It isn’t even winter, yet.

It is COLD outside and technically, it is autumn. I realize the weather isn’t unusual for this time of year in the Midwest. I just like to complain about the weather being extreme. I’m not a fan of bitter cold, dry skin, and slippery surfaces. Of course, I’m on a holiday running streak. No, not Christmas. That is one of the holidays in there, but it actually runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, so “holiday” is the correct term. 

I missed the local Turkey Trot, so I prepped our Thanksgiving meal and went for a run once the turkey was in the oven. The nurse practitioner I’d seen on Wednesday gave me a steroid for my shoulder pain. I spent most of Thursday with my heart rate 40 beats faster than normal while donning the tank top I had on under my button down flannel because I was too hot to wear more. Fortunately, that feeling went away and I had some Friday yoga with friends. That was the extent of my leaving the house on Black Friday.

I almost gave up the streak Saturday because I didn’t want to go. I headed out with my puppy on her harness for her first run and she did well. Like, surprisingly well. She once put her brakes on for a stick in the sidewalk and she wasn’t very friendly to passersby, but she kept the leash loose and didn’t trip me. She’s only about 7 months old. The mile is her maximum distance for running now, but I’m happy to get her comfortable with being my running partner in the future. 

Sunday, I got up and met friends to run. They were going 5 miles and I turned back after 2 miles. I ran faster with each mile even after setting off on my own. Later, my joints were all screaming about it. It amazes me that I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago, but 4 miles seemed challenging. 

Me, after 4 miles

There was nothing spectacular about Monday’s run except that we’d gotten some wintry weather overnight on Sunday. I was going to go to the gym to run. Then I decided that I didn’t want to drive a mile to run a mile indoors. I set aside the gym clothes I’d put on and got out my winter running gear. Once out the door, I was about 2 houses from my own when I realized it was too slick to run without traction. I went back in and put on “Yak Trax” over my shoes and went on my run. The slick parts were no longer the problem. The precipitation had melted into slushy spots and frozen again on the sidewalk. The bumps were like running on rocks and I was slowed by my footfalls needing to be carefully chosen. My knees were wobbly after that run.

Yak Trax

Tuesday, I headed to the gym for a run. I hopped on the treadmill and squeaked out a quick mile, then calibrated my Garmin to read what the treadmill said on the display. I started a new mile and increased the speed. I kept challenging myself to just to a little further at a faster speed. By the end of my run, I was under a 9 minute mile for the final 1/4 mile. It was rewarding to challenge myself and be able to follow through. I hopped off of the treadmill and went to the indoor track for a final mile. 

The track says that 9 laps is one mile, but I ran about 9.5 before my watch said 1 mile was complete. I did a few cool down stretches and had a seat near the gym lobby listening to my music on my headphones and scrolling through my phone. A man approached me, smiling, so I removed one earbud and returned the smile. He told me, “Your running form is perfect. You should run a 5k, you would do really well.” He went on to tell me how my gait and my foot falls made it clear I was a ‘natural’ at running. He again encouraged me to run a 5k and said he believed I could. I simply thanked him and screwed my earbud back in before taking a selfie to ponder how I felt about that conversation. 

I can’t say I was stunned or that I was displaying courtesy. It didn’t occur to me that anything I said had any bearing on that interaction. Of course I wanted to track him down on my way out and say, “I ran the Chicago Marathon last year. I just finished 2 half marathons this fall that were my 6th and 7th.” Honestly, it was nice to be encouraged. I know that my efforts likely will not result in me looking the way people, including me, expect an athlete to appear. I’m just happy to be able to do the things I get to do. It was a nice reminder that I can, in fact, run. I’m actually pretty good at it.

How do you think you would react to a similar situation? Do you ever just reiterate to yourself the things you’re able to do? Are you a holiday streaker? 

Post Race Hiatus

I have not run since the race in Indy at the start of November. I’ve been off a little over two weeks. I haven’t worn my Garmin every day. I plan to start again on Thursday as part of my usual holiday streak from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. 

Not much activity there

I can feel the difference in me when I’m not running. I feel a little less optimistic and energetic. I feel a little more isolated and it makes me want to isolate myself more. It’s the right time of year for depression to creep up on me. That unwelcome and uninvited guest sneaks in during the extended dark and tells me that I’m too tired or not good enough to complete everything I need to. I have to force myself to override the exhaustion on most days.

Fortunately, my prayers were answered for my oldest daughter. God placed the right person in our lives to help at the right time. She’s living in a safe environment and has even secured a full time job. It has been an incredible relief to my husband and me. I think recommitting to my faith this year has shown me why faith is important. God is good and this is me witnessing that.

I worked out last Monday with weights and pushed a little too hard. I was sore most of the week. I spent a lot of time foam rolling, stretching, and walking to relieve the pain. I was volunteering during most of the week, so I spent much time on my feet. Standing was fine because my rear end and quadriceps made sitting a chore. I intend to work out again this week, but I’ll choose a workout with less squats and lunges so I can actually sit down the next day. I think focusing so much on my calves, feet, and ankles during this past training session has left me weak everywhere else. I didn’t have sore calves or ankles at all from all the work. 

This Nike Workout

I’m in pain. I have a recurring pain in my shoulder and neck muscles. I’ve had a few migraines over the past couple of months, which is unusual. I get nervous about talking to the doctor about it because the answer I get most often is that depression causes physical pain. I’m not fond of that answer because I’m not sure that my depression isn’t a symptom of a greater problem. I know how weird that must sound to some. It doesn’t change that it is more optimistic than accepting that I have a disorder that can be managed and treated, but not cured. I don’t think that is true for every case of depression, but I think looking at it as a symptom could be helpful in finding relief.

I’ll soon be working on my goals for 2019. My goal for the remaining time of this year is to maintain my weight (no gain) and to complete the running streak. I’ve graduated physical therapy and I’m not under the care of my podiatrist anymore. I can start cross training as part of my workout regime again. I am aware that some of the therapy exercises are ongoing and I’ll probably have to work extra on my ankles and calves to keep my feet healthy. 

Do you have end of the year goals? Do you have goals for next year already? How does winter make you feel? 

I’m also hoping this little pup will be able to run with me in 2019. Aurora is already 6 months old and over 30 lbs! When she joined our family, she was 3.5 lbs! 

Redemption Race

Flashback: November 2016:

 

Sixteen weeks of marathon training was coming to a close on a mild autumn Thursday afternoon. The training group had one more meeting at Fleet Feet to run before our trip to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. The mundane task of walking to the bus stop to collect my son resulted in an injury that would sideline for what was supposed to be my first marathon. I went to Indianapolis anyway and cheered on my friends. I saw from the sidelines the stocking hats finishers were getting and I said I wanted one to myself and to the Fleet Feet Bloomington owner, Julie, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. Julie told me I’d have it one day when I earned it and it would be that much more special. 

November 3, 2018: Race Day

The crowd was HUGE. My usual panic set in getting to the race start before the race actually started. After the first wave started, my friends and I discovered we were in the wrong wave and had to go underneath a divider to get into the correct one. I danced around to the music and said, “If you’re not having fun at the start, you’re not going to have fun later.” I watched my friends go forward as we separated in the group. Their goal time was over 20 minutes faster than mine and I didn’t want to sabotage my race.

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Ready to START!

I was finally in Indy to race. I was doing the half marathon instead of the full, but I was finally there. It seemed like an eternity from the time the race started to the time I finally crossed the starting line. It was about 12 minutes, in reality. I had my music ready and was excited at the prospect of finishing this race.

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Yes, 10 hours of variety. It keeps it fresh.

It was crowded, but I settled in and told myself that the first mile needed to get me warmed up and would have to be 11 minutes or slower. I warmed up and tossed my outer layer during the first mile. I was feeling so good by mile 3, I told myself that I needed to hold back just a little longer despite feeling good and start running how I felt after the first 6 miles were over.

The crowd was amazing! There were the usual “press here for power up” signs and the “worst parade ever” signs. BUT…there were people in costumes all over the place. Young Skywalker and a Storm Trooper were there. A skeleton placed in a chair held up a sign that said “Worst Caravan Ever.” A guy in a shark suit ran beside me and asked if I was his best friend’s friend until I laughed and gave him a thumbs up. A man in a Batman costume ran the race. A woman in a nun getup (a habit) ran the race. She probably beat me even in her nun shoes. There were people giving out beer. There were others giving out ghost peppers and milk. Despite not taking any, I thanked everyone that had an offering on the sidelines. The atmosphere was like a party and it helped push me through. Someone even yelled “Go Jenn Go,” as I’d had printed on my race bib.

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I took in scenery and talked to myself about how I finally got to see the streets and the sights I’d missed before. I reminded myself to take it all in and I prayed a few times for the strength to finish. I felt so good, in fact, I nearly forgot to take a gel until I was into my 5th mile. I was walking through every water stop and taking 1-2 drinks of water at each one and it was working out well for me energizing. I wasn’t taking many drinks from my hydration belt, which contained Tailwind. I’ve had a lot of luck using Tailwind in my summer runs and figured it would be a good thing to bring along to Indy. It would have been if I’d used more than 1/4 of the bottle by mile 10.

I felt amazing! Then, it hit me. I felt a little tired. My head was soaked with sweat. I was pushing as hard as I could and I couldn’t surpass a 12 minute pace. My heart rate was in the 170 range. I had to walk before I hit a water stop and I was not happy about it. I took off the Buff that was on my head and shoved it down the right side of my pant leg. I removed my gloves and shoved them down the left pant leg. I walked and drank from my water bottle. I started estimating a finish time and set a goal. Initially, I’d wanted to get a personal best at less than 2:19. Today, I would finish in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. I picked back up and pushed myself as hard as I could.  The elite runners of the full marathon started to pass me. I clapped for them and yelled how impressive their performance was. It gave me a little recharge, but probably more because I’m competitive and my ego was achy.

Upon seeing the sign that said “Mile 25,”  I turned off my headphones and I prayed. I thanked God for helping me. I wasn’t doing a marathon that day, but I was nearing the finish line. I repeated: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). Then, I just silenced my thoughts and paid attention to everything there was to see. The people. The signs. The things the people said that were so beautiful and encouraging. This was a fantastic show of people being positive without even knowing all of the people they cheered for. I saw the finish and breifly looked down at my watch. A lady shouted “ON YOUR LEFT” while passing me in the 100 yards to the end. I noticed my watch reading 2:29 and seconds ticking away and I went as fast as I could to cross and beat my goal time by 11 seconds officially. Not my personal best, but still did what I wanted to. I looked at the person next to me [total stranger] and said “We did it,” with a smile as she looked back and mustered a little grin.

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I found my way past the finish and I got my medal and put it on while I tightly wrapped the Mylar blanket around my sweat soaked clothes. I mindlessly grabbed a banana (I’m a little allergic). I saw the hats. The stocking caps were being handed out and I reached out and grabbed it and thanked the people at the table while I carefully ensured it was secure in my possession.

No matter how many times someone suggested I put the hat on when I said I was cold, I declined. My hair was sweaty and this hat was special. It could only be placed on my hair after it was clean and dry. The hat was that thing I’d wanted and I’d finally earned.

My Takeaways

  • Indy was an amazing experience. I would actually spend more time there if given the opportunity. There are so many things to see and to do there, one night isn’t really enough.
  • I know better than to only take 1 gel and drink so little of my nutrition. This is likely the cause of using more effort with less speed nearing the end of the race. This still wouldn’t have led to a personal best, but probably a better time than I had gotten.
  • I chafed my under boob. I didn’t spray Tri Slide lower than the bra’s band, which I also know better. Bras start to creep down a little during long runs.
  • It was a good choice to not toss my cheap running gloves because I really needed to take them out more than once to warm my hands.
  • Mesh panels in running pants and shirts are a great idea for temps in the high 30’s and 40’s. At least for me, they were.
  • The Indy medals are set up for a 4 year series to spell the word “INDY,” and now I have the letter “I” medal in my possession…. uh oh.

Look at this race swag:

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Trip to Indy

Friday

With the race app on my phone, bags packed, errands already run, I waited for my friends to head to the Indy Monumental half marathon race. Over the summer, Jane and I planned a trip for the race where we’d stay outside of the city at a less expensive hotel and use a parking app to reserve a space ahead of race day. We found two more friends to join on the trip.

Maureen and Kristen came to my house together after Jane came solo. Maureen was our driver and I was to navigate when needed. Kristen gave each of us a paper face mask and candy in a cute paper bag. The ride to Indy was filled with conversation and laughs. We found a parking spot in a garage near the race expo convention center. A passerby was snarky about our close parking space saying we must be special. I assure you, it was not a designated space for any specific person(s) and it was simply the first space available after entry.

The expo was packed. We got our race packets and then explored. We got separated at packet pickup. I found Jane and bought race merchandise before walking around the expo. I found the Run Like a Mother table and found a new hat that I’m excited about. Here it is:

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We got in line for a photo as our meeting spot. We ran into our friend, Patrick, who recently moved to Northern Michigan and was running his first marathon in Indy. We had to get a photo with him as well.

 

 

After the expo, we set out to locate and check in to our hotel. We stopped for gas along the way and Maureen’s Subaru wouldn’t start after the fill up. Some young guys used their car to jump the car for us and we went to the Lawrence, Indiana Baymont Inn and Suites. While checking in, Jane was told that her requested room required additional cleaning from the previous guests and would not be available. As a substitute for a room with 2 queen beds: a suite with a king sized bed, a sofa sleeper, and a roll away bed. We agreed, unloaded our luggage, and went to dinner at Applebee’s. I felt like I should write in my blog that I wasn’t expecting much, but I enjoyed my food there.

We returned to the Baymont, and saw the Goodwill store across the parking lot was still open. We headed there for ‘throw away’ clothes for race morning. [Athletes wear clothes to the start that they don’t intend to wear the full duration of the race. In many races, those clothes are donated to a local charity after being collected.] I found an Adidas jacket I wanted to keep and a hooded zip front sweatshirt to use as my throw away. I had already gotten gloves for a dollar in case I didn’t need them for the whole race. I couldn’t find a jacket in my closet that I wanted to part with.

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Great Goodwill find!

At the hotel, we started getting ready for race morning. The hotel delivered a roll away bed that we had to call for help to open. When we pulled the bed from the sofa, there were black spots all over it. They weren’t moving, but it was obvious it hadn’t been cleaned from a prior use. Maureen called the front desk and they gave us another suite upstairs. Kristen and I left Jane and Maureen and went to the other room to use that bed. I’m not hip on trying this particular hotel chain again. I don’t think a sleeper sofa and roll away bed were a comparable substitute for the room we’d reserved and we were still charged the same. Lesson learned. Kristen and I again unpacked our things and organized them for race morning. I set an alarm for 5:15 am.

Saturday

I still managed to wake up before the alarm despite the time difference. Kristen had already gotten up. We got ready, packed all of our things, and headed to the hotel breakfast area. The hotel offered a continental breakfast, but I was hesitant to eat more than my usual Stinger waffle. I had yogurt cup from their offerings. We saw other people with race bibs heading out of the lobby of the hotel.

Maureen drove as I navigated to the parking garage where we had a reservation on the Spot Hero app. The parking was easy to find. There were other race people in the same garage and we had a semi warm place to hang out a little bit before going to the race.

Once out on the street, we encountered a woman who ran the Chicago Marathon in October and recommended that we try it sometime. We all chimed in that we ran it in 2017 and Kristen had also run it this year. We congratulated her then wished her luck. We stopped in at a hotel lobby to use the restroom. A hotel employee unlocked the door for us saying that they lock them to guest only use for events like the race so people don’t just wander in off the street to use theirs [ha, ha…oops].

As we brought our official [clear] gear check bags to the gear check, we stopped a few times to chat with people we knew. Like our Girl Boss friend, Lauri:

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Maureen, Jane, Me, Lauri, Kristen

Checking the bags was easy and we had a little time, so we waited inside of some doors with a bunch of other race participants to stay warm and to take some group photos with our training group from Fleet Feet. We rushed to the start at about 7:45 for the 8 am race start. The four of us were in Wave 3.

I plan to talk about the race in another post because this one is going pretty long already.

After the race, Kristen and I were in different places in line for a free massage. The line turned into a nearly 2 hour commitment. I ran into Wendy and socialized with her for the last part of the wait. I had been chatting it up with a woman from Boston I’d met waiting. When Wendy went to take our selfie, her camera was rear facing and I suggested she take the photo anyway to confuse herself later. “Who is that person I took a picture of?” We got our selfie, though.

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Wendy and Jenn sighting

The long wait for the massage meant that Jane and Maureen had lunch without Kristen and I because we told them to go ahead instead of waiting. I was distraught when I’d realized how much of a waste of time waiting had been and that I’d missed out on trying out beer at Rock Bottom Brewing. I was already emotional, so tears welled up in my eyes. Kristen and I were encouraged by Maureen to go ahead and order food to eat there instead of having our orders wrapped for take out. I had lost my appetite, so I ordered a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a beer. Both were really good. The chicken tortilla soup was warm and spicy, so I felt a little better after eating it.

The ride home was a good kind of uneventful. We chatted about things including our experiences at the race. We all shared similar plans to bathe and relax the rest of the evening. I’m pretty sure my dogs missed me more than my children, but I was only gone a day, so I’ll accept it. The dogs wanted to lay on me, but my kids wanted to go play with friends.

 

Have you ever had a bad experience with lodging for a race? I didn’t realize that gear check was so easy. That was my first experience with it and I was happy to have some dry gear available at the finish. Now I need to decide if I want to do this race the next 3 years to complete a series in the medals…

My race story will be tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed this and read my post tomorrow, too!

Thank you!

 

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.

 

 

 

10 weeks into training

I’ve completed week 10 of training. I’m in the last weeks of training before the Whiskeydaddle half marathon. I considered bowing out or challenging myself at a shorter distance. At least I’ve been stubborn enough to stick with it even after I’ve experienced some adversity.

I went to the podiatrist about the chronic pain in my foot diagnosed as sesamoiditis. I’ve slept with a splint on my foot in a flexed position. The Dr. made modifications to my shoe inserts to take the pressure off of the area of my forefoot that was painful. I had less pain, but not total relief. Tuesday, I had a cortisone shot and was referred to have physical therapy over the next couple of weeks leading up to the race. I was impressed that he was able to get a needle from the top of my foot into the painful region on the bottom and precisely hit where the pain was centered. I was less impressed that the injection recreated the pain I had while running. Over the next couple of hours, my toes became numb. Doc told me not to run on it again until at least Wednesday.

My first run of week 10 was on Thursday. It was hot and humid outside and I set out to complete 5 or 6 miles since I’d missed 5 on Tuesday was due for 6 on Thursday. I completed 4 miles running and walked under a mile home. I felt no pain in my foot on the run. I was bummed that the weather was so gross when I finally felt no pain in my feet, but the heat was oppressive and I wasn’t going to push too hard.

Friday, was an event with Fleet Feet for “Run at Work Day.” [I don’t make these things up.] I enjoyed a 2 mile solo run followed by lunch and conversation with women who also run. Friday night was spent getting to know my neighbors while our kids ran around and played past their bed times.

Saturday morning, I’d agreed to time a race for my local running club. It was cool enough to need a jacket to stand outside. I missed my group run, but I wasn’t really ready to run 12 miles Saturday. I needed to rest and to reset. Also, I got to hold a time machine. See?

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Upper right. It says “Time Machine”

Since my usual morning long runs are Saturday, my husband gets Sunday mornings. He checked with me since I’d skipped my run, but I told him that I wasn’t enjoying running and I would make up my long run when and if I felt like it. My kids let me sleep in until almost 9am. I was feeling rested and refreshed. After his run and after a lot of back and forth with my best friend, Liz, I got dressed and set out for “whatever I could do just so I could tell her how gorgeous the weather was.” I knew it was supposed to be 12 miles for training. It is the last long run on the calendar before taper and race weekends. I drove to a local park and secretly hoped I’d make it to 13 miles with the beautiful weather. It was afternoon already. It was warm and running still felt hot. I enjoyed the first half of my run. I even made myself stop to take drinks even when I felt I was going at a good pace. Upon completing mile 10, I stopped at a fountain and messaged my Liz. She’d hurt her cornea and couldn’t run outside. She gave me crap for not wanting to run when she was missing her last long run before her half, so I muddled through the last two miles with a lot of walking and whining. The last two miles were speed walking, nearly crying, jogging, and feeling the sensation of pain again in my forefoot (which made me get a little teary eyed thinking about how the pain wasn’t actually gone). Finishing felt like I could see more clearly and had more energy walking to my car. I got my mat, walked to the trees, and did my post run exercise and stretch routine in the shade and took a selfie.

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I was actually pretty content after that long run.

I went into church with a wet head of hair barely dried from my shower, but I didn’t stink and I looked presentable. Our pastor talked about repentance.  At the end of the service, there was an offer for anyone who wanted to be baptized. They had spare clothes and towels on hand. I squeezed my husband on his hand and whispered, “I’m going to do it. I really want to.” He then asked if I was serious and walked with me to the changing area out of view of the congregation. They asked him if he was getting baptized. Without missing a beat, he said “Yes.” We changed into athletic shorts and t-shirts and were baptized before the congregation by a church elder who had recently prayed with us over our teen daughter and her recovery. I’m so happy that we did it on the same day and witnessed for one another. I’ve always been a Christian, but I haven’t always been good at staying in my faith. This year, we started going to a local church at the request of our oldest child after she’d completed rehab. While she hasn’t continued her attendance, we have committed to attending and teaching our younger two about faith and service. I’ve been examining myself and my faith and I really hope that I stick with it. I still struggle with depression at times. I’ve devoted more time to reading and praying and I have less time for being plugged in. That has helped.

Is your race coming up? Are you ready? I’ve noticed that each training session has had different challenges. This time, it has been harder to overcome the “can’t” in my head.

Enjoy your journey and share with me your thoughts!