given the chance, I would have bailed on this last minute trip due to the large amount of stress I was carrying. We made it safely to Seattle and I collapse. Gram’s memorial was nice but incredibly hard. I was glad to be able to attend and see her friends. I was relieved that I had the opportunity to run on my brother’s treadmill for five miles before the service.

We enjoyed 1.5 weeks visiting with family that we hadn't seen in years.

The day before Father’s Day, my baby brother, mom, the boys and I hiked up to the ice caves. My mom fractured her ankle just as we were starting the descent. She went one way and her ankle went another. I learned how to basket carry someone with a fracture. It isn’t easy work whilst hiking down a mountain!

I spent my last few days in Seattle deep cleaning my parent’s house and babysitting “Gimpy” as I now call her. She finally gained the rest and strength she needed as I was leaving. Phew!

The boys and I are back in NOLA, a happily united family. Glad to be with hubby and looking forward to possibly going for a run tomorrow morning. I really wouldn’t advise any of the above happening to any of you (as if you can control it!) and I especially wouldn’t advise all of the above happening to you at one time. I am thankful for the ability to run. I am thankful for my family. I say I love you to my family each time we say goodbye. You never know if it is your last goodbye.

Next month I start my marathon training. Right now I plan to run as I feel: maintain my base, sanity control and getting used to the humidity down here. I’ll keep y’all posted as I ease into 100%+ humidity running whilst training for the Full Mary. I can’t wait!!!

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My New BRFs

I don't mention my family very often these days, for personal reasons. Mostly because I try to keep this as my running journal. BUT when my two worlds collide, then that's something worth writing about.

This morning I took the boys for a run. It was only one mile, we ended up walking more than I was used to, but it was a run. It was an epic run. My 8 year old struggled to keep the pace. He's a linebacker, built just like his daddy. My 6 year old, lean and lithe, could have run circles around us for who knows how long. When the three of us were able to hit the same pace and maintain it for two minutes, it was amazing. We were talking, cracking jokes and having a blast. I saw a glimpse of our running future together and I'm so excited! I'm looking forward to many more runs with my new found Best Running Friends and I can't wait!

My goal is to get them both up to a 5k distance, then they can join me on my short days whilst training for my 26.2. It's going to be blog worthy, it's going to be epic! Not to mention that they are both excited to join the track club and compete in their own races. I'm one proud running Momma!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'm baack!

Yes, I’m still alive and still running; it just has not been blog worthy. This winter, I got incredibly sick and had to take some time off. I’ve been base building since February and only had one relapse. Due to my illness, I had to skip the Hot Chocolate 15k in January and the Publix Georgia Half on St. Patty’s Day, both of which broke my heart. I did complete the full 13.1 miles as part of a virtual race so that was good enough for me

On to exciting news…It’s official, I have signed up for my first marathon! On 02/02/2014 I will be running the Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon! I have been playing with the idea for over six months now. But watching my big brother successfully finish his first marathon and then the events at Boston pushed me from thinking to committing. It also helped that I found a coupon code for $20 off!

Stay tuned, I will return to blogging to report my training. I sketched out my plan last night and will be following the Jeff Galloway Marathon to Finish Training Plan. I know I can run much longer than the 4:1 or even 4:30 sec ratio. But with this being my first marathon, I want to play it safe and not get injured. Therefore, I will finish it with Galloway. My sciatic and IT band are complaining lately and I need to go easy on them the first time around.

Looking forward to reporting my training to y’all come July. Stay tuned, I’m about to join the 26.2 club and I can’t wait!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Oliphaunt

            Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house.
Nose like a snake,
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass;
Trees crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphaunt am I,
Biggest of all,
Huge, old, and tall.
If ever you'd met me
You wouldn't forget me.
If you never do,
You won't think I'm true;
But old Oliphaunt am I,
And I never lie.
                        -Samwise Gamgee
                        Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers