Happy 2018!

So 2018 is about 18 or so hours old for me.  Hopefully you all celebrated well and woke feeling ready to take on a new year!

I slept very well.  My Garmin thinks I slept 10 hours, but in reality, some of that was just me hanging out on the couch.  I must have been really really still!

The strangest thing that happened today is that I did not get my training email from my coach.  That is totally totally strange.  I’m not really sure why.  I’m going to assume he’s caught in that time warp thing and isn’t really aware of the days. He has been traveling with his family and well, who knows. Plus, Monday is usually a rest day.

So…I went out mostly to take a walk and look around.  I ended up running one mile, it went well, and then I indulged in a walk around this tiny little lake.  I always like to go around it but usually have to run by it. IMG_9352 2.JPG

It was a gray day which is actually great for seeing birds (not photographing them though). I saw a great egret, a great blue heron,  the little blue heron, and a cardinal. No alligators, though I looked for them.

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So yes, there are orange trees and they grow all over the place in Central Florida because groves…have turned into housing. I do not recommend eating these oranges they are usually “juice oranges” and pretty sour.

For the rest of the day, given it was a “free” day off work… I worked on some of my New Year Goals.

I saw my Doctor about the executive function. He actually gave me a book to read (which I didn’t do yet…oops) and some suggestions, like possibly I was trying to do too much at one time.  He recommended breaking up tasks into even smaller parts.  Surprisingly, I was able to get everything done on my to do list for this weekend.  The list seemed very tiny, but I feel some great relief that I was able to complete the tasks.  I actually was able to compete some more than what was actually on the list, but…I still feel like I wasted time with disorganization etc. Still, progress is progress.

I signed up for the Swim around Key West. I signed up as part of a team of women.  I *think* it’s going to be ok, one lady I’ve been pals with for a long time, the other one could be a challenge.  We got on a three way call and I realized that neither one of them really has done too much OWS in the same way I have.   They were discussing use of zinc based sunscreen and I was like yes, Desitin is the stuff. She then was going on and on about training, and I wisely did not say that this would be a “side event” for me.  Anyway, it should be a nice weekend in the Keys!!!  So that was kind of fun to do on New Year’s Day.

I also made an actual healthy recipe from another blog.  I really hate cooking and recipes and fussing in the kitchen, but I think it will help me with my health eating goal.  This one was really easy.  To be honest, I cooked the quinoa in the morning, set it aside in the fridge, and then “got around” to the chopping and kale this afternoon.  Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 4.59.48 PM.png

I put it to chill and am looking forward to this option for the week!  Yay me!  Now.. If I can do that in a regular week.

So progress is being made on the goals on day one.  Let’s check in on Day 5 and see how I feel.   How are you feeling on New Year’s Day?  Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.55.29 AM.png

Mavis Staples the cat would like to wish everyone the best new year ever!  Her goal is to relax for one more year!

 

 

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When the effort is not equal to the results

Since December I’ve been struggling a little with training.  There are a couple of things going on and so I thought I’d write about it a bit. I can’t be the only person who has had an experience where the effort doesn’t equal results.

This started for me at the Reindeer Run. At least, my awareness of it started then. As I was running along, I FELT like I was putting in a good effort which FELT like my normal 5K pace.  Eventually I glanced at my Garmin, and was really surprised to find myself moving along about a minute slower in pace than the effort would have indicated.  As far as time, the whole race was a bust and I was actually really disappointed.

Since then, I’ve noticed that I’m putting forth a lot of effort and my results are just not what they were in October and early November.  So what’s going on?

Well. I’m recovering from Space Coast Half Marathon.   In the past, I usually ran a half and then felt pretty good within the next few days.  In the past, however, I was always pretty well trained for the event.  In this case, I was not, and likely it’s taking me longer to recover since I really overstretched my abilities for that race.  Runners, don’t try what I did at home, or anywhere else.  It wasn’t fun, the medals sit in my fish bowl at work and it wasn’t a “worth it” experience.  Based on this great advice, I should by now be recovered from actual Space Coast, but I think it had a big effect on my workouts at the beginning of December, when I really was not recovered, but was trying to “workout” anyway.

I’ve been tired.  Really really really tired.

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The kind of tired where no amount of sleep seems to quite refresh me. I noted my eating has been a bit off, so I’ve increased the leafy greens,  protein, hydration,  AND made a doctor’s appointment.  It’s been a year since my last foray to the general practitioner, so it’s about time anyway.  I am hoping that I’ll find I’m a little low on iron, or something easily fixable.  Even if there isn’t anything wrong, it’s always a good idea to rule anything out.

I started with my new/old coach, Skeletor.  Skeletor does periodized plans, so there is always a few weeks in the plan where I feel like absolute rock bottom because I’m working hard and tired.  It’s been a long time since we worked together, so it’s possible this fatigue is related to that. We are swiftly approaching a mini-taper for a 10K which I think will really show me if it’s the periodized training, or if something else is going on.

Form and efficiency are also so important.  If you feel like effort is exceeding results, I would suggest having someone look at your form. If you are using a lot of energy with extraneous movement/inefficient movement, it’s going to tired you out.  I’ve got a time set up with our swim coach to do some video tape to see if I’ve just gotten incredibly sloppy with form as well.  I do NOT recommend having your running buddy tell you what they think (unless your running buddy is a certified coach).  Buddies can tell you if they are seeing something totally nutty, but their own ego can get in their way as well. So, I’d recommend signing up for a local run clinic, or even a run group that’s lead by a coach who can watch you over time and make tweaks and recommendations. In general runner’s tend to go for “form fads” (barefoot running, only forefoot striking etc), a good coach will be able to look at your entire form, and not just focus on wha the latest article in Runner’s world says.

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Lastly, I’m giving myself a bit of a break.  I’m completing all the workouts, but not worrying about “time” as long as my heart rate is rising appropriately than I am sure I’m putting in the effort.   This is definitely not the time to push any harder and end up injured.

What’s been your experience when your effort has not equaled your results?  Did a change in nutrition help? Or a change in Form?

 

2018 is rapidly approaching

2017 wasn’t that great, honestly. I don’t know that I’d call it an entire “tire fire”  but it definitely kind of seemed like one.

Unknown-1.jpeg I don’t even think I made any goals for 2017. I was just starting to run again, and was very stressed out at work.

Well.  Here we are with a bunch of 2017 accomplishments behind me:

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2017 was a crazy crazy year.  We had Joint Commission Prep, and then the big Joint Commission visit.  I had running, and ran for most of the year without any coaching.  I didn’t enjoy that much, and I was not good at coaching myself. I “ran”  or shall we say “completed” a half marathon in November, which I really regret.  Now in 2018 I am better set up for a good year.  We do not have any massive inspections scheduled this year, I am back with coach Skeletor, my job seems to be pretty stable for the moment, so I should probably make some goals.

So… Here goes. I feel like my goals are almost always identical, so common, but… I don’t know, I guess a lot of us struggle with the same things.

  1. Lose the surgery weight.  I have really been challenged to lose this weight. I didn’t think I’d be able to run again, and then all of a sudden I was, but with all this extra weight.  Now, I’m not fat-shaming, but being overweight is awful for running. It puts extra stress on joints, and slows a person down. In addition, there are several forms of cancer linked to being overweight, so why would I NOT want to put this as a goal.  I did very well in October and November, and then kind of fell into a wagon of Christmas Cookies in December.  So… Modest goal is to lose about 2-3 pounds a month.
  2. Run a half marathon with a fairly ok time.  My idea of a fairly ok time is 2:20.  It’s not very fast, however, it is not so slow that the sweepers will catch me. Consider the Marathon again.  I am thinking about Route 66 Half Marathon. It’s one of those large events, were a slower runner can blend in and not feel very obvious.
  3. Improve my strength. I have not been doing much weight lifting and I want that to change.
  4. Improve my ability to perform Executive Function Tasks. I struggle with some very basic things at times, and lately this has led to me being late, not having the tools I need for the task at hand, and in general wasting a lot of time.  I actually set up an appointment with a physician to see if there is anything they can do to assist with this.  I’m capable and do generally get things done “on time” but often I waste a lot of time “futzing” around, and there are things that get “forgotten”.  If I can master some improved organization skills, I think I’ll be less stressed on a daily basis.
  5. Consider another long distance swim event.  There are several.  It might be worth it.
  6. Complete the research study I started at work.  (Man do I hate it).
  7. Keep clothing off the bedroom floor.  Kind of a basic one here, but for some reason this is not hardwired in me and it can become like a jungle.
  8. Visit the Dentist.
  9. Read a few more books in 2018….

So…. Those are the initial goals.  Usually by February, they change!

What are you goals?  When you’ve been successful what was the key to your success???

 

Book Review: The Running Dream

I’ve been reading.  I admit that most of my reading these days involves journal articles for work, but I do occasionally get in some actual books designed for regular reading.

This year our floor where I work decided to contribute to the annual Christmas party held for foster children in our county.  Being the do-gooder that I am, I went ahead and ordered all sorts of craft projects, glow in the dark necklaces and sports equipment for the kids.  I also ordered books.  I particularly wanted some books that might inspire or help kids dream.  So in November, I read a lot of teen literature. Enter The Running Dream  by Wendelin Van Draanen.

Apparently it is based on a true story, which is rather amazing.  The basic premise, 16 year old Jessica is a high school runner who loses her leg in a tragic accident. She works through the grief process (rather rapidly) all the while becoming more sensitive to others disabilities and problems around her, and eventually returns to running–and also picks up the “hot boyfriend” in the end.  Part of me found it all a little too good to be true, and a bit like those After school Specials for the 1980’s .  I now realize that it was based on a true story, so likely this is all true, and it still kind of amazes me at how each piece seems to fall together at the end of the story.

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But of course the story ends conveniently there where all the pieces fall together. The reality is that Jessica and folks with disability will continue to face many challenges through their lives that can not be chronicled in one slim volume.

All that said, this book was a tear jerker and a page turner for me. Firstly many of the emotions that the main character describes after her injury remind me of the emotions I felt after my large spine injury. The author has a way of making the reader entirely invested and committed to the outcome.  I could NOT stop reading the book!  My favorite part of the book is how the author describes running through her main character.  Certain phrases have stuck with me as I am out and running again myself.  I sometimes hear them when I am struggling with some particular aspect of a workout- especially if it is on the track.

The Verdict?  Definitely worth the read for adults, and a great read for teens.

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Reindeer Run!

This morning I ran the Reindeer Run with some friends from run group.  It was a really interesting run, there was a lot to love about it and some things to really dislike.

Firstly, we had our “Winter Storm Benji” remnants arrive last night.  High winds, colder temperatures and lots and lots of rain, because after all, it’s Florida and not Flori-bama, so we do not get snow.

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It was pouring down a cold ran at 6 am, I was not amused.  I had somewhat unrealistic expectations for this race.  I was sure that with cooler temperatures that I would take some time off the time I ran at the Turkey Trot.  I forgot to take into account that I had run an INSANE hill training session on Thursday, and then swam two miles on Friday.  So I went into the race a little tired.

I picked up my packet yesterday. I had a free registration as I was representing my organization.  Our organization nicely provided an extra shirt for all employees to wear. This is part of our new campaign to raise more awareness of our organization, and I like it. It is a great organization to work for, and while I sometimes feel extremely stressed, I am appreciative of the fact that I have a great boss, flexibility, and good benefits.  in addition, I am proud of the care we provide. So I slapped on that shirt with pride.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 5.28.03 PM.pngThe Bib for the race was also the most ADORABLE BIB I’ve ever seen….

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I was a little sad because it got totally ruined in the rain.

The race started and I knew it was loops around a parking lot at a large shopping center. This is when I realized that my legs were not cooperating.  Nothing really hurt, but the effort I was putting out was not reflective of the pace I was running. My legs were still really really tired from running the hills. I kept trying to pick up the pace, but my body was not having it. So…it became a bit of a run through parking lots, puddles.  I freely admit I was a little frustrated, because things just didn’t go that well.

I have never been so glad to finish a race! I came in 6th out of 19 in my age group, and finished in the top half of the finishers so all is not lost. Plus we had some fun seeing each other!

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When I finished, I was handed a medal which I think I will remove from the ribbon and make into a Christmas ornament.  Much to my surprise this amazing goodie bag was also handed to me., making this one of the schwaggiest races of the year.

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For a free race, I sure lucked out. Inside this bag was all of these delightful little doo-dads. Most exciting is a race belt that expands to hold a phone.. I’m going to be trying that out tomorrow.

Sooooooooo:

Fun with Friends!  YES!

Super Schwag!  YES!  especially for a 5K.

Organized event!  YES!!!

Easy Parking…YES!!!!

Boo to the race being run in a parking lot, but I think the other stuff makes up for it all… and lessons learned about “racing” when not really on plan…. learned.  My expectations…are tempered.

Happy Holidays everyone!  What is your favorite Holiday activity or race????

 

Space Coast Half Marathon

This weekend I had a totally new experience.  I ran the Space Coast Half Marathon with sub optimal training.

As you might imagine, it was a painful experience.

So I went to visit my family in PA for Thanksgiving. I flew home on Friday and arrived at my house early Saturday morning. After a quick sleep,  we made the quick drive over to the coast for the Space Coast Half Marathon.  This rapid turnaround was part of my less successful run.

Space Coast is a wildly popular race, with a fantastic medal series. Given my recent injury I’ve missed out on several years of the series, and this year was the last year, so in February 2017,  I sat eagerly at the computer for the moment that registration opened. I was sure that in 9 months I’d be up to that distance, with no problem.

That did not happen.

Over those nine months, all sorts of things happened.  I did not get very serious about running and training until June.  Even then, I had weeks where I skipped things, and with no coaching, I just kind of did what I wanted.  Going into this weekend I had a long run of 8 miles a few weeks ago.  I was petrified. I had long imagined my return to the half marathon and I had NEVER imagined it to be like this! In my imagination, I was always returning, looking very fit, and running well…perhaps setting a new PR.

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Ideally that is really when I should have returned to any sort of races.  But I was registered for the social running event of the season, and I’ve known so many people who run undertrained and seem to do ok.

The night before I shared a hotel room with my friend Penny, her friend Karen and Karen’s husband. I could not sleep. All three of them were noisy sleepers- so I listened to lots of snores, muttered phrases etc.  Eventually I did fall asleep for a few hours, but when I awoke, my legs still felt like lead.

The half marathon starts at 6 am, in the dark.  One of the coolest things about this race, is running along the road and watching the sun rise over the water.  I definitely got to do that.  The race is so crowded at the start that I just kind of jogged along at a very slow pace. My legs didn’t feel very good, so I hoped they would flush themselves out.

At about mile 2 I remembered one of my pet peeves about this race… Huge Galloway Pace Groups.  So imagine jogging along and then suddenly the mass of runners in front of you all start to walk in unison, forming an impenetrable wall of walkers.  The first year I ran this race, I got entangled in one of these groups, and I almost did this year.  Luckily I was able to get out of that mess and stay in front of them.

From mile 2-11 things went fairly well. I saw some pals and waved as I ran, I used some nutrition, and drank tons of water.

At mile 10, I thought that I would have no problem completing this race.  it wasn’t going to be a PR, but I felt pretty good.  At mile 11, I discovered very suddenly that I did not feel pretty good. I didn’t want to run, but when I tried walking, that also hurt like crazy. I hobbled to the finish and boy was I glad to be done. Several hours later, I found a way to snap an incredibly happy picture of me.

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I will never again do another race undertrained! I never want to fake a happy picture! Well… lots of lessons!

 

 

 

The Long road back

Well, I’m back!  I’ve been toying with writing several different blog posts, but since I’d been gone for so long, they all seemed really silly. Suffice it to say, there was not a lot to blog about with my injured back and surgery and lack of running.  Fast forward to now. I’m running.

In June I went and did Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back in Utah.  It was AMAZING. 18951443_252494848565987_505100380419412117_n.jpg

We seriously had the most fun I’ve ever had doing a Ragnar.  This bunch of people were so fun and inspiring I started a run streak a few days later and ran 147 days in a row.

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All good things must come to an end, however, but one always hopes for new things as well.  As of today, I am back with coach Skeletor and we have agreed to gradually see if I can get my fitness up to the level of Comrades.  First goal is to get through the Space Coast Half Marathon that I’m not ready for, and then actually race a Ten K in Tampa in January.  (Couple of 5K’s thrown in there as well)..

Running’s my favorite!

Life otherwise is pretty good.  My job is going along like crazy busy, the cats are fine…. Let’s see if I can start to update this regularly since I’m now running and training regularly!