Mistake to learn from – Salisbury Zoo Stampede

The Salisbury Zoo Stampede was on Saturday. I got to spend all weekend hanging out with my aunt & uncle – my parents even came for the weekend so it was like a cool mini-vacation. My race was a bit rough, however. There was good and bad… I’m trying not to be so disappointed by the bummers. I mean, I did PR! Yes, I PRed and I’m still not super happy about the race.

Race Logistics: Aunt Kara picked up our packets the day before the race, so we didn’t have to stay in line. Women got this electric pink tech shirt, which I liked, until I saw that the men got a nice subtle gray t-shirt with the same logo… ok, why the big difference? I should have asked if there was a spare gray t-shirt. Tech shirts are always slightly too tight…. and seriously, electric pink?  I didn’t even know such a color existed.

Course: Ok, the course was super cool. We ran through a zoo. We startled some llamas. There wasn’t like, an actual start line, we all just started running into each other. Aunt Kara got accosted by a stroller. We ran for our lives until the crowd thinned. The course winds through a park, then goes out of the zoo and around it, looping back around to the start. There were lots of race personnel all over the park, alerting us to danger zones, holes and whatnot, and pointing us in the right direction. They all cheered as we neared the finish line. There was a group called Athletes Serving Athletes there, which is an amazing way to help people with disabilities participate in the race. It was sort of emotional to watch them run the race- we stayed at the finish line afterwards to cheer them on as they crossed. Each athlete had a wingman who ran with them – some of the wingmen were pushing athletes in special strollers to the end when the athletes got out of the strollers and crossed the finish line on their own. It was the first time I’ve actually participated in races with athletes in a group like this, although I’ve read about it. It just like made my heart full of love and happiness to see how supportive the running community is of all athletes. It like, brings tears to my eyes. If I ever get fit enough, I would totally be a wingman.

The running itself: We ran for three straight minutes until we were out of the throng, and then started our walk/run intervals. So the past few longish runs, I’ve noticed that my legs get really stiff. Like, super tight. Rock solid. So bad that it’s hard to walk during the intervals. My speed suffers drastically. I thought it was just a couple of rough runs, but now I’m thinking there’s a lot more to it. Then my feet started falling asleep. UGH not this again! I had to stop several times to take off my shoes and stretch my legs, which only helped until the next run interval. I did my best not to take breaks when it was time to run, I never let the frustration get the better of me. I calculated that we needed to run 16-minute miles or better to get close to the PR. Somehow, even with all the stopping, we did it! According to my GPS watch, we were in our 47th minute as we neared the finish line. I put on a burst of speed and could see the clock at the finish line said 49 minutes… I have a personal frustration with races that aren’t chip-timed. I never cross the start line right away, so how can I be sure my time is accurate? I can’t! I had a GPS watch, and Aunt Kara had two apps on her phone going at the same time, and all of them said different times… so, officially, I beat my old 5K record by TWO SECONDS. Actually? Probably a minute, but how can you tell?

Went home a bit dejected and sore. I did some research to try to figure out what’s going on with my legs. I believe that the foot problem is related to the calf problem, because my feet only fall asleep when my calves are really tight. Calves could be tight from training too hard and not enough recovery, not stretching enough, shoes without enough support. I am combating two of these things right away: stretching and overtraining. I really want to finish my running plan and run for thirty minute straight, but I don’t think my legs can handle it. I think I mentioned before that at the higher program levels, each of the three weekly runs is over twenty minutes, and maybe that’s just too much for me. Gotta tweak things a little bit.

Reluctantly dialing it back a little.

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106.9 miles

106.9 miles – that’s how many miles I’ve run in 2015. Awesome!

Since the 5K is coming up this week, I am taking good advice and keeping it light on running – since I’m at a pretty challenging section of my running program, I’m taking a mini-detour. I’m supposed to be doing long (well, long for me) runs, like twenty five – thirty minutes a go. Our 5K strategy is 1 minute run/walk intervals, so that’s what I did today, for about 38 minutes. in the rain. I kind of love running in the rain, as long as it’s not enough to soak my phone or my glasses.

I’m just really not doing well keeping on top of the strength workout I’d wanted to add. Maybe I’ll walk a bit tomorrow and do my lifting since I won’t be doing any running. Friday will be spent working and then driving to Maryland for the 5K.

And let’s talk about good food – my husband cooked the first really good homemade meal we’ve had in a while – steak, a sweet potato, broccoli, and cauliflower. He also cooked bacon and rolls. He admits he went a bit overboard. I ate until I was full and stopped. The rest is leftovers for tomorrow!

I do have a realization that I made great strides to the 25 minute run, and now I’m sliding backwards… having trouble keeping up with my old pace, not able to run for as long as I could last week. I think this running program is asking for really long runs during each workout and I’m just not fit enough to be able to do it every time. I was really enjoying it up until the twenty minute run, so maybe everything before that was the “easy” stuff and I’ve finally gotten to something I need to work on. I mean, if I keep repeating the same level of the program, at some point it will get easier, right? Well, I’ll get back on that next week after I’ve had some time to recover from the race. Yay! It’s almost here!

Time for some real talk.

I am not happy right now.

I am tired. I am not doing a very good job being an adult. I feel like people at work are laughing at me behind my back. I feel so isolated.

Not even running or working out is making me happy right now because I’m feeling like such a failure at it. I truly wish I could crawl under my desk and hide.

It’s me, it’s the voice in my own head telling me that no one likes me, I’m not good enough. Does anyone else have this awful stupid cruel voice in their head? How do you beat it?

I Promise

Tonight,

I will run.
I will lift weights.
I will sew buttons on a scarf.
I will wash dishes.
I will read at least 15% of my book club book.
I will catch up on blog-posting and blog-reading.
I will not lollygag.

I promise.

and then yup, I fell asleep.

It has been a crazy weekend! Every day, I’ve said, ” I HAVE to do my next workout run today,” but it’s just not working out like that. I’ve been too tired from my previous workouts this week and running around every day. I’m totally staying active, but not keeping up with the plan.

Friday night, I got home from work and started to do some yard work. We are hacking up and chopping down lots of crazy stuff growing in the yard and just trying to clean everything out. There are, like, seven weird little gardens around the yard, all full of silly tchotchkes that the lady who lived here before just left when she moved out. My husband actually found a full glass jug of wine. Secret stash or offering to the flower gods? Yard work is like housework – I start in one area but can barely finish it before I see something else that needs doing. I swear, I went outside to find a nice place to plant some new bulbs, but then I was like, well, this pachysandra is growing like crazy and I need to cut it back, and before I knew it, I was chopping branches off an overgrown evergreen. Got a lot done, though, but was kind of too worn out to work out.

My sister came to visit on Saturday afternoon. I had tons of errands to run in the morning, and I was going to run before she got here, but she wanted to go for a run/walk, so I held off to see how I would feel afterwards. We did a solid 2.25 miles walking and jogging. Afterwards? Yup, too tired to do anything else.

Today, my husband and I went in search of some garage sales. I never used to think that people had garage sales on Sundays, but it’s becoming a thing. We didn’t find anything, so went off to run other errands. The weekends are so nice now that as soon as we wake up, we want to go out, so I pushed off running until later, except by the time later got here, I was too tired from being out all day. We went to a huge flea market in search of some cheap Harry Potter movies to round out the collection and walked a mile there. Got home and I promptly fell asleep. Woke up around 8 PM, and yup, too tired to run. I need to drink more water and start fresh tomorrow.

I mean, all in all a totally active weekend – 3.25 miles is nothing to sneer at, but I am anxious to keep up with the running program. I am seriously on the last level and I want to finish it. This happened when I was doing the Couch to 5K, I got nearly to the end and then sort of fizzled out without finishing. Definitely need a bit of a kick to the rear end.

The Story so Far (April 14-16)

The past two days have been spent taking care of my cat, who got spayed on Tuesday. I know it’s a totally routine surgery but I was so worried about my little furball! She was NOT happy about having to wear an e-collar – she managed to pull off the big plastic cone at least three times and got her legs stuck in them twice. SO. I took a personal day yesterday to make sure she wasn’t going to pull any crap during the day. She’s starting to feel better but she needs tons of head scratches, and the cone makes it tough to eat, so I fed her food and water by hand. She’s so spoiled.

I did half a mile on the treadmill waiting for my laundry to finish yesterday morning and another 2 miles last night. I also biked 3 miles on the stationary bike while reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets aloud to my husband, who was on the treadmill.

I’m getting to the solid 30 minute run in my training program, which is going to be super tough. It’s hard to stay distracted enough for the long runs when I’m on the treadmill. I wind up counting the seconds on the clock, which I realized it’s sort of a calming way to get through it. Sort of hypnotizing. I know it’s torture for most people but, for me, there was an accomplishment in every ticking second.

Not doing excellent on the soda front today. My husband knew I needed to be cheered up, so he brought me a basket of goodies, which included adorable tiny cans of soda. They are 100 calories each, so I’m factoring in those extra calories into workouts. For each can I drink, I do an extra mile on the treadmill or an extra ten minutes on the stationary bike. I am, however, still doing pretty well with water. I’m choosing not to see this as a failure, but instead as an adjustment. I am adding in extra calories here so I will either take them away elsewhere or work them off.

I am totally failing with the strength training. I haven’t done any of the videos. I did start reading Starting Strength to learn a bit, but the first workout is the squat. I’d be totally down with squatting, and I have a barbell, but I don’t have a rack. Maybe I will get one eventually, but is it completely WRONG to squat with a very light barbell if I pick it up off the floor and put it in the right position instead of getting it off a rack?

Off to a Great Start

Spring has sprung! It’s sunny and warm in New Jersey!

Friday night, my husband and I pulled our bikes out of hibernation, and yesterday we biked and geocached along a wonderful trail. Biking was a lot harder than I remember! Definitely not the same as the stationary bike. I think we found three or four geocaches. One was up a really steep slope, so I made my way up while Gary watched the bikes… then I made my way back down on my butt. Couple of bloody patches and a fantastic bruise on my leg, but I pulled myself back up and found the geocache.

Today I went out for a run. I’ve been treadmill-ing it all winter and in order to get ready for the 5Ks I need to get back accustomed to running outside. It was freaking hot! I ditched my running hoodie in the car and ran in shorts and a t shirt. So nice that the weather finally broke! It was super packed at the park but I managed a really great run. I ran for 25 minutes straight- Not sure how fast, I haven’t had a chance to map it out and see how far I ran and figure out the pace. It was pretty awesome, though. I had to stop half-way to tie my shoe, so I tagged thirty seconds onto the end of the run to make up for it. I felt like I could have kept running longer. Had a good time!

I got home and my husband was working outside around the house. It’s our first summer here, and there’s a cute little patch of earth out front where there used to be a jungle of a garden. We pulled out a tangle of weeds in the fall, and today I got a chance to pull out more weeds and try to figure out what’s growing in there. I threw down some more soil, so there’s one unofficial project complete!