Hello Friends

Working out / blogging has been sitting in the backseat lately while we deal with other things. Gary’s dad is still in the hospital and we’re trying to stay positive so I’ll just say that this whole ordeal is positively awful. Everyone in the family is feeling the strain of it and we need to remember that we’re all in this together but we are all dealing with it differently.  We’ve got to be there for each other and respect each other. 

My tattoo is still healing and as I’m completely paranoid that one day I’ll wake up and it will all wash off, I’ve been very careful about not doing anything to hurt it. There are lots of different opinions about the best aftercare regimen, so I’m sticking with what my shop gave me. Every once in a while I freak out like “IS IT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT?” so I look online and I see a bunch of people saying, “yeah, that’s normal” and I see a bunch of people saying, “good lord, human, what have you done wrong? that shouldn’t happen!”. After weeding through all the blustering advice, it sort of comes down to common sense: you’ve just been stabbed several thousand times with a tiny needle, so what you’ve got is one sexy open wound. Keep it clean & let it heal. 

So wait, what about working out? A quick google search of what to do if you want to work out with a fresh tattoo brings about another spectrum of opinions. The first week I really avoided running outside because WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I SWEAT and OH, GOD, NOT THE SUN, ANYTHING BUT THE SUN, but I’ve since come to my senses. Again, it’s an open wound – don’t do anything you wouldn’t do with any other kind of wound. Don’t wear a tight sports bra with the strap digging into your brand new backpiece, and take it easy with anything requiring you to stretch and twist the skin of your tattoo. Don’t roll around on a sweaty gross yoga mat. Keep it clean, let it heal.

We’re healing up quite nicely, those scabby flakes are falling off (scabby flakes… zombie breakfast cereal?) and it looks freaking amazing. Although… my geocaching friends who have seen it don’t want to log it. Seriously, it’s ok, it’s meant to be logged. LOG ME. PLEASE.

I did a run last week, and worked out to a video on Monday. (oh my goodness, my thighs. MY THIGHS) It’s a video with a warmup, cool down, and four 15-20 minute workouts. I planned to do all four, but I got through two and my legs said, “ok, that’s enough of that.”  Last night I went for a run on the treadmill; figured it was a good way to get a run in and stay out of the heat and the sun.   I did the same routine: 3 minute run, 2 minute walk. I ran at 4 or 4.2 mph and walked between 2 and 2.6 mph. When I started the fourth run interval… how do I put this nicely… well, I can’t. I choked on snot and nearly threw up. It was as hilarious as it was disgusting. I finished the interval and called it a day. Can’t beat that for a ridiculous day…

until today, when I tore my favorite dress on a stupid piece of wire at Shop-Rite and I can’t buy another one because they don’t make them anymore. grr. 

Color Run Pics – smiling through the cloud of dust

Almost forgot to share pictures from the color run!

 

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Kim and Me: All smiles in the parking lot before the race begins!

 

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Good things about getting to the race WAY early: Being able to take pictures with no one else in the start chute.

 

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Just some of the 12,000 people that showed up for the race today.

 

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#happiest5Kselfie

 

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Me getting messy!

 

 

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Kim and me

 

 

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The aftermath! My sneakers will be pink for days!

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Kim and me in the parking lot before trying to figure out how to not get all this color dust ALL over the car.

The Color Run! Painful Decisions … and my first tattoo!

My training has been coming along quite nicely. I’m maintaining a decent pace. I’m swinging my arms more, which is strangely helping me to not get too tired too quickly. It’s weird, like, you wouldn’t think that swinging your arms would affect how quickly you run out of breath, but yay, arm swinging!

I did my speed workout on Tuesday? Wednesday? I did another run on Thursday. I used the app on my phone again because I still hadn’t charged my GPS watch. It was a tough one – I tried to stick to shady sidewalks because it was HOT IN THAT SUN. I wound up running in circles on this 1/10 mile tree-lined loop.

Friday was a cross-training day. I was supposed to go to Kim’s house to sleep over in preparation for The Color Run on Saturday morning. I did neither, because Gary’s dad is still in the hospital, and worrying and waiting is incredibly draining.

You wouldn’t think that doing nothing is exhausting, but there’s a lot of stress and anxiety and not wanting to see him suffering but there’s nothing we can do about it because he has a Living Will and the next step really all depends on how you interpret the Living Will so basically we can’t help him, we can’t stop his suffering, we can’t make him better, and there’s lot of discussion with differing opinions about what to do next, and it’s just such a complicated and tense situation. The next few weeks will be tough, no matter what happens: our motto continues to be “We just want this to be over.” I can’t watch this family continue to suffer.

I know this is all very depressing, but I want to be true to myself, and this blog is about my life and I needed to just be able to say that out loud.

Onto a happier subject: in fact, the happiest 5K ever, The Color Run! I think they call it the happiest 5K because when it’s done, taking a shower make you the happiest you’ve ever been in your whole life! It was PACKED. We finished and some people hadn’t even started yet! I walked about half of it with Kim. I think the running plan I’ve been using is actually doing some good because on the portions I was running, I found myself actually running faster than normal. I was really impressed! We picked a landmark to run to, mostly the next color station. I never had to stop running because I was tired and that was awesome.

Then today… I got a tattoo! I’ve had the idea for a long time, just needed to get the urge to actually go through with it. I geocache, and there are fun things called trackables that you might find in your cache: you buy a dog tag with a scarab design and special code on it, then attach the tag to a toy or other item, and then send it out into the world in a cache container. The next person to find the item enters the code on the geocaching website: they can take the item and move it to another container, or they can just say that they discovered it. I am now a trackable! Gary bought me a dog tag and I got the code inked on my leg today. I cut the code off this picture, because, you can’t log me unless you find me!

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I’m just gonna lay down here on the sidewalk for a second.

That’s kind of how I felt at the end of my run last night. I didn’t pass out from the heat or anything! The speed work had me gasping for air by the end and the grass looked so soft and inviting! The only thing that actually kept me from laying down was the promise of chocolate milk – like the siren’s song, it called to me from the fridge. So I went and sat on the kitchen floor. I hydrated, I stretched, I drank sweet, sweet chocolate milk. Sometimes the only thing that keeps my spirit up during a run is knowing that it’s waiting for me, the carrot in front of my nose. 

I ran a fartlek, and it was way more successful than past attempts! For starters, I ran (I mean like, between running and sprinting) for a good portion of the excursion. Like, maybe at least 1/3 or 1/4. I started at a comfortable pace and then ran, then tried to go back to the comfortable pace, but I always wound up needing to walk. So it progressed like this for a while: jog, sprint, walk. Jog, sprint, walk. Especially at the end, I was running on sidewalks shaped like a D: I alternated the jog, sprint, walk between the straight part and the curve. I kept trying to really keep my feet going faster when I was running, because if I want to run faster, I’m going to need my lungs to get used to working when I run faster. So far, they have been….. uncooperative. I can’t quite say it was fun, but I can say it was successful, and that does make me happy! I love the wind in my face when I run, but there was really no wind at all to save me, just that really damp, heavy, humid air we get before thunderstorms in the summer. (and boy, did we have thunderstorms last night!)

I didn’t exactly run a mile in 15 minutes. My GPS watch was dying so I tested the Runtastic app on my phone, so I can’t be sure of how accurate the info is. It seemed pretty dead-on, though, and it has some cool features, so it’s a good back-up for when I forget to charge the watch. I guess my timing was good, a little under 3K in 30 minutes. Hoping to shave some of that time down by October.

1.84 miles in 30 minutes. I am running circles around this apartment complex. I need more space. I’m like a hermit crab that’s outgrowing its shell. 

Changing up a training plan?

So the training plan that I’ve been using (and sort of like, although it’s very light on running) calls for cross-training on Mon, Wed, & Fri, and running on Tues & Thurs. The weekends are supposed to be long runs – this past weekend was supposed to be two miles. I’ve been walking instead of running, mostly because I’m super busy, super stressed, and it’s super hot – for me to run two miles means I will have to be outside for over half an hour, and some days have been dangerous hot. This leads to me thinking about something that gets really frustrating sometimes: I am super slow.

Some days I don’t care so much – I’m just proud that I get out and run at all. This week I’ve seen tons of FB posts and blog posts trying to reinforce the idea that I’m not competing against other people, I’m only competing against myself, and as long as I strive to be better than I was, that’s a win. It doesn’t seem to be doing my brain any good, because I’ve been getting more and more discouraged by how slow I am. My 5K times haven’t really gotten any better, and my lungs can’t handle me running faster than 3.5 mph. I’ve signed up to do the Ocean City 5K, which was the first 5K I ever ran, last October. I’ve been hoping that my time will be better than last year’s – I was at 52:15 the first time around and I would just LOVE to wind up SOMEWHERE in the 40 minute range – even if it’s 49 minutes, 59 seconds. I read about people running 10 miles in one run, and I’m thinking, “I’d have to plan a whole day around one run.” I’d seriously need to set aside at least 4 hours. I don’t like to be restricted by anything other than what I decide in my mind – I feel sort of like a prisoner in my body sometimes, and it’s getting me down.  

I haven’t been doing any speed training, as my plan doesn’t call for it, and I think that’s kind of a problem. I love speed training, probably because if I’m going to see any kind of good times, that’s where they’ll be. I have run a mile in under fifteen minutes a handful of times – only during speed training (and during one 5K, my first mile out was under 15 mins and I have no idea how it happened, but I’d like to replicate that!)  

My runs have been twenty to twenty five minutes long on this plan – I try to manage .5K during one run/walk portion, so in ten minutes I’ll have run a whole K, and in twenty I’ll run 2K. I usually wind up slowing down towards the end of my intervals, and it’s really frustrating, but at least that’s some kind of plan to get close to a sub-50 minute 5K. This week we ramp up to twenty five to thirty minutes.

Tonight is supposed to be a cross-training or walking night, but I think I’m going to do some kind of speed workout. Maybe I’ll gear up after work and go to the canal and just run the stress away. I think I’ll give fartleks another shot – normally I’m not disciplined about fartleks since there’s no structure, and I wind up giving myself more breaks than I need, but I just feel like I need to run.

Do you have a structured plan you use or one you make up yourself? Do you ever stray from your training plan if you feel like it’s just not working for you? 

Running but not Blogging

Things have been a little hectic lately. My father-in-law is in the hospital, so we’re anxiously awaiting news everyday. Waiting and worrying are exhausting. Last night, I got home, Skyped with my friend Claire, played some videogames, ate dinner, and was in bed (no joke) by like 7 PM. and I’m still exhausted this morning. 

I have been sticking with the running portions of the plan I’ve been using – Running on Tuesday/Thursday & then long runs on the weekend. Last weekend it was just too hot to run two miles, so my husband and I walked it. Better than nothing! The cross-training days are sort of not my priority right now – I just don’t have the energy, and there are too many other projects! 

“What kind of other projects?” You might be asking. So the very first 5K I ever ran was last October, the Seaside 5K in Ocean City, MD. It’s a 10 mile & 5K race, and since it’s so close to Halloween, they encourage you to wear costumes. Last year, I wore a Miskatonic University T-Shirt (the fictional university created by H.P. Lovecraft, a pretty famous horror writer, who if you’ve never heard of him, you’re dead to me. Just kidding! But seriously, love him.) This year, I want to wear a costume. I signed up with Lauren, the same friend who ran the race with me last time. She might do the 10 mile but I am sticking with the 5K… and so is my husband! Gary signed up to do the 5K race with me! And now I begin to plan the costumes…. I have a few ideas, it just depends on how into it everyone else is. I’m also trying to convince my Aunt Kara to run with us. My parents are also coming for the weekend (just like last time) so we’ll all hang out at the beach and get fries and doughnuts after the race and relax. Now… do I want to be Princess Leia or a Rockford Peach?

I am also doing The Color Run next Saturday! I have heard that there are so many people, you can’t really run, so I’m not really training for anything. I’m going with my friend Kim and her sister, and we are The Rainbow Sprites! We’re making tutus this Sunday. I’m kind of really excited about it. Maybe I’m more excited about the tutu than the run itself. Must remember to pack a change of clothes, or a tarp for the car. 

Summer Running, Had Me A Blast

I took a little time off running. More than I meant to, really.  You take a few days off for a weekend trip, then you excuse yourself from running because of the heat & humidity, and all of a sudden you realized you’ve been exercising half-assedly for three weeks and you have no idea where all the time went and you’ve got to get back on track! Also, WordPress recognizes “half-assedly” as a word – no red squiggles of misspelling!

It’s always so nice outside when I head to work in the morning. By the time I get home though, the humidity is oppressive, so I always think I should run early in the AM or later at night, but I never get around to making that happen. Last night I decided I’d had enough of waiting for the right time to run again. I found a run/walk program online -I took a picture of the plan with my phone, so I can’t remember where it came from, but it involves running three minutes and walking two, and alternating run days with walking and cross-training.

My first run was supposed to be 20-25 minutes but about ten minutes into it I decided it was safer to keep it on the short side. The plan recommends to run slow enough so you can hold a conversation without huffing & puffing, but I always seem to huff & puff no matter how slow I go! I finished my 20 minutes with just a little more to go to hit 2K, so I walked to reach the milestone (kilometerstone?). The heat made my pace terribly slow – much slower than normal, even after a few days off. Humidity makes it impossible to suck in any cool air which makes the run seem that much harder. If only there were a breeze to save me!  I felt great for getting back on the road though, and sticking it in the face of the hot, hot sun! It was hilarious, me running the sidewalks of my apartment complex and all I hear are the buzz of air conditioners in every building. People probably thought I was out of my mind.

I was worried that taking a few days (ok, weeks) off from consistent running would result in a big loss of fitness, but I managed ok. I’m learning that fitness is all over the place – it’s not a line that keeps going up towards perfection, with faster times and longer distances along the way. I’m not always going to see progress. Some days are going to be awesome. Sometimes I will not have a great run or a perfect race, and sometimes I will have to stop when I want to keep going. All we can do is keep running and find things that we enjoy about it to keep us going.

That’s also why we can’t compare ourselves to each other as runners. We are all at different fitness levels. Some of us have been running for years, and some of us, just a few days. Some people need to fuel more during long runs but some people don’t. Advice will only take us so far and there really isn’t a plan that works for everyone. We just have to find what works for us and stick with it, and just keep running.