FUNDRAISING IN FULL SWING!

I’ve started busily fundraising and planning upcoming fundraising events. I’m more determined than ever to get back to running!

A few ways you can help:

  1. Go to my fundraising page and donate! This is the page that was provided to me by the charity to fundraise: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262
  2. Buy from Schwan’s using my fundraising code (32389) or click below:
    https://www.schwans-cares.com/campaigns/32389-jenn-runs-chicago-for-team-challenge
  3. Like my Facebook page to see events that you can attend if you live in or around Bloomington, Illinois (right next to Normal, guys. Like…almost Normal. But not. Get it?):  https://www.facebook.com/MomJennGoal26point2/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND FOR READING MY BLOG.

I’m going to start training very soon and I’ll be so excited, I’m sure I’ll have an update for my blog! We’ll go step by step through training for a marathon after a long absence from injury. We’ll cover what I’m doing in addition to running to prepare for the big race. I’ll plug my fundraiser when I can because I really want to help Crohn’s and Colitis be a thing of the past by helping find a cure!!!! Below is the logo I created for my facebook page. It may look really simple, but I’m not a graphic artist, so it wasn’t for me. Respect to those who can do it and do it well.

18056344_788851521268037_4042105638556973015_o (1)

A boot, to boot

wp-1488416304417.jpg

My pretty blue cast with a warming thing over it.

So, that’s my foot up there. Technically, both of my feet are in that picture, but the right one is the most noticeable. Good thing I chose yoga pants for my podiatrist visit because I didn’t know I was getting a cast and boot as a consolation prize while I was there and I’m not sure how I would’ve gotten my jeans off once I got home.

How did my foot get into this predicament? I twisted my ankle…on November 3rd of last year. That was two days before my first marathon that I didn’t get to run. I saw my primary care physician, who told me that it was not broken and that I should go ahead and just hobble on it and take it easy from exercising on it for a few weeks. It nagged when I got back to working out, so I asked about the pain. The doc told me that sprains just take a while to heal. I asked him where to get a second opinion and he told me to see a orthopedist.

So, I went to the orthopedic. He ordered an x-ray, and then an MRI. He told me that I had:

  1. longitudinal split of the peroneus brevis tendon
  2. chronic tear of the anterior talofibular ligament (often referred to as the ATFL)
  3. Sprain of the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL)

He then referred me to a foot specialist saying that the longitudinal split would not heal on its own and I would likely require surgery. He told me that my only options for surgeons were in towns that were 45 and 60 minutes from my current location. So, I sent a message to my friend and coach who is more familiar with the doctors in the area. I asked her how it was possible for other people to have foot surgery without going to these other cities. She gave me the names of some specialists that she’d heard of other runners having seen and I took the list to research my insurance. I called one and explained the list of things on the MRI report and asked whether their office could help me, and the person on the phone went and double checked with the doctor before scheduling my appointment.

Yesterday, I went in and brought them my MRI disc and info. The doctor took more x-rays of my foot (because he needed to see what it looked like weight-bearing). Once he came in to talk with me, he asked about the initial injury. He told me that I should have immobilized the foot immediately following my injury. He explained each issue with the MRI results. Then, we discussed my running. He said that I can’t swim, run, or elliptical for the next 6 weeks. He said I could keep lifting weights with my arms and that I could ride a stationary bike with the boot on my foot (which made me chuckle to visualize). Someone came in and wrapped my foot in a ‘soft cast’ to immobilize the foot for healing. Then, I was given a boot to wear over the cast to completely immobilize my foot. As I started to leave, I asked how I was supposed to drive a car with this thing. They brought out a second boot for me to wear and the doctor was emphatic that this small boot was ‘ONLY FOR DRIVING AND NOT FOR WALKING IN’. So, I felt like the cast was probably because they didn’t trust me to actually immobilize my own foot (ha, ha).

wp-1488416142935.jpg

Trevor the dog says “What the heck is that? Want me to sit on it?”

As it stands, if this is effective to healing, I will not need surgery. The doctor said that my physical examination showed evidence that there was strength and stability already in the affected area, which ruled out a complete tear or surgically necessary repair. He said that he’ll check up on it in 3 weeks and the cast and boot could come off that quickly, but the conservative estimate was still 6 weeks. I’m less than a day in with the boot and I already feel that we’re enemies. I’m not good at just sitting in one place.

Fundraising? Of course I am. Not only is my entry not transferable, but I can’t defer a charity entry into the marathon for any reason. My plan was to still fundraise regardless of the outcome of my visits, but the news is looking much better than I’d expected at this point. My plan will be to start my interval training as soon as I’m ready and to work my marathon training in run/walk intervals. *Look up Jeff Galloway if you’re curious about intervals. I’ve run a half marathon using this method and it was pretty close to my “running only” finish time.

If you’d like to give to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for my fundraising efforts, I’m only $1600 away from my goal. I earned my training shirt (pictured below). My awesome donors helped earn me the shirt! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!  I’m glad I took a pic of the note because my youngest drew on it, then cut the star out for herself.

My fundraising link: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262

wp-1488416171409.jpg

Blog 19 January 2017

I sat here in front of my laptop for awhile trying to come up with a title and I just can’t. My mind is mush. I am trying to just make heads or tails of what exactly I’m supposed to do to make things less difficult. I’m exhausted. I need to get in my workouts. I can’t get much out of them when I’m exhausted. So goes the cycle.

I went for a run over the weekend and I went back home after getting to the top of my street because I needed something to cover my face from the air. I got that and I left the house again. I ran a different direction and started mentally planning my route. I saw a thick patch of ice coming from a yard onto the sidewalk, so I ran a little into the grass. My shoe was sucked off of my foot into the muddy grass. I tried to hop back, but I can’t actually hop on my ‘bad ankle’ on an uneven surface without some pain. So I walked to my shoe and slid it back on. I saw that two kids on bikes were watching me, so I mumbled “what a day,” and continued my run. Needing to pause to walk a few times and feeling like I wasn’t quite loosening up to run made me decide to take the turn toward home instead of the trail. I was mad that I didn’t finish the run. I’d gone a little over 1.25 mile. I was thinking about just quitting running altogether. I even tried to think of ways I could get out of the marathon I’d signed up for in October.

The kids were home Monday, so I didn’t get to the gym until Tuesday. I walked in and started up the treadmill. I had a wrap on my ankle and the part around my foot was slightly uncomfortable, so I paused the machine and I went to take my shoe off. I pulled the emergency thing that made the program completely stop. Ugh. I got back on and reset the program, but my hips, knees, and ankles were all hurting with each stride even when I slowed to a jog. I changed the program again. I tried to go on a low setting for difficulty and I walked the first minute before picking up to a jog. I just couldn’t get my cadence down and I felt like I was just stomping on the belt. I reset the machine and walked to a stationary bike and rode for 20 minutes of the 30 minute session I programmed. I just wasn’t feeling it, so I walked around the weight area looking around at the machines and trying to decide on what to do. I did a weighted crunch machine and decided my body wasn’t into it. I changed and went home slightly bummed out that I had 2 bad workouts in a row.

Home life last night was extremely difficult to deal with. I have a teenager with bipolar disorder and she was in a volatile mood. We have a brand new hole kicked into one of our walls courtesy of that rage. I wish I could go into it more because I’m sure there are people out there who have been through or are going through this, but I just can’t. We’ll be visiting a mental health professional today. I’ve discussed appropriate behavior with my younger children (4 and 6 years old) who were here to witness it all. My husband missed his group training run for his first half marathon, which I felt bad for him. He was able to wake early today and run, which I’m glad he was able to do.

I feel like I should have some positive note to go on with this. I didn’t quit running. I plan to try to run sometime today if I get time. I’m going to try to slowly increase my outdoor runs distances for now so I can at least run a 10k by April for a challenge I’m signed up for to run a 5k one day and a 10k the next as part of a challenge. I want to run a marathon this October and I want it to be Chicago like I’d planned. I started making handmade crafts and plans for some fundraiser events. I’m nervous that I won’t raise enough money, but I am going to keep pushing forward.

I’m going to try to make things happen so that I have more positive news for you next time I write. I hope the January freeze doesn’t have you too affected in your mood or your workouts. If you want to donate to my fundraising page for running the Chicago Marathon to support Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, my link is:  http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262

Thanks for reading!!!

wp-1484757051631.jpg

I made these wine bottle decorations just slip onto the bottle neck to give it personality and style!

Buh bye, 2016

This has been quite the year. It wasn’t terrible. There are still a few days left, so I won’t tempt fate by saying anything too final about it. I am at least a little distressed by many of the celebrities that we lost. I found a few disappointments through the end of the year that  left me with a less than favorable review of the year.

January saw the struggle to get my teenager’s mental health care in order. We weren’t done with hospital bills or doctor visits by a long shot. We managed to find a useful combination of prescription drugs and deal with some other aspects of the illness. She’s been exposed to an opinion that one medication is harmful  due to people like comedians saying bad things about it. Which makes it easy for her to believe that the medication is not responsible for the positive change. The thought process isn’t unusual in someone with bipolar disorder, but I wish people wouldn’t try to demonize certain medications for mental illness.  Additionally, her cognitive dysfunction makes communication challenging at times. There are many times where the message gets lost simply because there is too much trying to read between the lines or translate a hidden meaning where one doesn’t exist. Add to it just parenting a teenager, and it is constantly challenging. We’ve managed to get better control of her Crohn’s disease through some medication changes as well. That still hasn’t fully been adjusted to the perfect level, but she isn’t suffering as much as when it first surfaced. She has started to be able to gain weight, so there’s the positive in that. I’m really hoping that my efforts in raising money for Crohn’s will also increase awareness. She definitely has encountered some people who think the disease means she simply uses the bathroom more often and that’s a very minimal and ignorant way to view something much more serious. It wouldn’t be so disheartening if people wouldn’t make comments on her social media accounts that refer to Crohn’s as something that isn’t a real illness.

I spent a lot of time running this year. It may have helped keep my head above water in some pretty tough times. I was part of a training program during almost every month of the year. The start of the year, I tried to run at least 1 mile per day. I adjusted the goal to run or walk. Then, I got physically ill and unable to leave my bed for a few days. I didn’t immediately accept that it was over and intended to restart the running streak. I didn’t go back to trying to run or walk a mile per day. I mentored a winter/spring group for a 10k race while training for a half marathon. The 10k was a great experience. The people I got to know and the race itself were memorable. The half marathon was unforgettable because it was not pleasant and I may have actually had real tears in my eyes near the end of the race. I know that running is supposed to be fun and that if I’m not having fun, I need to pause. That was my second half marathon and now I’ve run 5 half marathons because the other 3 that I ran this year. I had no intention of any long breaks from running, but there’s that saying about man making plans and God laughing at them. My injured ankle is no longer swollen. It hurts from time to time. I often feel like I need to loosen it up and rotate my foot around a bit. The pleurisy I had finally abated enough for me to move normally and experience minimal pain. The relief was of course after 2 days of the pain being intense and unrelenting. I typically won’t complain if I’m hurting, but I considered crying a couple of times from the sharp pain and inability to move or even sit still without feeling it. It was a dash of holiday spirit and a bunch of stubbornness that pulled me through.

This Monday evening, I finally hopped on the elliptical and went for a 25 minute workout. I up the estimate of how long I’m going to work out by 5 minutes to leave a ‘warm up’ time, so I said I was going to do 20, but set the machine for 25. The first few minutes, I almost got teary eyed thinking about how it was such a big deal that I was doing cardio and I wasn’t swimming. After a few minutes, I got itchy from sweating and remembered how the itching used to be so much more frequent when I started working out regularly. I pushed myself to finish the entire 25 minutes, then I did my hip workout and stretches. I was energized by it and I was so happy to finally get a workout in after the back to back [to back] misfortunes and illnesses. I was actually able to move furniture around and clean under it for the first time since I’d hurt my ankle. It might not seem like a big deal, but I was ecstatic to actually sweep and mop the most used parts of the house.

wp-1482959145920.jpg

My first workout since early November. Elliptical for 25 min and some Eminem to keep me going. (And my cleavage because I said so)

I plan to run tonight. I’m nervous. I wish I could go during the day while there’s still light out, but all three kids are on break and my husband works, so I’ll have to settle for trying out a reflective jacket I still haven’t gotten to wear that I bought in October. Ok, I’m kind of excited to try it out. I might even run further than just around the block if I’m not hurting.

Am I saying 2016 was a bad year? Not really bad. I was sick more times than I have been in quite a few years. I had 2 really long bouts with mystery illnesses that seemed to last longer for me than anyone else who was sick around the same time. I actually drank enough to get a hangover, which at my age is far fewer drinks than ‘back in the day.’  I had an injury that sidelined me from my first marathon. Of course the injury didn’t happen until I’d trained 16 weeks and ran all but one of my training runs. I had a very sick oldest child and my two younger children to care for. My husband was needed on business trips to Atlanta and Tempe a few times, so I was left to my own devices at home with all of the offspring and my fat little puggle dog.

In 2016, I also managed to mentor 3 running groups (5k, 10k, half marathon), participate in a training program for a full marathon, run a bunch of races where I had a great time, and spend time with friends and family. My husband and I grew closer and we stood together through the toughest times and supported one another through it all. My kids really are all wild, but loveable. They know right from wrong and I try to set a good example. I’m human and I make mistakes just like anyone else. That isn’t unique to this year or any other. I’m still alive and kicking. I managed to keep my kids and dog alive. I managed to keep myself alive.

2017 will see me running my first marathon, I hope. I’ll be running in Chicago in October and I’ll be fundraising throughout the year for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). I’m missing out on the first training session of the year to make a full recovery, but I’ll be back at it soon enough. I run because I can, and never because I have to. I get to run tonight. I get to run a marathon this coming year. I get to run again and that is why I’m looking forward to the coming year. Not because I’m ready to escape the present year. I feel like I’ve really changed a lot in this past 12 months and I like me a little more than I did before.

Fundraising link here: Mom Jenn Goal of 26.2

Do you have goals for 2017? Was 2016 memorable for you?

I love feedback, everyone! Please reach out to me if you have any questions or comments. Or use this as a way to have a conversation with your friends! Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!!

Still Planning 26.2

I spent 16 weeks training for a marathon this summer/autumn. I ran in scorching heat ad pouring rain, I had some digestive issues, and then I injured myself [while not running]  two days before my big debut. An injury bad enough to get scratched on race day and cheer on my pals from the sidelines. That was fun, but I still need to do a marathon.

I’ve remained optimistic about finishing a marathon. Not really, friends. I’ve often worried that this injury and/or the time off will alter my running ability to the point that I won’t be able to run. My ankle was injured on November 3rd, so it isn’t fully healed. The good news is that I can start trying to run on it. If only I hadn’t gotten some sort of respiratory infection that led to a pneumonia diagnosis leading to pleurisy, I would be out running in this frigid weather to get my groove back. I’m so happy to not be constantly coughing from the pneumonia, but the pleurisy is painful. I feel as if I lost a jousting match and had the lance ends removed from poking out so nobody could see that it was more than a flesh wound. No idea why I would be jousting, but that’s not really the point here. It’s that I want to run and things keep getting in my way that I seriously can’t just ignore or work around to get in my exercise. At least when it was just my ankle, I could go swim at the gym. For some reason, I feel they’d frown upon me coughing my brains out or clutching my chest while doing cardio.

So, I have time to rest (not really my thing) and I have time to think. Last weekend, I spoke to my running buddy Jane over coffee. She told me about her plans for running in the coming year and I explained some of mine. I told her that I didn’t think I would be recovered enough to plan training in January for an April marathon and that I didn’t want to train in the winter to run in what could potentially warmer race day conditions. I am good at regulating when I’m cold. I have a hard time cooling down once I’m hot. She told me about her plans to run in the Chicago Marathon this October and how she’s going to raise money for diabetes for her entry. I went home and I started to research what I would do for my own marathon. My only plans for the coming year were really to recover and then train for a marathon, but I hadn’t put a lot of thought into anything different from the one I’d missed this year. The more I researched, I realized I could fund raise for entry. The day I saw my friends posting their acceptance letters into Chicago, I decided I needed to actually go through with it and plan to run that marathon. I have a teenager with Crohn’s disease, so I checked up on the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). They have a team that runs Chicago! It was like I was meant to do it this way. I contacted CCFA for the info and was signed up within the day.

You know what that means? Yes you do. I’m collecting money with a $2000 goal for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America as part of my entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon 40th Anniversary. I will be running my first marathon after fundraising for a worthy cause. I’ll give you my link and probably insert the link into all of my entries until race day. I’ve done my homework on this charity and I am excited to help them educate people and to eradicate inflammatory bowel disease. So, join me on my new journey, will you?  I’ll be healthy soon enough and then I’ll be doing a few different exercises to improve my overall strength to make my running better. Then, I’ll be training for my first marathon!

Thank you for reading! I hope that I’m reaching people that need to see encouragement or just someone you find you relate to. Please let me know if there are topics you’d like to see covered. I love feedback and comments. My fundraising link is:  http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262

 

20161216_121619.jpg

 

 

 

Agony of my foot

Agony of my foot?

I would have said “the feet”, but it’s really only one foot and I haven’t actually let it defeat me. I’ve been better. I’ve also been worse, though. Had I not been so active when I twisted my ankle, I probably could have had a much worse injury or it may have lingered much longer.

wp-1479310207018.jpg

My lovely ankle at the end of the day Tuesday. (The mornings, I have more of an ‘ankle’ than a ‘kankle’)

The Present

I’m not running yet. I’ve been away from running for about 2 weeks now. I miss going out and running. I fear that my speed and my endurance will drop while I’m not out there. I wonder if the injury will somehow alter my abilities to run well. Only time will tell and I was once completely new at it and had to work hard to gain speed and endurance. It wasn’t much easier after I’d gotten to go further and faster because there is always room for improvement and hard work. I’m willing to do it, so there’s really not a need for worry in that area.

I used my health insurance benefit to get a gym membership. They offer a fitness program through participating gyms that is a set monthly fee, but I can go to multiple gyms for that one fee. I started out with the local Gold’s Gym that has a pool inside. I’ve been trying to keep up my cardiovascular exercise through swimming laps  I’ve gone 3 times so far and I’ve done better each time. I went from barely being able to complete 2 laps without significant rest to doing 20 lengths one day and then 44 the next. I really had to push myself to the 44. I’d set the goal before I’d gotten in the car to drive to the gym. While I was swimming, I kept convincing myself that if I just made it more laps than the previous day, I could settle for that. Then, I kept asking myself if I couldn’t go on or just didn’t want to. I had to swim another lap to test that question each time. So, I kept going. The pool isn’t quite 25 yards, so 87 lengths or 43 laps is a mile. I went half of a mile just to see myself do it. The day I swam 20 lengths of the pool, I dried off and headed out to the gym floor and used a few of the machines that focused mostly on arm, chest, and back muscles. I tried to stay around 35-50 lbs on each one and complete at least 2 sets of 25 repetitions with a short break in between sets. My arms were so shaky afterward, I thought I may have overdone it. I’m not terribly sore, though. I suppose using the free weights at home for so long helped me after all. I’m excited about the new additions to my fitness routine, but I really am excited to get back to running as well.

wp-1479310280216.jpg

#NewAdventure

The Past

I’m going to take a moment to tell a story about my swimming background and it will probably tell you a lot about me. I was 16 and a couple of my friends said they were going out for the swim team. I had never taken a lesson in my life. My swimming experience was limited to a doggie paddle and a side stroke to get from one spot to another in a lake. My diving experience was off of a pontoon boat in Cumberland Lake in Kentucky and my Aunt Lisa had gotten me to actually go in head first without belly flopping. I went for the dive team and man, I stunk it up. I couldn’t straighten my body out after touching my toes on a pike. I was never very close to the board after jumping. The diving coach didn’t give up and tell me not to come back. She sent me to the swimming coach. I hopped in the pool and I imitated the front crawl/freestyle from what I saw and I came out gasping for air every few strokes and sounding like I was for sure not going to survive. Coach McFarland didn’t let me give up. I stayed a little after practice a few times until I learned to breathe during a stroke. I learned to flip under the water at the end of the pool. I learned to dive off of the block at the end like someone would to start a race. I got to participate in swim meets when the season started. I knew nothing about the sport and I joined the team and got to actually be a part of it. My teammates were helpful and would show me how to do the strokes outside of the water to help me do them in the water. I didn’t squander the opportunity. The end of the season awards ceremony saw me the recipient of the “most improved” award in addition to a “gag gift” of goggles because I had a terrible habit of losing my goggles off of the block at the start of races. I’d somehow get the goggles to pop off of my face in all the excitement or they’d come down on my neck and I’d yank them off and toss them onto the pool deck while swimming. I wouldn’t say I went from zero to hero, but I stayed with it even after I realized I wasn’t that good at it.

The Future

These past two weeks seem to have crawled by so slowly and I still have about 4 weeks left of recovery before I can fully go back to running. I still intend to go back to running outdoors on a regular basis. I intend to finish a marathon when I’m back to that fitness level and endurance.  I also intend to keep going to the gym. I asked a friend who had done bodybuilding in the past for some direction in lifting. Her trainer answered me directly, which was a huge help for me. I know I’ll feel less self conscious on the gym floor now that I had that talk about feeling new to the gym. She told me that while she has years of experience, just being in a new place can be a little overwhelming for the most experienced lifters. I like having a variety of things to do. I want to get stronger and  to get better at swimming. I plan to establish a fitness routine in the coming weeks and have the flexibility to change it as running comes back into the picture. My brand new reflective running jacket hasn’t even had the chance to go for a test run. I can’t wait to get out there, but I’ll still be active in the meantime.

Have you ever had an injury that sidelined you from a favorite activity? Did you find other ways to be active during that time? Thank you for reading! Any comments are welcome! Please let me know if there’s something you need me to discuss on here about my journey.

Drawing in positive

I can hardly believe it, but this is week 15 of the 16 week marathon training program. I’ve persisted, practiced, and pushed my way to train for something that I’m just so happy to be able to do. I’m going to run my first marathon. At the start of training, I’d said it would be my only. Now, I’m already thinking that I know this isn’t the last. I also went and got pink hair last week and I love it.

wp-1477497578683.jpg

Before/After

 

I’m not suddenly healed of my depression. Working out hasn’t taken away my need to have daily medication. I still have anxiety, too. When I run, some of that goes away and I can clear my mind. It also shows me that I have something to be proud of and goals to strive for giving me a reason to live sometimes when I just don’t want to. The darkness sometimes envelops me more than I care for it to. I just try not to embrace it too much and look to my goals. My running friends also help me look forward to the long runs and things we can talk about or experience together during the journey. I’m thankful for them and for the time we have together. I get to go out and run.

I’m also thankful that I have a husband who is supportive and encouraging. I’m not always confident in my abilities. Considering the things that he and I go through as adults and as parents, it has been a blessing to have him to talk to and to lean on. My mom might not speak to me for whatever reason. My kids might say hurtful things when they don’t get their way. My husband is there with unconditional love to give freely, which is important to have when the depression hits and I don’t exactly feel loved or lovable.

All negativity aside because I’m about to accomplish something that I couldn’t do when I signed up to do it. I have trained and conditioned myself to do this and I am as physically prepared as I’m going to be. Mental strength will go a long way in getting to the finish line. Yesterday, I started seeking out inspirational quotes to help me during the 26.2 mile run November 5th. Many of the quotes didn’t have sources, but I’ll try to give credit where due. So here we go!

  • There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.
  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
  • Let Go, Let God
  • The race always hurts. Expect it to hurt. You didn’t train so it doesn’t hurt. You train so you can tolerate it.
  • When your legs get tired, run with heart
  • The miracle isn’t finishing. It’s that I had the courage to start.
  • She believed she could, so she did.
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
  • In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take
  • Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations
  • You’re a diamond. They can’t break you.
  • Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.
  • I believe in the person I want to become
  • Remember the time you thought you could never survive? You did and you can do it again.
  • Keep going. There’s cookies at the finish.
  • Penny gets winded walking to the bathroom (seriously, my friend Penny added this to my list)
  • HOPE – Hold On Pain Ends
  • A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort (Herm Albright)
  • Psalm 4:1 – Lord, be merciful and hear my prayer
  • The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is finished. The pain in your legs? Within days.  The glory of your finish is forever.
  • 26.2 = The triumph of will over reason
  • Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion. -Muhammed Ali
  • Be strong. You never know who you are inspiring.
  • Today, I will be one run stronger
  • I wasn’t planning on going for a run today, but those cops came out of nowhere. (ha, ha, ha)
  • One day, I won’t be able to do this. Today is not that day.
  • Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can. *This one really struck a chord with me.
  • Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. (Dean Karnazes)
  • You’re not dead yet, you can’t quit. (Kyle Maynard)

 

That’s just a portion of the encouragement I found yesterday. I will still be looking and still be repeating the ones I’ve found. I’ll probably print some off and bring them with me to the race so I have them there.

I can’t control what others think of what I’m doing or how they view the work I’ve put into it. I can control how I feel about it and decide to be proud of my accomplishments. Today, I choose to ignore the people who think I’ve done anything but improve my character and celebrate my body. I choose to see that I’m setting an example to be healthy, strong, and resilient. I could drown in the negativity that is often tossed in my direction, but I choose to let the good and the positive pull me through and keep me afloat. I am succeeding at something and that’s going to ruffle some feathers of people who are not. It doesn’t change my success.

Thanks for reading! This weekend will be a long run of 8 miles, then on to pre race week! Wish me luck! Good luck on your endeavors and in case nobody has told you, I’m proud of your hard work! Keep it up! Every time you challenge yourself, you get a little stronger. Until you’re a lot stronger.

Here’s a picture of me after running 4 miles of speed work that I really didn’t feel like running. I’m so glad I did it anyway.

wp-1477497343004.jpg

Terrible mood. Great run!

 

Taper kick off

This week is number 14 of my 16 week training program to run a marathon. That leaves me breathless to think about how close I am to race day. I’m totally prepared as far as endurance goes. I know I am physically capable. That will be part of what I tell myself when I encounter the mental ones.

I realized I missed the opportunity to nod to Deadpool by naming my last blog post , “Should’ve Worn the Brown Pants.” It’s funny which ones get the most traffic and that one was certainly at the top of my visits. Thank you!

Near the start of our training program, I shared a photo that had the quote “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” We discussed how it would be a perfect saying to remember during the race and even a great logo for the t-shirts we get for being in the program. When I mentioned that I’d write it on my arm, Amy in my group suggested fake tattoos. I looked into it and the further in I got, the more I realized we weren’t getting tattoos unless I designed it myself in an almost unreadably small font. So, I found the stretchy band bracelets that can have anything you desire printed on them. I put in an order and they finally arrived last week, so I excitedly brought them to our Thursday run. While not every marathoner was there, the people who were put on the bracelets for a photo. I was filled with so much joy by how grateful and appreciative everyone was for the gesture. It really made my day. The bracelets were printed with the saying and ordered in the colors of the shirts that we get with the race logo on them.

wp-1476798854274.jpg

Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do!

This past weekend, I ran a 5k race on Saturday and a half marathon race on Sunday. I placed in a 5k race for the 2nd time ever. Both were during my marathon training. I got 3rd in my age group (30-39 year old female). My watch didn’t give me the PR, but I did technically beat my best time. I’ll take the win, though and work on the speed in a ‘chip timed race.’

wp-1476798811067.jpg

My award was this cool pint glass!

Sunday was the half marathon in Peoria. Last weekend, when Maureen, Jane, and I ran together, we agreed to run this race in 5:1 intervals. That is run for five minutes and walk briskly for 1 and repeat through the race. We skipped the first interval to break free from the crowd and complete a good warm up mile (which takes longer than 5 minutes…shocking!). We had a few comments from people like “Don’t stop now, you can do it,” to which most often Jane spoke up and told them that the walking was something we’d planned to do and then thanked them. My legs felt mostly fresh the entire time. The crowds around the race were incredible. There was a lot of music being played loud, organized [and disorganized] cheering, people holding signs, and people giving high fives. One group of frat guys even stood on both sides of the racers in a line of high fives. It was energizing to have such a supportive crowd. Towards the end, I was feeling a little out of breath. Jane and Maureen went on at one of the walk breaks and I used the time to take the walk, which separated us a little, but we were within the last mile of the race. When I picked back up, I was ready to finish and I was pushing myself forward while trying to encourage the people around me. Although, one of my cheers involved me saying, “Ugh, I can’t die with like 1/4 mile left, that would suck.” I’m pretty sure I got a laugh, though. My finishing time was 2:21 and my watch gave me credit for a personal record despite my best being 2:19. Again, I’ll take whatever accolades I can to pat myself on the back for a job well done. Honestly, that is a great time considering I only skipped the first and last intervals and I really did use my walk breaks and walked a few of the water/electrolyte beverage stops. Especially after I accidentally inhaled red Gatorade and spit it all over myself and everyone around me and was coughing out apologies with my red spit. I finished the race strong and actually like [most of] my race photos. Someone even complimented my physique and said that I look like I’m much healthier than I have in the past and that I look strong. I love hearing that.

wp-1476800970974.jpg

ROAR! Finishing my 5th half marathon!

No bathroom emergencies. Last weekend was a fluke, I hope. I overheard a few comments about my race belt where I carry my hydrations and gels. Yes, I’m prepared folks. I’m not sure I understand why you feel you need to mention it to your buddy next to you that “she looks really prepared [haha],” or “I don’t carry my own gels around like some people do.” I’m ignoring you to be polite,but it would also be polite to worry about yourself instead of checking out my arse while I’m trying to challenge and push myself. If you missed a gel, I might have a spare if you’re not a huge jerk about it.

I came near tears when I got separated from my other two running buddies. I was thinking about how I’d have to prepare to run alone in the full marathon if I got separated. I was thinking about how this was my last big race before the big event of the full marathon. I was thinking a lot. I got out of my head by talking to people around me who were kind enough to enjoy the small talk for a few moments. It was a day I’d expected rain, but instead had overcast skies and a warm and humid race that left my clothes completely sweat soaked by the end. I couldn’t even get my phone to unlock with the thumbprint because there was nowhere to wipe the sweat off of my hands on me. We had a couple of post race beers and chatted with other people we knew. It was an all around fun time, I’d say. There was very little negativity and it wasn’t enough to disqualify all of the positive things I experienced. I love racing in Peoria from the two races I’ve done there. I have had more fun with the crowds cheering and the support than any other town I’ve raced in. The thought crossed my mind that it was strange how much I enjoyed the crowds despite my anxiety when I’m out in public and there are crowds at the stores or festivals. I suppose its different when you need the energy to complete a task.

wp-1476798831909.jpg

We finished! *I’m working on not doing the huge eyes thing in photos.

The race is less than 20 days away. I’m into taper time where my miles pull back a little before race day. It still seems so far off, yet I feel like I need to plan out so many different things to ensure a good race day. I am more ready than I would be had I tried to do this alone. I am more nervous than I have been in the past, but I have the confidence that I’m physically prepared for this challenge and that the only thing left to overcome are mental and I’ll need to deal with them as they come.

I am going to run and finish a 26.2 mile race with friends by my side, my husband cheering me on, and a body that is prepared to cross a finish line. I am tough and I will prove it!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, I’d love to answer them. I’m also open to suggestions on subject matters to write about. I love to share my experiences and I really appreciate any feedback you have.

Which race photo didn’t I like? This one….

wp-1476802520271.jpg

This one is growing on me, but that expression is laughable…go ahead and chuckle.

 

 

20 mile day

*Seriously, this one contains some discussion on bodily functions. I wasn’t graphic, though.

Week 12 of training went by pretty quickly. I’d done my speed work on a Tuesday run, missed my cross training on Wednesday, and did my group run on Thursday.

Thursday was when Jane approached me with an idea while we were running. I could tell it was something big. She asked me to consider it with an open mind. Finally,she asked if I wanted to go along for a 20 mile run this weekend (our training calendar is 14 miles this weekend and 20 next). I thought about it. I wanted to know that I could run 20 miles. I had already switched my 18 mile and 14 mile weekend, so I hadn’t done a very long distance the prior weekend. I agreed to go ahead and go for it so we could enjoy our half marathon next weekend without the additional miles afterward in a place we aren’t used to running while a longer race was in progress (a full marathon).

Saturday, I intended to run 5 miles, but not get up right before 6am to go since I didn’t have a group run scheduled. After attending to unexpected things happening around my house, I felt that it was too late in the day to try to run those miles. I mean, I needed to be properly rested for the long run on the next day.

Sunday morning, we met at 7:30 and set out to run 20 miles. It was going by fast and we were enjoying conversation while Jane, Maureen, and I ran together along the trail. At one point, we stopped to take our nutrition things and get a drink. There were a couple of people from our group stopped there talking with a man who organized a race in town and also runs. He was talking about his marathon that was Boston Qualifying time and how the Boston race was the year after the bombing incident. It was nice to hear such a good story while out on a tough run.

At the halfway point, we grabbed more water, had a brief conversation with Chris and Jason from our group. We decided to give interval running a try to save ourselves, and started to head further north on the trial with a plan to run 5 minutes and walk 1 repeatedly. As we began to cross by the highway, my stomach didn’t feel right. I had to tell the ladies that I was having the urge to use the bathroom and I wasn’t sure that I could just hold it for around 10 miles. We walk/jogged to a gas station where I used the restroom, fought with my compression pants to get the sweaty things back over my sweaty butt, and set back out to finish the run by walk/jogging back to the trail. We got to our turn around dodging brave grasshoppers that weren’t moving out of our way as we ran by.

We reached a point on the trail near a train station where I suddenly felt unwell again and I showed Jane and Maureen that I was covered in goose bumps. Jane insisted that we stop and walk while I drink and take some of my electrolyte pills. Once all of my water was gone, we walked a little further, then picked back up to our intervals until we got to another water fountain to refill my bottles. We set out after taking our drinks and I was suddenly overwhelmed again by the feeling I needed a restroom. We were within a mile in both directions of a bathroom. I encouraged my running partners to go ahead without me. They offered to wait for me at the next bathroom so they could stretch. I felt so strongly that I was going to have an accident, I attempted to hide behind a tree and yank my pants down. The same ones I couldn’t get up at the gas station. I saw a bicycle approaching and I realized they could see me. Yeah, so I yanked the pants up and jogged to the porta potty barely stopping to throw my running belt onto a picnic table and literally running into the door on my way in. I made it! With a little over a mile to go, I actually was able to pick back up to running again until we hit 19.5 miles. I fell behind my running partners again. I only caught back up once before needing to walk with a little over a quarter mile to go. When I got in, my friends were there and told me that I was covered in goose bumps again. I drank more and then I went to my car to get my cooler with my protein shake and electrolyte drink. We did our stretches and headed home after a short ‘selfie’ session.

wp-1476110003607.jpg

Jane, Maureen, and I “5 x 4 = 20”

When I got home, my stomach was still not right. I was cramping and I didn’t feel like eating anything, so I tried to just eat some bread and drink a fruity electrolyte drink. When I told my husband about the misadventures of my run, he briefly thought about it. Then, he told me that perhaps we’d eaten something bad the day before. He had been up and down much of the night needing to use the bathroom and had a bit of a sour stomach himself.

This was so relieving to hear. I honestly thought that I had let anxiety get to me and it was presenting physically. I was worried that my gels made me sick despite them never having an ill effect on me before. I swore I’d take an anti diarrheal medicine before the big race. I discovered I probably had a touch of the ever popular “food poisoning” that people refer to as the “stomach flu”.

I’m able to walk just fine today. My joints are a little sore, but I am not like I was yesterday right after I’d finished. We made it 20 miles and lived to talk about it.

Yesterday, over dinner, my teen seemed put off that I said we were planning on walk/running the upcoming race. Her question was “So you’re not running the whole thing?” I tried to explain to her that intervals are not unheard of and many people do it. She seemed disappointed and asked “So do you even run your half marathons?” I told her that I do, in fact, run my half marathons without intervals. I also explained that by taking the walk breaks actually increased our speed overall by decreasing the fatigue. I think it needs to be understood that moving forward for many miles is impressive no matter how fast or slow. If you finish, be proud.

I was not sure  I wanted to share my bathroom shenanigans. I mean, it was terribly embarrassing. I know I’m not the first person to have a problem on a run and I most certainly won’t be the last. I hope that you can find the positive things to look forward to in the long runs and embrace them.

2 Race Weekends in a Row

Last Saturday wrapped up the half marathon training and this Sunday was a half marathon with my bestie that lives back in Missouri. Both were pretty eventful weekends.

First up was the We Care Twin Cities Half Marathon in Illinois. This was the goal race for the training program that I got to mentor over the summer. A few of the people I had been running with were using the training program for other races and not many were going to be at that race. I hadn’t received any requests to run with anyone during the race, which I felt a little weird about, but figured I’d just run it my way if I was alone. Friday night before the race, I ordered take out from a local restaurant that has excellent pasta, bread, and salad. I headed to bed early only to experience several interruptions from sleep including the sound of my house being assailed by eggs around midnight. I woke up around 5am feeling sluggish.

Upon arriving at the race venue, someone invited me to run with her during the race and said she wanted at least a 2:30 half marathon time. I was glad to have someone ask me to run the race with them and to take my mind off of needing to get 5 more miles in after the race ended to make my 18 training miles for the marathon. The couple of hours we were on the course were cool and overcast, which was a welcome change to the weather we’d trained in. I warm up pretty quickly, so seeing people cheering on the sides of the road looking like they were struggling to keep warm was slightly confusing to see. The person who had chosen me to run with beat her personal best by 4 minutes by the end of the race. She really worked hard and pushed through the race and I got to see her get a personal record across the finish line. I was feeling a little less joyful as I changed my shirt and switched my visor out for a moisture wicking headband and the sun came out and started to warm the air.

Jane and I started to set out for our next 5 miles after a short break for refilling water and changing clothes. Jane chaffed in the chest enough to bleed onto her shirt. We headed out with things over our shirts that labelled us “Barnabas Runners,” which meant that we were to run with people who needed encouragement to get to the end. Our plan was to keep running back and getting people to try to get in the last 5 miles of our training run. I somehow almost lost it during our first mile back out. My body had stiffened and I had to walk for almost a quarter of a mile before I regained my composure. I whined to Jane, “If I can’t run 14 miles, I’ll never run 26.2. This is stupid.” She replied back that I was fine and we’d both make it even if there was some walking involved. When I later apologized to her for that outburst, she told me she knew that it was out of character and that it was probably lack of sleep talking. I admitted I am a bit of a different person when I’m tired.

We went back and found runners to encourage. We separated to help more runners. I ran a couple of people to the finish, which was down a hill. One runner asked me to tell a story to take her mind off of the running and it made my mind go blank of stories. I ran back up the hill for more people each time. Then, I ran into someone on her 20 mile day of training for her first marathon. I talked to her about time limits and mental barriers, then we ran out together to get the very last runner and bring her in. By the time I ran in the last person, I had 17.53 miles for the day. I didn’t want to leave it on the table, but I did scratch the last part of my run to walk back to the post race food and drink area to enjoy pizza, sandwiches, chocolate milk, and water with the people I’d run with. It felt like a party, really. I was in on a great celebration of others’ accomplishment on the day of my longest run to date and it made it from something I was stressing out over into something memorable and happy.

wp-1475507825148.jpg

Still my longest run 17.53 miles

The days following, my legs were sore and heavy feeling. My husband was out of town on business the entire week, so I had the 3 kids to myself. All of my running had to happen during the day while they were at school. On my cross training day, I did intervals on my elliptical along with weights for my upper body strength. I felt accomplished. That was, until I planned to do my 8 mile goal pace run on Friday, but missed it by taking a midday snooze from all the tiredness finally catching up to me. That run was scrapped because Saturday was my travel day to St. Louis for the MO’ Cowbell race. I drove the nearly 3 hours straight to the ExMO (Expo) and passed through the area where I’d lived less than 5 years ago barely recognizing the stores and homes built along the main road nearest my old home.

At the race expo, I got many goodies from different booths. I bought some new sassy headbands with sayings like “Run B*tch Run”. I love moisture wicking headbands and even better if they’re fun in appearance. Then, I had my favorite pizza and salad for dinner, Pirrone’s. I headed to bed early and briefly worried that I would have the same problems as the previous week and lose sleep. I actually didn’t have any problems and got up and ready for the race. When I got to the highway exit for the venue, people were lined up for awhile and not using the open lane on the left. Familiarity with the area came in handy because I surpassed the people waiting, passed the place they were all turning, and went down a side street and parked one block from the starting line without issue. Somehow, I had the intersection where I’d parked wrong and written the name of two parallel streets, which didn’t help me later when I wanted to get back to the van and drink my post workout protein.

I walked around for a few moments after arriving trying to find water to fill the bottles on my belt. Somehow, I’d remembered everything but to put water in my water bottles. I found someone with water coolers who filled the bottles for me and I headed off to the start line to find my spot. My best official race time is 2:19, so I sought out the 2:20 person. She was a young woman with short hair named Megan who was friendly to everyone who approached. Megan was asking people for their names and a little about themselves. One woman was from the area, but had moved to Nebraska and has recently joined the club where they run a race in all 50 states. I told her I knew someone who is doing a full marathon in all 50 states (and DC) and told her about the final race being in Iowa in 2017 for my friend. My friend Liz arrived and lined up with me at the start. I was with the 2:20 pace group and next to the 4:30 full marathon pace group.

The race had a hill within the first mile and I poked Liz and joked that, “we don’t have many of these where I live,” which is actually relatively true for my part of Illinois. We both had headphones in listening to music and occasionally slapped one another on the arm to point something out or make a comment. There was a pink bismuth colored Ford Mustang in a sales lot that had to have been from the 90’s. Cute dogs lined the streets to which we “awed” at each one and probably thanked more than the human onlookers. At one point when I went to take a gel packet, roadkill briefly interrupted my urge to actually take it. Then, when she went to take hers, Liz got to see another animal lying in the road. Nearing the halfway point, she slapped my arm to run on the side of a bridge instead of on the metal grates in the middle. I saw someone who had participated in the half marathon program on the road side and I felt a little energy from being cheered by someone I knew.

I was warned that there was a major hill inside of mile 10 or 11 and I’d been a little concerned. Especially since I’d lost a little ‘gas’ in my attempt to catch the 2:15 pacer somewhere in mile 8. I’d started telling myself how much time I had left to run. I was battling myself intensely in my head. I took a few walk breaks remembering that I need to stay in shape for the bigger race and that this was supposed to just be a training run. When the hill was before me, my music changed songs to “Hero” by the Foo Fighters. What an opportune time to hear that song. I was like “I’m my hero, dang it!” People were honking from the highway and waving at the people racing. That hill was not as bad as I’d anticipated and certainly not as steep as Steamboat (Peoria, IL). I just had to make it a little further and we’d be back at the finish with snacks, water, and beer. During mile 12, Megan and the 2:20 group caught up to me and I tried to outrun them by going full trot. Don’t go full trot when you’re still a mile away. I completely lost gas at 12.75 and tried to ‘speed walk’ to get my breath back. Megan encouraged me as they passed by and I started to jog on the last downhill and turn to the finish. I ran it in, but I had lost Liz in the crowd. I continued walking down the trail a little while to cool down because my legs weren’t ready to stop yet.

I finished in 2:22:26. So close to all 2’s! Not really a personal best for me, but I’m still ok with it. I enjoyed the race and I would do it again. I sat in the grass and had my post race snack and beer after I’d had a chocolate milk and a water. I set out toward my van and went to see if the indoor public restrooms were open. They were! I got to wash my hands in a sink before setting off to find where I parked. I went the wrong way on Main Street and realized that I couldn’t be quite as far from a certain intersection. I finally found my bearings and walked back to my van where I changed into my sandals, discovered my running shoes now have holes in them, and quickly downed a shake while I waited for the GPS to instruct me where to go. I looked around all of the small shops around me in St. Charles, MO and I felt a little sad in knowing that I hadn’t visited in awhile and it was one of my favorite places to go in the winter for their celebration and in the summer for the festival. I think maybe visiting to do this race in the future would be a good way to come back and see it once in awhile.

wp-1475507116528.jpg

I finished. My clothes and hair were sweat soaked!

I didn’t quite do the race right. I didn’t pace properly. I worried during the race that I wasn’t going to make 26.2 miles in November and even thought that I should just back out before embarrassing myself. These are the mental barriers of running. I told myself that I knew I had sufficient training, nutrition, and hydration to finish the race and that anything telling me otherwise was not real. I had to fight off the “can’t” to get to the finish. I had to get myself out of my head to get myself across the finish line. While those things are intangible, they’re real and they’re challenging to overcome.

Do you ever experience the overwhelming urge to give up? How do you break free of it? Do you have a favorite song that instantly pumps you up?