Week 5 in the books!

I’m done with week 5 and on to the halfway point for the first race! That’s awesome!

Also, I had a lunch date with my husband and he encouraged my lunch beers, so I’m in a more chipper mood than usual on a Sunday. Yes. This post is brought to you by craft beer and a delicious sandwich from a hollowed out loaf of bread (known as a BraiZito).

I had three runs this week, as planned. Tuesday was a 5 mile run near a Dawson Lake at  Moraine View State Park. I wasn’t feeling great, but the run started 30 minutes later than usual. I set out with good intent, but aware that this course was hilly for the region and that it was late enough in the day to provide plenty of summer humidity and bugs. Then, I started to fall into step with someone I’d run with as a mentor in the past. He was mentoring the 10k group at the time and he really let me know how much my mentoring had encouraged him in the past. I suppose hearing someone actually say it made an impact on me. I felt a tinge of value in my attempts at helping people by just being who I was and saying what I meant.

Thursday was kind of nuts. I had one of “those” runs. The things I worry most about going wrong. Those were the things that went wrong. I didn’t get enough sleep overnight, so I didn’t get to run in the early AM hours like I’d planned. Dinner was later than I’d intended, so I ran sooner after eating than I would have liked. My newer headphones weren’t cooperating with the Bluetooth on my phone. The music was skipping on my run. I had a pain that I’d written off as phantom after my first stop and discovered was a hair splinter at my second. Nearly halfway into my run, I needed to eliminate and was not close enough to any bathroom to make a stop. I wound up inside of a CVS pharmacy after a rather uncomfortable jog to the building and feeling obligated to make a purchase, shoving stretchy athletic tape into the pockets of my Lucy shorts while stashing everything else into my Amphipod hydration belt and refilling my hydration in their fountain. I’d been blessed to remember to bring along knuckle lights with me since darkness set in prior to my run home from the CVS. Lights in hand, I set out for the 2 miles home. Along the way, one knuckle light completely died, leaving me with my left side illuminated and my right much less lighted along the way. A few houses from my own, I’d hit the mark I’d aimed for and started to walk. I was so thankful I’d made it the planned mileage instead of having to cut it short. Somehow, completion made it all okay.  I felt more accomplished having overcome the obstacles than perhaps I had just completing the run.

Saturday was the 8 mile run that my mind was prepared for 7. I know I ran 7 last week, but my brain was not having that because I did that one on my own. The course was a 5 mile course (including the 10k group) followed by a 3 mile course.  I spent much of my first 5 miles running with people training for a 10k. It was encouraging and kept me mostly close to my goal pace. Once back at the starting point [Fleet Feet store] I refilled my hydration bottles and once my hips started to stiffen up, I set back out deciding that the others I’d intended to run with would catch up with me if I’d started another warm up. They did catch up and we had an amazing run. The mentor with us spoke encouraging words when I started to feel like falling back. I followed her to the point where I was matching her footfalls to stay in my desired pace. I was actually telling myself that I had to override my mind to take my body where I wanted it to go. It worked. We finished the run near the average I’ve been looking for and someone I’d run with is willing to do the goal race with me so we can hold each other accountable. Last year, I’d had trouble with a 12 minute pace. Now, I’m closer to 10 and that’s really exciting! Mile 6 is obviously where I stopped and refilled, walked as I pleased, and recharged.

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I left this week of training with hope. I’m picking up speed. I might actually PR in one of my Autumn races. I am feeling physically more able than I did in my training last year, which gives me more I  in each run. I also still get to see my friends and talk to people in my training.

My depression and anxiety are not in remission. It is annoying how often I feel like my heart is beating out of my chest or that no matter how hard I try, I’m not good enough. I bash myself more than anyone ever could. I assume the world is not meant for me sometimes. I have a few close friends and I’ve discovered that it is plenty.

Thank you for reading! Please share, comment, and suggest as you please. Remember, craft beer probably had a bit to do with my writing in this particular instance. I hope you try your local brewers and you like Hazy American Pale Ale.

See you next week!

 

 

 

Week 4 and challenges

I’ve completed week 4 of my training. I had speed work, an active vacation, and a visit with my podiatrist.

Tuesday was a speed workout with pick ups. Basically, we had to pick up speed from cone 1 to 2 and go “all out” from 2 to 3 and then cool down going back to cone 1. I was proud of that run. I had a great partner with me for the duration of the speed work and she really helped me rise to the challenge.

Thursday, I intended to wake early and run 7 miles, but I was struggling with some stress related exhaustion and I slept past the alarm.  I did 6 miles instead of the planned 7. I felt the need to slow down and I also just wanted to go home and get on the road for our vacation in Missouri. Trevor the dog was with a local friend. Aurora, my puppy was to stay with my friend, Liz. That meant I actually got to see her. I even ordered her a gift to show up on Thursday. The package arrived as I was talking to Liz. As in, not at her house, but at mine. I saw it on my front door cam. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Liz has a 95 lbs. dog named Buddy. Aurora took one look at Buddy, ran away, and pooped on Liz’s carpet. She finally got over her fear and they were friends over the few days she stayed there.

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That’s Aurora the puppy with Buddy the HUGE dog

Friday was our first full day at the cabin and it was great! It backed up to a small lake and was set back in the woods where we saw a lot of deer and I saw raccoon prints on the back steps. I got into a kayak for the first time and paddled around the lake. My 8 year old son was able to catch on to kayaking in the lake by himself [with flotation]. My kids, nieces, in laws, and I had a full day of play on the lake ending with a get together for my son’s recent birthday and s’mores by a fire after dark.

Saturday morning, I planned to run 7 progressive miles somewhere around the resort. I’d decided on a main road and estimated where the 3.5 mile mark would be for me to turn around. I was surprisingly close to accurate and turned around at 3.6 miles so I’d have less running on gravel than I had at the start. It was hilly. There were beautiful sights including deer so close I could’ve almost touched them and I felt guilty for disturbing them running by. The hills nearly did me in, though. I stopped and took a photo of a hill right before I attempted to surmount it. I made it partially up running, then fast walking, and then realizing walking was fine. That mile was still my fastest despite having walked up that hill. Nature apparently was a good run motivator for me.

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See the bluff? That hill was HUGE.

I made it back to the cabin where my mother in law had made my favorite breakfast of biscuits and gravy, which I ate gratefully. We all suited up and headed out on the lake for more fun. I took the kayak out further and tried going faster. I think I really got the confidence to be able to enjoy pedaling. After lake time, we went to the resort swimming pool in the afternoon and to an outdoor concert in the evening.

Sunday, it was time to go home. We spent time gathering our stuff and loading the vehicles for the trip. I was feeling pretty tired, but I think that was a bit of the introvert in me needing some rest after a social few days. We stopped back by Liz’s house and got Aurora, who had to gnaw on my ear and my ponytail as soon as I lifted her into my arms. The ride home was spend slipping in and out of sleep. When I got home, my neighbor delivered the box I’d meant to send to Liz. I opened it and sent her photos of what I’d bought for her. A 32 oz Blender Bottle with a Wonder Woman design and color scheme that I have since used for myself.

Podiatrist

I was supposed to see my podiatrist a couple of months ago for a checkup from when I tore my peroneus brevus tendon, sprained my ankle, and got tendinitis from running on it anyway [on the right foot] and he treated it. I started having pain in the ball of my left foot, so I thought it would be a good time to reunite with him despite not wanting to hear bad news. I described my pain and after an exam, he requested an x-ray. Soon after the x-ray, he said that there was a sesamoid bone that was in two pieces that shouldn’t be, but it looked like it had been that way awhile and the pain was located in the sesamoid bone opposite of that one. He mentioned that if I’d let it go on, he’d probably have immobilized [put a cast and boot on] my foot. We discussed treatment including him making adjustments to the inserts I use in my shoes and using anti inflammatory medicine. I have to be careful of which surfaces I run on. I have to go back in two weeks to have it looked at and possibly get a cortisone shot if it isn’t clearing up using the conservative methods. I didn’t want to go because I’d honestly assumed I’d broken it after getting my Google MD in the field of feet ouchies. I’m glad I actually went during training instead of spending my late autumn and early winter in a cast.

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I got this from the Dr. office. I must have seemed really confused about the name of the bones there.

How is your training going? Have you ever had an injury you didn’t want to know more about because of the fear of having to take time off? Tell me about it! Thank you for reading. I have a hill workout this Tuesday and an 8 mile run on Saturday. It looks like I’m staying at 3 days a week of running for now. Guess I’ll dust off my bike or maybe even go swim laps.

 

 

 

Week 3 of training

Hello! I didn’t forget to write last week. I realized I was writing my blog in the middle of training weeks, which are Monday thru Sunday.

I have completed week 3 of training. During week 2, I’d questioned my training program. It was adjusted and sent out during week two (not because of me). The program is more manageable and makes more sense than the one the group was given at the start. I’m still making Mondays optional as they have been in past training programs, but that’s for the sake of my ankles and feet.

The long run in week 2 was originally a 6 mile run. It was 5 in the new plan. I’d mentally prepared for 6, so 5 felt good afterward. I even went to brewery yoga which turned out to be barre and a little more challenging than the yoga I’m used to doing. I was sore on Monday.

Week 3

Tuesday, the group runs start at 5:30 pm. I hopped in the car believing I had until 6 pm and arrived at 5:45 pm. I arrived to see very few people, which I found odd. Two of my friends were there and informed me that my group had already taken off. I ran straight to the hill where we were going to be doing repeats after a 1 mile warmup. I arrived just as the first group of runners from my program were doing their first uphill. I was 1/2 mile behind the group by that point. I went down the hill 5 times and up the hill 4 and ran back with one of the last groups to complete their hill repeats. Fortunately, I only needed .3 of a mile when the group was finished and that was easily completed. I would have been sad to miss hills. I actually enjoy the challenge of that workout. Some people refer to Illinois residents as ‘flat landers’ due to the lack of hills or any actual inclines and there really aren’t many hills to train on in my area.

Wednesday was cross training day and my cross training was trying to find clothes for a job interview I’d secured with my kids in tow. I’ve been out of office working for 8 years. It was not a body positive day for me. I was disappointed when I tried on outfits at the store and they wouldn’t fit. I bought a bunch of dress clothes and brought them home only to feel like nothing looked right on me even with my shapewear pulling in the jiggle. I cried about it. I felt completely defeated and wondered why I even try to be healthy when I can’t look the way I want to.

Thursday was a 6 mile run and I needed to get up and run in the morning. My calendar was full and I am not an early riser. I ran faster than I’d expected or planned. I went into my interview that afternoon with a little extra energy. Immediately, the interviewer disarmed me from all of my worries I’d entered with. She asked me about my running I’d mentioned on my resume. The rest of the interview went well and I felt as if I’d just had a pleasant conversation with someone I’d just met. I’m expecting to find out about that some time this week, so I’ll probably mention it if I get the job and try to ignore that it happened if I don’t.

Friday was my son’s 8th birthday. He chose Chick Fil A for his birthday dinner. They were raising money for St. Jude with their cookie sales, so I bought 2 of the 6 packs and used those as birthday cake at home. He blew out his candles and we had delicious cookies for dessert. I hope it was memorable for him like I think it was for me.

Saturday morning, I showed up on time. I had managed to bruise my own eyelid by trying to rid myself of a facial blemish by pinching it. It wasn’t that type of blemish. Go figure. I had a good 6 mile run and was glad that I’d done a progressive run on Thursday so I could take it a little easier in the heat and humidity. I didn’t get in my Sunday recovery run. I’d missed out on sleep and I just wasn’t mentally in to running.

Today is the start of week 4 and I’m looking forward to my long run. There are only 2 more weeks of summer vacation for the kids before school. I think I’m ready for it this time.

Thanks for reading! I am in a 12 week program with an extension after for a second race. I’ll be doing Whiskeydaddle half marathon in Peoria and the Indy Monumental in Indianapolis this year. I’m striving to beat my 2:19 personal best time. Do you have a race goal you’re training for?

Week 2 of 2018 Training

I’ll try to keep up each week in training, but it won’t always be just about how training is going. Today, I’m nursing my leg from a middle of the night ‘Charley horse’ in my calf and I still have some training miles to knock out this evening. It’s been awhile since I’ve been awakened by a sudden muscle cramp. I’d forgotten how annoying it is.

This is week 2 of training for my fall half marathons. My training plan is much different from ones I’ve followed in the past and involves more miles than what I’d anticipated.  The plan I’d chosen was one to help myself run a ‘fast’ half marathon. While I’d normally insist that I follow a training plan to the letter, I’m concerned about injury from over training. I’ve cut an entire day out of the plan for the duration of my program. I won’t run on Mondays. I’ll cross train, of course. A well rounded athlete is more likely to avoid injury. In the past, Monday runs were marked “only if you feel good,” and I think that’s been an effective part of past training.

I find it odd to describe myself as an athlete. I am a runner and I do races. I train for my races and I try to ensure that my body is strong and healthy enough to perform. I’ve just got the “mom bod” going on and I’m not meeting my time goals. I want to beat my personal best at at least one of the two half marathons I have on my schedule for this fall. I have time to work on that and there’s no way I would beat the time if I didn’t actually put in the work. I’m also more concerned about what my body can accomplish than how it looks.

I’m gradually getting faster and running is feeling less tedious. I enjoy the couple of group runs each week. It helps me to socialize with other adults, which is totally important in parenting life. Running with the group helps me adjust my pace and try harder than I do running alone. Group running holds me accountable for running on days when I’d probably find an excuse not to run. I had a 4 mile ‘speed work’ run this Tuesday. While it wasn’t as I’d planned, I had a bit of faster running than I have recently.

As far as mental health, I’d be doing better if I were sleeping right. Increasing my activity to more days and miles a week makes it harder to sleep. I’m often awake in the wee hours [that are too early to actually get up for the day] feeling like I could get up and go run. Then, I get to overthink all of the things I did and said the previous day before I fall back to sleep. It isn’t unusual for me to have that for a few weeks starting out in training, but it is annoying.

This weekend calls for a 6 mile long run on Saturday. I’m looking forward to running this and each training run. I’m looking forward to trying to beat my personal best. I’m looking forward to proving once more that my body can do amazing things. I’m sure I won’t always feel optimistic, but today I do. That’s really all I need. One run at a time and one mile at a time.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate your comments and suggestions. Keep them coming!

Here’s a dog and puppy photo because I take a lot of them and I can’t wait until she can run with me. My older dog is getting used to her. I might even say he likes her.

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Another adventure begins

I call my blog, “Jenn’s Journey,” and I’m sure I’ve explained my reasoning in the past. I’m hoping to become more fit and healthy, but there isn’t necessarily a stopping point or single goal. The experiences leading up to something, also known as the journey, are more important than the destination.

Enough of that. I started training for my fall half marathons this week. It came at a great time. My anxiety turned on last week and would not shut off. I sought out friends to help me through it and I was so happy that I did. Being in ‘fight or flight’ mode for days is exhausting. I actually started to feel physically sick. My husband took a day off of work for me to rest because he saw the toll it was taking on me and how tired I was. Boy did I rest. I slept most of the day and got up to tidy the house before heading back to my room to lie down some more. Usually, I’d say I wasted so much time, but I don’t know that I needed anything more than to reset.

Saturday, I joined my training group for a kickoff meeting and run when the weather decided that there would be no run. We had lightning followed by a downpour that went on for quite awhile. I got to have a chat with friends at the nearby coffee chain. Later, I went to the local brewery for yoga class and beer with another friend. I had a relaxing day overall and I even watched a movie on my Prime.

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Indoor beer yoga due to weather

Sunday, my husband decided he was taking the kids to the pool and insisted that I stay home and enjoy some kid free time. Of course, I decided to hop into my running gear and hit the trail. It was so hot and humid, but I figured that I’m only at the start of training and some days will have weather that isn’t ideal. I had a great time running and even did my stretches outside of my house so my dogs could play a little while out there. The pooling of sweat on the concrete beneath me was a source of pride when I saw it.

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I could’ve just collapsed into the kiddie pool at that point.

I showered and we went to church that evening. The message was about….rest. About not forgetting to be still and relax. My pastor actually said that people are so wrapped up in being busy that they forget to not be busy. Message taken, sir. I took a few days to relax after pushing myself to do ‘it all’ for awhile.

I can’t be the polished mommy of the mom blog world. I don’t try to be. Parenting is hard and it isn’t always play dates and Pintrest worthy projects. So, I like to run. I like taking time to myself. It makes me better at what I do and makes the time I spend with them more enjoyable.

We still have the puppy we found and nursed to health. She’s sweet and funny. I’m totally mad at her for making me love her so much. Even my six year old ‘mutt’ named Trevor gets up and plays with her all of the time. It’s been a lot of work and I take it in stride. I think I might have a running buddy when this puppy gets older, though.

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Trevor is the lighter top dog. Aurora is the darker puppy.

Have you started training for a fall race yet? Which one? I’m doing Whiskeydaddle in Peoria and Indy Monumental in Indianapolis. I can’t wait to go for my next training run!

 

Running helps me

My depression and anxiety have been really annoying lately. I had a shaking anxiety attack that left me completely exhausted. My depression has been rather unkind in making me feel ‘not enough’ lately. It is tiring.

My running has taken a huge hit lately. I had intense hip pain that spread into my pubic bone. Stretching, ibuprofen, and Epsom salt baths were not helping at all. My runs were reduced to the minimum of 1 mile per day due to my reluctance to stop the running streak I started on Memorial Day. The runs became slow and were often more of a quick walk. Running is my outlet for my days spent “momming.” I listen to music, pray, and/or sometimes just relish in the fact that I’m not in the heavy air of conflict (with 2 kids 18 months apart and a teenager).  The mile breaks weren’t enough. I physically needed the rest, but I also mentally needed the outlet.

I visited the chiropractor, who needed to adjust my hips and the left side of my pubic bone. My husband encouraged me to go to a fun run that involved a visit to a brewery afterward for a social. I guess I’m a little insufferable when husband says: “get out of here awhile.” I went and planned to plod through my mile, and go have a beer and chat with other people who enjoy running that I don’t see as often as I used to.

I met up with people I hadn’t run with in awhile and they were doing run/walk intervals. I had such a good time talking to them and spending time out on the trail, I went 3 miles with just a little soreness and not the same pain I’d been having. It was a relief. Then, I got to talk to even more people after at the social. I actually stayed awhile and really enjoyed myself catching up with people and talking.

I had one more adjustment at the chiropractor to get the hip pain under control. I invited friends to join me at a pop up yoga class at a local brewery Saturday morning. The yoga instructor worked on hips at the request of a few people including me. It wound up being hot yoga because it was already in the 80’s and humid at 10 am. I think the session really helped my hips.

This weekend, I intended to knock out some miles to ensure I’d be ready for the 4th of July race that is 5 miles. Saturday night, my stomach wouldn’t behave and I had to stop in at my house at 3/4 of a mile to use the restroom. I made it another 3/4 of a mile before I had to go back home for the same reason. Sunday, I planned a visit to the gym. My stomach wasn’t agreeing with my plans. I took a nap and didn’t wake up until the evening when it was time to leave for our 5 pm service at church. While we were at church, a storm rolled in and the temperature dropped dramatically. After dinner, I was able to change into running gear and head out on a 3 mile run. It was still hot. The humidity was still there. I enjoyed it, though. I felt myself going faster than I had been. I glanced at my watch and saw the distance just pass by. I stopped running at the 3 mile mark and walked the remaining 1/2 mile home as a cool down. I took it all in. Finally. I got a run in.

I was exhausted after I did my hip exercises and stretches. I sat on the floor in my room and drank my electrolytes and played on my phone instead of hopping up to take a shower. It was tiring, after all.

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Almost a grin. I’m pleased with myself.

My running doesn’t miraculously heal my depression or my anxiety. I’ll admit that I’ve wanted it to. I thought if I could just go further, faster, or better that I’d be healed. While that’s not the case for me, it dramatically reduces the intensity of the symptoms.

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I wanted to go 3, but was happy with my 1.5 miles.

Do you feel like fitness helps you in another aspect of your life? Does it help your mental health?

Thanks for reading! I try to come back weekly with updates for you.

Fra-gee-lee

This past Saturday, I ran the 45th annual Steamboat Classic in Peoria, Illinois. While I’d signed up for the 15 k race a few months ago and worked hard to get myself up to the over 9 miles that the race would require of me, I dropped to the 4 mile race when I went to packet pickup. I didn’t take the decision lightly. There was already a heat advisory for the weekend when I ran 3 miles on the Wednesday prior to the race. The humidity was oppressive for each of my runs leading up to the Friday pickup. I checked with my [best] friend, Liz who would be running the race with me, and we agreed that 4 miles was just a better idea since she hadn’t trained for the distance and I wanted to be healthy for my fall half marathons instead of nursing injuries (again). What also helped was that my 4 mile best time was pretty close to my 5 mile time on Athlinks because last year’s Steamboat was tough on the injury I’d been nursing. I knew I could beat that 4 mile time, but my best 15k comes from 2016, which was the year I was in the best shape of my life.

At packet pickup, I asked to join the Athena class for female athletes over 180 lbs. I hopped on the scale and pushed that baby close to the 200 lbs mark. I didn’t try to cover it up from those waiting in line behind the scale. I didn’t insist I take my shoes off. I wasn’t surprised by my weight, either. Prior to my injury, I’d weighed 170 lbs. At the end of 2017, I was tipping the scales closer to 215 lbs. It was so hard to be heavy and to get motivated to try hard again. I’ve worked to lose over 20 lbs over the last 6 months and I’m still working hard at it. I gave it a lot of thought over the weekend and even discussed with my best friend about how there is a difference between saying that I’m proud of my weight and accepting it for what it is. I’m disappointed that it got so far. I wish I was the same size I was when I was 150 lbs and trying to lose weight. I wasn’t strong then. I didn’t run. I smoked cigarettes and I ate crappy food. There is no pride in the sizes that I have been no matter how small or large. The size I am right now, I’ve worked to get to and I continue to work to be a healthier, stronger woman. It’s what I have and I’m working with it. I will always be a work in progress and I’ve accepted that. I’m currently on a 1 mile or more a day streak and it is helping me stay active when I don’t want to be.

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Liz and I post run

I ran a 4 mile race. For the first time in a race we’ve done together I told Liz to slow down at the start of a race and hold a pace and I kept reminding us to hold it. I tried to keep up conversation even when the heat was taking its toll on our bodies. I also felt good about the race, though. I wasn’t slowing down. I checked the statistics from the timing mats. Liz and I moved ahead of 144 people from the 1 mile mark to the finish. We held our pace knowing that it wasn’t a day for negative splits or a PR.

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The look on my face says it all…

At the finish line, a tall woman ran ahead of me. A silent agreement between Liz and I had us separating at points if we needed to during races we’ve run together. I took off assuming she might be part of the Athena class and that I’d need to beat her if I wanted to get an award. All the way up through the finish, it was a race. She came in 2 strides ahead of me and I was pissed when I saw that I was 2nd in the Athena class. I was so mad at myself that I didn’t pull those couple of strides out of my pocket and come in ahead. Later on, Liz would pull up the finish line photos and the stats on the Athena class winner. The 1st place Athena had come in 3 minutes prior to me. That woman I had such an intense race with had nothing to do with my 2nd place award. She also had started ahead of me, so her chip finish was a tiny bit after mine.

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Athena Class award

 

So, I won an award that clearly says on it that I weighed more than 180 lbs when I won. It doesn’t have to mean I’m proud of my weight or that I’m promoting obesity. I’m aware of those people who say those things to heavy women. Although, I did carry that weight across 4 miles in some intense heat and I’m pretty sure some people lighter than me couldn’t do that. I actually got my best 4 mile time. Athena. It’s pretty cool if you think about it.

Time to train for my fall half marathons. The heat has been intense. I’m finally able to feel good in the hotter runs, though. It took me a couple of years to get faster after I started to run. I’ve been out of physical therapy for less than a year. I need to continue to have self discipline, but realize that progress is progress no matter how small. I hope I can run a 5 k in less than 29 minutes again one day. I hope I can weigh 25 or more lbs less one day. It doesn’t happen overnight and working toward it is something to be proud of.

Do you know where the title “Fra-gee-lee” came from? I won a “major award”, you know. There’s probably a movie reference there.

I love comments! Please let me know if you have something you want me to write about. Good luck on your journey!

 

So done. And so ready.

Summer is kind of stressful, guys and gals. Especially when there are kids in the mix. My oldest graduated high school [a year ahead of schedule] and my youngest two are going into 1st and 2nd grades. The oldest child found a puppy on the side of the road that was only 5 weeks old. Fortunately, she’s been okay to eat wet puppy food and she’s doing much better than when found. My 6 year old dog is not amused by this puppy and looks at her with contempt.

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Having everyone home and the puppy was a little hectic. Then, the teenager had her tonsils taken out last week. Along with the puppy being around, things need constant attention by me around my household. This past week, I fell behind on my household chores a few times. The fact that I am a neat freak and prefer things to be clean adds stress to an already stressed mom.

I’m running a streak. Memorial Day to July 4th, I will run at least 1 deliberate mile each day. Sticking to it has been tough with finding the right time to get away to do the mile. Wednesday was the goal race for the 5k group I’ve been working with. I stood at the start with no real expectation about what I was going to do. Then, I noticed a couple of women I’d run with in the group going at a speed that was significantly faster than they’d been accustomed to going in practice. I took it upon myself to ensure they would finish the race and not wear themselves out in the first moments. It was hot and humid, but they finished and they ran the last bit into the finish. I overheard them talking about how I helped them and I was thinking about how they totally did it on their own and I was just there to see it happen. I’m glad they thought I helped, though.

Friday, I set out for a little over a mile and I wound up running 3 miles while it was 84 degrees out. I loved it. That’s so unusual for me to say because I tend to quickly overheat and become fatigued. It didn’t happen on this run. Saturday night, my youngest child (she’s 6) was being kind of a handful. I invited her to go run a mile with me. She came along and told me that we were actually jogging because we weren’t going very fast. She averaged about 12:50 pace for the entire time. I told her that we were taking it easy to be sure we could go the whole distance. She still mumbled that it was a jog.

Sunday, I set out to do 8-10 miles. I have a race this coming weekend that is 15 km, so the distance wasn’t really an issue because I’ve already trained for those miles. I tried to hang close to home because there was a chance for thunderstorms. Once, the rain drizzled overhead and I ran. Mostly, I was hot and sweat was just dripping off of me as I ran. I had hydration and nutrition with me and I refilled each of my two bottles during the run. I felt great and even energized despite the humidity and how hot it felt outside. On the last let of my run, I started to run up a street that runs behind my house. Suddenly, my headphones were making a horrible sound instead of music. It was the emergency signal on my phone saying there was a tornado warning and to seek shelter.  I turned around and cut through a neighbor’s yard to go home. I ended at 7.5 miles. A few minutes after I arrived at home, the sky opened up and it was pouring. Good thing I went home. There was no tornado in my immediate vicinity. I wish the best to those who experienced one, though. I can’t imagine how scary it must have been.

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The stress remains, but I have felt good about running. I have my 15k this weekend, a 5 mile run on the 4th of July, and nothing else planned until my October half marathon (13.1 miles). I hope I can continue to have good experiences running in the heat of summer.

Do you use running to de-stress? Do you have any races on the calendar?

Thanks for reading! I love suggestions and comments.

 

Back in training

I spent little time training for more than 5k races since October, which was the Chicago Marathon. I’m even moving toward a ‘maybe someday’ for another marathon. I hadn’t pushed any further than 4 miles and that was fine because I didn’t have races on the calendar yet.

I’ve finally started upping my miles. The first instance was joining a relay team for the Illinois Marathon and I have slowly raised my long run mileage and pulled back when my body thought it was too much. I’m up to 8 miles now and it felt great. Except for the humidity that was absolutely oppressive, it was a good experience. I’m training for a 15 km race in mid June called the Steamboat Classic in Peoria, IL. The race brags that it is the toughest 15 k race due to some steep hills and the heat that normally accompanies the race. Since it it close to the Illinois River, the steam is always in attendance. The race is fun, though. I like the challenge. The people of Peoria come out and cheer on the runners. There are misting stations located along the course including some that residents have fashioned themselves with their garden hoses. The finish line has water misting and then a beer garden to go to! It feels like the thing to do to kick off my summer training for my fall race(s).

This year, I have 2 half marathons after Steamboat. October is Whiskeydaddle in Peoria, and November is Indy Monumental. I feel like I have to do Indy at least once since I missed out on doing my first marathon there a couple years ago. I’m excited to to both and to start training soon!

This weekend, I was talking to a fellow runner who is training for a 5 k race. She mentioned to me that she had read somewhere where a woman spoke of focusing more on what her body could do instead of how it looked. I thought it was funny that she brought up something I’ve said before and a great time to remind me of what I’d said. I started running distance because I wanted to show what my body was capable of even if it didn’t look how I wanted.

Yeah, that.

Are you training for anything? Do you have a favorite race? Have you ever goaded your best friend into running a 15 k with you? I did. Poor Liz.

 

 

 

So critical

Yesterday was amazing! Some running friends invited me to fill in for one of their marathon relay teammates at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign. The weather was perfect for running. The people on my team were awesome!

Then, there was me. I’m still not back to being at the speed I wanted to be by now. I was running the last leg because it was the shortest distance of the relay, but I was going to kill their time by being so slow. I set my watch for intervals of 10 minutes running and 1 minute walking. The crowd was amazing! There were people lined along the route cheering. There were runners around me who were encouraging.

I kept having to tell myself that many of these people had run over 20 miles already that morning and I had so much less than that. I reassured myself that my teammates told me to run for fun and not worry about time. I looked at my watch as my pace slowed. I winced as my shins felt each foot strike on the ground. I stopped looking at my watch and started listening to the music coming through my headphones. I waved and smiled at each spectator as I passed them. I thanked people for encouragement. I got a little faster and felt a little more confidence. I followed my intervals and I finally met up with two of my teammates at mile 26 as we went to run into the the stadium together. At first, I didn’t feel like I could catch up with them a few steps ahead of me. We hit the turf for the field and the final stretch and I felt weightless running in. We finished together and got our medals. I even felt a renewed confidence that I could actually run another marathon one day despite my Chicago race. 

When I finally had a chance to look at the race photos, this one was in there:

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Ouch

I see every fat roll in my shirt, in my pants, and all of my chins. I see a fat person. I was sad and upset to see this version of me.

I had worked so hard in 2016 to accomplish my marathon goal and I’d been in amazing shape. I haven’t gotten that back since the injury and I want it badly. I feel completely drained most of the time. I showed the photo to my husband and told him that I hope this makes a good ‘before’ picture and that I don’t keep getting fatter. I honestly feel like I work harder than what shows on my body and trying isn’t good enough.

Things have been hard. I don’t want to look like this. I wish the effort I’d put into it was reflected on my appearance.

I’d like to be positive when I write here. Being under constant stress and feeling exhausted all of the time really shows on my body. I wish I had the answers that would make me not carry the weight of the depression and stress. I wish I wasn’t such a harsh critic of myself, but the truth is, I see and I judge myself more harshly than anyone else would think.

I am aware there isn’t a magic pill and I’m not looking for one. I’m not interested in buying the “latest and greatest” program. I’m not looking to buy anything.

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself that just floored you? Do you have comments or suggestions? Please let me know!