July goals

The New York City Marathon is exactly 4 months away. That seems really close. We booked our plane tickets in May but still need to get a hotel.

I had planned to keep a base of at least 10-mile runs through the hottest parts of summer, but then I hurt my knee on May 16. An 18-week training plan would have begun this past Monday, but I think I am going to focus the next two weeks on building up my mileage, and then I will try to start a 16-week training plan on July 13.

Ultimately my goal is to not re-injure myself, so I am going about this very carefully. My big, tentative goal for July would be to run 45 miles total. Assuming I am healthy at the end of July, mileage would ramp up a little more quickly in August and I would hopefully be following my training plan to the T by then.

I am not worried about a goal for NYC. I simply want to get there and enjoy and finish. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, at least for me. I do plan to run more local marathons in the winter/spring, so I will be looking for a goal at one of those races, but not NYC. Therefore I do not feel much pressure to rush into training or start trying out longer distances soon. That would probably result in me being sidelined again anyway.

So my goals for July are:

1) Run 45 miles as long as my knee allows

2) Continue heating and icing my knee after every run

3) Do some form of yoga or Pilates twice a week

4) Do arm work with weights three times a week

5) Drink only water, coffee or tea

2015 Watermelon Fest 5K Race Recap

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Yes, I am running again! Sort of. More like run/walking. After hurting my knee I didn’t run at all for almost a month straight. I finally ventured out thanks to the prodding of my husband, and walked about a mile and a half, then ran a half-mile.

When my knee held up okay with just some twinges here and there, I was brave enough to go out again, covering four miles, mostly walking with several running stints, probably running a mile cumulatively. Then I went out and walked a quarter-mile, ran a mile straight, then walked another 0.75 miles home. So nothing awesome, but with every workout I felt more confident about what my knee could handle, and so I got maybe a little over-inspired to try and run a local 5K this past weekend.

I was very nervous about how my knee would hold up and afraid I would push myself too much because of the race setting, so I had to give myself a pep talk and promise myself to take walking breaks, not let pride get the best of me and just take it very slow.

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I set my alarm for race morning unregistered and unsure if I would have the courage to actually go out to the race, but when morning came, I was feeling good and made myself go. Races here are typically pretty small, my town has maybe three or four 5Ks a year, it’s not really a big running community at all. This race was probably the biggest I’ve been to here as far as number of participants, so that made me feel better – my fear was it being a super small race and everyone leaving me in their dust.

I knew several people there and enjoyed talking before the race started. Once it did, I just took it very slow, sticking to a 11:30 pace or so, hyper aware of my knee. There was a water stop at around 1.5 miles, so I got some water and took my first walking break. I started up again, with my knee having a twinge here and there, then for the rest of the race took about 3-4 walking breaks after each quarter-mile.

I finished at around 35 minutes, and the course was about 0.10 short. I felt pretty happy with how I was able to finish and that my knee wasn’t throbbing in pain or anything. I got some water and watermelon, then went to check out my official results.

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Despite the fact that this was probably my 2nd worst 5K time ever, I got 2nd place in my age group! Even though I just turned 30, I wouldn’t have changed age groups for this one because it was 26-35. I hung around for the awards ceremony and got my medal. It was such a great feeling to have gone and done this race despite my worries about my knee, and complete it with no major problems. The medal was just icing on the cake.

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Praying for Shreveport-Bossier!

My husband is from Bossier City, and the area is experiencing major flooding via the Red River right now. His parents live near the river, but their house is fine. There are many homes that were built inside the levee that are covered in water. Whenever we visit his family, I normally go running along the river path on either the Shreveport or Bossier side, parking at a boat launch. I was looking at the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook photos today and saw my two running spots:

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A huge parking lot is next to this sheriff’s substation, which is where I normally park to go running on the Bossier side. The running path goes right in front of the station.

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Another one from the Bossier side above.

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Above is the Shreveport side where I go running most often. In the upper right-hand side of the photo you can see the parking lot where I normally park. We were in town three weeks ago (same weekend as my Whispering Pines injury) and the river was high and had flooded over the banks a little, but not anywhere near this bad. It hurts my heart to see such familiar places covered in water. Hoping this river starts to recede very soon!

Weekend getaway

My knee still has a little twinge of an ache on the side/back when I bend it a certain way, but it seems to be on its way to a full recovery. I still have not run since the injury two weeks ago, but I think this week I will venture into a brisk walk and see how it feels afterward.

With no running and therefore no races, we planned a little weekend getaway that had nothing to do with me running a marathon. And it was very nice to go somewhere for the first time in a long time with no obligation to run 26+ miles. When we went to Galveston in February for me to run a marathon, we were there for literally less than 24 hours. We got to the island around 5 p.m. that Saturday, my race was Sunday morning, and we were on our way home by 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. It was a very abbreviated trip and we didn’t really get to experience anything, so we decided to go back this weekend now that summer weather is here and it’s just a three-hour drive away.

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It was still a short trip, but with no marathon scheduled, we actually got to enjoy it and just relax. We arrived around lunchtime on Saturday and had a nice waterfront lunch at Olympia Grill at Pier 21. They were still serving brunch so I decided to try something new – the Crab Cake Benedict, which was egg’s benedict on crabcakes along with potatoes and toast. It was very good!

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After lunch, we ventured into the downtown area where a Corvette car show was taking place. I had wanted to check out this antique/gift shop called Hendley’s, and there I became enthralled looking through old post cards. Some were still blank but a lot had been written on and mailed.

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There were several from the very early 1900s, which was just fascinating! I love little pieces of history like this. When I found one that had been mailed from New Orleans, I just had to have it.

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The post card depicts the Roosevelt Hotel in NOLA and was sent to someone who worked at Avondale Mills in Birmingham, Alabama, on Aug. 15, 1959. It read: “Dear Ada and all, We arrived safe at 3 p.m. Our room is $16.48 per day so we won’t be here long. This is where we are staying. I hope we have fun. See you soon. Lois and family.”

The Roosevelt Hotel’s current rates for the coming weeks start at $215 a night, for some perspective on that!

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After the gift shop, we headed to the beach and swam for about an hour. That night, we went to dinner at Farley Girls Cafe and then played board games and drank coffee at Board Game Island for a few hours. It was a very nice evening!

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The next day we ate brunch and then went to the Kemah Boardwalk and walked around a little, then got some boba tea. It was very good.

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We headed home after that. It was nice to go on a little trip that wasn’t jam-packed with activities.

Injured Reserve

It has now been 5 days since I injured my knee when falling during the Whispering Pines 50K DNF, and it has been a long 5 days.

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In the NFL when a player gets injured to a point where he will not be able to effectively play again during the regular season, he gets placed on the dreaded season-ending Injured Reserve (IR). If I were an NFL player in the middle of the season, I don’t think I’d be considered bad off enough to be placed on IR, but any plans I had for a long-distance race this summer are on hold as I wait to see how this latest issue plays out.

I haven’t been sidelined from running due to injury since September 2011 when an IT Band Syndrome flare-up limited me to about 10 miles for the month.

Photo from 2011 when I was religiously icing a badly-behaving IT band.

It was frustrating then and it is frustrating now, especially because this time I am more worried about how long I need to rest before my knee is truly healed.

I have had a couple of people make a comment to me about how you have to take care of your knees or they’ll be useless when you’re older, and that makes me scared to rush back to anything. Plus, I haven’t seen a doctor, because I really don’t think I need to, but their comments have made me second-guess that as well.

Since Saturday, when my knee was at its most painful and stiffest, and Sunday when it was at its most swollen, I have seen a lot of improvement. I have been wearing a knee brace every day to keep myself from bending it too much, since that is what causes the most discomfort, and I have been icing several times a day, incorporating some heat as well. Swelling is down and discomfort/pain is at a minimum.

I know it is silly to diagnose myself for anything via the Internet, but my initial symptoms fit very well with a knee sprain, and according to at least one site, a minor sprain could be fully healed within 2 weeks. If I am still experiencing any discomfort or pain 2 weeks post-injury, I will go see a doctor then to ensure there is nothing more serious at play. But for the most part, I am 100 times better than I was on Saturday and I am definitely going to play it safe as far as re-entering activity.

I will continue to look on the bright side that I didn’t break or tear anything, and pray that I will be able to return to some running within the next month. I also will definitely take being able to run a little less for granted.

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A rainbow on the way home Sunday.

A 6-mile walk in the park (Whispering Pines 50K DNF)

I came, I saw, I fell, I DNF’ed. The story of the Whispering Pines 50K turned 10K hobble.

I had never DNF’ed a race before, but I also had never experienced an injury from my own clumsiness during a race before either, so I can’t feel too bad about it. Right off the bat this morning I knew the Whispering Pines race at the Tyler State Park in Tyler, TX, was more than I bargained for when I was out of breath from climbing a hill after the first quarter-mile. From what I did get to see of this course, it was single-track, hilly, pretty, and rough.

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The weather was humid, so that combined with the hills made me very nervous about how I was going to keep myself going over the course of 30 miles (three 10-mile loops). There was a lot of walking in the first few miles simply because you were either stuck in a single-file line of runners you had no room to pass, or you were climbing a hill and wanted to conserve energy. I told myself when it was flat or downhill, I would run.

And I was going downhill at about 3.3 miles when I slipped or tripped on a root and went spectacularly flying forward. I felt the pain in my left knee immediately, and my first thought was, “I’m going to have to quit.” A few runners came up behind me shortly and asked if I was OK. I was shocked at the sudden pain in my knee and knew I would need a minute to collect myself. When I stood up, I tried to stretch it out but the front of my knee was throbbing and the back of my knee felt strained. It had limited mobility and I couldn’t bend it back all the way without feeling pain. Less importantly, my right knee was bleeding pretty good and my shoulder was all scratched up. I must have rolled or something because both of my sleeves were smeared with dirt.

Even though I was only a quarter-mile past an aid station, I decided to go forward and see if the pain would go away. I walked/hobbled for a mile and then tried to run. Nope. I grappled for the next two miles with the thought of dropping out, but knew it was the right thing to do. There was absolutely no way I was doing 26 more miles on this knee, I couldn’t run and felt the pain even as I walked. Any time my shoe hit a root, it reverberated pain through my knee. I was bitterly disappointed, and when alone on the trail, I allowed tears to come. Then I’d quickly try to collect myself as someone came up behind me. I heard “On your left” about 5,000 times.

Shortly before arriving at the next aid station, I came upon another limping girl who told me she had rolled her ankle and was dropping too. We got to the aid station and got a ride with a volunteer back to the start. I was glad I’d had the three miles of walking to mostly get myself together, or else I may have bawled in front of all the volunteers. We got dropped off back at the start/finish, and I made my disappointing trip home after taking some Tylenol and wrapping up my knee with a cold compress.

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I am not extremely worried about my knee because I was able to walk those three miles without being in excruciating pain, and the pain is more dull now than sharp. From Google I am guessing I strained some ligaments or something like that, it sounds like a knee sprain. But I will have to ice it and monitor it over the next few days; if it doesn’t start to get better, I will go see a doctor.

I know I did the right thing because there will be other races and I really was not able to run anymore without pain, and had I tried to continue it probably would have gotten a lot worse. Had I not gotten injured, I would have had a VERY long and probably miserable day with those hills and that humidity, but I wouldn’t have quit and I would have felt very proud of myself when I finished it. So in one way, I know I escaped a rough day, but I also lost out on the feelings I would have had when I finished after a rough day. Besides, no one runs a marathon or ultramarathon because it’s easy! So it’s just ultimately disappointing.

May StrideBox

I was definitely having a case of the Mondays yesterday, so finding my latest Stride Box in the mailbox at lunchtime was a great pick-me-up. This is what was in the latest box:

CONTENTS

  • Gu Energy Chews – rebranded version of the Chomps
  • Tiger Balm pain relieving patch
  • Massage and recovery ball
  • Glukos energy gel
  • 2 packets Osmo hydration energy drink mix
  • Bounce natural energy protein ball
  • VitaPerk coffee boost mix
  • Make It Happen sticker
  • Coupon for VeloPress Believe Training Journal

The massage and recovery ball is the perfect size for the bottom of my foot. I’ve had some pain there recently and will be utilizing this ASAP.

I ate the Bounce protein ball at work that very afternoon because I was tired! It contained cacao, seeds and whey protein with 9 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

IMG_1405It was pretty good, though it had a minty flavor to it, which isn’t my favorite. I would definitely try other flavors.

This is the guide included with the box:

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Whispering Pines 50K

whispering_pines_2015I signed up for my second 50K, the Whispering Pines Trail Run in Tyler on May 16 (This Saturday!) The only problem is my IT band has been irritated during runs since the Brazos Bend 50K on April 25. I have been icing and stretching it regularly, as well as backing way off running and taking it easy when I do run. I am hoping this doesn’t affect me too badly during the race. This was this past week’s activity – it wasn’t much:

Monday – Ran/walked 1 mile and played tennis for 30 minutes. My IT band was really tight and irritated during that run/walk to the snowball stand, and it was after tennis, so that might have contributed. I had to work and had church the next two nights, so I rested it until Thursday.

Thursday – Ran 3.1 miles at the park with my husband. I warned him I might not do a full three miles depending on my IT band, so we ran around the park twice, which was two miles. I still felt fine up to that point, so we ran a half-mile out of the park and then turned around to come back the way we came. It wasn’t until we had to go downhill on the road that led to the park that my IT band did start hurting again. I backed way off and started walking the second the Garmin hit 3.1 miles. I stretched and iced it a lot after that, and decided not to run a 5K on Saturday that I had been considering because I knew I would feel pressure to run fast and possibly overdo it.

Sunday – I went out for an easy run, planning to stay out on the road for an hour and a half. The front of my knee on the same leg as the messed up IT band hurt a lot at first, which confused me. I stretched my leg a little and continued, and that specific pain went away. The IT band was tight at various points, and I would stop to stretch it. It was also HOT and I only had my 10-ounce handheld with me, so I ran out of water before I got back to my house. I took a few walking and stretching breaks, and took the running really slow. I only covered 8 miles in the 92 minutes. I sweated A LOT. My new Lululemon shirt was pretty much see-through by the end.

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I tried out three items from my last Stride Box for this run, and I liked two of them:

FullSizeRender1) Vega energy gel (orange zest flavor) – This was a thick and grainy gel that did not taste good. I’ll leave it at that. Did not like at all. I took it 15 minutes before my run.

2) Movit energy gummies (berry flavor) – These were pretty good, just not enough in a package. The package suggested eating 1-2 bags per hour of activity, and the bag itself was only 60 calories. They tasted fine and didn’t upset my stomach or anything. I took several during my run and felt a burst of energy each time. There were about 11 in the bag.

3) Ultima electrolyte mix (orangey orange flavor) -This tasted good and didn’t upset my stomach. It only had 15 calories and it was suggested that the packet be mixed with 8-12 ounces of water. That was the perfect amount for my handheld, but not enough for an entire run. After I ran out of the water in my handheld that I mixed this with, I stopped back at my house and got more (plain) water.

Running = Buying Stuff

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I saw this cartoon recently and had to laugh – this could be me and my husband inserted into this drawing. I have been going a little overboard buying running stuff lately, mostly clothing, though in the past couple of months I’ve also bought new shoes and a new Garmin, because mine was starting to mess up regularly. These are some things I’ve gotten lately –

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I have wanted a Lululemon Run Swiftly shirt for a lonnnnngggg time. Like years. So as a reward for running my first 50K, I finally bit the bullet and bought one. It came with this cute little bag that would be handy for bringing snacks or my lunch to work in. (Those little furry white feet belong to my nosy cat!)

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When we went to New Orleans in April to visit my family, it just so happened to be the weekend Tasc Performance was holding a warehouse/sample sale. I have bought several pieces from them in the past online, and the material is super comfortable and made of bamboo. I got three pieces, two for $5 and one for $10; these items are normally $30+! I was super excited and there was so much stuff there!

IMG_1209Shortly before the Brazos Bend 50K, I went by Academy to get some Shot Bloks for the race, and somehow found myself in the Clearance section where they had this cute Saints running shirt. It’s a Nike Dri-Fit. Love it and love my Saints!

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The aforementioned new Garmin – I previously had the pink Garmin Forerunner 10 and I decided to go with the same model because the 15 didn’t offer anything new that I really cared for, and the 10 was on sale at Amazon.com, so I went for it. I was also happy to get lime green, which was the color I initially wanted back in 2012 when I bought my pink one, but it wasn’t available.

IMG_1347 (2)I got these Reebok shirts on super sale at Dick’s this past weekend, love the colors! Plus the UA shorts were $5 off. I wear Nike Tempo shorts 99% of the time, but I tried on these and liked how they fit, so I may be branching out!

But seriously… I’m going on a shopping suspension. Need to be saving more money, spending less!

Park Life

We have not taken nearly enough advantage of the local park here, with its shaded running path and free tennis courts. We bought tennis rackets and balls last year, but had only gone to play tennis about twice before last week. We went out to the park and ran two miles last Thursday, then played tennis for 30 minutes. I am really terrible at it, but it’s fun and a good way to mix up activity.

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After tennis, we walked around the park one more time, which is about 1 mile. We walked by the snowball stand nearby right as it was closing, so my goal Monday when we went back to the park was to get to the snowball stand before it closed!

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Yesterday we played tennis for 30 minutes again, then ran a half-mile to the snowball stand. My left IT band is really irritated, so I think I am going to have to back way off on running this week. It is a busy week of work, so I can handle that, I suppose. Hunter got a snowball and I got a pickle, plus a pickle pop! Frozen pickle juice on a stick!

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It was super sour. After getting our goods we walked the half-mile back to our car. It definitely feels like summer!