Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reactions, Losses & Deferments

There have been lots of changes to my 2017 running plan in the past few weeks 😔. If you read my last post you already know that my running streak is over. The last time I ran was July 12th, so it's been over a week since I've been out there on the road...

I ended up going to see my orthopedic surgeon and he did a quick check of my leg/ankle and told me I definitely have a "stress reaction" but I needed an x-ray to rule out a stress fracture. Fortunately the x-ray was negative (i.e. no fracture seen) but I still had a left medial tibia stress reaction. Based on the amount of pain I was in after a week of not running it was probably a Grade 3 injury...

A stress reaction is what the bone undergoes before a stress fracture occurs. Which means if I had continued to run through the pain I would have ended up with a stress fracture... 
Typically stress fractures require a minimum of 4-6 weeks off of running/other impact activities. The recovery time for stress reactions is much less (thankfully) and so I was told to take 2-3 weeks off. 

Fortunately while I'm off running I got the clearance to continue my marathon training on the elliptical and rowing machine, or with cycling, swimming and/or pool running. The variety is key since in isolation none of those activities provide the same amount of thrill as running does. I'm trying to stay focused on the fact that I can still train, because in the grand scheme of things this is a setback but not a road block.

In addition to losing my running privileges for the next few weeks I also lost my wisdom teeth (all four) yesterday. So since yesterday morning I've been dealing with pain and swelling and trying to drink my calories. You don't realize how much you love chewing food until that exact moment when you can't 😩. My wisdom teeth weren't impacted but were causing crowding and needed to come out in preparation for the braces I'm getting next month. Because they weren't impacted I think the worst of the pain is over, despite the swelling being worse today. The pain and swelling are forcing me to stay in bed and take it easy, so that's been benefiting my leg as well...

With all the recent changes to my training plan and mandatory rest days that I've had to take, I made the difficult decision to defer my Chicago Marathon entry until 2018...
The plan to run both Berlin and Chicago was a tough feat to begin with. One which required an ideal training cycle without injuries. Even before my injury my training wasn't going according to plan, so there's no way I'm going to be ready for two back-to-back marathons. As much as I love Chicago and the marathon (it was my first after all) I've never done Berlin before, and the Berlin trip is already paid for (and 100% non-refundable). I'm going to lose the money I paid for the Chicago Marathon registration but I can cancel the hotel and I didn't book my airline tickets so deferring Chicago was the most logical decision. I'm still bummed about it but... it could be worse right?

So between my stress reaction, the loss of my wisdom teeth and my Chicago Marathon deferment, the past week has been busy. I'm taking it easy tomorrow as well (although I plan to go into work) and then hopefully I'll be back in the gym doing my non-impact cross training on Saturday...

What's your favorite non-impact cross training activity?

Have you ever had to defer a major race?

Do you still have your wisdom teeth?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Consecutive Days of Running...

I completed 193 consecutive days of running. One Nine Three. But now...

I made the decision to listen to my body and not my stubborn desire to be a part of the Running Streakers Hall of Fame (I'm actually not sure if they have one... but they should). So I haven't run since Wednesday, in order to rest my ankle, and today was my first attempt at cross training since the streak ended...

I've also been icing my ankle on and off for the past week and it's wrapped up with an ACE bandage most of the time...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I Spoke Too Soon...

I'm currently nursing a minor ankle sprain so training has taken a nosedive. For the past week I've only been able to manage my one mile runs to keep up the running streak...
So I'm spending my days icing my ankle and trying to figure out how to modify my training so that I can still prepare for my Fall marathons. 

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of wiggle room in my training plan because I've had to make a few changes to accommodate family related travel. So I may be forced to break up my runs and/or cross train more so that I don't suffer too much of a long term negative impact from the reduction in miles.

The goal is (and will always be) getting through both marathons safely. So sadly that may mean the end of my running streak so that I can avoid the high impact stuff and focus on strength training and endurance training through other activities.

I'm a little bummed when I think about the possibility of having to stop the streak (as you can imagine) but I'm trying to think of the big picture. It's been more than half the year and therefore my longest running streak ever. But at the end of the day, the marathons are more important, and I can always try and do the streak again some other time.

I'll keep everyone posted. In the meantime please send happy healing thoughts for my ankle to feel better soon 😊.

How is your training going?

How long is/was your longest running streak?

What's your favorite cross training activity when you can't run?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Finally A Good Training Week!

This week's training was pretty decent. I got through all my scheduled running mileage (except for one run that I cut short) and a strength training session. I haven't done any swimming yet but I'm hoping to do that tomorrow. This morning I did 12 miles for my long run. I was the only one in my running group that was scheduled for anything over 8 miles so I ran 4 miles by myself and then 8 miles with my group...

And I decided to try hydrating with my new addiction...

I put my hydration pack (filled with coconut water) in the freezer overnight so it was ice-cold for my run this morning. It was amazing!!! It's hard to find the right hydration balance for humid runs because you want to ensure you're getting enough fluid, without putting yourself at risk of nausea and vomiting because your stomach is too full. Recently plain water has been making me nauseous, but the coconut water this morning was perfect. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

98 Days...

The Berlin Marathon is now officially "less than 100 days" away...

I had a great blog post planned for the 100 day mark, but training wasn't going so well and I felt less than motivated to blog about it. Somehow, between last year and now, I forgot how much I hate training in the Summer. Seriously, this humidity sucks. And the bugs... well let's just say they are constantly enamored with me (it's not a mutual feeling and they don't seem to be getting the hint no matter how much bug spray I use). It's mostly the humidity and bugs that have made the past few weeks less than ideal, but adding to that is the fact that I have not been sleeping well. I can't even remember the last time I felt well rested 😩.

Last week I changed my work schedule to four 10 hour days (Mon-Thurs) to facilitate my desire to get a second job (because 1: Kai's college expenses are only two years away & 2: race entry fees don't pay for themselves). The change in schedule will take some getting used to, but hopefully by the second or third week of the new schedule I'll feel better about it. In addition to changes at work, I also started strength training last week Wednesday. It was a very sad attempt at core work and squats, and at the end of it I think I broke my quads...

Monday, June 5, 2017

My Legs Need Ginkgo...

I recently started taking Ginkgo Biloba because my memory really sucks. A lot of that is probably due to stress (actually, 99% of that is probably due to stress). And the fact that my brain does a lot of triaging when it comes to my memories and sadly not a lot of information meets the "this is important to remember" threshold (even when it is important). It's usually not too much of a problem because I make notes and send myself emails and calendar reminders so I don't forget to do things. But there are times when it is a huge problem... like when I woke up one morning and completely forgot what my iPhone password was. Aaaaand I entered the wrong one so many times that my phone got disabled. Aaaaaand I didn't remember what my iCloud password was because I made a note of it in my iPhone.

The memory issues aren't new. I've always had a bad memory (at least as far back as I can remember). But it's been getting progressively worse and I think it's starting to affect other areas of my body, like my legs. I mean, that's the only logical conclusion I can make because my legs seem to have forgotten what marathon training is actually like!
This week marks the third week of Berlin Marathon Training (which is also the first week of Chicago Marathon training) and things are NOT going well. The first two weeks of training have come and gone and I feel LESS fit now than I did before I started. I know that the humidity certainly doesn't help with my pace (it's been insanely humid recently) but I'm also getting nauseous and vomiting after my runs... my legs constantly feel tired and heavy... and I'm always hungry even though (believe me) I have not been running that much.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

We Are Ragnarians!!! {Ragnar Niagara Race Recap: Part 3}

[This is the third and final installment of the race recap so if you haven't already, you should read Part One and Part Two]

On our way to the finish line we stopped at our hotel and checked in, off loaded our bags (filled with two days and three runs worth of dirty running clothes and gear), and made our way to the finish line parking area. We had some time to kill so we decided to check out the finish line festivities, which included massages...
(which were pretty good)

And a nice view of the rapids...

Music and other entertainment...

And food...

At previous Ragnars teams got a coupon for food after the finish. Unfortunately... that was not the case at Ragnar Niagara. So that was a little disappointing.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Generic White Van... with magnets {Ragnar Niagara Race Recap: Part 2}

<<If you haven't read part 1 of the Ragnar Niagara race recap you should check it out before you read part 2 😉>>

We made a quick stop at Walmart to get markers to decorate the van after we had lunch (before we got to Exchange 12). We didn't really have a theme for the van decorations so we stuck with an authentic representation of our home on wheels for the remainder of the race...

And then we did the traditional team roster van display...

When we got to Exchange 12 Van 2 was already there waiting for Ray (runner 12) to finish his first leg. Exchange 12 is another major exchange since that's where Van 2 turns the slap bracelet over to Van 1 for the start of our second legs. But again, just like Exchange 6, Exchange 12 was kind of small...

While we were waiting for Ray to finish running, the ladies of Van 1 took some selfies...

Eventually we heard the volunteer call our team number and it was time for Leg 2 to start...

Once Ray handed off to me I started on my 5 mile run for Leg 2. The course had changed a little from the original route because of some flooding in the area, and I didn't really pay much attention to the elevation before the change, but the revised second leg was very very hilly...

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The First Leg {Ragnar Niagara Race Recap: Part 1}...

I was a lot more involved in the planning and logistics for Ragnar Niagara Falls (compared to previous Ragnars) because our team captain wasn't going to be able to run in the event. Plus we had runners that canceled along the way. So a lot of my time leading up to Ragnar was spent trying to find replacement runners and helping to coordinate other Van 1 and general team logistics, including designing the team logo and magnets...

In the grand scheme of things, I really didn't mind participating in the planning because I'm team captain for a Ragnar event later this year so getting involved in the behind-the-scenes stuff from now will be beneficial later. Well, in theory it will 😉.

In any event, the weeks leading up to Ragnar Niagara were busy, so when it was finally time to go I was more than excited to get the whole process started. I happened to be traveling up to Canada on the same flight as my friend Dafney (who I had convinced to join the team from last year) and her husband (who was also running with us but will be m.i.a from all pictures)...

The flight to Toronto was mostly uneventful. Once we landed we headed to the van rental place, got the van, went back to the airport to pick up one of our van mates, EmJai, then went to pick up Julie (who was staying nearby), and then we headed to check in for the event and pick up our race bibs and other Ragnar Niagara race related delights. All that stuff took a while because Toronto traffic is (shockingly) just as bad as Miami traffic... the drivers are much nicer though 😊. 

By the time we made it to the Running Room we only had a few minutes to check in before packet pickup was closed...


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

While I've Been Gone...

It's been a few weeks since I written a blog post cause life has been pretty busy. It's been non-stop travel and activities since I ran Wings for Life and completed Swim Miami (I know, I know... I still have to post that recap). And I just came back from my last (planned) racecation until Berlin in September. This past weekend I did the Ragnar Niagara Falls relay (that recap will be forthcoming as well) and had yet another amazing Ragnar experience...

I'll have more details in the official race recap when I post it but **spoiler alert** I finished it with an incredible team and felt great about my runs. I was even able to enjoy the Falls for a bit after we were done...

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Running With The World For The 4th Time...{Wings for Life 2017 race recap}

This was the first year that I didn't have a set distance goal for Wings for Life. Normally I'm focused on getting as far as possible. But this year the goal was to finish without feeling exhausted (since I had to head to Swim Miami for my 1 mile open water swim immediately after). I knew that I had to run at least a mile (for my daily run), and figured that I wouldn't get much benefit from running farther than a 5K, so my plan was to run at least a mile and then just "see how I felt" after.

As usual I got to the race venue early...

Once I got my packet I went back to my car to get more rest until the less insane runners started to arrive...

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Why Breaking2 Broke My Heart (& other weekend updates)...

If you're even remotely familiar with anything distance running you probably already know that Nike was working tirelessly with 3 elite distance runners in an attempt to run a sub-2 hour marathon. I'm not going to go into all the details of that journey because if you do a web search you'll be inundated with a ton of info on it. The attempt was run on Saturday May 6th in Monza, Italy (on the Formula One track). It started around 11:30pm EST and 2 hours and 25 seconds later it was over...
Just 26 seconds short of their goal! 

I was a little heart broken about it because I was really hoping they would all make it. But even though they didn't "break 2" it was an incredibly amazing accomplishment. It's the closest anyone has come to a sub-2 hour marathon. And while it doesn't qualify for a world record (because of the Pacers and other fancy stuff they had) it will go down in the history books of distance running. Congrats to the Nike team, to the athletes (especially Eliud Kipchoge, who crossed the finish first) and everyone who was a part of this endeavor. It was a truly incredible effort.

My truly incredible effort for this weekend will take the form of running in the Wings for Life World Run and swimming in the Swim Miami 1 mile open water swimming event tomorrow. It will be a back-to-back event day, and I will be exhausted after, so today I tried to take it easy with a 1 mile run...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ragnar Runners Needed!

When I ran my first Ragnar I joined a team of strangers (who are now some of my closest running friends) on Facebook and made my way to Madison, WI to run 200(-ish) miles to Chicago. It was a crazy decision but one of the best running decisions I've ever made. And it's not just me right? I'm not the only person who has made crazy decisions for the sake of running or races. So chances are someone reading this post is either as crazy as I am or has run a Ragnar before and is crazy enough to run one again 😉.

If you're that runner then my team needs you for the Ragnar Niagara Falls event from May 19th - 20th! We are down two runners 😞 and while we can run with just 5 runners per van, it's not the best or brightest idea. We have a mixed, noncompetitive, incredibly fun team of both Ragnar veterans and Ragnar newbies. We have runners of all paces and experience levels. We have non-stop runners and interval runners. Essentially we are a diverse group and it's likely that you would be a great fit!

So if you're dying to run a Ragnar Relay (or run another Ragnar Relay) please let me know! My team would love to have you (and I know a few other teams looking for runners as well).

Monday, May 1, 2017

It's A Double Race Week!!!!

It's finally here! My double race weekend is this weekend...

And no... I'm still not 100% ready. BUT I did manage to get some training completed this morning. First I did a 1 mile swim...

And then I did my daily run...

Tomorrow and Wednesday are scheduled to be running days, and for Thursday (and maybe Friday) I plan to swim again and do quick one mile runs.

In addition to this week being busy with training and my back-to-back events on Sunday, it will also be a busy work week. I'll be spending more time out of the office (in class or teaching a course) than I will at the office catching up on work. So eating properly, resting and hydrating will be challenging but essential this week. 

It's probably a good thing the weekend wasn't too hectic. I only did 1 mile runs (on both Saturday and Sunday). I spent most of Saturday at a CPR course and then watching movies and TV shows on Hulu. And Sunday was spent hanging out with Dafney and Kai trying to "escape the room"...

And indulging in dairy-free butter pecan ice-cream...

Happy Monday & Happy 1st of May!!!

How was your weekend?

How was your training to start off the week/month?

Friday, April 28, 2017

T.G.I.F x a million!

So this week sucked. Not running-wise but everything else wise. Running was actually not too bad this week. This morning I did a 4 mile run with Mimi...


Yesterday (Thursday) I did a one mile run to keep up the run streak...

On Wednesday I ran with Mimi again and we did a 4 mile run...

On Tuesday I did a 4 mile run with Jani...

And (finally) on Monday I did a slow & steady solo 5K run...

This week was a big change from the past few weeks of mostly one mile daily runs. And the increased mileage secured a 5 day 10,000 steps/day streak for me...

So really not a bad running week, but a really busy and stressful week otherwise. And while running went well, swimming did not. As in... I did not swim. Not once 😔. You would never guess I have a swimming event next weekend based on my lack of proper swim training. Sigh. It's funny (well not really) but I have no motivation to swim when I'm stressed out. Running is definitely a stress reliever for me. But swimming? Swimming just isn't the same. 

But the fact is I have a swimming event in 8 days and I. AM. NOT. READY. And I won't be until my swims look as smooth and easy like this...
How was your training this week?

What are your weekend plans?

What's next on your race calendar?