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.

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April look-back

This spring has been odd. I am not training for anything in particular, which has been sometimes motivating. I can do speedwork whenever I want, blow off long runs, blow off a run for yoga, etc., and not feel guilty about it.

But, there have also been times I’ve felt uninspired when I look at my “training” log. Truthfully, there has not been a lot of running going on.

I’ve had this ongoing abdominal pain for the past month. I finally (after an excruciatingly sharp pain on Tuesday night’s group run) decided to get it to the doctor. No more ChandiMedicine. I am thinking I pulled an abdominal muscle or something equally non-threatening, but with internal issues; it’s always a little scary to think of the possibilities.

I have gotten faster and stronger this spring by doing “my own thing” but haven’t wanted to publicly admit how little I’ve done.

So here it is:

April miles: 80.8

I completed the Palmetto200 relay legs with good times. I am convinced I can do a sub-2 half marathon. If I wanted to. But, registering, traveling, scheduling “training runs”, that just doesn’t sound fun. Another thing I do is compare one month to the prior year- April 2012, I was in a training program for a half marathon, and ran 89 miles, spread over 15 runs. This April, I ran 81 miles, spread over 18 runs. Which isn’t half bad. And I wasn’t training for anything. I no longer need that motivation (and added anxiety) of a race 🙂

My goal for the spring was to enjoy running again, and aside from this strange abdominal abnormality, I’ve succeeded.

April Showers

Isn’t health the key anyway?

(random thoughts, by yours truly)

I am hoping the doctor won’t say “two months rest” or something similar.

September wrap-up and relay meeting

I’ve been so busy lately. It seems obvious, but spending time running really puts a strain on any hopes for a social life.

After last Saturday’s wet, cold, and at times, mentally excruciating 20 miles, we all skipped on a camping trip. About 30 minutes after skipping out, there was a tornado warning (apparently a few hours south, but still… Ever since that one tornado tore through downtown Raleigh, and my roommate, cat, and I sat huddled in my tub with pillows and comforters all around us while the walls shook and hail was crashing against the outer walls in the dark, I take those things seriously). Anyway, so it was fine that we didn’t go camping. Then the boys posted pics on facebook of their s’mores. I almost put on pants and drove 15 minutes to get a few s’mores. Almost. Yeah, okay I almost thought about doing that. I was pretty snug without pants in bed.

So Tuesday was our Tuna 200  Relay planning meeting. Sarah actually told Allison and I “I figured I’m hosting and you guys are running it right?” Which helped to allow Allison and I to freak out plan a little bit. We did cover a few things. \And in general, just seeing everyone, and feeling like we could answer any questions they had, made me feel more prepared. I woke up this morning realizing that I was worried about Van #2. To be honest, well, I’m in Van #1, and I’m not trying to win the race, so who the hell cares about how prepared Van #2 is? They’re either prepared or not. Van #1 is great. So problem solved- stop worrying Chandi!

And I calculated my September mileage. 169.9 miles! HELL FREAKING YEAH! Seriously?! (I reworked in various programs, each run; I used different formulas to calculate; I even added it up by hand, thinking technology must be failing me- that’s too high). I’m not sure how I managed 170 miles. I’m pretty sure in 2009, I ran less than that (in the whole year). But my legs feel strong. And after talking to our 3-time vet about it, I feel really confident in my ability as a runner. (I actually am getting accustomed to feeling like a [gasp!] strong runner… though maybe not speedy, just reliable- like a Volvo).

I ran 3 miles this morning, so slow- I think I was still asleep for the first 2 miles! And then was supposed to meet up with a small Wednesday night group. I decided we could pump out 6.7, though the boys were iffy about doing that much could barely contain their excitement about running that much on a weeknight. I got to our meetup 45 minutes early. So I figured the boys would be happy if I pumped out 2-3 miles before meeting them. I managed 2.5 miles. I got a text as I was crossing the street to the greenway that Dave (slower/younger of the boys) was bowing out. I would have made a smart-ass comment, but I really had to get started. So I pumped out 2 miles, then got a text from the other- Dan (older/8-minute pacer) “Am I the only one running?” I quickly dropped to a walk as I saw my last turn off the greenway and texted I would be there in a second. I knew there was no way I could do the 6.7 miles with this guy, after doing 3 this morning, and 2.5 just before. I suggested we do a shorter out-and-back. I made it 7 total.

And we quickly dropped the pace to an in-between speed. I could tell it was too easy for him, he could tell it was too hard for me. So I told him, the polite thing would be to entertain me “STORYTIME!” It was hillier than I remembered, and I just kept reminding myself that going faster would make me stronger. And I plan to drop pace for Tuna, etc etc. At one point, I felt a cramp in my left shoulder. I told him whenever I get this particular cramp, my reaction is “Omigod! I’m having a freaking heart attack! I’m going to die!” He tried to talk me off the ledge. Either way, we finished. I have to say, he stayed with me the whole time. I kept telling him he could leave me. I even told him at the end I was going to walk the last few meters to fully stretch/ cool down my legs, and suggested he sprint it in. But he just kept pace until my legs gave out I stopped to walk. There were moments though where I was thinking, I wonder how fast his reflexes are. If my legs gave out, would he be able to somehow stop my head from crashing to the ground? Glad I did not have to test that.

Oh, awkwardly disgusting moments. Because I figure you were waiting for that-

Sweating before I even met up with this guy. (Like dripping- it’s been humid and 80-85 degrees, and ya know what? I don’t have to explain myself)

When attempting to spit, and it ummm ‘stayed’ with me a few (long) seconds longer than expected.

The whole ‘I think I’m having a heart attack’ (eye roll response, followed by ‘you’re just breathing harder than normal for an extended period of time’)

And ringing my hair out (Yes, as if when you get out of the shower)- not once, or even twice, but three times, between our walking cool-down and getting in my car to leave.

Not sure if those make me bad-ass (that girl is totally bad ass!) or just gross (Ew! Stay away from her She probably smells really bad too!) <— In the theme of Budlight’s Real American Hero commercials. Oh long runs. I may miss your hilarious inside jokes that are only funny to me…

Tuna… 16 days

Richmond (First Marathon!) 38? I might have counted or remembered that wrong… I have a few weeks though.