Race Weekend: Part One

PhillyRnR

I keep walking away from my laptop.  I keep going back-and-forth with this entry.  Write it?  Don’t?  What do I say?  I’ve decided that the best for me is to just sit here and type away and just let it all flow through my fingertips.

This will be my second half marathon.  I’ve run a few 5k’s, a half relay with my best friend, Evette, a 5 miler, a 10k and a half.  For my first 5k, I was a little bit nervous but it was more excited nerves.  By the time I got to my first half marathon, I had the 5k’s and the 10k under my running belt and I felt like I had learned from them and had trained hard for the half and I was ready.  I was excited the night before and the morning of but when people asked if I was nervous, I didn’t really feel that I was.  I was prepared, I had a time in mind, but I was there to run the race and just do the best I could.  The excitement increased to a bit of nerves at the starting line but I was ready to go!

Fast forward to now and the half I will be running in 2 days.  I was super excited for this race!  We’ve driven into Philly a couple times and when I became a runner and we drove past the Schuylkill River, I said to my husband, “that would be so pretty to run around!”  Then, the opportunity presented itself when I saw the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half.  I asked my best friend, Evette, to run it with me and it will be her first half.  Training was going great and I was getting stronger and faster and I was confident that I could run it faster than my first half!  Then, I injured my toe and my foot has been all messed up.

I am back to running but I haven’t gone far and I’m certainly not as fast as I was.  Do I think this will be a good race?  No.  I have decided that I need to just go into it knowing that it won’t be my best though and just enjoy the experience and be there for my bestie and the 40+ women from the running club I belong to that are running it…that’s right…over 40 of us!  If I have to walk most of it then so be it.  It will be fun just being there with everyone!

The nerves really crept up on me this morning though!  I decided to run 3 miles this morning.  The plan called for me to rest but I haven’t run much in my new shoes and I felt like I needed to get in another short run to see how everything was going.  I woke up this morning and I was a bundle of nerves!  I went to eat a piece of toast with some Pocket Fuel Coconut Cherry Almond Butter.  After a couple bites, I looked at my husband and said, “I think I’m gonna be sick!”  He asked why and I told him I’m that I’m so nervous and he said, “you’ll do great!”  I wish I had his confidence in me.

Tomorrow will be fun shopping at the Expo and having dinner with Evette.  I don’t know what Sunday morning will bring.  I hope that I will be excited and I can keep all of the bad thoughts away and enjoy myself.  I’m actually sitting here wondering if I should even wear my Garmin.  My pace getting slower has become a big mental thing for me and I’m constantly looking at it.  Should I just go on feeling for this one?

Cravings Running Amuck

When I first started running and the running app I was using said, “You’ve burned xxx calories” I would think, “Awesome!  That’s a greasy breakfast sandwich!” or “Oh yeah, heaping bowl of ice cream for dessert, here I come!”  This kind of thinking went on for awhile.  I’ve always been thin, and now that I was burning so many calories running I figured, “I need all these calories!  It’s o.k.”

Once I became a more serious runner and started reading up on running and nutrition, it became apparent to me that I needed to change my thinking!  I started searching the internet and reading blogs, looking on Pinterest, and reading a bunch of articles in Runner’s World magazine and on their website.  Protein smoothies, green smoothies, quinoa, chia seeds, refrigerator oatmeal, dinners with a lean protein source and healthy sides became the norm.  Granted, a new addiction popped up…frozen yogurt with tons of candy toppings…but I’m trying to be better about how often I have that…trying 😉

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I started experimenting with what I would eat before runs, during long runs, and after runs.  I found that eating better, properly fueling, and decreasing my sugar intake was making me feel more energized, feel better during runs and recover better.  Even better, eating healthier allowed me to not feel so guilty when I did have that big bowl of frozen yogurt 😉

I’m not perfect by any means, though!  I have my days when cravings run amuck and all I want is every bad-for-you thing in the house.  It’s hard when you have 3 little ones in the house and they’re asking you for snacks all day so you’re constantly faced with the pantry.  With my sore foot, it has become so much worse because I think, “I don’t have to watch what I eat because I’m not running tomorrow!”  I often look to food for comfort, and I’m not reaching for that apple, I’m reaching for that chocolate in the top of the pantry or that bag of chips.  I want to get back to running very soon though and I need to put a stop to this haphazard eating and these cravings (except maybe frozen yogurt with tons of candy toppings)!

What are some things that you just can’t stay away from?

Best Runner Friend

I first saw the term Best Runner Friend (BRF) in the book, Train Like a Mother, by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  It is a term I have come to understand and use fondly for someone.

I started out running alone and it was, well, lonely!  I didn’t mind it too much at first.  It was a chance to be alone with my thoughts and, although I love my 3 children more than anything, it was time just for me!  I would head out when the hubby was home to hold down the fort for 2, 3, 4 miles.

Then, it started getting a bit colder, harder to get myself out there, and lonelier.  I would run on the local trail and see people running together.  I had read about running clubs here and there…it was time to seek one out!

One night, I looked up local running clubs and came upon Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club. Women, mothers, different levels and paces, all coming together for the love of the run…perfect!  I then tracked them down on Facebook and joined in on a group run – a run that occurred right after Superstorm Sandy.  The ladies were collecting items for the victims and then going on a run to “replace” Beauty and the Beach, a race that had to be cancelled due to the storm.  All of these women amaze me, inspire me, encourage me and I have come to appreciate the camaraderie of so many of them!  I met who would eventually become my BRF on this particular group run…and who has become more than that since!
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Eventually, Jenna and I started training for our first half marathon.  It’s hard not to get close to someone you’re meeting early in the morning when it’s 11 degrees, still dark, raining, snowing and you’re running together 3-4 times a week!  When you’re running mile after mile, it’s hard not to talk about your families, friends, other interests, your aches and pains, or the fact you have to pee!  It’s hard not to laugh hysterically when the wind is gusting at you and you feel like you’re moving backwards instead of forward or your BRF’s watch beeps at mile 11 before yours so you finish up and then you can barely walk towards each other due to leg muscles not cooperating and laughing so hard.  When you’ve been running together for a month and a half, it’s hard not to celebrate your first double-digit long-run together!  When you’ve been through all of this and more, it’s hard not to consider your BRF to be more than that to each other!

Jenna pushes my limits.  She takes me out of my comfort zone.  She crosses every finish line before me and I couldn’t be happier to cheer behind her or to see her smiling face when I cross that finish line right behind her and we celebrate the awesome job we’ve done!

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One Year Running Anniversary

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Tomorrow marks one year since I started running.  Well, I ran a little before, but August 26, 2012 was the first time I went fast enough that the app I was using said, “ran” instead of “walked”.  It was 1.6 miles and it took 21 minutes and my best friend was by my side encouraging me.  Our families were vacationing together in Rehoboth Beach, DE and she really helped me to start adding in more running than walking.  I have enjoyed running more and more ever since!

As I typed the above paragraph, all I could think to myself was that I should commemorate one year of running with a run.  Alas, this won’t be the case.  This runner girl is sidelined.  It hurts to type.  Something is wrong with my foot.  What?  I don’t know.  I could go to a doctor and find out but I’m in denial…I want to remain in the dark and pretend it’s just not happening!  Within the next 2 months, I am signed up for 5 races – a 5K in my hometown being put on by the fire department, Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, a 5K at a winery in Cape May, The Perfect 10 and Hershey Half Marathon.

If you’re a runner and you’ve ever been sidelined due to an injury or illness, you feel my pain.  I’ve only missed one long run.  My last run was just 3 days ago.  It wasn’t a good run though.  Normally, I finish a run feeling great…accomplished.  This time, I was worried, sad and defeated.  This is how I have felt since that run.  I keep telling myself to just keep resting, to give it plenty of time, that the next run will go fine…and if it doesn’t, then off to see a doctor I will go.

Then, more fear sets in.  What is wrong?  What if whatever it is means I can’t run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half?  It is my best friend’s first half marathon.  I asked her to sign up for it – I have to be there!  I also belong to a running club, Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club (SOL), filled with wonderful women who I have come to consider more than just runners.  When you meet for a run at 4:30am, twice a week, and pretty early on a Sunday morning for the long run, it’s hard not to form bonds with these women, because fellow runners are the only ones that can truly understand all that you go through with training.  They are strong, dedicated, inspiring, amazing women who I admire and so many of them are also running in Philly (and a lot of the other races I’m doing).  I feel like my foot is letting a lot of people down.

I see all of these posts on Facebook and all of these pictures on Instagram of runners I follow.  It seems as though all I’ve been able to do, from my couch with my foot up and my laptop next to me, is read about running and about foot problems (never a good idea to read about an ailment on the internet).  I’m so proud of all the accomplishments I see from people.  Those running their first half, their first full marathon, or they’re experienced with races and are reaching for new goals for themselves and setting new PR’s.  I’m jealous though.  I want to run those 12 miles.  I want to continue on the road I was on – getting stronger and faster.  Up pops another fear…when I return to running I’ll have to slow things down again.  I have only run one half marathon and I wanted to go for a PR in Philly.  I have run several 5K’s but not since I have become a better runner…I wanted to kick butt in the 5K in my hometown this upcoming weekend but now I will either have to skip it or take it easy.

Running is hard.  Nobody ever claimed it was easy.  Running is rewarding.  Nobody ever claimed it was going to be all good runs and PR’s, though.  Running has made me a stronger person and, although I may feel weak right now, I love running!

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**Update: 9/3/2013**  I went to see a podiatrist and he said that my joint at the base of my big toe is inflamed and he thinks the other pains I’m feeling are due to overcompensating for it.  I have a ridiculously high arch (already knew that), toes that hyper-extend back, rigid feet and tight calves.  I have done some research since the appointment and I’m pretty sure I have turf toe (he may have said that but my head was kind of spinning).  He said I won’t be able to do Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll but I felt he was saying it more from a training standpoint and not being able to get my mileage back up in time.  I’ll walk half of it if I need to.  I’ve accepted it won’t be my best half.

I went to a new running store, Runner’s High, and the guy there was awesome.  I tried out my new shoes yesterday morning and my toe started hurting a little after 2 miles.  I really thought I’d be o.k.!  I’m going to try one more run but, otherwise, I think I’m going to be taking it easy until Philly.