Aaaannnd… I’m sick.

As if I wasn’t struggling enough with this training week, and on repeat already, I’ve come down with a chest cold. The long run tomorrow, it AIN’T happenin’.

 

Anna-Morning-Hair-Frozen.jpg

Princess Anna Gets It

If there is one thing I learned last year while I was broken and injured it’s that I have got to take it slow, be kind to my body, and not to push. I learned that I can say no, and that everything won’t fall apart if I’m not there. Sometimes, taking care of myself first really is the best thing to do.

That being said – I think I’ve crossed some sort of psychological barrier.  As annoyed as I am to have a summer chest cold and probably have to miss the 4th of July picnic on Sunday, I’m waaaay more upset I’m going to miss my long run tomorrow.  Never in my life have I been upset about having to miss something as difficult as my long runs. It’s been 4 months of Saturdays at the gym pounding it out on the treadmill, and yes, I am actually a little upset that I don’t get to go do it. This is absolutely some sort of strange runner milestone here.

What I don’t want to happen though is to set off a fibro flare, or have this cold turn into pneumonia.  I was hospitalized for that last year, and I can totally do without it this year. The only choice I have is to stay home, drink lots of tea, and get some rest.  

Rant: Lemme See Ya Sweaty

Someone pointed out to me the other day (based on workout pictures I share) that I don’t sweat.  Ummm…. hello!  I totally sweat!  That being said – I hate being sweaty – there are few things that annoy me as much as that bead of sweat that somehow is always falling off of my nose.  Ugh!

Is this sweaty enough?

How anyone could think that I don’t sweat (or  insinuate that I’m not working out hard enough because the pictures I post are not all sweaty) is just plain wrong.  What’s the deal then?  Why aren’t my pictures all sweaty?  why do I look the same both before and after a workout?

Seriously people – do I REALLY have to be talking about this?

  1. I don’t wear make-up when I workout, so there is none to slide off of my face.  Hence – same look both before and after my workout.  I have considered wearing make-up so that I would be more photogenic, but it slides right off of my face… because I sweat!
  2. I wear a Sweaty Band Headband – Sweaty Bands are WONDERFUL, and sop up more head sweat than you can imagine.  These headbands absolutely one of my favorite purchases since I started working out.  They have majorly cut down the amount of sweat rolling down my brow.  I currently have two sweaty bands, but my collection will absolutely be growing.
  3. I use a REI Co-op Multi Towel when I’m on the treadmill to wipe my face during, and just after a workout.  This generally means no glistening beads of sweat for post-run pictures.
  4. Have you ever really tried to take pictures with your phone, exhausted, and  in poor lighting, of sweat?  It takes some serious effort to get a good sweaty picture.

So in conclusion – YES! I sweat. I sweat a lot.  I don’t enjoy it, so I wipe it away.

Mystery solved. 

 

I Did Everything Wrong, Then Ran 6 Miles

Yesterday I did a 6 mile long run, and it sucked every step of the way.  I went in with a positive attitude, but that faded pretty quickly as I never found my groove.  I was tired, hungry, in pain, and my pace was an entire minute slower than I expected to be.  Looking back on  it today I had clearly made some serious mistakes going into it.  However – I think that there are some great take-aways that I can use to lessen the chance of some things going wrong in the future.

Here are my thoughts as I continue this adventure in completing a half marathon.

1. Six miles is a serious distance.  I can usually do 5.5 without an issue, but 6 really deserves respect.  Until I’m able to up my mileage more, I need to make sure I really do things right on my long runs.  This isn’t a distance I can just knock out in a blink.   It is the first distance on my training plan that I really struggle with, and even stepping up as slowly as I am it hasn’t been easy.  It was however easier to recover from than when I did 6 last week.  I’ll take my wins where I can get them.

2. Get enough sleep the night before.  I only had about 6 hours of sleep on Friday night, it was not enough for me to run on.  Knowing this alters my schedule for the February racecation, but I’m glad to know now that I need to get a least 8 hours.

3. Eat Breakfast first!  To be fair, I did eat.  I had a nectarine and a honey stinger waffle – it was not enough.  I need to be sure I eat either a bagel with peanut butter, or grab sous vide egg bites and a croissant from Starbucks.  Both of these light meals have proven good pre-run food for me.  I need to stick with what is working.

4. Make sure your shoes are tied well, and the fit is good.  I felt like my feet were flopping around in my shoes for the first 3 miles.  I retied them and things got a bit better, I need to be more aware of how my feet feel before I get started.

5. Compression gear is important for me.  My back was so tight and I just could not get my hips to loosen up.  Because of my size and shape I really need to make sure I’m wearing compression shorts on my long days. It holds everything in place so that the jiggle doesn’t stress out my back and hips.  I know this, I was being cranky and didn’t wear compression because of #6.  I’ve been injured before because I didn’t wear compression wear, I need to smarten up and just do it no matter how much of a pain it may be.

6. Running while menstruating sucks.  There are several biological factors that change throughout a woman’s cycle, check out this article for details. TMI I’m sure, but things were significantly more difficult because I had my period.  I am seriously thinking of going on some sort of birth control so that I don’t have this problem for the half marathon.

I’m going to repeat this training week. I don’t feel like I should move up my distance until I can get a good run in at 6 miles.  I really REALLY want to do 6 miles  in under 2 hours.   Actually, I want to be able to do 6.2 in under 2 hours and I think that is my next mini-goal.

6 Mantras I Use While Running

Mind monsters can really get in the way of a good training day.  That’s why we all need to have some good techniques ready to chase them away and keep us running,

Mantras are a short phase of words or sounds repeated over and over that aid concentration.   Literally mantra means ‘a thought behind an action,’  making this meditation tool a superb way to refocus your mind and direct your body the way you want it to go.  Mantras can help battle all sorts of doubts that are apt to pop up during your training routines.

These are 6 of the mantras I use to keep myself moving forward.

1)  No Pain, No Puking, No Dying – This is a quote I heard Jeff Galloway say in a training video.  It probably resonates with me so much because there are many times when I’m training that I feel on the verge of all of these.  This mantra reminds me to slow down and take it easy for a bit when I need to.  It’s more important to slow down a little bit than to wind up in a heap at the side of the road.

2)  Relax your shoulders, arms move, legs move –  I tense up my shoulders and my body, but I know that it’s important to stay loose.  I have to remind myself frequently to relax my body and keep my arms pumping so my legs don’t stop.

nopain-nopuking-nodying

3)  When your legs get tired, run with your heart  – I saw this on a sign in a YouTube video of a past Princess Half Marathon and loved it. It reminds me that it’s not all about body, but about my will to complete a goal.  There are many times I feel like my legs can’t move forward any more, but I’ve got lots of heart.

4)  Run the mile you’re in – Once a mile is done, it doesn’t matter what my pace was, and it doesn’t matter how far I have yet to go.  Looking at the big picture can really screw with my mind, but if I focus on one mile at a time I’m golden.

run-with-your-heart

5)  Trust your plan – I’ve got a good training plan, it’s working so far and I can see my progress each and every week.  When I have moments that I’m never going to be able to complete a half marathon I remind myself that I have to trust my plan and stick to it.

6)  You’ve got this –  I do, really, I swear.

trust-your-plan

What are the things that you tell yourself when you’re out running? Leave them in the comments and inspire someone else. 

Week 14 Wrap-up

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted a wrap-up so I thought I ought to get one in here.  I just finished week 14 and week 15 is coming along nicely.  Overall I’m feeling good and I’m progressing nicely on my June Goals.

Here are a few highlights from week 14!

  1. Working those goals! I was super happy with my pace on the two longer workouts this week.  Twice I hit a sub 21:00 pace which is right on goal for June.  I also maintained that on my recovery walk today.  I want to sustain that for the rest of the month before I move on to my July pace goals.
  2. I had a bit of a haul from the local running store that excited me.  I don’t buy things for myself very often so as simple as these things were they made me super happy.  New flavors of Gu and Nuun, some Body Glide for Her, and a Sweaty Band!  I am in love with all of it.  Product reviews will be coming in the near future. I love the Sweaty Band so much, I ordered the runDisney branded one today.
  3.  I tried stepping up .5 miles after just one week at my previous distance and it didn’t work.  By the end of my 6-miler I was not feeling like I had been ready for it, which is the first time I have felt like that.  I’ll be staying two weeks at each distance before moving up .5 miles to the next distance.   It’s working for me, I shouldn’t mess with it.
  4. The foot pain that I discussed in my week 10 wrap-up is gone and I am VERY thankful for that.  I’ve been icing like crazy after my runs and trying not to forget to stretch each and every day.
  5. I can run for a whole 60 seconds!  OK – I run really really slowly, some of you could probably walk faster, but I can run.  I keep working on it, hopefully I will gain more endurance and more speed after that.
  6. In 3 months I have not lost more than 4 lbs.  Maybe I haven’t changed my diet enough, but I have been working out more than ever in my adult life.  I feel like there should be some change on the scale and I’m just not seeing it.  I don’t want this to become all about my weight, because its not, but I am disappointed that I have only lost 4 pounds.

What’s In My Gym Bag

Being fairly new to heading to the gym and working out, it’s taken me a little bit of time to figure out what I actually need to bring along with me.    I work out in the mornings, so I always get dressed to work out at home, but I like to feel prepared once I’m at the gym, so here’s a look at what I keep packed in my gym bag ready to grab and go.

 

  • Nuun Hydration tabs to give my water a boost. 2 flavors because I like to have a choice.
  • Gu Chews or Sport Beans for energy-dense calories during work outs longer than an hour.  Adding these to my training routine has made a huge difference in how I feel during long runs.
  • Yurbuds headphones to listen to my iPhone or plug into the treadmill. I want to get a pair of wireless, but this is what I have for now.
  • Hair brush, hair ties, and a sweat absorbing non-slip headband are a must. While I have been using neoprene headbands, I just got the Sweaty Band pictured above and I’m excited to give it a try.
  • Body Glide because chafing is not fun.
  • Pad lock kept on the handles of my bag so I don’t lose it.
  • Swimsuit just in case I get the urge to do a pool workout.
  • Toiletry Bag with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and deodorant so I can shower there.
  • Beach Towel to dry off with because the ones at the gym are tiny.
  • Micro-fiber cloth the clean my eyeglasses with.
  • 1-2 bottles of Dasani bringing this from home saves me considerable money.  The up-charge on a water bottle at the YMCA is obscene.
  • P3 Dry Protein Pack within 15 minutes of finishing my workout helps my muscles recover and keeps me out of the McDonalds drive-thru on the way home.

You may notice that there are some important things missing – like my keys, wallet, and phone.   Before I head out to the gym I grab the small bag from my purse that I keep those things in and drop it into my gym bag.  That keeps me from having to take 2 bags along with me.

If I’m going to shower at the gym, I also toss some clean clothes in.  There is nothing worse than showering at the gym and having to put on wet sweaty clothes again because you forgot to bring a change.  Been there, done that, eewwww… now I remember a change of clothes.

What do you keep in your bag?  Am I missing something you can’t live without?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Gym Pet Peeve #1

Having to pay $2 for a bottle of water at the gym, when a whole case at the grocery store only costs $4.99.  An idiot tax  for people (like me this morning) who forget to bring their own.  

5 Ways To Actively Engage With Your Rest Days

Today is Wednesday, which means that it’s a rest and recovery day.  For me that usually means running errands, and doing a 15-30 minute stretching routine,  for the most part I take it pretty easy.  I haven’t been swimming as much as I had wanted since I fit that Fibro flare a couple weeks ago, I’m a little scared to add that 5th day a week workout back into my schedule.  It’s always hard for me to remember how important rest and recovery days really are when I’m feeling good.

Yesterday I had a really great training day, and I feel like I need to head to the gym and get back too it.  I have to keep reminding myself that  rest days, and recovery days, are an important part of every training routine.  Especially for me as as a new athlete, and as a person who is training after traumatic injury that left me on bed rest for months.  My body needs ample time to repair itself and build new muscle so that I can move forward stronger.

So – how can one actively engage in training while on a rest or recovery day?  Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re feeling like rest days don’t count.

  1. Get a proper sleep.  Sleep has a huge impact on athletic performance.  An adequate sleep schedule can increase reaction times, and reduce injury rates, as well as lessening your chance of catching a cold.   The increased human growth hormone produced during early sleep promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of both muscles and bones.  So say goodnight early, and get an extra hour of sleep.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Just because you aren’t working up a sweat doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t need water.  In fact being well hydrated to begin with allows your body to work even better on your training days.  Dehydration can lead to overheating, headaches, and muscle fatigue.  Count those glasses of water on your rest days and be sure you get enough.
  3. Eat well balanced meals. Uhhh… yea.  This one is pretty hard for me, but I know that t he better quality of food that I put in my body, the better performance I will get out of my body.  Right now I am trying to eat closer to the earth with fewer preservatives and pre-packaged foods.  Focusing on this especially on my rest days allows me to stay mentally engaged with my goals.
  4. Keep moving… gently.  While you should avoid strenuous workouts on your rest days, gentle activity keeps you limber and your body from stiffening up.  Rest days actually help athletes keep from getting injuries that come from overuse and repetitive stress.  Maintaining  a light home stretching routine or yoga practice, get out and take a stroll, or even going shopping. Can keep you moving while allowing time for your body to recovery from your last workout.
  5. Socialize. That’s not one that you find on most lists, but keeping in touch with friends and family support system is an important part of mental health.  Athletes, especially endurance runners who spend long hours alone on the pavement need to be sure that they get a chance to socialize. Switching you mind “off” from your training routine for a bit  will actually help you recharge and avoid burnout.  I actually have one rest day a week that is reserved specifically for hanging out with the people I love.

I Made A Commitment To Myself

A couple of days ago my best friend and I were having a heart to heart about how our training was going.  We’re both 3 months in now, but we have very different approaches and are doing better on different aspects of running.  She’s doing great with actually running and fast approaching the 15 minute mile goal pace.  I’m doing better with my endurance, and mileage, but I’m still walking the vast majority of the time and my pace is still more than 20 minutes a mile.   While it’s academically interesting to be experiencing both of our approaches, it can also be discouraging when I want my pace to drop so very badly.

15136b538ea772dc2b1da04f33be7018.jpg

I explained to her during this conversation that while I have no doubt I will be able to cover 13.1 miles by the end of training, that I just don’t know if my pace will ever get to where I need to to be without being swept from the race course for being too slow.  I also mentioned that I was feeling like due to the metal in my leg, running for an extended length of time may never happen for me.  When I’m running I have a pretty pronounced limp that I’m not experiencing walking, it causes me pain, and makes running really uncomfortable.   After I said this, she suggested that if I wanted to I could sell my bib, and not do the race.   

 Ummm, nope.  I wouldn’t dream of not starting the race, not trying my best, not putting in everything I have; even if I don’t cross the finish line.  

I made a commitment to myself that I was going to chase this goal I have had for almost a decade.  That means that I’m going to give it absolutely everything I have, because its not just about crossing the finish line.  It’s about every step, every mile, every day of training that I put in even before I get there.  No matter how I do, even if I get swept, I will know that I have worked my butt of to get to the point I did.  I had the courage to start this journey to completing the Princess Half Marathon, and I am going to do it.

That being said, I have come to grips with the thought that I may not do it in 2018.  I may get swept, and that will be OK as long as that’s not the end of my journey.  Getting swept just means that I need another year of training to improve, and I try again in 2019.

2242

Because that’s how it gets done – right?  That’s how athletes move forward and improve.  You set goals and reach for them.  But if you don’t succeed the first time it doesn’t mean that you give up on the goal, on the dream.  It means you work harder for next year when the competition comes around again.  You change coaches, get a new training plan, put in more hours, and keep striving to make that dream a reality.  It’s not all about one race and one moment, its about the strength you develop on your journey to get there. 

Breaking Inertia

It has been a rough week, I had a fibro flare that left me in bed for a day, plus there were several household emergencies.  Getting to the gym has just not been a priority.  I took three days off in a row, which is always hard to come back from – inertia is a bitch.   The week wasn’t a complete bust though, I did get to the gym today and walked 2.73 miles.   I have a 5 miler tomorrow that  I’ll probably stick to walking too.   The long day will be on the treadmill again because with the heat index warnings we have this week outside is not happening.

keep-calm-godmother

Long Run Saturday

5 miles on the training plan today!  I’m pounding it out on the treadmill this time, three runs on pavement this week really took a toll on my legs.  I need to do more work outside, but for now my physical therapist wants me to keep my long runs on something with a little give.

long-run-saturday

Update:  I had a woman at the gym today tell me “You make it look so easy.”  I laughed, and explained that this is not easy.  This is actually one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I’m just determined.  I also felt like I was courageous at the gym today because I wore tight leggins and a tank top. The outfit is tighter than I usually wear, and I almost never show my arms.  I know that its stupid because this is exactly what everyone else wears to the gym, but for me it was a big deal and I’m proud of myself for finding it within me to wear what I want.

week-12-5miler.png

June 2017 Goals

I had to really talk myself into going  to work out today.  I just do not feel like it.  However, I’ve settled on a 2 mile stroll.  There won’t be too much cardio benefit, but I will get a couple miles in on the pavement, and pavement is something I have been struggling with.  A beautiful day deserve a nice stroll though, and I can ponder my training goals while I’m out there.

Speaking of my training goals – here is what is on my plate for June!

June Goals

  1. I want to drop my time to a 21:00 pace.  I’ve been striving to break a 20:00, and I’ve only done it once.  This month is going to be about consistent gains, so I’m looking for a regular 21:00 range time that I can carry forward to try and drop to 20:00 in July.
  2. My training plan has me logging just over 60 miles for June.  I want to hit every one of them for a 15 mile gain over May.
  3. I need to increase my run/walk intervals so that I am running longer during each interval.  I’m hoping for a consistent 0:30/1:30 ratio this month.  This moves me up from 15-20 second of running on every minute.  That should get me running for a longer duration, while giving my body time a little extra time to recover in between.
  4. I need to run outside too, not just on the treadmill.  I have a mental hurdle about running on the pavement at the moment.  I did it earlier this week, but I really need to keep it up.  I can’t do the Princess Half Marathon on the treadmill. I need to gain the mental strength to make  this happen.
  5. One more – I need to become more consistent in my stretching routine.  Honestly, as I’ve gotten more comfortable working out and the pain has lessened, I’ve gotten lazy about this.  I need to keep my muscles long and my legs flexible, I have a long way to go still with this and getting lazy is not going to help.

Thanks to From Dancing to Running for the idea to blog my monthly goals with a cute graphic.  I found her blog when searching for other people training for the Princess Half  I totally stole this from her, go read her blog.