Sunday, January 31, 2016

Another Recovery Week (WW # 26)

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap!

This linkup is hosted by yours truly and my good friend Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlinThe purpose of this link is to connect with and support other active women.  You can summarize your whole week or just a small portion of it.  It's up to you!  Race recaps are also encouraged!   {See complete rules}
Please challenge yourself to come back here later in the week and interact with other womenWe want Wednesday linkers to have the same consideration as Sunday linkers. It's a wonderful way to make new connections! Remember, the link now opens at 5 p.m. CT.   

It's been a very busy week but one without much physical activity, just a couple of short runs.  Along that line, I'm keeping this post short.  I am excited to read what everybody else has been doing, though. I like to live vicariously through you!

Although better, I'm still struggling with a cranky IT band since running the marathon. Squats?  A-Okay!  Walking?  A breeze!  Stairs?  No problem!   Mile 2.2 during a run?  Not good.  In fact, it only hurts after reaching about 20 minutes in a run.  I wish the pain would have the decency to hurt all the time and not tease me.

I also discovered that if I run uphill, I have no pain -- even after 20 minutes.  I'm seriously thinking of doing hill repeats on every run until I get the problem solved.  And I will get it solved.  Pass The Tartar Sauce!  (If you missed my post on Optimism you may not have heard about my new mantra!). 

Saturday and Sunday were spent in all day training sessions for my RRCA Coaching CertificationA huge amount of information gets covered in two 9-hour classes and I tried to be a sponge and absorb it all.  The instructor was very entertaining which made it enjoyable and much easier to pay attention.  The last step in the process is to pass the test, which I plan to take as soon as possible.

And that's a wrap!

Tell me about your week!  
Did anyone race this weekend? 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Runfessions (January)

I Runfess...I had a few too many post marathon treats!

 I'm very glad I can't buy these locally.

Why does everything taste better with Mickey on it?

I Runfess...I had a momentary lapse in judgement!

What was I thinking?
Debating over whether I should buy these, 
these pants spoke to me.  Guess what they said?

I Runfess...I ran with my running pants on inside out yesterday.  Hi Neighbors!

I Runfess...I was not happy with news at the doctor's office!

At my annual check up this week, I weighed in at the the heaviest I've been in probably eight years!  Darn you coconut patties!  Darn you shortbread rounds! But this is so typical of me.  I get through the holidays unscathed and then tend to eat All.The.Things!  I've got to get a grip.

What would you like to Runfess?

I'm linking up with Marcia today from Marcia's Healthy Slice
Please stop by and join in with your Runfessions!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Optimism During Injury

As a recently injured runner, the word Optimism certainly speaks volumes.  If you've ever been in the injury boat, I'm sure you understand.

When dealing with an injury, it is vital to have Optimism.  Otherwise pessimism may cause you to ball up on the coach, cover yourself with a  blanket and eat Cheetos and Peanut M&Ms for three months {sorry M&Ms, I still love you}.  As tempting as this may seem, we don't reach goals this way.  Nothing good comes out of it.

First and foremost, you've got to know what you are dealing with.  Don't diagnose yourself using the internet.  Don't go for weeks or months thinking you can fix yourself.  Go to a real doctor (or two, maybe three) and get evaluated and tested.  Discuss your options.  After a much needed and recommended therapeutic pity party, optimistically make a get well plan.  And then follow it!   If you've been prescribed rehab, physical therapy exercises, stretching, immobilization, injections (uh huh!), orthotics, pads, whatever -- DO IT.  Even if it doesn't end up helping, you need to try.

Secondly, surround yourself with Optimistic people.  Yes, this includes the aforementioned doctor (or perhaps doctor #3).  The last thing you need to hear is that you will never run again.  {Ahem, I'm afraid you don't know me very well!}  Lean on your family.  Reach out to your active friends, your blogger buddies.  They will provide a tremendous amount of support!  If you need to whine or vent, they will gladly listen!  They may have already been in the exact same boat and can give you valuable advice.

Thirdly, do what you can.  If you can't run, cycle.  If you can't cycle, try the elliptical.  If that isn't possible, focus on strength training.  Or, try swimming!  And I'll say it one more time...POOL RUN.  The point is do what you can do.  Measure it and challenge yourself to do more each week.  Doing something (heck anything) will definitely help you maintain an Optimistic attitude.  And remember, time passes and bodies heal.  Do you want to still be curled up on the couch? 

May I pass you the tartar sauce?

I'm linking up with Deb @ Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Where Are My Pants?

Today I'm linking up with the awesome ladies from Tuesdays on the Run!

Today's topic is Oldies But Goodies: Race Gear You Would Buy Again.

When I started training for my first half marathon, I realized my ratty gym shorts were not going to cut it in the cool fall air.  I went to Dick's (still my favorite place to shop) and bought these Nike Dri Fit Capris.  Being fairly new to the running apparel scene, I did have a bit of a sticker shock.  $60?  Who would pay $60 for a scrap of material?  Um, that would be me!

I wore these religiously while training.  I raced in them at my first half marathon...and the next...and the next.  They are still my go-to pants.  I occasionally lose them for a while because they've been stuffed in a travel bag, just in case I needed to change before a race.   And then I panic...Where are my pants?  They've been worn alone (uh...with a top!), under shorts (for extra pockets), and under skirts -- well, just because.  You've got to have a pop of color!

The $60 cost was obviously an excellent investment.  Years later, they are still as comfortable and look as good as the day they were purchased.  They have only graced the inside of the clothes dryer a few unfortunate times in their life. 
Due to their age, occasionally I think "I should buy new black capris".  But, that is quickly replaced with "Why would I do that?"  At this point, I want to see how long they will last!  And yes, they were absolutely tucked inside my recent Disney suitcase...just in case.
Where are your pants?
Thanks to our wonderful hosts:

 Ericka @ MCM Mama Runs,


Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Look Back (WW # 25)

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap!

This linkup is hosted by yours truly and my good friend Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlinThe purpose of this link is to connect with and support other active women.  You can summarize your whole week or just a small portion of it.  It's up to you!  Race recaps are also encouraged!   {See complete rules} 

A bit of housekeeping...Please challenge yourself to come back to this link later in the week and interact with more active womenWe want to make sure Wednesday linkers have the same consideration as Sunday linkers.  It's a wonderful way to make new connections!  Also, because many of you enjoy linking on Sunday evenings, we are opening the link an hour earlier at 5 p.m. CT.    

On to my wrap...

If you think about it, I spent 6 months training for my first marathon.   In late June, I began training for Chicago.   Since I didn't share my training plan, I thought I'd show you that I did indeed follow oneThis is week # 9 of the plan I used (based on Hal Higdon's Novice 2):

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total

9 Plan Rest 4 m run 7 m pace 4 m run Rest Cross Half M   28
ME Rest 7 pace Rest 4 5 Ski 12   28
Pace: 9:21 10:14 9:42 10:24

You may know I developed a metatarsal stress fracture two weeks before that race. After receiving my diagnosis, I immediately went to work to save my Disney Marathon registration which was only 14 weeks away.  I had to do something for my sanity...something measurable. This was what week # 6 of 14 of my alternate training plan looked like:

6 21 M 14.5 M 40 M 121 Min
What:BikeBikeBikePool Run

It was very important to monitor my heart rate.  I had never done much of this, but it was the only way to know if I was getting a quality workout.  I needed time in both harder (80-90% max HR) and moderate (70-80% max HR) zones.  I tackled alternate training with a vengeance.  I was a gal on a mission!   It's one of the most difficult things I've undertaken and I truly appreciate all of the support you gave me right here on the Weekly Wrap!

Several of you have asked me about pool running.  Marcia from Marcia's Healthy Slice first suggested it to me and sent me THIS LINK.  It will answer any question you may have.  I found it helpful to really drive my arms through the water to keep my heart rate up.  I clipped my iPod Shuffle to my headband and wound the cord around my ponytail in order to have music.  I could not have done it without music!   I'm afraid I was known as the crazy lady in the pool.  Um...who cares?

Pool running is no joke!  The resistance of the water will provide a workout like you may never have experienced.  The first few sessions wiped me out.  My lungs were so sore.  I increased pool running by 10-15 minutes each week beginning at 60 minutes and peaking at 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Yes, 2 hours and 45 minutes non-stop.

The traveling HRM has made it's way home to Karen!  Thanks again!

I also increased the mileage of my long outdoor weekend bike ride by roughly 10% beginning with 20 miles and peaking at 60 miles (4 hours and 20 minutes).    I really enjoyed these rides and plan to continue cycling.  Note with my alternate plan I had two long efforts each week on back to back days.  That required an extra day of rest! 

My peak on the bike.  I forgot to switch my Garmin from pace to speed!

It wasn't until 4 weeks before Disney that I was able to run.  I had no choice but to ramp up quickly.  My long runs for those weeks were 7, 12, 15, and 9.  I stopped pool running cold turkey (Hallelujah!) but tapered off the bike distance as you would prior to a marathon.  I only did a short run taper.  {Please note: I do not recommend any of this for anybody out there!}

I played with fire by opting to run the Disney Marathon.  I never perceived hitting "the wall" and I believe that is testament to my vengeful alternate training.  My endurance was there, no doubt.  When my IT band hurt during the last few miles, I was relieved to have a "normal" problem and nothing related to my foot.  It caused me to slow, but I felt I still had stamina. 

I've mentioned before what a poor sleeper I am.  I do not set an alarm because if I did, I would worry about it all night.  On the rare occasion I oversleep, I assume my body needed sleep more than a workout and I don't feel guilty.  For the past 10 days, I've gloriously overslept.  It's definitely what my body needed. 

I've tried running twice since the marathon and both times found my knee (ITB) was not ready.  Not only did I demand a lot out of it after 10 week of no running and then 4 weeks of a quick increase, but I must remember I also walked the Disney parks for a few days after the race. When I was sidelined with my foot injury, I did not run or walkI'm giving my body the TLC and rest it deserves and have purposefully taken it easy. 

What I Did This Week:

Thursday Evening -- 60 minutes bike trainer.  Avg HR = 148

Sunday Morning -- 60 minutes bike trainer.  Avg HR = 138

During these sessions, I listened to the podcast Mile After Mile created by our own Weekly Wrap linker Amy Stone (Amy Says So).  You need to check this out.  I found it very entertaining!  You may just get a little misty eyed too.  It's definitely what I'll be doing on future bike trainer sessions.

I finalized my Red Cross CPR/AED/First Aid certification Sunday afternoon.  I spent a few days completing the online portion, which has to be done first.  It was very in depth and time consuming.  But, I enjoyed it thoroughly and was impressed by their simulation exercises.   The hands on skill testing was no cake walk either.  It was pretty intense and I'm glad to have that behind me. 

All of this is in preparation for my upcoming RRCA Coaching Certification.  I am very excited about this!   I've been on their list for quite a while waiting for this course to be offered nearby. Luckily, I held out long enough for it to come to my city.   I'll soon be Coach HoHo.  { CoHo ? }

And that's a wrap!

Have you ever done alternate training?

Do you like listening to podcasts?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Quality vs. Quantity

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  {Deb are you inside my head?}

In years past, I've run a lot of races.  I have a boat load wee bit of an obsessive nature and I'm always intrigued by how many times I can do something.  May I present the evidence of my crazy choice to run 17 half marathons in the year 2014 alone?  I went on to rack up 45 total races that year too.  It's just the same for seeing how long I can do something.  Have you ever heard of anyone else pool running for 2 hours and 45 minutes straight?  Yes, more evidence.

I certainly can't say that Quantity has been the best approach.  Sure, I've absolutely had a lot of fun and I love the half marathon distance.  But, I admit I've found myself participating in races just to increase a number.  I wonder though, when will the number be big enough?  Will it ever be?

For 2016,  I want to try more of a Quality approach.  I don't have anything on my schedule until mid March, at least not yet.  There's no need to race every weekend {repeat often}.  My recent injury reminded me I enjoy getting up at a normal time on weekend mornings and leisurely enjoying my coffee instead of racing to a race.
Ah, but I do love those numbers.  Could it just be the winters blues talking this Quality nonsense?   When everything is sun shiny bright and the birds begin to sing, will I change my mind?  Maybe.  We'll see. 

Any number addicts out there?

I'm linking up with Deb @ Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Expo Finds

Today I'm linking up with the wonderful ladies from
Tuesdays on the Run where the topic is race expo finds.

I'm not a fan of shopping.  Actually, I kind of loathe it.  So when I attend an expo, I'm usually looking for something I can't find locally or order easily.  I'm often on a quick hunt for unusual items or race mementos.  Admittedly, sometimes I have the occasional (not so smart) impulse buy.

This is my favorite expo purchase ever. 
Now I want a 26.2!

This dress was the worst expo purchase ever!
It was an obvious impulse buy.
What was I thinking?

This was my very first expo purchase at my 2nd half marathon.
Can you believe I bought nothing at my 1st half marathon?

This is my latest expo purchase.
I wanted a memento of my first marathon.

What is your favorite expo item?  The least favorite?

Thanks to our wonderful hosts:

Patty @ My no-guilt life!
Marcia @ Marcia's Healthy Slice
 Ericka @ MCM Mama Runs,

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Disney - My First Marathon (WW # 24)


Welcome to the Weekly Wrap! 

This linkup is hosted by yours truly and my good friend Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.  The purpose is to connect with and support other active women.  We want to hear about your adventures. You can summarize your whole week or just a small portion of it.  It's up to you!  Race recaps are also encouraged!   {See complete rules}


The Alternate Post Titles:

Now Will I Call Myself A Runner?

Biofreeze:  My New Best Friend
At Least I'm Not Pool Running
Look Ma!  No Cramps! 
Foot, What Foot?
How Many Times Do I Gotta Go 'Round France?

The Expo:

After an extremely late arrival on Friday night with a few snafus, I headed to the expo Saturday morning.  The road in front of our hotel was still closed due to the half marathon.  I won't go into the tedious details, but I was sadly misdirected by hotel staff on where to catch the expo bus. When I finally got to the expo -- and standing in the bib pickup line no less -- I realized I stupidly forgot my driver's license.  After begging to three different race officials I made the time consuming journey back to the hotel, bib-less.  PoPo had been in the parks with the kids and met me for lunch.  After lunch, we enjoyed visiting with Tricia and her husband for a short while.  PoPo sweetly returned to the expo with me later in the afternoon.  I think he was worried about my sanity at this point.

My second trip to the expo.

The second visit to the expo was not crowded at all.  I leisurely browsed around and picked up a Disney car magnet.  I wanted a sticker so it couldn't be stolen.  They didn't have any.   I ate the biggest pretzel I'd ever seen, complete with that fake orange cheese, before we headed to Epcot to meet up with the kids.  It was a very long day with over 17,000 steps.  When we called it a night around 9 pm, I felt like nothing had gone right: hydration, rest, fueling, carbo-loading, foam rolling, stretching -- nothing.  A good sign!!

The Start:

After sleeping 4 hours and not needing that 3 a.m. alarm, I was raring to go.  I ate a small breakfast bar and yogurt and took my banana with me for later.  I took time to foam roll a few minutes but gave myself plenty of leeway to make the 4 a.m. transportation deadline.  I stuffed my skirt pockets with 5 peanut butter GU and 7 SaltStick capsules.  Although I usually do not run with my phone, I carried it in my RooSport pocket in case of a foot emergency.  I mixed a Gatorade Endurance drink and sipped it en route.  Neither monorail was extremely crowded and I thankfully had no transportation issues.

The weather, which is usually my biggest concern, was not ideal -- far, far from it.  Oddly, I could have cared less.  I was worried enough about my foot that an incredibly steamy 70 degrees with 100% humidity did not phase me.  I briefly had the thought "It's just a typical Dixie August morning".  I waited a few minutes on Tricia in the staging area and ate my banana.  I continued to sip on my Gatorade.  Yep, it was muggy.   

I got in big trouble with Green Army Man for saluting with my left hand!
If I had saluted correctly, I would have knocked Tricia to the ground!

When Tricia arrived, we began the long trek to the starting corrals.  It was so nice to have someone by my side before a big race for a change!  We walked nearly 5,000 steps before the race started.  That's all the warming up I needed.  After a porta-potty stop in the corral area, it was race time!  It felt surreal to be lining up 15 weeks after a stress fracture!  I was not nervous, just curious how long I could go before the wheels fell off.

The last pic before heading into our corrals.

The Early Miles:

And we're off!  I'm always impressed that every corral gets the same fireworks send off.  It took a few miles for the crowd to thin.  I immediately noticed a change from my prior Disney races.  Instead of the characters just standing out there for you to take pictures with, they now had scenes with props behind them.  I was so darned impressed by these scenes, I almost stopped at some.  Because of the excessive moisture in the air, I quickly realized I forgot to lube the back of my upper arms (#oldladyproblems).  At the second medical tent, I stopped for a glob of Vaseline.  Yes, much better!

I kept my watch on the heart rate screen and ran easy.  La dee dah, la dee dah.  I walked through each water stop and this equated to over an 11:00 pace, but I couldn't be concerned with that.  It was very warm and sticky and I religiously took a salt capsule every 4 miles or so.  I promised myself I wouldn't speed up until I passed my hotel just after mile 7.  I continued to run easy and my foot felt GREAT.  I couldn't believe it. 

The First Tears:

The first tears made their appearance when we made the sharp turn onto Main Street.  Cinderella's Castle in all it's frosted sparkling glory was simply spectacular and I got that "I made it happen" goose-bumpy feeling.  The tears continued as we turned into Tomorrowland with its Astro Orbiter shining against the predawn sky.  I loved its new colors.  I heard the cars on the racetrack and thought "Who would stop and ride that?"  I ran under the snow falling from the balcony of Cinderella's Castle and thought that was very cool.

I was ecstatic to spot one of my kids at our hotel.
After passing by, I went back for a high five.

The Middle Miles:

After exiting Magic Kingdom and passing our hotel, I sped up just slightly.  I gave Tricia a mental shout-out at the mile 7 marker and hoped she was having a good race.  As a whole, miles 7-18 were a wee bit faster.  After sunrise, the breeze picked up and it felt easier to breathe.  My left hamstring began feeling tight and I slathered Biofreeze on it at the next medical tent.  {Wow!  Why haven't I ever used this stuff?}  I noticed a blind runner and was motivated and impressed by him and his guide.  I thought it took even more courage to wear Vibrams since he could not see where to step.  There was a little lull in entertainment until we got to Animal Kingdom and I just tried to settle into my new pace.  There were still several characters stops to enjoy.  You can always count on those.

Around mile 10, I felt my left IT band pulling.  I immediately shortened and widened my stride and it thankfully went away.  At the mile 12 water stop and medical tent, I stopped for Tylenol (just as a precaution -- still worried about my foot) and walked while I ate a banana.  My stomach was growling even though I was eating GU as scheduled.  A banana never tasted so good.

They had quite a few animals for you to visit with as we approached Animal Kingdom.  The donkey in his race attire was very cute.  The only time I felt crowded was inside this park.  The paths are somewhat narrow and there were construction barriers along one side.  I did not hear Expedition Everest running but I didn't stop to check it out either.  I've heard runners do stop and ride, but the park was not open yet.  At the halfway point, I excitedly realized I might run a sub 5:00 (spoiler--I didn't).   But I left Animal Kingdom happily singing Tennessee Whiskey, which helped me begin the second half with great excitement and motivation.

Somewhere around mile 15, it completely floored me that this race was not the struggle I thought it would be and once again I became teary.   It was hard!  Heck yes it was!  But typical me had assumed a worst case scenario...and it wasn't.  I was amazed I had not even had a cramp.  I took comfort in the fact that if something went wrong now, I was far enough in that I could definitely finish.

Thank you Karen!  You ran it with me in spirit!

There wasn't much distraction in this area so I began dedicating miles to people.  I ran for Ruth Mary -- the lady who walks her dog daily in the park even though she has a host of serious medical problems and can barely move.  She is always so happy to see me and very interested in my running.  I ran for my sister whose love of running is probably greater than mine, but has been plagued by knee problems for several years.  I ran miles for my incredibly tolerant family and for a brother who died suddenly with a horrific form of cancer.  I ran for all of you amazing Sole Sisters who supported me through this crazy journey.  And by golly, I even ran a mile in honor of good ol' pool running.  I could even smell the chlorine!

The Later Miles:

By the time we entered ESPN Wide World of Sports, I was tiring.  My left IT band had started pulling again around mile 19.  I stopped (not really--just long enough for one pump) at almost every medical tent to slather on more Biofreeze.  We spent a lot of time winding around the campus which I was not too happy about after being there twice the day before.  They allowed us to run on the track and out around the baseball field, home of the Braves Spring Training Camp.  They called out our names over the PA system which was a nice touch.  I walked to eat another banana.  Yep, still starving.  My iPod landed on Boogie Shoes and I got teary again!  We had sang and danced to our own version of Wookiee Shoes during Christmas and it brought back a great memory.  It gave me a needed boost for a few miles.

The Sobbing:

After finally leaving WWS, the IT band started it's full on agonizing screaming -- looking at my Garmin I'm guessing in mile 22.  I pushed on.  Slower.  I tried a few mantras.  "At Least I'm Not Pool Running" and "I'm Tough" seemed to help. We ran through Hollywood Studios where they were giving out Dove chocolate.  Even as a chocolate lover, I had the hardest time choking that down!  We didn't spend a lot of time here and quickly exited to the Boardwalk area.  And that's where it started.  I realized how close I was to finishing.  Holy cow!  My crazy alternate marathon training had worked!  I was upright, healthy (just a stupid, yet comfortingly normal, IT band issue) and the tears flowed freely.  I sobbed.  Loudly.  I didn't care what the crowd lined up on either side thought about it.  I knew my family was waiting at the finish and I cried even louder. 

The Finish:

The last couple of miles were the hardest thing I've ever done.  The thought of PoPo and the kids waiting at the finish propelled me forward.  I swore they were making us run around Epcot's World Showcase twice -- "How many times do I have to go by France?"  When the pain was unbearable, I allowed myself to walk only a bare minimum of steps and then I'd immediately run again.  The great thing about my IT pain is as soon as I stop running, it stops hurting!  I was able to get a little relief.

Hey there, PoPo and kids!  I DID IT!

I high-fived Donald -- the pantless duck -- and crossed the finish line with my arms high in the air and with a huge smile on my face.    My official time was 5:07 plus change.  Apparently I was having so much fun, I decided to tack on an extra .55 miles (per Garmin) which allowed the sub 5 to slip away.  Next time!   I was 157 out of 765 in my age group -- not too shabby being in the top 20% after suffering through 10 weeks of no running. 

My family had a mega Starbucks iced white chocolate mocha waiting for me.   Do they know me, or what?  My tears had all been spilled out on the course so I had none at the finish.  I enjoyed every single step, even the painful ones.  And yes, I will absolutely do another...but the conventional way next time.   Oh, and my foot?  15 weeks from the date of injury, I completely-utterly-totally forgot about my foot.  What stress fracture?  What neuroma?  What bliss!


After inhaling a crab-cake sandwich and fries at our hotel, we hit Hollywood Studios where I rode my favorite ride Tower of Terror multiple times.  Later than evening we met Tricia and her husband for a down-home country buffet dinner.  We had great fun together!  I think they were shocked to see how much my kids (and me and PoPo) can pack away!  I'm so glad we were able to spend some time with them.  I'm extremely proud of Tricia for finishing when she had her own struggles.  Most importantly, she went on this crazy journey with me and I will be forever grateful!

We stayed a few more days at Disney.  My total four day Disney step count was 126,404.  We had loads of fun with our youngest two kids, who will soon fly from the nest.  Memories like these are priceless as was an incredible surprise private visit with Darth Vader!   So cool.  And he was scary!

Oh, and ROLL TIDE too!  What an awesome game and National Championship win for Alabama.

And that's a wrap!  (Thanks for staying with my through I know what was a very lengthy post!)

Any Disney fanatics out there?

Where would your dream race be?