Running, Adult Parties, and a Smelly Sentiment

The last few days have been really awesome.  It was pretty rough getting back into the work groove after a beautiful four-day weekend up north (northern Michigan).  Life on a lake in a cabin off a secluded dirt road etc etc, even if it’s only for four days, is idyllic and just swept me away.  I can’t wait to hopefully go back for the Fourth of July.

The good thing about working after a long weekend is that the week that follows is also a day short.  It is already Friday and it seemed to come up so fast.  I have a sushi date tonight and plans to go to a pool party on Sunday, so it should be another great weekend.

So what made these past few days awesome?  Well, after taking a couple days off after Bayshore, I started my summer training plan!  My first run back on Tuesday felt rough and I didn’t feel recovered from my race yet, but I felt better on Wednesday and ran Wednesday and Thursday as well.  The plan I am using calls for easy runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with rest Friday, a long run Saturday, cross training on Sunday, and rest again Monday.  It peaks at a 40-mile week after about four months, so my hope is that this can get me back to running the mileage I would like to be running in a safe, effective way.

The plan I am using is Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 marathon training program.  I’m not intending to run a marathon until the spring, but since the plan gives me the mileage I want and since I am feeling like a beginner again after all the injuries of the past year, I thought it seemed like a good way to go.  I’m also hoping that following a plan written by an experienced professional will help give me less of a chance of getting hurt than if I were to continue doing things my way and playing it by ear.  I’m looking forward to the next 18 weeks and to seeing where I am at the end of the program. 🙂

In non-running news, I went with Matt to the picnic his boss hosted yesterday evening.  It was interesting because it was an “adult party.”  With the exception of our friend Jack and one other employee, everyone was married and most people were at least 30, or nearing it.  Not to say that that is old, because it’s not, but it did feel a little funny being the youngest one (unless you count the one toddler running around, or the baby in the pregnant wife’s belly).  It was pleasant, just a very different experience.  Oh, and the hot dogs were great.  There was a puppy, too, but we didn’t eat him. 😛

The other important non-running news?  I had to throw away one of my favorite shirts this morning.  It is the T-shirt I got for 8th grade graduation back in 2006.  It still fits great and is really comfortable and soft, but when I put it on this morning I noticed the underarms still smelled even though it had just been washed, and when I looked, they were also stained. 😦  I took pictures so I would always remember this amazing shirt.  I mean, sentimentally amazing.  It’s nothing special except that it’s a special memory.

The Knights were the high school's mascot that I would have gone to (that my middle school fed into) if I hadn't gone to a different school.

The Knights were the high school’s mascot that I would have gone to (that my middle school fed into) if I hadn’t gone to a different school.

Because my high school graduating class was the Class of 2010.

Because my high school graduating class was the Class of 2010.

Do you have anything of sentimental value that you probably should get rid of but just can’t bring yourself to throw away?

Race Recap: Bayshore Half Marathon

I ran this same race last year in 1:57:11, which I wrote about on my old blog if you are interested in reading about it.  This year, I ran a full 20 minutes slower at 2:17:12 (net time).  I can’t even compare the two races though because my circumstances were completely different.  Last year, like this year, I was hurt leading up to the race, but last year, I ran three weeks over 40 miles and many in the 30s in the months leading up to the race, whereas this year I have only been able to run two 20-mile weeks in the last six months.  Last year, I was looking to run a very ambitious 1:45, whereas this year I was hoping to finish.

So, I was wayyy less fit, some might say injured, and generally feeling unprepared for this race.  There had been a few periods leading up to it when I didn’t know if I would even be able to run the race, and it was actually still up in the air until Friday afternoon.  Given all of that, I am very happy with the way things went.

Matt and I drove up to his grandparents’ cabin the day before the race.  We arrived at around 3pm, visited for a bit, and then I decided it was time to see how my hip was feeling (I had taken the previous 9 days off running because it had been bugging me).  We went for a short 20-minute jog and I felt spectacular, even adding two strides onto the end.  That is when I finally decided I would be able to run the race.

We then drove into Traverse City about 45 minutes away to pick up the race packets, which was a breeze.  We had no trouble finding a parking spot and there were no lines, which is a huge difference from last year.  At packet pick-up, they were selling previous years’ shirts for $5, so I bought last year’s half marathon shirt in a size up from the one I got last year.  The shirts run small, but I didn’t quite believe them and I ordered a small that year, which looked like this…

The 2013 Bayshore shirt in a small, oops...

The 2013 Bayshore shirt in a small, oops…

The medium fits great. 🙂

I went to bed around 10:15 on Friday night and wake-up was at 4:15am.  Somehow, I woke up at 4:14, before any alarms had gone off, which was pretty convenient.  I got dressed right away and sat down with some black coffee.  I also spread peanut butter on a plain bagel to bring along and eat at 6am.

We got out the door at 5:15 and Matt’s mom drove his dad and me to the half marathon start 45 minutes away so we wouldn’t have to take a shuttle, which eliminated a lot of stress.   We stood around in the park chatting for quite a while, then I warmed up and it was time for the 7:30 start!

I started with Matt’s dad (Bryan) between the 9-minute and 10-minute pace signs, but quickly fell off.  New to the course this year is an uphill section before joining the main road.  I went out in what felt like a conservative pace and handled the hills just fine–I wasn’t tired at the top and felt better than a lot of the people around me sounded–yay Ann Arbor hills!  After that section, I decided to continue not to push things and hung back, losing Bryan ahead of me for the rest of the race (he ended up finishing about ten minutes before me).

I ran the first 5k in 30 minutes and I was entertaining thoughts of going slightly faster, but that quickly went downhill as the course did.  The course is a net downhill and by mile 5, the fronts of the bottoms of my feet were becoming incredibly painful from sliding forward in my shoes.  I have had this problem before in training, but it has never been quite this painful.  It felt like the bottoms of my feet were on fire and between miles 5 and 8, it got so bad that I felt like I was running on knives.  I’m not exaggerating when I say every step was a mental battle and I thought I might pass out from the pain.  It was a struggle to make it to the halfway point, after which I started walking quite a bit.

So there I was, around mile 7 or 8, walking (which did not hurt) and contemplating.  I could either not finish, I could walk the whole rest of the way, or I could suck it up and keep going.  Sucking it up wasn’t an option, but I didn’t want not finishing to be an option, either.  Well, I am a forefoot striker, and I realized that if I completely changed my stride to heel-strike, kind of like a quick walk/jog, I could run and I could finish.  So that’s what I did.

This is the closest I have to a picture of me.  Mile 9 - I'm in the yellow singlet in the background.

This is the closest I have to a picture of me. Mile 9 – I’m in the yellow singlet in the background.

I ran the last five miles alternating between walking and my awkward heel-strike method.  I would run a mile, take a little break, and then run again.  It felt like it took forever, but this finally got me to the last mile.  I told myself I would run the whole last mile, but not very far into it, I gave up and started walking.  As soon as I did that, a lady about my mom’s age came up from behind me and said, “No, I have been following you this whole race and I am NOT going to beat you.  Come on.”  I started running again and we ran all the way to the finish on the track together, where I pulled away in the last 50 meters or so.  Even though it took a push from someone else, I am very proud of how I finished as strong as I possibly could (and held on for a lot longer than I usually do).  I was in so much pain at the end, from my feet to everything else that comes with being undertrained, yet I was able to push through it and finish literally as fast as I possibly could have in that situation.  I had absolutely nothing left at the end.

My official results

My official results

I don’t have a picture from the finish line because I was a lot more concerned with getting hugs and eating food, but I promise I was there ;), and even though the journey was rough, I’m really glad I was able to complete this race.  In time, I will get back to the level I once was at and then beyond. 🙂

(And in case you were wondering, my feet are perfectly fine, just blistered.  No injuries here.)

Resting training 5/12-5/18/14

After re-tweaking my hip on Tuesday, I ended up taking the rest of the week really easy trying to sort it out.  No more running and as little walking as possible until it was feeling better.  I was able to go for a walk Sunday night without pain, but running still feels out of the question.  I still want to play it super safe to make sure I make it to the starting line (and the finish!) of Bayshore on Saturday.

I walked to work this morning (Monday), which is about 2 miles, and I felt probably just as good as my walk Sunday night, but my hip still feels weak and volatile.  Once the pain is completely gone, I want to work on strengthening it with some bodyweight work.  I have some PT exercises I have been neglecting.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 6mi run during which I messed up my hip again (didn’t notice till that night)

Wednesday: yoga before bed

Thursday: rest

Friday: at-home strength workout, mostly core and a bit of arms

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Walked a little less than 4 miles with Matt

Total running: 6 miles, but it’s fine. 🙂

Thursday Night Date Night

Because otherwise my blog is just going to be complaints about my hip until it heals again, let me tell you about Matt and my impromptu date night last night. 🙂

I texted him yesterday afternoon while we were both at work asking if he wanted to go to Zingerman’s for dinner.  Zingerman’s is a well-known, popular deli in Ann Arbor, but their sandwiches are expensive ($13 for a small and $16 for a large) and it is a little out of the way, so neither of us had been there before, even though we have both lived here for four years.  He was very excited about the suggestion and I was excited about his excitement, so he picked me up (in my car lol) after work and we went to Zingerman’s!

I had the Zingerman’s Reuben, which is a classic reuben, and Matt had the Binny’s Brooklyn Reuben, a reuben made with pastrami instead of corned beef and on pumpernickel bread instead of rye.  I didn’t taste his, but mine was fantastic and I’m told his was amazing as well.  We got stopped by some ladies on our way out asking what he had ordered because they thought it looked so good.





He was laughing when I asked if he wanted to be in the picture

He was laughing when I asked if he wanted to be in the picture

Zingerman’s also had this spicy ginger ale called Blenheim’s, which is apparently very difficult to find, so Matt had a bottle and then asked management if he could buy a case. xD  They gave him a 10% discount on a flat of 24 bottles.

Matt’s new job gave him a gift card to a coffee shop literally right across the street, so we sat down and had coffee after dinner.  Then, we went to the food cooperative’s attached cafe, where I bought us an apple cake to share.  No pictures, but it was a lovely time and quite delicious. 🙂

Have you done anything especially fun recently?  Big plans for the weekend?


I Forgot to be Careful and Hip Twinges

Yesterday I wrote about being careful and adding a little more mileage this week.  Yesterday I was not careful and now I am worried.

Yesterday, the morning was beautiful so I decided to run one of my favorite loops.  Two days before yesterday I had run 10 miles for my long run, and my daily runs have been 2.5-4 miles, with a 5 here and there.  Yesterday, I was reckless and ran 6 miles.  I knew entering the park that doing the whole loop would be too much, but I ran past the turnaround that would make it 3ish and kept going anyway.  I knew as soon as I got home that I had done too much.

Last night, my hip was twinging.  I don’t want to say painful, but it was worrisome.  This morning, it is not better.  I want to hope that it is just tight muscles.  Some aggressive foam rolling this morning offered temporary relief, and the first couple steps when I stand up from my desk hurt before it loosens up as I keep walking.

I wouldn’t have ran today anyway, but I’m doubtful that this will be gone by tomorrow.  Tonight, I plan to do yoga and foam roll, which I really really hope will help.  I’m worried and I hate being worried. :/  Plus, stress does not help the body heal.

I’m trying not to regret yesterday’s run because regret doesn’t do anyone any good.  I just need to learn from the mistake.  At least I realized that it was too much, which is more than I have been able to do in the past, although next time I need to actually act when I realize that.

And now, the only words I have left are “uuuuggggggghhhh.”

Training 5/5-5/11/14

This past week was a great week of training for me.  The last time I hit 20 miles for a week five weeks ago, I was ignoring hip pain that ended up needing a week off to rectify.  I started thinking there must be something wrong with me where I can’t even run 20 miles without getting hurt, even though I have ran more than that in the past.  My highest week ever was last spring at about 45 miles, although I got a stress fracture shortly after.

I am still learning how to recover properly and figuring out what works best for me, but I’m really hopeful that this is the start of some solid, consistent base building this summer.  I’m scared of saying things like that because I know the tiniest thing can push my body over the edge, but hopefully if I’m careful, I won’t be putting my foot in my mouth by saying it.

Training last week was pretty much just running.  I didn’t do any strength training besides a few pushups after one of my runs.  That is something I want to change for the coming week, even if it is just a couple short at-home yoga sessions.

Monday: Still very sore from my long run the day before – 20 min recovery yoga before bed.

Tuesday: 2.47mi easy, STILL sore from the previous Sunday…

Wednesday: off – took a walk with Matt after work that ended up being about 3 miles. 🙂

Thursday: 5.27mi easy before work.  I stopped two or three times to stretch for a few seconds when I felt little pulls, which definitely felt like it helped.

Friday: 3mi easy before work with a couple friends + a few strides at the end.

Saturday: off

Sunday: 10mi – first double-digit long run since November that I wrote about here!

Total running for the week: 20.74mi

I’m so excited that number is a twenty. 🙂  Here’s to small victories.

10 Miles! First Time Since November

I stayed at my mom’s apartment for Mother’s Day over the weekend, and Sunday morning she kindly agree to drive me to a nearby metropark so I could get my long run in early.  I’m running the Bayshore half marathon on May 24th, so this was pretty much my last chance to get a ten-miler in before the race.

I hadn’t run 10 miles since November 3rd, so I was both excited and apprehensive going into it.  All Saturday, I just couldn’t wait until my Sunday long run.  I couldn’t get it off my mind and was excited to do it, which is refreshing because I haven’t felt excited for a long run in a long time.  Lately, I have been more dreading them than anything.

When I first started running, I almost always ran with music.  Then, for about a year or more, I almost completely stopped listening to music on runs, mostly because some people I knew were saying things like, “Who listens to music when they run??” and I was obsessed with trying to be a “real” runner.  Lately, I have been listening to music more often again on solo runs.  However, since I don’t plan to use music during Bayshore, I decided to do Sunday’s long run without music.  Now THAT I was worried about.

I ended up being perfectly fine on the no-music front. 🙂  I didn’t even really notice that I didn’t have anything playing and I don’t think it made the run feel any different than it would have with music.

The last two weeks, I have done my long runs primarily on trails, but again, in the interest of preparing for Bayshore, I opted to run 100% on pavement this time around.  It killed me passing trailhead after trailhead and not being able to turn onto them!

The park I was running in has a paved bike/hike path that is supposedly 8.5 miles long.  I’m a bit confused about whether it is actually a loop or whether that is the distance of disparate sections combined, because I followed it 4 miles one way and ended up outside the park in a downtown area!!  So I ran a mile through the cute downtown, then turned around and headed back the way I came to make it 10.  It was warm and sunny and I was starting to feel severely dehydrated between miles 4 and 7, but I was able to stop in a CVS for a nice long drink from a water fountain around 7 miles, which totally saved me for the rest of the run. 🙂

I didn’t feel great, but I’m SO HAPPY about this run for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m confident I will be perfectly fine to finish Bayshore despite a virtually non-existent training cycle, even if my time is very slow, since I did my other two halfs on longest runs of 10 miles.
  2. The better one: I had NO abnormal pain.  No nagging aches, NOTHING.  Nothing beyond the normal fatigue at the end of a long run. 🙂  I’m so very very happy about this.

I started typing this post Sunday night, but didn’t finish it until this morning (Monday).  Last week, I was sore for a solid three days after my long run and kept getting sore again even after shorter, easy runs.  This morning, I woke up with ZERO soreness.  Literally none.  I am pleasantly surprised (it might be because this park was significantly flatter than anywhere I can run in Ann Arbor).  I had a headache all day yesterday, presumably from dehydration, but other than that, I guess I recovered pretty well.  That hopefully means I can get another solid week of running in before a mini-taper next week. 🙂  Last week was only my second 20-mile week since NOVEMBER, and I’m hoping to get 25 miles in this coming week.  I’m very excited. :3  But only if I feel good for it, of course.  Focusing on recovery has helped immensely and I am not going to push myself to another injury.

I was going to write about spending Mother’s Day with my momma, but this post is getting pretty long, so that will have to wait for another day.

Did you run long this weekend?  Tell me about it!