Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vloggin' Wednesday - Wall Stands

Wow, 2 posts in one day.  Aren't you special?!?!  :)

Here is my vlog, probably shortest one ever, even though I still manage to ramble on more than I need to.

Here is the blog the I mention:  Too Tall Fritz, where I credit getting the idea from.  I looked over her blog AFTER I made my video and now know they are properly called wall climbs.  Also after analyzing my video I noted that I need to work on getting closer to the wall.  Baby steps, though, I'll get there.

Can you do a wall climb?  Try it, it's fun!!

3 Phase Recovery

Last Monday I started a post.  I ran out of time to get it done and figured I would finish it the next day.  Tuesday came & went....then Wednesday, etc. etc.  It's still sitting there, but instead of trying to finish it I'm just going to roll the contents into one big post.  If I had blogged last week I likely would have bored you to tears overly informed you on my recovery & what I've been doing.  In a nutshell, this has been my recovery done in phases:

Phase 1:  The 1st week after Howl at the Moon.  Walking a few miles each day.  I'm a firm believer in physical activity every single day even if it's very slow and easy.  Slow & easy is better than nothing, even after a big race.  For a few nights to help in my recovery, I did take a muscle relaxer & extra strength prescription anti-inflammatory pills.  This pretty much knocked me out each night and helped me get some deep, deep sleep (in addition to several naps).  By Wednesday I was feeling much better & had little to no soreness  or effect from my race only 4 days prior.  I changed my workout from a slow, easy pace & short (2-3 miles) distance to a much faster and longer (4 miles) workout.  Several of my workouts I did at home, often heading out with girlfriends for my walks.  We talked the time & miles away while working up a sweat & enjoying some much needed girl/mommy time. 

Phase 2:  2nd week after Howl at the Moon.  I consistently walked 4 miles every single day on the treadmill at the Y.  To help pass the time I read a book & committed to finishing said book before the week was up.  This is the one of the main things that motivated me to keep doing this.  For some reason, I can run all the live long day, but walk.....boring!!!!  My leg was feeling so much better &  I was tempted to try running.  However to give it a full effort of sticking to this strict recovery process that I had implemented upon myself I had to resist such a great temptation.  I also added in weight lifting to my routine.  This, I believe, is what has been a key problem from the get go.  I so often completely ignore weight lifting or any kind of cross training.   This lead to my injury to begin with and I'm sure why I could properly recover either.  I knew this, yet failed to do anything about it.  Yeah, I'm pretty stubborn & hard headed about such things.  A good portion of my life can be summed up with "I had to learn the hard way".  Ugh!  Well, it makes for some interesting stories (oh the stories I could tell about have no idea!!) and I'm glad to have learned and be putting such things into practice.  My life also seems to indicated that once I learn things the hard way I then turn things around and said problem not only disappears also improves drastically.  That gets me excited.

Phase 3:  This phase was intended to slowly re-introduce running back into my routine.  So maybe just a few easy miles, maybe a mix of walking & running.  I had also intended to not start this phase until September.  My original plan was to give myself the rest of the August with no running.  This was important because I wanted to be able to honestly say I truly did give full effort to a proper recovery.  Not say it one day, then throw it out the window and do the opposite the next.  Really, running is my addiction.  It's my drug.  I say that jokingly, but it is so true!!  I have serious withdraws and I'm just not me if I don't have my fix.  Phase 1 & 2 were hard enough as it is.  I had a lot going on in other areas that helped make it easy to scale back on everything.  Now things were settling down on a personal level and my leg was feeling so much better!  I was on the fence about sticking with my original plan (completely phase 2 through the rest of August) or starting it a week early.

Turns out a running friend was coming through the area last Saturday & wanted to stop off in town for a run.  Without knowing too many details of my injury & recovery that friend asked if  I could meet for a run.  It's rare enough that someone actually initiates & asks to run with me, but when it's an out of town running friend I most certainly jump at the chance.  Being that it was my first actual run in 2 weeks this was either the stupidest idea or the best thing to jump start phase 3.  We ended up running 8 miles (a tad more than I probably should have ran being my first run back.  Ha ha, so much for easing into it), but at a fairly slow (for me) pace.  One seemed to counter the other and my body handled it quite well.

On Sunday I headed back out for a run.  My first solo run in phase 3.  Running with someone is always different than running solo.  I had a 5 mile route planned, but also had alternatives to cut back to 3 or 4 if I felt like I needed it.  So far I had no effects from my 8 miler the day before.  I'm not going to say that my leg felt 100%, but it was feeling much better than it had for many months and especially considering the tough 45 miles I had put it through just 2 weeks prior.  I can tell my leg is still recovering.  It's going to take a long time to get it back to completely strong & healthy.  However this 5 miler on Sunday felt pretty good.  I even ended up with an 8 minute pace, something I was planning or trying to do, it just happened.  On it's own.

I'm continuing with phase 3.  I had my first speed workout on Monday.  8x800's on the treadmill (that seems to be the only way I can get speed workouts done).  My first 4 - 800's I ran at a 8:30 pace, the second set of 4- 800's I ran at an 8 minute pace.  I'm re-introducing certain running elements back into my schedule, but at an easy (for me) pace.  I have plenty of time to get back to where I was pre-injury.  I want to do it the right way & seem to be on track for that.  I'm sticking with my weight training as well.  It has many other benefits aside from aiding in my recovery. All in all, things are heading in the right direction for me!

Have you ever been injured before?

What did you do to recover from your injury?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rest & Recovery

No, this is not my big race recap.  I know you are all on the edge of your seats waiting for that.  I need something short & sweet today....hey, just like me :)  ok....cheesy!!  But, hey, I'm avoiding a big emotional melt down so let me be cheesy if I want to be!

Running 45 miles last Saturday has completely wiped me out!  Well, duh!  I'm sure you all knew that would happen.  Some of you are tired of just thinking about running for 8 hours.  But really, I don't remember past ultras taking so much out of me.  Although, like childbirth, I think I tend to forget about the pain & suffering - the good kind- that goes with each race.  Yes, it has been worth it all and I won't hesitate to sign up & do it again.  But, wow, it's been a few days of recovery.

So far I have been good and really listening to my body.  In addition to a consistent 8-10 hours every night I've been taking naps as well.  I haven't ran since Howl, but I've logged some miles everyday by walking.  I did decide to "take a break" from running for the rest of the month.  Mostly due to my lingering injury that has not healed 100%.  I mentioned in my pre race report that the last few weeks I had completely lost my running mojo and had been forcing the running.  That is not what running is suppose to be about.  It's definitely not who I am.  I want to love running and lately I've hated it.  I only stuck with it because of Howl at the Moon.

Make no mistake, I'm logging some miles every day.  You didn't think I was going to walk away that easily, did you?  Technically, in a round about way I'm holding onto my streak of at least 2 miles every day.  Yes, on Sunday, the day after the race I walked.  Actually, that was more because I do believe one of the best things to do to recover is to get moving.  Laying around, moaning & groaning is worse in my opinion.  I took it very slow....VERY.....but I went out and walked.  So maybe I can't say that I hold a running streak, but a streak none the less to keep me active & moving every single day. 

After talking with Jill, a recent RRCA certified running coach, she let me know that walking is a very acceptable form of cross training that is good for my body while taking a break to recover from an injury.  I'll be adding in other forms of cross training, but not yet.  A few miles each day I can handle, but I'm not ready to jump back into a full exercise routine.   When I am ready to work my way back into a full routine (give me another week) I will also be focusing more on making my whole body strong.  I'm the first to admit that I love running so much that I'm often guilty of doing only that & ignoring everything else.  Yes, I know, shame on me!  *hanging my head in guilt*  Obviously I can get away with this to some degree (remember my awesome PR filled spring), but long term it has blown up in my face and look where I am now.  So I need to go back to a more balanced and whole body focused form of fitness.  I can (when the time comes) run every day, but it can't be my only focus.  Thank you Jill for talking some sense into me.  Deep down I knew all this anyway, sometimes it takes a friend to get you to face & deal with that truth.

In a fitness/running way this is all great & dandy.  It is, of course, coming at a bad time.  For two reasons:  A)  Run this year.  My yearly goal is slowly slipping out of my hands and I only have 4.5 months left to achieve this.  I mean, I do know that my overall health is more important that some mileage goal, but I'm such a competitive (against myself) person that I have a hard time just letting that goal go.  However I do have some hope that if I can recover properly & get back on track I do still have time.  I mean, I do have 4.5 months left!!  (I love seeing both the negative & positive of a situation).  And B) this emotional melt down that I mentioned at the beginning of my really just makes me want to RUUUUUUUN!  Seriously, running helps balance me out so much!  When I go without it I have a harder time dealing with my emotions.  I'm an emotional big cry baby anyway, but now I don't have my usual way of venting it all out.  An emotional melt down is evident no matter what, but I can usually curb it via my running.  But, no I get to deal with it full blown once it hits.

A few things are contributing to this impending melt down.  A)  Howl at the Moon.  I've needed a big cry over that for days now, but have been holding it back.  More on that in my race report.  B)  Tomorrow marks 1 year since my father in law passed away.  C) Tomorrow is the first day of school.  Normally I'm all woo hoo about school starting.  This year it's different.  For the first time in 18 years ALL 6 kids will be in school.  My baby starts kindergarten and my oldest starts her senior year.  Just typing that has me tearing up.  This is big, this is huge....everything that I have been for 18 years is about to change.  Yes, I'll still be a (mostly) stay at home mom, but it's never going to be the same.  One of my biggest identities is about to drastically change.  Anyway....I don't want to get all worked up about it now!  Of course, NOW, is never a good time and eventually I won't be able to hold it in any more.  And I won't be able to run it off.  So I'm just going to have to deal with it like the great big cry baby that I am.

Ok, this ended up not being so short, but thanks for bearing with me & letting me vent :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Howl at the Moon Results

I don't have time to type out a full race report.  I know some of you are anxious to hear how I finished.  So I'm going to list the basics and work on a bigger post with lots of race details for later on.  Not sure when, it's a busy week, the kids start school, yada yada, but I promise to get it done.

Here I am at the beginning of the race:

Here I am at the end:

I ran 44.77 miles.  For reasons that I will explain in my full race report, I've been rounding up & telling most people that I ran 45 miles.  I gave it 100% and seriously don't think I could have taken another step.

I can't wait to tell you ALL about the race.  There is so much that happens in 8 hours!  Not to mention what took place before & after too!!  I'll get back to you all soon!  Thanks for all the love & encouragement that many of you gave me :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Howl at the Moon Pre Race Thoughts & Goals

FINALLY, it's here.  Well, almost.  This morning I'm packing up with 2 friends & heading to Danville, IL to run my 4th Howl at the Moon on Saturday.  Howl has become my absolute favorite race.  Ever!  You are welcome to look back at previous race recaps, but I'll give you a real basic synopsis of how I've done each year.

In 2010 I completed my first Howl.  Prior to that I had only raced a half marathon and my longest training run was 18 miles.  I knew....just knew that I was capable of so much more.  Don't know how to explain that, it had been brewing in me for a few years.  It made no sense because I had no experience & no training to back that up, but I believed in myself, ran anyway & completed 34 miles.  I was such a newbie & made so many mistakes, but I considered the race a complete success & it started me on a new journey of running & racing longer distances.  I returned in 2011, fixed a few mistakes & completed 38 miles.  I was still making some mistakes, but didn't see that then.  I was still satisfied to have completed more miles than the previous year.  Having more experience under my belt I still believed I was capable of more.  Back again in 2012 & I had a completely awesome race.  Made some big changes in things I did & completed 46 miles.  I felt so great I could have kept going.  I only stopped running because the 8 hours was up.  As great as that was I still walked away knowing/believing that I can do more.

Here I am at 2013.  I still believe I can do more.  However this year, more specifically that last 4 months, I have been plagued with injury & pain.  I seriously can't think of the last time I went a day without any pain.  Not sure the last time I had a run that felt great, easy and natural.  The last month or so it's all been forced miles & training.  I don't like that.  If it wasn't for Howl I would have stopped weeks ago.  Having said that, after Howl I am going to do some serious assessment.  Yes *gulp* it might be time to step back & stop.  I'll cross that bridge when it's time to come to it.  For now I'm still on this side of the river and the next couple of days will be traveling over it.  I'd be lying if I said I'm all pumped and ready to take on this year's Howl.  It's here whether or not I want it to be and here are my goals for How at the Moon 2013.

 My I FINISHED goal:
To start. To finish.  To keep moving the entire day.  aka: Finish Feeling Fine & having Fun.  This is not my first ultra or Howl at the Moon.  Since this is a timed event & not a set distance I want to keep moving the whole day.  If I have to walk then I will. However, in the event that something were to go wrong I at least want this goal to be reached.

My I CAN goal:
Finish at least the same number of miles that I completed last year (46).  In the event of having serious physical problems I'd like to finish no lower than my previous low (34).  I've done these miles before and the first year I was pretty injured too, but ran anyway.  I know my body is capable of at least this.

My I LOVE IT goal:
To finish 50 miles.  From the second I finished last year this has been my goal.  It's all I've talked about.  I even started telling people that I'm running a 50 mile race this weekend.  Mostly  because it's easier than launching into a big explanation of what a timed ultra entails, but also because this has been my goal for a long time.

My I DREAM IT goal:
To finish more than 50 miles.  If the clock is still ticking and I've reached my 50 miles I plan to keep on going.  Maybe I'll even be the overall female.  Last year I was 5th.  A lot of us finished with in just a few miles of each other, I wasn't that far off. 

I'm such a talker I could talk your ear off about this race.  Non-stop.  But it's now past 1 a.m. & I really need to get some sleep before we leave Howl.  We are traveling over to the race & setting up camp.  Leaving plenty early to take our time & relax.  Race excitement has started to kick in....hence me being up so late.  I have a few more touches on my preparation & then I'm heading to bed.

I'll update the blog as soon as I can.  If you want faster updates, check my other sources of social media.  You can find links to those on my main page.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Busy, busy

Wooooooo Weeeeeeee........have I been busy!!  I knew this was coming & I was ready, so I'm not complaining that things have really picked up in my personal life.

My job at the Y has been very slow for most of the summer.  Going in to teach pilates 2x a week is something I've been doing for many years.  I could practically do it in my sleep.  Which sometimes at 6 a.m. I feel like I AM still asleep.  However coming up in September (yeah, next month!) my Y is hosting a Regional Training Event (RTE) for YMCA of the USA.  Normally this means a lot of hands on responsibility for me as I'm assigned trainer candidates, have to work along side of them & oversee & evaluate their student teaching.  However this year they are  not running my class that I'm faculty trainer in, so I get to take a little step back.  Instead they asked me to teach a 4 hour CEC course.  Got it.  Easy peasy.  Within our own staff the person who did most of the dealings with headquarters just moved to another Y.  Yay for her, she got promoted to executive director.  While another full time employee took over her position I'm the only other person who has the experience of running a RTE.  So I'm helping out quite a bit.  There is a lot of underlying working that goes into running such an event.  I'm no expert by any means either so I'm always emailing or on the phone with our guy from headquarters.  It's a lot of work, but I'm enjoying it.  Even though my hours are really up - which by that I mean I worked 10 hours last week...I know woo hoo, big deal, but coming from 0, it's a jump up - I still get to dictate my hours of when I go in & get it done.  This works well with my family & I'm still home quite a bit for them.

Band Camp also started last week.  My 2 oldest are in high school & one of them is in band.  I am heading into my 4th year of helping with the band program.  This year I am president of the band boosters.  As we kick off the year there is a lot to get done.  I'm meeting with the directors several times a week and constantly fielding phone calls & emails from parents.  Last night I conducted my first band booster meeting as president.  I was slightly stressed, but it went off without a hitch.  As we go into the school year & right into football & marching competition season there will non stop action with the band organization.  That doesn't worry me too much, keeping on task & ahead of the game will avoid too much stress.  It's not bad that things are in full swing.  It's just keeping me more busy than usual.

The timing of this is all a little good on my training.  I don't have time for lots of run with lots of miles.  I'm only logging 2-3 miles a day.  I know that's a lot for some of you, but for me that is down, like bare minimum.  It's what I'm suppose to be doing anyway as I head to Howl at the Moon in a few days.  I'm taking extra steps to rest & get a lot, if not more, sleep than usual.  Yes, my leg is still bothering me, but having pulled back it's doing better & I'm sure it will hold up well during my race.

Tomorrow I will bring you a full  pre-race report.  Until then I'm off to get more house work done.  I skipped work at the Y this morning so I could get a lot of cooking & cleaning done.  All of this extra activity means it's more to balance with my life & family.  So far I've been doing good with my priorities & not adding any extra stress.  I'm working to keep on track & keep it all balanced.

How is August going for you so far?  

Anything keeping you extra busy?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July Rewind

FINALLY!  It's August!  It's been a long few months since signing up for Howl at the Moon.  Long, I think, because I've been battling injury for most of that time.  I can't tell you how much I just want Howl to be over!!  That is neither good or bad.  I won't expand on that anymore.  Don't worry, a big pre-race post is coming up soon.  At least within the next 9 days, since the race is in 10!

July is always a big month leading up to Howl.  Since I started to run longer distances 4 years ago, which was also my first year at Howl, July has always been my biggest month in terms of high mileage.  That is not true this year, but it is so far of the 7 months, my 3rd highest.  I feel like it should be my highest, I'm actually disappointed in how it all played out.  Not that I want to make excuses, but it really is because of my leg.  Actually make that legs.  Both of them.  But, I'm not wanting to talk about that in depth either.  That will be dealt with AFTER Howl.  Why?  Because I'm choosing to ignore what is likely a bigger problem  focusing on nothing but the positive of Howl and what it's going to take to reach my A goal.  You'll have to read my upcoming pre-race post to know what that goal is, unless you already know.  I haven't kept it a secret, but haven't blogged about it a ton either.  Either way stay tuned!

Here are some stats for the month of July:

Total Miles Run:  159.25.  Yes, I am VERY aware that I should have ran an additional .75 to round it up to an even number.  The OCD in me is going nutty over that number there.  But literally last night as I finished I was SO tired I could barely move in a straight line & my leg were screaming mercy even though my pace was like a turtle moving through peanut butter.  A lot of those 159ish miles have not been pretty ladies & gentlemen.  That brings my yearly mileage up to 1,054.79 and past my half way goal for Run This Year.

Days Run:  31, taking my running streak up to 429 days.

My highlight of the month was a 20 mile migration from Muscatine to West Liberty, IA with a group of Muscatine Running Friends.  Said run is held on the weekend of my birthday so it's a nice little celebration I give myself.  Last year when I completed this same run it was just Tony Carl (who's birthday is the day before mine) & I.  Literally just us with no sag or other support other than what we could carry between the two of us.

This year there was some other crazy runners who joined us.  Tony (this year it fell on his birthday), Lee & I left Steamboat Landing at 4:30 a.m.

There something fun & neat about running down a country highway in the pitch black stillness.  Awesomeness!  This year we were extra blessed to have a sag team.  Nancy & Terry drove a car with all of our gear & fueling needs.  They would drive ahead a few miles then wait for us & have our stuff ready & waiting if we needed it.  Always a nice touch to have someone(s) there to take care of your needs.

We took our time averaging a little under a 10 minute pace.  Probably around a 9:30.  On long runs I tend to not mess with my Nike+ app that tracks my time, miles etc.  So my averages get messed up because I didn't stop & pause my run when we stopped for fuel or to pee on the side of the road.  Either way, we had fun.  At times we chatted, other times we ran in silence (which makes it awkwardly funny when someone farts and you try not to laugh too loud.)

We had little traffic & plenty of nature along the way.  The first 5 miles it was pitch black then we watched as the sun began to rise.  I stopped to take this pic as the sun came up over the Cedar River.

For a few miles Andrew also joined the group & when we reached West Liberty we stopped for another picture:

At this point we had run 16ish miles, but then went further into town to reach the Fairgrounds.  Most migrations that MRF do is from Muscatine to wherever there is a race.  So on this morning the County Fair 5k race was happening.  It was so-so tempting, but I chose not to race and was a mere spectator on this rare occasion.  While the race was going on I looped around the area some more to reach an even 20 miles.  I was very satisfied at the end of my run.

How was July for you?  (running or not, I'd still love to hear about it)