July Stride Box and ipsy glam bag

I’ve added a second subscription box to my life, the ipsy glam bag that sends makeup and beauty samples. When not drenched in sweat while running, I do like to wear makeup and look pretty ūüôā Here is what came in my special mailbox presents this month:

Stride Box ($15/month)

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  • Mediterra sesame energy bar
  • Huma chia energy gel
  • Salba chia¬†seeds
  • Youth infusion drink mix
  • Rock tape
  • Purps vita drink supplement
  • Gu tabs
  • Dermasport skincare samples
  • Stride Box water bottle

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This was a good box. There is a decent mix of varying items Рloved getting some chia seeds! I have noticed in the last few boxes that energy gels and drink mixes are quite frequent. I am pretty set with the types of gels and drinks I use, and am not really in the market to try out new things. I will try these samples out whenever I am just going on a short to mid-length run, but for those long runs, I am sticking with what I know my stomach can handle already.

So I will keep this in mind with the next couple of boxes, to decide if I need to keep getting this. It’s fun and I am excited each month when it arrives, but I don’t know how practical it is for me.

ipsy glam bag ($10/month)

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I *am* in the market to try out and experiment with new beauty products, so right now this is up my alley. I really liked my first bag and the variety of products it offered. Unlike Stride Box, ipsy subscribers get different bags based on a survey you fill out on the site when you sign up. There are a lot of different samples they are giving out this month, and each person will only get 5 of them. Those 5 items will vary from person to person. I got:

  • Teeez lipstick in the color “Killing Me Softly”
  • Eva NYC dry shampoo
  • Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo lip conditioner
  • Ofra eyeshadow and highlighter in “Bliss”
  • City Color HD Powder

The one thing we all get is a cute little makeup bag, a different one each month.

NYC Marathon Training

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Tomorrow makes 16 weeks to the NYC Marathon. Hard to believe! I have not run double digits since April 25, so I am kind of starting from scratch since my knee injury in May. I bought “Run Less, Run Faster,” which teaches the FIRST training plan of running 3 times a week, with 2 days of cross-training. Due to my limited amount of running in the past two months, I am going to start out on the novice training plan.

I will be including walking breaks in my running for the foreseeable future, until I am confident that neither I nor my knee need them.

My first week of marathon training will look like this:

Monday – 3 miles speed (the plan uses track workouts, but I do not have access to a track. This first run is 3×1600, so I will either run 3 miles or change my Garmin to measure meters and try to find a 1600-meter¬†stretch that I can do three times)

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Spin class – A new spinning studio just opened in my town; we did not have group spinning classes in the area until now. I signed up for a Wednesday evening class and one for next Saturday morning. Can’t wait! I haven’t been to a spin class since we lived in Baton Rouge, but I loved it back then.

Thursday – 6 miles tempo

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Spin class

Sunday – 8 miles long or 2 hours – whichever comes first.¬†I have to test my knee out and see how this goes. I plan to get up before church and allot 2 hours toward completing 8 miles. Depending on how much I need to walk, I may not get there in 2 hours. We’ll see.

I also plan to do yoga and arm exercises 2 times a week on workout days. I want my rest days to be days of complete rest.

This training plan is beginning the same week I start my new position after a promotion at work, which comes with more responsibility and time devoted to working, so this should be interesting. I will try very hard to strike a good balance and get my runs in on the less busy days.

I bought a pack of these which will be put on after every run:

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Run/walking my way up

I covered 4.75 miles today, which is the furthest I have gone in a month and a half. I made a playlist to coincide with my running/walking intervals – I’d run for about 15 or so minutes, then walk for 6-7 minutes. I just wanted to go out for an hour, so how far I covered would depend on how fast I ran and walked. I covered 4 miles in an hour two weeks ago, so this was an improvement. This was my playlist – green means run and red means walk:

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I looked like a mess after! It is super hot out there.

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I used a product from the latest StrideBox – Skratch Fruit Drop energy chews. These had the texture of Sour Patch Kids, but were not sour. They tasted good and were easy to chew and swallow. I had some before the run and during, and I liked them. Would try again.

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We had a good 4th of July weekend. We were lazy on Friday and Saturday during the day. On Friday night we went to Lake Charles and used a gift card we had to Olive Garden, then watched “The Goonies” at Prien Lake Park, which was hosting “Movies under the Stars.” On Saturday night we went downtown where the city was serving hamburgers, hot dogs and had live music, then put on a fireworks display. It started raining right when the fireworks began.

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June StrideBox

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I got my StrideBox a bit late this month – by June 23 I still hadn’t gotten it, so I emailed them to see what was going on. They responded quickly and said that according to their tracking, my box had come on June 11. I said maybe the mailman put it in the wrong mailbox, or maybe it was stolen, because I never got it! StrideBox was great and promptly mailed me another box with the tracking code. So I had a great customer service experience with them.

I am most excited about trying out the Ruby’s Lube for anti-chafing, and the microfiber towel will become a staple in my running bag. I already ate the Kate’s Energy Bar and it was very good!

I haven’t been able to try out too many of my Stride Box samples lately due to not running as much, but any time I use something I will try and remember to post my thoughts on it for future reference. I don’t want the $15 I pay per month for this little box to go to waste!

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.