Thursday, December 13, 2012

Plateaus, injuries, and other mishaps that get in the way of a good run

After finishing the 10K last month, I thought I was going to be in the clear and ready to hit the home stretch for the half in February. I was wrong. I seem to have hit a rough patch with the workouts. I've developed an IT band issue, which I never knew what one of those was before about four weeks ago. The basic gist of the issue is when my IT band is nice and loose, I can run without a problem. Now when it isn't, the runs range anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to total pain from my hip to my knee. I thought that switching out to new shoes would solve the problem, but now I have an IT band issue and have to break in new shoes on top of it. On top of this, my body has been fighting off whatever numerous bugs the kiddos I work with seem to keep passing along to me. It's been tough to find the motivation to run when your head is pounding. Although I did manage to PR my 6 mile distance run two weeks ago with cold. Unfortunately my 7 miler last weekend was a completely different story. It's never been in my personality to do things half way, and in the past month I've been unsuccessful in at least half of my long distance runs. When I add real world stress on top of this, it's been hard to get motivated to get back out there. I had the best of intentions this morning, but do you know how easy it is to reset your alarm clock while you're in a sleepy haze? So, how do you go about motivating yourself after a series of setbacks, and how do you keep running even when you aren't meeting your distance goals?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricanes, 5Ks, and Training

First off, I can't start without writing about how blessed I feel that my friends, family, and I all seem to have made it through the Frankenstorm (AKA Hurricane Sandy) in one piece.  Aside from loosing a bunch a food in my freezer and spending 36 hours without power, I really can't complain.  I've been watching stories of the total devastation and my heart breaks for those who are suffering right now.

On Saturday I did a 5K just before I went out to go fight the crowds and do my Sandy prep.  After my last showing, needless to say I was nervous.  In fact I was so nervous, I started my run keeper clock about 10 seconds before the start and then held the phone tightly in my hand for the duration of the race.

I'm finding that the start of the race is usually pretty crazy.  After the whole tripping people debacle from last time, I came into this race much more prepared.  Trainer Jeff even went through some "pre-race" strategy, so for once it didn't bother me when oodles of people seemed to be leaving me in the dust.  In fact, I even called out to one of the others in my running group to tell him that he was going to fast and continued to let him run on ahead.

I did the first two miles at a pretty slow pace, but strangely enough, I still managed to beat my time goals.  I even had to keep mentally telling myself to slow down.  I had some trouble at the end of mile two, but that was more because this group of girls were starting to get tired and taking up the entire path.  After waiting for one of them to drop off I took the opportunity to pass them.  I even started to pick up my pace a little once I hit the third mile, but I still didn't want to push it two hard, because I knew what was coming.

I don't know what it is about people who design race courses, but what kind of sadist freak would put a hill at the end of mile 3?  Well, the people who designed this race of course!   Yup, there was a hill at the end.  Don't even get me started about this, because I think it says a lot about the personality of people that run that we willingly sign up for this form of torture.  All I have to say is thank goodness for Trainer Jeff and thank goodness that I took the time to actually listen and process his advice before the race, because unlike most hill exercises I've done, I miraculously had the energy to get up that darn hill and pass people while doing it.  And as if that wasn't enough, once I hit the mile 3 marker I went into what I considered to be an all out sprint to get to that finish line.  Now I don't think I ran as though zombies were chasing me or anything, and in the scheme of things I probably wasn't running that fast.  Although if you take into consideration that in April I couldn't have run a tenth of a mile without falling over in an asthmatic coughing fit, this was pretty darn good.  All in all I finished in 33:47 which was a PR for me.  Yes, this was still the bottom third of all finishers, but I made progress for me.  That is all I'm looking for.

Now I officially feel like a real runner.  I can't say that I'm a hard core runner yet.  I scoffed at someone this week for suggesting that "us runners train in all sorts of weather conditions" when discussing how I would be planning my workouts around Hurricane Sandy.  Yes, I can say I like running, but I do not like it enough to go get blown around in 60 mph winds during a torrential downpour.  Alas I don't think I'll ever become crazy enough to like anything that much.  Though I should probably be careful, if anyone would have told me a year ago that I would run this much, I would have called them crazy.

Tomorrow I'll be getting back in the swing and preparing for the Trenton 10k.  I have eight more days to go.  On the one hand, I'm nervous, because I've never run six miles without stopping before.  Of courseI think there's not so much to be nervous about, because I know I can make it at least half way.  Once you get far you have no choice but to just keep going.

On that note, I wish you all the best! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You know you're a runner when...

So far I've spent most of my training not considering myself to be a "real runner". Mostly I thought real runners are the people who can run a less than eight minute mile all the while maintaining perfect posture and breathing, and still look great for those finish line shots the photographer takes. I saw my finish line photos for the last 5K, and they were not pretty. I look a little sick and bit like I'm about to fall over.  I won't post them.  In fact, I hope they're eventually destroyed.

So, I've been wondering when I would get to the point I really felt like a runner.  I think that may have finally happened this morning. 

I was running in town today, and hoping to get a little street/sidewalk running and some hills to train up for the Trenton 10K.  Things were going great, and my splits were almost about where Trainer Jeff told me to be.  I even felt pretty good.  Of course that was until I tripped on the sidewalk at 2.1 miles.  True to form, I didn't just trip, I bit it and took a tumble.  We're talking bruises, blood, and total road rash going on.  (I didn't take a picture, but believe me, it's not pretty) For a split second, I thought WTF do I do now before I got back up and just started running again.  Let me just clarify that had anything actually been seriously injured I probably would have stopped.  But I ran the rest of the third mile back home before I stopped to look at my knee and my hand.  The funny thing is that today was my best 3rd mile on a nonstop run ever.  Go figure!

So, I've managed to yet again display my outstanding clumsiness.  I hang my head in shame again for that.  But I've decided that getting up and continuing the run makes me officially a "real runner" now!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Clumsy Meet 5K

I ran my 2nd 5K last weekend. Unfortunately, I've been a bit overly frugal and have not bought many new items to compensate for the fact that there is now 30lbs less of me. So this means that I now have the super annoying problem that hardly any of my clothes fit. (I know, you are yelling at your computer that there are real people with real problems) I got up Sunday morning and was ready to go with some pants that were not overly big, threw my iphone with runkeeper in my pocket, and left the finish line determined to maintain proper form and stay tall and tight throughout the race. Well, not even a minute into the race my phone flies out of said pocket, people crash into me, I kick the phone, and conk hat brims with the one nice lady who stopped to try to help me. After hanging my head in shame and apologizing profusely to all around me, I managed to continue relatively unscathed, but it was a little difficult to get my head into the game after that. I managed to finish in 35:57 in the end which is a little over 6 minutes better than my last time, but it's still not quite where I wanted to be at this point in the training. I've also ditched the Gallorunning which has helped the training times a bit, but hills are still pretty brutal. Luckily I have some time to train before my next race on October 27th to get more comfortable. I'm just nervous, because somehow I was convinced that it would be a good idea to sign up for a race called the Winter Wonder Run which is basically a run through the woods. I'm really hoping my clumsy self makes it out of the woods alive. Don't worry, I'll have my iphone just in case. I'll just get an arm band for it to prevent any further running disasters.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dead legs, Plateaus, and Cramps, oh my!

It's official. I think I've hit my first plateau. I haven't been a runner for very long to know for sure, but I'm heading into week 3 of seeing no progress in times, capability, etc. I think that means I'm at a plateau. Granted, I probably should take into account that last week was shot and I didn't really focus on the training like I was supposed to. But I noticed before the break that just before the 2 mile point, I start to fall apart. That's when I start to get the dead legs and the cramps. I haven't quit out of a workout yet. It's one advantage to having OCD tendencies and an intense need to finish things once I start them. Although I must admit that having Jeff Galloway counting down in my earbuds does get annoying in those last 20 minutes of the workout. I haven't cursed him out yet... At least not outloud. So, until I see some progress I'll be out there dead legs, cramps and all. Hopefully, I'll have better news to report on Sunday when I conquer my first 5.3 mile run. Fingers are crossed that the weather holds out, because I'm heading outdoors for this one. The treadmill is making me a little bonkers.