Monday, December 28, 2009

Ups and's a down...

Well...the last run I did was NOT the best...I only did 2.15 miles...part of that was extreme soreness from a few previous workouts, and part of it was the continued inability to get my shoes tight enough. I didn't want to do too much and end up with shin splints...I guess something is better than nothing. It makes me, kind of, dread my runs though...I guess I am anticipating pain or something. I think I will have to scale back on my cross training, so I am not so sore....

I know my last post was much more positive...I guess I'm a bit bummed about having to start from scratch and missing out on the Crackhead Challenge..I can't even imagine doing 5 miles again..I said I was grateful for the lack of "pressure", but somehow it's nice if it's a choice I can make opposed to something that is thrust upon me because of a lack of ability...Sigh..

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Post run soreness...but I'm not giving up....

I just think it's funny that the title to my last post "The drought is over!" is an understatement right now as we get pummeled with non-stop rain! That first and beautiful run, after the drought, has left me with an unexpectedly high amount of soreness, but I am not giving up! My IT band and knees were screaming at me the next day, that's for sure. I know it's been a while, but I ONLY did 3 miles, flat roads, took it slow and I was incredibly sore. The foam roller has been my best friend/enemy the past few days (although I didn't help my poor IT band by going to spin class and "kicking ass and taking names" on Tuesday night) but I digress...I plan to FINALLY meet up with my peeps and homies (aka LRM group) on Saturday morning for my first group run in a REALLY long time. I will only be doing 3 miles, the relay route, but I gotta start somewhere!

And I was thinking to myself the other day, that although there was initially some disappointment in not being able to do any forthcoming races...Now, I'm relieved...relieved that I can take my time recovering "smart" without the pressure of having to be ready for a race. Don't get me wrong, I am excited about upcoming races! My tentative race schedule is as follows, with some room for adjustment...

April 3 Capital City Classic 10K
April 24 Catholic High Rocket 5k (won an age group award here last year! TOUGH!)
May 8 Women Can Run 5k (PR'd here last year, I really liked the course)
May 22 Dino Dash (I didn't get to do this one last year, looking forward to it!)
October ? Soaring Wings Half Marathon (love this course! Was my very first half-marathon)

Not really sure if a marathon is in my future, or near future, I should say...I will see how my recovery goes. I wouldn't mind doing the Tupelo 14.2 Miler again in September. Keep you posted..

Monday, December 21, 2009

The drought is over!

Approximately six and a half weeks, folks, of no has come to an end! Today I ran for the first time since my marathon back on November 1st. It was GLORIOUS! The foot is not sore at this point, but I decided to take it easy, for obvious reasons...aka no running for almost 7 weeks and not wanting to overdo it the first time. My knees are a tad sore...I still cannot tie my shoe as tight as I usually do, so the insole didn't "hug" my foot like it's supposed to...but it's a start! It was the perfect day to run...sunny and 50's with a light wind. I enjoyed every moment!!

I did 3 miles running and it felt comfortable at a 10:14 pace, then walked about 0.5 miles. It sounds ridiculous...but I felt..."myself" for the first time in weeks. I am so thankful for the ability to run AT ALL right now! I was telling my blogging buddy, Jamie, today...that I would never choose it again, but I think the time off gave me some much needed perspective mentally and strength physically (cross training)...I am looking forward to getting back into it on a more regular basis.

I have opted not to do the LR Half Marathon. It's just too much pressure to try and catch up and I really don't want to risk another injury trying. Sadly, I cannot do the Crackhead or Half-Cracked challenge, but maybe next year! In the meantime, I do hope to get back into the running clinic with Dennis when he resumes and possibly the Women Can Run Clinic again, depending on my schedule. I hope to do some 5k's in the Spring and beyond that...I don't know...and FINALLY, I'm okay with that!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Can't run...let's do an Ultra!

I still can't run...and yet...I find myself really getting psyched about, not only getting back into it, but wanting to explore trail running and even doing an Ultra. I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions, because it usually becomes a recipie for self-defeat, but I would really like to do an Ultra in 2010, and if not next year, then in 2011. This is probably ridiculous, at least at this point, since I can't run at all...but I guess it was ridiculous to plan to do a marathon last year when I had never run over 5 miles at a time! So....bring on the ridiculous-ness!

PS The foot is feeling a bit better and I can tie my shoes a "little bit" tighter than before...Oh well, gotta start somewhere!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

32 days and counting...

It has been 32 days since I ran last...sniffle...I'm not counting the 0.3 mile attempt (aka disaster) 2 weeks ago, that resulted in...NOTHING...and having to turn around and go back home because the foot was too sore to continue. It saddens me to say that I will most likely not be able to do the Little Rock Half Marathon in March as a result. I told myself that I would accept that, and it looks like I have no choice, but it definitely continues to be frustrating and sad that I don't know when I WILL be able to run. I am still trying to keep up some cardio by doing the spin bike and some weight lifting again. Just when I think I can graduate from my Keen sandals (about the only shoes that I can wear that don't put pressure on my foot) to shoes loosely tied..the soreness returns....Geez...On top of that, wearing the Keen's probably isn't the best for my plantar fasciitis and my arch has been killing me...
I wanted to do the Indoor Tri at the NLRAC again in January, but I haven't even bothered to get myself up to the pool and obviously, I can't do the running portion.

It is a bit depressing to see all the friends and acquaintances being able to race and train for races. I really miss it. Don't get me wrong...I wish everyone the best! I just wish I could do it too. Sorry, folks, if you were looking for a happy post, you hit me on a bad day. Maybe next time!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving...not just a holiday...

Well....Thanksgiving is almost here! EEEEEEK! I am excited about the yummy deliciousness that will abound on Thursday...all day...mmm...

I always look forward to this particular holiday, and then I get busy and it just seems to sneak up on me! What's better than taking a whole day to look at your life, and look at all there is to be thankful for! I know...sounds easier than it is. Right now, I'm still having to be purposeful about it in terms of my not being able to run yet. I am encouraged that the foot seems to be feeling better...but....I did a little experiment last Friday to see if I could run and it was a FAIL. I was optimistic, because it had been feeling much better all week. Even when I laced my shoes, I was amazed it didn't hurt! forward 0.3 miles down the street, when YEP, it started bothering me. I tried to run with my shoes tied even looser, but I felt like my shoe was going to fall off. Sigh...I must say, I did tear up a little in frustration. Part of it was, of course, not being able to run, but was feeling that I might have set myself back by doing that. Geez.....I hope not...

Anyway, my point being...I can still do other things, and I'm thankful for that. I have been riding my spin bike a lot and hadn't realized how much I missed it! I've also been doing the Power Pump weight class at the gym and hadn't realized how much strength I had lost! But I love the feeling of getting stronger and starting to see those hidden muscles start to peek out again. And in the midst of all this....becoming a more well rounded person and desire to do a tri is coming alive again...Maybe by doing all this other stuff, I am preparing in advance for a tri attempt next year...hmmm...

So...right this moment, I give thanks...for all that my body CAN do! What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The stages of grief....

Five Stages Of Grief:

1. Denial and Isolation.At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
2. Anger.The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
3. Bargaining.Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
4. Depression.The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
5. Acceptance.This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

(from the website)

I know...this may be a tad on the dramatic side, but my inability to run lately, has been somewhat of a loss for me. I think if I knew it would be over soon, it would be easier to handle or work though, but after having tried all I know to do to help the foot situation and without much improvement, it seems as if no end is in sight. In my head, I want to make the most of this time other ways to exercise and basically, get a life! That's a bit harder in reality...When I decided to start training for my first marathon, over a year ago, I'll admit that it was mostly to challenge myself and see if I could really do it. Before then, I loved exercise, but hadn't run since college. Even back then, I ran to keep my weight down and basically punish myself with a hard workout, for indulging...or to stay fit for the crazy, control-freak man I was dating at the time. Running and me...well, we didn't have a healthy relationship.

Training for my first marathon was filled with little setbacks and injuries, lots of questions, and I ran further each week than I ever had before. And I thought, that once I was DONE with the marathon...goal achieved, done running..Unexpectedly, I wanted to do it again. The second time around...still had setbacks..a few less injuries...but a bit more balance and speed work every week...with someone cheering for my improvement (not just pace, but running form, being healthier, recovering smarter, and learning to set my own goals). The Bass Pro Marathon was my favorite and best race yet. Not only that, but it turns out that I LOVE running. An unexpected gift........and just for running's sake. I miss lacing up my shoes, grabbing my ipod, listening to my breath, feeling every step...

And now...two weeks later...I am grieving....back and forth between several stages of grief....I denied for days that anything was TRULY wrong, even as I put my sneakers on and couldn't STAND to have my shoes tied, finally going to the doctor after trying all I knew to do to "fix" it. I have been isolating myself, because sadly...the only DAMN thing I talk about is running and now that I can't run, the only DAMN thing I talk about or think about is NOT being able to run...That's depressing and no one wants to hear it, so I just stay away from people, so I won't be a downer. I've been angry...angry that yet, AGAIN, I am injured and that somehow any progress I make seems to be fraught with setbacks...As I look back, I know it could have happened in any run, at any time, but sometimes I wonder if the race was even worth it, because I would rather be able to run, PERIOD! Then I tell myself, YES...I'm still glad I did my race, because it was a culmination of so much hard work. I'm angry that after all this time off, I will have to start over, FROM SCRATCH, and lose all that lovely progress. I have also bargained...been depressed, thinking it will never end...and tried acceptance, with little progress.

Whether my lack of being able to run is worthy of all this drama and introspection, the feelings of grief are still there. It does not help me to ignore them, pretend they aren't there, play the "what if" game, or in general, act like a b**. Feelings are feelings...they don't discriminate, depending on whether I deem them "valid" or not...It seems like the mental stamina I practiced for the marathon, is far more applicable NOW, when faced with the unknown and things I can't control. I'm trying to make the best of what I can do and maybe the acceptance will take a bit longer. The thing is....I can't argue with how much running has become my everything...and although I love it, that's kind of sad...When I look back at my training, I realize that it has become just another way that I have come to define friends...Although I LOVE the training...the anticipation of the race, the companionship of my running buddies, the commonality of swapping stories, the challenge of pushing myself....I have neglected so many other things that mean so much to me...the MOST important, my relationship with God and my good friends. I'm not saying that I can't have both...maybe it's been poor time management or priorities...I guess I just turned to running to "fill me up", to fill that place in me that makes me feel "OK" or "worthy"....Don't get me wrong, I definitely believe that God has given me the freedom to enjoy running and get pleasure from it...but when I can't run...what does THAT do to me? It's worth a look, I guess...even though it sucks. I think the grief I am experiencing has to do with much deeper issues than not being able to may just be the thing that gets me to take a long, hard look at myself...

I guess grief is part of life..I'm sure the next few weeks will be a lesson in that. Just know that I am working through some things that have some to do with running, but mostly...control...or lack of it...And don't most of us want to learn to be a little more flexible and adaptable to life, so that we don't fall apart at the smallest sign of trouble? I'm sure I won't be the easiest person to be around, but just wait it out...don't bail on me yet! Maybe you won't know what to say...or have "the answers"...that's OK...just tell me that I will be stronger through this experience. Alot of the hardest lessons in life come through hard circumstances. I am a runner..but that's just PART of who I am. figure out the rest!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009



WAAAA!!! cry...cry...scream....

Having a baby tantrum running...

Monday, November 9, 2009

MD Update...

I just got back from my doctor's appointment..and can I just say...I LIKE my podiatrist. It's true. He's a quirky little guy (I say that because he CAN'T be more than 5'5) ...he is friendly, professional, and one of those kind of people that is serious...but you know that they are hilarious underneath, like the people that can look you straight in the face, say something that kills you with hysteria and not even blink...but I digress....

After inspecting my horrid feet and palpating them, having me flex and dorsiflex...blah, blah...there really wasn't much new to say. I was relieved when he said that it was NOT a stress fracture. He didn't even go so far as to say that I had tendonitis, but just that the two tendons on my foot were "irritated". I knew as was partially a relief that it wasn't anything worse, and partially I was like..."What the hell then?" because it has hurt too much to be "irritated". Anyway....he suggested that since there was no swelling or redness (I don't even remember seeing that after the race), that I probably didn't make it worse by waiting to put ice on it. He suggested both ice and heat in a 1:2 minute ratio, alternating for about 20 minutes, several times a day to increase blood flow to the area. Other than that, he knows I'm cheap (and I will take samples whenever I can) and suggested "You can wait it out and it will get better over time, or... (some hesitation here) there is a compound topical cream I use and it has been very effective in reducing pain and shortening recovery time...".

"I WILL TAKE IT" I said...and I did. It is a cream that has Ketamine HCL, Lidocaine and Cyclobenzaprine HCL (aka topical Flexeril)...And that was that...I'm a sucker for fast recovery.

He didn't restrict my running or activities, but suggested that I ease back into them as it starts to feel better and to wear shoes, as much as possible, that will not be tight across the top of my foot/ankle area. Of course, if needed,... lacing my shoes a different way or not lacing the top holes of the shoes. I DIDN'T like, however, his suggestion that I can make it worse by traumatizing it over and over, which could delay full healing for 6-8 weeks...EEK! So, it didn't really give me a time frame on my running, but hopefully after using the cream for a few days, I will be able to tell a difference. I'll keep you posted on the progress. Of course, it's tempting to want a "quick fix" and I guess it could be so much worse (it's only been 8 days)..Still, that feels like an eternity to my runner's mind..oh well, at least my PR will keep me warm at night, right?

Finally.....I guess I need a doctor..

Yep....still stir-crazy...there isn't much progress, despite my avid use of the heating pad yesterday and no spinning, even though it was killing me not to. I went for a short walk yesterday in my Keen sandals, and even did a 3 minute running spurt, but there really is not enough arch support in the sandals and didn't want to cause another problem...aka...shin splints or arch pain. The only exercise it seems I can do without too much drama is least, some of it. I have also been trying to do some upper body to keep from turning into absolute jello. I don't know how long I will be "out of the running" (literally), but I'm going to have to clean up my diet if I want to avoid weight gain...that's thousands of calories not being burned, by my lack of being able to do any cardio! I rode my spin bike earlier in the week, but maybe it made the foot issue worse? I'm getting paranoid. Unfortunately, I cannot wear my sandals to work, so I will have to suck it up and just lightly tie my shoes on that foot for work this week. I made an appointment with my Podiatrist today. I'm going to have to go to the Conway clinic, because there was no other way to get an appointment this week otherwise. I don't know what he's going to tell me..but I figured that all I have been doing to help "my poor foot" would have helped a little more by now....

I will give an update after the appointment today!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 7 and counting...

Sigh....nothing new's day 7 since my last run and I am bummed..I miss it and the weather has been beautiful! The top of my foot is still pretty sore and I am wondering about the whole doctor thing...should I go? I was looking at information about foot pain and injuries online and there really is very little difference between tendonitis and a stress fracture, in this particular area of my foot. I have been doing all I know to do to move the recovery along....I read that even if it is a stress fracture, a lot of times the x-ray will not even show it until 2-3 weeks after it has started healing...In other words...I can pay to go to the doctor and basically he will tell me to do the exact same things, maybe add that I should stop running even longer...

I'm not getting stupid about much as I want to run, I am being a good little girl. With training resuming soon for the Little Rock (probably Half marathon), I want to make sure I am healed up and ready to go...especially when it's time to get back into speed work and hills. I guess it could always be worse, I keep telling myself that..It's not going to do me any good to get uptight about something I'm doing everything I can do help and cannot control. When it comes to injuries, I am always brought back down to my human self, my body that is not immune to pain or little mishaps. I can, however, at least try to learn from them and do the best I can to take care of myself so that I can go back to doing what I absolutely love. That's really what it comes down to...Yes, I am looking forward to the next race and all...but the act of running, just for the sake of what I miss... the meantime, as I try my best to avoid going may hear from me...

Friday, November 6, 2009

A bum foot...

Well...I tried it this least, I got dressed, laced up my shoes...went outside and tried to do a little jog and .....NOPE...NOT HAPPENING TODAY...

I was so excited last night, knowing that I would be getting up to run with the girls this morning...but it did not happen. The top of the foot is still pretty sore. I hope it doesn't sideline me for too long, I miss running..

Trying not to be too dramatic about it, since it's only DAY 5 since the marathon...but on the thankful least I can walk and ride my spin bike for some sort of exercise. I don't want to chance making it worse by trying to run with it still hurting. I will keep up with the meds, SalonPas, ice/heat, Vit C..and hope it gets better. I was told that if it is just a tendon issue, it should get significantly better over a few days. If it does not by Monday, I may end up seeing the Doc. Sometimes, it ends up being a Metatarsal fracture...Man, I hope not! The things I do for a PR...

Stay tuned to my future races...maybe I'll break something just to get a sub 2 half marathon...kidding...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Itching to run...but playing it safe... it is already Thursday! I can't believe it's already been 4 days since the marathon! I am itching to run I tell you!!! The day after the marathon I was pretty sore, mostly in my hips and quads. Usually after a hard run, it's my hips and knees, but surprisingly, no knee pain! I have had, however, a pretty sore upper right foot (on top where you tie the shoestrings). I think I had my strings tied too tight for part of the race and it has been bothering me more than anything else.

I have been pretty purposeful about my recovery this time...eating well, with a good combo of protein and carbs (although I have been craving veggies like crazy!), drinking plenty of fluids, taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol and applying SalonPas patches regularly for the muscle aches, and drinking my Emergen-C Vitamin C/Glucosamine drink mix. I have really felt exceptionally well, except for the foot thing for the past 2 days! I ALMOST tried to go run today, but decided to give it one more day to let the foot heal and try an easy run tomorrow morning. I would rather be healed up and rested well, than push it, as usual, and hurt myself!

As I get back into the swing of things, I am looking at my running goals for the next few months. I have not decided whether I will do the Little Rock Half or full Marathon in March. This will probably be my next race, so I will have to see how my recovery goes and go from there. Dennis is not resuming the running clinic until February or March, so I will have to do speed work on my own. I may keep Tuesday nights as my speed work day depending on my schedule. I am used to working the same days every week, but lately I have been getting cancelled so much, who knows what shifts I will be working?! I would also like to add in some form of cross training again, because I can tell I am losing some muscle mass! I may mix it up with some more cycling and get my butt back into the pool...Sigh...well, the good thing is I'm still free to make those decisions without having to train hardcore for anything yet. Kim and Cheryl have already been running for several days and of course, Cheryl is worried about her pace...YOU JUST FINISHED A MARATHON, FOR PETE'S SAKE! I just want to run...PERIOD!!! Crazy Skipper...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Bass Pro Weekend and race recap

It all started on Friday morning...Cheryl, Kim, Josh and I loaded all our belongings into the vehicles for our weekend extravaganza. Of course, I brought everything under the sun...Cheryl had been duly warned and ridicule was already out of the way. She actually said that I brought less than, the comments were at a minimum. We stopped at Starbuck's on the way out of town and took off. The trip up there seemed to go on forever and I was feeling every curve of Hwy 65..wishing I had not consumed the extra coffee...ugh...We stopped in Harrison for lunch and got some goodies from my favorite Mennonite Bakery 'The Homey Hearth' (Monster cookies and peanut brittle) and were on the road again.

The first thing we did upon arrival to Springfield, was go to the Bass Pro Shop for the marathon expo...well, I say expo, but sadly it was not...I don't know if it was due to the economy or decreased interest, but the "Expo" consisted of a packet pick-up...THAT'S IT! We were pretty disappointed. We picked up our shirts and packet, and although I was glad to get a tech shirt, the sizes were CRAZY big, and even the extra-small I got was huge. Oh well. We had a good time looking around The Bass Pro shop. There was an insanely big fireplace right inside the front door and it was so cozy! There were lots of "wildlife exhibits" and we got to see some crazy-big fish, cute ducks, an alligator, and lots of "stuffed animals" everywhere. I didn't really find much to buy but a few headbands that were definitely needed and was happy with that. Next, we headed to our hotel to get checked in. We stayed at the Hampton Hotel and Suites, thanks to Cheryl's hotel points, and had a wonderful FREE stay. The hotel was clean and cozy, with a huge fireplace in the lobby. Our room was pretty nice with big down comforters, a microwave and fridge...which really came in handy to store our drinks and snacks. Once we got everything settled in, we watched a little TV and relaxed for a bit and then headed to Branson to get some dinner. Cheryl and I were definitely craving some seafood! We went to Branson Landing and I was hoping to go to Joe's Crab Shack, but in the end we went to a Fish House...can't remember the exact name. The atmosphere was nice, but the fish selection was surprisingly small and didn't sound too appetizing. Each modification or side item had an extra charge and in the end I just ended up getting the "build you own burger"..I know...I can get a burger anywhere..Well, the burger was extremely good and I was glad I did! It was a huge medium-well patty with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, and mushrooms, with a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce. The fries were good too. Kim and Josh weren't really happy with their food, but Cheryl liked her prime rib quesadillas. By the time we got done eating, most of the shops were closing, but we did get to go into the candy shop and buy some expensive candy...hehe...we were all craving the sweets! By the time we got home, we were BEAT and it didn't take long for Cheryl and I to fall asleep!

The next morning, we got up around 6:45 to go down to the hotel fitness center. The girls were wanting to "work out"..I just went to do a light walk/jog on the treadmill. I didn't want to do anything too strenuous to deplete my glycogen stores before the race...the girls thought that was ridiculous and funny, but nevertheless, I only did a mile on the treadmill and about 10 minutes easy on the elliptical, with some light stretching. Kim had already been down there a while before we got there and I think she stayed a bit longer after we left. We went to check out the breakfast, and they really had a great spread! I ended up getting some fruit and coffee, and a box of granola cereal for later. We went up to our room to shower and get ready for the day. By the time we were all ready, it was around 10:30. Of course, we had to make a stop at Starbuck's! Then we headed to a health food store I had checked out online called Mama Jean' was AWESOME!!! I wish we had one in Little Rock, I could have stayed in there for hours!! I bought some great stuff and some "not so great" stuff (aka Soy jerky and Kombucha), but all in all, I loved it! We headed AGAIN to Branson, so Cheryl and Kim could check out the Tanger Outlets...I thought that I had been there before, but there were a few stores I didn't mind going to..Josh ended up shopping more than all of us girls! We grabbed some lunch while we were there and later headed back to Springfield. Kim and Josh wanted to nap before dinner. Cheryl and I decided to go ahead and get something from Panera and just take it back to the hotel and be in for the night. We got our race gear and snacks ready for marathon day and ate our food. We watched "Australia" and oogled Hugh Jackman for hours and then fell asleep pretty easily.

We had set our alarms for 5:00 am ,but somehow Cheryl's phone did not automatically reset with the time change, so it went off at 4:00. We went back to sleep for another hour and then started to get ready. The forecast said the temp was 41, but the wind was supposed to be 10-20mph that day! YIKES! I heard Cheryl say "Oh SHIT!" to that, but looked outside and the leaves weren't even moving, so thought that maybe we would luck out, at least for a while! I had my outfit laid out already...running skirt, short sleeve tech shirt, long sleeve tech shirt and vest, all black...with my gaiter, gloves and a bright pink headband. Last time we had done a run in 40-41 degree weather, I wore the same amount of layers and was comfortable, so it seemed like a good idea. I put my chip band on my right shoe, which if I could go back and do over, I would put it on my left, since I always end up having to adjust my right shoe, but oh well, lesson learned!
My fuel belt was full...3 bottles of fluid (2 with G2 and 1 with coconut water), one pouch with 5 Gu packets, safety pins and ibuprofen, and my other pouch with my ipod and my "focus card" (aka things to help me stay encouraged and focused during the race)...Cheryl and Kim had to take last minute potty breaks, and we were off. The nervous energy was starting to build as we got closer and saw all the people gathering inside the Bass Pro Shop...most of them were half-marathoners. The capped limit on the marathon was 600, but I think there were only around 300+ that actually ran.

We gathered at the start for The National Anthem, and my numerous shoe adjustments and only had about 16-17 seconds from when it started and when we crossed the START line. Kim, Cheryl and I started off together and stayed together for probably the first 5 or so miles. I shed my "throw away" layer around mile 2 when I was warmed up. We were on residential roads, uphill I might add, until about mile 3-4, when we veered off from the half-marathon crowd and headed toward the trail. It was really similar to the Little Rock River Trail, and for those of you that know me, I have had MY FILL of that damn trail for the past several months in training!! It started to mess with my head a little, being on it, reminding me of those endless mornings on the River Trail, but I tried to force that from my mind. There was one part where we had to go through a tunnel, but it was covered with water, after all the rain they had, so we ran up this little hill, across a busy street and back down to the trail. I didn't want wet shoes that early in the race, if I could help it! At that point, I needed to adjust my shoe, and take a walk/fuel break, so I told the girls to go ahead and go on without me. It was tempting to try and stay with them, but I knew I would need those small breaks to get through. I only walked for 1 minute every 4.5 miles, long enough to take my Gu, and started back running. It was helpful and I'm glad I did it. Anyway, I saw the girls ahead of me for a bit, but with all the curves of the trail, it wasn't long before I didn't see them anymore. By this time, many runners were meeting me on their way back my direction, so I knew there was a turn-around point ahead. The other runners were SO fact, I can't remember a race that so many runners encouraged each other so much! That alone, was a huge boost! The spectators were spread out, not too many of them, but steady and excited enough to really help me keep going. By around mile 8-9, it had really started to warm up outside and I had to take off my outer gloves ( I was wearing gloves and liners) and my gaiter and unzip my vest a little. The weather was just so beautiful, that I didn't mind carrying my stuff! It was close to the first turn-around, that I saw Kim coming towards me, and she waved! I was wondering "Where's Cheryl?" because I thought she was ahead of me, and figured she probably had to make a bathroom stop. Not too long after that, after I had turned around, I saw her and we made a pathetic attempt to high five..hehe...I figured any minute she would bust past me, like she did in Tupelo! At mile 9, I adjusted the shoe again and took my second 1 minute walk break. I passed a few people in the next few miles and it was nice to have other people around that weren't coming towards me! I decided I would let myself put my ipod on at my next fuel break and was excited to do so at mile 13.5! I tend to speed up when I have the music just really pumps me I figured I should wait, so I wouldn't burn out too quick! At this point, I had just run through a beautiful neighborhood without too many race markers, so I was glad to get on a long stretch of road where I could tell where to go! As predicted, I sped up some listening to Justin Timberlake's "Damn, girl" song...hehe...but did have to adjust my shoes AGAIN because the top of my foot was hurting. I think it was around mile 14 or 15 when we had to get back onto the trail again. The fuel stops on the route were really good...they used Powerade and they filled the cups up well, not too much in the cup..they seemed to have a good flow and the volunteers were super! I think it was around mile 19.5 or 20 that I got a Carb Boom that was Apple Cinnamon flavored and it was really yummy! I had just fueled at mile 18, so I held onto it until around mile 21 and took it early, since the volunteer had already opened it. I had been seeing runners coming towards me again, so I knew there was another turn-around. I had seen Kim and passed her earlier...she had taken off several layers and said she was hot, at the time she was texting Josh. Later, about 0.5 miles after the second turn-around, I saw her coming towards me...and shortly after that I saw Cheryl! She looked so refreshed, like she wasn't struggling at all! Right before mile 20, I can remember thinking..."Okay, isn't mile 20 where I'm supposed to hit the wall, because I know I have 6 more miles to go?" and then I told myself..."There is no wall here..." and I just kept going! The whole race, the miles just seemed to fly by...and even more so when my ipod was on. The feet were a little sore and at one point I had a calf cramp (?), but I just stretched a little as I walked and told myself "Your legs are not hurting.." and somehow...they didn't seem to hurt anymore. I told myself "You are victorious"...."You are stronger than you think you are"...and as I saw my pace, "You are killing it!" It was cool that the songs on my ipod were just pushing me forward, giving me energy...At mile 25, I saw lots of people start to walk. I slowed down too, but then I saw a sign that said "Finish Strong" and I started to pick up the pace again. When I got to mile 26, I saw a sign that said "26 miles, only 0.2 to go" and I started to get excited..and then...the finish that I will always remember..(it gives me chills as I write this)...As I rounded the corner, the theme to Top Gun came on ( listen here: and it was like a movie...I could feel my legs speeding up...the people were eyes were tearing up and I ran as hard and fast as I could, as I heard them call my name...I looked at the clock and saw..4:37 something...I couldn't believe it! My actual official chip time was 4:36:27...a pretty significant PR from my last marathon, a 5:13:14! I had a stupid grin from ear to ear, as they put my medal on me and I got my finisher's hat! I saw Josh waiting for Kim, right after that, and I couldn't help tearing up all over again!
Here were my splits:

Mile 1 10:43, best 9:52
Mile 2 10:28, best 9:48
Mile 3 10:26, best 9:03
Mile 4 10:23, best 9:06
Mile 5 11:00, best 9:13
Mile 6 10:25, best 9:01
Mile 7 10:17, best 8:18
Mile 8 10:30, best 9:22
Mile 9 11:04, best 9:07
Mile 10 10:36, best 9:25
Mile 11 10:34, best 8:42
Mile 12 10:26, best 8:52
Mile 13 10:40, best 9:11
Mile 14 11:07, best 8:57
Mile 15 10:19, best 8:43
Mile 16 10:11, best 9:01
Mile 17 10:27, best 9:34
Mile 18 11:00, best 8:02
Mile 19 10:55, best 8:25
Mile 20 10:41, best 8:29
Mile 21 10:43, best 8:59
Mile 22 10:20, best 8:39
Mile 23 10:03, best 8:14
Mile 24 10:03, best 8:31
Mile 25 10:22, best 7:58
Mile 26 10:05, best 8:59
Last 0.2 9:55, best 8:59

As you can see, I had a few energy spurts!

I got a bottled water and stood at the finish, so I could watch the girls come in. Josh had texted them telling them I was already done. About 20 minutes later, I saw them running towards the finish together. As they crossed the finish line, they hugged each other and Cheryl started to tear up too! They got their medals and finisher's hats and we took some of our stuff to Josh's car, so we could go get some FOOD! I grabbed a Diet Coke (yum!), some eggs and a biscuit...mmmm..Kim and Josh had to leave pretty quickly, because they had to check out of the hotel by 1pm and Kim still needed to shower and change. We thought we might see them at the hotel, but we ended up staying for the awards ceremony and door prize giveaway. They had some pretty good stuff for the winners ...the overall winners got awesome plaques, money, and a free pair of New Balance Shoes. The winners of the age groups got artist posters, with signatures by Jeff Galloway and other running guru's..door prizes included some New Balance merchandise and overnight stays at Big Cedar Lodge.. Cheryl and I did not win, however...booo... (see medal above right..our are similar to last year's medal).

We headed back to the hotel to shower and change...we had one thing on the brain...MEXICAN FOOD! We asked the clerk at our hotel which restaurant she recommended, I can't remember the name of it now, but it was AWESOME! We ordered guacamole with our chips and salsa and fajitas for 2...which included beef, pork, shrimp, and chicken with all the was heaven! After we fully stuffed ourselves, we went back to the hotel for a night of relaxation..I think we were both asleep by 8:30pm! Monday morning I couldn't sleep past 5:45, so I decided to go downstairs to meet Cheryl...she had been awake since 4:45 and had gone downstairs around 5:15 to read her book by the fireplace. By the time I got there, the breakfast buffet was getting into full swing, with tons of old people and military folks gobbling up the deliciousness. I got an egg, cheese and veggie omelet and some fruit and coffee..We sat for a bit reading the paper and "people watching"...One old man was making trip after trip, grabbing TONS of oatmeal, raisin bran and bagels..he had a whole tray of food and we could see "cereal-box like" shapes in the pockets of his pants too! It was hilarious! We went back upstairs and finished packing and were out of there! We stopped a couple of times on the way home, our main goal to go through Harrison and go back to the Mennonite bakery, but they were closed! Bummer!! Other stops included Target, Sonic, and I had bought a table on Friday and Cheryl helped me pick it up and take it home. What a great weekend, but I was ready to get home!

Thank you to all who encouraged me, specifically.....Cheryl (aka Skipper and My Yoda), Kim (aka Kimbo), Annette, Brenda, Coach Dennis, Jeff,Brian, Morgan of Redhead Running, 26.2 Princess, Gabby of Gabsatrucker, Sara, Sabrina, Jade...and so many more! I've had a lot of real breakthroughs in "running my own race"...allowing myself to be challenged by my friends and peers,but at the same time, learning to do what is best for ME in my running. I'm sure I'll have many more running experiences to learn from! Love you all!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last minute...

48 hours, Folks!

I am stronger than I think I am....

I have worked hard for this...

I am victorious....

I exist in each moment...not where I was, or where I should be...but I embrace the joy that is NOW

I do not have to run, I am FREE TO RUN....

I throw off everything that hinders me and run the race before me...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mental prep

3 days...72 hours...4763 minutes...until Bass Pro...I know, how many times can I write a freak-out countdown blog entry? Well..technically I haven't done the freak out yet..but last night I was reading one of my marathon books and it was talking about letting the runs the week of the marathon be a comfortable effort, so that you don't use up too much of your glycogen stores and I was like..."Oh no!" Try as I have, my runs this week have been faster than usual, although it hasn't felt like it...Even my "crappy run" yesterday was a 9:40 average pace...I say it was a crappy run, for the most part it felt okay, but I was having shoe issues and it was so frustrating! I could feel myself start the "talk" as my panic level rose.."What if this happens race day?" and on and on and on...

And so I had to make myself STOP that...I reminded myself that sometimes I have shoe, hip, back (whatever) issues one day and then can feel totally awesome the next! So that was not going to ultimately doom me to a horrible race day. It's true that I have no control over the weather...but I can do as much as possible to prepare for a good race well, try to get some rest, dress appropriately, have all my gear, infinum.. As I said in my earlier post, most of my preparation this week has been mindset. I have realized that a lot of times, my mindset is what defeats me, even before I've even tried something! I create these unrealistic expectations or seek to control things that cannot be controlled and set myself up for bitter disappointment. It's true..I do want to beat my previous time..I have worked hard! Those Tuesday night running clinics weren't for nothing! I do want to push myself....

Obviously, we all don't know what tomorrow will bring. We like to plan and scheme and control, but in the end, we adapt....well or not, cheerfully and thankfully or not...And I haven't been very adaptable, I'll be honest. I HOPE that I have many more years of healthy running ahead of me. Realistically, I probably do have plenty of time to keep working toward becoming a better, faster runner...but I wondered to myself yesterday...what's the rush? Is there some invisible timetable out there that I have to complete? Maybe I'm just giving myself an "out", an excuse to fail... A lot of the time, I push and push, but all the while in my head I'm thinking.."When will I be good enough?"..."am I good enough now?"I have berated myself and my accomplishments with the misguided belief that it will encourage me to reach a higher standard. Instead of celebrating my successes with a positive voice, I constantly undermine my progress by reminding myself how far I have to go. In the end, the constant criticism works to defeat me. Sad, but true. This week I have had to look long and hard at this in my life..Whose voice is that? Is it external? Sometimes...But's me...

As I think back to some of my experiences, not necessarily running related, the times that I have thrived have been the times when I just let myself relax and enjoy the process. I'm not talking about being lazy, but giving myself permission to take everything not be so focused on some narrow goal that I miss out on the journey. When I celebrate little steps and successes, I usually perform better as a byproduct of enjoying something with childlike delight! The other day I heard a quote that said something like..."The marathon is just the victory lap at the end of all the training"...Now that's one SERIOUSLY LONG victory lap, but the day in and day out training and work are just as gratifying. I am enjoying the fact that it takes risk for me to put myself out try..and to hope...I'm sure that, being a person with perfectionist tendencies, this will be a process that extends much farther than a race... but God has really used running in my life to show me spiritual parallels and I'm ready to start listening...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pre-race jitters and Soaring Wings blurb..

Well, it's official...we are going to have to build an's raining AGAIN! I admit I like a rainy day, now and then, but it has been so wet lately! How would a marathon on an ark work? 26.2 miles of circles....ugh.....however.... the scenery would be most interesting! Maybe if a lion or bear took a swipe at me whenever I ran by, my time would improve! Sigh...

Today is the last day of running clinic. The chance of rain is supposed to decrease to 50% after 5pm, so MAYBE we will get to run! I hope so! I have been looking forward to seeing Coach Dennis and everyone for the last time this season..unless we encounter each other in the racing circuit. Cheryl has been making herself sick with "Marathon Madness" and I have tried not to think about the race on Sunday too much. My runs are still pretty decent and I'm trying to eat better (except for the dang pesky candy corn in my cupboard!) in preparation. To be honest, I think I need more mental preparation than anything! It's hard not to let the anxiety take over sometimes. I try to tell myself that it doesn't serve me anyway, and that relaxes me some. I have downloaded some new music for my ipod and am excited about the new tunes! I will probably leave my ipod off for the first 8-10 miles, maybe for the first half...just to stay aware of my surroundings and the bigger crowds and then put it on when I am needing a boost. The music never fails to push me a little, even when I am feeling tired or worn out! I have tried to stay away from saying my goals out loud..for fear that I won't obtain them, but I definitely hope to do a sub 5 hour race. Anything even lower would be straight AWESOME, but I am trying to focus on the experience of the race and not let a time goal be the measure of whether I "succeed" or "fail". I hope to avoid my usual pitfall of starting out too fast and conserve my energy at the beginning. I want to set the workout on my Garmin for an 11:00 min/mile pace, but it may be hard to pay much attention to that, considering the volume on my Garmin is not working and I cannot hear the alarms! I keep reminding myself that even though it's hard to see all those people passing me at the beginning, I'm just saving my energy for later when I need it most. I would love to have a negative split!

In other news, Cheryl and I volunteered this past weekend at the Soaring Wings Half Marathon. I was really wishing that I could have been running it, but it was still great to see so many of our friends and fellow running peeps coming across the finish line! We got there a little after 6am and of course, it was still dark. It was COLD too, and I was so glad I layered. I had 2 long sleeve tech shirts, the volunteer t-shirt, and a fleece jacket on...not to mention a gaitre, and gloves! The food prep was a bit chaotic, and most of the volunteers ended up asking Cheryl and I what to do! Most of them had already been cutting up fruit, so we started emptying candy, etc. into bigger boxes and arranging the stuff on the tables. There were a lot more volunteers, a lacrosse and baseball team from Hendrix, so the Gatorade and water were pretty much taken care of. We were able to get some terrible coffee at one point, and head over to the start line to watch beginning of the race. It was neat to see everyone take off! After that, we filled our time with rolling MILLIONS of hot dogs and even got to eat one of the yummy hamburgers being grilled before our eyes...One after another of our peeps crossed the finish line, many of the first being guys from our running clinic. Kim had a pretty good race, but was a bit sore. After a short drama with Cheryl's friend almost passing out, and getting to scope out a very cute fireman/EMT, we left and headed home. My legs were a bit tired from standing all morning, but I went to run when I got home, because I was undecided as to whether I would get to run the next day, due to work. Well, I didn't work...but that's another story...for another time. My run went fairly well, considering, and I headed out to the parent's house to meet my mom and sister to go to the Commissary for some grocery shopping..and MORE hours of being on my feet!

4 more days til the race! Despite the rain that is flooding the earth, I believe it is supposed to be a sunny race day, with early morning temps in the 40's. PERFECT, if you ask me. If you ask Cheryl or Kim, they will tell you otherwise! hehe...It happens to be Daylight Savings weekend, so it will be lighter outside, when we start at 7am. Hopefully, the sun will warm us up. I am personally hoping that my "aunt martha" will not be joining me for the race..I do not want to spend precious minutes in various port-o-potties throughout the morning!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clinic ends...and a new challenge on the horizon...

Just a short post today, since I have a little bit of time before going to work..

Last night was the second to last running clinic of week will be a bit of a light workout for us, due to marathon tapering. Dennis will be continuing to trail individuals throughout the winter, but probably won't start the clinic again until around February. Anyhoo, the workout last night was our toughest yet! Luckily, the weather was perfect...sunny, breezy, and probably in the 60's. Cheryl and I had to do our workout early, due to having to be in Conway by 7pm for the Soaring Wings Volunteer Meeting. I showed up around 5..the workout looked like it would be long and I always take at least 15 minutes to warm up. Here's the workout I did: 15 Minute warm up, 2 strides
1x5 @ LT Pace, 3' rest
1x800-1st 400 @LT pace, 2nd 400 @ Interval pace, 2' rest
3x400 @ Interval pace, 2' rest
4x200 @ Interval pace, 200 jog/rests
10 minute cool down, stretching

It was the longest and toughest workout so far and my heart rate stayed high and breathing somewhat labored. It felt great to really push myself though! I was a tad sore in the left knee, but stretching took care of that! Cheryl was disappointed because she had to cut her workout short, due to her late arrival from work. Next week will be pretty easy and we probably could do without going to clinic, considering the workout, but I want to be there for the last workout of the season. I must say that I have been ready to have a break from the commitment for a while, but now that it is ending, I'm kind of sad :( I hope to keep doing speedwork on my own once a week throughout the winter.

I'm really hoping that I do recover from my second marathon faster than my first. I want to be smarter about it, mostly in my diet and rest. Last time I got sick after the marathon, and I'm hoping to bounce back a little better. I didn't want to jump right back into training for another race, but I found my little heart going "pitter-pat" when I got an email from Hobbit about the Crackhead and Half-cracked Challenge coming up in March. I don't know if I can resist! And I am still undecided as to what to do. The Crackhead involves doing a Half marathon on Saturday and then doing the Little Rock Marathon on Sunday. The Half-cracked involves doing a 10k on Saturday and the Little Rock Half Marathon on Sunday. You get a medal for each race PLUS a medal for doing both...THAT'S 3 MEDALS! I'm not sure if my body can take the Crackhead or not. The training involves 2 long runs back-to-back each week. Cheryl and Kim have already decided to do it (of course)....I have a little bit of time to decide.

In the meantime, I am hoping to do the Great Gobbler 5k, 2 weeks after the marathon. Not hoping for a PR, because I don't really know how I will feel, but the race sounds fun. For now...only 9 more days til Bass Pro! EEK!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finally...the "runners high"! officially I am supposed to be tapering but...

Met the girls this morning for our usual Monday 5+ mile loop. I was really itching to go run yesterday, but it was so cold, I only got as far as the front porch all day! It was cold this morning, and even though the temp said 41 degrees, it didn't feel quite as cold as I expected.

I must say that the whole run felt wonderful! I couldn't resist doing an extra two miles on my own after we got back! I don't know what it is, but with the exception of last Friday and part of Saturday's run, I have had a wonderful few weeks of running! I have tried to think of things I might be doing differently, so that I can make sure this awesomeness continues, but there isn't really one thing that sticks out to me. It's like all this energy was just infused into my body and I have felt like I could run forever! And faster too! On Friday, I was sure the honeymoon was feet, hips, knees, butt all hurt and I felt like I had never run before..but today, the mojo was back! the face of common sense, you might be wondering, "Aren't you supposed to be tapering?" Yes...but I couldn't resist today. For the next two weeks, aside from speed work tomorrow, I will have to "reign it in", so to speak...but it's interesting that all this time that I have been running, I can never say that I've had that "runners high" that everyone talks about. I've enjoyed running and I usually, with the exception of the soreness after long runs and speed work, feel great afterwards. But I finally know it feels like...GOOD! And I'll take it as long as I can!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


That seems to be my sentiment lately about a lot of things, but since this is my "running" latest "eek!" is the impending Bass Pro Marathon. It is almost upon me, in 2 weeks to be exact, and I am already feeling the nerves!

Yesterday was our 12 miler with the LRM Group, meeting at the Harvest Foods on Cantrell. Cheryl picked me up, per usual, and promptly stated how "frigid" it was outside. Now, you have to know up front that Cheryl hates, no, HATES winter...and since it seems like we have completely skipped over having a fall...she tends to be a bit testy about cold weather. I went outside and thought "hmm..doesn't seem colder than yesterday"...and I was quickly informed that I should "just wait"...I decided to grab my vest, just in case...

We headed over to the meeting place with no issues (aka the roads were not blocked off yet for the Race for the Cure, going on that morning) and met Kimbo. Tom and Hobbit were out of town this weekend, setting up a booth for the Little Rock Marathon at the Kansas City Expo, so some other people were managing the runners this week. We decided to go ahead and get started. It was still dark, of course, but that usually makes running down to Murray Park much more bearable. At this point, I was VERY glad that I had worn my vest and was getting comfortable warm about 1 mile into the run. The route is very flat, and I was pleasantly having a much better run than I did on Friday. I'm sure the lack of hills was most of it, but my butt/sciatic was not bothering me like it did then.

Somehow the miles flew by...and we were keeping a pretty fast pace, that became a little challenging for me about halfway through the run. We didn't take as many walk breaks, so my legs felt like lead, but when Cheryl stopped to use the bathroom, I got a short break and got my second wind to finish out the last 2-3 miles at a decent pace. In light of the marathon coming up, we knew we were going too fast for the goal pace of around an 11:00 min/mi but I quickly reminded myself NOT to do that on race day. It will probably be a good thing that I'm not running with the girls, so I am not tempted to do that, because I can tell that it definitely costs me later in the run. I would love to have a negative split, because I saved my energy and made the most of my short walk breaks. This is pretty impossible with Kimbo and Cheryl, as Kim pretty much stays a steady pace and keeps going and Cheryl always has some invisible speed watch in her head that makes her take off like a bat out of hell. However, you never know what race day will bring and I hope that I am rested and have a good running day.

We are pretty much tapering now and that usually freaks me out..especially when the runs closer to the race seem less and less easy. This week we will have to do our workout early, because we are going to Conway for the required volunteer meeting for the Soaring Wings Half Marathon. Kim is running the race (because she is a bad ass) and Cheryl and I are volunteering. I knew I couldn't run a half the week before a marathon (!), but last year I enjoyed this race so much, I wanted to be a part of it somehow. I signed up for food prep or packet pick up. I guess we will find out when we go to the meeting Tuesday night. Next week we will be really be cutting back on mileage, and modifying our speed workout with Dennis. As race day approaches, I'm sure the "freak outs" will increase...there is nothing that I can do about the whether my "special friend" visits me on race day as scheduled, or the weather there's no point in worrying myself to death over it. I do want to try my best to plan as well as I can and get plenty of rest and eat well.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One month until Bass Pro...EEK!

I haven't posted in so long! To be honest...I'm getting hooked on blogs..reading OTHER people's blogs..that is! I can't believe Bass Pro is just 1 month away! Cheryl and I did the 20 miler with the LRM group this weekend.

We started at the "traditional" meeting place, aka The Arts Center, for the first "marathon training" run of this season. We tried to get there early, but downtown Argenta was almost completely blocked off, due to the Big Dam Bridge 100 mile bike race. By the time we got there, it was almost 5:45...It was dark, of course...I do love that fall is making an appearance, however, the darkness arriving earlier in the evening and staying later in the morning is not my fav. The route pretty much took us through the whole of downtown Little Rock, past all the usual places...Central High, MLK, The Capitol, up Kavanaugh, down Cedar Hill and back to downtown via Titus Trail. We kept a pretty consistent pace for most of the run. Cheryl had her Garmin set for an 11:00 mile/min pace, sometimes we went way too fast..other times too slow. We averaged around a 10:45ish for the whole run. My feet were killing me at around mile 17 and I was ready to get that run OVERWITH!

I kept thinking to myself..."How in the HELL am I going to do 26 miles in a month?!" Cheryl basically talked me through the last 3 miles, and I was wondering how I will get through the race by myself...

On that note, I recently read a blog about a group of bloggers that run together and wondered how they handled running together at races when they all have differing speeds. They basically disperse at the finish line, so they can concentrate on their own races and not feel pressured to keep up or compete just to beat each other. For some reason, this post made me sigh in relief. I want to run with the girls..I mean, we are driving 5 hours to do the race together! But I am just not as fast as they are and when I run with them, my need to keep up goes against the common sense of not starting out too fast and burning out early! So, I have decided to start out alone. I haven't necessarily imposed that on myself, but I want to have a good race, despite whether I can "keep up" with the girls or not. At the Tupelo 14 Miler, I started out WAY TOO FAST, and although I finished in a decent time, I ended up pulling my hip AGAIN. I don't want to chance that in the marathon. I hate to put time goals on myself, mostly because I am afraid I will fail, but I would love to finish in under 5 hours. I feel that I have been working hard in running clinic, and I really hope it makes a difference.

This weekend is a 14 miler and I'm looking forward to a "short" run (haha)!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blah...blah....and more blah...

I'm trying to get back into blogging regularly again, but it has been hard to get motivated, not sure why. The past few weeks has had its ups and downs, mostly having to do with my various and seemingly widespread injuries...hehe..

I will say, to start, that I had a blast at the NLRAC 1 hour Triathlon a few weekends back..I was nervous, especially since I had pulled my hip, again, and had been taking it easy that week and the week before. They had moved my time to 7:40, I was in the 3rd "heat"...I was so nervous, I could hardly sleep the night before. I just kept reminding myself that it was for fun and that I could just pretend it was a really good workout. I knew all the girls in my group, and was a bit apprehensive about that, since one girl in particular is pretty competitive, but it ended up making the whole thing more fun. We all were trying it for the first time, and everyone was very encouraging! The swim leg was first, with 10 minutes in the lap pool...just get as many laps as you can during that time. I must admit I got pretty tired, but I kept going the whole 10 minutes and Natalie Berry on the sidelines cheering me definitely helped! The 10 minute transition period flew by and it felt like it took me forever to dry off and get my clothes changed. I ran over to the spin bikes for the next "leg" of 30 minutes (as much mileage and wattage as possible). Thank God I brought my ipod! It was definitely fun joking around with the girls some, but I really pushed it during this part and I had Bon Jovi to help me along the way! hehe... I had brought my running shoes to change for the last "leg" on the treadmill, but with no transition period between the cycling and the running, i wished I had worn my running shoes during the cycling part, even though I hate to do that. It took a minute just to change shoes and later I had to stop to retie them! 2 minutes wasted....oh well...I turned that baby up and got as much mileage as possible in the last 18 minutes..

I would definately do that was fun, a good workout, and we got awesome goodie bags on top of it all. To top off a wonderful time, I got Starbuck's, headed home to change, and went back to the pool for a few lazy hours of relaxing in the sun!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rough run...maybe I should "tri" harder?

I haven't blogged in sooo long, no excuse really...Today was our run with the LRM group in Maumelle. I haven't been super consistant running with the group on Staurday mornings, for one reason or another. The past few months were frought with 5k's and being out of town, so it look as if I will be able to run with them for a while (with the possible exception on June 20th, more on that later)...

It turned out to be a nice first it was lightning outside, but it cleared up really nicely. It was humid, of course, but it seemed cooler than it has the past few days or so in the morning. Cheryl and I did 9 miles and it was a LONG 9 miles. We were commenting that it felt like we hadn't done even 8 miles recently, considering how hard it seemed. My left hip has been bothering me (big shock, I know)...this past Monday I pulled something in Kickboxing class. I usually try to be careful about sidekicks and such, but I guess I wasn't warmed up enough or something. I was pretty frustrated...not only because the most RANDOM things set it off...but on top of that, I had to modify my running in Coach Dennis' clinic due to the tightness and pain. It started getting better until yesterday, again, when I was in my "boot-camp"type class....geez...Today during the run it felt okay until about mile 6-7 and I was ready to stop!
Cheryl and I were glad it was over and we headed to Starbuck's for some cafe'! It really is a treat now, since I only go after our Saturday runs!

As far as the running clinic goes, I am enjoying it...I really appreciate the tips, advice and wisdom that Coach Dennis has for us...I am hoping that the speedwork and (hopefully) hill repeats, will help me be better prepared for the Bass Pro Marathon in November. So far it seems not to be helping my long runs!

Next weekend is an "experimental" triathalon, if you will, at the NLRAC. It is a timed one hour simulated triathalon...10 minute lap swim, 30 minute bike ride, 20 min much mileage as possible. I am seriously thinking about trying it, just to see how it goes. I DO NOT SWIM, so this should be interesting and I must admit, it is my major concern...I guess my agenda is just to finish..and if nothing should be a good workout. I do dread the "Dreadmill" though...If they garner enough interest, they will look into sponsoring a "real" tri and even have training options...that would be awesome!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Short update

Man, it's been so long since my last blog, I can't possibly remember all I was going to blog about! Now that I have email on a more regular basis, I hope that won't be the norm for me. I can't believe that it has been over 2 months since the marathon! This has been my "break" from "official" training for a marathon, but has not been a time to slack!

The Women Can Run Clinic came to an end, sadly, but was finished with a memorable 5k that ended up being a PR for me! I was excited and the speed work in the clinic really helped! I also did the Rocket 5k and won 2nd place in my age division! Cheryl and I did the Capital City Classic 10k in April and the MacArthur Park 5k in May. We will finally be able to get back into summer running with the Little Rock Marathon training group on Saturdays and I am looking forward to that! This past weekend Cheryl and I did 8 miles in the River Market, which is the farthest I've run since the marathon. Building that endurance again has been tough, but that last long run felt great! This week was my "official" beginning of training for the Bass Pro Shop Marathon on November 1st. Cheryl, Kim and I are doing it together and hoping for some decent weather and better times all around!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A lame blog history...

Yes...I need to update my blog...However, my internet access has been sporadic at best lately. Have patience, folks...I have done several 5k's in the last month and a half and this week starts Marathon training again! I hope to blog soon..

Monday, April 13, 2009

On the road again....

Finally starting to feel human again after the marathon, "getting my legs back", so to runs are still felling challenging, but I am slowly becoming able to run for longer lengths of time...Last week at the WCR Clinic was a pretty good week. Monday was a combo of hill repeats and speed work and it was tough, but it felt like a good workout and, most importantly, I didn't injure myself! Thursday was a little more tough, a 4.5 mile "social" hips and IT Band were acting up pretty bad and it was a slow day....I guess you have both!

This past Saturday we did the LRM group run in Maumelle and it felt good to be called a "crackhead" again....:) It was an out-and-back, which I typically hate, but I was able to do 7 miles and was proud of that considering my latest struggles with increasing my mileage. My hips were a bit tight and I attribute that to my extra 20 minutes of sleep, instead of warming up on my spin bike like I usually do...oh well....Of course, I'm not super speedy yet, but I am hoping that will come with time. This next month is going to be an intermediate time of trying to work up my endurance level during the week, and hopefully making a habit of running 5 days a week. Me, Cheryl and Kim have talked about doing the Bass Pro Shops Marathon on November 1st and that should give me a little "cushion" as I get ready to start training again. I have been looking at training schedules and want to give the Galloway method a spin at some point. Mostly, I am concentrating on running for longer periods of time and less on how far I run. Somehow that little shift of focus actually seems to help me, and I'm not so obsessed with pace!

I'm planning on doing the Catholic High Rocket 5k on April 25th. This next weekend is the route on Rhaling Rd. with the LRM group, and I NEED those hills. I've heard the 5k route is all hills! Cheryl will be out of town that weekend for the American Odyssey Relay and Kim will be doing the marathon in Nashville. May is fraught with several 5k's as well, although, I regret not being able to do the Dino Dash on the 30th. I will be camping at the Buffalo that weekend...somehow I will find a way to cope...hehe...

Any advice regarding marathon training schedules or experience with the Galloway Method is welcome!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Whine..complain....etc...etc...etc... mostly this blog is to vent...whine..bitch..moan and complain....5 things I do exceptionally well...Mostly, I'm just feeling frustrated in general about how slowly my body is letting me recover from the marathon. The 5k last weekend was a treat, in that it was fun, and I beat my goal time. But it bothers me that, more often than not, those 2 things are directly linked and almost totally dependant upon each other...I want to train for another marathon...but I'm not sure when...and I don't want to sign up "just because" and not be ready...And, anyhoo, I have been signing up for some 5k's and a 10k to get used to running again and try something different for a while and I still seem to have this pressure following me around...kind of like competition...I've always been focused on trying to beat myself, meet my own goals...but now, I feel like if I'm not a part of someone else's, I 'll always get left behind...My friends have done plenty of run days, running slower than I know they can or want to, to stay with me..and now, not getting any faster, I need to let them go and do better for themselves. This makes me feel sad...sad that I'm not doing better....sad that I will be alone...sad that I once enjoyed running alone and now it kind of hurts...sad that the love of running seems to be overshadowed by expectations (mine and others)....

So, it is with a heavy heart and ipod in hand, that I let go...I will sign up for a marathon WHEN I'm ready...I will run at MY OWN pace and let others leave me if they need to....and this WILL NOT mean that I'm not bad or inadequate or a sucky just means that I AM WHERE I AM...and hopefully other people will accept that....hopefully I will accept that. That's all I can do.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!!

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday...Yep, folks, you heard that right..this svelte creature before you is 33 years old...hehe...

I really wanted to do a race on my Birthday, so I talked Cheryl and Kim into doing the Spring Fling 5k in Cabot with me. They had run it before, so were pretty obliging..but unbeknownst to me...were dreading it, as the day came. I showed up at Cheryl's, bright and shiny, as I was excited that it had stopped raining and looked like it would be dry for the race! Kim didn't get much sleep and her "cat allergies" were acting up, so she didn't feel the greatest. I did get, however, a fairly chipper "Happy Birthday" from them both...When we left, we noticed that it had gotten colder and more windy, so Cheryl grabbed an extra shirt. We got to Cabot High School and headed to the registration area. This year was a bag, instead of a shirt and mine was pretty empty. Apparently, Kim got the bag that some small, generous child had filled cause it was sagging with tons of stuff! This made her feel a little better, so I couldn't argue with that! We headed to the car to put our stuff away and ran into Andrea...said a quick hello...hopped in the car to get warm...and proceeded to watch with rabid fascination as the couple next to us "geared up" their YOUNG babies to go with them on the run. THEY had several layers and yet somehow, I guess babies don"t get cold? Bare, little red hands can't be good...The wind was really cold and rough by then...

We crossed over the track and jogged a little to warm up, heading to the Elementary school. Miraculously, the sun had peeked out of the clouds and brought some warmth with it, and the wind seemed to die down some. Cheryl took off, with some invisible time goal in her head, as Kim and I lagged behind. My goal was 33 minutes, for my 33rd birthday! I wasn't sure how well I would do, considering I've been in marathon mode and pace for months, and last week in general was hard as far as running goes, especially being sick. Kim and I kept a 9:45-9:55 pace for most of the route and just talked the whole time.

It seemed to fly by and the weather was turning out to be gorgeous! I even got a little warm and had to get some water at the water stop! We finally circled the track, Kim letting me go first "down the chute", although I think our finish time was the same...30:40. I was happy with that..beat my goal and was much faster than i anticipated I would PR or anything, but hey! Cheryl finished at 29:14 and was thrilled! The post-race food was WAY beyond our expectations, as the tables were lined with all kinds of goodies....donuts, brownies, cookies, pretzels, grapes, pineapple, bananas, and more...Why do the shortest races have the best food?? We felt guilty for eating so much after only a half hour of running...but we all agreed, it made the race worth it!

Of course, I don't have to say we went to Starbuck's...oh wait...I just did! We sat and enjoyed our drinks and chatted for a while and Cheryl asked a man nearby to take our picture. After that, we went back to Cheryl's house and I opened my presents. Kim bought me some BEAUTIFUL pillows she saw at Target (pretty much anything at Target is a safe bet!) and Cheryl got me the PediEgg and a gift card to Target. I've been wanting to try thee PediEgg FOREVER! Now I can use it on my "bunionettes"!

I had wanted to go to a Junktique sale I had read about in the paper, but (note to self: read the whole article...) and thought it was in Conway, so me and the girls drove on up to Conway, only to find out it was in Little Rock at Catholic High..geez...Oh well! Just another excuse to stop at Starbuck's once again, and we did find an ineresting flea market type establishment...

After tahat, it was back to NLR and separate ways for the 3 of was a great start to my Birthday!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Marathon Day!!!...has come and gone...'s almost been a week since the LR Marathon...Man, I can't believe it!! All that time and training and it has come and gone!

Last Sunday I met Kim and Cheryl at Cheryl's house..our usual routine for runs and races...I got there by 6 so that I would have time to mess with my Garmin, make any minor adjustments with my clothes and shoes, use the bathroom one more time, etc...The night before wasn't too bad..I had a little bit of a hard time falling asleep, but once I did, I slept well and felt rested when I woke up. Cheryl was all decked out in a running skirt and minutes later, when Kim showed up...SHE was too! I felt a little left out, but later decided that it was best I wear pants.."in case" of any mishaps, as my "aunt Martha" ( aka my period) was visiting that particular weekend...Cheryl attempted to help me set the alarm on my Garmin for walk breaks (which we later discovered, didn't work) and then the girls presented me with my "First Marathon" goodie bag!! It was awesome!! They got me a license plate cover and a 26.2 sticker (both of which I almost bought at the expo), socks, Gu, and the cutest bracelet that Kim had made for me!! I thought the weather itself (40's-50's with no wind) was a gift in itself, but the goodie bag made it extra special! :) Kim had brought Josh with her, as he would be meeting us at various places on the course with Cheryl, until she joined us at mile 13. We drove downtown to the Clinton Library parking lot to park ,use the bathroom, and wait out another hour before the start. I could feel myself starting to get nervous, I hadn't really been too nervous up to that point. We sat in the "steaming" car, literally, as cold-natured Cheryl had the heat we joked and laughed at the various running attire we saw. Finally, we hopped out, got our gear on and headed to the START. I was in Coral D, which was the slowest and biggest crowd..and Kim and I had a "time" trying to wedge ourselves into the area! We weaved our way through the people only a few minutes before the gun went off, after saying "hi" to Annette and "bye" to Josh and Cheryl.

The gun went off! We finally started moving and I believe we crossed the mat about 2 minutes after that. I warmed up pretty quickly and ended up ditching my "throw-away" layer during the first mile or so.. I was kind of afraid to, thinking I might need it later..but off it went! We crossed the Broadway Bridge and heard cheering, only to see the first runner about to hit mile 5! I was anticipating going down 7th street, as I was hoping to see my friends Sara and Shawn and their kids...I saw my friend Sonny, and was so busy waiting waving to her, I almost missed Sara shouting "Go, Tammy!" and her little girl Sadie, holding a sign they was so cute! Not too long after that, we saw Cheryl and Josh by the Alltel Arena! Kim' phone kept beeping with new texts, asking us where we were and where they would meet us next. We usually saw them (Cheryl and Josh) before they saw us and it was hilarious to come down the street and see them looking so intently at the map! I had ditched my gloves at mile 2, but my hands got cold again, so as we were coming back over the Broadway Bridge, I grabbed a pair of black mittens..."fast-walker-guy" was behind me and said " I guess those were there just for you! Their loss is your gain.." The miles seemed to pretty much fly by as Kim and I chatted..I think she had to stop and use the potty around mile 9 and I tied my shoes while she was inside. I ended up having to use the potty around mile 11. I dreaded it, cause you never can get your underwear and pants back on "just right" after that, but it wasn't too bad. We ran into our friend "Windy"...the guy we call "Wind Beneath our Wings"..because he is this huge, "teddy-bear of a man" that has been so inspiring to us, to me, during the whole training period...He came week after week to the training runs, starting out with a partner that abandoned run by himself, with just an ipod...and got so much faster doing it! Kim got a shot of me running next too him on her camera phone...hehe...a covert operation...

Skipper, the "Rogue Runner" joined us at mile 13..she was nervous that she would get caught...I slowed to a walk as she joined us and Kim filled up her water bottles. It was nice to have some new conversation...She took off with "fresh legs", and Kim and I were like "Wait!" We had already been running 13 miles-hello! I called my sister to see if she would be out on Kavanaugh. We saw her about mile 16, just as they started playing "Vanilla Ice" was awesome and lame as I attempted a white-girl version of the cabbage patch...and just looked stupid! Mile 17 was a lazy decent and not as steep as I anticipated, and the perfect time for my walk-break. My knees and hips were feeling it by then...

Once we headed to Murray park...I was really moving slow...both Cheryl and Kim had to use the bathroom..I wanted to go on, but felt bad leaving them...I slowed to a slight jog, while they caught up. They caught up to me and then, it felt like they were dragging me along...mile 21 was the worst..everything hurt so bad!! Once we turned around, and were on the opposite side of the street, it seemed to do a little for me mentally. We passed Hobbitt and her crew walking and they looked great! We also ran into this guy that was attempting to do marathons in every state, the LR Marathon being his second THAT WEEKEND!!! Yes, you heard me right...The last few miles seemed a blur...I was a little bit ahead of Kim and Cheryl...but I had to keep going or I knew I would just stop! Cheryl caught up with me and ran with me for a bit, as Kim seemed to disappear...We looked for her, but no Kim in sight! I wanted to stop at the potty at mile 25, but I decided to wait..I hated to stop so close to the finish. I saw Tom Singleton (aka Coach) and he crossed the street to high five me and said "I knew you could do it!" ...I felt myself tearing up and I think, it was my favorite moment of the whole race.. That was the lift I needed! My smile spread from ear to ear, as moments later, Annette and Michelle bombarded me (Annette with a big hug!) and ran the last 0.5-1 miles with me. I LOVED IT! Annette and Cheryl veered off and I turned the corner to SO many cheers, people who didn't even know me...shouting "Way to go, Tammy!" It was definitely a "moment" as I ran into the finish area, "Eye of the Tiger" playing, looking to the stands to see my friends with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces! I spread my arms out wide... I was all "beams" and no tears this time! Finish time 5:13:14...

My chip came off, the medal went on, and I immediately got a hug from my friend Kim Stevens. She had done the marathon the year before and it was her picture and medal that first inspired me to try it...I stood in line for post-race pics, with a giddy, toothy, stupid smile on my some water, and headed toward the bathroom. Cheryl, Kim, and Josh caught up with me and we all posed for a picture. My friends followed with hugs all around...Afterwards, my family and Cheryl went out for pizza, as I was famished.. I couldn't believe it was all over, although I was definitely VERY sore and was hoping no one would have to pry me out of the chair when it was time to leave! I had changed my shoes to I had two new "friends" (aka my first blisters) that were invading my feet. My mom and sister had gotten me a "goodie bag" too...with a cute t-shirt, socks, Gu, some Peeps, and some Easter candy. It was so unexpected and thoughtful. Cheryl and I left and headed to .....guess? Starbuck's, of course..and actually had the nerve to go to Target, despite me legs killing me. Yes, I walked around Target with that damn medal around my neck and grinning like an idiot! Yes, it took me a LONG time, but I earned it! It was one of my best days!

As I sit here, reliving it, I am struck again my the sheer fact that I did that! The first two days following were really sore, followed by "less-sore" days as I stretched and worked out some of the stiffness. Can't say that I've been too smart about recovering..eating crap and working out, probably too hard, as I feel myself getting "something"...a cold maybe?...My runs are short and light, although I wish I could say easy! I am trying to work my way back slowly and get the hang of this "rest" thing...As far as the rest of it...the part that my family and friends played in it all...I am grateful. I was never an athlete in school, I never had people cheering on the sidelines for me...for ANYTHING...and it touched me. I hope I don't forget that...As this week has gone by and I've had a number of insensitive comments about my finishing time, I have been tempted to downplay all that has happened over the past few months and even race day, discouraged that my "time" wasn't better...Now, I look at it as it is...I tried something I never thought I would do, that I COULD do...I trained! I got up on days when I just wanted to use the excuse of the "weather" and stay in bed...I figured out what MY goals were, not the goals of others...I found the source of my aches and pains and dealt with the problems, not just the symptoms of pain...There were a lot of life lessons in this process...and I am convinced, without a doubt, that it was God that steered me down this path to learn those things. I'm still a perfectionist, I still want to beat myself, always better, always faster..I don't know if I will do another marathon.. I definitely WANT to! Whatever happens, I want to run...I love to run...and where that takes me...well, we'll see!!