April/ spring look-back

The past couple days, we have been experiencing crazy weather here in Raleigh (like, flash-flood warning Mon-Thursday, and tornado warnings and watches, with eery skies).

That means two things-

1. It’s not a time to test out longer distances outside
2. Everyone and their mom were in the gym this week (as in 5 of 6 treadmills, 3 of 4 ellipticals, and all 3 bike machines ocupado).

I went to the gym yesterday for a killer circuit workout (killed my legs a month ago, but was okay this week): 3x 0.2mile sprint, 20 calf raises (8 lb weight), 20 overhead presses (8 lb weight), 20 jump squats (8 lb weight… yes this was the hardest part), 20 back-kick leg extensions on each leg (no weight necessary), in case you were wondering…

And I am at ~59 miles for the month, and a few thoughts immediately followed–

I cannot believe I am only logging 16-20 miles per week, mixed with Holy crap! I am so glad I am finally logging 16-20 miles per week!
How many miles did I log each month? Was April more or less? So, here is my look-back on the beginning of 2014.

In January

I averaged about 8-10 miles per week, with lots of effort. Anywhere from a 9:30 to 12:30 pace. The 9:30 pace runs, were usually 2-3 miles, while the 11:30-12:30 pace were long runs which required me to walk (as I would feel pain). My longest run in January was a 7.85 miler with Sheryl, in which we got insanely lost due to a detour, and my horrible directional skills.
Total= 42.25 miles, 4 strength-training, and 1 yoga sesh

In February

I started to feel strong again, and began pushing my limits. In Feb, I ran my first 10 miler since Palmetto (April 2013). And I followed it up with another longest run since January 2013- 14.5 miles with Sheryl. Average pace was around 10:30 (11:00 on long runs, and 10-10:30 on shorter runs). I ran about 10-18 miles per week. All in all, February was brutally cold, I was crazy busy with work, but pushing for those extra miles made me feel strong again.
Total= 60 miles, 1 strength training (but various sprint workouts), 1 yoga sesh

In March

This has been my peak month for sure… I started getting my speed back, and felt great! The weather started to cooperate, and pushed me to be outside, or at least active. Oh, and Daylight Savings… I love the later sunny nights!
Total= 81 miles, 3 strength training

In April

It’s officially been a year- since I was “healthy” and strong. A year since my ab pain started interfering with seemingly everything. And I am finally getting back to where I was 2-3 years ago. It’s taken less time than I thought, but I’m getting there… April marked my return to half marathons, and racing, in general. It also marked my return to “speed” (as speedy as I can currently be).
Total= 58.9 miles, 2 strength training, 1 yoga sesh

Let me put something real quick into perspective… Here are my numbers for May- Dec 2013:

May, 2013: 1.5 miles ran, 4 miles walked (mostly laid up in bed for days after a run or walk)

June, 2013: 12 miles ran/walked (with lots of pain and ignored re-injury)

July, 2013: 13.5 miles ran, 4 miles walked (again, with pain)

August, 2013: 8 miles ran (finally got serious about rehabbing my ab)

September, 2013: 10 miles ran

October, 2013: 17 miles ran

November, 2013: 14 miles ran

December, 2013: 32 miles ran (this is when I consider myself starting to “come back” as I convinced myself it was okay to run very slowly, 11:00-12:00 minute pace to get my mileage up, with occasional walk breaks).

This is all not a pity party, but the opposite. I am so excited to finally get my life back. I get so mad sometimes that I cannot maintain a 8:30 for 8 miles like I used to, but I forget about how far I have come. And how much I have struggled (physically and emotionally) to push through the pain and get to where I am today.

I reset my garmin in December, because I was tired of not reaching “new records” even though I was getting faster. I pushed myself in November and December to reach a 30-minute 5K speed, with all-my-freaking-might. Last week, with Dan, I managed to go sub-29-minutes. And, actually it didn’t feel that hard. It was actually during a 4-mile run. I “ran” my first return 10K speed through run/walking in 1:10 in November, and ran my fastest 10K during the Rock n Roll half in 1:00:40… That’s something to be proud of.

We beat ourselves up, and expect change so quickly, that we sometimes forget all the change that has already taken place. I am doing phenomenal, and I think I sometimes forget that.

I also feel the need to thank everyone who stood with me. I had several identity ‘failures’ we’ll say, where I wasn’t sure who I was without some form of exercise, and had pent up energy I just couldn’t release as I wanted. Dan really stood by me, trusting that I would eventually become the happy and active girl he fell for.

the come-back kid (I hope)

I’ve been without pain for the past few weeks. Without any chiropractor appointments.

So I signed up for this year’s Ridgewood Turkey Trot. It’s a 5-miler on Thanksgiving day. This will be my fourth year in a row. I’m sure it will be my slowest. And I am settled, and okay with that. It just means I will keep getting stronger and faster in the future.

I’m going to test out a 5-mile run on Saturday (or Sunday). Otherwise, I haven’t ran 5 miles in 6 months. I’m pretty excited.

For our (1-year) anniversary, I gave Dan a scavenger hunt. We had a lot of fun. Me, feeling like a CIA agent, stalking through Raleigh, leaving gifts and cryptic messages, then staying close by to watch it until Dan showed up. Then, scurrying to the next destination without being “caught” or seen. Dan enjoyed the doting (each clue had a little love note attached), attention, and said he felt like he was a CIA agent, tracking down my clues. He never saw me, and had no idea I was there. He said he was really hesitant to drink the coffee I left for him.

pimento cheese + Clue, left on the doorstep of Location #1

pimento cheese + Clue, left on the doorstep of Location #1

Anyway, the last gift was registration for the Turkey Trot. We met running, so it felt like appropriate timing. Last year, we ran it together, and both PR’d (significantly so for a 5-mile race). For our anniversary, he got me the ULTIMATE headlamp. It sounds weird to others- but we met on a team for a distance relay, so it was very fitting. We also went to a really nice dinner at the Stanbury (delicious little hip restaurant in Mordecai district of Raleigh; I didn’t know I liked brussel sprouts until that dinner… Also the pumpkin-chocolate creme brulee was to die for! Too bad Dan didn’t want to try the beef tongue… I was all ready for that!)

Dan's "Mr Grumpy Pants" in the morning

Dan’s “Mr Grumpy Pants” in the morning

Mug and coffee left at Location #2. I feel the need to elaborate on the mug: Dan is very grumpy before he gets his coffee in the morning, so the mug was fitting. We have a collection of about 20 mugs, and 18 of which are mine from various trips, from family members, etc. The point is almost all our mugs are “mine” (or his boring mugs… he lost his Seinfeld mug), so I wanted to get him a character mug. He has one from a tri he finished recently.

So I have three weeks to “get ready” for the Turkey Trot. I am not trying to set any records, but it would feel good to be able to run the entire course, and feel slightly speedy/competitive. I’ve been holding back during training, so maybe a race will help me find some external motivation, and spark some enthusiasm for speeding up 🙂

Here’s some autumn inspiration:

our neighborhood street. So pretty this time of year!

our neighborhood street. So pretty this time of year!

The sunrise on Tuesday morning. Kind of glad I had to work so early, so I could see it :)

The sunrise on Tuesday morning. Kind of glad I had to work so early, so I could see it 🙂

hip update

I feel this is premature, since I have a 4-6 miler scheduled with Dan this afternoon, and 6 miler in the morning with Sarah. But, my hip feels a LOT better. Not completely perfect, but the pain is only about a 2 (out of 10). I’m gonna take it easy on both runs- no speed, and I may walk hills if they seem hard.

It is disappointing, because I had been picking up speed again; but it happens, and I’ll get over it.

I also have to finish christmas shopping tomorrow- just a few more items for one or two people. I have today (Friday) through Wednesday off from work, so it will be a nice break, but I think I will get bored pretty quickly. Though catching up with family is always nice.

So now, I’m up to 989 miles. And hopefully, after today and tomorrow’s run, I’ll only have one more run left. I can do it! It’s all about maintenance now anyway 🙂

Happy Holidays everyone!

My resolution for 2013 is to be speedy, but first I have to be strong… I had forgotten that for a little bit. But I’ll get there again 🙂

Another resolution is to budget my running expenses- keep track of how much I spend in 2013. I have a feeling it’s a lot more than I think, and I could save sooooome by doing local races, training Hans-Solo-style, not doing so many (or as long) races. I attempted to add up last year’s expenses, and it was at least $1,200… Best estimate. So far, I have spent $150 for races in 2013 (both will require about $250 of other expenses)- so that’s $650 already. I’m not saying I’m not going to spend it, but I’m going to track it; so that way I can cut it off when I feel like it’s high. I mean I’d say my threshold is probably around what I spent in 2012- but then it’s also an experience. Hence, I am just tracking (Can you tell I am trying to talk myself out of the resolution already? And it’s only Dec 21…)

And! Let the pancakes and christmas wrapping (and music) begin! Okay, the music began like two weeks ago, but wrapping- that’s another issue. Maybe I should post my beautiful creations later today (I suck at wrapping)


Determined to run 1,000 miles!

Last year (2011), I set a goal to complete 500 miles by the end of the year, and reached about 400 when I suffered a minor hip injury. I could still run, and managed to get to 485, but felt defeated by not getting in 500 miles. In 2012, I made a silent goal of running 1,000 miles. I had no idea if I could reach it, so I didn’t start saying it out loud until after I reached 500 miles.

As of this morning, December 19, I am at 986 miles. I have 12 more days to get in 14 miles. As of December 1, I had 49 miles left to go, so I have been making some progress (35 miles).

I ran ~12 miles on Saturday, with a new group of people (who I actually really enjoyed). The first three miles were on a single track trail. That cautious voice in my head was saying Be careful… (that’s how I injured myself in 2011- too much trail running and hill repeats with not enough strength training). However, my hips felt fine, until about mile 11. Then it got my attention- but this time it was my right hip. I guess it was jealous that the left hip always gets my attention, and wanted to crash the party.

Sunday, I planned to run with Dan, before indulging in La Farm. Since I still planned to indulge in La Farm, and Dan gets so enthusiastic about running with me (no matter how slow), we still ran 3 miles, but at an easy pace. About a mile of it was on a trail (I know! I know! …That voice was going off for a good bit, but I love the technicality of trail running, and thought it would be okay)

Monday, I did some strength-training, and when I got to squats, my right hip kept popping audibly (the same symptom that eventually led to pain in my left hip). So I skipped squats. And I scrapped Tuesday night’s run, and didn’t do anything active.

So, now, 14 miles away… My plan is to do a lot of easy runs (and still make it to 1,000). Maybe I am being overzealous… It’s definitely not a full-blown injury, and my pain is about a 4 when walking swiftly, 6 when running, and fine when sitting or standing. Honestly, it dials up to a 8 when I make a sharp right turn (I found this out when my Dad turned quickly and gave me a hug, which pushed me to turn sharply, as I thought he was falling over, so I was hurriedly moving out of his way, so he could fall in peace). Bottom line- as long as no one cuts me off during the group run tonight, I think I’ll be fine. I’ll be running like a car without automatic steering. Besides, it’s an Ugly Sweater Run… How can you not go to one of those?!

Still, I will get 1,000 miles. In 12 days, I can accomplish 5 runs, of 3 miles each… I can do this!

Stretch. Stretch. Stretch. Yoga, yoga, yoga…

Awkward moment of last week-
Dan and I went for a group run (that a few others were supposedly going to). I showed up first, with my headlamp, and reflective gear. No one was at Fleet Feet, except the employees. Dan showed up about 5 minutes later, looking like a ninja in all black. It was 6pm, dark, and raining. They wouldn’t let us go out unless Dan either bought something reflective or didn’t write his name down as being there. No one else showed up. So, on paper, it looks like I went for a group run by myself. Also, it’s not cool to not wear reflective gear at night… It’s just stupid. I made him wear my reflective wrist bracelets before I would run next to him… Even though I was clearly visible and he stayed with me the whole time.

Side note- I really like my Petzl Tikka 2 Headlamp. It works great for a less-than-20-dollar headlamp. Only downfall- every time I put it on, I feel the need to make jokes about spelunking (Maybe that’s just me?). #cornydadjokes