Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Epiphany

I was not going to blog today.  But after discussing upcoming runs with Kelly from Running Kellometers, I had an epiphany. 

I realized I've been going in the wrong direction with my running goals this year.  Not only was I going in the wrong direction, I was going in ALL different directions!  Much is the case with the rest of my life lately!  lol.  I try to do everything good or better and instead I seem to make it all worse or make myself incredibly frustrated!

My goals with running this year.. basically to PR every distance imaginable while training for two marathons and PR those too while I'm at it!  Before I ever ran a marathon, that was always the goal, to PR!  Run a 5k...try to beat your old time.  Run the Shamrock Shuffle 8k every year (coming up in March) and PR that too!    Luckily I didn't worry too much about PR'ing anything last year while training for the marathon, because most of my races for that year where passed.  But now that I'm training for a spring marathon, I've got some of these runs coming up that I've done for many years and my goal was always to PR them.  I now realize that is the wrong direction for me to go in right now.

I've been frustrated as of late with my running pace.  I say I'm about a 10 min mile pace.  But to PR any distance other than a half marathon or marathon, I have to be under that pace!  So when I run a 10:15 pace or a 10:30 pace (or even higher) during my marathon training runs, I'm disappointed with my pace!  How am I ever going to PR a 5k or the Shamrock Shuffle 8k while running those paces!  The answer is simple.  I'm not!  And that should be ok right now.  That should be the way it is!  They are called "marathon training runs" for a reason!  I'm not trainig for a 5k, I'm training for a marathon.

My first marathon, the 2011 Chicago Marathon, I had a finish time of 4:53:06 (11:11 pace).  My goal times were somewhere between 4:30-4:45 but to be honest, I really had no idea what I was going to finish in.  I just wanted to finish!  If I finished under 5 hours, I would be ecstatic.  And I was!  I was thrilled with the way my first marathon went!

Right now, the most important thing to me is the next marathon.  And of course I would love to beat my previous marathon time.  While talking to Kelly, we were discussing speed work.  I was confused on what my speeds should be while trying to do speed work.  She was talking about what "they" say your speed should be if you are training for a marathon.  And I thought, but that's too slow!  Now I realize my problem.  While Kelly was advising me the way I probably should speed train for a marathon, I was thinking of the pace I would need to get for a 5k or 8k and the speed that I would need for that.  We were talking about two completely different things.  Because Kelly was in the right frame of mind.  She knew that I should be focusing primarily on the marathon.  Whereas with my frame of mind...I was focusing on other small races that will end up hindering my training properly for the marathon.

I feel like I'm babbling...

Basically, the way I ended up thinking about it today was this.  What would I prefer to accomplish this year?  What will be more important to me when this year is over?  Come December 31st, will I be happier PR'ing the Shamrock Shuffle 8k or one or both of my marathons this year?  The answer is simple:  The marathon!  Without a doubt.  I'm using the Shamrock Shuffle 8k as my example because I've done that run every year since 2004 (except 1) and it's one of the most important races to me every year.  My goal has always been to do better than the year before.  This year, my goals are shifted and I have to let that mentality go.

And when I am frustrated with my pace while doing my marathon training runs, I need to realize that they may be slower than I would like...but right now, they aren't too far off the goal I have set for the marathon.

And yes, I vaguely remember a few other people trying to tell me this in the beginning of the year but I didn't get it back then.  I can be stubborn when I want to be.  I was in a "I don't want to hear it" mood.  I didn't want to listen because I felt like I was being told not to do something.

For some reason I feel so much better about my running right now.  For the past 2 months I've been giving myself a hard time thinking I'm too slow.  It's hard when you are running next to speed demons (Kelly) and they are so much faster than you!  But the reality is...Kelly isn't training for a marathon.  Kelly is working on her speed for the races up to a half marathon right now.  I can't compare myself to her or anyone else.  Right now, I just have to focus on me and the pace I need to get a 4:30 marathon.

And I just realized my marathon is exactly two months away from today!!  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Indoor Triathlon Race Recap

I'm actually not known to do race recaps for my runs.  I think it's because this started as a healthy eating/weight loss blog and partially turned into a running blog.  But since I did something completely different than just running, I thought a race recap was appropriate.

I decided to take part in a very small indoor triathlon with my hair stylist Carol and a group of her running friends.  I've always wanted to do a triathlon but they scare me a little.  This triathlon is what I considered a "baby" triathlon.  In no ways do I consider myself a triathlete for completing this!  It was a very structured timed event.  You got 10 minutes for swimming, a 10 minute transition, 20 minutes on the stationary bike, a 5 minute transition and a 15 minute run.  But I thought this was a good way to "get my feet wet" before doing a "real" triathlon.

The night before I was actually kind of nervous!  I don't know why.  I knew I could easily do each event so it's not like I won't complete it.  I went to bed early just because I was really tired.  I had a dream that night that I was up against 2 girls in the pool (that's it!) and they told us we had to do the backstroke.  Now, I was on the swim team in high school for only 1 year, my junior year, to help out because they didn't have enough people.  Since I hadn't swam the first two years and was now swimming against varsity, I was a lot slower than everyone else.  And they usually stick the worst people on the backstroke (at least in my case).  So I always got put on backstroke (or in the relays, obviously).  I think this is where the backstroke came into play in my dream!

So in the dream, they said we had to compete in the backstroke.  The other two girls didn't know how to swim the backstroke!  (Haha!).  Lucky for me...I did!  And I creamed the other two girls in the backstroke!  I woke up around 5:30 and kind of chuckled at my dream!  If only this were the case!  lol.  But I didn't have to get up until 7:30 so I went back to sleep.

I got all my stuff together and off I went.  It was nice because this was very local and only around 15 minutes from my house.  I got my swag and my lane assignment.

Swag bag

Lane/Machine Assignment wrist band

The free stuff in the bag
For a cheapy race, the swag bag was kind of nice.  Lots of free samples.  I always love the granola bar and energy samples!

I met up with the girls who were shopping in the store (of course!!).  Finally we got changed and all ready for the swim and headed to the pool.  The pool was 25 yards and they counted lengths of the pool.  And if we pushed off and then the whistle blew signaling the end...that last length counted even if we didn't swim it.  As long as we pushed off, the next length counted.  After the person working the event took pictures of us in the pool (I do not like having pictures taken in a bathing suit! lol), we geared up to start.  I am hopefully going to get the pictures this lady took emailed to me...but I don't have them yet.  I have a few pictures a family member of one of the girls took though.
Before the start, I'm in the light blue and black suit in the middle.
When the whistle blew, I started out fast!  And after two lengths, I was tired!  lol.  I knew I needed to slow it up a little.  10 minutes isn't very long but I wanted to keep a good pace.  I'm a fairly slow swimmer.  I knew from the few practice swims I had earlier in the month that I would not make 20 lengths in 10 minutes.  So my goal was to get as close to that as possible.  They announced when the time was half up.  I was about 9.5 lengths in.  When I was around 17 lengths in, I knew I just wanted to get to the end of the wall and push off just in case the end timer sounded.  I wanted to get the extra length in.  So I just kept thinking, "Get to the end and push off!"  I knew it was getting close.  After I was finishing length 18 and was about to push off, I heard the guys yelling, "GO! GO! GO!"  And I pushed off and about a second later, the whistle sounded to complete the swim portion.  So even though I didn't swim that 19 length, it counted! Lucky me!  They clocked me at 475 yards.  Good? Bad?  I don't know.  I knew that I did good for myself.  I also knew that out of the 5 of us, 2 girls swam faster (525 yards) and 2 girls swam slower (400 and 425 yards).  I was happy enough with my distance.

Then we went to change out of our suits and headed to the bikes.  I forgot my headphones and that made for a very boring 20 minute bike ride!  Not much to say about the bike.  I tried to keep my RPM's up and did well for the distance for me, 6.60 miles.  I must say, the equipment in this gym was very new and very nice!  The seats on the bike were comfortable and it was very smooth to ride!

The first person is my hair stylist Carol with a magazine with Johnny Depp (her favorite).

  I'm second on the bike.

After the bikes, I had 5 minutes.  I went to get my knee straps which I left in the locker room.  I stretched out a bit and headed to the treadmill.  The girls had started early but I was taking my time as this wasn't counting against me at all and I figured I could catch my breath a little bit.

I hopped on the treadmill and off I went.  Actually...I hate treadmills for a few reasons.  One reason is...it takes about 10 seconds to get up to the speed you want to run at!  I was saying out loud..."Come on! Get moving!"  I was losing precious time! lol.  My goal was to do some speed intervals.  Even my recovery speed was going to be higher than normal though.  All I needed to do was run for 15 minutes!  But I was nervous that if I ran on a speed to high for me, I would get so tired that I would have to lower the speed too much later.  So I was a little conservative but still tried to push it.  After a minute warm up at about 9:50 to get my feet under me, I decided to do 2 minutes at about 9:13 or 9:05 pace and 1 minute at 8:34.  I would see how that felt and decide from there the rest of the run.  Well that seemed to work out ok.  Since I didn't have my headphones, the intervals made the time go fast and gave me something to focus on.  With the last three minutes, I figured I could push more so I ran 2 minutes on 8:57 pace and the final minute on a 8:05 pace.  Yeah I was all over the place but I thought it would be better than just trying to run a straight pace and poop out later.  My overall miles for the 15 minutes was 1.66.  I felt just "Eh...it was ok".  I wish I had picked it up a few times earlier or ran longer for a little bit on the higher pace.  But overall it was ok.  I did beat all the other 4 girls that were there with me in the running!  Nice!

Since I got on the treadmills last, I was the last one off and immediately they wanted to take all of our pictures!  I'm red in the face, my hair is a mess from the swimming portion.
After the Triathlon. Sporting our medals.
I feel that I always look like a linebacker when I take photos with people!  I'm bigger and taller than just about everyone!  Oh well...

Close up of the medal!
Even though this was a small little triathlon and really means nothing in the grand scheme of things, I was pretty pleased with my performance.  You still don't realize how tired you get from one event to the other.  It was a lot of fun. I would definitely do this again!  It's good for those that show "interest" in a triathlon but don't think they can ever do one!  This was a lot of fun and may give you courage to sign up for another triathlon!  Which of course I did!  Also, after receiving the results, I found out I got 2nd place in my age group for females!  Ok, it was only out of 9 girls in that group but I didn't care!  Not too bad.  Also, I was really close to the first place position but that girl creamed me in the run (she ran 1.93 miles in 15 minutes).

A sprint triathlon is in my future.  I wasn't going to do a triathlon this year with my hefty two marathon goal but I know a few people that started talking about do one and decided, "Why not?"  So I signed up for a triathlon in August.  It's two weeks after a half marathon, so it won't interfere with that.  And it's 2 months before the Chicago Marathon, so it really won't interfere with that.  Sometimes I think I'm a little crazy.  But you only live once.

A little side note.  Lent.  I'm Catholic but I really don't go to church or even follow many of the rules of lent or anything.  On another side note, I feel that God just wants me to be a good person!  lol.  So that's what I try to do.  Normally I don't give anything up either and I eat meat on Friday's too.  I know, I know.  We always did at home.  In fact, it seems that I always gravitate towards meat on Friday's and would forget about Lent anyway!  This year, since I failed at not eating candy for the entire month of February, I decided to give up candy and ice cream for Lent.  So far, so good!

**Also, Maggie from Mag Mile Runner is having raffling off some great stuff in order to raise money for her charity for the American Cancer Society.  Click here for the link to her page and donate.  Granted, it ends today and I should have blogged about this sooner!  Sorry Maggie! But I'm all up for donating to a good cause and also trying to win some good stuff!  You could always donate even if you aren't entered in the raffle!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tough Run and Product Review

Last week I blogged all about the wonderful and fattening treats everyone made/gave me for my birthday.  Let's just say it got worse on Tuesday for Valentine's Day.  And after eating tons of sugar that day and having an equally horrible crappy 3 miles treadmill run that night because of it, I gave the rest of my candy I had at work to my parents!  I was talking to Dave from Experience Life (who needs to update his blog, by the way) about it Tuesday and the crappy way I was feeling about my eating, my gaining weight, etc.  Dave gave me a swift kick in the ass as he loves to do some helpful advice and I chewed on his comments for a while.  While thinking about it, I decided I needed to implement a plan of some kind.  I came up with planning my meals for the next day a day in advance.  Yes, I know this is old news for some of you, but for me planning is not easy to do!  I'm not a planner!  But my plan was to make and eat breakfast at home in the morning before I went to work in the attempt to eat a more healthy, balanced and filling breakfast to start out my day.  And I planned my breakfast, snack, lunch and snack the night before (even if it was 11:00 pm).  The only thing I hadn't gotten to planning was dinner and if needed, an evening snack.  And I was pleased to find out that this "planning" stuff seemed to work for me!  So, I'll keep trying this and hopefully keep the momentum going.  I actually didn't plan anything today as I was super busy yesterday but I'll start again for tomorrow.

Saturday I needed to run 13 miles for my marathon training.  I can't believe this was the end of the first 8 weeks of my 18 week training plan!!  I was a little nervous for my calves as even though they were feeling better, they were still sore the week before when I ran 12 miles on flat trails.  This week, I was running the 13 with my normal marathon training group The Yankee Runners in a hilly neighborhood.  But I got some compression sleeves to try for my calves and this was the first long run that I was going to wear them on. 

Bonus was that I got them for free!  Now, my run group deviated from our normal street route (because it's only a 6 mile loop) and went into the trails so we wouldn't have to repeat.  The weather was perfect!  Probably in the 30's with sun.  I could not have asked for a better winter to train for a spring marathon!  The trail however was choppy and uneven.  Due to rain a few days earlier, there were frozen muddy shoe prints and horse prints on much of the trail.  It made for a very rough run.  Trying to keep your footing and running and the tons of hills!  I felt like I might die!!  In fact, maybe 7 miles in, my former pace leader took a spill as she tripped over a rock!  I was of course a few steps behind the group and I looked up and saw her flat on her back!  She was rolling around in pain and I didn't know if she slipped and landed on her back or what.  She said it was her ankle and knee.  Luckily, we had a nurse on hand and was checking her out.  I asked Jeanne if she wanted us to call for help (not that I would know where to tell them we were at!) but she said no, that she was going to be fine.  After about 5-10 mins, she got up, shook it off an continued to run!  She is a little scraped up today but she said she is feeling ok, just a little sore.  I happily joked around with Jeanne that if she needed to slow up or walk at any time, I would be more than happy to stick with her!!  Haha! :-)

With one mile left in my 13 miles, I realized my stomach felt completely empty!  I'm usually really good with knowing what to eat before a run and I even had a gu with me during the run.  But I think the extra hills in the trails and the choppy terrain really used up a lot of my energy!  I've never had a completely empty stomach feeling on a long run before ever!  I think I may need to bring 2 gu's or bring something else for energy during my long runs.  Luckily there was a gatorade stop about .80 miles left in my run.  I normally eat a half serving of oatmeal before the runs (a full serving during normal races because I have more time to digest it) and a banana.  This morning, I only had the 1/2 serving of oatmeal.  I didn't have any bananas.  So I may need to try to eat a full serving of oatmeal and a banana and maybe even get up about 15 mins earlier just to have more time to digest it before running.  What do you eat for energy during your long runs?  I feel like I may be one of those people that can't chew well while running more than 16 miles, which is why I stick to gu's.

The good news:  I did not have one ounce of pain in my calves after my long run!  I have almost no doubt it has to be the compression sleeves!  I mean, that is part of it.  The other part is the fact that I got a few good stretches from the chiroprator for my calves which I've been doing.  But even after my 6 mile run earlier that week, my calves felt a little tight.  But they felt pretty great after the 13 miles!  My legs were understandably tired but that was about all. 

The other good news:  I secretly love the hills!  Don't tell anyone!  Yes, my pace is slower when running the hills in those trails.  Yes, I did stop and have to walk up them a few times.  Yes, I felt like my lungs were going to burst and I might die!  But I always love the feeling I get when I do something and finish and it was completely hard for me to do!  (Side note: not to mention that I have a completely flat butt...and I think the hills are giving my completely flat butt a little something extra...just a little). lol

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweets, Cupid Chase 5k & Winter Running

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  My weekend was nice as it was my birthday and so things tend to be "all about you" for a change.  Why does everyone try to make you fat for your birthday?  Some of the goodies I got for my birthday:

Huge delicious cupcake from work

Cake my cousin made using 4 sticks of butter

Fat Free Angel Food Cake with cool whip pudding frosting
Candy from my boss
 I ate the cupcake Friday.  I indulged in a slice of my cousins cake on Saturday which was delicious but I wisely didn't take any leftovers home!  I had a slice of my moms cake Sunday night and did take some home.  I ate 1 serving of gummy bears Monday (12) and put the rest away!

On to running news:  I had the Cupids Chase 5k on Saturday which was my actual birthday.  My original goal was to PR it, which means I needed below a 27:55 (or 8:59 pace).  Kelly from Running Kellometers was going to help me.  Long story short...it didn't happen.  I knew about a mile in that I wasn't going to get it.  Many factors may have contributed to it:  snowed the day before and course wasn't plowed in all spots, it was freezing cold out, my calf injury put my speed training for it on hold.  All in all, my lungs felt like they were going to die!!  Throughout the run, I kept apologizing to Kelly for me being too slow!  She was trying to help me but I felt that I was letting her down!  And even though I know that's not really the case, and Kelly will probably give me crap for saying it, I was slightly disappointed in myself.  And actually, when I got that PR for that 5k, I was thinner than I am now, and I know that is having an effect on my running!  But I let that go immediately after and tried to enjoy the "after run" while watching Genevieve PR her 5k and then had breakfast with the girls: Kelly, Genevieve and Maggie (from Mag Mile Runner).

Kelly and I after the run
Kelly and I finishing
 (I'm the one that looks like I might die. Kelly is the one that looks like she can run 10 more miles)

Me, Kelly, Genevieve and Maggie before the run
 And of course we were also doing a virtual run for Sherry Arnold who was abducted during a morning run.  We wore the bibs for her on our backs in her memory.

Virtual run for Sherry - also our good side
Since I didn't do my long run Saturday due to my 5k run, I had to do it on Sunday.  Luckily I found two people from my F'N Runners run group that needed to do long runs also and I was able to knock out the 12 miles.  It was a cold and windy morning, which kept many runners away from running outdoors, but I'm glad I went as it really didn't seem as bad as I thought. 

There is one problem that I seem to have with this winter running:  How to dress for the weather.  Now, I definitely picked the right year to train for a spring marathon as this winter has been remarkably warm!  But over the weekend, when the temps were in the teens with wind chills in the single digits, I bundle up too much!  I constantly find myself over dressed for running this winter!  And that's because I hate to be cold and when I step out for the run, I'm cold!  I know you are supposed to dress for temps that are like, I don't know, 15-20 degrees warmer than they really are or something along those lines.  And generally, I layer up and will just tie the sweater around my waist as I get warmed up.  How do you guys handle dressing for winter runs? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Goals? What Goals?

Where should I start this post?  Maybe with my failed attempt at yet another bunch of goals?  Getting down on myself is not going to help the situation though, so I'll just do what I always do and move on.  What were my February goals and how am I doing on them 9 days into the month?

February Goals Update

#1 - Take my multivitamin and iron pills daily.  Wow, I started this one out great!  For 3 days I took all my vitamins!  And the last 5 days...nothing.  I'll start over today.

#2 - Not eating any candy/sweets or chips this month - Jodi made herself a list of challenge goals for the month (read about them here).  I decided to partake in this one particular challenge.  And I did great for 4 days!  Until last Saturday when I was out to dinner.  Someone ordered coconut cream pie, which was the "special" pie of the day and of course they shared it.  Without thinking...I took a few bites.  Didn't even realize what I had done until I was driving home!  And can I tell you, it was the most delicious few bites of pie I ever had in my whole entire life!  Light, fluffy, fresh, mmmmmm.... (drool).  But even though I was upset that I accidentally broke my challenge, I wasn't going to let that deter me from doing the challenge for the rest of the month!  Until it happened again a few days later.  And then the next day...I just said "screw it", the challenge is ruined.  Ugh!  I'm so disappointed because I was really excited and into doing this challenge!  What I think I might do now is wait until after my birthday and just re-start the 30 days over.  I'm not happy that I blew this challenge.  Not at all!

#3 - Find a strength training program - I haven't found a steadfast plan to do.  But I have tried to incorporate a few things into my routine a couple times.  And I did find online a list of core exercises that are good for runners.  I've done some of them before and I think it will be a good thing to incorporate.  When I try it, I will share with you all. I don't want all the work I did with my personal trainer last year to be ruined!  Runners need good core muscles and good shoulder strength.

#4 - Start Swimming again - Ha!  Something I actually did right!  I joined the local fitness center for 4 months bc they have a pool.  It's a small pool but didn't seemed to be used very much when I went there last week.  I did the stationary bike for 25 mins and then went to the pool.  I decided to swim for 30 mins and see how much I would do.  My dad and I used to swim laps at the gym many years ago and we would typically swim for 30 mins or so.  The pool at the Ballys gyms were actually 19 meters long (weird but true).  I found out after swimming at the fitness center that the pool is 25 meters long, which is pretty standard.  I was happy with that length.  After about 4 laps in the pool, my arms felt so tired!  I was definitely not used to swimming laps!  But after a while, I felt better and got the hang of it again.  And in the 32 mins that I was there, I swam 50 laps/lengths.  I took about 3 short breaks and didn't do any flip turns.  I was actually a little bit scared to try!  lol.  I haven't done flip turns in the pool in a really long time.  The last time I tried and did a few, I became really breathless and tired!  Plus there was a family in the pool at the time and I didn't want to look like an idiot...come to close to the wall and scrape your feet, too far from the wall and can't touch the wall when you try to push off with your feet!  I thought I would just save the flip turns for the next time I went there and I try them then.

#5 - Complete my mini indoor triathlon - I have no doubt I will complete it.  It's not very long.

#6 - Be more conscience of my eating - here is another one I was completely on track for at the beginning.  Somehow over the last few days...I dropped it all together.  I'll try and pick back up.

#7 - Lose 5 pounds - Ok, I did get a little crap for this one from a couple people.  I'm not supposed to try to lose weight while marathon training.  Actually I know this.  I just forgot I was marathon training!  lol. How did I forget this?  Because I just know that I gained weight and freaked out because I didn't want to be that statistic where you lose weight and gain it all back.  Yes, I'm far from gaining it all back but it starts somewhere.  So in my mind...I needed to lose weight.  And I also thought that 5 pounds a month was not too drastic of a goal.  But right...it was brought to my attention that I was marathon training.  So, my goal is to just try not eat as much crap...and be healthier so it's easier to train and run the marathon.  If I lose 5 pounds (or 3 pounds) as a side effect of eating better, that's acceptable in my mind.

#8 - Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day - Another goal that started strong and has fizzled out the last couple days.  I'm back to it today.

#9 - PR my 5k on February 11th for my birthday - So...this is another one that I got a little crap for.  You are not supposed to try to PR anything while marathon training because you could injure yourself.  Right.  I know.  I also know that I'm stubborn.  I also know that the people who gave me a little crap for this (you know who you are) are also stubborn and probably speaking from experience...So, here's to getting a 5k PR on Saturday!

That's all for my goals.  Now for an update on my calf issues.  I did end up going to a chiropractor who subsequently beat the ever living crap out of me! gave me some adjustments and massaged my calf.  She just said I had a minor muscle strain.  I actually went back to her earlier this week and she did some more adjustments.  Definitely a strange thing if you've never been to a chiropractor!  But I ran 3 miles on Tuesday and my calf felt great!  And ran 6 miles yesterday and after a few miles, my calf felt a little tight but afterwards I stretched and foam rolled it out.  Doesn't hurt today so that's good.

I also went and bought new running shoes.  When I went to the doctor in December, he told me my arches fall inward (and my knees point outward) and that puts a lot of pressure on my knees to compensate.  He told me that I needed a motion control shoe to prevent my arches from falling in.  But he said until then, that I could just buy arch supports, which I did.  I can definitely tell a difference in my foot strike with the arch supports.  And after buying them, I can totally tell what the doctor was talking about!  So I went to the running store to buy motion control shoes.  They actually only carry one pair of motion control shoes, which are Brooks.  But he also brought me a stability shoe (my old shoes were cushion shoes).  I tried on the motion control shoes and could definitely tell they did not let my arches fall at all.  But I'm so used to a cushion shoe that this shoe didn't have that same cushion feeling.  I tried on the stability shoe but even then, it just felt like there was no arch support in them and I'd probably just buy arch supports for them too.  So after much consideration, I decided to try the Brooks motion control shoes.  I wasn't 100% sold on whether the shoes are the "right" ones for me...but I think it's just because I'm so used to the feel of my old ones (the last 3 shoes were the same cushion shoes).  And last night, I went for a run in them...

New Brooks shoes - and my huge feet!
Not the most glamorous shoes but it's all about function.  The shoes felt pretty good while running.  The only slight issue I have is that I have other issues on one of my feet and I could feel that a little bit.  But I'll see after a few more runs what I think.

Actually my run last night wasn't too bad.  I was kind of dreading doing the 6 miles by myself in the dark and decided to change up the route a little bit.  I pretty much try to stay on busy streets while running alone in the dark for a multitude of safety reasons.  Changing the route definitely helped a little bit. And with 6 miles to do, I wanted to make sure I would have a long enough route to do 3 miles out and 3 miles back (so I didn't have to run past my house and think of quitting).  It's funny...when I run I think of a million things!  In fact, I pretty much write about 10 different blog posts in my head (that never get published!).  lol.  But what I have trouble with is analyzing and over analyzing everything...every single step I take, every single pain I feel, my breathing and how out of breathe I might feel, and the million things I'm dealing with in my every day life.  I have negative thoughts about how I suck at running and that I want to be faster, better, stronger, etc.  It's hard because I try to push all that out of my head...but sometimes those negative thoughts creep back in.

I wasn't too worried about my pace last night.  I just wanted to make it through the run after my little injuries and skipping two runs last week.  So when I looked at my watch after 1.5 miles, I realized I was running a little fast for me to keep a comfortable pace for 6 miles.  I generally try to stay as close to 10 mins/mile for "longer" runs.  The next few miles were around 10:15.  During the last mile, I noticed that I was running faster (10:04), then faster (9:54)...so I just decided with less than a mile to go, I would just give it my all...and I was feeling really good that last mile! I wish I felt that way my whole run!  So when I finished and looked at my last split compared to the rest of the miles, it put a smile on my face.  Yes, it wasn't super fast but when looking at the rest of my splits...it was pretty good.  These were my splits from yesterday's 6 mile run:

Mile 1 - 9:47
Mile 2 - 9:59
Mile 3 - 10:07
Mile 4 - 10:13
Mile 5 - 10:16
Mile 6 - 9:42

My splits told me a few things...I need to start out a bit slower and maybe be more consistant in my splits.  And it also tells me I have more in me than I thought by pulling a 9:42 split at the end and feeling great!  But after just trying to make it through the run, I was pretty happy with my overall pace of 10:01 (I was shooting for 10:00).
I also ordered compression sleeves for my calves online.  I ordered them online because I had points that I could use on my amazon credit card.  So I got the compression sleeves (and a kindle and kindle case) for free!  Super excited about all of that.  But I won't get the compression sleeves until Monday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Goals

I feel like all I'm doing now is making goals…and making goals…and not really accomplishing many of them. I guess the good thing is that I keep making them and starting over and not quitting. It can definitely be frustrating when you set a goal and don't do what you have to do to achieve it. It's not like I'm setting a goal, doing all I can do to accomplish the goal and it just doesn't happen! I'm just not doing what I have to do to accomplish the goal.

But in true fighter form…I keep pushing on. I'm not a quitter and I want to accomplish the goals I set out. So I just will keep going after them. Of course, sometimes you have to change things up a little bit, maybe take a new direction or seek extra help. So first things first, I bought a notebook to write my goals in and write my food down to be more conscience of what I'm eating. But if my goals are in writing, I can make a decision to look at them every day/evening and then I have no excuses!

February Goals

  • Take my multivitamin and iron pills daily! I can tell that my nutrients are lacking. My nails are brittle and my hair is a mess. From low iron, my arm tends to get numbness and I'm constantly tired. Yeah, definitely need to move on this one for sure!

  • From Run Jodi Run's monthly challenge, I'm not eating any candy/sweets or chips this month. The only exception is that I may have a piece of cake for my birthday, so I'm giving myself an exemption day. It's allowed. I checked! Haha!

  • Find a strength training program to do (and do it). Since I'm not in personal training anymore right now, I need to make sure I do some strength training!

  • Start swimming again. I swam in HS for only one year but I've always been a fish. I love to swim. My dad and I used to go every Monday to the gym and swim laps but when they bought the restaurants, that went out the window because they were too busy. I let the swimming stop because at the gym I used to go to, there were always creepy men that just sat in a chair at the side of the pool and watched you swim. I didn't like it and felt really uncomfortable when I was by myself. Plus I hate sharing lanes with anyone other than my dad. I'll have to suck it up if I want to go. I'm going to check out the local fitness center because they have a pool and the price to go there is pretty reasonable.

  • Complete my mini indoor triathlon…another reason I would like to start swimming again. And seriously, there is almost nothing more relaxing than swimming laps in the pool…although I'm a slow swimmer.

  • Be more conscience of my eating…hence, my new notebook. I find that when I know I have to write things down, I tend to not eat as much crap simply because I don't want to write it down! Weird mental thing!

  • Lose 5 pounds. I want to try to set a goal to just lose 5 pounds every month until I'm back down to my goal weight. I stepped on the scale this morning, which I haven't done in a month and WHOA! The number was scary! Yes, I did lose 90 lbs before but if I'm not careful, I'll gain it all back and THAT will not happen. So I wrote my start weight in my notebook…5 lbs to lose this month.

  • Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day. My water intake has SERIOUSLY been lacking! I never used to have a problem with water but since the marathon, I might only get 4 glasses in a day! Not acceptable for sure. I bought a 34 oz water bottle to have on my desk at work and I will try to refill that at least once while there.

  • PR my 5k on February 11th for my birthday. Well, this may be rough as…well, see my calf injury explanation below. But because I'm determined to PR a 5k, I'm still going to try for it.

These are my February goals. Looks like a pretty hefty list of goals but it's completely attainable!

As far as injuries go, this marathon training has been slightly rougher than my first one last summer. I haven't had major injuries thankfully, but I think it's because as soon as I feel something is "off", I panic and try to take care of it immediately. I don't want injuries to sideline my marathon goals this year.

A little over a week ago on a Saturday, I did a 7 mile long run on hills (not baby hills, mind you. Big, ginormous, monstrous, huge hills! Lol. Well, ok, maybe not Mount Everest or anything but to a "non-hill" runner, it seems like it sometimes! Anyway, enough of my drama. That Saturday, I didn't stretch at all after my run. I'm a bad stretcher. Bad. I rarely do stretch. But I usually try to stretch a little more while marathon training because, well, you should! So I didn't stretch that Saturday and later than day, I noticed my calf was hurting. I've never had calf problems before so it caught my attention. The rest of the next week, I tried stretching it more and foam rolling it out. I did do all my runs that week. There is minimal pain while running.

Then I had another long run on Saturday for 10 miles. I was able to run it. I could feel some pain in my calf but not major and I didn't stop the run. But as soon as my run ended, I could definitely feel the pain! I stretched it when I got home but after napping resting on the couch that day, I could barely walk on it! And it hurt for the whole weekend! Granted it's better when I moving as it doesn't stiffen up like it does when I'm resting, but it still hurts. And at times, I was limping. Not good.

Well, because I'm not always the sharpest tool in the shed and because my dad was catering a chili run for the local run group at Running For Kicks, I had to run Monday instead of my normal Tuesday. First…a stolen group photo.

It was a great turnout and a lot of fun! Unfortunately, I was running with some speed demons that had jets on their shoes and after 2.5 miles, bailed on the 4 mile planned run. I only had to do 3 miles for training anyway and I was a half mile away so it worked out perfectly. I could tell during the run that my calf was pretty sore and felt I was pushing the run a little too much. And sure enough, when I stopped running, I immediately felt that calf pain!

Of course I know any out of the ordinary pain is not good. So I consulted with my friends at this run, my running groups on facebook and a few other running friends on their opinions. So I decided a couple of rest days were in order, which means skipping a couple of runs during the week. I do not like skipping any runs during training. Makes me panic a little inside. But I know that it is better to skip a few runs than to injure yourself and not be able to run the marathon at all! Also, due to a recommendation by a fellow running friend Jenny from I Blame the Shoes, I made an appointment with a running chiropractor to help with the situation. Sometimes I think I overreact when it comes to any pain while training. But I think it's better to be safe than sorry.