Half Marathon Ready

After dealing with setbacks on my speed and mileage due to my plantar fasciitis injury, I finally feel ready for my half marathon this Sunday. My foot was a little inflamed after 12 miles in the rain, dodging puddles, but is better this week.

I kept most of my weekly runs short last week, with one 6 miler and the rest under 4. On Wednesday, for National Running Day, we had a group social run. That was fun because I got to run with some new faces.

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On Saturday it was warm and humid. Even starting at 7 am is starting to feel too late. Our group starts and finishes at a park with a pool, and it’s too bad it’s not open that early because it is certainly inviting after a sweaty long run.

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My 10 miler gave me enough feedback to know I’m probably not in sub-2:00 range yet, with the heat.

This morning I ran a 6 mile progression run. My fastest mile is just over what I was running half marathons at last fall.

Patience.

But I am continually reminding myself of what’s important.

I can run.

I am running for more than a medal. I am running the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon in Irving which benefits Wounded Warrior Project.

I am also running for Medals of Honor and will be donating my medal to the family of a fallen military serviceman.

As the wife of a Navy veteran, I want to do whatever I can to help our military, families, and others who have served.

That’s what is keeping me from getting frustrated with my progress.

So on Sunday, I will do my best, but ultimately I am not running for myself.

 

 

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Murphy’s May

Can I just tell you how glad I am to be in a new month?

May was rough. Murphy’s Law hit us big time. It actually started late April with the dryer and washer breakdowns, then on Mother’s Day with the flooding under the house. The day after prom, when I was totally sleep deprived, I got this gem of a text from my 12 year-old (who is one tough wake-up on school mornings).

From the child who hates to get out of bed in the mornings.

Note the time of this text.

 

We had more flooding exactly two weeks after the first time. Apparently we are okay unless it rains hard all night long on an already saturated ground. But it sure does bring a family together when you’re working together to bail out water. The concern was to get it down enough so our entire first floor didn’t flood.

I started back on my Racing Weight guidelines to try to shed the 10 pounds that doesn’t seem to want to move. I set out for my 10k time trial – to get a base time – on Wednesday. I found out that I can’t run as fast as I thought I should be able to. I ended up calling it done at 4.5 miles. My legs were Jell-O. After my mile cool down, I got attacked by mosquitos on my walk back to the car. I was frustrated and disappointed in my pacing. Then I had to remind myself: patience, progress. I cannot pick back up where I left off almost 7-8 months ago (peak marathon training). I am still healing with the injury. I am trying to lose weight by eating higher protein and less carbs. Those three things will affect my speed, and I need to focus on what’s most important right now, and that’s to get my foot completely healed and drop the weight. The speed will come later. And that’s okay. Oh, and I have lost 3 1/2 pounds since March. Yay!

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So this is my base.

 

 

On Friday we had another heavy rain that lasted all night. I don’t know how much rain we got, but it poured for hours. I couldn’t sleep for fear of flooding again. I woke up every hour to check under the house and it seemed we were okay. Until 5 am when I planned to get on the treadmill. I learned how awesome my kids are, as they got up without complaint and helped me out. My husband was driving through that mess of a storm that stretched over 500 miles. He was worried about me. I was worried about him.

Thankfully, our heavy-duty sludge pump we ordered after the second incident came in that afternoon.

How many pair of running shoes could I get for the cost of this pump?

How many pair of running shoes could I get for the cost of this pump?

We were able to pump the rest of the water out in less than 5 minutes, and now the rain is out of the forecast for the next week. Of course.

Saturday long run was in the rain, but thankfully the lightning stayed at bay so we could get the miles in. 12 done to prepare for the Wounded Warrior half and I felt pretty tough splashing through puddles like a little kid. It did bring along some major Sunday soreness though. But I feel better going into this race with a couple of double-digit runs.

At least I feel I’m getting stronger, since I’ve been on the real-life cross-training/strength routine of dumping buckets of water, mowing and weed eating, dumping more buckets, and even more buckets of water. Whew!

I’ll be doing real push ups before I know it! 🙂

Bring it June!

Back to Training

I’ve been trying to pay attention to my body as I continue to recover from my plantar fasciitis injury. Beginning last Wednesday, those first painful steps in the morning were not as painful. I could almost walk normally straight out of bed. The morning hobble is disappearing, and I am holding my breath.

 

My plan for the Saturday long run was to try for a mile or two over what I ran the week before. So 8-9 was my plan. Our running group meets on Saturday mornings, and depending on who’s there and how I feel usually determines my pace. This week my running friend was out of town for a 5k, and the rest of the group was all guys most of whom are faster than me on their slow day. There are a few variations of the route that we run, and this time most everyone was going to do the 5 mile loop. As always, when running with people who are faster, I push myself more than I would on my own. Around the three mile mark, they took a break and waited on me where the turn is to go back or another route. I was grateful for the chance to catch my breath. All my miles were just under 9:00 pace. As we headed back, they continued various conversations while I listened and tried to slow my breathing. Topics ranged from a “beerathon” to DNA and evolution. At the end of the loop I continued around the park for another mile with one of the other runners to finish just over 6 miles – the fastest consecutive miles I’ve run since April 11. My foot was fine, but I didn’t want to push too hard. I felt like I was making progress and was on cloud nine for the rest of the morning.

IMG_5880Sunday I planned to ride my bike. I’m trying to limit the days I run to five per week, and then cross train the other two. Well, the outside bike ride didn’t happen. The first round of storms hit right after we got up. Heavy rain. Which was on top of the heavy rain we received Saturday (which was sitting on top of Thursday and Friday’s storms too) After we got home from church another round of rain moved through. My husband checked the radar, and it looked like it was one round after another. I gave up waiting on a thunder-free window and rode the stationary bike for an hour. Then I ran two miles on the treadmill to see what that felt like after the bike. As soon as I stepped off the treadmill – and I was very sweaty – the tornado sirens in town started going off. It was 3:25 pm. I huddled in the downstairs bathroom (currently under remodel) shower stall with our two youngest kids while my husband was on the deck as lookout. My kids were not happy about being trapped with me and my sweat. My 9 year old told me I smelled bad, and the 12 year old opened her container of yogurt for a better aroma. They love me so much! When the sirens stopped, I had enough time to run upstairs,dry off, and refill my Nuun before the sirens started up again. There was so much rain! When the third round of sirens went off, water started flooding in the bathroom. There was so much water under the house. I put one child on siren watch and started scooping up water with cups and towels. Eventually the rain stopped, but I ended up under the house helping my husband dump buckets of water out of the opening down the hill. My upper body muscles were aching and a few times I didn’t think I could lift another bucket. My husband said, “If you can run a marathon. You can do this.” At one point I became overwhelmed and started crying. He said, “Do you cry when you run a marathon.” Why yes, sometimes I do. We got the water low enough to manage, called it done, showered and went to eat. It was after 7:00 pm.

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Messy Mother’s Day

 

The next day every muscle in my body hurt – but my heel felt great!

After mowing Monday evening, I discovered that even though I was sore, I am getting stronger. The core work I’ve been doing the last few months is paying off. I decided to do my long run Tuesday morning since I’m running a 5k Saturday. This will be my first race since I took a break to heal my foot. It wasn’t a fast long run, but it’s the farthest I’ve run since my last half marathon.

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After all the activity the past few days, I feel like I’m training hard again. My quads and hamstrings are sore, my upper body is tense, and I pulled out my ice packs after my long run. I’m building up for my next half marathon in June, but remembering to be patient with my body. I was discharged from my Airrosti doctor today with instructions to call in the next few weeks if it doesn’t continue to improve, and to keep doing my balance and strength exercises. I’m hoping to see all this strength work pay huge dividends when I start marathon season.

 

Another Perspective (Volunteering for a Race)

Last week I ran five days and a total of 21 miles. On Thursday, I asked my Airrosti doctor about a long run. I had been running three and four milers. He told me I could run as far as I wanted to as long as there was no sharp or stabbing pain. If that happened, I had to stop immediately.

I headed out with my running friend Saturday morning with a plan to hopefully make it five or six miles. We meet at the park and usually head out for a five mile loop then finish any extra around the park.

This was the result:

A little slower, but I'll take it!

A little slower, but I’ll take it!

By the middle of the sixth mile, my foot started throbbing but once I went home- rolled, stretched, and iced – it was better. I was happy with my distance and it felt good to push my endurance. I’m amazed at how quickly it disappeared. Last fall it was common for me to run 7 miles before work, and now double digits are a distant memory. Actually, it’s only been three weeks since my last half marathon, but it feels so much longer.

After my run, my husband and I headed downtown to the new Farmer’s Market to check it out. I thought it would just be an easy ride there and back. Two hours later, which included a ride to a (not so easy) trail that goes around a small lake, we were back in the driveway and my quads were crying. I could write a whole post just about the ride. I actually muttered the phrase “I can’t.” Instead, here’s a highlight:

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Note all the mud on his tires…and bluebonnets

 

Early Sunday morning I left the house at 4:30 to head to Dallas. I was volunteering for the Skyline Half. I encourage all runners to volunteer for a race – especially a water stop. It will make you appreciate the volunteers so much more once you have experienced it yourself.

They get as little sleep as the runners do.

5:30 am check in!

5:30 am check in!

There is a lot of waiting.

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Then finally some action with a rush of runners. I discovered after yelling out “Gatorade!” forty times, the word sounds really strange. It was a warm day for runners, and since it was down in the river basin it was sticky too. I saw some of my friends from our running group, and they seemed excited to see me. I was also surprised to see some just hang out for a bit before moving on. I typically don’t stop at aid stations unless I’m refilling my hand-held so it was another side of racing I hadn’t seen. There was more waiting as the pack thinned out before the walkers started coming. When the last runner came through, we finished cleaning up. Instead of waiting for the truck to pick us up, we walked back to the start area – which took about 15 minutes. It was also where the closest porta-potties were located (as far as we knew). The finish area was mostly cleared out and there were just a few runners left to come through.

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When I got back to my car, it had been almost 6 hours since I’d had anything to eat. I only drank water as we were walking back. No porta-potties meant no drinking for me. I was hot, gatorade stained, tired, and famished. Oh and my feet hurt. But the best part was that because I was part of a group of volunteers that helped out the Dallas chapter of Back on my Feet, a member was able to get registered and ran his first half marathon that day. I also heard words of thanks and appreciation from runners throughout the morning. It was worth it.

Tell me, have you volunteered for a race? What did you get to do?

 

 

Relief!

For my first running injury  in almost five years, I waited almost four months to seek professional help. Not recommended.

I tried all the remedies for plantar fasciitis, which reared its ugly head the day after the Dallas Marathon. I even took time off. Nothing worked. It was better sometimes, but the pain never went away. I started to worry that I really botched my foot up by continuing to run – even though the pain was not made worse while running. It was the long runs that did me in.

After 3 miles on Monday afternoon and then again Wednesday morning, I was almost back to limping.

On Friday, I had my first Airrosti appointment. The doctor didn’t look at me crazy when I gave my injury history and said I ran two more marathons and some half marathons after the pain started.

Then there was some pain as he worked with the tissue around my foot, but wha-la! My foot felt better and I could put weight on it. I was given some stretching/rolling activities and permission to run 3 miles over the weekend to see how the pain was in comparison to my two runs earlier in the week.

Warning: This does not feel good. But it works.

Warning: This does not feel good. But it works.

Saturday, I ran 3 miles. I felt good. Then we headed to Edgefest – which can be described as an all day concert with various alternative bands. It was what my daughter wanted for her birthday, but no way was she going without cool parent chaperones. 🙂

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We even found Waldo!

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There was some walking involved, but by the end of the day my foot was not throbbing or swollen – like it has done in the past. I was not limping. I still wasn’t walking my usual speed, but it was definitely better.

Sunday I rode the bike for an hour and my foot was still the same as it was on Saturday. But Monday morning’s 4 miler on the treadmill (thanks to heavy rain) did not quite agree with me. Thankfully I had another appointment Monday afternoon. A little more pain, but a lot of relief. This time I was given some balance exercises to work on.  Now I can put weight on my right foot without wincing. It’s something I won’t take for granted.

I will continue to take it easy, as I move back into a regular running routine. I have a 5k on May 16, so that’s my next goal. Then a half in June. No need to push it.

Have you ever had a running injury? Were you stubborn about seeking professional help like I was?

 

 

 

My Run Break

As I wrote in my last post, I decided to take a run-break for a week or two. Not only to give my foot a chance to fully heal, but also to break up my training and (hopefully) make some fitness gains. Last week tested every bit of my resolve not to run, but I sure came close.

The first two days, my husband was sick. The kind of illness that had me awake every hour the first night and sleeping on the couch the second one. Tuesday afternoon, our new dryer was delivered – the 16 year old one quit the week before. On Wednesday evening, when I was trying to catch up the laundry, the washer quit midway through the cycle. Wouldn’t drain. Wouldn’t spin. It’s less than two years old. I didn’t sleep much that night either. The rest of the week was pretty rough too. One word: teenager. By Friday night, I don’t think a 16 mile run would’ve relieved the built up stress. Emotional eating, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and I was feeling blah. Thank goodness my favorite gelato only comes in a pint.

Saturday was better. I slept in and missed the 7 am group run. My husband and I headed out on our bikes once the sun was up. We toured the downtown area before the roads were busy.

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Don’t forget to hydrate!

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On Sunday, I wanted to test my speed and distance. I headed out on a country road and made a 12 mile loop. I found out what it was like to continually stay in motion on a bike for an hour. My legs were tired, and my seat was sore but I needed it. My mind needed it.

Post-ride Recovery

Post-ride Recovery

After doing yard work on both Saturday and Sunday, my foot didn’t feel any better from the run break.

Monday, after the Boston Marathon, my motivation was so high I went for a three mile run. My break was over after 8 days. My foot doesn’t hurt while I’m running – up to a certain point, but it bothers me late in the day usually. I’ve tried all the remedies for plantar fasciitis because every indication points that direction. It’s just not going away. Sigh. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and an Airrosti appointment on Friday to see what’s up.

How is your running going? Any races coming up? Fill me in!

 

Fairview Half Marathon

On Saturday, I ran my fourth half marathon for the year. I have never run the Fairview Half Marathon, but I volunteered for the 5k last year so I got a good price on my registration.

Of course, when I registered I didn’t expect to be battling this foot problem that’s plagued me since the Dallas Marathon. I haven’t talked much about my first running injury, partly I think because I’m in denial, and partly because I’ve still been able to run mostly pain free. I’ve tried to pinpoint what caused it, but more on that next week.

Let’s talk about the Fairview Half.

I started participating in the Active Joe races because the reputation for them is great. Word of mouth, through running groups and the local running community speaks volumes. Also since I live about an hour north of Dallas, to have a half marathon within about a half hour drive is wonderful!

My running friend and I headed out Saturday morning with different goals and expectations, but looking forward to another race together. I read that the course was hilly, but since I run on hills that didn’t concern me. Life also happened the past week when our dryer went out. My weekday miles were lower than usual, which helped control my heel pain, but I felt unprepared. My last double digit run before Saturday was the Rock ‘n Roll Dallas half. I planned to take a week (or two) off after the race to see if I could completely heal my plantar fasciitis. I also want to give my body a break from pushing and see if it helps drop the marathon weight gain and build speed by changing things up.

So basically I went into the race ready to be done. I know that’s not the way to do it, but honestly that was my feeling. But I didn’t let it change my race tactic.

But first, I donated some retired running shoes at packet pickup.

So I have a favorite shoe...

So I have a favorite shoe…and a problem apparently. 

The weather Saturday morning was perfect. I started  just ahead of the 2:00 pace group with an 8:45 first mile. By the end of the 2nd, I had my average down around 8:30, and that’s where I stayed until mile 8. The hills were no joke. There was a tough one at mile 2, and again around 6. But I focused on keeping my effort up. I spotted another monster uphill around 8.5. I willed myself to keep pushing, but as I crested the top I lost over a minute on my time. The wind had been sucked out of my sails. My legs were feeling like jelly and the four mile runs during the week sure weren’t helping me at mile 10.

By mile 10.5, everything was stupid. Stupid hills. Stupid foot. Stupid stomach. Stupid weight gain. The 1:55 group that I passed in the 2nd mile passed me. Somewhere in the 11th mile, I saw a runner down, with an ambulance and other emergency vehicles around. My perspective instantly changed to a prayer. “Please let him be okay, Lord.”

For the final mile, I pushed through with what I had left. My foot let me down and affected my gait for the first time in a race. I began to run/walk/hobble my way through the last ten minutes and was so glad to see the finish.

Not pictured: the chocolate milk I downed as soon as they handed it to me.

Not pictured: the chocolate milk I downed as soon as they handed it to me.

The medal is huge, and a nice windmill spinner as a bonus. Even my kids commented on how big it was. The mini bundt cake was pretty great too! My official time was 1:58:29 (pace 9:02) which was slower than I wanted, but not bad considering my late problems in the race. It further enforced the idea that I need a run-break to heal. I am glad l managed to stay under two hours considering my problems.

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Later that afternoon (after a shower, ice, and compression) we did some shopping.

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Now I’m not limited to boring hours on my stationary bike. And since we spent money, my frugality won’t let it get dusty. An added bonus: Sunday afternoon my husband and I went for a ride together. He helped me build confidence, because it has been a few years since I rode a bike. My foot didn’t hurt after an hour of riding, but boy my seat sure did!

Oh well, it feels good to be moving!