Monday, March 26, 2012
I did my second 16 mile run this weekend, and it was brutal. My trainer thinks that I have been over-training this last week, and after Saturday's run, I have to agree. My legs were tired. My whole body was exhausted, but I dragged myself out of bed and decided I had to do it.
I am a creature of habit. I like my pre-run routine, which involves a nice, quiet morning and some relaxing until I finally feel like I just have to get out there and run. But, this weekend my daughter had a friend stay over. It was an experiment, and I was more concerned about them staying up late and keeping me awake. They went to bed early, and I got plenty of sleep. Things were going well. Sometimes my kids wake up before I leave, but they are usually quiet, sleepy, and content with some breakfast and cartoons.
Not this morning.
They were all up well before I was ready to leave. They were excited and hungry. I spent my pre-run time making breakfast, settling toy disputes, and trying frantically to get everything ready for my run in between requests. By the time I was ready to go, it was later than usual, and I was feeling a lot more like I HAD to get out than wanted to. I had to come back in a couple times because I forgot things, and then I was finally off.
I knew it wasn't going to be a good run. I wasn't feeling it. Not a good thing when you're facing a 16 mile run. I decided to keep going and see how I felt around 4 miles, which is when I have really been getting into the zone lately.
I was on my way up the first huge hill when I met a manure spreader. For anyone not living near a bunch of farms, they are huge tanks of manure that are pulled by oversized tractors. They have to drive on the road between their fields and tend to leave some unpleasant stuff on the road. They also take up most of both lanes, and most of them will not get over to let a runner pass. I ended up standing in the tall grass on the side of the road, waiting for them to pass. Once would have been bad enough, but in the first 2 miles of my run, I met 5 of them. I was incredibly frustrated, especially when I had to scrape some of the nastiness off my sneaker. If they had kept coming, I probably would have given up and gone home. Luckily, I passed the last big field on my route and didn't see any more of them.
I got through the next big hill without too much difficulty, but I just could not get in my groove. I doubted every step and was already thinking about how much further I had to go around mile 5 - not good. Still, I kept going. The weather was nice, cool and dry without any fog this time, and I tried to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Still, I just wasn't feeling it.
By the time I met up with my husband for a much needed Gatorade break, I was 12 miles into the run and not feeling great. My legs ached, and I just didn't want to do it any more. I put my legs up, which made them feel a little better, and then I fought the urge to just get in the car and ride home, and I started running again.
Starting up again after resting was pretty bad. My hips and knees were achy, and I just didn't want to do it. Still, I kept going. I wasn't in pain. I wasn't damaging my body. I knew I could finish it. So, I did.
The last couple miles were the worst. I knew I was close to done, and my mind was being terrible. Bad runs are the worst, and nothing will make you doubt yourself more. Unlike my first 16 miles, I felt sad and doubtful that I could ever actually finish a marathon. After all, I was struggling so bad with 16, how could I ever do another 10? My confidence was gone.
Honestly, I still haven't gotten it back. I know I'll do it. I know I'll finish, but I'm still not sure that finishing won't involve crying, throwing up, or crippling pain. For now, I'm going to listen to my trainer and cut down on the extra exercise - easier said than done with all of the Zumba classes I teach, but I'll make it work somehow.
In training for a marathon, I've learned that every run counts. I know that I can comfortably finish 16 miles. I should be able to tackle 18 - we'll see next weekend. My legs are strong and able to take the abuse. My recovery was a lot better this time, and even with the struggling and stopping to avoid poop trucks, I still managed to finish in only 5 minutes over last week's time. Some times I think it is good to doubt yourself - as long as you push through the doubt and keep trying. I know I'll definitely be out there next weekend trying to go just a little further. One bad run is not going to stop me.
That's what kept me going during the run - They can't all be good ones, but they're all worth it.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
On Saturday I increased my mileage to 16, and it actually went pretty well! I had some anxiety about running this distance. Not sure why, but it seemed like an impossible run. I was scared to do it, and then, of course, so glad that I did.
It started out in heavy fog, which was a new experience for me. I was really glad to have my weird, bright orange, reflective vest! I couldnít see oncoming cars until they were about 15 feet away. If they didnít have their headlights on, they seemed to just appear, and that was a little sketchy. *interesting observation Ė I saw about 10 cars without their headlights on, and every single one of them was white or gray, colors most likely to blend in with dense fogÖ
After two weeks away from my usual route, the first 3 miles of hills were brutal. I kept second-guessing myself. Do I really want to do this? Why do my legs hurt so much? Luckily, part of me also remembered that after 3-4 miles I get in my groove and can just go. Just have to get there first.
Once the hills were behind me, I felt great. I ran up out of the fog, and it was like crossing into another world. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. It was wonderful. I saw a few people I know while I was out, and I always love that. It adds an extra spring to my step. Running for so long on my own can sometimes get a little lonely. Iím not used to having so much time with just my thoughts.
I was so excited when I turned onto the new section of my route. I drive over it almost daily, but running is such a different perspective. Itís a gorgeous location, too. Have I mentioned I love living in Vermont?
One of my favorite areas on this route is a pond that sits off the side of the road. In the spring and fall it is absolutely filled with Canadian geese. Itís one of their stopping points during migration. It is also across the road from a small farm. The farm has several geese (who I had to avoid as they crossed the road right in front of me) and the biggest pig I have ever seen. This thing is huge.
That section of the route went really well. I felt great, was enjoying the new scenery, and though I encountered several rather steep hills, I made it up them with ease. I saw some dogs, but they were all friendly. I didnít even mind running back down into the fog. I was feeling great as I reached the end of the road and turned onto the next part of my run. I was 11 miles in and feeling good.
The next part of my route took me on the main road that connects a couple of towns. Itís busy (for up here), and there isnít a lot of room on the side to run. Add in a couple tight corners, and I was feeling a little nervous. It went pretty well. The sun broke through the fog, and I was happy to be visible again. There was another large hill about 2 miles from where I turned onto the road, and it was a bit tough. My legs were starting to ache, and I was getting thirsty.
Iíd asked my wonderful husband to meet me somewhere along the route and bring me Gatorade. I donít really like it, but thatís what theyíll have at the marathon. I was dragging a bit when I finally saw his car. We met at the place where the running trail crosses the road. It had room for him to pull over, and it was where I was going to switch from road to trail. I immediately tossed the sweaty, heavy sweatshirt, guzzled some Gatorade (Loved it at that moment), and lay down to drain my legs.
Leg drains are the best. My legs had begun to feel heavy and achy from lactic acid build up. Putting my legs up for a few minutes made them 100% better, and I was ready to finish my run. I kissed the kids and hubby and started the last leg of my run. I was feeling a lot better, but the switch from pavement to dirt/gravel was tough. It made my calves ache.
The other problem was the mile markers. Once I turned onto the new part of my route, I had no idea where the mile markers were. I just ran, and it was wonderful. Now, I knew how much farther I had to go, and when I realized I still had a mile and a half left, I started to struggle. It was tough. I bargained with myself about when I could walk or slow down, but every time I managed to talk myself out of it and keep going. When I got within a half mile of home, I knew I was going to make it.
My body was in pain when I got home, but I felt so accomplished. This distance had been such a roadblock for me, but I had finished it. It wasnít easy, but I also know that next time, it will be a lot better. My body will be ready for it. I was also amazed at how quickly my body recovers from long runs. I was in pain most of Saturday, but by Sunday morning I felt great. Slightly achy in my quads, but that was all. On Monday I was ready to go. I ran 4 miles, took the kids I work with on a 3 mile walk, and taught Zumba.
I am so ready to do 16 again and then move on.
Things that I love for running:
ē My shoes Ė seriously comfortable for 16 miles
ē My shirt Ė I might have to buy more of these. Lightweight, comfortable, sweat-wicking, and they have thumb holes!
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
So, after about 2 weeks of feeling totally out of control, emotionally eating, and skipping workouts, I am back to my normal self. Who can't handle major stress? This girl apparently. And, that's okay. I'm pretty good at letting the little things go, and while it would be better to continue taking care of myself when the big stuff happens, I'm not perfect. It's what you do after you fail that counts.
I've made a slightly new plan. Really it's just the things I did when I lost weight only adjusted for my incredibly hectic schedule. My workouts are pretty much consistent because I take and teach a lot of classes and workout with my trainer. I do a few running workouts on my own, but I've scheduled them, too. So, all that stays the same, but the problem is that most of them take place in the evening. If I workout earlier in the day, I usually feel better and more focused on eating well. So, I've added a short 15 minute workout in the mornings, alternating between yoga and ST stuff like pushups and ab work.
Yesterday was day 1, and it went well. I did yoga, and I felt calmer and more at peace for most of the day. Today has been a little more difficult. Yesterday, as I sat down to write this blog for the first time, I got a call to come pick up my daughter at school. She had a 104 degree fever and a full body rash. So, needless to say, she's home today, and I haven't got my ST in, yet. It's next on the list after I finish this blog. It's necessary. Not only for a little more exercise, but for my peace of mind.
I had a great Zumba class yesterday. I had a couple new people, and they loved the class! It was one of those nights where I felt fresh and ready to go and didn't trip over my feet too many times. There was a lot of positive energy and laughter from the group, and I had planned a killer workout so lots of sweat as well.
There are days when I am struggling to find time to study for my certification that I question whether or not I can actually do it, but classes like last night's reminded me how much I love teaching fitness. I'll figure out the time (have lots of study time today!), pass the test, and make training work for an occupation. Even just teaching Zumba makes me so happy and more fulfilled. I love it.
Change is good!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
I did my second 14 mile run today. I was a little apprehensive because my foot was a little achy. I've been icing and stretching, but I was still worried. The other run was, off and on, quite painful, and I didn't want to do it again. Of course after thinking of the many "reasons" I should skip the run, I was ready to go. I like that. Even when I try to get out of it, my body wants to go.
The run went really well. It's weird, but I've had a much easier time increasing to 14 miles than I did with any other distance. Part of it is the new route. I went in a different direction, and the hills are a lot less severe. My pace has been great with small, rolling hills instead of 3 miles of huge, steep hills! It's a beautiful run, too. It flooded a few days ago and then froze, and it has made the fields gorgeous pieces of art.
My foot was fine. A twinge here and there, but the extra stretching and icing really worked. My pace was about the same as last time, which made me happy. I felt good for the first 12 miles. I began noticing some aches, and with one mile left began to struggle a little. I was approaching the steepest hill in the run, nothing huge, but after going so far, I wasn't thrilled about it. There was another runner coming down the hill. As she got closer, I realized it was a local woman who I greatly admire. She runs everywhere. I remember seeing her back when I was fat and thinking she was crazy and feeling incredibly jealous. She's also one of the nicest, most positive people you will ever meet.
We stopped and chatted for a few minutes, and I got a nice rest. She's super nice and supportive, and I felt great when we parted and headed in opposite directions. The hill was a breeze, and I finished the last mile easily.
There was one other thing that happened during my run that I have to mention. I always make sure to look at the people who drive past me. I know when they see me and when they don't. I also am a people watcher. I love seeing the very different people that inhabit this planet. It's amazing what kinds of things you see people doing while they're driving. Normally, people don't pay much attention to me, or they smile. Some wave. Today someone applauded me.
I loved it. I had a huge smile on my face for the next mile and an extra spring in my step. The sun was shining. It was cold, and someone was applauding my efforts. I felt like a superstar.
So, yeah, this was a great run. I feel ready for 16 next weekend. I got my thoughts sorted out about my grandma and feel pretty at peace right now. I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing rest day* tomorrow.
*Not a rest day for my awesome husband, though! He is going for a run! He went last weekend, too. This is as close to training as he gets, and I am super proud of him!!
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Yesterday morning while I was getting the kids ready for school, I started crying. As I blogged before, my grandmother had a stroke on Friday, so crying has been pretty normal for the last week - but yesterday was different. It didn't have anything to do with my family or anyone else. I was angry and hurt, and the only one to blame was myself.
I spent 6 days allowing myself to wallow in misery, to eat ridiculous amounts of not-good-for-me-at-all foods, to not track, and no exercise except my 14 mile run on Sunday, which was the highlight of my vacation. By yesterday morning, I felt terrible physically, guilty, angry, and terrified because it was so easy. Way too easy. It was exactly how I used to feel before I started this whole journey - out of control, numb, frantic, and full with a persistent overlying feeling of sadness. I went back to my negative thinking, back to staying at home and making excuses to skip my workouts, and back to angry, boring, easily irritated mom - which is the part I hate the most. I put on a smile for my kids, but it was fake. I knew it, and i think they did, too.
Yesterday, it all piled up, and I stopped making breakfast and cried. I think I made my awesome husband upset because he kept telling me that he didn't regret going out (4 times in 2 days) and getting to spend time together like we used to - that didn't help at all. He kept asking what was wrong, and I couldn't explain it. I was just so disappointed in myself and so scared that I would go back. It seemed so much easier than trying to push through.
Luckily, having kids and responsibilities keeps me from going into full-on hermit mode, and I had to leave the house. When I brought my son to school his teacher was talking to me about my 14 mile run and how amazing it was, and I started to feel a little more like awesome Em again. I did 14 miles on Sunday, faster than I had thought I would, and without stopping to walk, but I barely even took the time to congratulate myself because of everything else going on. It is a big deal, and I needed to be reminded of that.
Then I had to go lift with my trainer. I was feeling really bad for skipping two workouts with her and for making excuses because I knew my "reasons" were just excuses - and I know she did, too. When I am in this funk, I make everything worse than it really is, and I don't know exactly what I was expecting from her, but it wasn't what I got. She didn't give me a hard time. She was a lot kinder to me than I had been. And, among other things, she said something interesting - that there must have been a reason for me to go through this and that it didn't matter what I'd done, it mattered what I did now.
It made me feel a lot better. Lifting did, too. There is nothing like struggling with heavy weights to make everything else in life seem easier. I got through my Zumba class, too. I admit I was a little low energy, but I explained my situation to my class, and they were understanding and supportive.
I'm a normally optimistic, positive person, but when I get down I still remain honest about my feelings. This time I have gotten some interesting reactions, and I find it fascinating to compare them to when I was fat. In times of stress or sadness people were kinder than now. I can't post anything about being down now without people asking why I'm being a "Debbie Downer". I can't post anything about struggling without comments on how I should be fine and happy because I've lost 94 pounds.
I get it. I know how frustrating optimistic, healthy, active people can be when you're not feeling good about yourself, but they're still people. I'm not perfect, nor do I ever expect to be. I will struggle and fail just like everyone else, and I'm always going to be honest about where I'm at. I spent too long pretending everything was okay.
But, I digress. Those people probably meant well, and I can't let others affect me. Yesterday was a better day. Two workouts, eating better, and being social again left me feeling more like myself, and I got my first full night's sleep in a week. I'm feeling a lot more like myself today and less scared of slipping back into the abyss. It was good for me to do it. I saw how easy it could be to go back, and I think I needed that reminder. I'm re-focused and ready to keep going.
Finally, thank you, Sparkfriends, for your constant support. This is the one place I feel comfortable admitting my failings without fear of judgement, and it keeps me motivated to see other people achieving even when I'm not. Have a great day!
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