Week 4 Of Overnight

So I always find that there comes a time on the overnight where I can’t sleep. That’s this week. I’ve been averaging about 5 hours over the past three days. Someone at work said that I’ve got a “newborn” schedule…except for the fact that I don’t get to put anyone in cute outfits. I am super lucky though because J is just about the best partner one could ask for. He helps with laundry and my whiny butt.

 

someone told me I looked tired


Hi! I had a rest day yesterday which I took to do some yoga at home. (We had some serious thunderstorms yesterday so Finn was officially glued to my side). Currently he’s guarding our apartment from everyone. 

 
Today I was to run a 2 mile warm up, 5 miles at half marathon goal pace and 2 cool down. After sleeping 5 hrs I got on the treadmill and was feeling like my warm up was the workout! I know, there are days like that! When I dialed it up to half marathon goal pace my body did a big “No way” which I listened to. I dialed back about :20 per mile for a little faster than marathon pace. I am okay with it. I walked around a bit, didn’t get those 2 mile cool down miles in. I’ll pick those up later in the week.

I’m trying to give myself a break this week. It’s tough. Work can be stressful. Life throws things at you. It is important to not add to it. I am trying to teach myself this lesson. So hard!

One thing I am loving lately? 

 

ahhhhh

 
Legs up in the air, on my foam roller after a run. This is one of my favorite parts of yoga. So refreshing!

Also loving:

 
My Granola Products pouch (I use it for my iPad mini at the gym) and my Picky Bars Hydroflask. Cool water for hours and hours? Yes please.  
Now I’m off to nap before my next night shift! 

Chicago Marathon Training WEEK 2 wrap up

So, yes, I am running the Chicago Marathon. And yes, I realize that most people are on week 4 or 5 at this point. I’ve had a gradual build up of miles (the first time I’ve EVER done that) and this is working really well for me. I feel strong physically and mentally and I am seeing running in a WHOLE new way. More on that in a bit – I’ll give you a rundown of this past week first.

MONDAY 7/20: Day off. I did an ab and arm burner workout at home. Nothing special, just a little something to get moving. Mondays have been tough lately. I’m working overnights again, so Mondays I am usually dog tired!

TUESDAY 7/21: 7 miles PLUS 10X100m strides. I am LOVING strides. They make me feel so strong at the end of a workout. I ran the easy portion around 9:45, and the strides I ran around 7:30 per mile (I didn’t keep exact track, I did a little number crunching and went on feel.)

WEDNESDAY 7/22: 5 miles recovery. I always feel like 5 miles is going to feel a lot shorter than 7+, but somehow it doesn’t feel that much shorter. Either way, I felt on this run that I was finally getting used to this overnight schedule. (This was week 3 for me)

 

How beautiful is the C&O canal?

 
THURSDAY 7/23: 8 miles. I ran this through Rock Creek Park in DC. That is quickly becoming my zen spot for running. I love running along the C&O Canal on the way in. It feels like my own little secret early in the morning. I even like the most dreaded Calvert Hill. From my house to Calvert Hill is basically 4 miles, so I get to run up that bad boy and back down. I think I averaged just under 9:30 for this run, including the hill of doom on the Custis trail heading back up to my apartment.

FRIDAY 7/24: I had great intentions of going to yoga, but my mom was having some minor surgery, so I spent the day at the hospital with her and my dad instead. I didn’t get to sleep until 7pm or so … which played out in a not great way on Saturday.

SATURDAY 7/25: I had 13 miles on the books – 5 at an easy pace and 8 at marathon goal pace. I woke up feeling completely hung over. Mind you, I can’t tell you the last time I had an alcoholic beverage (actually, I can. It was a few weeks ago at my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding.). I felt sick to my stomach. I felt lethargic. I felt headache-y. I felt like I was on the verge of a migrane. No bueno. I still managed to eek out 10 miles – 2 for a warm up and 8 at 8:34 avg pace. By the end of my run I was CRAVING red meat, which is weird. I don’t usually crave it. I decided though that it was my body’s way of saying that I needed iron in the form of a Burger. So I hit up Ray’s Hell Burger. Saturday night I met up with my fellow birds Prianka, Courtney, Jenny, and Kathryn for the Crystal City Twilighter 5K. I ran those 3.1 at an easy pace (9:22 avg, but I ran neg splits!). So I ended the day with 13.1. Woot.

SUNDAY 7/26: Easy 5. I ran these on the treadmill because it was oppressively hot outside by the time I got up. I ran these miles around 9:30. My legs were a bit sore, I’m guessing from the 8 at 8:34 yesterday. So I tried to show them a bit of love with some foam rolling before I went to bed for my pre-work afternoon/evening nap.

Total Mileage: 38, which will be likely be one of the last times I see mileage in the 30s until after the marathon. Bye 30s, it was nice knowing you!

So I mentioned that I have been feeling strong mentally and physically. I’ve been keeping track of my runs in my Believe journal. This has been immensely helpful because each day there is a spot to rate your runs. I give it a  – – if I feel AWFUL, and a ++ if I feel AMAZING. More often than not I feel okay, to pretty great and that is with working from 11pm-7am and running as soon as I get home. So I’ve been really glad to see that I’m not the doom and gloom runner I thought I was. Journaling my running has given me perspective on just how many bad days I actually have as well as how sleep and nutrition affect my runs.

Which reminds me …. I’ve also been trying to give myself a big time break on the body image front. This is something that I think all runners and all women struggle with. It makes me feel like less of a feminist and less of an athlete to admit that I struggle with it too, but I do. I am trying though to talk through these irrational feelings. I don’t have to lose weight to run my goal race. I don’t really have to lose weight. My priority is feeling strong, feeding my body fuel for my runs, and just being a general badass. Runners truly come in all shapes and sizes. At the end of the day, we all are trying to improve ourselves. It’s time that I honor the body that gets me through so many of these races, instead of belittling it. My Believe journal is helping with this too.

Looking forward to this week of running – I’m going to definitely try to get to yoga at least once. (Hot yoga helps SO much.) And I’m going to work on the sleeping on Friday thing. Sleeping helps so much too.

Capitol Hill Classic Race Recap

So it’s been about 2 months back running & what better way to celebrate than running a 10K, amiright?

Capitol Hill Classic start and finish line

 

How cool is the Peabody School?

 
It’s hard for me to not get the warm fuzzies from this race. It’s always right around my birthday, and I love running on Capitol Hill (because deep down inside, as a former poll sci major, I am a big NERD). I ALWAYS forget though that Capitol Hill gets its name because it is situated on a hill. Weird right? If hill running and I were in a relationship we would have repeatedly broken up and gotten back together – I’m still waiting for the hills to buy me dinner and apologize with flowers.

Anyway – I woke up feeling fab & grabbed a Picky Bar on my way out the door. J and I had plans to get to the race EARLY because my coach had me running a 1 mile warm up before the race.

 

We look ready right?

 
I started the race fast, but I felt comfortable. In fact, I was technically on par to PR through the first half – but the first half is mostly downhill. There’s a part of this race where you run around the RFK parking lot, and it just kind of always depresses me. I don’t know why, but it’s like I see this long chain of people in front of me, and I can see that it’s a ways to run around this uber depressing parking lot and I get all funked inside. Anyway, this is where this race started to head off the rails for me.

Coming out of the parking lot I had to run up what I would call a minor hill, plus a gradual run up Capitol Hill back towards the Capitol building. This was my slowest mile – it was basically a full minute slower than my other miles. Whoops. Looks like I need to work on hill running.

At this point (between miles 4-5) I knew I had blown my chances of PRing, and I saw J. I think I breathlessly said something like “I’m struggling,” or perhaps “I’m REALLY struggling.” I tried my best to hold it together, but I kind of started cursing the race and wishing that this was an 8K instead. At this point my tummy was also actin’ a fool and rioting against the Picky Bar I ate. So that was fun.

I finished in 53:40, which is an average of 8:39 per mile. That’s actually slower than I ran my 10 miler a few weeks ago.

It’s also almost 2:00 slower than my official 10K race PR from 2013. I say official 10K race PR, because it probably isn’t even a PR, because I’ve run a half marathon faster than that 10K. Soooo yeah. Still chasing that 10K PR.

BUT here are the great things (since I’m trying to focus on the positive):

-running is coming back to me more and more every day I get out there

-I’ve been so much better about what I’m eating generally (though I still treat myself to my daily chocolate and occasional meal out)

-I’ve only been running for 2 months after taking 5 months off from running COMPLETELY. This is pretty great progress I think.

-I don’t feel like I will be sore tomorrow, which I hope means that leg strength is there, I just need to boost my endurance.

-I can run my pace runs during training faster than I think I can. I had kind of a devastating moment earlier this week when I was trying to run 4 miles at Half Marathon Goal pace, and just couldn’t do it mentally. Ha. I showed my Tuesday self what’s up.

-I know what I need to work on: hill running and endurance.

-I am building a good base for marathon training.

The Chicago Marathon is going to be my BIG race this year. It happens in early October, and here is the GREAT news: it is pancake flat.

My next race is Wednesday (aka MY BIRTHDAY) – I’ll be running a 3 mile race with folks from work. It’s the Capital Challenge, and I’m hoping to PR there. My PR from 2 years ago (geez 2013, what is it with that year) was 24:24 – 8:08 per mile. Considering I ran a 5K faster than that a few weekends ago, I think I’ve got this.

Getting Back To What I Love Doing

Taking a break from something you love (especially when it is not by choice) is rough.

I had to take a break from running to physically heal my ankle after I sprained it 3 weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon last year. (It still makes me sad to type that sentence.)

What I didn’t expect was that I was going to need to extend this break, because I wasn’t ready to go through the mental workout required when one starts running again after not running for a period of months. That is hard, if not harder, than dealing with the sprained ankle.

I got perspective though, and it gave me a ton of appreciation for the process that our bodies go through to get back into the shape they were once in. I’m not there yet, but I am getting closer.

I’ve been running 5 days a week for almost 3 weeks now. I am starting to feel like myself again out on the trails. I am working with a coach, which has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. She’s come up with workouts tailored to me and where I am now. I work on speed twice a week, and have three days of easy running. Yesterday after a 2 mile warm up, she had me run 3 miles at half marathon pace. J said “That’s crazy. See how you feel after 1 mile.” I was worried during our 2 mile warm up run to the high school track. When I got on the track, I still wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it. Then the miles started ticking by – 1 mile down, then 2 and then a third mile. I ran them all under what I was working towards. It was tough, and I wouldn’t have wanted to run another mile at that pace, but I did it. I felt like I had conquered a mountain of doubt and fear. I felt like old running me wasn’t so far away. I could see her, and I was catching up to her.

Tomorrow I’ll go on my long run. These long runs (though we’ve kept it under the 10 mile mark so far) have taken on new meaning for me. They are my time to be out on the trails – they’ve been these blissful hours where I just clear my head.

So once again, I’m looking forward to what this year will bring. Once again, I got into the Marine Corps Marathon lottery. Once again, I will train for it. Unlike last year, this year I know I will run it.

New Year!

A New Year is upon us – which means my gym is packed!

Quite honestly, I always waffle a bit as to whether I should make resolutions/promises for a new year. It’s hard, especially when you can’t make good on these promises.

This year I think I’m going to call my promises intentions – it seems like there is less pressure with an intention and I’m hoping that will make a difference.

My first intention is a BIG one. I intend to start the Whole30 on January 5th. And (second intention) I’m going to try to document my experience here on my blog.

For the uninitiated Whole30 is a paleo type diet – no dairy, grains, sugar, or legumes. No sugar also means no agave, no maple syrup, not even that bit of sugar used to cure your bacon! But honestly, let’s not focus on the sugar aspect, it makes me nervous. There is a lot of research that has gone behind this diet, and I read the incredibly helpful companion book to Whole30 It Starts With Food, and I believe that this will be right for me. The authors describe it as a lifestyle change, and not a diet, which really registers with me. I need to eat my vegetables! I’m not eating them enough, and I am hoping that 30 days of eating lots of veggies instead of lots of bread will help me experiment with some new foods.

That said, today’s grocery haul looked fairly similar to what I normally get. So don’t expect anything DRAMATIC just yet.

Trader Joe's haul

Trader Joe’s haul

Here’s what I got:

-red potatoes (potatoes are okay now on Whole30, but in limited quantities)

-bite sized heirloom tomatoes (I’m planning on oven roasting those tonight for bunless burgers, the rest of the roasted tomatoes will go on salads and into eggs for the week)

-baby kale (I LOVE BABY KALE. And I swear I was a kale hater for the longest time.)

-blueberries (for my sweet tooth)

-chunky spicy guacamole (again for our bunless burgers, also GREAT on eggs)

-persian cucumbers (for salads and to throw in my sodastream water)

-limes (again, for salads and to crush into water)

-chai tea (not 100% sure this is compliant, but I am hoping!)

Right now I’m enjoying a glass of raspberry infused soda water.

raspberry soda water

raspberry soda water

I got a soda stream for Christmas, which is exciting – even though I will have to give up my precious Diet Dr. Pepper/producer fuel for my Whole30. It’s okay. I am ready to experience some headaches, but I am going to sub in tea.

So that’s that!

Have you ever tried to change your eating habits? If so how did it go?

On Injury & Finding the Silver Lining

One of my favorite quotes is from this documentary 180 degrees south. It’s from Yvon Chouinard, the climber and many who founded Patagonia (a company I passionately support, and no I don’t get free stuff from them)

He said “The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts”

Training for a marathon is an adventure – lots of stuff goes wrong. You get a strange ache in your knee, which turns into pain in your IT band. Foam rollers, and any sort of self massage contraptions quickly become your friends. I was heading out for my last 16 mile run before the marathon. I decided I would run along the C&O canal, which had been my favorite route this year. I was about 2.5 miles from home, and all of the sudden my left foot hit a rock funny, and it folded under me. I heard a loud pop and felt pain.

I sprained my ankle. It was swollen, it was purple, blue and green. A doctor at urgent care handed be crutches and orders not to run for at least 2 weeks. I definitely cried.

this was a few days out

this was a few days out

But then I decided that I wouldn’t look at this as a failure, or as the 15 weeks of training a waste. I took the time to heal, and last week I started running regularly again.

My ankle is not back to where it was, and neither is my running. But my adventure has begun. I’m thinking about how to get back in shape. I’ve registered for a half marathon in April, and I’m going to try to focus on 5Ks and 10Ks to get my speed up.

I’m disappointed that I couldn’t try for that sub-4:00:00 marathon this year. It still makes me sad to think about it. But I managed to get out of town the weekend of the marathon, and I saw some amazing stuff.

It's hard to stay mad at not being able to run a marathon when this is the view on your first run post-injury.

It’s hard to stay mad at not being able to run a marathon when this is the view on your first run post-injury.

I was happy to head down to one of my favorite places on earth – the Outer Banks. The weather was amazing, abundant sunshine and temps in the upper 60s. That gave J & I plenty of opportunities to walk on the boardwalk along the Currituck sound.

Hi Mr. Heron!

Hi Mr. Heron!

I also had plenty of chances to sleep at night (a treat from working the night shift) and to knit!

My latest project!

My latest project!

I’m currently working on June’s Favorite Cardigan, which I think will come in handy for the 3am chill that seems to set in on the overnight shift at work.

I’m slowly getting back to normal running-wise. I’m trying to take it easy on myself. Coming back from an injury is no joke. I’m also trying to focus on some strength work to compliment my running.

Have you ever had to come back from an injury? 

What have you done to pass the time while injured? 

Some days

So I am 2 days (or nights) back into my night shift work. I get in at 11am, and leave when most people are on their way to work at 7am.

There is so much to be mindful of on this shift. It’s challenging. Running, so far, has been a perfect compliment. A month or two ago, I’m not sure if this would have been the case. That’s because I’ve gotten to a point in my running where my mind just kind of floats along. It no longer tries to fight some elaborate tug of war with my body. It no longer screams “NO!” when I pick up the pace to new to me marathon pace. It just floats along, and listens to music, or thinks about the people who inspire me. Sometimes I am sure I have thoughts while I am running, but I can’t remember them afterwards. It’s kind of like those dreams you know you have, but can only remember strange odd little snippets that make no sense whatsoever.

Finn dog

It totally helps that this guy greets me after every single one of my runs, and every morning when I get home from work. He is a little noisy during the day, as he tries to protect our tiny apartment from any potential intruders, neighbors, or common area cleaning people.

So that’s about it, so far, my shift-related fears of being constantly exhausted, never having the motivation to go for a run have been unfounded. I guess we should all check back in a month … but so far, so good.