Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I am just the worst

I still intend to write about the marathon this year... yes, the marathon that was 4 months ago.  Let me just say, it was rough. Like, really rough in so many ways.

Let me get to a little bit of a spoiler and say that I haven't been able to run since Memorial Day weekend due to a whole bunch of bad things happening with my foot. Here's the deal with running long distances- things are going to hurt. They're going to hurt a lot. Often, they get better as you get stronger. So, I assumed some foot/toe pain was just my feet needing to be stronger (and, that is possibly what it was). I ran through it. Actually, I sought out advice on how to mentally deal with the pain and run through.  Training this year was tough for a lot of reasons (a fall early on resulting in PT, snow and ice, food poisoning...) and I'm guessing that I just didn't train as much as I should of and caused some bad foot trauma.

Right now, I'm dealing with plantar fasciitis, a heel spur, a torn tendon, a pulled muscle, a bone bruise, and a little arthritis.  I've not been able to teach or do any kind of activity with impact since the beginning of July.  Before that, we tried anti-inflammatories and a cortisone shot before finally getting an MRI and getting the full picture.  I'm missing teaching classes and running pretty badly.

My last run was the Run to Remember in May. I had just started going to the doctor and was told that I could still run, but I should avoid hills.  It was a flat enough course and I switched from the half marathon to the 5 mile course. It was not great. Lots of pain. But, running just the five miles gave me the chance to watch some friends finish their first half marathons!

So happy to be at the end! 
Bish killing it!

Andrew kicking ass!

But, I've been swimming and I love it!  My first few tries were pretty bad.  I was never a great swimmer. I could tread water and move pretty slowly, but I've never really used swimming as an exercise. I had to force myself to get through 15 minutes of "laps" and then 15 more of aqua jogging. My generous and wonderful friend, Lynne, offered a free lesson and it gave me things to work on!  She showed me how to breath correctly during freestyle and taught me proper technique for both freestyle and breast stroke.  I'm still not great, but I'm good enough to actually get a work out!  She also taught me how to pick out goggles and for the first time, I have some that fit.

I also bought this swimming cap. It keeps the hair out of my face and the added bonus is, given the choice, most swimmers would rather share a lane with someone not wearing this.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Ok, fine.

One week left! AH!!!!

Alright- Here we go.

I've been kind of stubborn about this.  I made it to lifetime with Weight Watchers a couple of years ago.  Buuuuuut, I'm up. I kept thinking that I would just do it on my own because I didn't want to have to pay.  It was less the money and more feeling a bit like a failure.  I just got to relaxed with tracking and choices, plus had a little wrench thrown in called hypothyroidism.  Now that that's under control, I need to get back to good habits.  I know I can do it.  I've done it before!  I'm putting this out there because blogging helped me get to lifetime and I know it can help me get back to goal.  There's no shame in needing a little help!  Unfortunately, there were no meetings close by today, but I'm tracking and I can go back to Jean, my favorite leader, Thursday or Friday morning.  Let's do this!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A week and two days!

First- it's been a while.  20 miles- not so much.  I had a scary couple of days where I couldn't bend my knee or straighten it all the way.  It's not a fun place to be.  It's better!  But it was not fun.  I think it was the rain... which makes me feel old...

Next- we're getting down to the wire.  Today, I drove on Storrow Drive and in Kenmore Square and saw people running (in this beautiful weather) in their race day singlets!  It seems like a good idea for tomorrow since I haven't worn mine in about a year.  I'm pretty sure I'm wearing last year's team Stoneham shirt since it never got to cross the finish line.

Also- got this cool write up in Panorama thanks to Tiffany!

Photo by Samantha Murray

The photo shoot brought me to Copley Square for the first time in a while.  It was exciting and a little scary to think about running through the square in just a few weeks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited!  But it'll be a tough 26.2 miles and an emotional day.  There's not much to do this week but take care of myself and eat some pasta.  Let's do this!

See YOU in a week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Long runs or "Why is there always a headwind?!"

I have to admit something here... If you asked me in person, I was honest, but I tried to hide my true fear on this blog for some reason... but I was not 100% sure I was going to be able to handle the marathon this year.  I think I mentioned that training felt particularly hard these past few months.  I didn't start out as ready as I wanted, I fell and hit my head on my first run (that later resulted in whiplash and PT), it snowed every minute of every day this year, and I just had a lot of trouble feeling like I had time.  I had to alter my training schedule a few times and I was getting pretty worried about my long runs.  Even a three miler I did last week felt tough.  My 18 miler this weekend really made me feel a lot better!

First of all, the weather was beautiful on Saturday, just a little windy (and some rain, but we'll get to that).  I have a loop that's just over five miles through Woburn and Winchester.  Somehow no matter which direction I was facing, there was a head wind.  It wasn't constant, but wow, it was strong! 

I decided to stop worrying so much about my speed.  I know it's not going to be what I hoped, but I was never going to win.  I just want to finish.  Any finishing time will be a PR for me since it will be my first completed marathon.  I want to enjoy it.  I decided to take the advice I got from a random gentleman in the lobby of the Stoneham Theater last year, "Walk before you think you need to.  When you feel the best, take it easy".  I decided that I would drink water at every "water stop" and maybe take a little walk every couple of miles. Just for a minute or so unless I really needed it before or for longer.  For my first "water stop", I picked a water bottle from my belt to find that I had only filled the two Gatorade bottles, not the water.  Of course.  I knew I was going to run by a park and I was pretty sure there was a water fountain, so I decided just to fill them up.  And it wasn't on.  Of course.

 I was feeling way to good to let it stop me.  I stopped in Burger King and filled up my water at the soda machine.

I took my walking breaks, ate my Clif Blocks, enjoyed the sun, and then around mile 8, it started to rain.  It was still pretty warm and I was wearing a baseball hat, so no worries.   It rained until about mile 11 and as the clouds parted, "Here Comes the Sun" came on.  Well timed, iPod.

I felt great, I felt strong, I had very little chaffing, and most important, I felt like I could do it.  I used my Mindful Practice thinking and acknowledged any discomfort and pain and it really works. I mean, it doesn't go away, but I didn't dwell on it. 

One quick "review".  I made a quick visit to the lovely people over at Marathon Sports in Melrose to pick up some new socks.  For some reason, my toes just go right through them.  I keep my nails short, I always have someone help me get the right size and brand, but I always seem to end up with holes in the toes.  They recommended a Darn Tough pair.

I mean, look at the packaging
First, they're guaranteed for life.  Second, they are SO comfortable.  I know I've said hundreds of times that you should never try something new on a long run or on race day, but I was desperate.  I was pretty much out of socks.  They stayed put, they breathed, they wicked, and I had no blisters!  I'm sold.  And I recommend them!

Next week is my last bump up in mileage. It's 20.  I never got to 20 last year because of a poorly timed chest cold.  I'm ready this year.  Let's do it!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Geese, toes, and Mindful Practice

Training has been TOUGH this year.  The weather has not been all that helpful, my schedule is more full than last year, and I've been dealing with some injuries.  Remember how I fell first run out?  I'm in PT for neck/shoulder/back pain most likely from that.  It's helping!  Just a pain.

In my last few runs, I've revisited some old running routes.  Horn Pond turned out to be mostly ice and snow free.  It's been busy since the sun has been out the past couple of weekends.  The geese and ducks are back.  And the geese still scare me. (One totally came at me today... never make eye contact)


Normally, my toes cause me the most pain during my long runs.  I mentioned this to the Mindful Practice instructor at the YMCA.  Usually, when they start to hurt, I try to pretend they don't.  I try to tune in to my music or focus my attention on another body part that does not hurt.  Her advice was to acknowledge the pain without judgement.  I'll be honest, I was skeptical and I also wasn't 100% sure I knew what she meant.  I decided to give it a try today on my long run.

First of all, the weather was great! Yesterday was a little bit warmer, but I taught Zumba in the morning and didn't think a long run after was a great idea.  When my toes started to ache, I thought about the advice.  It was hard!  Of course my first thought was "OUCH!"  But then I thought "Ok, they hurt.  Let's just see what happens"  Eventually, it stopped bothering me.  The less I thought about the pain as "Ouch", the less it bothered me. 

Unfortunately, my hamstrings joined the "ouch" party towards the end, but I didn't have the miles and time left to see if it would go away. 

I'm going to start going to Mindful Practice since I have a month off from theater.  If I can get my toes to stop hurting, I can't wait to see what else it does for my training!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Icy trails and soapy Gatorade!

I think I should just call this blog "Ridiculous things that happen to me while running"

My plan this week was to take my long run to the Minuteman Trial.  I wasn't sure what the snow and ice situation would be, so I packed my Yaktrax and drove over to Bedford.  It was pretty icy so I gave them a try in the parking lot first.  They really really work.  I started on the trail.

The trail was pretty quiet except for me, maybe 5 other runners, and people walking their dogs.  Oh, and these snow men.

Even thought the Yaktrax stopped me from slipping, the snow and ice really slowed me down.  The trail was pretty solid ice and snow.  It started out at least even and easy to navigate, but gradually became a little bumpy.  After (mildly) rolling on my ankle a couple of times, I decided to turn around.  On the way back, I noticed some of the snow had either melted or blown away and left a lot more exposed solid ice (that was a little scarier to run on).

Also, I had just washed the bottles in my Fuel Belt, but I guess I didn't get all of the soap out... because I'm pretty sure that's not how grape Gatorade or water is supposed to taste.  So I slowly made my way back to the car with water and Gatorade strapped to my torso that I couldn't drink (for about 10 miles) and GU in my belt that I couldn't eat because I had not water to wash it down (Acid reflux without water!).   But I made it!  Super sore...

Does ANYONE know what these signs are?

Moral of the story?  Long runs plus ice, snow, and Yaktrax=it feels like you ran twice as far.  Also, rinse out your water bottles 1000 times.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fever and aches and chills! (Oh, my!)

I cheat and I get food poisoning.  I think that's a sign.

So, I did alright last week food-wise.  I had been trying out adding fish and eggs back into my (mostly) vegan diet.  I had a great run on the indoor track at Shad and great classes.

Oh! Except Tabata.  The only class I teach in which I do not participate and I pulled a muscle.  Luckily, Allison Choat is a master of all things foam roller and racquet ball and I was able to work it out.

Sit on it. No, really.

Friday, I did less well food-wise and then I got food poisoning!  I'll spare you the details, but it's the worst I've ever felt in my life and I'm just going to take that as a sign.  Maybe no fish and eggs and definitely nothing fried.  Probably no beer for a while, but that's just by association.  Chills, fever, and aches... it was just awful.

Fried pickles not pictured because I can't look at them

Sadly, it caused me to miss two BEAUTIFUL running days (and singing with my cast on WERS).  I attempted my long run today.  14 miles was the goal.  Here's what went wrong...

1. Even though I feel about 2000x better than I did on Saturday, I'm probably still dehydrated.  I also missed a whole day of food/fueling for a long run. 

2. I tried out new gear. On a long run.  I'm an idiot. I tried a new... face warmer?  My old balaclava is a little big, but something I hadn't considered is it's got this awesome little screen to breath through.  It stays in place pretty well and warms the air so I'm not breathing in freezing cold air.  The new one is just solid material and the whole thing just gets sucked into my mouth when I breath.  It also is kind of loose and snow falls into when it's not up around your nose.  I also tried a new water bottle holder, a single one.  The balance is off.  I just need to keep with my four smaller bottle belt.

Running isn't always fashionable

3. It snowed.  It wouldn't be a huge deal if I could have seen a little better.  Maybe a hat with a brim?

I finished 5 miles.  Here's my plan...

I hate the treadmill.  So much.  But it's going to snow again this week (and worse it sounds like).  After Tabata on Wednesday, I'm going to complete my 14 miles indoors on various treadmills.  I'm going to trade every couple of miles in hopes that it will help my mind get through it.  I'm not sure it will work, but I NEED to get these miles in.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Here we go again...

I need to be honest... I've been pretty terrible about tracking and sticking to Weight Watchers for a while.  Ok, more than a while.  I hit goal and lifetime in the spring of 2012 and I didn't hang out there all that long.  Maybe through the summer and some of the fall? 

I definitely have a lot of excuses I could throw out.  At least one of them is even valid!  I did discover that I have a thyroid problem a few months ago.  I noticed that even while I was training for the marathon last year that I was gaining weight no matter what I did.  I was definitely eating more, but I tried to keep it to healthy choices and it didn't seem to matter.  Once I realized that, I admit I kind of gave up and didn't try as hard because it didn't seem to matter anyhow.

After maybe a year or so of this happening, I went to the doctor for some neck swelling and she discovered my hypothyroidism.  It was totally a relief to find out there was an actual problem that explained the weight gain and other symptoms, but I have absolutely revisited some terrible habits that are (again) hard to let go of. 

I've been back to some meetings, but not as consistently as I should.  I'm tracking more often, but not often enough.  It's been a stressful couple of weeks and I certainly have been medicating with bad food choices. 

So here I am... admitting it out in the open hoping that this will be the kick in the ass I need.  I know I can do lose the weight because I did it before.  Get ready for some possible weight loss status updates?  Maybe they will just be limited to the blog?  We'll see. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Marathon Training- week two!

Week two.  It certainly was better than week one (no head injuries or being splashed by puddles).  I got in my speed work, ran on the indoor track at Shad, and my long run felt pretty great yesterday.  The weather was perfect, the ice was mostly melted, and I felt comfortable during the run. After, though...

Injuries, though, can be a funny thing.  Keep in mind, that I am not a doctor and I am not giving any medical advice.  I'm just a clumsy person who has experienced some weird uncomfortable injuries.

I'm definitely dealing with some leftover pain from my stupid ice fall.  My knee is a little painful, my back hurts, and my shoulders are kind of tight.  I'm heating, icing, rolling, and stretching, plus backing off on the weights in my class when I need to.  It's getting better.

Something that I hadn't thought about in a long time is chafing.  It's a terrible thing.  And, for me anyhow, it's only sort of predictable.  I trained for (and ran) two half marathons before last year and I had only had trouble with it once (I tried to wear my fuel belt on my hips to try to look a little less lame.  Not a great idea).  Once I hit the 14-15 mile long run, chafing became an unwelcome part of my life. 

Just get some.  Right away.

Body Glide is a great thing.  I finally bought some last year when I noticed vampire bite marks where the bottom of my sports bra sat.  After that, I discovered new and exciting chafing opportunities during almost every run, long or short.  If you're thinking of running any kind of distance, just get yourself some Body Glide (it's cheap) and put it any place anything touches your skin.  Seams, bands (bras, pants, shirts), even on your feet if you get blisters.

The WORST problem I had was during the actual marathon.  It's cold when you train for Boston. I did most of my runs in long sleeves.  I definitely did some trial runs with my race day outfit, but by the time the temperature was right, the runs were tapering off.  It never occurred to me that my iPod armband would cause trouble.


Under my armpit

Toes.  Just forget about your feet looking ok in sandals.  Get ready for the horrified looks you'll get from nail techs as you try to explain why your feet look the way they do.  My poor second toe on my right foot really got the worst of it.  I didn't blister until the actual marathon, but there was pretty much constant pain in that toe after the long runs hit 13 miles.  I did eventually lose the nail and it felt about 1000 times better when it finally went.  I'm trying out some new shoes (Brooks Defyance 7.  The Defyance 6 were pretty great all fall) and am hoping to avoid some toe problems in the future.

If ugly feet and lost toenails gross you out, you should probably just look at this picture of Winston and not scroll down anymore.



It's just nail polish... but still gross, sorry

Monday, January 6, 2014

Marathong training begins!

It's that time again... marathon training! 

First a quick catch up.  I've run a couple of half marathons since I last blogged, both in October, and a 5K January 1st. 

The BAA Half

Wave corrals are a good thing

The start!

The end of the run definitely smelled like we were in a zoo.

And the the Baystate Half Marathon in Lowell.

The start!

I'm sleepy and cold!

They were a week apart and both great courses.  I improved by more than 7 minutes from the BAA to the Baystate.  Part of it, I'm sure, were the hills.  Plus, I got a GPS watch for my birthday (between the two races) and kept an eye on my pace for the Baystate.  The Baystate also was a marathon at the same time.  I crossed the finish line, got some food, and picked up my bag and as I walked past the finish line again, the marathon winner crossed.  I will never understand how people run that fast.

As I mentioned, marathon training started officially last week!  It didn't start off so well.  I'm following a new plan this year that includes runs that are just timed, speed work, and runs with mileage goals (and pace recommendations).  I really would like to improve my time this year. 

My first run was simple... 40 minute jog.  Easy!  It was pretty cold and a little icy.  I piled on my gear and headed out the door.  Out 20 minutes and back 20 minutes, no problem.  I was careful to watch for ice and, as always, cars that don't look while they turn or come out of streets and parking lots.  It was fairly uneventful until around the 3 mile mark.  I was turning on to a street I had been on earlier in the run.  I knew there was a little ice, so I was sure to avoid it until a truck cut it a little close and almost drove up onto the sidewalk with me. I quickly moved out of the way, but must have caught some of the ice.  I slipped and somehow hit my right knee, both palms, right shoulder, and then, finally, the side of my head.  I got up on my feet quickly, because very often embarrassment kicks in first, and tried to assess the situation.  My head was killing me and I was nervous.  I called my husband to come home, but continued to walk home because it was pretty cold. 
We did take a trip to the ER and I was just banged up and sore, no major head injuries. 

Tuesday was obviously a day off, but I had signed up for Lowell's 1st Run on New Years Day!  I didn't want to miss it.  I had signed up for the 10k, but decided to switch over to the 5k since I wasn't sure how I'd feel.  I was also able to run it with my friend and that was way more fun.  I usually run alone and remember to take pictures, but it was chilly and we were chatting, so I forgot!

That's Catie on the mug.

Gloves, a hat, and a wine stopped medal!
It was a really fun run.  We warmed up during and I stored all my swag plus the gloves I brought in my front pockets part way through.  I wonder how many people I passed thought "Good for the pregnant lady".

After that, we got hit with a lot of snow and I was a little bit afraid to run in the snow and ice after Monday.  I did get over to Marathon Sports to get some new sneakers (Brooks Defyance 7), a face mask, and some Yaktrax to combat the ice and snow!  I haven't tried them out yet, but I'm looking forward to feeling a little more secure in the ice this year!

I pushed my long run to today (Monday) as I will probably do until March when I am done with rehearsals and shows for a while.  It was pretty warm and a little rainy when I started.  I decided I wouldn't need my Yaktrax for this run because it was mostly puddles and not a ton of or snow.  It was not my best run.  My feet and sneakers were wet for the whole thing and I got splashed by passing cars.  The rain was off and on, the ice was random and slowed me down.  The puddles were pretty ridiculous.

First week in, not wonderful, but it can only get better from here!