July Recap

1Happy Monday! July is just about over, and it was a crazy one. The month was filled with a lot of happenings, and I can’t really think of any negative ones. I’ll take that as a success. The last week has brought a lot of excitement and realizations, and I’m excited for what’s to come.

Traveling…We (Jake and I) started the month in Ocean City, MD, spent a long weekend in New Hampshire, spent a day in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and finished with another week in Ocean City, MD. I loved bringing him home to meet the family, sitting on the beach, meeting his extended family, jet-skiing for the first time, and even catching a wild looking fish.

At the top of Cannon Mountain, NH

Jobs: I finally recieved my speech-language pathologist credentials that I spent last year earning. Both Jake and I landed new jobs this month, and we both start today! I’m excited to be starting at a private clinic, hopefully with a whole lot less paperwork and stress than I was dealing with in the school. After the school year starts, I’ll also be working mornings in a Head Start (federally funded pre-school). I’m hoping this is a step in the right direction towards finding a spot in my career field that I enjoy more.

Running: I ended July at 85 miles, 15 miles short of my 100 mile goal. I missed 5 runs: 3 at the beach (2 due to too much fun the night before (oops), and one due to really just liking my bed),one due to needing a rest day after a race, and also one due to a huge calf cramp that happened as I woke up and went downstairs. While I got my other runs in, it was a struggle. I’m lacking on the motivation, which I think is due to Goofy being so.far.away. I’m bummed about not running a fall full. While I have races coming up, I’m not truly excited for anything. Last year, training for my first marathon was so exciting, and now I feel like I’m just moving through the motions.

I also completed 3 races:

Towson 4 on the 4th: 39:46, 6 second course PR

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

Maryland Sprint Duathlon: 1:43. 3rd place in AG! Planning to recap this at some point….

 

I’m excited for August and hopefully getting my running motivation back. I’m beginning to plan my trips to Nevada/Arizona for the Run Laughlin 13.1, and to Disney for the Goofy Challenge! With the new job, I’ll be working Sundays once September hits, so unfortunately, I’ve written off the Rock N Roll Philly Half. I only paid $50 to register, and I really don’t want to use a day off for that so early in my employment. However, I’m excited to work towards a course/12 miler PR at the Charles Street 12 on Labor Day Weekend!

I’m Back! + 3.5 weeks out

Surprise, I’m back! Actually, it was a surprise I left the blog (and insta. and twitter. and basically facebook too). It wasn’t quite purposeful, but in some ways it was needed. Let’s run through a few things, Thinking out Loud style (thanks, Amanda!).

Running truly healthy for the first time since I started 2.5 years ago helped me build a greater relationship with running, and with myself. I was happy to keep my running to myself and my close friends.

I began growing a relationship with an amazing guy which took/takes up a lot of my “free time” and certainly makes it hard to get out of bed to run on a weekend morning. He now forces me out of bed on the weekends, but he always wins over technology.

14322410_10154555748976983_493214916852438013_n

Over the summer I worked at a running store. 35-40 hours a week of “running”, on top of actual running. More running at home and on my phone? No thanks.

14222236_10154517749126983_6799676429712267493_n
Goodbye weekends at the store, hello weekends of long runs, races, and FUN.

I started a job that I worked so hard to get. I love it but it’s demanding and I work a lot outside of school. The last thing I wanted to do after planning and paperwork was to open my other computer to write more.

shoeshot
Meeting day –> running with a friend –> trivia. So worth it.

I’ve been wanting to write again for a couple of weeks now. I’m ready to share my love of running again. I’ve missed being in contact with other runners who endless inspire me and educate me about running. The writers block faded, the desire to put my emotions into words struck again.


I can’t believe that the Marine Corps Marathon is just 24 days away! Some days I am nervous about whether or not my body will stay together until then, but mostly I just feel excited.

14495297_10157576509480014_1298624557389177830_n

I started having never run more than a half marathon, and this weekend I’ll run my second 20-miler.

I began training totally afraid of running 5 days a week, and did so strongly until my job (and social life) made that slightly more difficult.

I used to think that walking meant that I was weak, and not a real runner. I ran every run at the same effort. I’ve learned that strategic walking will help me run further and stay healthier – at least at this point in my life.

I never would have imagined how this marathon journey would change me – and I haven’t even run the race yet. While I wish that I would have shared it as it happened, I’m happy I still have this space to share some highs and lows!

cathatshot
Since when do I smile this big during/after long runs? Oh that’s right, when I’m NOT hurt.

What is new with you in the past 3.5 months? Tell me one thing you’re looking forward to!

5 Emotions when Running Slow (Friday Five)

As I’ve shared in my past couple of training recaps, I’ve been running much slower lately. There’s a couple reasons for this, but they add up to wanting to reach the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon healthy and whole. After learning to use my heart rate as a guage and effort and accepting the whole “train slow, race fast” mentality, I’ve embraced this way of training (for now).

How can running this slow be fun? Seriously, running run/walk intervals a majority of the time and running “easy” equates to being passed and more cumulative time spent running.

Screenshot_20160623-212028
Slowest. Run. Ever.

Why the F is my heart rate so high? I’m running an 11:00 pace right now, and not even sweating. Why am I so out of shape?

zoomaheartrate.png

 

When can I run “fast”? Just. Let. Me. Run. Wild.

 

Wow! This feels great! Finishing 3:00/mi faster on your last mile than your first. For the first time ever. Or running for speed at November Project after 10 days of easy running.

npbal3xworkout
10:08, even with stairs and stopping for mountain climbers/box jumps/push ups/lunges

 

Did I run today? Taking it easy means your body isn’t constantly in as much pain. You’re not drained anymore. You’re ready to go tomorrow. You can run fast the next day and not feel like you’re falling apart.

While I’m not one with a running “ego” – I know I’m slow – I definitely felt so weird running slowly and using run/walk intervals for many runs. I still do. In many ways I hate it. But seriously, I haven’t ever felt better. My legs felt great, I’m less fatigued, and I finish with a runner’s high instead of hating my body for working against me.

While running slow isn’t forever, it’s for right now. And it’s working. If you’re in a place where you’re hurt, fatigued, and mad at your inability to run fast when you need to, I seriously recommend truly embracing running “easy”.

DC-Trifecta-Friday-Five-linkup

I’m linking up with Mar from Mar on the Run, Cynthia from You Signed up for What?, and Courtney from EatPrayRun DC for this week’s Friday Five today! Check out their pages to see some of the other posts!

2015 Running Recap

This year brought a ton of ups and downs. From PRs to injuries, to the beginnings of faster paces to being brought back to where I was; I felt like every time I gained control I lost it. I set goals at the beginning of the year that were too lofty when I look back at them. However, looking back on this year it’s important to remember that 2015 was my first full year running. I truly believe that running is a lifetime sport, and it may take me a few years before I reach my potential. Despite all of that, I had some incredible times running and want to look back on them…

PR Race: Plattsburgh Half Marathon, 2:15:35. I ran two half marathons in two weeks, and both were PRs. I felt SO great throughout this race until mile 10. I was one with running this day, and this particular day will always feel like victory to me.

DSC_0214
My mom saw me at mile 10, and I was feeling great. At mile 11 (shown) I was riding the pain train HARD.

Hardest race: Wildman Biathlon, uphill portion (leg 2). This almost 3 mile mountain climb tested me in so, so many ways. I was injured and had already run a 10K that morning. But the feeling that I just ran/quickly walked up a mountain to where my family was waiting was the greatest feeling ever.

20150808_114656

Favorite race: Baltimore Half Marathon, 2:25:48. Time wise, this was my worst race of the year. This half marathon was supposed to be a full, but after having to stop running for about 1.5 months due to a mysterious injury, I moved down to the half. I was thrilled to raise $250 for the Kennedy Krieger International Spinal Cord Institute so I could make the trip to Baltimore. I didn’t fuel right the morning of the race and ended up feeling miserable. I still felt so proud of finishing after all I went through to get to that starting line healthy and running through the city I call home.

20151017_091310

Favorite Swag + Afterparty: Harpoon Octoberfest Race, 34:45 (3.6 mi). I got a beer mug accompanied with free beer and my first Octoberfest celebration. The race was fun and challenging, but the post-race party sealed the deal for me. I may be moving to Maryland in May, but I would travel back to Vermont for this race in a heartbeat.

20151011_130325
OOMPAH!

That time I came in last but didn’t let it destroy me: Wildman Biathlon 10K (leg 1). Coming in last in the first leg of this race was hard. It was my first 10K race, and while I didn’t do as well as I had hoped (10:05 avg. pace) I was able to keep it in perspective. This race was small and competitive, and there are very few races someone will hold that pace and come in last.

Favorite race outfit/shoes: Brooks Launch 2, ProCompression socks (or sleeves with other socks), Skirt Sports Lionness skirt

11370979_1444950372474416_1015167316_n
Flat Sam for my last half!

Races I’m most looking forward to in 2016: Half at the Hamptons (3/6), Zooma Annapolis (6/4), Rock N Roll Philly (9/17).

In total: 12 races run for 88.95 miles,  including 4 half marathons, 1 “mini” triathlon, 1 relay (run-bike-run), 4 states raced in

I’m linking up with Courtney at EatPrayRunDC to share my year in running. Head over to her site to check out other’s recaps or even add your own. Thanks for hosing, Courtney!

Eat Pray Run DC

November Gains, December Goals

Happy First-Day-Of-December, AKA THE BEST MONTH. I freaking love December. Not only is it the month of everything that has to do with Christmas, it’s the month of winter break, MY BIRTHDAY, and this year, a trip to Florida with one of my best friends and the end of graduate classes! But, before we look forward to December, let’s look back on the month that was November, running wise.

filepicker-4SlfHmpT6OTwIN4n8mQr_tumblr_med8boa5Du1rq9jbxo1_500
source: http://www.alcoslo.org/8-reasons-to-love-december

 

At the beginning of the month I was attempting to follow a 5K speed plan, and aimed to hit 80 miles this month. Yeah, that was a little lofty seeing I hadn’t hit a 20+ mile week since “marathon training”. My relationship with running wasn’t great after my summer injury and with all the stress I was going though with school. I eventually gave all that up to simply Run when I wanted, where I wanted, and how I wantedSpoiler alert: it worked.

Happy after 8 treadmiles at 8:30 at night during DWTS.

Running when I wanted I think is what did it for me. For three weeks I ran three times, did some speed work on the treadmill, and ran a couple of longer runs when I wanted to. I ran at the gym on Mondays so I could watch Dancing With The Stars when I didn’t really have time to do both of them separately. I ran easy, I ran hard, I ran flat, I ran hills. And I loved it. I love running again. I want to run again. 

I planned to do two turkey trots, but decided to drop to one to save some money. I also knew I would pressure myself into a PR at the first one, as I missed it by 8 seconds last year and I was trying to focus on running for fun. So I did one at home, so small we didn’t even get bibs. Heck, I almost didn’t wear my watch. It ended up being my best-run 5K of the year and I was really happy with it.

I loved it, I swear.

The end of October and most of November taught me that I don’t excel when I try to be the “perfect” runner. Crazy training plans on top of school stress me out. Focusing on running fast makes me so anxious that I don’t go out for a run. The thought of running outside at 4:30 and it being pitch black makes me want to burrow into my bed. However, treadmill runs work for me (in the winter), and going with the flow makes me feel more comfortable when I’m running. So I’m going to keep with how I’m going for the next month, and make sure that running in December is as fun and stress-free as possible.

November miles: 52.1 (pain free, glorious miles)

YTD mileage: 618.47


So, December, what shall you bring?

Running every day. Not because I have to, but because I want to.

Focusing on running easy when I have to in order to make it through the Holiday Run Streak!

Have a fun 5K in Florida without focusing on PRing (it’s not gonna happen and I’m OK with that)

 

How was your November running? Are you doing any fun (maybe holiday themed) races in December?

When Running Isn’t the Answer

“Running is my therapy.”

7459155603136712VDrScbEBc

I think we’ve all heard it, and I know I’ve said it. While running is a way for many of us to clear our minds and process some thoughts, is it really therapy?

Running these past few weeks has been a challenge. In some ways, I was thrilled to be training specifically for a 5K, to improve my speed and hopefully my PR. I was working hard and seeing some times that I haven’t hit in quite a while. But in other ways, I had the least motivation to lace up my shoes. I put off runs to stay in bed, to hang out with the two whole friends I have in Plattsburgh, and to do work. I still kept thinking “I’ll feel better if I run. I just have to run. Running will make it better”. I’d get up in the morning to go back to bed, or put on my sneakers just to take them right back off. The whole “training plan” wasn’t happening, and I hated myself for it.

01613f6a83f3bf863c98523668c8efc3

But when I think back on it, so much of my lack of motivation was truly sheer exhaustion. Exhaustion from a month of traveling, endless tests and projects, the stress of finishing up my on-campus clinic experience and transitioning to my upcoming internships, trying to figure out what the heck to do with my life, and dealing with some personal dilemmas. Sure, running was an escape. I would go out for a few miles and most of the crap didn’t show up in my thoughts. When I walked back into my house and stopped my garmin, everything was still there.

Running helps. Running makes me feel like I’m more than what I’m going through academically, professionally, and personally. However running isn’t the answer. Running sometimes feels like you’re talking to a wall. You can rant to it all you want, you can cry to it and tell it all of your secrets. But it’s not going to talk back.  Running is not going to complete my projects, make me feel less lonely, or help me feel like a better speech-language pathologist. But what does help is rest, flexibility, spending time with others, and actually doing work. Who’dda thunk? 

Running away from alllll the responsibilities.
Running away from alllll the responsibilities.

In the past few days, and during Tuesday’s run, I really thought about this. I was perfectly happy running “rolling hills” on the treadmill at an easy pace (avg. 10:10). In such a time, is it really necessary to push myself in running rather than everything else? Why can’t I just enjoy it because I love it? So what if I run a 29:00 5K instead of a 27:00 5K? Will that make me love running any less? Will it make me a better professional? NO. But know what did help? Staying in, writing a treatment plan and doing research for my clients that should have been done 3-5 weeks ago when I was too busy getting ready for a half marathon.

So I challenge you all, and myself, to look at running a different way. Instead of seeing it as therapy, per say, maybe look at running as a reward. A reward for your hard work for whatever you do during the day and for treating yourself well. I’m not saying don’t set goals, because that’s how you get better. But if you find yourself losing your joy in order to reach a goal, take a step back and just run. Sleep in a little. Drink that extra beer on a Friday night. Read that extra book or research article. Run when you want, where you want, and how you want. 

images

This was definitely a post with a lot of thoughts, so today I’m linking up once again with the amazing Amanda @ Running With Spoons. Have a wonderful Thursday!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Is running your therapy? Or is it your “something else”.

Baltimore Running Festival: Living the Injured Life

Another week has passed without running a stride after finally accepting that I’m injured. I had an x-ray last week and woke up in pain multiple nights during the week. While my x-ray came back negative, I’m not convinced that I don’t have a stress fracture. I have a high pain tolerance but at times (especially at night) the pain is excruciating. It’s spread from a localized spot to throughout my whole lower leg, from my ankle up to my knee. There are times where compression helps, but also times where it makes the pain worse. I’ve had to cancel my initial sports medicine doc./chiro appointment due to insurance, but hopefully will be taking more steps to finding out a cause within the week.

I also started accepting that while I’m injured, I still can get moving. I did yoga multiple days last week after getting out of my routine and started going to the gym again to use different non-weight bearing/low impact machines. If anything starts causing (more) pain at the gym, I stop immediately. While I need to keep up the cardio, I don’t want to keep making whatever is wrong with my leg worse.

20150824_070950

Not being able to run for the first time in a year has left me feeling very empty. For two weeks I didn’t feel like a runner, or that I’ll ever become a better one. Then I found my favorite Alex and Ani bracelet, and the little piece of metal put it all into perspective. I also have some friends that have been very supportive with it, even though they live far away. Sure, I can’t run now. But by allowing myself to heal, hopefully I’ll be able to run in the Baltimore Running Festival as part of some race, and I’ll be able to run a marathon in the future. Maybe I can’t run right now, but I can cross train to make my return more smooth. This journey to a marathon isn’t a sprint, but it’s a marathon itself.

SO for now I’m saying “sayonara, sucker” to my first marathon. I’ll be emailing the charity team coordinator this week to move down to the half marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival on 10/17. I’m confident that I can still take at least 3-4 weeks off running (if needed) and crosstrain, transition back to running, and at least finish the half. I’m not giving up on this race. I believe in Kennedy Krieger, want to raise this money, and want to run on their team. Knowing I’m doing this for a purpose helps me keep this injury in perspective.

So no workout recap this week. I did work out some, but seeing the small amount would make me too upset with myself. But this week will be different and after this post I’m not allowing myself to wallow anymore. School is starting and it’s time to get back to being my best self, whether it’s running on the streets or on the elliptical!

Weekend Recap and No Running

This weekend was a really great one, for the most part. Both of my grandparents on my mom’s side turned 75 this summer, and we had a big family getaway at Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg, ME. My mom and I got there around 5:30 on Friday and almost immediately headed to dinner.

20150815_153351

The food at this place was incredible! On the first night I had a romaine and kale caesar salad and lobster carbonara. It had so so so much lobster in it! I ate most of the lobster and about a quarter of the pasta and I was so full. The second night I had a cheese ravioli with a creamy tomato sauce – almost like a vodka sauce, which like the first night was very good but very rich.

20150814_192217
Night 1: Lobster Carbonara
Night 2: Ravioli
Night 2: Ravioli

My favorite part of the resort was the salt-water pool! I enjoyed going in with my aunt on Saturday morning, and again with my cousin, brother, and SIL after lunch. I felt like a kid again doing cannonballs into the pool!

4/5 of the cousins
4/5 of the cousins

My uncle chartered out a boat for a couple of hours and we all went on a tour of the harbor. We all enjoyed some beverages and learned about the history of the area, especially when it came to the lobster and fishing industries.

Saltwater hair from the saltwater pool.
Saltwater hair from the saltwater pool.

 

Seals!
Seals!

Our tour guide was wonderful and took a great family picture of us. To say the boat was a little back-heavy is an understatement!

11880684_10204677669880328_8488920348071367194_n

Our weekend was full of beautiful views from both our dining room and family cabin. Unfortunately after a blueberry pancake breakfast on Sunday (I don’t like blueberry pancakes…) it was time to go.

20150815_182347

I drove my SIL’s car home for her and well….I had my first accident and rear ended my Mom. It was absolutely terrifying and there was a third car involved. Thankfully we are all  alright, and her car (as well as my Mom’s) seems to be mostly cosmetically damaged. I was so ready to be home after that!

20150816_125918


So…for the “No Running” part of the title. Aside from a very painful mile-ish on Wednesday, I have not run in over a week…in fact since I don’t have access to a gym at home I haven’t worked out at all. Why is this? My dang mystery leg ailment (MLA) has become excruciatingly painful. I wake up in severe pain during the night and it’s been painful even to walk on. I had an X-Ray this morning to rule out a stress fracture, although I know that they rarely show up on X-Rays until they’ve started healing. I’ve also made an appointment with a sports doctor/chiro in NY next week. I’m ready for some answers, and have accepted that I need lay off the running until it feels better.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what’s wrong, or when it will stop hurting, or when I will be able to run again. I’ll be heading to the gym for cross training when I get back to Plattsburgh to keep my cardio up. However, I don’t know where this will put me in line with my marathon in October. I’m stupid and probably should have stopped running a month ago when the pain started, but of course I put my goals ahead of my health. I’m hoping to receive the results of my X-Ray soon so I can see where to go from there!


Despite my leg and the car accident, the weekend was pretty great and I’m linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous In My Monday. Thanks for hosting, Katie!

 

 

 

Run YOUR Run

Yesterday I had one of those moments – or more like many of them (hours worth) before going out for my run. I haven’t hidden the fact that I have anxiety, but it often interferes with my running. I’ve always noticed it, but yesterday I found it within myself to really recognize it.

I found myself letting taking a nap and hitting snooze more than once before getting up to go to the gym to run. Once I woke up I stayed in bed for an hour. An hour. Why?  I was so insecure about going to the gym and running on the treadmill. But this feeling wasn’t new – I feel it before going out on the roads too.

But why did I feel this way? I didn’t figure it out until I finally got on the treadmill to pound out my 5 miles for the day. My running anxiety isn’t like my other anxious habits – I still haven’t figured out how to control it. Did I eat enough? Will my legs want to move today? Will I cramp up? How will my knee feel? Will I need to walk? Will I keep up XX pace? Can I meet my 2:00 goal?

Source in link
Source in link

Halfway through my run and after an episode of Gossip Girl (ugh, so good), I realized that lately I’ve been worrying so much about my running because I’m afraid of not meeting my goals. So what if I’m running at XX pace? So what if I don’t hit my 2:00 half marathon on 4/11? A challenge is something to be worked for. I have at least 2 other halfs planned for this spring. And more for the fall. There will always be races there for me, just as my shoes will always be ready to be laced and my clothes will be in my closet (well….if they’re clean.)

Source in link
Source in link

I’ve seen this quote countless times over the past couple of weeks – and yesterday it finally hit me. 2:00 is a big goal. After two half marathons, both after which I’ve gotten hurt – to make a goal other than to finish healthy is a big leap. But I’m determined. I want to be there in the middle of the pack, with a 1:5X:XX next to my name. What if I can’t do it though? What if I’m not meant to run anything over 9 miles comfortably? All that I know, is that I’ve set a good goal for myself, because it literally scares the crap out of me. So the next time I’m anxious to get out for a run, I’m just going to do it…Because yesterday when I was so anxious to get out for a run, I hid the speed display on the treadmill so I could just run without worrying about it. And for 5 miles I felt great within the pace that my training plan prescribes for me. No one besides me knew how fast I was going, and for that 50ish minutes, no one stayed on the treadmill as long as me (Score!)

So Run YOUR Run. Don’t lay in bed worrying about what could be. Let your goals scare you, but remember that you can only be proactive in meeting them. Because if you didn’t form goals to meet, where would you be going? Or else, the running rules you, and that’s not why you run – is it?

Do you ever get anxious before you go out for your run?

How do you feel about your upcoming running goals?

Training for What, Exactly?

Relating back to my last post, it’s hard to pick up after a big race, with nothing but “training” in the forseeable future. Yes, I have goals like finishing a 2:00 half marathon and eventually a marathon. Now, it’s back to keeping myself going because I simply want to improve. And for me, improvement in running is coming along slowly.

goodthingscomslow500

I didn’t run today. At first, I had a typical excuse – it was raining and I wanted to go back to bed. I realized as soon as I got to school how much I needed that run – mentally more than physically. I needed the release, and I had planned to spend 4.5 miles on the track, studying for my neuroanatomy quiz in my head. I arrived to my quiz restless and stressed, feeling so unprepared. I couldn’t wait to run after I was done for the day. When I saw the track was being used, I was flexible (my #1 difficulty) and decided to run around town. I didn’t even make it to the end of my street before my calf was screaming at me. Two weeks ago I would have fought for at least a little longer, aching to reach my goal.

straightline500

While on Sunday I was sure of my little “training plan” I designed for myself, I realized today that my body may need more of a “break” than I’m giving it. This meaning possibly slowing down to let my calf heal. But I’m stubborn and tend to push through pain when I shouldn’t. Can I really let up on running right now, even for a week or two? I have no idea. Physically, I know I have a decent base, and I have a gym I can cross-train at. Mentally, school’s kicking my butt and running is my little escape from it. It refreshes me after a bad day and replaces any self-doubt I have.

(running) Graduate Clinician
(running) Graduate Clinician

Looking ahead, I’ve been searching for races for early 2015. Do I run halfs until I reach 2:00? Will I ever reach 2:00? Do I try for a full? The above quote by Kara really sums it up for me. My calf and lack of direction right now is a bump. But unlike quitting like I did in 2010, I’ll keep moving towards improving myself.

Do you give yourself a break when you need it? Silly question, but this is coming from a “go-go-go” person…