Another taper

This week was nuts. I’m exhausted. I’m relieved to see training wrapping up. Running was probably the easiest part of this week for me.

Tuesday, I needed to use the day to run because my evening was packed with appointments including parent teacher conferences. Speed work was the task. I’d decided to try to be in the moment for the duration of the run. I ran a 1 mile warm up followed by repeats of 1/2 mile fast and 1/4 recovery, and a 1 mile cool down. My total distance was 5 miles. I wore my Aftershokz for music and used a route long enough that I wouldn’t need to turn back until I had completed at least 2.5 miles. It was windy, but otherwise great. I felt energized by the run and I wish I’d tracked my speed during the fast portions to see how it progressed.

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Tuesday evening, my husband and I visited my kids’ teachers. Each of them were noted to be talkers. My son’s teacher said he needed enrichment in reading and comprehension. My daughter’s said she needed a little help in penmanship and reading comprehension. I went home and found workbooks to order online to help them over the upcoming breaks for holidays. They’re not going to love it, but I’ll try to come up with some incentive to do the work.

Wednesday, my adult daughter (she’s 18), came to the house with a man and a truck to collect her things to move with “a friend and her parents.” She didn’t say hello to her siblings or bye to anyone when the truck was full and she couldn’t fit any more boxes.

Thursday, I had a morning full of appointments and skipped my run. The family minivan had the dreaded “check engine” light and the location of the problem was too deep for me to even attempt a repair on my own. I didn’t make my run up later in the day as I’d planned, either. The elementary school nurse called to tell me that my son had been to her and the school counselor because he was sad his sister had moved out and taken her things. The nurse let me know they discussed adults going out on their own, but I was a little angry with the way she’d neglected them the previous day.

By Friday, the oldest daughter was saying the house she had moved in to had been involved in a raid by law enforcement. She said that most of her day was spent with the police. She was communicating only with her dad. She was using WiFi and a messaging app because her phone bill had lapsed since she took over paying. Friday night, I was stressed enough to know I couldn’t handle the extra anxiety of being around people. Wendy messaged to ask if I wanted to meet up with her for our 8 mile run. She was willing to go 30 minutes later than my group was meeting, so I skipped my group run in favor of less people and more sleep.

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I don’t know why my face can’t take a good picture lately.

Saturday morning’s run was great. The miles flew by as we chatted. I needed to stop to use a restroom when we were only a half of a mile from finishing the run and I was so glad to see the bathroom when we arrived. I didn’t stretch when I was done. I went home and still didn’t stretch. I spent most of the day on the couch under a blanket and under my dogs. It’s Monday and my calves are still really sore. Lesson learned.

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The lesson is that dogs are freaking adorable. Wait…

Saturday night, my adult daughter posted to her Facebook that she was planning to end her own life. My response to her set off an intense argument with her. While I’d expressed concern, she implied my efforts were superficial and did her best to cut me down with insults. Since my husband and I were unsuccessful at locating her, I screen shot and re-posted photos of the entire conversation (including my comments that she deleted as soon as I posted them). She said she was at a local hospital, so I asked that anyone at a local hospital look for her and show security her comments so the correct actions could be taken. I had a lot of support despite being really nervous about posting the entire conversation.

I had also decided to tell myself that if anyone had an opinion, they could “eat it and eat it again after they shit it out.” Through these experiences with my daughter, especially over the past 3 years, I’ve started to realize that I don’t need opinions and they have no bearing on who I am as a person. It is liberating.

Sunday, we did morning church so we could bring the kids to a trunk or treat at a church one of my friends attends in a nearby town. We stopped in after church to have someone pray with us for my oldest daughter. The trunk or treat wound up being fun and the kids even thanked me for bringing them to it, so I was feeling pretty pleased.

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My son is a hot dog and my daughter a vampire. They’re fishing for prizes.

Nearing 10 pm, my oldest daughter called me from a facility asking to return to our home to stay. She stated the facility was going to release her at midnight. She hadn’t called earlier in the day because she was sleeping. I felt like a person who’s ex calls drunk in the middle of the night for a place to stay. Her words felt empty and she would insult me each time I insisted that she find other arrangements. A 45 minute long conversation ensued where she threatened to either kill herself or walk to our house and sleep on our lawn if we didn’t immediately collect her and give her food and shelter in our home. She hung up. My husband called the number that had called me and spoke to the facility, who assured us that she was not being kicked out and that she was safe. He reported to them her threats. Moments later, she called my phone and said that she would be staying there and gave me a password to speak to her and disconnected the call before I could respond. I know she’s safe. I wish I could lay out things to help people understand the place the decisions I’ve made have come from. I’m not going to, though. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed some more. I can love someone and still refuse to help them repeat self destructive behavior. The best part is…the decision isn’t up to other people. My husband and I can do that.

So, this week, I’m just hoping to make it through my next three runs before race day. I’m hoping to have some fun with my girlfriends on our trip to Indy. I’m praying for direction and for something that will not harm the family as a whole just to help one member. I’m living one day at a time and I realize that God is in control. It helped that Sunday’s verse from Our Daily Bread was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge him in all your ways, and he shall make your paths straight.” This verse is printed on one of my walls and I think I get it now.

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Do you have struggles that sometimes making running feel more difficult? Have you forgotten to do something simple like stretching, hydrating, or something else that affected the way you felt days after a run? I hope you’re doing well and I can’t wait to share my race day stories with you! This will be my first Indy Monumental and I get a really cool hat at the finish [and a medal, of course].

Drop me a comment or even send me a message. I love feedback. Even the constructive criticism helps.

 

Present living

I got an email this morning saying that there are 12 days until Indy Monumental. I’m so excited! I think I can try to get my best time there and I intend to. I’m also feeling the need to pull back a little on my running and I am excited for not training for anything for awhile. My head is in the future and hoping for the next breath of fresh air or break.

I sometimes get caught up in the “tomorrow will be better” mindset and I don’t think much about the present. My foot pain is mostly gone. My runs this week were actually fun.

Tuesday was hills. Thankfully, it was road running instead of grassy hill repeats. I enjoyed passing the miles with my friend, Maureen. The hills and the miles passed quickly and more easily with her encouragement. I felt confident in my ability to take on the hills after completing the first round of the route.

Thursday, Jess and I met up and ran 4 miles together. The weather was ideal for running and it felt less like a chore to do my run that it would have by myself.

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Jess and I after our 4 miles

Saturday morning, I got up early to meet with Wendy to do 9 miles before a 5 k race I’d signed up for. The miles passed so quickly and easily, I didn’t use any of my energy gels on the run and it didn’t really seem like it was 9 miles. I was able to run the 5 k with Barb, who I ran the 4th of July race with. Considering I’d run 9 miles prior, the race passed quickly and I was done with my long run for the day.

On those runs, I was in the moment. I was present for the present. So, the time went by and felt shorter. When I’m preparing to run or when I’m by myself, I often worry about the future instead. I look into what is left to do to achieve what I want to instead of looking at what I am achieving in the moment. Those times don’t pass as quickly and those times aren’t looked back upon as fondly.

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Bottom to top, my runs from last week.

 

Today, my training run doesn’t get to be with the group because of parent teacher conferences and other activities with the kids. My solo run goal will be to focus on what I am accomplishing in the moment instead of what is left on my “to do” list and what I want to do at Indy. I’m going to spend some time deliberately living in the present.

Do you catch yourself living somewhere other than the present? Is there something you do to help bring your focus back? I hope you are enjoying cooler running weather as much as I am. I think I need to go back to using my alarm clock that simulates the sunrise to avoid the seasonal depression monster. I’ve already caught myself being a little more cranky with less sunlight.

 

Time for Rest

I’ve finished one of my fall half marathons and I’m in the last 3 weeks before the finale of my racing season. I’m relieved to see the end nearing. I intend to keep running after the final race, but I only intend to keep in 10k condition for the coming months. I am looking forward to the break from longer runs and dedicating more time to injury recovery and prevention.

Tuesday was speed work. My muscles were not happy that I was trying to run again after the 16 mile weekend (a 5k and a half marathon over 2 days). I managed to push myself to complete the workout. It was a hot evening. I drank all of the electrolyte drink I’d brought along. I ran 4 miles with an average of 11 minutes per mile and I walked 30-45 seconds after each pick up before running back to complete 4 of the pick up repeats before running a mile for cool down.

A friend offered to run with me on Thursday morning after I got the kids off to school. It was so chilly that morning, I don’t think I’d have run if I didn’t have plans to meet up with Jess to do it. I dressed well for a run in the weather with long sleeves and pants that both had mesh panels to offer some air circulation through the hotter spots (armpits and backs of knees). I told Jess that I was going to do 4 miles because I couldn’t remember what my training calendar said. I later realized it said 5 miles. I once again averaged 11 minute miles for that run and didn’t worry about that missed mile.

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Same Jess as in the Whiskeydaddle 5k.

Friday, I saw my physical therapist. I am close to being discharged from their care, but I’m basically listed as independent/home practice for two weeks before it is official. My foot hasn’t been too bad. I just need to actually remember to keep doing the exercises.

Saturday morning was even colder than Thursday, so I wore a warm 1/2 zip top, pants, gloves, and a winter headband. We had 8 miles. The first 5 were south of where we parked and the next 3 were supposed to be north. Around the 5 miles, we had to stop because I needed a tissue, but I also needed to ditch my headband and gloves because I was hot and sweaty. When we reached a train crossing on the north part of the trail, there was a seemingly endless freight train preventing our crossing to continue. We opted for turning back to our starting point and heading east on the trail to complete our 8 mile run. It wasn’t the plan, but it worked out fine. We caught up with someone else from the group and we all ran together and talked while we went along. I felt the familiar feeling of just wanting to stop because I didn’t want to go any further, but I somehow recharged and finished strong. I also started walking the second my Garmin hit 8 miles despite having another 1/4 mile back to the starting point. I averaged under 11 minutes for that run. I was pleased that I’d actually kept up the effort and even came close to averaging the speed I would need to in order to get a personal best at my race in Indy.

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Sunday wound up being hectic. Much of it was kids. Not all of it was my own kids. The message at church was about rest, which was timely considering I was completely exhausted and irritable. I think the message was more about living out the calling that God has for us and being patient with His timing. I’m still trying to shake off the irritability late on Monday morning while typing this post. No, it isn’t “that time of the month” for me. I sometimes get overwhelmed and it leaves me feeling this way. I am not one who enjoys being busy constantly. I like my peace and I like having time for rest. I don’t do the competition to see how busy I can be or how tired I can get before I explode. I just work in rest like I do exercise. I make it a priority.

I’m excited to have my last two long runs leading up to the race on November 3rd. I let my friend talk me into a 5k this coming Saturday. It wasn’t difficult. I have been doing the race yearly for a few years and its kind of a tradition. I have a 12 mile run on the calendar, so I suppose I’ll need to do it Thursday or before the race starts on Saturday. I want to place in the 5k, though.

Are you still training? Do you have a plan for the lull in races that comes until the spring? Do you prefer running in the heat of summer, coolness of fall, or something else entirely? I am not a fan of cold weather in general, but the running conditions are pretty good when it is cool and not yet bitterly cold.

Have a great day! Hope you can work rest into your schedule!

 

 

Race Day(s) in week 12

Week 12 is finally through. When I signed up for Whiskeydaddle in Peoria, I entered a challenge where I’d do a 5 k race on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday.

Tuesday’s training run was near our local Fleet Feet for four miles. The weather was hot, but the run felt great. Four miles gave me confidence for the upcoming weekend because I managed to do well in the heat. The group I was with ran and commented on the bulk waste sitting on the curbs. We saw a couple of bowling bags, a lot of furniture, and even more luggage. It was fun to point out the little treasures we saw in the trash.

My oldest daughter was unhappy with her choice to stay with family out of state that she’d made last week. She asked to return near the end of the week and was encouraged to try to make things work out. She returned to the area over the weekend. I had spent the weekdays placing her things into boxes and rearranging things to utilize the emptied space. The finished product was my kids playroom being moved to the less visible basement from the room directly beside the entryway. I was wiped out from all of the cleaning and organizing I had done through the week.

The entire week, rain was in the entire weekend forecast. Friday morning, I set out on a 45 mile drive to packet pickup. Rain poured down the entire way there and got so heavy, I couldn’t see the tail lights in front of me and I couldn’t hear the radio over the rainfall. Once I was in Peoria, it wasn’t raining. I picked up race packets and headed back home without being rained on for the 45 miles back.

Saturday morning was the 5k race. I found friends at the start to chat with leaving my husband closer to the front since he’s much faster than me. My friend, Jess was doing her 2nd marathon on Sunday (after a 12 year marathon hiatus). I mentioned that I average 11 minutes for my first mile and that she could run with me to ensure no break neck speeds were had the day before her marathon. It was a hot and humid morning and I was sweat soaked by the end of that 3.1 miles, but I had fun and felt encouraged about the next day. It drizzled and felt cooler after we’d finished, so I put hope in the cooler feeling sticking around. I read my devotional for the day and it was titled, “Run” and included Hebrews 12 where it says “…and let us run with endurance he race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus…” I was amused at the timing of that particular message.

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Jess and I post race (with our Goodr sunglasses)

Sunday was the big 13.1 mile race I’d trained 12 weeks to run. I barely slept the night before. The weather was difficult to predict even with the forecast rain. I arrived to a fairly cool, but very humid start line. At the parking lot, I told my husband that all I could hope for was to finish the race and not cry or give up. He told me I was definitely too stubborn to give up, but to cry if I wanted. This is just how we joke with one another about running sometimes. I found friends again at the start and chatted it up. As the gun went off, most of the people I knew took off ahead faster than I allowed myself to start out. I spotted my friend, Wendy. She was running intervals and kept catching up to me on each of her runs. I decided that instead of chatting and splitting up on her walk breaks, I’d join her on the intervals. She was happy to invite me to run along, so that’s what we did. She informed me that she would be running her intervals for 10 miles and then walking the other 3 miles. Her goal race was Indianapolis Monumental, which I’m also running, and Whiskeydaddle was a training run leading up to it. Glad to have someone to chat with that was going to do 13.1 miles, I spent the rest of the race with Wendy. We did a fun photo during a walk interval.

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I hit a point where I was fighting my brain to keep going and I couldn’t think of anything except how much I wanted to just give up. Wendy kept my distracted from those thoughts and kept up the conversation even when I wasn’t actually talking much. She’d assumed I was annoyed with her, but I was just trying so hard to keep going that I just needed the talking. When we hit the 10 mile mark, we agreed to walk the remaining 5k to the end. We ran a few times when there was a downhill or just to stay loose, but the intervals were gone. My personality came back and I was able to form words and carry on a conversation more easily. We ran in the finish happily enough that the announcer said, “This is why you run with friends. Look at those smiles.” I raised my hands over my head for the finish photo and it was done. My time was over 25 minutes slower than my personal best. I made it 13.1 miles, though. That means I have a few weeks to work out the kinks before I run Indy and I could still reach for that personal record time. And Wendy will totally be there, guys. I could torture her for another 13.1 miles.

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FINISH!

I didn’t get the PR I’d hoped for when I started training 12 weeks ago. I finished, though. I had another half marathon finished and another one planned. I got the medals I’d signed up for and my training continues tonight with speed work. I’m looking forward to more training and more races. I push through the challenges in life with endurance and I run the races with endurance (even if the speed isn’t there).

The medals:

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5k was called “The Shot” and the Half Marathon was “The Bottle”

Thank you for reading! I hope you’re enjoying the fall race season and maybe even planning for the spring. I hope you can push yourself a little past your comfort zone to achieve things you want to. It is worth it each time!

 

 

 

 

Week 11 Taper starting

Last week was lively. It felt like at least 9 days instead of 7 in my opinion. I wound up missing my Thursday run by putting it off until Friday and running out of time.

Tuesday’s training group workout was hills. We typically run to a grassy hill that is popular for sledding (and hill repeats) and some distance afterward along the nearby trail. I decided not to aggravate my foot and did my hill repeats with a friend on an incline along the street near the grassy hill. It was challenging, but not painful. Success! Almost immediately after the run, the clouds poured down rain. I drove home in the pouring rain thankful that it hadn’t started before I’d completed the run.

Wednesday, I woke up in pain in my mouth.  I went to the dentist for a filling. It was awful. I didn’t say much when it felt like nothing was numb when the work began. I winced and wiggled in the chair. Once it was over, I started to feel a brief numbness. By the time I got home, it felt like my face had been struck where the guilty tooth was located. I quietly sobbed as I took two ibuprofen, iced my cheek, and took two more ibuprofen after 15 minutes of no relief. It actually let up and I was able to sleep without taking any more anti inflammatory medicine.

Thursday, I felt crummy most of the day and I was exhausted. Things were taking me longer around the house and I wound up not getting out for my run and I put it off until the next day.

Friday was more busy than I intended and I didn’t run as I’d planned. I had my first physical therapy appointment. The analysis showed that my foot was not flexing as well as it should on either side, but that the left side (where the pain is) was slightly less mobile. The therapist did iontophoresis, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation on my foot. I was sent home with 4 pages of exercises to help with my pain and scheduled 3 appointments a week for the next 2 weeks.

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My puppy ate page 1 of my workouts, guys… these 3 remain.

Friday evening, I went to a party and was able to bring my husband with me I was there to try to win a trip to Las Vegas. I didn’t win, but I had fun having a date with my husband and knowing the kids had fun while we were out. I had dropped the kids and their bikes off with a family involved in the same scout troop, so they knew them and their kids enough for it to be fun for them.

It would have been easy to skip running Saturday to sleep in and relax a little. A kind stranger had given me an extra drink ticket on Friday night and I totally drank that beer. I knew I didn’t have time to make up the run later in the weekend, so I got up and had a great 6 miles. The weather was what I consider ideal for running. The run was relatively short compared to past weeks and I felt great. That’s the beauty of a taper. Saturday afternoon had a full calendar and seeing my bed at the end of the day was a relief.

Sunday morning was an early day for church. There was a ceremony and our evening service was cancelled for that day while the other two services were moved by time in order for an 11 am ceremony. It was all part of this book we’ve all been reading as a church.

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After church, my teen was feeling cross and any attempts to reason with her were unsuccessful. I won’t go into it here, but there was a brief period where she utilized a public audience to express her dissatisfaction. Family that caught the post offered their assistance and someone took her in at their home.

And so September ended and October is here. Race day is Sunday, October 7th. My podiatrist was excited about the end of my training until I told him I have another half marathon on November 3rd. He told me to let him know if I’d rather defer my entry to next year and then nudged me off the chair*.

*That didn’t actually happen, but it probably could have because I actually forgot that deferring was a thing for big races like Indy.

How do you feel about taper week? Are you already winding down for the year or just getting started? Do you already have plans for a big goal next year? I want to do the Mo Cowbell race in Missouri next October. I’m from there, so I like to use races to go back and visit.

Have a great week! Next Monday or Tuesday should be my race recap and we’ll talk about my participation in Rachel Hollis’s Last 90 Days. Heck, maybe I’ll write about that before next week.