Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 -A Look Ahead

I have been happily inundated with blog posts recapping 2012 and setting out resolutions and goals for 2013. For the past few weeks I too have been reflecting back on this past year and thinking about what 2013 has in store for me.

But when it came time to put pen to paper (or I guess fingers to keyboard) I found I don't have much to say. The truth is, if you are one of the few people who read this blog well then you already know what this year meant for me. I've never kept my stories, or progress, or victories (and failures) secret. If anything, I could easily be chastised for over-sharing. So yes, 2012 was an awesome year for me. But you already knew that didn't you?

What does that mean for 2013? I'm not sure. I have some grand ideas and some big changes on the horizon but I am not planning on setting any resolutions or goals for the year.  Maybe I should. I don't know.

Last year, on NYE, I spent some time setting my intentions for the year. I said them to Paul and somehow I felt like the act of saying them out loud, putting my words out into the universe, made them real. It made them feel obtainable.

Now as I sit here alone in my apartment I'm wondering if I should set my intentions here on this blog so at least they are out there in the world instead of just in my head.

But before I get into my intentions for 2013 I would like to say that I am also working on a list of 35. This list will represent 35 things I hope to accomplish in my 35th year. My birthday is in 9 days and I will hopefully have the list posted before then.  I feel like 35 is a such a big milestone and instead of cringing at the thought of falling into a new age group bracket I wanted to create a fun way to celebrate another year on this earth. My friend Jen is also turning 35 this year, in February actually, and she is also doing a list. Hopefully we can help each other make this year fabulous!

So, without further ado- here are my intentions for how I plan to live my life in 2013:

-Love myself and put my health and well being first. Take care of my body, mind, and soul. Be kind to myself. No more comparing, judging, harsh thoughts, or negative reactions. Only acceptance, forgiveness, and kindness.

-Be a better wife, daughter, friend and human. Be compassionate and loving. Be kind to all living things.

-Treat life like the adventure it is but don't allow fate to plot my course. I hold the reigns. I am in charge of my destiny. Remember that.

-Keep moving forward. Adapt, change, grow. Set goals, achieve them, and then set new goals. Never stop learning. Never be satisfied.

-Have fun. Laugh alot. As much as possible. Never take life for granted.

-Make sure the people I love always know how much love, respect, and gratitude I have for them. Never let anyone feel like they are taken for granted. Hugs and thoughtful words.

-Remember that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

-Make sure to seize every opportunity available that would allow me to do any of the above.

These are my intentions for 2013 and I plan on spending everyday living up to them.

A wise woman said to me 'I don't want to start new- I want to stay me, only awesomer!' and I couldn't agree more.

Happy New Year everyone! May 2013 exceed your wildest dreams!

Image from

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Holidays: My Plan of Attack

It might seem on the surface that it would be easier for me to ‘survive’ the holidays what with being alone, having no parties to attend, no family around to bake for and whatnot. And yes, I will probably have much less temptation to overindulge around me then most people will. I will, however, be alone.
On Christmas Eve.
And Christmas.
With nothing to occupy my time.
Which for me is far worse than being surrounded by indulgent foods and sweets at a party or gathering. It means I can easily spend two whole days sitting in front of the TV and eating everything in sight. For real. This could totally happen next Monday & Tuesday.
But I don’t want that to happen. And since I know me and how I am capable of behaving I needed to create a plan to help get me through the holidays without becoming an emotional, overeating wreck.
That plan really started this week. I wanted to head into the holidays feeling strong and I always feel that it is much easier to be active if you are already being active. Does that make sense? Like it’s easier to keep going then to start again after a long break.
This week I have continued with my training schedule for 3M (which is now less than four weeks away, yikes!) and tonight I will be attending my third barre class of the week. The rest of 2012 will hopefully go like this:
Friday, 12/21: Rest Day. Fridays are almost always my rest day. 
Saturday, 12/22: 6 mile run and barre class. I am attempting to do both since this will be the last day before my monthly barre membership expires. I have scheduled myself for the 945a class but if I am feeling exhausted after the run I will just cancel. I am ok with that but I would like to do both.
Sunday, 12/23: Gym Day. I plan on heading up to post and using the fitness center. I would love to swim, if the pool is open, maybe use the stair climber, rower and do some weights too. Now that my monthly membership for barre is over and I am out of classes on my account at Synergy I will be taking advantage of my free access to the post fitness center to supplement my running whenever I can.
Monday, 12/24: Santa’s Reindeer Run- an organized, group run around the river walk and up to the Alamo- approx. 5 miles. We will be dressed up in holiday outfits/costumes and hand out candy canes all while running around and being merry. It should be a lot of fun!
Tuesday, 12/25: Rest day. I don’t really have anything planned for Christmas day itself but if the weather is nice I plan on taking the dogs to the park in the morning.
Wednesday, 12/26: Run in the morning (intervals) and then gym after work for swimming
Thursday, 12/27: Run in the morning (hills) and then Thai Yoga therapy after work
Friday, 12/28: Rest Day!
Saturday, 12/29: Long Run - 12 miles
Sunday, 12/30: Hopefully we will have a group bike ride this week but if not I will be hitting up the gym (maybe I’ll even bike there) to use the pool and maybe some additional machines and weights
Monday, 12/31: Gym day to end 2012 unless I can find someone to accompany me on a hike. I would love to spend the last day of 2012 the same way I spent the last day of 2011, hiking Enchanted Rock.
I am also super excited that I will be celebrating the New Year in a healthy way by participating in the Commitment Day 5K on January 1, 2013.  There are Commitment Day runs being held in 30+ cities around the country. It’s all about committing to living a healthy lifestyle and helping others do the same in 2013. I am super excited for this 5K. Check out their website for more info and last I saw on FB they had a $10 off discount going with the promo code: holiday.
Keeping active is only part of the puzzle though, isn’t it? It certainly plays a big role in my health and wellness but there are also factors that play a part as well. Like what I eat.
I haven’t finalized my meal plan for next week yet but I know that I will be keeping my breakfasts, daytime snacks and lunches the same as what I eat any given week. I will plan out some fun and healthy dinners for the weekend and weekdays and for Christmas Eve and Christmas I ordered two different vegan dinners for one from Whole Foods. They are the perfect way for me to indulge in the foods I wouldn’t normally eat and at the same time help with portion control. Of course I will also partake in some special dessert treats from Whole Foods. I am super happy that WF sells vegan desserts in single portions. One slice of cake is ok, having a whole cake just sitting in my fridge- well that’s just Bad News Bears.
And last but certainly not least, for fun this long weekend (in addition to all the activities which I also really enjoy) I plan on going to the movies TWICE! I have a voucher for two movie tickets so I figure why not take advantage of it. I am going to see ‘This is 40’ on Christmas Eve and ‘Les Miserables’ on Christmas day. I so thankful that two different friends asked if they can come with me, one each day, so that way I won’t be spending my holidays in a crowded theater, alone. I am also excited about some of the new books I have and hope to read at least one of them over the next few weeks.
Also, now that Paul has cell phone access I am hoping we can Face Time. This way we can at least ‘see’ each other on Christmas. That would be awesome!
Looking back over all that I have going on I am not only very excited for the holidays I also feeling very fortunate for the life that I have.  Yes, there are days when I feel like being away from my husband, living across the country from my parents and my best friend are all less than ideal circumstances. But I am thankful every day that I have amazing people in my life that I miss and love and that I am missed and loved in return.
And I am thankful every day to be alive.
Happy Holidays!  
My sweaty self after the 10-miler on 12/15/2012. It was HOT for December!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


According to my training schedule I should have done a 5 mile tempo run this morning. Unfortunately, I hit snooze one too many times and I knew there was no way I could get in 5 miles before work. So I opted for plan B. Always have a plan B.
After yesterday’s run I had thought I should probably hit the treadmill today. I had read that running on uneven surfaces and lots of turns/corners is the worst thing to do for an adductor injury and my normal 5 mile route is filled with both. Also, side note, 46 turns during the RnR half. Forty-Six! No wonder my leg went out during the half. Anywho, even though I despise the treadmill I know it is probably the best thing for me as far as recovery goes. And of course when I woke up it was raining which just reaffirmed that it would be a treadmill day for me regardless.
Since I knew I couldn’t get in 5 miles on the treadmill time wise (and I was actually kind of happy about that since running at one speed on a treadmill puts me to sleep) I opted for a different routine. Yesterday Melissa from the Daily Mel Blog (@TheDailyMel) posted an article link on FB to a treadmill workout used at the Biggest Loser Resort and since that was fresh in my mind I opted to give it a try. The routine is called ‘treading’ and here is how it works:
·         5 minute warm-up
·         5 minutes as hard as you can go
·         5 minute recovery 
·         4 minutes as hard as you can go
·         4 minute recovery
·         3 minutes as hard as you can go
·         3 minute recovery
·         2 minutes as hard as you can go
·         2 minute recovery
·         1 minute as hard as you can go
·         1 minute recovery 
·         5 minute cool down
Read more about it here
This is what I ended up doing:
·         5 minute warm up: 30 sec @ 2mph, 30 sec @2.5 mph, 1 min @ 3.1mph, 1 min @ 4mph , 1 min @ 5mph
·         5 min run @ 6mph
·         5 min recover @ 4mph
·         4 min run @ 6.3 mph
·         4 min recover @ 4mph
·         3 min run @ 6.6 mph
·         3 min recover @ 4 mph
·         2 min run @ 6.8 mph
·         2 min recover @ 4mph
·         1 min run @ 7mph
·         1 min recover @ 4mph
·         5 minute cool down; 2 min @ 5.1 mph, 1 min @ 4mph, 1 @ 3.5mph, 1 @ 3mph decreasing down to 2 mph
Total time 40 minutes, total distance 3.25 miles which isn’t too bad since half the time was spent walking
The routine was good; it kept my mind engaged and it went by pretty fast. I think doing this on the treadmill was easier on my body since it was on an even surface. I was able to push myself faster, and for longer, than I was when I did intervals on Tuesday outside so that’s a good sign, right?
I am thinking I will use this routine as my speed work once a week for the time being. I also plan on doing my hill work on the treadmill too (for now at least) but I still plan on doing slow/easy paced runs outside. I’m not sure if I will try to do my tempo runs on the treadmill or outside but since I don't have another one on the schedule for 2 weeks I will decide what to do about it then.
Do you run on a treadmill? How do you keep engaged and excited while doing so? Any tips?
“The past does not define, you the present does.” ~ Jillian Michaels

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Physical vs. Mental

I have been having a rough time with this injury. Some days I feel great and others…well not so much. I was at Thai Yoga therapy yesterday and was talking to Tricia about it. I told her how I had a great run on Sunday but then I had a hard time with intervals Tuesday morning. I said I wasn’t sure if the issue I was facing was physical or mental. You see, I was having a really hard time pushing myself to run faster during my intervals and I didn’t know if it was because the injury was limiting my ability or if I was holding back because mentally I am afraid of making the injury worse. Does that make sense?
I am guessing it is a bit of both. I still have some lingering pain and range of motion issues and those are physical. But I am also 100% certain that there is a part of me afraid to really push it right now. Call me overly cautious but I just don’t feel healthy and the last thing I want to do is make matters worse.
I’ve also noticed that I can’t fight the lingering anguish from the half last month. That day diminished any self confidence I had at all in my abilities and I have yet to do anything since that helped build it back up. I am hoping that Sunday’s long run will give me a confidence boost because without it I am feeling quite hopeless.
I have never really had an injury like this before, never been in a situation where I am torn between training and races and feeling weak and trying to build strength and losing my patience and not wanting to force myself back into it too quickly. It’s quite the mess in my headspace right now.
But I do think I am doing what is best for my body and I do know that one day I will gain my confidence back. I just don’t know when that will be. So, until then I will just keep on truckin’.
Have you been sidelined from an injury before? How did you handle the mental side of it? How did you get your confidence back?

Wordless Wednesday: Strike a Pose

Apparently this is my pre-/post-running pic pose. Hmmmm...maybe I need to change it up a bit, all my pics look the same.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Just Checking In

First off, can I just say really? Really? It’s December freaking 4th! When did that happen? Christmas is a mere 21 days away and Hanukkah starts this weekend. Crazy! I am thinking I should probably buy some Christmas cards soon, huh? This time of year is always so crazy-fewer work days but the same amount of work. How is anyone supposed to relax?
Well, I don’t really have too much new to report. Last week I went to three barre classes; Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and I ran four times; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Well technically I ran five times because on Sunday I ran four miles on my own and then a few hours later took part in the Color Me Rad 5K which I jogged (when we could- it was kind of a cluster) with friends. I also got in a short bike ride to/from Saturday’s barre class, a Thai yoga therapy session and attended a Journey Dance class lead by Toni Bergens (founder/creator) herself which was absolutely amazing. It was a busy but fun week.
My running is getting better. I think I am almost back to 100%. This morning’s run (intervals) proved to me I am not quite there yet though. On Sunday, when I did my four miles, I ran the all uphill mile (mile 3) in my best time to date. I think it was 11:44- my first sub-12 min/mile for that one. It was a big achievement for me since I have ran that route quite frequently since we moved to our new place back in September. It may seem like a small victory but after the last month I’ve had it’s the equivalent of moving mountains.
Barre classes are going well too. I like them. They are challenging. They show me how little core and upper body strength I really have which just goes to reaffirm my need to be in a class like that. The class itself is good, the workout is pretty intense but the people there aren’t really welcoming. It’s very weird to feel completely isolated in a room full of people. It’s the first time I have participated in a group class and felt so awkward. But I know that class will really help me strengthen and tone- two things I am in desperate need of- so I will push through.
Since I am taking Saturday barre classes I had to move my long run day to Sundays which means missing out on my Sunday morning group bike ride. This stinks not only because I love to ride but because I love spending the morning with the group. Everyone is super friendly and talkative- it is a very social ride. This past Sunday I timed my run so that I ended up at the meet up spot at 7a so I could say hello to everyone. It was nice seeing them, even if they did make me feel guilty about missing out on the ride. I saw something posted on FB from the San Antonio Bikes group that they are doing a ride this Saturday- a tour of the San Antonio Cultural Arts Westside Murals. It doesn’t start until 11a so I can do both the barre class and the bike tour so I am super excited about that.
I realized that since I will be spending most of my active hours running (alone) or at barre class (feels like I’m alone) and I spend my workday at a desk, on a computer, with very little interaction with others, that it is important to me that I make time for things like group bike rides or Journey Dance/Nia classes where I can be both active and social. If I don’t I could literally spend a whole weekend talking to only my dogs, and Paul/my parents when they call, which is kind of weird.
I guess for me finding my balance includes finding ways to be active socially. Or socially active. One of the two. It would be great if I could find a running partner or group for my long runs. Yeah, I think finding a Sunday morning running group would be great. If you know of any in the greater San Antonio area let me know.
For now, I will just continue on with my half marathon training plan, for 3M in January, and try to build up some muscle strength to help get me ready. I have the SARR Mission 10-Miler coming up on 12/15 and that will really be a good test as to whether or not I can do the 3M half. Fingers crossed. I am so ready to be 100%, injury free again.
"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending" ~ Carl Bard
Some pics from Color Me Rad. If you have the opportunity to do a color run I highly recommend it. Super fun!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Half Marathon Blues

Hi everyone! It’s been over two weeks since the half marathon and I think I am finally ready to talk about it. About everything that is going on in my head. And where I am going from here.
First, I really need to reiterate (in case you didn’t watch my post-half vlog) that I am very happy to have completed my first half marathon. I am super proud of myself for spending 4+ months training and preparing for something I never thought possible and then going out and doing it. I had never really experienced anything of that magnitude (re: intense training culminating with a gigantic, 27K+, event) so from start to finish the whole experience was quiet surreal. It is something I will never forget.
That being said- I’m pissed and disappointed and defeated and sad. I worked really, really hard. I put in the time and the effort. I was committed to this 100%. And to suffer through an injury just a few weeks before the half, followed by getting sick the week of, well that just was not what I had planned.
I had worked so hard; chiropractor, massage therapy, yoga, acupuncture, vitamins, juicing, ice baths, rest, etc to get myself healthy for the half and I really thought I was. Until I was in it and realized I wasn’t.
Until I had to watch everything I had worked towards crumble around me.
Until I had to accept that I wasn’t going to run for 13.1 miles. That my ‘running’ would feel like I was in molasses and that me walking was actually a faster pace than my body would let me ‘run’. It was a complete mind-fuck- excuse my French.
Every runner has bad days, that’s just life. But no one expects it to happen on the big day, the only day that counts.
I completed a half marathon- that is something I am proud of.
I did it in 03:07 and that is something I am not.
I didn’t have a number in my head I was trying to achieve or beat. This would be the benchmarking race. I just wanted to run and enjoy myself which I tried like hell to do.
I didn’t have a number in my head BUT I most certainly did not think it would take me over 3 hours to complete a half marathon. My 12 mile time was 02:20 so no, I didn’t ever think it would take 47 minutes longer to complete an additional 1.1 miles.
My mile pace for the half was a 14:17 min/mile. I have never, ever run at a 14:17 pace. Even my slowest long runs when I was first starting out were sub-13 min/mile pace. Before I started running I was walking 5Ks at a 12:50 pace. So, yeah- 14:17 wasn’t even a number that crossed my mind.
And as I type this out I feel foolish even talking about these feelings but I just want you to know where I am right now and how that day changed things for me.
After the half I got much, much sicker than I had been. I was a mess. I wasn’t really sore from the half. Just sick. And very tired. So I spent a few days sleeping, trying to get healthy.
Then when I finally felt better the only thing I felt was pissed. I was so mad at my performance and my injury and I just wanted redemption.  I wanted another chance to prove to myself that I could run the half I trained for, the half I expected to run.
I even thought about signing up for another half right away.
But I wasn’t even sure if I could actually run. So first I needed to test out the leg. And that is what I set out to do 6 days after the half. Run. Just to see how I felt.
And it was disastrous. I got about 2.5 miles from home and I was in a world of hurt. I was experiencing the same issue I was on the day of the half, just worse. I couldn’t run. I could not force my left leg to move. It felt sluggish, restricted. And on that day- painful.
And so there I was 2.5 miles from home. Pissed. Angry. Defeated. And 2.5 miles from home. I had to walk back alone with my thoughts which, trust me, weren’t pretty.
I wasn’t pissed that this injury was probably worse than I had thought. I wasn’t pissed that it meant rest and that it could possibly mean having to cancel/change future plans. I was pissed that I had all these emotions inside that I didn’t have an outlet for. I couldn’t run to redeem myself. But worse than that was that I couldn’t run period. Running has become so cathartic for me that not having it in my life has left me an emotional mess.
This took some time to work through.
But now I am back. And I have a plan. And a new focus. And I am ready to pick up the pieces and move on from the half.
I am 7 weeks out from the 3M Half Marathon which I am not sure I will be ready for in time. But I am easing back into running. I have set up a new training schedule focusing just on getting ready for this half. The next few weeks I will be easing back into training. Slow, easy runs only. No intervals or tempo runs- just running at a comfortable pace. I am hoping that I am ready to ease back in. I ran 4 miles last Thursday at the Turkey Trot and felt really good. No pain. I kept it slow and it worked out well. Tomorrow I start off my training schedule with a 3 mile run. We’ll see how it goes.
Another thing I really want to focus on over the next couple of months is my cross-training. Not only do I need to build strength back up in my leg I also need to focus on building core strength. What I’ve decided to do is supplement my running with barre classes. There is a studio near my home in San Antonio that offers Smart Barre classes. Here is the class description from their website in case you aren’t familiar with the Barre classes:
“Smart Barre practices concentrated movements that function as deep sculpting tools to strengthen and lengthen muscles. As a total body workout, this class fuses principles of ballet, Pilates, and yoga to target body areas in which women struggle- the core, hips, thighs, seat and arms. A traditional ballet barre is used to help maintain balance and provide resistance, however, you will not need a tutu in this class to achieve the long, lean look of a dancer. In addition to the barre, light weights, a playground ball, and a cushy mat are used. An efficient, upbeat workout, you will find it a “smart” use of time.”
I went to my first class last Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s tough, don’t get me wrong, but it is just what I need. Not only am I trying to improve my running I am also trying to tone up and lose a few pounds. I have Paul’s Officer Candidate School graduation in January and I want to look good for it. It’s a formal event which I will need to dress up for so I want to feel comfortable in whatever I wear.
I am also going to ride my bike (I may even ride to/from Barre class on Saturday mornings) and take Nia, Journey Dance and yoga classes whenever I can as well as continue with my weekly Thai Yoga therapy.
So that’s my plan for now. I hope to be able to get back into the swing of things with my running/training but if my body isn’t ready for it I will wait. But even if I can’t run I vow to continue my cross training. My end goal is to be strong and healthy and there are many avenues that can get me there. I have to remember that.
"We may train or peak for a certain race, but running is a lifetime sport."  ~Alberto Salazar
11/22/2012- Before the start of the Turkey Trot 4-Miler

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Half Marathon Recap Video

I will have you know that in this video I refrained from cursing. The video is rated PG. But I did cry. Alot. Sorry. And at one point my voice gets quite shrill. Again, sorry. If after reading this you don't want to watch- I totally understand. ;)

Also, a couple things I forget to say in the video- thanks Mom and Dad! I wish you could have been here. I miss you and can't wait to have you be there for the Philly Marathon in 2013!

And Happy Veterans Day to all of the men and women serving or who have served as well as their families. I am so thankful for your service.

And a big thank you to Paul for being both a member of our armed services as well as my biggest fan and supporter through this whole half marathon training. Love you babe!

As for the race- well, today...

I made sure to thank every Vet and Active military member I came upon.

And high five anybody that had an outstretched arm.

And wave and smile and thank the spectators.

And laugh at all of the amazing signs.

And ask people who could barely walk if they wanted to lean on me for support.

And enjoy every hot, sweaty, painful minute of it. The good and the bad.

Because any day that I can put one foot in front of the other for 13.1 miles makes even the bad times good.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Another Update

I know I said I probably wouldn’t write again before the half but I just had to share some good news with you. My appointment with the chiropractor went swimmingly well and I could not be happier. He told me that my injury (sprained sacroiliac joint, which is the joint between the pelvis and sacrum) was already healed. Yay! Something he estimated 2-3 weeks to heal took only 9 days. That makes me so incredibly happy. I had been feeling really good the day of and was hoping he would have some positive feedback for me- I think that’s about as good as it gets.
While I was there he did make some other adjustments helping to put me back into correct alignment. He made adjustments to my first rib (left side) and second rib (right side)- which was a weird feeling, both my tibias, my left knee cap, my left ankle, pretty much every bone in my left foot, and some back, hip and neck adjustments. Nothing major, just tweaks. He didn’t see any underlying acute injuries or any muscle issues that could affect my run on Sunday. Actually he told me that I was going to kill it Sunday. I definitely appreciated his vote of confidence.
While I was there he asked if I wanted some acupuncture to help with my cold. I, of course, said yes. I had never had acupuncture before but have always been open to the idea. My chiro, Dr. Root, considers himself a minimalist acupuncturist- his goal is to be as effective as possible with the fewest needles possible. So for my cold problem he only needed 6 needles to treat me. I didn’t mind them one bit. It was actually quite relaxing. I almost fell asleep in his office. It was nice.
I left the appointment feeling uber confident in my physical health and recovery from this stupid cold and knowing that I will, in fact, kill it on Sunday J
This morning I woke up feeling pretty great leg/hip wise and with just some slight congestion lingering from the cold. I used the Neti pot, which helped tremendously, before I headed to the gym for my last run before the half. I only wanted to run a couple of miles, just enough to test out my leg, and I am happy to report it went really, really well. 2 miles in 23 minutes. 2 comfortable, pain free, super happy miles. At one point when ‘Gonna Fly Now’ (from the Rocky soundtrack, trust me- you know this song) came on I started to run faster and envisioned myself running across the finish line. I even worked on trying to smile while sprinting- I have to get ready for the cameras.
Yesterday was a great day and I am super excited to have received great news from Dr. Root. The run this morning was just what I needed to give me a little more reassurance in my health and training. I know I am ready but I definitely needed to quiet those little voices in the back of my mind trying to psyche me out. I can’t wait to see Tricia today for Thai Yoga therapy, which really is like the best thing ever, and then take a nice warm Epsom salt bath after. Such a great way to ease into what I hope to be a super relaxing few days leading up to the moment I have been waiting for.

“It has never been, and never will be easy work! But the road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.” ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Updates and Plans

If you follow me on Twitter or the book of faces then you know I am currently battling a cold. Of course, right? That’s how it goes. I’m doing everything in my power to get my leg/hip healthy for the half and just as I am starting to almost feel 100% I get sick. Just my luck.
Thankfully, it’s not much of a cold. I have some congestion and a bit of sneezing/coughing here and there but nothing major. No fever. No sore throat. (KNOCK ON WOOD) Nothing that is making nervous about Sunday’s run. I take pretty good care of myself and I think that has helped me build up a strong immune system but of course that doesn’t mean I was just going to sit back and do nothing about this cold.
I started taking Echinacea and vitamin C, using the Neti pot, doing Sun Salutations on top of my normal vitamins/herbal regimen. Oh, and also started drinking a juice concoction of carrots, beets, garlic and ginger.  Then I reached out to friends for suggestions of additional natural remedies and I received some great responses. Jaime suggested I use Elderberry instead of Echinacea, Angel suggested Zinc, and Tricia suggested some Miso –ginger soup. So I hit up Whole Foods and grabbed all of the above. I got home yesterday and took all of my vitamins and supplements and then made some miso broth with ginger, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne. That was my dinner. I didn’t have much of an appetite and was feeling exhausted so after dinner I did some quick cleanup in the kitchen and headed to bed. At 7p.
By 8p I was asleep.
I slept pretty well except for waking up a couple of times to use the bathroom. I consumed so much liquid yesterday I am surprised my bladder didn’t explode.  
I woke up a bit congested but overall feeling ok. I used the Neti pot, did a yoga DVD and some Sun Salutations, as well as some crunches on the stability ball. I saw on the news that Barack Obama was President. I am thankful it wasn’t as close as predicted and that the election came to a close last night. I was a bit nervous that we might have another 2000 fiasco on our hands.
Today I go back to the chiropractor and am hopeful he will be pleased with the progress I’ve made so far. He told me it would take about 2-3 weeks to heal but that I should still be able to run and that the running wouldn’t affect my recovery. I am positive that both of those statements are true and that not only will my body feel great come Sunday but also that I will have no issues afterwards and I’ll heal up nicely.
Tomorrow is my last run before the half and I am planning on doing a couple miles on the treadmill. Although I typically shy away from the treadmill I thought it might be the best way to get in an easy run with no worries of tripping or unnecessary stress on my body from hills and uneven pavement. Tomorrow evening is my last Thai Yoga therapy session before the half and I know that between Dr. Root (my chiropractor) and Tricia my body will be aligned, adjusted, energized and fully ready to go on Sunday.
Friday morning will be the same as today; yoga and some core exercises. Friday night you will find me at home, relaxing. I plan on making a nice pasta dinner and catching up on some TV.
Saturday morning I plan on doing some yoga and meditation before meeting my friend Debra, who is also running the half, for a walk to help release some of that nervous energy we both will be feeling. After we are going to drive the half marathon route to get a preview of what lies ahead for us the next day. Then at 10am I am meeting Cassy and Mando, who ran the full marathon with Paul last year and are running the half this year,  to hit up the expo. I am excited to spend a couple hours exploring the expo and checking out all of the vendors. Last year’s expo was awesome so I have high hopes for this year’s. I certainly don’t need any more running stuff but I am pretty sure I will still end up buying some while there.
After the expo I am not 100% sure what I will end up doing. I will need to do some grocery shopping and I plan on being in bed early. I want to go and see Skyfall so if I can squeeze in an afternoon showing that’s what I’ll do.
The half marathon is just 4 days away. I can’t believe it. I don’t think I have been this excited about anything since my wedding day. Almost 17 weeks of training has led me to this point and I feel ready. I am happy and grateful and nervous and excited and thrilled and even a little bit sad. I, of course, wish Paul was here to celebrate with me at the finish. But, like my friend Patty reminded me this morning, this is just my first- not my only. There will be plenty more in the future and hopefully someday Paul and I will be able to run them together.
I am not sure if I will write again before the half but I want you to know I will be thinking of you throughout the run. I have the best cheering squad ever. I am one lucky girl. And I need you to know how much your support means to me. Thank you. For your kind and reassuring words. For being my rocks and my guideposts along this adventure. There aren’t words to adequately express my gratitude. You are the reason I am who I am. For that I am forever grateful.  I love you all so very much!
“Tisn't life that matters! 'Tis the courage you bring to it.”~ Sir Hugh Walpole

Monday, November 5, 2012

So Many Thoughts

I had a lot of things on my mind this morning during my run. Here’s a snapshot of what goes on in my mind when I run. Or at least what is going on in my mind while I run just six days before the half marathon.
My injury- I am still not back to 100%. My five mile run on Saturday and my 3 mile run this morning both weren’t great. They weren’t bad either. They were just ok. I am able to run. I am just still feeling some residual soreness. The doctor says that this injury is not caused from running and that running won’t affect my recovery time but it doesn’t make running feel good. This weird pain (pain really isn’t the right word to describe it, maybe tightness or restriction- ugh I don’t know, nothing accurately describes this weirdness) in my hip/thigh/pelvis area is still there. It’s not bad and it isn’t preventing me from running but just the fact that I can feel it when I run freaks me out. I think it just makes me nervous that I am going to run up a hill during the half and have it seize up like it has twice already. But I have been continually reminding myself that when I take it slowly and run at an easy pace I am ok. I just can’t push myself too hard.
The half marathon-as you all know my half marathon is this Sunday, 11/11. I am beyond excited for it. I am now in week 17 of training which is really crazy when I think back on it. I can’t believe I even decided to do this. It was kind of a whim. When we got the news that Paul was picked up for the Navy and that he would be going away to OCS I decided to run the half. I thought the training would help me keep focused on something while he was gone. It would provide me a healthy outlet and distraction and help me to work towards a goal I never thought possible. Now as I sit here just 6 days before the half I have some really strong thoughts that keep swimming through my mind.
I am not racing against you
I am not racing against the clock
I am not racing against myself
I am not racing- period, end of sentence
I am just a girl on a mission. A mission to prove to herself that she can achieve any goal, no matter how big or small, by setting a plan, dedicating time/energy/resources to it, and staying focused. My only goal is to finish that half marathon happy. I want to go out there and have fun. I want to run each mile without concern about my pace, the time elapsed or how I am doing compared to other people I know. I just want to listen to some good music, smile at the other runners and give them words of encouragement when I can and enjoy the crowds. I want to finish with a huge (non-forced) smile on my face, although more than likely I will finish crying tears of joy, and I want to look back on that race as one of the best days of my life.
I don’t care that you are faster than me. I don’t care that my time will be ‘slow’ or that there will be marathoners finishing at the same time I do. On Sunday, I vow to only care about me and the beauty of running for fun.
Expectations- BUT, in order to do this I need to set my expectations aside. I never set a time goal for the half and I still haven’t. However, when I registered the form did ask for an estimated completion time. Based off some website’s half marathon time calculator thing where I put in my 5K pace and it tells me what I should expect for a half marathon I put down 2:30. That is not a realistic goal for me though. That’s an 11:27 min/mile pace. More than likely I will be above a 12 min/mile pace, which I am 100% ok with. But even thinking that I might be able to run at a 12 min/mile pace is still putting ideas in my head. Maybe I can come in at 2:45. Maybe less. Is that possible? Ahhhhh (that’s me screaming) enough already! It doesn’t matter. Just run, Dacia. That’s all that matters. 2:30, 2:45, 3:45- they are just numbers. They mean nothing. Crossing the finish line is the only thing that holds any real significance. And even so I would still say that just attempting to do this is what matters most.
The plan- not to be confused with my expectations or goals. Even though I keep reiterating how I just want to focus on the run and not the time I still need a plan. A way to make this half marathon enjoyable and achievable. So here it is. It’s quite simple.
Mile 1- Run the first mile slowly.  I know this will be difficult trying not to get swept up in the crowd but my goal is to start off slow. Ease into it. Let my body warm up and the jitters subside. Be comfortable. This might be the slowest mile I run.
Mile 2- step it up a bit. Keep it easy but work towards finding my rhythm. Normally I can fall into my groove during mile 2. The pace I settle into is usually the pace I will keep for the duration of my long runs.
Miles 3-9: maintain easy comfortable pace. Stay in my rhythm and focus on the crowds, the music and the people around me. Really enjoy the race.
Miles 10-13: slowly start to increase my pace. Just a little bit faster with each mile. The strategy I am sticking to is running a fast 5K after a slow 10 mile warm-up run. BUT if come mile 10, 11 or 12 I just can’t push harder then I won’t.  I will only go as fast as I can comfortably maintain.
The last tenth- 13-13.1: SPRINT!!! The finish is uphill and around a bend. Quite evil in my opinion. But I do plan on sprinting across that finish line come hell or high water.
My running- what I hope for as a runner is to have endurance like Forrest Gump (or Scott Jurek, if you would prefer a comparison to an actual person) but I am not too concerned with speed. Yes, I would like to progress as a runner and maybe shave a minute or two off my mile times but ultimately I just want to be able to run, preferably for increasingly longer distances. As my training continues I will still do intervals and hills and tempo runs to help me both with speed and endurance. But I know that I will only want to continue running as long as it is still fun for me. I feel that this half marathon will be great and it will propel me forward into my training for the duathlon (Dec 8), my next half marathon (Jan 13- birthday present to myself) and the Austin marathon (Feb 17) which is why I continually remind myself of the importance of enjoying this half marathon, not racing it.
I don’t want to cross the finish line puking, or in pain, or injured, or miserable.
I don’t want to cross the finish line cursing myself, or others, or running.
I want to cross that finish line happy, proud, full of confidence and love. Ready to take on the next adventure.  And more than likely ready for a beer or four.
"I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart." ~Mike Fanelli

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Week 15: the Roller Coaster

Last week was a bit of a roller coaster for me.
 It started off with me dropping Paul off at the airport and then running a 15K immediately after- both of which were exhausting- mentally and physically.

Then came a new pair of running shoes
Followed by an injury that popped up during one of my runs that caused me to almost have a complete mental breakdown thinking that this would keep me from running the half
But after some intense thai yoga therapy and some rest I was feeling great; back to normal
I not only was able to finish off my training week strong,  completing  my last long run (12 miles) before the half, I also ended up logging more running miles this week than ever before- 32.5 miles.
I had my confidence back. I felt ready for the half. I knew I could do it. I finished that 12 mile run with fuel in the tank and energy left in my legs- I knew I could push it for another 1.1 miles. I was ecstatic.
Well, ecstatic until Sunday when 2 miles into my 5K pain in my hip caused me to have to walk the rest of the race. I was pissed too. I had just ran my fastest two miles EVER and was on pace to come in at a sub-30 5K- something that I have never done before- and on top of that I was pissed because why the hell was the pain back???
Well, I was pretty sure I had just sabotaged myself for the second time in a week. The first- running in new shoes with less than 3 weeks left  before the half (note: the Brooks have been exchanged for a pair of Merrells- I am sticking with what works for me from now on) , the second- pushing myself only four days after my first hip flare up. Even if I felt great, it was probably quite unwise to push myself that hard. What was I thinking?
So, yesterday, under the advisement of my thai yoga therapist, I headed to a chiropractor to the get to the root of the problem and see if it was something fixable or if it would end up sidelining me from the half- which is now less than two weeks away.
The visit went really well. The root of my problem is my lower back and the cause isn’t running. It is from sitting all day long. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this either. Tricia, my thai yoga therapist, tells me this pretty frequently. Sadly, my job isn’t changing anytime soon the doctor gave me some stretches to do- at work and at home- and I will try to do better about getting up and walking more at work.
The doctor also told me that I should be fine in a few weeks and that running won’t impact the healing process so he has given me the green light to keep training and to run the half.
I am still planning on taking a few more days off from running. I also plan on seeing Tricia Thursday for my regular Thai Yoga appointment and I also scheduled a follow up appointment with the chiropractor for next week- just to be safe. He thinks that the one adjustment from yesterday is probably all I will need but I would just feel much better seeing both him and Tricia again before the half. I want to help my body heal as best I can.
I also don’t want to do anything that might cause a real injury down the road. So for this week my plan is rest, rest, rest, stretch, stretch, stretch, eat well, and stay positive.
Saturday, if I feel up to it, I will go out for a run. A nice, easy-paced happy run. Until then I will just focus on doing what’s best for my body, my mind and my soul J
Have you ever been sidelined from an injury? What did you do to help your recovery? How did you cope with it?
"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."  ~Jesse Owens

Friday, October 26, 2012

"O Captain! My Captain!"

This is my friend Yerttle 

This picture is from today at the expo for the Marine Corps Marathon. The marathon she will be running in just two days.
She is one of the most amazing people I know.
Training for a marathon is tough, no doubt about it. She trained for the MCM while balancing her responsibilities as a mother to like 87 kids (ok, three but still – I am sure three kids feels like 87 at times), her role as an FRG Leader (which is not only a distinguished position to hold it also comes with an insane amount of work and a lot of BS) all while her husband was deployed. Boom! Crazy!
She isn’t just a member of Team Awesomesauce, she is the Captain.
She is the reason why I am able to get out of bed and run every morning. Because I know if Yerttle could make the time to do it why the eff couldn’t I?
I wish I could be in DC this weekend to cheer her on, stalk her from the crowd as she runs, yell embarrassing things at her and hold up a funny sign. In case you were wondering, my sign would say "If a marathon was easy, it would be called your mother."
I wish I could be there to watch them put that medal around her neck and give her the world’s biggest hug. I wish I could be there because it is going to be awesome, just like her!
Good luck, Yerttle! Go kick some asphalt!
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” ~ Steve Prefontaine

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Running Box

This morning I hurt my leg while running. Well, actually it is my hip. But I don’t want to talk about that. I am pretty sure that what is wrong is completely fixable and that after my Thai Yoga therapy session this afternoon I will be back up and running, literally J
Instead, I want to talk about my running box. My storage box for all my running ‘essentials’
When I first started running I swore I wouldn’t turn into this person. I wanted to be a minimalistic runner, just the basics only. I didn’t want all the gear or gadgets. I just wanted to run.
Yeah, that totally didn’t happen. Well, maybe at first it did but then the more I got into running the more things I wanted/needed and now I have a box dedicated solely to running items.  
Are you curious as to what is in my running box? Well here is a picture.

This is everything I am currently NOT using. Some of this is Paul’s that I claimed ownership of once he left. Don’t judge, you’d do the same wouldn’t you?
-Reflective sleeves (too hot still to wear)
-Spibelt, a gel holder/bib holder belt, and a pouch I can add onto either
-Sleeve for my handheld Camelback
-Gloves (neon yellow gloves to boot) as seen below. Definitely the sexiest picture of me ever taken ;)

-Hats and a neck gator
-Headsweats head bands (2)
-Compression sleeves (2 pair)
-Paul’s Garmin (and its accompanying chest strap) and both of our chargers
-Ankle strap for my Road ID (in case I don’t want to wear it as a bracelet)
What’s missing from the box are the items I use daily; my Garmin, RoadID bracelet, reflective ankle bands and reflective belt (because I run in the dark ), Road ID hat (also reflective), and my Osprey (like a Camelback) I use on my long runs.
Oh, and my ProStretch I use to stretch my Achilles after I run.

It doesn’t just end with the running box. This habit hobby has taken over my closet.
Over the past few months I’ve also accumulated quite the stockpile of tech shirts, sports bras, and running shoes/sandals. I actually need new work clothes but yet any money I save seems to go to running gear, race fees and such.
And this hobby has taken over my calendar, too. My life is planned around my runs and races.
Why, yes- I am planning on running the Philadelphia marathon in November….of 2013.
Yep, I think its official now, I’m obsessed.  
But there are worse things to be addicted to, right?

Do you have a running box? How do you keep all of your essentials organized? Are you hooked on running?
"Every day is a good day when you run." ~Kevin Nelson

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Pictures from my Dad, Part 1

My Dad is pretty awesome. He is a music buff, an avid reader, a (converted) dog lover, and fantasy football enthusiast. If you know him in real life then you know he is quite eclectic. He loves Google Picasa and is constantly sending me goofy/unusual/humorous/beautiful pictures. It's always fun seeing what he sends. So I thought that maybe WW was a great way to share some of them with you. Here are some he sent to me yesterday. I hope you enjoy!

He says this one should be my icon...

"IT IS IN THE SHELTER OF EACH  OTHER THAT PEOPLE LIVE."~ Irish Proverb      (and also the quote in my Dad's signature line in his emails)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Run Happy....Yes, Please!

Yesterday I bought a new pair of running shoes.
I wasn’t really planning on buying yesterday. My original plan was to buy at the expo in three weeks or some time shortly thereafter. Once the half is over I will be into full blown marathon training. Well, technically I am already into my marathon training, 8 weeks into it actually, since I planned my marathon training around this half marathon.
However, once the half is over I will start seeing longer runs during the week and on Saturdays so I wanted to transition into a minimalist shoe (instead  of a barefoot running shoe) with a bit more cushioning. As it is now, my feet start to feel like they are taking a beating towards the end of my long runs. No blisters or rawness or anything like that, just the side effects of having not much between my feet and the ground while taking about 180 steps per minute and still being overweight.
I knew that although the shoes I currently run in are by far the most comfortable running shoes I have ever worn and even though I love running in them that there would come a day where I needed a bit more cushioning.
Then on Sunday I was reading the latest issue of Runner’s World and saw a new pair of Merrells that caught my eye. They were similar to what I was already running in but with a bit more cushioning. Seemed like it could be exactly what I was looking for. Since I am not a big fan of ordering shoes online, running shoes in particular, I decided yesterday on my way home from work to run by the store near my house that carries Merrells to see if they had the shoe I was looking for.
Jackpot! They did!
BUT…it didn’t fit right. What? How? I was so sad. I really, really wanted to love that shoe. On paper, it was exactly what I wanted. But, it was too tight through the toe box and I knew that if it wasn’t comfortable in the store it would not be comfortable running in. Boo…
Oh well, no biggie. I didn’t NEED new running shoes. I wasn’t in any hurry. I had weeks before I wanted to buy new ones.  I knew I would find something that would work for me when I start seriously looking.
And as I turned to leave, I saw them.
The Brooks Pure Connect.
The shoe I almost bought months ago but opted for the Merrells instead.
And they were on sale.
So I had to try them on, right?
I asked for an 8.5/9 (couldn’t remember what size I tried on previously) and they only had a 9.5
It couldn’t hurt to try them on could it? I mean it is a bigger size but maybe they would fit.
And they did. Perfectly. With about a fingers width between my longest toe (my second toe, I know- I’m weird) and the top of the shoe.
Whole Earth Provisions even offers a 15% military discount on their sale items. So I had no choice to buy the shoes, did I? They retail for $90 and I paid less than $60.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind paying full price for good shoes. But if I can get the shoes I want for 2/3 the retail price why would I say no?
I am now the proud owner of my first pair of Brooks! Yay!

And as soon as I paid for them the internal debate began…
Do I attempt to break them in and run the half in them or shelve them until after?
I decided that I would start running in them right away, as in this morning. I have about 50 miles of running on the schedule between now and the half so I think that is plenty of time to break them in. I will run in them the rest of the week and if I am feeling good come Saturday I will use them on my long run.
This morning was intervals so I logged just over 3 miles in the new shoes. No complaints. I found it easy to maintain my running form and I even think the bit of cushioning in them helped add a little extra spring to my step.
Don’t worry though, if I feel any weird pains or develop blisters or have issues maintaining my form I will definitely not run in them for the half. I have worked too damn hard to let a pair of shoes ruin my run. J
What are your thoughts? Is 50 miles/3 weeks enough time to break in new shoes? Any tips (dos/don’ts) on breaking them in?
“Run Happy” ~ Brooks Running
Run Happy photo taken from the Brooks Running website