My New Motto

As the season changed and temperatures dropped, I made a conscious decision to “embrace the cold.”    I was even insufferable enough to call it my new motto.  I am/was sick of spending every winter miserable about the cold and  I really enjoyed running outside this fall and wanted to continue to do so, weather permitting.   This decision was made before the recent cold front with temps in the teens.

Well, I am glad that I told everyone about my new cold “motto” though, because they have definitely been reminding me of it and holding me to it 🙂

Which brings me to my most recent race, the Phunt 25k Trail race.  It was 20 degrees!!

If it wasn’t for this new motto of mine, coupled with a pact/resolution  that Bill and I had made for 2018, I am not sure I would have made it to the start line.  Bill and I are guilty of signing up for races and then backing out at the last minute. Egregious waste of money!  So we made a pact to run any race we sign up for in 2018, excluding injury.

The race started at 9am and it was windy and cold.  We all took shelter in the hall prior to the start and were reluctant to head outside.  However, once we started running it wasn’t that bad.

They changed the course the night before due to icy and muddy conditions.  It changed from mostly trail to open fields and gravel roads.  There was still quite a bit of climbing (and mud), IMO.  My marathon training plan only called for a 9 mile long run so I decided early on to walk most of the hills to keep it easy.  We ended up running 16.89 miles, so I figured with the added mileage this was perfectly acceptable.

My marathon training has been going well.  Two weeks ago, I had 2 neuromas on my left foot sclerosed.  Shockwave was not helping and, after 4 treatments with no relief, I was impatient.  I mean, I have a marathon to run!  The injection itself did not hurt but it has been SORE.  The day after it was injected I was almost limping at work.  I will have 5 or 6 treatments about 10 days apart.  Fingers crossed!

Thankfully, I am able to still train and I have not missed a run!! I just rescheduled my running the week of the injection but was still able to get them in.

Today, I am scheduled to run 12 miles.  It is currently 22 degrees outside so I am headed to the treadmill to get it done.

2018 Plans

We ran the Hangover Helper 5k on New Years Day.  It was 12 degrees with a real feel of 5 degrees!! I have never run in weather that cold, but it was really wasn’t that bad- once we got moving! We ended up with 5.25 miles for the day since we jogged to and from the race.

 I LOVE to read and used to do it much more often.  I think the biggest reason I read less is the time suck that is the internet.  I spend way too much time scrolling.  I never make New Year resolutions (not a fan of resolutions) but I am going to set a goal: To read 50 books in 2018.

I am currently reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.  It should be a quick read, just 602 pages.  Can this count as 2 books?!

Now lets talk running goals.

I ran the Disney Marathon in 2010.  Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did.

I expected to have a warm race………………it was 33 degrees!

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There I am in the trash bag, which I ran in for 18 miles but I’m still smiling!

I expected to run it healthy………I developed some terrible side of the knee pain during training which turned out to be a meniscal tear.  I had planned a Disney vacation with my aunt, sister, BIL, and nephew around the marathon. I had never been to Disney and was excited to see what all the fuss was about.  Not running it was just not an option for me; although, it should have been since it sidelined me for a long time after.

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They are the best! I mean look at those shirts!

The day we arrived, I found an orthopedist and immediately scheduled an appointment.  He gave me a cortisone injection which allowed me to run 10 wonderful miles, pain free.  At mile 10 the all too familiar pain returned and from then on it was  a slow, painful trod.  Let me say, I don’t recommend this.  I think I changed my gait due to pain which then caused a horrific calf cramp at Mile 20.   I stopped to stretch to no avail and had to run the last 6.2 miles with this cramp.  This tightness lasted 3 days!!!

One and Done

I originally thought that marathoning was over for me.  I tried it once and it didn’t go well.  I told myself, “Perhaps my body just isn’t cut out for the marathon distance.”  And, you know what? It might not be.

So what changed?

As you may know from a previous post, I ran the Rehoboth Half in December. This race was a turning point for me.  Prior to the race, I had told myself that I wanted to go under 2 hours.  I knew that I had run a much hillier course at the MDI half in Maine in October in 2:08 with a good bit of walking thrown in.  Plus, I knew the course well and I have always run it just under 2 hours.  My plan was to keep it comfortable for the 1st 5 miles or so and then pick it up.

Well, that didn’t happen. Most races I am usually dying at some point and chastizing myself for running so slow.  The internal dialogue is never good.   The reason for this is that I don’t train at the pace (outside) that I am trying to run.  As I have said before, I am much slower outside than on a treadmill.  This leads to disappointment on race day.

I finally ran the paces I was trained for and realized how lucky and happy I was to be doing what I love.  I didn’t care when the 2 hour pacer passed me.  I just ran what I was capable of on that day.  What a concept, right?!!

I truly enjoyed racing.  The very next thought that popped into my head was, “If I slowed down some more I could probably do another marathon.”  And that thought hasn’t gone away since.

So what’s the plan?

I have signed up for the Coastal Delaware Marathon on April 22, 2017.  This gives me 16 weeks to train as of January 2nd, 2018.

Why run a marathon now?

There are 3 reasons:

#1 – I believe I have a decent base which includes 2 half marathons and a 25k last year.

#2- I am 41.  Even  if I don’t feel like I am in my 40s, I am.  I plan to run until I can’t but I just feel as though now is the right time.

#3- I am injury prone.  It’s always something with me, injury wise.  Last year it was a pes anserine bursitis that lasted way too long.  It never completed sidelined me for more than a couple of weeks but my speed took a major hit.

Currently, I have a lingering foot issue that I recently had injected.  It improved but I still felt it at times when I ran.   I went back to my doctor to see if we could get it 100% prior to beginning my training.   He recommended shockwave therapy and I just had my 3rd treatment.

We talked about the marathon and he feels it is fine to train.  His suggestion was if it flares we will inject it prior to the marathon.  So, I began my training this week.

 

Year in Review-2017

2017 was a big year for me.  I love looking back and seeing all the amazing things that have happened.

January

I ran my 1st trail race! The Phunt 25K took place in Fairhill,MD  and, yeah, I probably should have trained on some trails before this race.  I thought I would be fine since I had just ran a half in December, but not so much.  My body was not used to all the up and down and my left hip flexor really wasn’t a fan AT ALL.  All in all, it was a blast and we were amazed by the the amount of food and support offered at each aid station.

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I was freezing in this picture!

February-April

Wedding planning was in full swing.  We did sneak in a quick ski weekend in Shawnee with my family.

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1st time skiing for me. I fell right after this pic.

May-June

I ran my favorite race, the Chestertown 10 Miler at the end of May.  It wasn’t my best time but I love the course and it is a race that is very special to my husband and I.

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My hubby, our awesome cousin, Pam and I after the race.

I also did a 5k Running series from May to the end of June. Every Wednesday for 5 weeks you run the same 5k course.  Did this with a group of friends and we followed up each run with food and drinks. The course has a tough hill at the end so I am not sure it will ever be a PR course for me.

July

I got married!!! It was a beautiful day with perfect weather.   I am somewhat of a stressor and I can honestly say that on July 15th, 2017, I was the least stressed I have ever been in my life!

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We honeymooned in Newport, Rhode Island.  We ate, biked, ran, and ferried (I got sick on our trip to Block Island)  our way around Newport.  We also got to see some professional tennis.

 

 

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Here we are with my favorite thing in Newport- Del’s water ice. Amazing!

I have always wanted to run a 5k on 4th of July, so we signed up for one last minute. It was one of my slowest 5ks to date (26:57) but I had such a good time.  Bill and I ran the course again after the race as a cool down.  We just chatted about the race and our plans for the day.  I want this to be a new thing for us.

September

We signed up for the Dogfish Dash 5 miler at the recommendation of a friend. I LOVE racing with friends so I was all in.  However, it was very disorganized.  We were herded into the start line (no corrals) and while we should have started somewhere in the middle, my friend Megan and I ended up in the very back.  We had to do a lot of bobbing and weaving.  I wish I could use this (and the heat) as an excuse for my dismal time (46:07) but that would be just that, an excuse.  This is the time I was trained for plain and simple.  I will say I was shocked that for such a huge local race, it was not well organized.  I will not be running this one again.

October

The MDI Half Marathon took place in Bar Harbor, Maine.  We planned the race around a family trip and we had an incredible time.

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This is pre race. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law ran it also!

 

December

I ran the Rehoboth Half in early December.  Recap for the MDI half and this race are here—-> The Race Recap (s)   While this race  was a personal worst for me, it really reignited my love of running.  I have always wanted to run another marathon and this race made me believe I could.

Up next-my 2018 running plans!

The Race Recap(s)

I never got around to writing the Mt. Desert Island Half Marathon recap and in the interim I ran another half marathon, the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half.   I thought I would just recap them both now.

Mt. Desert Island (MDI) Half Marathon- Bar Harbor, ME

I picked this race for two reasons: I love Maine and the MDI marathon is touted as one of the most scenic races in the U.S.

As evidenced below, I would say it did not disappoint.  IMG_4647

We were bussed to the start with plenty of time to use the bathroom and check our bags. Everything was going so smoothly until the moment I realized that I would not be able to listen to my music on my phone.  And I NEED music!   The day before the race I had bought a new iPhone 8.  Right before the start I realized my headphones weren’t compatible with my new phone and I didn’t bring the adapter. Thankfully my SIL (so nice of her) switched phones with me since she and my BIL run the race together without music.

Crisis averted and we were off.

Miles 1-5

Right away the course had a lot of rolling hills.  I just rolled with it (see what I did there?) since I actually don’t mind rolling hills.  I was also so excited for these views-

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Mile 6-10

This was when the real fun started.  At about mile 6.5, I came to a pretty big hill and thought, “ok, I am not trained for hills this big but just get up it.” So I did.  Until the moment I realized that these hills were going to just keep coming.    I managed to keep this up until Mile 9.  Now let me say, I NEVER walk in races.  I may be slow but walking is usually not an option.  At mile 9, I was trudging up a long climb and was going so slow I thought, “I would probably walk faster than I am running,” so I walked.

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I continued to run the flats and walk most of the hills.  My hip flexor was giving me a little trouble but I kept moving using the impending rain as my motivation.  At Mile 13, Bill appeared and we chatted as I approached the finish line.  He later told me, “Yeah you looked way too good at the finish, you could’ve pushed more.”  I usually come in looking like death so I am sure he was right, I could’ve given more.  I just didn’t want to! My finish time was 2:08:20 which is my slowest half marathon finish to date but I wasn’t the least bit upset.  I thoroughly enjoyed the journey on this one!

Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon- December 2, 2017

This was my fourth time running this race.  I just love everything about it, especially the terrain with an almost even breakdown of half road and half trail.  The weather was perfect and I hoped to run it under 2 hours.

Miles 1-6

I felt good at the start of the race but wanted to run the first few miles conservatively. There are no corrals for this race so I jumped in where I could.  This was not my smartest move, because I started to get passed by A LOT of people.  Normally this doesn’t bother me but it felt like waves of people were passing me.  I just kept repeating my running mantra, “Run your own race,” to myself over and over so I wouldn’t be tempted to try and keep up.  I was ahead of the 2 hour pacer at our first turn ahead which made me hopeful.

Around mile 5, the 2 hour pacer passed me.  I tried to stay with the group but it felt hard.  I thought mile 5 was too early for it to feel THAT hard, so I let him go.  I figured I could make up time on the trail section.

Miles 6-11

We entered my favorite part of the race, the Breakwater Trail, at about mile 7 (I think).  I was running comfortably hard which I was satisfied with and thought I could pick it after the turn around (mile 9).

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Miles 10 & 11 were my slowest of the day as I began to tire.

Miles 11-13.1

At Mile 11 you exit the trail.  It was at this point that I finally started to pick it up.  I am happy to say I was able to do that and to finish strong.  I came across the finish line in 2:01:30.  It was a personal worst for this race (I have run them all just under 2 hours) but again, I enjoyed running it.  With the exclusion of these two races, I have not enjoyed racing in a long time.  At some point, I am hating life, beating myself up and asking myself, “Why did you sign up for this race?”

I refuse to do this any longer.  I have a plan to prevent running anymore “hating life” races that I will talk about soon!

 

 

The Loooong Road to Maine

I usually keep a written journal of all of our trips.  I forgot to bring it on this trip so I thought I would just blog about it instead.

We left our house around 9:30 am on Friday for Bar Harbor, Maine.

We stopped for breakfast early on and had our 1st mishap! Bill’s phone was found floating (yes, floating) in my coffee cup.  Needless to say, it still won’t turn on.

Our plan was to stop in Portsmouth, NH for the night.  We stopped for lunch at a Smashburger (SO GOOD) in Wallingsford, CT and a Verizon store just happened to be right next door.

3 hours and 2 new iPhones (8s) later, we still had quite a bit of driving to do.  We arrived at our hotel in Portsmouth, NH at about 9pm.  Bill’s wonderful mother was nice enough to stay with our Boston Terrier, Gracie while we grabbed dinner at Longhorn.

The next morning (Bill’s birthday!!!) Bill, my mother-in-law, uncle and I had breakfast at a local coffee shop and spent some time exploring Portsmouth.  I thought it was just the cutest town and would’ve liked to stay and explore a little more but we had to be at bib pick-up by 5pm in Bar Harbor.

We arrived in Bar Harbor, ME at 4 and picked up our race bibs for the Mt. Desert Island Half Marathon. As we headed to our VRBO house, we spotted my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, also coming from the race expo.  We chatted for a few minutes and planned to meet at our house a little later.

We settled into the house (which is amazing) and headed out to have dinner at an Italian restaurant which is Bill’s favorite.

Home to have cake and ice cream, open presents, and prepare for race day!

Tomorrow I will do a race recap!!

 

Marriage and Half Marathon Training

I got a notice for an auto renewal for my blog domain and thought, “Hey I’m paying for this blog maybe I should write a post.

It has been a minute since my last one and guess what?!

I got married on July 15th!!

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I just adore the way he is smiling at me!!

 

 

I planned the wedding in 4 months.  I didn’t want to wait an entire year.  It was just the best, best day!  So much fun and the weather was perfect (82 degrees in July!)

Here is another one I love-

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As far as my running, things have been just okay.  My goal up to my wedding was simple- STAY HEALTHY! I didn’t not want to risk an injury and not be able to run.  Being active on a daily basis is so much more important to me than race results.

That being said,  I did do a 5K summer series with a group of friends.  While my results were sub par, the fun was not.  It was the same race route for 5 weeks straight and ended with food and drinks.  What’s not to like?

For now, I have to face the fact that I am just not as fast as I once was.   And that is just fine.   I have been much slower than I am now but I ran higher mileage.  I have also been significantly faster than I am now.

I think a good goal for the time being is to stay consistent and slowly increase (10% rule) my weekly mileage.  I have a half marathon in Bar Harbor, Maine on October 15th.  It runs through Acadia National Park and is a bucket list half for sure!  I ran 8 miles today to start out my weekly long runs and my foot only bothered me a tiny bit.

 

 

Injuries and Improvements

It’s been awhile but I am happy to say that physical therapy has worked to help my back pain!!

I attribute the improvement to 2 things:

  1. PT
  2. Yoga

I have been going to Yoga (Stationary Sequence-focuses more on super slow movements and holding of postures and stretching) at least 1-2/wk for about 5 weeks now. I love it!!

In my opinion, both yoga and PT, have been instrumental in helping my back pain.  I no longer have pain down my leg.  At its worst, I could not sit on the couch in the evenings (I stand all day at work) without pain running down my leg.

Thankfully through all of this, I have been able to run.  As I said, standing does not elicit symptoms so I was able to run my usual mileage.

As for running, last week was amazing.  I did quite a bit of outdoor running with Bill and it was so much fun.   I live in a college town so we have to run through town at some point-the people watching is so great!

I ended up running 6 days last week.  I haven’t run that many days in a row in a long time.

So what body parts are bugging me?

You knew it was coming.  My foot is still giving me a bit of trouble and ever since I ran a 15 mile trail race in January I am also having some hip flexor soreness.  I am running outside in Hokas which have helped.  I also have inserts from my podiatrist for my Nike frees.

What else is new?

I signed up for a 5k running series that begins in May.  I want to PR the 5k.  My current PR is 23:34.  I hope my hip settles down so I can get some quality speed work in- right now I am shooting for once a week.

I am back on the strength training bandwagon.  While I love body pump, and think it is an amazing workout, I thought it might be aggravating my back so I stopped going.

Moving forward, I am focusing on exercises using my own bodyweight-lots of pushups, planks, bridges.  I also do my PT exercises- prone press ups and clamshells.

 

Back Pain and Running

So, I’m really starting the year off right.  Today, I had not one, but two root canals (bumped my front tooth a few years ago and it cause the root to die) and found out that my bulging L4 L5 disc is, in fact, herniated.  As you can imagine, it has been a stellar day.

I am a nurse and have had trouble with my back for about 8 years now.  I had 2 successful spinal injections about 6 years ago.  The back pain came back with a vengeance about a year ago.  Two follow-up injections were unsuccessful and  has led me to see a neurosurgeon.

What does all this have to do with running? Well, innumerable  people have blamed my back pain on my running (one person also blamed it on my breast augmentation).  I  disagreed but didn’t have an expert opinion to back me up.  Until today!!!

I very casually asked my Dr. if I could continue running (while holding my breath and praying)  and if he thought my back pain was caused by running.  To which he responded, “If you didn’t run, then you’d be fat and your back would hurt anyway.”   I will say it got a little awkward after that when, after just meeting him, I told him I wanted to kiss him.

I have never tried a PT program for my back issues so he would like me to do PT for at least a month to see if there is any improvement.  If not, he recommends a microdiscectomy.

I am both apprehensive and relieved.  My back pain is quite bad at times and now I know why.  However, the unsolicited advice I was given regarding my back problems was nothing short of astounding.  I was really made to feel like if I couldn’t walk, then there really wasn’t a problem with my back.  One co-worker (who is lucky enough to have no aches or pains) said, “People should expect to have pain.” Ummm what?! Yes, there are times (ie. childbirth, surgery etc.) when one should expect a reasonable amount of pain.  However, pain day in and day out is wearing and not “to be expected.”

On a positive note, all this back pain has really made me a more empathetic nurse and person.   So now more than ever, when someone is in pain, I stop and sincerely express  how sorry I am that they are hurting.  And then I try my best to do something about it. For what its worth.

Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon Recap

Well I thought this recap would go differently but what can you do?

We left Friday night and headed to Rehoboth. Our hotel had an ocean view and was super close to the start. What more could you want?

We quickly dropped our stuff off at the hotel and headed over to pick up our packets. Ran into 2 friends- one running the half, the other running the full.  Made plans for the am.

They had the Hoka Clifton 3s there with sample sizes. I tried them on and I instantly loved the feel.  I bought a pair and am hopeful they will work for me! I usually run in Mizunos outside, but they recently changed their model and they no longer work for me.

Meanwhile, Bill walked over to Dogfish Head to put our name in for a table.  It was about an hour wait so we just walked up and down Rehoboth Avenue. It was great to just go for a  leisurely stroll without the usual bustle of the summer crowds. Plus all of the Christmas lights were so pretty.

We had a great time at dinner and headed back to get some rest.

In the morning- I got up, showered, had my usual oatmeal with a scoop of chunky pb, and watched the sunrise until it was time for Bill, Megan and I to leave for the race.

The race went off and  I felt okay but after about two minutes of running, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. This has NEVER happened to be during a race.  I wasn’t sure what to do so I just kept running and I was ok from Mile 1-5.

A large portion of the race is on the Breakwater trail. I didn’t check to see where port a potties would be (b/c I never need them 😩) and wasn’t sure if they would be in the trail section. It was at this point (mile 6) that I knew I had to stop.

I stopped and as a result, lost 2 minutes. As I came out of the bathroom, the first thing I see is the 2:00 pacer.  I was so disappointed. I knew I didn’t start the race right on time so I was a little ahead of them but I was hoping to be way ahead.

Which I was prior to said bathroom stop.

From there the race went totally awry. I think I just mentally gave up. I was so stuck on the fact that I made a stop and couldn’t make up the time. Plus my stomach was nowhere near 100%. I still felt the urge to go which persisted throughout the race. Fun/Gross fact- I also almost didn’t make it back to our hotel after the race.

My pace drifted up into the 9s and my bathroom stop was a 1010 mile.

I finished in 1:59:18. Needless to say, the race wasn’t what I had hoped it would be but so what?

I’m focusing on the positives for once because, although, I didn’t have a great race, Bill did!! He ran a 1:38 even with calf cramping issues.

My friend Megan finished her 1st marathon and we got to be there to cheer her in!! I love cheering for peeps it’s the most fun.

And I would’ve had a PR if not for that stop, so I count that a success.

My Indoor vs. Outdoor Times

I do almost all of my running on the treadmill.  Unlike most runners, I enjoy running on the treadmill.  Plus I am much faster on the treadmill- like 50 sec/mile faster- than when I run outside.

I realize that with the treadmill I am not getting elevation changes  or wind resistance but I am still frustrated with how much slower I run outside.

For example, I ran 4.10 miles today through Newark and my pace was 8:51/mile.  After the 1st mile, I felt like I was working so hard! This pace on the treadmill would be an easy one for me.

Of course, everyone knows that running outside is more challenging than indoors but I have one big issue with this theory-Bill.

Bill runs the same exact paces inside and outside.  Seriously! He says that it is because he has a good feel for his pace.

For example, 2 weeks ago I ran 13.1 miles in 1 hour: 47minutes: 40 sec which works out to an 8:11 pace.

The very next week, I ran the Rocky Run 10 miler in 1:29min and change. This works out to be an 8:58/pace.

I am running the Rehoboth Half Marathon  on December 3, 2016. My plan going into my training was to run outside more often. Which I did. I ran weekly on trails with two friends. They were slow, long runs anywhere from 7-12 miles. Then I developed metatarsalgia in one of my toes on my left foot.

It’s always something, right?!!

In order to make it to race day healthy, I had it injected, took two days off,  and have stuck to the treadmill for the majority of my runs.
Which has worked. Thank goodness.  We will just have to see how race day goes.  I am hoping for a PR.

I have run this half twice before.  The first time I ran it as a training run for my marathon.  The second time is my current PR of  1:58:40 and I was under trained.   I am hoping for a much better time.