Coming to Terms

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who replied to my last post about being injured! You’ve made me feel so much better about everything. I felt like I was giving up/being a wuss/completely disappointed, but you’ve helped to put my injury in perspective: It’s one race, and it’s not worth injuring myself worse over.

So, I’ve decided: I’m just running the half marathon instead of the full Green Bay Marathon.

And I have to say, I feel totally relieved.

Before, I was truly dreading the thought of the marathon. I wasn’t stoked for the race, the thought of 26.2 miles didn’t seem just daunting—it seemed impossible. I knew I would most likely have to drop out at some point, or limp through the last 10 miles at a slow walk. No thanks. I was not excited at all about the race weekend…which is such a bummer, because I am going with a whole bunch of running club members, and it will be a blast!

With just 13.1 miles (just?) on the docket, I’m pretty excited just thinking of the whole experience: Running a half marathon with my training buddy (who is also injured now) and simply soaking up the running love and atmosphere the whole time. My other training buddies, Liz and Lela, dodged injuries and will be completing the full marathon, so we’ll be rootin’ for them at the finish line.

I’m glad I could come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to change a big goal and aim for something new. Life requires recalibration. A half marathon might not be what I was shooting for, but it’s still a damn good goal, so I’ll take it.

On the other hand, I guess that means I have another marathon in my future… Some day. 😉

Injured, Take 2

Well, hello there! It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been busy with life and biding my time, hoping to pop back in with better news, but here it is:

I’m injured again.

When I trained for my first marathon last year, I was plagued with ITBS—my hips and knees weren’t happy, but dedication, determination and $1000+ of PT helped me get across the finish line. I was SO happy to get there, but I didn’t feel 100% fulfilled. I knew I could have done better had I not been injured. So I signed up for my second marathon.

THIS time it would be different. I knew the PT exercises to do to stave off the ITBS. I would be smart! I would be experienced! I would run this race MY way!

I made it to my 18-mile training run a few weeks ago.

18 mile long run for Green Bay Marathon

I ran it alone, and it was a glorious run—relaxing, enjoyable, sunny. About 15 miles in, I started getting some tightness in [what I thought was] my left hip flexor. I had been having tightness on-and-off in my hip flexors so I took note and kept stretching, but I figured it’d pass. I made it through the 18 miles and was all smiles when I finished.

18 mile long run for Green Bay Marathon

I even did a little dance up the driveway when I finished, and pretty sure my neighbor who drove by at the time prob thinks I’m a nut. Ah, well.

That night, my hip flexor-ish area started to hurt while I was walking around. Then it ached all night and all the next day. Proceed with icing, ibuprofen and rest. The next couple weeks my long runs consisted of 9 miles (supposed to be 19) on April 12; the next weekend off to rest; and 10 miles (supposed to be 20 miles) on April 26.

The doomed 20-miler was the most frustrating, because after taking off almost the entire previous week from running, I thought I would be doing much better. But just 6 miles into the run, I could tell something didn’t feel right…and I couldn’t get my hip to stretch out. I got back home at around 10 miles and I was starting to limp-run, so I called it quits before I did more damage.

After a few tears out of pure frustration (UGH), I pulled it together and thought about where the pain and tightness were happening. It seemed like the achiness would be at the top inside of my thigh where it meets the pubic bone, then go straight up. This is why I thought the problem was my hip flexor, but after doing some research, I am now wondering if I might be dealing with a strained groin? It explains the pain/dull ache at the very top of my thigh/pubic bone, but not the tightness that radiates up, does it?

So there we are. Green Bay Marathon training: Only two weeks left, and I’m injured again. [Cue sad trombone noise.]

At this point, I can’t decide—still try for the full marathon (I’ve already sworn up and down this will be my last)…or just downgrade to the half marathon so I don’t risk hurting myself more? After all, I don’t want to hurt myself to the point of being unable to run when spring & summer weather is just around the corner…

Advice? What would you do—full or half marathon?

P.S. Icing the groin region = weirdly uncomfortable. Glad I am not a dude.

Just Livin’ That Lovely Life

Over the winter, when I thought about the whole marathon training + working + planning a wedding + staying social thing, I knew it’d be a little busy…but I had no idea! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, a good one, and I’m in my own happy little version of Oz.

The Green Bay Marathon is quickly approaching: Only about a month away now! I’m so ready. I’m excited, but I have to admit that I am fully looking forward to it coming, and then going and being done. Staying in alone Friday nights, then getting up at the crack of dawn and running for 3+ hours on Saturday morning isss getting a little old. I love, love, love running—why else would I run a marathon?! But all the time that training’s taking away from the rest of my life…well, I’m ready to get that back. 😉

That said, training’s been decent. I did my 18-miler two weeks ago. I felt great for it all, ’til what I thought was my hip flexor, but I now suspect was perhaps my groin(?), was pretty tight for the last 3-4 miles. I finished without pain, but had some dull aching that night and the following couple of days. I took off Sunday—Thursday, then did a 2-mile test last Friday. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I only did 9 miles as my long run this past weekend (instead of 19 miles). I have a 20-mile run on the docket in two weeks and I think I’ll be golden for it. In the meantime, I’m looking up hip and groin stretches and strengthening exercises to help keep me feelin’ good ’til that finish line is in my crosshairs.

In other news: Work + wedding + social life have been fabulous.

I earned a promotion at work a few weeks ago, something I’ve been working towards for almost two years, so that’s exhilarating and motivating. YAY! Of course, that means big projects + personal goals to make things even MORE uber-awesome now, which means I’ve been putting in some extra hours lately. All worth it, though! Can’t live, or work, without a little extra passion. Amen.

I wish I could say I’ve been just as on top of wedding planning.

041414-elope

I was feeling good about it, like I was ahead of the game, and then the last 2-3 weeks have positively FLOWN by and suddenly my to-do list is glaring at me. Eeeek.

Hope to do some real updating and more in-depth recap on my training lately…stay tuned!

– – –

How do you balance it all? 

Week 12 Workouts {Green Bay Marathon}

YAY! Week 12 is done, and with it, a huge long run.

Sunday, March 16th: Yoga
Did a nice little 20-minute series at home to get stretched out.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 miles (10:11/mile) + abs pilates
I finally started to add pilates back into my weekly workouts. I love pilates!

The 4-mile run was fun. I met up with a group of runners after work and busted them out at a pretty good clip, considering it felt pretty “easy.”

Wednesday: 4 miles 2 miles + buns/thighs pilates
My legs were tired and semi-sore from my morning pilates. By the time I got home, I was so not motivated to run on the treadmill, but I made myself hop on to at least do something. I actually thought once I got going I’d be fine, but I just wasn’t into it. Oh well, better than nothing.

Thursday: 7 miles (10:50/mile)
Another post-work run outside. Ran with a couple friends; nice to have company and nice to be outside again.

Running along Lake Michigan

Let’s pretend it’s summer…

We got to run down near the lake, now that the mounds of snow & ice have finally melted. Lake Michigan went from 90% frozen to completely clear in what seemed like a matter of days!

Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 16 miles!!! (11:37/mile)
Okay, this is technically part of next week since it’s Sunday, but it was “this week’s” long run. My training partners were busy yesterday so we opted to do our long run this lovely Sunday morning instead. We started at 7am (nicer than our 6am start times as of late) and although it was still chilly and a bit windy, the sun was shining. That always makes us smile, after this long, dreary winter.

We split the run into two parts: an out-and-back 10 mile run, which put us back at the starting point to meet up with a couple more people for the last 6 miles. Splitting the long run up into “two” runs makes it SO much easier mentally! I just focused on taking an easy 10-mile run, then by the time we got to the second part, the 6 mile run, it wasn’t weighing so heavily over our heads. Granted, we were still tired and ready to be done by the end, but mentally I felt on top of my game, and my body feels pretty good, too. I’m going to try to do this with the rest of our long runs going forward, I think.

I had stomach issues the entire run, which were pretty annoying. This has happened to me a couple times over the recent month, so I wonder if I need to start being more careful with what & when I eat leading up to my long run. Perhaps my spicy Mexican brunch yesterday was a bad idea. Of course, having a wild Friday night out with lots of drinks probably didn’t help, either. 😉

– – –

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: 16 miles (am) + yoga (pm)
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4.5 miles
Wednesday: 4.5 miles
Thursday: 8 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13 miles (yay for step-back week!)

– – –

How were your workouts this week?
Are you able to start getting out in the “spring” weather?
What’s your favorite carb-loading meal before a long run or race? 

Spring 2014 Running Training Plan

Spring 2014 Training Plan Phoenix Half Marathon and Green Bay Marathon

I have an obsession with making training plans. I LOVE to make them. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the thought of setting a goal, having a clear road map on how to get there, and knowing you can achieve it? I get excited to see where I’m starting out, and what I’m going to be able to do. It makes me feel strong, motivated and, especially with a marathon on the docket, kind of like a badass.

I made myself a custom training plan for the Phoenix Half Marathon on March 1st, and from there, the Green Bay Marathon on May 18th. I based the plan loosely on Hal Higdon’s training plans. I like that I run only 4 times a week, because it helps keep me from getting burned out later. Plus, I really enjoy bicycling, and it’s fun cross training as part of the week’s workouts {if the weather ever gets nice enough this spring}.

You can check out the full training plan here (PDF format):
Spring 2014 Running Training Plan

My days of the week are broken down like this:
Monday: easy run
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: tempo* run
Thursday: marathon pace run
Friday: rest
Saturday: long run
Sunday: cross train

* I would like to have the tempo runs on Wednesday to help get some speed back, but I also don’t want to push myself too much and get hurt. I’m going to play these runs by ear, so if I feel great I’ll push, and if not, I’ll just run at what feels right.

One thing I really paid attention to with this program was following the “10% rule,” making sure my mileage doesn’t increase by more than 10% each week. I kept it pretty close to a 10% increase each week, and some weeks I have it step back to give a little extra rest to weary legs. Because I did get injured last year, I am trying my best to ward off any setbacks.

Another thing that I’m focusing on more this year, that’s not accounted for on the plan, is more strengthening: Hips, core, arms and legs. I’m trying to get in some basic hip and core work at least every other day to keep everything strong (and pesky ITBS from flaring again).

Please share any thoughts or feedback you have, I’d love to hear it!

– – –

Do you follow a training plan?
How do you keep yourself healthy & strong while training for a race?
Favorite kind of workout? 

Marathon Week Thoughts

Things you worry about in the week leading up to your marathon race:

Weather. OBSESSIVELY checking the weather.
There is a chance of rain in the forecast on Sunday, but the % keeps decreasing every day. Let’s pray that by Sunday, there is a big sunshine in this place on weather.com!

weather for the Chicago Marathon

Cross your fingers for sunshine!

Carbo-loading.
I read a few articles, like this one from Laura at 50by25.com, about the proper way to carbohydrate load the several days leading up to the marathon. These articles say to go low-carb for a couple days, followed by eating a carb-rich diet the 2-3 days before the race. After being depleted of carbs for a few days, your body holds on to ALL the carbs it can, so you’ll have more fuel in the tank.

I wish I could have tried this out during training. As it is, I don’t want to change up my routine now, so I’ll just stick to extra carbs on Friday and Saturday, before the race on Sunday.

Fueling during the race.
I didn’t get to do many of my longer runs beyond 17 miles, so I was unable to experiment much with fuel. Shot Blocks have always been my go-to, so I know I’ll definitely be bringing those along.

My favorite run fuel!

[source]

I also like the Jelly Belly Sport Beans, but they are a little too sweet after a while, so I’m worried about eating them in addition to the Shot Blocks. I wish I had room for a PB&J sandwich to carry along with me! Maybe I’ll bring some pretzels, for easy carbs + salt? Any other recommendations?

Drinking during the race.
I’ve taken my water belt with me on all my long runs, so that’s what I plan to do for the marathon, of course. I know there will be Gatorade along the course, so I’ll drink some of that when I’m not washing down Shot Blocks. In past races, when I take Shot Blocks + Gatorade, the sugar doesn’t make my stomach feel great; I’ll have to be careful of that.

Running during taper week. [Or, the lack thereof.]
I’ve read over & over that most people worry/get antsy/turn into psychos the last week before their race, because there is so little running during the taper.

It’s okay, Ryan Gosling. It’s always okay…

[source]

Me? I am embracing the fact that I only run a total of 7 miles this week! Wahoo. Maybe my tune will change as we get closer, but I am a believer in rest, and know all my hard work has gotten me where I’m at already. There’s nothing more I can do now. So, hopefully this rest time will only help me perform better on race day.

Race day wardrobe.  
I’ve only been worried over which pants/shorts/capris to wear. Shorts always have a chance of chafing on my thunder thighs, so I’m leaning towards capris. But, what shirt do I wear? Tank top? T-shirt? Long sleeve? What about throw-away clothes? And a garbage bag to keep me warm til we start?! Ahhhh. I guess I’ll check the forecast as we get closer & bring back-up clothing for all scenarios.

Race day shoes.
I have three pairs of shoes I rotate through, but only two I’d consider for the long haul. Pair #1 has tons of stability but not a lot of cushioning, so even after just 13 miles this weekend, my feet were howling at me. Pair #2 is nice and cushy, but they have less stability, and with the hip issues I’ve just overcome, I feel like I should take all the stability I can get. I’m leaning towards pair #1, and considering getting some cushion inserts to try out this week. Again, I probably shouldn’t throw anything new in at this point, but my feet were SO achy after 13 miles on Saturday, I just don’t know if they can take 26 miles without some added padding.

Sleeping the night before the race.
What if you don’t sleep well the night before the race? Well, I’ve had a couple longer training runs before which I slept like crap. In fact, I only got 5 hours of sleep before this past Saturday’s 13-miler. I felt a little more tired at the end than I probably usually would, but I’ve always been able to complete my runs feeling decent, either way. I also read this article last week from Runner’s World, which says that your performance won’t really be hindered by a bad night of sleep before race day. So, I am going to focus on getting as much rest this week as possible, so come Saturday night if my nerves keep me up, I’ll have charged up as much as possible before then.

Those are all the things going through my mind this week as I mentally prepare myself for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday…

What are you thinking about, worrying about, celebrating about, or obsessing over? 

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 16 Recap

Only SIX DAYS ‘til the Chicago Marathon!

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it’s so close. These last four months have really flown by. I can’t even fathom that in less than one week, I will have completed the marathon. It’s been a long, unpredictable, exhausting but exhilarating journey. I can’t wait to cross that finish line.

Last week’s training went pretty well, so I’m glad we’re ending things on a good note before the big day arrives. 🙂

Sunday, September 29th: 27-mile Bike Ride
I biked with a couple friends on a nearby trail called the Des Plaines River Trail. This trail is so wonderful! I couldn’t really take many pictures while biking, but the scenery is diverse and beautiful: There are fields of wildflowers, wooded areas, wide-open fields, marshland, you name it. It’s great for a run, bike or walk; in fact, there were tons of other happy people out exercising while we were there. If you live near this trail, I recommend you give it a visit!

The weather was perfect for our ride, the sun was shining, and I had some great company to chat with. We stopped at our turn-around point for some homemade pumpkin bread (YUM), water, and snapped a few pictures:

Refueling with water & snacks.

Refueling with water & snacks.

Biking ladies on the Des Plaines River Trail

Biking ladies on the Des Plaines River Trail

This is the longest I’ve ever biked, and it took about 2.5 hours to ride at a moderate pace. My legs were definitely wobbly at the end, and even a little sore the next day! It was a fun way to spend my Sunday.

Monday: rest
I had my last PT appointment early Monday morning. They gave me a take-home program to keep my hips strong, and lots of well-wishes for the marathon. Those people are the best!

Tuesday: 4.22 mile run/walk • 10:54/mile
Went running with two friends of mine from the running club. Everything felt good during the run, and I felt very strong. I even had to slow myself down a couple times, as all my runs are supposed to be relatively “easy” while I make my comeback.

Wednesday: rest
I did lots of PT, foam rolling and some extra stretching.

Thursday: 4 mile run/walk • 11:42/mile
I met up with my buddy Liz for a run along the lakefront. It is so nice to make plans to run with people again, and know that I will actually be able to run! We took it nice and easy while we chatted. The weather was kinda funky, and it was super foggy out, but cool looking:

Foggy lakeside running.

Foggy lakeside running.

Overall, I felt strong and it was good to have some company. I finished the run sweaty & feeling positive!

Friday: rest

Saturday: 12.68 mile run/walk • 11:24/mile
Yahoo! I wanted to run 13 miles so I would feel more mentally prepared for the marathon next week. I got close enough and decided lopping off 4 more minutes of running wouldn’t make or break anything.

It was a pretty decent last long run, but I already wrote all about it, so you know that. 🙂

This week’s (+1) schedule:

  • Sunday: rest
  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 2 miles
  • Thursday: rest
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 2 miles
  • Sunday: MARATHON!

This is it! Taper week is officially here. I hear all about people going crazy during taper week because there’s not much running and all. Maybe I’m weird, or a lame runner, but I’m excited for a little R&R time! I have plenty of other stuff going on, like our engagement photo session (yay!), painting my office, cleaning up & prepping for my mom and sister to visit… It will be nice to have more time to get all that done.

Any last-minute marathon tips? What’s your favorite carbo-loading meal?