Let’s Celebrate my Return to Mileage Tracking

I have two running entries in my training spreadsheet. TWO!!!! I ran twice this week. And it was glorious.
And birds sang.

And mice danced

And cowboys swaggered.

And basically my life was a Disney movie.

An aside: To produce the above images, I googled “birds chirp”. And this popped up.

http://www.hungryharps.com/2011/08/big-pb-chocolate-chip-cookies-birds-eye.html

Um what? All google searches should lead to cookies. Then I thought about it. And looked. I googled birds CHIP. #fail I blame the early morning.

I mean, yes. I was gasping for breath a little and my back still hurts a smidge. But I had to know what was going to happen. I noticed that I felt better on days after I was active than than not. So I went for it. I ran on Wednesday and yesterday my back didn’t hurt more or less than it did the day before. I ran this morning and it’s little twingy. I’ll monitor it and wait and see. If it does flare up then I’ll go back to the elliptical. This is how I feel about that plan

This morning’s run was at 6:45. Yes, that’s a 6. I hate morning. I work in an office with a boss that doesn’t mind if I don’t show up until 9:15 or 9:30. I’m luck, I know. And I take full advantage and usually get up between 7:45-8:15 (haha, yeah right. I get up at 8:30). Today I was up at 6:05. The run was pretty decent and then I hit the showers. Except it’s mostly been a month since I last ran, I didn’t keep up with the elliptical like I should have, and did I mention it was pre 9 am? It’s possible I forgot how to take a sports bra off. And was maybe stuck outside a shower half in and half out. I almost had to ask a stranger. And then I remember I could put an arm through the arm hole and then pull it off. And then I felt a moment of shame that I forgot how to undress myself.

My problem with an early morning run: I’m thirsty and hungry all. damn. day. Thirsty I can take care. The hunger? That’s going to be a bigger challenge.

Sunday is 10 weeks to race day. Today I ran 2.56 miles at 3:1 intervals. I was supposed to run 35 minutes. I ran walked 40. I’ve come to accept the fact that I’ll be walking more of my half than I wanted to. But sticking with the training plan and not having any gaps, this weekend is only 4 miles. I stopped at 2.56 this morning because I hit 40 minutes, I was bored on the dreadmill, and I didn’t want to come busting out of the gate two days into my return to running. Looks like with hard word, some determination, and some awesome friends/cheerleaders this half is still going to be mine to conquer!

Hearts and running love

I’m still here

Injured.

Disabled List.

Ouchies.

Bummed.

Two and a half weeks ago I woke up with a sore lower back. I decided to let it rest. It was getting better until I woke up on a Friday and it seized. I hobbled around my office for the rest of the day and made an appointment with my primary care. She asked some questions and then pushed on the sore spot and then bent me in all sorts of twisted positions.

Diagnosis: Muscle strain with a spasm

Treatment: Heat every few hours, Ibuprofen, no running

I can still hit up the elliptical, go swimming, and walk. I went away on a little vacation this weekend and did some swimming in the Long Island Sound. And I tried to go walking, but I was bored halfway through and decided my back was feeling better and maybe I was being a big baby. So I ran most of the 2 miles back. A few hours later I regretted it as the pain flared up again. For now, I’m listening to my body and my doctor and am not running until the pain is gone. I’m getting a little panicy about the half in October, but what’s the worst that could happen? I have to walk every 10 minutes. That would still mean I’d be running 90.9% of the race. Or maybe my back needs one more week of rest and then I’ll train hard and get through the whole race. Either way I’ve still got my eyes on the prize. And I promise to be back as soon as I can put together a run. Or maybe sooner if something really hilarious happens on the elliptical.

Hahahahaha. Nothing ever happens on the elliptical. That’s why it sucks.

Hearts and heating pads!

Head Scratching Good Runs and Terrifying Steps Forward

Happy first day of summer. So much sunshine outside and good runs this week have put me in a fantastic mood!

I’ve had Pad Thai on the brain for a month so I gave in on Tuesday and ordered some from this restaurant I like near my house that won’t be near my house when I move in September. The portions are big but I thought I’d get a little side dish too (idiot) and save some pad thai for left overs. And then for whatever reason I ATE ALL THE PAD THAI. As Ron Swanson said I worry you think I said I ate a lot of pad thai. What I said was I ate all the pad thai.

http://radar-net-of-our-senses.tumblr.com/post/22327728651/my-appetite-at-this-very-moment
http://radar-net-of-our-senses.tumblr.com/post/22327728651/my-appetite-at-this-very-moment

                                                http://radar-net-of-our-senses.tumblr.com/post/22327728651/my-appetite-at-this-very-moment

My stomach was angry face all night and then when I woke up on Wednesday, it was still PO’d to the max. I managed 4 bites of oatmeal and nothing else. The office buys lunch for us on Wednesday and this week was burritos; my very favorite food on the whole of the Earth. And all morning the thought of trying to eat a burrito at lunch made my stomach turn. It also made me think “idiot” over and over. Why did I eat so much for dinner? I ended up going to the Tar-jey for some applesauce and animal crackers because I was a teeny bit hungry and I thought if I didn’t eat I wouldn’t make it through the afternoon. The worst was that I planned to run that night and I didn’t know if I’d be able to. And then, thankfully, I was hungry around 6. I grabbed a left over burrito and did a little more work.

By 7 my stomach was still wonky and all I’d eaten was some applesauce, half a small baby burrito, and some animal crackers. But I figured I have to get out there if I want to run a half marathon in October (foreshadowing). So I laced up and hit the pavement.  And then sure enough it was one of the better runs I’ve had in a month. WTF body. I give you mondo indigestion, almost no food, and you pull out a great run. I give up.

24 hours later Christine and I ran 2.56 miles with no walking. Rockstars. At least, that’s how we felt at the end. I mean, yes. It was slow. And not even a 5k. But shove off any haters, it’s better than we’ve been doing! I’d like to recreate the run but quite frankly, I blacked out during the second half, but from what I remember our conversation was mostly:
“We have to keep running, no walking”
“At some point I feel like the walking isn’t even worth it”
“Jennie will be proud”
“Maybe we shouldn’t tell Jennie. She’ll make us run straight through from now on”
“Maybe we’ll just make her go slower”
“When we finish this we’re going to feel amazing”
“Am I dead yet? I think I’m dead”
“OMG why do bridges arch up so high?!”
At some point near the end Christine pointed out the community garden we were running by and offered this helpful thought “let’s focus on the pretty garden” and I grunted out “Ooh, nice.” but in my head I was screaming “Who cares about a f**king garden, there is not enough air in the world to get into my lungs right now”
Me: “We’re going to hit 2.5 miles early, do you mind if we just run the full 35 minutes”
Christine: “Sure”
At mile 2.52 and 35 minutes
Me: “Let’s just run all the way back to the dock. It’s only an extra 15 seconds”
Christine: “When did you turn into Jennie?”
Me: Couldn’t respond. Focused on not falling over.

We then proceeded to limp over to the water fountain. It’s one of those that has a dog fountain near the ground and then a normal human fountain. The human fountain wasn’t working, but the dog one was. We decided that we weren’t above laying on the ground for water but, you know, dogs. For whatever reason I tried the human fountain one more time and…success!! Then we stretched and I somehow managed to find the DIRTIEST spot. Literally. I was covered head to toe in dirt.

What I want to know is this: what is different about this week that my running is going well? Is it the birthday cake I ate mid afternoon before Thursday’s run? I will gladly eat cake and blame it on “needing” it for running.

Gladly. But I don’t really think it’s that. I keep a log and I’ll keep going over it and maybe I’ll figure it out.

Also. I officially registered for the half. I’m scared and excited and nervous and ready to kick it’s ass. Maybe?

Cue the shaky knees and nausea

 Hearts and summer love!

What it’s like when we’re friends and we run together

You’ll suggest a goal, I’ll back it off a tad. I’m willing to let you push me. But only so much (the foreshadowing here is that you’ll probably still get me to run more than I planned to.)

I’ll arrive at your abode, we’ll catch up for a few minutes. We’ll both be thinking well what if we just stay home and have a beer and spy on the neighbors. I’ll be thinking it more. And it’ll only be a passing thought for you. But neither of us will say it because we both know we’ll be happier if we just go.

We’ll start out running. I don’t have high hopes, but you do. We’ll chat a little and then the hills will catch up to me and I’ll be willing to listen, and will enjoy the stories but will only be able to gasp out short replies. And laughing? Ain’t nobody got breath for that.

I will want to die part way through. You will be cheering and singing and waving your arms around. And I’ll see how slow you’re running and look at my watch and see our pace, but I will be maxed out and thankfully we have an unspoken agreement that I’ll let you push me on time and/or distance, but I can only run so fast right now. Also, I’ll mostly appreciate your cheering. But a little sliver of me will be mad that I don’t have that much running fitness. But I know that the more we run, the closer I get. When we started we ran 4 minute intervals. We’re up to 10. I’m counting that as a victory.

We’ll get near the end of the workout and I’ll want to quit. This doesn’t always happen. I mean, yes, who doesn’t want to just slow down to a crawl.  But on the nights when I want to quit, I will want to quite bad. Real real bad. I’ll lean on you to get through the runner’s wall. Except I’ll be silent. Because, hello? Hurts so bad. But you’re good. You’ll push and push and push. And I’ll try to zone in. And we’ll get it down.

I’ll look at my watch. We have 1 minute left. 1 minute until the end of the workout. Except you’re tricky and you’ll make me go further. And I will. But. A gap will probably form between the two of us as you pull away. You’ll double back and then you’ll slow down and I’ll try really hard to keep up. But while there’s a gap between us, I will absolutely yell “I hate you”. In front of your entire neighborhood. I won’t mean it in 5 minutes, I’ll even retroactively retract it, but oh, do I mean it then and there.

We’ll make it back to your house. I’ll want to just pass out on your lawn. But it’s time for dinner. I’ll make a bit of a mess in your kitchen, though dinner will be quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

And then I’ll drop a water bottle on your dog and spill 700 mL of water all over her and the kitchen. Yay I’m such a good friend.

You’ll invite me back. Friend love has no bounds

Hearts and runner friends!

A week of solid running

I’ve had an entire week of good runs.

Finally.

And by good I mean I didn’t quit, I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t get crampy, And I stuck to my schedule. The runs themselves are still sometimes challenging. But that’s the whole point of 0-13.1, right? I was at 0. I want to be at 13.1. I’m slowly slogging away.

Thursday, after not running for a week, I left technology at home and ran in the rain with just a watch to keep my intervals on time. I checked out a path that is at the end of the street that I’ve know about for a while and just didn’t take the time to explore. Turns out, it’s not just one path. It’s a whole bunch. Through this really nice little marsh and fields and a honest to goodness pine grove. The last drops of rain stopped falling just as I reached the entrance so everything was soaked and quiet. I didn’t have my phone so didn’t take any pictures. I’ll say this. It was so peaceful. And calm. And I never would have found it if I wasn’t a runner! I love that. Also, I almost stepped on a frog. But I side stepped just in time. In lieu of actual pictures I doodled you this
I chose the Sesame Street News Kermit because he’s the best. Also, I love when he says “Kermit THE frog here”
Friday I had a date cancel on me. So I invited myself over to Jennie’s and we sat outside in the sun and drank wine. It was fantastic. Spring is here. Well, it was here. It was 39 when I woke up this morning. I’m trying to block it out.
Saturday I went shopping. I hate shopping. But my friends were going and I could use a few new things. And I ended up doing the most shopping (I think. I at least kept up with the biggest shopper if it wasn’t me). It involved hours of walking in flip flops. And not a lot of water drinking. Then I drank an entire bottle of wine by myself. And then I went to sleep incredibly late. You’d think I was still in college.
My family had evening Mother’s Day plans (hearts to the Mother’s in my life!). I only had to do a little prep so I had the whole day to run. I woke up and said “Oof, no thanks” but then I logged into my email and it had EXPLODED with facebook posts from my running group. And they had all completed their weekend runs.
It now happens every weekend. It’s awesome. And of course if they were all out running all over the country and world (what up, Australia?), so I had to get out there too. The run was not great, thanks to a severe lack of water in my body. But I survived. And I’ve run much, much worse. And actually, my body felt amazing after. I’m still learning this lesson: I’ve decided to set this goal for myself. And for a little while I have to keep it in mind whenever I do anything. Really if I had just kept drinking water all day Saturday and for the better part of Sunday morning I would have been ok. I’m just so bad at water drinking on the weekend. Grr. On the other hand, a couple months ago I would have opted for the nap instead of a run. I’m really glad I didn’t. 
Last night was Wednesday Monday Night Running Club, though we were down a runner due to injury. Sad. But instead of running she made us an amazing dinner (my hungry runner stomach thanks you!!!). My running program is broken into 4 week chunks. Each chunk is in it’s own file folder. For a million weeks (pretty much since I started in November) I’ve been in the 5-8 week folder. This week I’ve moved into the 9-12 week folder!!!!!!!!!! I can’t tell you how exciting it is. It means I’ve finally been working hard enough and consistently enough to keep moving through the program. It makes me feel like I’m getting my life back into balance. It’s almost peaceful. Also. Terrifying. These workouts are getting longer and harder!
I was supposed to run 25 minutes, but was allowed to still have a walking intervals if I felt I needed it. Jumping from 5 minutes intervals to 25 minutes was a little daunting. Plus, I knew Jennie would just make me run 30 minutes (and by make, I mean she would say “You know you want to” and she would be right, but I think it’s still a tad too soon). So to help myself out I said let’s do intervals of 8 minutes running, 1 minute walking. Those are the longest intervals I’ve done in while. Possibly since last spring. My legs were tired and I didn’t think I could keep up the whole thing. We stopped to stretch halfway through to try to make my legs feel a little better. Then I proposed we take an extra minute walking between intervals 2 and 3. After interval 3 (which felt better thanks to the stretching) I knew I’d need 2 minutes again. Jennie always encourages me to push a little harder (it’s reason number 4,208 I like running with her) so to propose it, I knew I’d need to bargain. I traded an extra minute of walking for an extra 3 of running, bringing us to a 40 minute run. Because I knew I could. And I knew Jennie knew I could. At the corner of her street she said 10 seconds left. I said let’s just run to your house. Then she upped it to running until the Garmin said 3 miles. So I followed her. And damn did it feel like a huge accomplishment! All told it was 35 minutes of running!!!!!!! 
And 5 minutes of walking. But we won’t talk about that.
I’ve talked about this before, but I like to write encouraging messages on my mirror. For a while it’s said “Goals are dreams with a deadline; 13.1 in 2013”. After this week, I’m feeling more and more confident that it will happen. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Hearts and goals!!

Turns out, I like running with people

Thanks to my IRL “coach”, Jennie, who lives all of 1,000 feet from my new job, I’ve been running a lot more regularly. And in doing that I’m gaining confidence in my running again. Which means I’m starting to plan. Plan my runs, plan my meals, plan my races(!!!), plan everything to be a half marathoner in 2013. Possibly twice! And in that planning I’ve started to find higher energy levels again. And also, I get the itch to go for a run again. I can’t tell you how good that feels.

I was always worried to run with other people. Maybe not worried. But apprehensive? I’m slow and I’m still running with walking intervals mixed in. I was afraid I would hold other back. And for some runners that would be true. But Jennie runs/walks the intervals with me. She pushes the pace. And when we get to minute 29 and it’s time to walk for the last minute she convinces me to run that last minute. And though I love her for it, I usually swear at her while I do it. It’s cool. It’s all in good fun. She’s been running more faithfully for longer and so she can usually put on the speed a little or start cheering or singing. And little by little w We’ve started running with Christine too. And I’ve discovered something. I like running way way way more when it’s with other people. It’s someone to chat/grunt with, someone else who sees the same silly dog, someone that also says thank you to the side walk graffiti that says “hello beautiful”. It’s fun. I was starting to think maybe I could find some more friends who want to run with me. But again, I hesitated. Maybe they wouldn’t all be as cool as the Wednesday Night Running Club (girls, we really need a better name. Also, this week was on Tuesday and totally threw off the rest of my week and I keep thinking it’s Friday). I was starting to think about reaching out, especially now that I’m up to 5 minutes running and will be (hopefully) done with walking intervals in the next couple of weeks. My half marathon training group has added some new members lately, and now includes a college Alpha Gam sister and another new Boston based friend, plus all my current running friends. I was thinking about this very thing on my run last night as I was dying and a teeny bit board on the last stretch with no cute crew boys or pretty river scenes to stare at. I finished and pulled over onto some grass for a photo shoot in the pretty sun and trees and then some cool down stretching. Walking over to my car I was caught red-handed by a co-worker. I still had headphones in mellowing out with Alabama Shakes and usually I’d wave and then go hide in mortification at the mascara likely running down my face but she stopped me. And it went down like this
Co-worker who I had assumed could run circles around me: Do you run after work a lot
Me still gasping for some air: Usually twice a week
C-WWIHACRCAM: What do you do for a run
MSGFSA: Well, I’m training for a half marathon and my plan starts at 0 so right now I’m running 5:1 intervals
C-WWIHACRCAM: Cool. I’m out of shape, but I could probably do 5:1s. Would you mind if I joined you sometime
MSGFSA: That would be fantastic. I said this with pretty decent composure but in reality I was thinking. “I’d assumed you’d kick my butt at running and wouldn’t want to run with a slow poke like me. Then I added I recently discovered I like running with friends.
C-WWIHACRCAM: Yeah. I’ve found having a running buddy is much better
MSGFSA: I always avoided it because I’m super slow
C-WWIHACRCAM: Me too
MSGFSA: Sounds like a plan
C-WWIHACRCAM: Yes. Mid week sometime we’ll go.
And just like that I have a new running friend. I hope we can keep it up semi-regularly. And maybe even rope in more co-workers. Maybe we’ll even get a little friendly 5k going or maybe the better part of a relay team? See. I’m getting way ahead of myself. I just can’t stop planning. I just have all the running love right now. And sore legs that were going to go swimming tonight and instead are going to the Sox game. 

Hearts and endorphins!

Nothing better than a boring Monday.

It’s been just about a week since my last post. And what a week it’s been. I’ll admit. I debated all night Monday on whether or not I would post that last entry. In the end I’m glad I did. I share everything else with the internet. And the response was overwhelmingly positive. I read a lot of other bloggers’ accounts of the day and they were all pretty uniform. A lot of confusion, time spent finding out if friends and family were ok, outrage, sadness, and resilience. The world wide outpouring of love for the city that I hold so near and dear to my heart has been so awesome, too.

Best of all it’s Monday and when I woke up this morning the only thought I had was “which of my new clothes am I going to wear today”. This thought was followed pretty quickly by “I hope more patients are released today and others are downgraded from critical condition”. After this was realizing I was running late and would have to bust my butt to try to get to work remotely on time. And that’s normal. Normal. What a nice feeling. Thanks to all those who worked tirelessly to shut down the threat last week. Flags are still at half staff. And people are still fighting for their lives or learning to adapt to a new way of life. Last night driving home the signs on the highway said “We are one Boston. Thank you to all”. The MBTA buses I drove by flashing their route numbers. And then flashing “Boston Strong”. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to say this is “over”. But the threat is gone. And Boston is bigger, brighter, and better.

Even with the mess that was last week I got in a couple of runs and some cross training. Tuesday I wore BAA blue and yellow, but on a Red Sox cap, blasted my Boston songs, and ran along the Charles. Wednesday was the “Wednesday Night Run Club” (It’s so hard to come up with creative names!). I’ve started running with a couple friends (we’re trying to make it once a week) so this was us going out. Thursday was an hour of hard swimming. Hard because I wanted to push myself a little. Last week, a 9 year old girl was repeatedly beating me across the pool. Not cool. Friday was “rest”. Saturday was should have been a run but I had a better window on Sunday so I switched to cross training. And if drinking beer and singing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of my lungs at Fenway counts I totally go it done…

Yesterday was my birthday. I had a bridal shower in the middle of the day and dinner with my family. But there was this nice window in between that was perfect for a run. In the past I might have said “It’s my birthday, I’m taking an extra day off.” and gone to buy coffee and a donut. Instead I changed in a fast food restaurant bathroom (didn’t buy anything. I’m a bad person. Whatever. That food is just so bad) and I hit up the Haverhill Stadium. In reality I ran Riverside Park, but the whole of the city refers to that entire area as the Stadium. My parents and grandparents took my brother and I there approximately 1000 times in my childhood, I sat at a couple hundred of my brother’s little league games there, we used to ride our bikes, or Grammy and Grampy would bring a picnic lunch and watch the boats go up and down the river. Not surprisingly, the place was pretty much the same. It looked a little smaller. And they have a new jungle gym. But there were still tiny baseball players and kids with training wheels. After the chaos of last week worrying about friends and being barred from coming to work it was nice to be out among families in the shining sun. The run was less than stellar thanks to birthday pancakes and bridal shower cake. But it got done. Then there was homemade spaghetti and meatballs (a team effort between my mom and my aunt and uncle).

And cake. Birthdays always have cake.

Here’s hoping the dot of spaghetti sauce I just got on my new sweater will be the toughest crisis this week.

Hearts and normalcy!