Tag Archives: running

Back In The Saddle Again

Excerpts from my Running Journal over the past couple of weeks.
Excerpts from my Running Journal over the past couple of weeks.

I have been pretty off my game here lately. I haven’t been posting – mostly because all of my “running related” thoughts are really bum-tastic for me. About two weeks ago, my husband and I went to the emergency room because I had some pretty bad ankle pain. The day before I had laced up for the first time post-Volition Half Marathon. Within a mile, I was miserable. Driving home was horrible and Wes had to help me walk upstairs when I got home. I decided to let it rest for a day before I went to the doctor, but ended up feeling so bad I needed to go to the ER after the next work shift.

Sitting in the ER, I was miserable at the thought of being sidelined during training. Up until that point, I had been feeling wonderful in my training. Most of my runs were fabulous and I was feeling great with my training. The half went well (other than the sock issue!) and I was looking forward to getting through the upcoming training weeks. I was also horrified at the thought that I was losing out on one of my major stress relievers – even if only for a short time!

When the doctor told me that I had probably suffered a sprain and would need to be off of my ankle for up to 6 weeks, I was really bummed out. I listened to the doctor (for the most part) and stayed off of my foot for a couple of weeks. I rested, I iced, I elevated, and I compressed. I dutifully took my prescribed meds and I dutifully stayed away from running (although it about drove me crazy!).

Last Saturday after work, I laced up for the first time in almost two weeks. I put feet to pavement and I gloried in the feeling of running. I loved how it felt pumping my legs and arms as I soared across the pavement. I loved how my stress just seemed to melt away. My heart pounded and I could feel the blood rushing underneath my skin. I really felt alive. I felt like me!

The days post-first-amazing-run-back… well, lets say I hobbled around for a bit. My calves were on fire. They yelled at me, “Whoa! You haven’t really used us… what are you doing?!?!” But it was a happy soreness, if that can make any sense. It wasn’t a debilitating painful feeling… it was a glorious “you used your muscles for what you love” soreness. I ran again yesterday morning and while my ankle did have a twinge of pain, it didn’t feel anywhere near as bad as it did before.

And so… without further ado… I plan on returning to my training with haste. I plan on doing an easy 13,1 miles for the Sub30 Club Virtual Runner’s World Half Marathon this weekend to launch myself back into it. For those of you that worry… yes, I will most certainly slow it down and/or stop if necessary.

Volition America Half Marathon (Orlando)

I wanted to incorporate a half marathon into my marathon training as something to look forward to during training. I bounced back and forth between races as I tried to find one that suited my training plan schedule and also fit into my busy Fall semester schedule (wedding festivities, football games, work, etc). When I figured out that my best friend’s bridal shower was going to be in Central Florida, I decided to check out the race schedule in the area. I like to find local races when I travel and just happened to stumble upon the “Volition Race Series”.

I come from a military family and I married a military man. I consider myself to be a pretty pro-armed services person. I support our troops and like to participate in events that benefit the military and military families. When I came across the Volition Race Series, I was immediately intrigued. This very new series has a very patriotic flair to it. When you go to their web page, you come across the following message, “We run to be strong. We stand together as patriots. We celebrate the power of volition – in our own lives, and the brave Americans whose choices keep our country free.”

The event is meant to help contribute money to the charity “Folds of Honor”. This charity focuses on providing scholarships to the dependents of service members that have not come home or that were disabled. Upon learning that, I immediately decided that this was an event I had to do!

I was very excited to run this half marathon in the days that led up to it. I was also very nervous that my aching calf was going to sideline me. Imagine my happiness when that pain slowly subsided and I was able to happily pick up my race packet!

Early morning, so tired.
Early morning, so tired.

The parking opened at 6 am. Wes and I left his grandparents’ house at about 5 am which meant we woke up around 4 am. We were both pretty bleary eyed! We got parked and climbed out of the car. I immediately noticed that it was humid but not too hot. I was thankful that I had brought my hydration belt. Since this was a new race series, I didn’t expect the water stations to be as well stocked as some of the older races. We walked over to the start/finish area. There were quite a few people there already and there was quite a long line of people at the registration pick up table. I’m glad I picked up my packet the day before! The port-a-potty lines weren’t long (yet!) so I made a quick pit stop (of course I still felt like I had to pee at the start anyway, boo hiss!).

Big smiles at the start line.
Big smiles at the start line.

I would like to take a moment to shamelessly gush about my husband. I’m so lucky to have found a man that will wake up at 4 am so he can drive me to arrive an hour and a half early for a race. I’m lucky that he’ll follow me around to take pictures, will put up with the amateur photographer that needs to coach him on everything he does while taking said pictures, and that he’ll wait around 3+ hours for me to finish my race. I’m lucky to have his support and I really appreciate having him there to cheer me on during my race. That doesn’t change the fact that I wanted to throttle him when he kept texting me during the last mile what the time on the clock said (!!!).

Thanks for the awkward photo, honey.
Thanks for the awkward photo, honey.

Prior to the race start, the race series creater/founder of “Folds of Honor” (Major Dan Rooney) talks about why he created “Folds of Honor” as well as the “Volition Race Series”. Its a very touching story about how he was returning from a tour of duty on a flight that also carried the remains of a fallen soldier. During that flight. Major Rooney had a chance to see what it was like on the other side of the coin – for the dependents that are left behind. It prompted him to create “Folds of Honor”, a charity that helps provide educational opportunities the families left behind. Wearing the “Team RWB” colors, I could not imagine a more fitting cause to be running to support that day.

And they're off!
And they’re off!

The first three miles were not bad. Around mile 2, I started to have some issues with my right foot. It got the “falling asleep” numb feeling and I got frustrated. I slowed down a little bit because of it but was determined to keep going. Wes was standing at the 5k mark and snapped some pictures of me as I ran by.

I make awful faces when running.
I make awful faces when running.

After passing him by, I stopped to straighten out my foot. I found that my sock was slipping in my shoe and worked it out. I started back on the route but of course had lost time because of my stop. Later, Wes asked me what I was doing. He couldn’t figure out what I was doing behind the bushes! I struggled through the next couple of miles, stopping a couple of more times to try to figure out if I could make my foot stop “falling asleep” on me. Thankfully, it did! Later, one of my friends mentioned that the numbness was from too-tight laces or socks bunching. It turns out that it was the latter for me so I will be tossing those socks out! (Thank you Karin for figuring that out for me!!).

I kept trucking on until about mile 9. Right about then, I really started to flag. The heat was starting to get to me and I was feeling tired. I walked a good deal of mile 12 and walked all of mile 13. I ran in the last tenth of a mile and was able to pull out a 19 second PR!

Great smile!
Great smile! Its almost done!
Yes! The Finish Line! Its right there!
Yes! The Finish Line! Its right there!

I was very very very very impressed by this event. As I mentioned earlier, I brought a hydration belt because I did not expect the water/aid stations to be well stocked since this was a new race. I was completely wrong. Each aid station had plenty of water as well as Gatorade. There were lots of volunteers and they all were ready with water/Gatorade as runners passed by. Each intersection was very well staffed with officers to help prevent traffic from entering the course and I felt like I saw first aid/paramedic responders pretty often on the course. The support was phenomenal and I am absolutely blown away that a new race did so well with that!

The course was great. I did not enjoy running on brick – but unfortunately that is something that would be hard to avoid running in residential areas. For the most part the course was fairly flat with a few hills. It got kind of hot at the end (but again, hard to avoid – it is Florida, after all). This is definitely a race I would run again!

I earned this medal!
I earned this medal!
Posing in front of the finish line
Posing in front of the finish line

Training Week # 8 Review

Training Run #1: 40:04, 3 miles, 13:21 min/mile, Galloway Method 1:1 (Mile 1), 1.5:1 (Mile 2), 2:1 (Mile 3)

Treadmill run at YouFit!
Treadmill run at YouFit!

Training Run #2: 38:58, 3.01 miles, 12:56 min/mile, Galloway Method 1:1

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Long Run: 2:04:21, 9 miles, 13:48 min/mile, Galloway Method 1:1

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I love getting to see beautiful sunrises on my runs!

Review:

Both training runs this week were pretty decent. I ran my first run at Youfit so that I could simultaneously watch an episode of Rookie Blue (I’ve recently started rewatching the series from the pilot after I got a coworker watching it). I tend to kind of “cheat” while running on the treadmill so I tried to make it a little tougher than usual. Instead of running 1:1 throughout the entire 40 minutes, I changed up the intervals to stretch my running out a little further.

My second training run was humid humid HUMID! Here lately I feel like just stepping outside feels like walking through water. We’ve had a lot of rain and the air feels like it is made from water. I hate running in it – but I hate running on the treadmill more so I guess I have to put up with it. I just keep telling myself it will make me a much better runner… especially when it cools down and the humidity drops a little.

My long run was awful. I wore compression calf sleeves to help my legs but as I got close to mile 8, I just felt like I was out of gas. That was entirely my own fault. I didn’t fuel correctly – the night before I drank my normal amount of water but I only ate half of a chicken sandwich and some bread pretzels with craft beer cheese at TGI Fridays. That left me feeling very hungry by the time mile 7 rolled around and it also made me feel very ill prepared for the long distance I was running. I was proud of myself for getting it done but I definitely needed to be better prepared. That is something I’ll need to remember to be better at!

Fear & How It Shapes Me

I work night shift. I live in Florida. I work twelve hour shifts. I try to sleep at least 7-8 hours a night. On any given day, that leaves me 5 hours to do what I need to do on my work days. That includes caring for three animals, getting food ready for my 12 hour work day (which includes snacks, lunch and dinner) and getting ready for work. That also means that I have two choices about getting a run in – I can do it before or after work. Running before work isn’t so bad… on a treadmill. But as my runs get longer throughout marathon training, running on a treadmill becomes very boring. Running outside (in Florida) before work is also very difficult. The humidity and heat are harsh here pretty much year round. I don’t mind the occasional treadmill run (in fact I enjoy getting to run while catching up on TV shows!) but running in 95+ degree weather does not appeal to me. And its just not as simple as running on my days off.

Running in the early morning tends to be my best option. It works the best for my work schedule. The sun is usually not out yet. I like the peaceful feeling of being one of the only people out. Its typically quiet and I like those moments of solitude. And while Florida summers can never really be described as “cool” there typically is quite a difference between 5 am and 5 pm. This morning I was drenched after a 40 minute run in 78 degree (felt like 82 or so) weather but when I step out of my door at 5 pm in the evening, I immediately start to feel clammy from the heat and humidity outside. So I choose to run in the early and often dark morning hours.

Unfortunately, the dark morning hours are not the safest hours to be out and about running. I love that solitude, but that solitude is also why running in the dark and wee hours can be so dangerous. Should something happen to me, who would know? My husband, certainly. But only hours after I had been injured. My coworker knows when I go out for a run post-shift and knows when to expect my post-run Runkeeper post. But who knows how long would have passed between something happening to me and when she became concerned after not seeing something from me on her feed? All are valid thoughts and concerns. I very well know and acknowledge that something could happen to me while on my runs. I could be injured. I could be struck by a vehicle (a concern of my coworker’s, especially, since I am not very good about wearing reflective clothing!). Someone could seek to do me harm (something we will address later in this post due to some unfortunate events that have been occuring in Tallahassee).

I refuse to let fear rule my life. I refuse to let what could happen influence my decisions. I refuse to let some creep steal my freedom to choose. I refuse to let the fear that someone could harm me dictate what I do and do not do. Running is a huge passion of mine. Running keeps me clear-headed, strong and happy. Its a source of mental relief for me and I refuse to let anything or anyone take that from me.

However – I will let my fears guide me. Running at night opens me up to dangers. I acknowledge those dangers and respect them. Because of that, I try to dress in light colored clothing so I am more visible. I run against traffic when I have to run on the road and I move as far over as I can if I see a vehicle approaching. I run with earbuds but I try to make sure I have one ear free so I can listen to what is going on around me. I keep an eye on people around me and take note of descriptive details, just in case. I run in areas that I am familiar with so that if I have to call anything in, I know where I am at. I avoid areas that I know have been spots of recent activity and while on campus I run my route as close to our blue lights as I can. I utilize the RoadID app (if I remember… I can be pretty lax about it) and I wear a RoadID just in case a medical emergency occurs. If I’m running on a day off, I make sure my husband knows I’ll be out for a run at some point in the night. If I’m heading out for a post work run, my coworkers know that I’ll be out and about on campus. I’m vigilant while out of on my run and try not to let my guard down. I know that anything could happen at any point.

I’m careful – but I’m not immune to mistakes.

This morning, I made one. Nothing happened to me – but I could have put myself in a bad situation. What made it more painful was the fact that I know better. In my three years as a dispatcher, I have talked to many parents and their children and advised them on basic safety tips. Unfortunately, I made myself a little bit of a hypocrit this morning! Over the past six months, Tallahassee has experienced a string of approximately six abduction attempts. Most of those have occurred on the outskirts of campus – a few of them located on one of my semi-regular routes. Yesterday, the Keep FSU Safe Facebook Page published a post with details about each of the attempted abductions. One of them reportedly occurred on the FSU Bike Trail. I took note of this and altered my route to stay off the Bike Trail. However, I neglected to alter my route to stay away from the main area where quite a few of the attempted abductions had taken place. Luckily nothing took place and there were a couple of local police department units out patrolling the area that made me feel much safer – but it definitely sent chills down my spine. I pride myself in taking great care with my safety. Yes, I refuse to let my life be ruled by fear but I’m not stupid. I try not to invite myself into dangerous situations.

I suppose this post comes from a desire to share at least one thing with my followers – don’t become lax in your attitude. Be vigilant. Don’t let your guard down. Think. Plan your route. Be familiar with where you are running. Keep an eye on your surroundings. Tell people when you are going out for a run and let them know your routes. Vary your routes so that you don’t maintain a routine. Criminals like easy targets. Don’t make yourself easy pickings. As always, be safe.

Training Review Week # 6

Training Run # 1: 3.18 miles, 40:01 minutes, Galloway Method 1:1

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Training Run # 2: 2 miles, 26:25, Galloway Method 1:1

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Long Run: 7.01 miles, 1:32:16, Galloway Method 1:1

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Review: 

I started the week out pretty good. My first 40 minute training run went pretty well. I averaged about 12:34 min/mile despite some leg stiffness. I’m really enjoying listening to the “Zombies, Run!” storyline while on my runs. It helps to keep my mind focused on the task at hand while providing some amusing entertainment (there is nothing like hearing “You picked up a sports bra” half way through your run, ha!).

Most of my long runs will take place on the weekend but this week I decided to change up my schedule a little bit. I went into the week planning on running a 5K race at St George on the weekend and didn’t want to have to split up my long run. I did a little tweaking of my schedule and decided to run my long run midweek. On Wednesday I ran an early morning (STILL HUMID AND HOT) 7 miler. I actually felt pretty good throughout most of the run. The first few miles ranged from 13:05-13:27 but I was able to run faster for the last two miles (12:47, 12:57). I tried out a new route and encountered some unexpected hills but handled them pretty well.

Unfortunately my second training run was not a great one. Instead of running in the wee hours of the morning, we went out prior to midnight… which may have been a little bit of a mistake. I wasn’t properly hydrated for the levels of humidity and heat we experienced. I ended up cutting the workout short because I felt absolutely miserable. Hopefully Week 7 will be much better! I was kind of disappointed that this workout didn’t go so well. I picked up the newest Brooks Ghosts and wanted to immediately love them out of the box (as unrealistic as that might be!). But coupled with the heat, my still-sore legs and the lack of proper hydration… that just was not meant to be!

Hopefully next week will be much better.

In other news, I added another race to my line up. I registered for the Volition America Orlando Half Marathon on September 19. I am very excited to participate in this event. I’m hoping for a better half marathon time so that I can submit a better marathon time frame for the WDW Marathon in January. I’m still planning on treating it as a “training long run” but I think I’ll be able to do much better than the PHM time (especially considering how many times I stopped to take pictures in the parks!).

Marathon Training Week # 5 Review

Training Run # 1: 2.48 miles, 30:00 minutes, 1:1 Galloway Method

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Training Run # 2: 3.10 miles, 40:02, 1:1 Galloway Method (with a little more walking thrown in — the second mile was pretty hilly!)

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Long Run: 4.01 miles, 50:47, 1:1 Galloway Method

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Week Review:

Another good week. I got both of my training runs in and completed my long run despite being soaked to the bone half way through. All three of my runs this week were early morning runs while it was still dark out (with the sun peeking out towards the end for the first training run and my long run). During my first training run both my Garmin and my Yurbuds died half way through the run. The Garmin died from a low battery (I had wanted to kill the battery to see how well the battery lasted. The battery lasted for approximately ten days without me turning it off, set at some seriously battery draining settings with about 2 hours, 46 minutes and 10 seconds of “run” time. Not bad!). The Yurbuds died from unknown causes which was pretty disappointing. Luckily, Yurbuds is a pretty fantastic company and I should have a replacement pair within the next two weeks. Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to use an older not-so-nice set of Bluetooth earphones I have!

Midway through the week I decided to “shake up” my training plan a little bit. I love Galloway, but his beginner training plan seemed a little too easy for me. I bumped up my training runs (previously 30 minutes two times a week) to 40 minutes two times a week. I also changed all of my “3 mile” long runs to 4 miles. At this point, I want a little bit of a tougher schedule to better condition my body! The first 40 minute training run on this schedule went well. I was definitely tired after the run but it did not seem like it was too much for me.

This morning I hit a little bit of a road bump… when I walked out of work, it was steadily drizzling. I’m not a huge fan of running in the rain. I was wearing my glasses this morning so I was definitely not wanting to set out for four miles. But it was only drizziling and I did not want to have to run tomorrow. So I put all of my stuff in my car and set off for my four miles. The first mile and a quarter were great. The drizzle was cooling and not too distracting. As I got to a mile and a half the rain started to pick up. Within another quarter of a mile, it had died down a little. By the time I got to mile 2, I was running along out campus “bike trail” in a steady deluge of cold water. I had to keep snatching my glasses off of my face so that I could see where I was putting my feet. I was definitely cool but I was definitely feeling uncomfortable with my shoes soaked through. I couldn’t even dry my glasses off because I was soaked all the way through! Once I was able to break away from the bike trail I ducked into an apartment complex to get away from the worst of the rain. I waited for it to die down a little bit and snapped this “drowned rat” selfie.

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Do you think looking like a drowned rat will be in this fashion season??

The rest of my run was fairly uneventful. Even though I was soaked through I completed my four miles. I even stopped at one of my favorite breakfast joints to meet a friend – looking like a soaked through drowned rat that had just run four miles. I have no shame.

***Side Note*** I am LOVING the Zombies, Run app! It is a really fun and interesting way to entertain myself during my runs. I especially love the zombie chases. ;D I am not a huge fan of “subscription based” apps but this is one that I just might have to make an exception for once I have run through all of the “free” missions!

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Marathon Training Week # 4 Review

Training Run # 1: 2.05 miles, 26:23, 1:1 Galloway Method

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Training Run # 2: 2.34 miles, 30:04 (+.43 miles walking), 1:1 Galloway Method

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Long Run: 5.52 miles, 1:11:38 (12:59/mile average), 1:1 Galloway Method

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Review: 

This week started out kind of rough. My legs were still feeling pretty tight from Week 3’s training and long runs. My first training run was also really hot. When we arrived at our running spot, it was still in the low 90s at about 7:00 pm! For someone that normally runs in the wee hours of the morning (without the sun beating down!), that’s really hot. I listened to my body and cut that run short after a little over 2 miles. I don’t want to injure myself – I still have 23 weeks of training left! I stretched after that run and took it easy over the next 48 hours. My second weekly training run felt much better. Gabriel and I went out (in the wee hours of the morning, of course) and sweated our way through 2.77 miles. We walked the first .43 and then ran 1:1 intervals for about thirty minutes. Prior to this run I downloaded the “Zombies, Run!” app and tried it out. It was really fun! I enjoyed having the story break through my music and found the zombies chasing me to be kind of funny. Gabriel tired out around mile 2 – I’ve joked that he slowed me down and almost got us eaten by zombies! Ha! By the end of the week, I was running a little low on motivation. I decided to run my 5.5 mile long run post-work. Thankfully, a friend of mine ended up joining me for about 3.6 miles of that long run. The company was very much appreciated – it made the run more enjoyable.

I have actually surprised myself lately. With the exception of race days, I am mostly a solo runner. I love the electric atmosphere of race day. I enjoy “suffering” through race day runs with others around me in solidarity. But despite, that I don’t really like to train with other people. I like to get in my head during my runs. My runs are usually times that I use to work through the “problem” of the day (or week, or month… or life, haha). However, lately I have been enjoying having company on my runs. On a biweekly basis (because of my work schedule), I have been joining a local running group with a couple of my friends. And I surprised myself by suggesting that a friend of mine join me on my long run when she sent me a message letting me know she would be running due to an inability to sleep. People around me on race day fuels my run and pushes me to do better. Friends around me on my “regular” runs fuels my need for companionship and friendship. They make the run a little easier by offering conversation and support through the run. I’m enjoying opening myself up to that a little more – I’ll still keep my solo runs, but I think I’ll be less likely to refuse companionship on my runs now!