Monday, November 15, 2010

Starting Fresh

I love new beginnings.  I love waking up early and feeling all the promise of a new day.  I (almost) always wake up on the right side of the bed.  Yes, I am a morning person... a very early morning person.  I also love new days and new weeks.  I like starting fresh on a clean slate.  I personally believe that you can "start fresh" at any moment of the day.  Just because you've had a bad first hour does not mean that the rest of the day has to be bad.  Still, there is just something about a new week that I love.

You know what I love/hate about Mondays?  I love looking at my polar heart rate monitor watch to check on the total calories burned from the previous week.  I had really been dreading this moment throughout the week because I was just awful about working out last week.  I missed a day of stadiums, missed a day of running, walked half of my run on Thursday and did 0 P90X workouts.  I shouldn't have been worried though.  Just go for a 17 mile run... it all evens out ;)

Onto a completely different subject...

We've all heard of facebook stalking

But what about facebook stalking us?

It always creeps me out how well facebook knows me.  You know those advertisements on the right hand side of the page?  It's always so creepy to me how much they know about me.  Almost all of the ads appeal directly to me.  I get when the ads are related to stuff that I've put on my facebook profile, it just starts to get weird when they seem to know where I shop and what I google.

Last spring I took a class online: Eating Disorders.  Throughout the course I had to do several research projects and presentations.  Google is a students best friend :).  I googled all kinds of things and came up with vast amounts of very interesting and appropriate images and information. 

Well... now facebook is convinced that I have an ED and is constantly telling me about various treatment facilities and that I should talk to someone about my struggles.

Thank you facebook...

I do enjoy their suggestions for "Runners groups for singles."  I would love for my future husband to be a runner.  Is it awful that I'm actually tempted by this advertisement? 

Gmail ads are even better though.  My favorite gmail ad: stop runners diarrhea now!

Awesome gmail.  Awesome.

I'm done with my first job of the day early.  I have about 2 hours to fit in some laundry and a P90X video.  Then off to teach ballet :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

What kind of ads appear on your facebook and email?  Are they right up your alley or totally random?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We're finally here

Is it just me or was this a really long week?  I'm looking forward to starting fresh tomorrow.  This next week is for sure going to be better than the last week.

Last week was pretty rough for me.  Fainting while babysitting topped off my disappointing week but I was also really tired and dragging.  I was also having to deal with sore legs.  My legs took a loooong time to recover from the half marathon on Saturday and were still tender by midweek.  I skipped my 3 mile run on Tuesday because I knew my legs weren't up to it but by Thursday I felt like I needed to get out and do something.  I went for my usual 6 mile run and felt great... for the first 3 miles. 

Then on mile 4 my IT (iliotibial band) started to hurt tremendously and I started feeling shooting pain up and down my leg and I ended up walking a lot of the way home.

I've always had issues with my knees and I've had to be really careful with them.  Several years ago I was running 5 miles a day without proper stretching and I ended up hurting my knee so badly that I had to completely stop running.  I picked up running about a year ago and the same problem came right back immediately.  The problem was so bad that I couldn't even make it around the block one time. 

I've been so amazed and impressed that this time around I have had relatively few problems with my knee and I've been running so much further and faster.  I self diagnosed my knee pain and am pretty sure that I experienced/am experiences IT Band Syndrome.  This time around I've been really good about stretching and icing and I've just been thrilled that I haven't had problems that have prevented me from running.

However, on Thursday the pain that I was feeling was back to the level of pain that I felt several years ago when I had to drop running completely.  I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to recover from this and that I wouldn't be able to complete the marathon.

Thankfully, several days before this I had ordered a large foam roller and a special brace for the IT Band.  They came in the mail on Friday and I promptly started rolling myself out on the roller (can i say OUCH!?) and wearing the brace.

I had planned to run 17 miles this weekend but was very doubtful that I'd be able to do much after my experience Thursday.

But wonder of wonders, I ran 17 miles yesterday!!!

I took it very slow, so slow in fact that my poor mother started worrying and was in tears by the time I came home :(.  When she realized I had been gone for awhile she started calculating what time I should be back based on my half marathon time.  I also miscommunicated with her and she thought I was running 15 miles.  Oh man, I felt awful!  It took me about 3 hours and 15 minutes.  The first half was great, the second half... not so much.  I had to start taking stretch breaks at every light to stretch out my extremely tight IT band. 

I also didn't bring enough fuel with me.  I only brought 16oz of water and was needed more.  I did end up stopping at a gas station but next time I'll have to bring 3 water bottles instead of just two.  I also ran out of energy gummies. 

I'm proud of myself and amazed that my body is able to run 17 miles.  I know I can improve the time and I'm not worried in the least.  I wanted to be gentle with my knee, especially since I knew I probably shouldn't be running on it at all. 

Since my run:

Ice baths...

...My feelings exactly
Whoever imagined hell as a fiery dungeon was obviously never subjected to an ice bath ;)

Lots of icing

Lots of time spent with the heating pad :)

Several brisk walks and of course lots of stretching

And I'm recovering much more quickly than last week.

I'm extremely optimistic about some new stretches I found for the IT Band:

And I'm positive that if I saw that much improvement in my knee after half a day with the foam roller and the knee brace that I will definitely be able to continue training for the marathon :)

I use mine right above the knee cap

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sleep sleep sleep and more sleep

This week my body has been craving sleep and I've been giving in.  I find that there is a fine line between making excuses and listening to your body.  Maybe you don't want to workout because your body needs to recover. Maybe it really does need sleep.

Nap every afternoon.  Yeah, that's what I've been doing.  They haven't been that great because I have to force myself to wake up.  Then I've been having coffee afterwards to make my head less foggy so I can make it through the rest of the day.

This morning I ran stadiums with Rachel bright and early, and it actually was bright.  Love me some daylight savings time! 

Then I was off to work.  I was supposed to babysit today for several hours.  The strangest thing happened...

We were playing out in the garage and while the little girl I was watching played in her Barbie Jeep, I was trying to get rid of a bad case of the hiccups.  How do you get rid of hiccups?  I usually hold my breath for about a minute and that usually takes care of them.  Well, every time I tried to hold my breath I would hiccup about 10 seconds into the minute.  I was finally able to hold my breath for a full minute but then I started to feel extremely light headed.  I stopped holding my breath and thought to myself "I need to sit down, I feel like I'm going to faint"

I wish I could watch a video of what happened because I really don't know what happened.  I passed out for sure but I very vaguely remember slamming my head against the ground multiple times.  You know when you're just falling asleep and you start twitching?  It was sort of like that, except it was obviously much more painful.  At the very least I fell on the floor and knocked my head pretty good.  I came to with a very bad headache and a quickly growing bump.  I don't think I was out for more than a minute.  Anyways, all in all it was a very scary experience and one that I hope to never repeat, especially while babysitting.  Scary.

It scares me too because other than holding my breath I don't know what could have caused it.  I had plenty of water that morning and a large bowl of oatmeal and I had just had a large bowl of kashi go lean crunch which is pretty sugary. 

Since I've been home I've been taking it easy, mostly because my head hurts and I don't want a repeat experience.  But I do have some of this hanging over my head:

Now, don't get me wrong, I love yoga
But P90X yoga is hard for me to get through.  An hour and a half workout and 45 minutes or so of sun salutations?  Uh, no thanks.

I hope your day has been more productive than mine! 

Question:  I'm looking for some good yoga videos.  Any recommendations?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2010 Tom Walker Memorial Half Marathon

Hey everyone!
How have you all been?

I have been insanely busy!!! Between housesitting, babysitting, teaching 7 ballet classes, going to dance practices, going out of town for weddings, taking care of kids while their mom gives birth, running, training, etc etc I just have not been able to keep up with this blog.

Part of the problem is that I don't feel any kind of responsibility since I really have no following to speak of ;). (If you read my blog, please, be my friend!! I love friends! And I'm not ashamed to beg!)

Well you probably noticed the title of the blog post...

Yesterday I ran in my first race ever and let me tell you, I am HOOKED! So exhilarating!

If there's one thing I've learned while working out and exercising it is that something will always come up. There is almost always an excuse or a reason why you can't do it or why you're going to run slow today instead of fast or run two miles instead of four, or workout for 30 minutes instead of an hour. It's either a cramp or not enough sleep or being sore or that time of the month or too cold, too hot... the list goes on and on. If you really want to be active and get that exercise in and improve then you have to decide that no matter what you will get it done.  Well, to start things off on Thursday night right before I went to sleep a friend came to visit me.  You know, that one that visits every month.  Can I just say I started my period?  Can you say that on a blog?  Well I'm saying it.  You all know what I'm talking about anyways so why beat around the bush? 

Well, I don't know about you but usually my second and third days are just awful so I was immediately nervous about the race.  I researched some on Friday morning and I started to feel a lot less nervous.  Ifound out that being on your period shouldn't stop you at all and that running can actually improve symptoms.  On a side note, can I just say, if you have not tried them Playtex Sport are amazing, I highly recommend them.

I was also nervous about the forecast for Saturday.  We've been having unseasonably warm weather here in Florida for the past several weeks. It's been muggy and really gross and usually gets up above 85 in the afternoons. Well Florida decided to get really cold just two days before the race. I checked out the weather predictions for race day and the temperature was supposed to be around 35 degrees at the 8AM start time. Brrrr!  I haven't had many training runs in the cold at all.  You know that pain in your chest that you get when running in the cold?  I had that feeling for a 3 mile run and it was awful but I had never run longer than about 23 minutes with that awful feeling.  I was so worried that I'd get out on Saturday and my chest would hurt.  Most runners know that running is a mental sport.  I'm sure I could have run the 13.1 miles with pain in my chest but it sure would have been a lot easier mentally to run with that pain if I had at least run a 10 miles with that kind of a pain before.  I could tell myself, "you've run 10 miles before with this kind of pain in your chest, you can do 3 more miles, easy."

Well, as it turned out, I didn't have any pain at all.  As a matter of fact, it was one of the best if not the best run that I've ever had.  It was absolutely GORGEOUS!  It was freezing before and after the run but I while I was running I couldn't have asked for better weather.

I woke up around 4:45 and had a nice warm breakfast of pumpkin spice oatmeal, a large cup of water, a cup of coffee and about half a bottle of lifewater.  Yummy.  I did some core exercises before I left the house because that's always what I do when I wake up and I thought it would help warm me up some.  I left the house and went to pick up my sister and then we were off to the race location.  I'm glad that I chose a race that was so close to me for my first race.  The race was about 20 minutes from my house.  We got to the race at 7AM, an hour before the 8AM start time.  I wanted to have enough time to get the registration packet and warm up and stretch before the race.  I didn't really see anyone else getting out of their cars so we sat in the car with the heat on trying to stay warm as long as we possibly could.  It was still dark out and I wasn't sure where I was supposed to go.  We finally got out and used the restroom which was an actual restroom, not a port-a-potty. 

Then I headed over to what looked like lights in the distance.  It was pitch black out and it was really hard to see anything.  I guess we parked in the wrong area because there was a big field full of cars that was right next to the registration tables.  I picked up my packet and then we headed back to the car to warm up again.  Once it started to get light outside we hopped out of the car and headed over to the trail to stretch and warm up.  A lot of people were jogging up and down the track.  I don't know if other people get this way but I am so intimidated by other runners.  I feel like they all know what they're doing and I don't and if I'm not doing what they're doing then I must be doing something wrong.  Well, I don't usually jog around before my runs and I didn't want to jog.  I wanted to reserve all of my energy.  I did do a brisk walk up and down for about 10 minutes but I didn't jog at all.  I stretched some although not as much as I usually do.  I'm going to have to work on that for next time.

This is me demonstrating how cold it was outside.  My sister's reaction after snapping the photo "you're so cute"... uh, yeah Rach.  Don't ever let me pose like this again please.

Why yes, this is exactly what I look like when I run.  No wonder I think no one takes me seriously ;)

Turning on my watch for my pre-race warm up, gotta record all those burned calories ;)

Fuel belt, check!  I wasn't sure if I should use the fuel belt or not.  I knew they would have running stations along the way but I wasn't sure if I would have to stop and if it would slow me down.  As I saw, you just run by and grab the water/gatorade out of the volunteers hands.  I'm not sure if I'll wear it again for races.  It's not heavy but it is sort of awkward to take out the water bottles while you're running and then put them back in again and it's not like I needed more water than was provided at the water stations.  Something to ponder for the marathon.

My biggest supporter!  I think she was more excited about it than I was :).  Love you Rach!!!

See, I do sort of look like I know what I'm doing... sort of being the key words

                                             Can we just get going already so I can warm up?

I bought a pretty cool shirt about a week before the race.  I'm wearing it underneath the black underarmor long sleeve shirt.  It had a pocket in the back where you can put your ipod and a hole at the top of the pocket for your headphones to poke through.  I had Rachel rig up the ipod and the headphones and then realized as the race was just about to begin that the music was too loud and she was frantically trying to adjust my music for me.  I received several glances while during this commotion and the lady in front of me turned around and shushed me.  She probably didn't mean it offensively but it hurt my feelings a bit.  She got the sound fixed just in time for me to give her a cheesy thumbs up.  And we were off!

I really didn't know what to expect.  I had read countless websites and blogs and message boards and the one take home message I got was "don't start off too fast".  I had no idea where I should start the race.  I didn't want to start at the front cause then I'd probably start off too fast or I'd end up slowing everyone down.  I didn't want to start at the back either though cause then I'd have to be behind all those people.  I ended up starting somewhere in the middle.  I think next time I'll start closer to the front though because everyone was going wayyy slow.  I had read that everyone starts off fast.  Well, if that was fast then my slow is much faster than their slow.  I immediately started trying to get free of the pack, I knew there was no way I could run that whole race with all kinds of people crowding around me. 

I don't remember much of the beginning of the race except that there were a lot of people around me and I was trying to figure out how to get around them without wasting all my energy early and without being rude.  I started looking for mile signs pretty early on but couldn't seem to find them.  I was expecting little sign posts along the trail but at mile 4 I discovered that the numbers were taped on the ground. 

It was interesting running along and seeing people stop to take off jackets and hats, etc and then just leave them in the bushes.  I was so glad that I had forced myself to start off cold because I never felt the need to take anything off.

The people really started to thin out at this point and I was basically alone on the path.  I passed a man who was probably in his mid 30s and stayed in front of him for a bit.  He passed me by and then I passed him by again at the next water table and didn't see him until the second part of the race but I think we were pretty neck and neck for most of the race. 

Somewhere between mile 4 and mile 5 I started seeing the leaders on their way back to the finish.  It was fun to see them on their way back already but it gave me a false sense of being half way done.  I kept thinking to myself "hey, I'm almost to the half way point".  Little did I know I had about 30 minutes before I would hit that point.  I started counting the women who were on their way back.  Awards were being given to the 3 top finishers in each 5 year age group and I secretly hoped that I would win one of these awards. 

I don't remember what mile I was at but at some point I decided I wanted to have one of my energy gummies.  My fuel belt has a little zippered pocket in the back that I keep the gummies in.  Well, it took some time to unzip the bag with my gloved hands but I finally managed to unzip it and pull out the bag that the gummies were in.  Well, if I thought unzipping the pocket was difficult, it was nothing compared to trying to separate out one gummy.  I don't know what happened or when this happened but all my gummies had somehow ended up stuck together.  I guess I should have just put the whole lump in my mouth but I thought that I would be using the other ones later in the race.  I never did pull out another one, after that struggle to get the first one out I didn't want to repeat it.

I finally reached the half way mark.  I love all the volunteers who come out and cheer on the runners.  It is so encouraging.  As I rounded the orange cone that marked the half way point people started cheering for me and I pumped my fists in the air and said "yayyy, half way!"  Ouch!!  I realized I must have been gripping my fists so after that I made sure to shake out my arms every so often.

I wish I had a spiffy heart rate monitor (I do but it's not for running) that could let me know if I ran the second half faster than the first half and could break down my time for each mile.  Oh well.  I actually do know that I ran the second half faster but I can't remember how much faster anymore.  I just know that my goal was to finish in under 2 hours and at the half way mark I was really worried about making it back by my goal time.  I must have really picked up the pace after that. 

It was kind of fun seeing people still on their way to the half way point.  The best part though?  Passing people who had been ahead of me.  I'm not sure where all my energy came from but I was having the time of my life out there.  And then mile 8...

My tampon started to fall out!  I guess it wasn't really falling out out but I was starting to feel it.  Around this point that man who was running near me caught up with me, or I caught up with him... I don't really remember, I just know I thought "oh, it's you again."  He must have been struggling because he started making grunting noises like he was in pain.  I wanted to yell at him "well at least your tampon isn't falling out!"

I also started to have a lot of pain in my knees.  I just kept thinking to myself "awesome, you've been doing great through training and now you decide to be injured?  What the heck knees?"

But I didn't let them slow me down.  I ran through it.  Maybe that's why my knees still hate me right now.

The best part of the race (other than the finish of course) was around mile 10 when a deer leaped across the path.  That definitely put an extra pep in my step. 

I finally rounded a corner and could tell that there were a bunch of people gathered around so I figured I was approaching the finish line.  I started to run faster and continued to pick up my pace until I saw a white striped jacket... and then I started booking it.  I ran as fast as I could and tried to smile. 

I ran so fast I was just a blur!  Just kidding... bad picture :)

I wasn't sure exactly where to stop.  Not sure why looking back at this now.  Obviously you go until you run under the giant clock.  I kept thinking, "will they tell me when to stop?  Do I stop at the cones?  Do I keep running?"

I finished at 1:54:10!!! 

Beat my mock half marathon time by almost 5 minutes!  What an awesome feeling!

And then... I ended up coming in 3rd for my age group!!!

I came in 95 out of everyone (I think there were 174) not sure how many girls.  I am so pleased with my finishing time and I think I did wonderfully for my first race ever.

Since Saturday I've been eating, eating and eating.  Sleeping a lot.  Stretching and walking.  This week is my last week of P90X... and I've done nothing!  I need to get back on the ball.  Running again tomorrow, 15 or 17 miles on Saturday.  Back to the grind :)