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.
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!
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!).
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 (!!!).
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.
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.
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!
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!
Training Run # 1: 3.18 miles, 40:01 minutes, Galloway Method 1:1
Training Run # 2: 2 miles, 26:25, Galloway Method 1:1
Long Run: 7.01 miles, 1:32:16, Galloway Method 1:1
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!).
Training Run # 1: 2.48 miles, 30:00 minutes, 1:1 Galloway Method
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!)
Long Run: 4.01 miles, 50:47, 1:1 Galloway Method
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.
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!
Training Run # 1: 2.05 miles, 26:23, 1:1 Galloway Method
Training Run # 2: 2.34 miles, 30:04 (+.43 miles walking), 1:1 Galloway Method
Long Run: 5.52 miles, 1:11:38 (12:59/mile average), 1:1 Galloway Method
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!
On Monday, I decided to bend the rules a bit and skipped my rest day. I needed the run – I had a rough day and needed to clear my head. The run felt great. I probably could have actually gone much further than 2.25 miles, but I ended up cutting it short due to some stomach distress. As many runners know, you should be very careful about what you eat prior to a run. Well, I already knew that chili doesn’t sit well in my stomach during a run. So that was definitely my fault!
Wednesday’s run was HOT. I went for a run in the middle of the day and ended up cutting it short due to super sore calves. I pushed myself to two miles and cut it short. I read in the most recent Runner’s World that sometimes, quality is better than quantity. I shortened my run and got two miles in rather than risking injury by running another few minutes.
I worked twelve hours last night and then ran 2.5 miles on campus. My legs felt pretty good through most of the first mile but then both of my calves tightened up on me. For me, this is a for sure sign that I am simply not stretching enough after my runs. So that is definitely something I need to be a lot better at! Overall, this was a good (albeit a little stiff and painful) training week. I’m looking forward to a little bit of rest before the next week begins.
Friday before coming in to work I received my newest running gadget! Earlier this week, I ordered the Garmin Forerunner 220 from Amazon and excitedly waited for it to come in. I have been looking to “upgrade” from my two year old trusty Garmin 10 since the Princess Half Marathon. At about $250, the Garmin was not in my budget until I came into a decent amount of Amazon Credit. When I realized that this watch was finally in my budget, I clicked “order” ASAP! When I got off from work this morning, I was super tired but the new-watch excitement won out over my need for sleep.
I’m the type of person who likes to take a “dive on in” approach to electronics. It’s rare for me to open up a manual unless I absolutely cannot figure out something on my own. I like to learn by getting my hands on an item. So of course, this was no different. I pulled the watch out and immediately started messing with the buttons and screens. I easily figured out how to turn on my Run/Walk running intervals. I also was able to immediately enter my data (i.e. weight, height, gender, birth date, etc). I discovered that my new watch could upload my data automatically to my phone via a Bluetooth connection (whoo!) and I also discovered how easy it was to start a run (oops – turn that off and discard that run!).
The design is pretty nice. I’m upgrading from the Forerunner 10 so the watch is a little bigger. I’m also moving from a bright pink/white watch to a black/red watch – I feel like the darker color scheme gives the watch a sleeker look. The watch face is bigger than the 10’s screen but it does not feel clunky. The numbers/letters on the screen are easily readable. Since most of my runs are at night, I had to change the back-light timer to a little bit longer because being able to read the watch when it is dark out was kind of difficult. But that was an easy fix. I’ll have to wear the watch for quite a bit longer to determine how that effects the battery life.
The button placements are a little different. On the Forerunner 10, the right side bottom button is meant to be your scroll button for both your menu screens and your data screens while in the middle of a run. On the 220, the right side bottom button is meant to mark a new lap and it also allows you to backtrack to the previous screen on your Garmin. You have two separate buttons on the left bottom side designated for scrolling in the higher-end model. This change threw me a little bit on my run. I was pressing the wrong button to cycle through screens and ended up marking a few very short 2 second laps. Oops! Luckily, the changes are pretty minute and those should become as second nature as the Forerunner 10’s set up was!
Another great change for me will be the in-run display. The Forerunner 10 had three separate screens to display all of your information. If I wanted to know both my distance, time and my current pace – I needed to cycle through screens. For the 220, all of the “pertinent” information is displayed on the first screen. If I want to know how much longer I have in an interval, calories burned, etc, I need to check the second screen. But that is something that I very rarely need to check.
A few things I noted during and after my run —
I wasn’t sure how the “vibrate alert” feature would work out. I loved it! I like to run with ear buds in which often means that I miss my Run/Walk interval alert. The vibrate in combination with the alert noise was great – I didn’t miss any of my intervals. It was nice not having to glance down at my watch all the time to see if I needed to slow down or speed up! As noted earlier, the screen was a little hard to read when it was not lit up. That was easily fixed by changing the backlight timer but I will be curious to see how the battery life is effected (after all, part of the reason I upgraded was to have a Garmin that would last during a marathon!). The Bluetooth upload worked like a dream. It even transferred over to my Nike+ with no problems! I will really like not having to power up my computer every time I want to upload my runs!
So far – I am quite pleased with this purchase. I cannot wait to continue to learn about the features of my newest running toy!