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The Weekly Mile: Week 18 (One Mile Farther)

Monday, August 13, 2012

I finally did it. I broke past the Half Marathon mind barrier and ran 14 miles on Saturday. YUSS!!!

And this week I'll do it again and run 16 miles!

I have now reached the point in my training where every week is going to be a new mileage challenge, new barriers to break. I will run SEVEN Half Marathon distances (and then some) in the next 7 weeks, followed by one week of "only" 12 miles and then the Marathon. Holy Crap.

But here's why I know I can:

This week I did my first Brick. It was a backwards brick, but I say it still counts. I ran 3 miles, followed up immediately by 30 minutes of laps in the pool. On that 3 mile run, I finally broke my 10 min/mile goal and ran all 3 miles in 30 minutes. I went out after and celebrated with a friend, with fries and beer. Because I could.

The following day I ran 8 miles. It was hard on my knees and I was feeling it by the end of the run. Running those quick 3 milers aren't always so great because I end up pounding and my knees end up paying the price. But I finished those 8 miles anyway and vowed to rest up on Friday before my Saturday long run.

I had to work my show on Friday night which means I was out until 1:30am. Not the most optimal conditions for running that long and that far the next day, but I do what I can. I still came home and fueled properly before bed, and then because it was supposed to be cooler on Saturday, opted to let myself sleep until I woke up and run into the afternoon as opposed to making myself get out of bed first thing in the morning.

Still playing with eating gluten-free before long runs, so I fueled in the morning with cornflakes and chocolate almond milk, cheese, and grapes with 1/2 bottle of Powerade and a Salt Stick tablet.

Headed out to run the same route I completed last week with a 3 mile run to the Lakefront Trail and then tacking on an extra mile and back at the end. Worked great although I'm looking forward to switching up my starting point this coming weekend.

The plan was to re-fuel at mile 5 and 10 on this run - hopefully giving myself more needed boosts than less to get over this mental and physical bump. By the time I reached 5 miles, my knees were already starting to feel it and I was thankful for the Hammer Gel. Not my favorite gel for sure - it tastes like pure corn syrup (which I think it probably is) and without the added caffeine, it only got me so far. It still worked - man it's crazy how well these things do what they're supposed to - but just not my favorite by far. But it got me to the end of the trail, around the loop, and back down to the 8 mile point where I really had to start talking myself into getting through those next 2 miles. My knees were aching pretty badly, but a quick stop to stretch them out helped immensely and I was able to make the next couple of slow miles. At the 10 mile marker I fueled with a caffeinated GU. Winner winner chicken dinner. It was a berry flavour - which I find I far prefer to the citrus variety (good to know) and after going through a week of caffeine detox in my daily life (more on that later) it pretty much hit like rocket fuel. I also went down a short flight of stairs to get to a drinking fountain to wash it down, and just that change in leg movement did wonders for my knees (good to know). At this point, talking myself into another 4 miles wasn't as tough. Once I got through the first mile, it was just a 5K to the finish. The next mile put me at my home street, so from there is was just a "quick" down and back to North Avenue beach which was crawling with hot men, beach volleyball players, and enough general mayhem to keep my mind off any discomfort I was feeling. Success! I passed the 13.1 mile marker in 2:41 and clocked a perfect 12 min mile to the end. Couldn't have been happier.

I am definitely feeling the distance in my body more today and yesterday than I was after 12 miles, but I think that's to be expected. I am by no means "crippled" with post-run stiffness - just a little sore in the knees, hamstrings, and calves, which I will continue to monitor, stretch and roll out over the next few days. And running over the noon hour? I have a KILLER sun tan. Too bad about those tan lines though. I have a perma-racer-back going on :)

So to sum up lessons from this week:
1. Go easy on the shorter runs. Speed work is essential for people trying to break a record, but I'm just trying to get to the start line without an injury!
2. GU wins. As much as I didn't like it the first couple of times I tried it, compared to the others in the middle of a run, it's just better. And berries beat oranges in my book. Huzzah.
3. Caffeine detox during the week means that caffeine loaded gels have more potency during long runs.
4. Stopping to stretch out the arms and back every couple of miles helps maintain form, but making sure that knee stretching is included in those stretch breaks ensures less knee discomfort while running as well.
5. Stair breaks could help with knee pain - switch in the muscle groups used mid-run helps reset the motion of the joint & ligaments. Makes sense!
6. Next week I'm either getting an anti-chafing stick or using deodorant under the underwear & sports bra lines. There is no reason to continue maiming myself on these long runs! I have the scars to prove it.

What I sometimes have a problem remembering is that I AM AN ATHLETE. I will often think that I am undeserving of something, or I don't really need something (fuel, proper clothing, anti-chafing tools) because I'm "not really THAT serious, right?" Not true. You're training for and running A MARATHON. This stuff is MADE to help you get where you're going. You've EARNED the right to try it out and make it work for you just by signing up to do this insane thing. People can't run marathons without fueling. Well - they can, but I'm certainly not at that level yet. If you don't wear the right clothing, you will end up with scars. Anything that rubs continuously on your skin for 5 hours is going to a) blister, b) burn, c) hurt like hell. So don't be afraid of using the tools that have been developed to make your life a little easier while you do this. Having a gear addiction at this point is ok. No one is going to question it. A lot of people do the work because they want the gear. I feel like I have to earn the gear. So I think this finally qualifies as earning it. (And then it totally amazes me when it works...haha...DUH?!)

The only thing that I am still not pleased about is the inability to lose weight while doing all this hard work. The proof is in the pudding - I have GAINED 3 pounds, and it's sticking around. And that's while I'm burning over 4000 calories a week. Gah. I can't help it. I'm hungry ALL the time. But this is just proof that pure exercise (and A LOT) of it, does not make you skinny. It makes you muscular as all get out - I have some serious legs y'all - but cutting back food intake is the only thing that will help you shed pounds. And right now, that is something I cannot do. Boo.

Oh well. Imma keep runnin'...

Week 18 Schedule (Completed):

Mon - Rest
Tue - Rest
Wed - 3 miles + Swim
Thu - 8 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - 14 miles
Sun - Rest

Total Weekly Miles: 25
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 4114
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: 188.5

Week 19 Schedule:

Mon - 6 mile tempo
Tue - Rest
Wed - 3 miles + Swim
Thu - Rest
Fri - 5 miles
Sat - Rest
Sun - 16 miles

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KDYLOSE 8/20/2012 11:50AM

    Wow, you sound great. I haven't checked up on you in a while. And don't forget, if you have more muscle and weigh the same, then you've LOST FAT.

Just wanted to say, I've tried all kinds of things to combat sweat in the bra and I've found what works best for me is positioning a big men's terrycloth athletic sock in there to soak it up. Best part, you can switch out the sock.

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TEENY_BIKINI 8/15/2012 3:38PM

    Awesome! You are rocking it!

You are definitely an athlete.

emoticon

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JENJESS48 8/15/2012 10:38AM

    Way to go, Jenn! For what it's worth, I swear by Monistat anti-chafing gel. I don't know if it can stand up to the sweat and abrasion of long runs, but I adore it for day-to-day use. May be worth considering...

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ALOFA0509 8/14/2012 10:51PM

    Your awsum sista!! There's this stuff call "Bag Balm" Old skool stuff works great for chaffing etc.. You can get it for $4.00 @ Costco!!! I'm sure you can find it at most places,, it comes in a square green tin can.. again Old Skool but works like a charm.. Keep Rockin it girl.. emoticon

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CHICAT63 8/14/2012 11:42AM

    You are an ATHELTE and you are training for a HALF !!!! 13.1 here she comes. Totally agree with you on the gels in berry flavor I cannot ingest anything orange, lime or lemon same thing for Gateroade or Powerade. I strongly recommend Body Glide for her or the regular one, I just used it for my triathlon it was over 43 degrees in Ottawa and it held up nicely, no chaffing with the bike shorts or sports bra whatsover.

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JECKIE 8/14/2012 9:15AM

    This is a great blog! Good for you!

I have a hard time losing when I'm training, too. ALWAYS hungry! Just be conscious about it and know the exercise is great for you!

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-POOKIE- 8/14/2012 8:50AM

    Awesome stuff! I hope you are damn well proud of yourself!

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RUNNER12COM 8/14/2012 12:12AM

    You are doing great. Very impressive!

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LAURIETAIT 8/14/2012 12:12AM

    Your commitment to training leaves me in awe. I can't wait to read your race blog. I KNOW you're going to kick butt. Buy the gear, gadgets etc! You definitely deserve them!

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/13/2012 11:14PM

    You are amazing, and yes, you ARE an Athlete!!! I am so proud of you!

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MANLEYSANDY 8/13/2012 6:21PM

    I look forward to reading this blog every week...you are truly inspiring!



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MICHSTATE 8/13/2012 5:06PM

    I would highly recommend Body Glide.... I don't go on long runs without it!!!!!:-)

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The Weekly Mile: Week 17 (Solid)

Monday, August 06, 2012

It's Monday. Yesterday I ran 12 miles. I should hurt a little bit today right?

But truth of the matter is I FEEL GREAT, so that has to mean that I'm doing something right...right? I would assume that it's a combination of a bunch of things, so as a "straight-up" training blog - here's the skinny on my week, a breakdown of my runs, and maybe some clues to why things are so solid right now.

I started out this past week with a HOT 7-miler. I ran at 9pm at night to wait out the 100 degree weather of the day, but even after sunset it just refused to cool down. I slowed my pace (or rather THOUGHT that I slowed by pace) but ended up clocking an 11.5 min/mile anyway. Doesn't matter what I do recently, that seems to be my body's comfortable place, so as long as I don't feel like I'm exerting too much, I just hang in that zone. I was still nursing some soreness in my shins after breaking in those new shoes on a 10-miler, but I stayed true to form as best I could and forward on my feet which seemed to help my pace as well. No fuel on this run, but a short stop for water at mile 5 as I opted not to take my bottle with me. I find running on a full day's worth of eating is always optimal for me, but I was still ready for this run to be done when it was. Air conditioning felt great!

After a rest day on Tuesday, I used Wednesday night to swim. I continue to cross-train fairly hard in the pool. It works different muscle groups, keeps me limber, and REALLY helps with my breathing on my runs. Breathing in the pool is very paced and methodical (it has to be so you don't swallow water), and it's a good practice in slow, methodical breathing on the trails as well. Overall, I just noticed that my breathing was very regular in all my runs this week. Not laboured, but also such that I didn't have to concentrate much on it at all like I sometimes do.

Another rest day on Thursday (which was a deviation from the schedule), but my foot was bothering me Thursday night. I remembered about half way through the day that I had dropped something on it Wednesday, though I don't remember what. But the top of it is bruised and was just sore enough that I opted to run Friday morning instead of Thursday night. Ended up being a good choice.

Regular Friday morning run - 5 miles on the neighbourhood streets. Didn't enjoy this week as much as last, but it somehow seemed to go by a bit faster this week. Still maintaining that 11.5 min/mile pace, but I now have my 8K (5 mile) distance down to 56 minutes, which I'm very happy with. It a nice round number of miles that comes in solidly under an hour now and that helps me estimate my final marathon time a little better. I'm also getting better at fueling for these morning runs. The sports drink trick before bed I feel honestly helps me wake up easier in the morning, and a small breakfast keeps me fueled well enough on these short runs that I don't need anything else. Also something to note - my small breakfast of Friday consisted of GLUTEN FREE banana bread, and it's the first time I've done a full morning run without a HINT of "runner's trots". Could be something in that information, but it will take more experimenting to know for sure, however, it worked like a gem on my long run Sunday as well.

Rest day Saturday and EARLY to bed. I was in bed by 10:30pm, asleep by 11. Which was good because my alarm went off at 7:30am. Time for the 12-miler before the heat. Thankfully storms on Saturday night had cooled things off remarkably, but that still didn't stop me from getting quite a bit of sun yesterday.

Fueled with 1/2 a bottle of Powerade Saturday night, then the other 1/2 Sunday morning. Pineapple, string cheese (for protein) and a big piece of that gluten free banana bread with chocolate chips in it. YUM! I opted to take an Accel Gel with me - consistency is a bit thinner than GU, but this one was without caffeine. Headed out and ran over to the Lakefront Trail (it's 3 miles to the trail from my house). I had planned to run north 3 miles, then turn around and take the same path back, but the trail was so awesome yesterday morning - so many runners out, beautiful lake breeze - that I decided to stay on it to the furthermost point north and then to run back past my turnoff point by a mile and take the bus home as a treat. Worked great! I split my run in 6 mile halves, so started to look for a fountain to take my Accel Gel at mile 6. I think I was at about 6.4 miles before I found one, but I still felt pretty good and wasn't fading that badly, so it was no big deal. I was prepared for the consistency of GU, so I actually had a harder time with the Accel because it was more liquidy. I gulped it down with water, stretched and went back on my way. NOT as big of a boost as the caffeine infused GU from last week for sure. I did feel energized enough to complete the second leg of the run, but instead of just feeling good, I wanted to feel great. We'll try another one next week and see what happens.

At mile 10 I actually felt amazing and debated my ability to run a full Half instead of just 12 miles, but how quickly things changed and by the time I was past mile 11 I was definitely ready to see the finish. Bested my time though and know that had I done the Half distance would have shaved a couple minutes off my time!

Finished and found a drinking fountain asap and then walked SLOWLY for almost a mile to the nearest bus stop to take me home. Despite feeling like I was totally stanky offensive on the bus, the air felt good and sitting down felt better, so thankfully the bus wasn't too crowded. I stiffly limped a little bit home from the bus to my house, refueled immediately with water, more pineapple and a cup of chocolate almond milk, and after a warm shower, was feeling pretty great. Went out and had a great brunch with the man - omelettes and toast and coffee - and wasn't as stiff after sitting as I thought I'd be, or usually am.

I think because I finished my run early in the day, and then had the rest of the day to be up and fairly active, walking around, staying limber, that my muscles recovered so much better than when I run in the morning and sit at my desk, or run at night and then go to bed. Good information to have, and I sure felt pretty accomplished all day yesterday. Mr. Marathon might just make me into a morning person yet!

Week 17 Schedule (Completed):

Mon - 7 miles
Tue - Rest
Wed - Swim
Thu - Stretching
Fri - 5 miles
Sat - Rest
Sun - 12 miles

Total Weekly Miles: 24
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 4173
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: hanging on to 185-186

Week 18 Schedule:

Mon - Rest
Tue - 3 miles
Wed - Swim
Thu - 8 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - 14 miles
Sun - Rest

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-POOKIE- 8/7/2012 8:56AM

    eee sounding good!

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JENJESS48 8/7/2012 8:41AM

    So glad the training is going so smoothly!

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LAURIETAIT 8/7/2012 12:34AM

    So impressed with your progress. The running in the morning thing makes so much sense. However, I don't believe anything could ever turn me into a morning person. Getting up early on race day of is a struggle for me! lol

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/7/2012 12:34AM

    You are awesome! I love that you aren't sore, and that your body likes the pace it's at, even when it's hot out. So proud of you!

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The Weekly Mile: Week 16 (New Shoes, New GU, New Man)

Monday, July 30, 2012

I suppose it was time for a change - in a lot of different ways!

Rule #1 with running, and one that I stick by religiously: When something starts bothering you that wasn't bothering you before, get new shoes. For a couple of runs now, I had been having trouble with my right hip. Compensating for that was starting to bother my knees again, and long runs were getting really tough. Though my shoes showed very little wear on the bottoms, my signature wear on the outer heels was present, and I estimated that they've seen roughly 400 miles over 7 months. Time to cash them in. So a visit to my local running store (Fleet Feet) netted me a new pair of shoes, socks and some new fuel to start experimenting with.

I love Fleet Feet because they spend a lot of one on one time with you while they're fitting you, finding out about your running style, trouble areas, lifestyle and lots of other things that might have an effect on your training routine. The girl who fitted me was wonderful, had just come back from a 3 mile fun run in 102 degree heat, and had lots of great wisdom to impart about continuing my training, injury-free.

She made a couple of suggestions about my form and how best to change it up from a heel strike (what's been causing that wear and my various pains), to more of a mid-foot strike (something I always aim for, but have been having trouble achieving on the longer runs when I get tired). She recommended slowing to a walk every couple of miles and stretching my arms up over my head to straighten out my upper body which will help control my lower body, and then marching in place for a few steps to remind me of where my feet should be striking while running. It really helped! I tried out these tips in my 10-miler on Friday morning, and had a GREAT run. Though now my pain has transferred more to my shins and calves from being more forward and on my toes, my hip and knees were much relieved. The shin pain isn't all that concerning to me. It probably wasn't the smartest thing to do to break in brand new shoes on a 10-mile run, even if they are exactly the same brand and make of my previous ones.

We agreed not to fix what wasn't broken and to stick with the same shoes, but I was happy to see that they've changed the colours and aesthetic design enough that it still felt like I was walking out with something new. These are the shoes that will run the marathon. Wow. Realizing that as I was walking down the street with my purchase sent butterflies through my entire body. We're in the home stretch. Yikes!

Next up was a really nice guy who helped me choose some gels. I have not started adding fuel to my long runs yet, but knew that I needed to find something that worked, so he helped point me in the right direction. I grabbed a bottle of Salt Sticks - because I am a very salty sweater, and knew that I needed to pay more attention to replacing my electrolytes on my long runs. I also picked up some caffeinated GU in a few different flavours. He made a good recommendation which was to find a flavour that you enjoy enough (because let's be honest - you have to choke these things down no matter WHAT flavour you choose), and then get that same flavour across a variety of brands to see which one goes down easier. I chose to experiment with the orange flavour across the board so got some orange or citrus flavoured GU, Clif Shot, Hammer Gel and Honey Stinger (an all natural, honey based fuel) to try. Then I picked up a bunch of other gel flavours to see if one tastes better than another. He also made the recommendation to drink your sports drink BEFORE BED for a morning run. That way the electrolytes have time to sit in your body and work their magic before you wake up. Take a salt stick 30 minutes before you head out, and use the fuel gels with water mid-run.

So here's what happened. I drank 1/2 a bottle of Powerade before bed on Thursday night. Had the other half with a salt stick and my regular small breakfast (apricots, string cheese, a few crackers) before heading out for my 10-miler on Friday morning. Felt great in the first half on the run, but started to feel my energy slip around mile 5. Used the caffeinated orange GU at mile 5.5 and, call me crazy, felt an almost instantaneous energy boost. Maybe it was psychosomatic, but having never used these things before, I was pretty amazed at how great I all-of-a-sudden felt. Also having had no caffeine before leaving home may have helped as well, since the gel provided a surge of caffeine which opens blood flow to the capillaries. Yahoo! Stopped to stretch my arms and march in place at mile 2.5, 5, 7, 8 and 9. Worked like a charm. It was a great run!

Of course, it probably helped that I knew that once I was done with my run, I was going out to brunch with a special someone. And I was rewarded handsomely for my efforts. A breakfast of a turkey sausage and spinach scramble, rye toast, coffee, and some pretty sweet company. Grin. I'm very optimistic about where this is heading. This is a very different situation than any I have been in before as far as dating goes. I have known this man for long time - we worked together 5 years ago, and have been friends ever since. And so he has known me at my personal worst (in my opinion) and my personal best (where I am now). Though we weren't in great contact over the past couple of years, he has witnessed the transition from me then to me now. And I think he likes it. And I like him. So this could be very, very good.

Running is easier when you're happy. And I have a lot to think about these days emoticon

Week 16 Schedule (Completed):

Mon - Rest
Tue - 4 miles
Wed - pool was closed :(
Thu - Yoga
Fri - 10 miles
Sat - Rest - in Toronto for wedding
Sun - Rest - in Toronto for wedding

Total Weekly Miles: 14
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 2095
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: didn't weigh-in, because it's always the same.

Week 17 Schedule:

Mon - 7 miles
Tue - Rest
Wed - Swim
Thu - 5 miles
Fri - Yoga
Sat - Rest
Sun - 12 miles

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNSWIMS 8/6/2012 12:22AM

    I've missed so much being gone these months. A new man? A marathon? Wow, girl, you are the awesomesauce.

Way to go on the mileage, and the running wisdom.

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/5/2012 12:11PM

    I love reading your blogs they are so informative. I'm so glad that you're finding things that are working for you to help with your strike and fueling during the run, and love learning these things for when I'm at the 10 mile distance, too. And I'm so glad you're in a new relationship that has so much promise. I'm very happy for you!!

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JEREMY723 8/2/2012 5:11PM

    So glad for you that so many parts of life seem to be going well!

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SHELLYBABE2 8/2/2012 10:42AM

    emoticon

I feel excited for you reading this - great blog!

TFS

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JENJESS48 7/31/2012 9:21AM

    Way to go, Jenn! On everything! It's amazing how much the right gear and right fuel helps. And I love small stores with personalized service, too - I almost always find the slightly higher prices well worth it.

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VICKYMARIEC 7/31/2012 9:18AM

    So many congrats to give you! It sounds like you ARE excited about running again. Lately it seemed like it was such a challenge for you to even want to run - so yesa, maybe being happy helps you run! Congrats on the new boy! It's always nice to have someone supporting you.

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LAURIETAIT 7/31/2012 12:57AM

    Glad things are looking up in the running and the romance department. I think getting new athletic shoes is one of my favorite things. (actually it might be an addiction but I'm not going to explore that too closely lol)

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KKLENNERT809 7/30/2012 6:35PM

    I wish we had a shoe store like that in my area. I have heard of them, but they seem very few and far between. I certainly wish you the best with your "guy"! Life is funny, isn't it? emoticon

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The Weekly Mile: Week 15 (Cute Boys and Hot Dogs?)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Everyone has to have a reason to run. My reasons are usually health related, the way I feel AFTER a good run, and so I can eat more. Seriously. But I'm not gonna lie and say that hot boys and cute dogs aren't also a good reason to run. And in my neighbourhood, there's a bunch of both of them. Nothing makes for a better early morning outing than running towards a sexy, shirtless, buffed runner - who then shoots you a mighty fine smile as you run past. Wait - was that actually a smile? Or just an over-exertion face contortion? I mean, these guys are always going about triple the speed that I am, so it happens fast, but I'm gonna go with the former - hehe.

But as much as I am a sucker for a sweet bod glistening in the summer sun, I am even more a fan of the adorable canines on my regular route. A happy dog face makes my day. Anywhere, any time. And when you smile, it gets easier to run. I promise. Try it if you don't believe me.

So I have decided that there are now definite pros to whichever route I choose to take. Neighbourhood runs are good for anything under 8 miles. Lots of stopping and starting, and running sidewalks that pose problems with differing levels - thus they're harder on the knees and hips. But there are more dogs :) Lakefront Trail runs are for those long-run days, give me the ability to run on gravel for a good portion of the trail, involve rolling hills instead of jarring elevation differences and are RIFE with delicious members of the opposite sex.

Like I said - everyone needs a reason to run. And when it's 100 degrees in the shade, I need a mind escape SOMEWHERE other than the hell in which I am exerting every last ounce of "poop" I have in me.

My favorite couple this week was on my 5-mile Friday run - I call them the Business Man and the Bulldog. This particular neighbourhood route has become somewhat of a regular Friday morning routine for me, but this week, rounding the bend of mile 4, I came across a man in business attire walking about a block ahead of the cutest, roly-poly bulldog I have ever seen. The man was clearly in a hurry to get to work, but the bulldog would have none of it - as bulldogs are known to do. The little guy was off-leash and meandering as fast as his attitude and the already warm temperature would let him. The business man would pause, look back, the bulldog would stop, sniff, and look at his owner dejectedly before continuing his slow saunter. I smiled at the man as I ran past, and as I came alongside the bulldog, he looked at me, and then plopped down on the sidewalk with a huff and just watched me run past as though to say "why on earth are you going so fast? Don't you know life is about waddling?" I had to laugh. That little dog made my day, and the rest of my run went by in a blur as I thought about that smushy little face and his utter lack of energy. I get it little guy - I know how you feel - I used to look just like you! Haha!



Technically my runs were good this week. But I am still procrastinating too much with my schedule which is bumping everything back until the absolute last minute, and as I have now found, messing up subsequent weeks. I need to be better about sticking to the daily schedule, but I'm still trying to be as kind to myself and my "drive" as I possibly can with so many other things on my plate.

7 miles on Tuesday night didn't happen until 9pm. A planned effort as it had been 94 degrees earlier in the day and I wanted to wait until the sun had set and it had cooled off a bit before heading out. A beautiful run around the park, I started feeling the heat and my leg muscles in about mile 4 and really had to push to get to those last few miles. Nothing I haven't done before, but I am finding new challenges recently that have been a real struggle. However, I do know that I am a better night runner than a morning runner, so I was well fueled and felt a good energy through the whole thing.

5 mile run was delayed to Friday morning because waking up and running early Thursday mornings after my Wednesday night swims just end up being too close to the realm of impossible. Swimming, though a great cross-training activity, works different muscle groups, and I always find that my legs are too fatigued on Thursday morning to have a "good" run. However, if I give myself the day on Thursday to recoup, runs on Thursday night or Friday morning are always really good after the swimming activity. Upping my miles again for the first time since my Half and vacation this week, so I still felt the pain of running a full 3 times this week, but it was worth it.

I was up way too late on Friday night to run on Saturday morning per the schedule, so ended up putting off my 8 mile run until Sunday night after our kayaking trip. Wow. What I didn't expect was how much my stabilizer muscles in my abs would give me trouble on this run. I am already having a bit of trouble with my right hip (I need new shoes ASAP which I will get this week), but add to that the stress of kayaking for 2 hours on my abs and upper body and then turning around and running 8 miles - I was feeling the burn! "The dogs were barking" as they say. I usually refer to my quads as my dogs - and they bark when I overwork them on a run, but this time it was absolutely my abs. I woke up yesterday morning and felt like I had been hit by a truck. So needless to say - despite a desired schedule of sticking to another 8 mile run yesterday evening, that didn't happen. I needed a day off.

That said - here's this week's schedule -

Week 15 Schedule (Completed):

Mon - Rest
Tue - 7 miles
Wed - Swim
Thu - Rest
Fri - 5 miles
Sat - Rest
Sun - Kayaking & 8 miles

Total Weekly Miles: 20
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 3544
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: 185 (lessons in futility...)

Week 16 Schedule:

Mon - Rest
Tue - 4 miles
Wed - Swim OR 8 miles
Thu - Yoga
Fri - 10 miles
Sat - Rest - in Toronto for wedding
Sun - Rest - in Toronto for wedding

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-POOKIE- 7/25/2012 9:25AM

    *laughs* I love bulldogs, they are cute.

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LAURIETAIT 7/25/2012 12:02AM

    Don't be too hard on yourself. You're doing it. It'll all work out in the end. In the meantime enjoys the cute dogs and hot boys or hot boys and cute dogs or whatever.
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LOTUSFLOWER 7/24/2012 9:32PM

    I love your reasons to run!!! That dog sounds too cute! And even though you may be delaying some runs, you are still getting them DONE! You rock. Kayaking sounds like great fun too, and what a muscle-builder! I am so proud of you.

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VICKYMARIEC 7/24/2012 3:25PM

    Hotties on the path are always a gift, but the dog cutie's tend to stay in your heart a little longer. Great job on completing your week!

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CALLIKIA 7/24/2012 2:54PM

    Aww! I can picture the little bulldog now! SO cute! I love when you pass another runner on the path/street. It doesn't seem to matter that they're in MUCH better shape than I am, going twelve times faster, or sweating a whole lot less - they ALWAYS share a smile with me as I pass. :)

Have a good week!

Comment edited on: 7/24/2012 2:55:04 PM

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The Weekly Mile: Week 14 (Heat, Sleep & Disappointment)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I can't drag my butt out of bed in the morning. I don't know if it's because of the heat, or because I'm working about 100 hours a week, or because maybe I'm a little depressed, or what's going on - but right now, my mortal enemy is the morning alarm. Which does not bode well for Mr. Marathon. Mr. Marathon thinks that I should rise, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7am on a Saturday to run 14 miles. So Mr. Marathon and I are also on the outs right now. Damn him. And damn me for wanting to do this so badly, yet fighting with every fiber in my body just to keep going.

Now is when I start to get scared. I crossed the Half Marathon finish line with glee, but now that that milestone is past me, it's as though my spirit has quit caring. But I am not a quitter. I'm just having trouble remembering why I really wanted to do this in the first place. Everyone else thinks I'm crazy. And maybe this is the first time in my life that I'm actually doing something FOR ME, which ends up making it more complicated to stick to my guns for whatever reason.

I have to admit that I wanted this to be a BIG deal. I had visions of grandeur for my big marathon finish. Since it's the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, my hopes were that my whole extended family would come to Chicago for the holiday weekend since we usually all get together at my parent's place that weekend anyway. I had visions of everyone renting a large condo downtown, and celebrating together. Of seeing my friends and family as I ran past every mile marker. Of a triumphant finish running into the arms of 15 people who were all there for me. To see me succeed. And of collapsing on a couch and mowing down on a full turkey dinner to top off a perfect weekend and a timely finish.

But on my recent trip home, as proud as my family was with my running successes, they are not coming to Chicago to see me run. As much as they complain when we don't get together for Thanksgiving, they weren't willing to make the time or monetary commitment to set that weekend aside to come, even though they have all planned lavish holidays in other places around the world. With my family, it's not that they don't have the time or the money. I don't know what it is, but since moving down here 10 years ago, my parents are the only ones who visit me. My grandparents came once when they were able with my brothers. But that trip was over 5 years ago, and since then, no one has bothered to make the effort to come see me, but will complain persistently about me not coming home enough. My aunts and uncles have never even been to Chicago, but keep saying they want to come. So here I think I've given everyone the PERFECT opportunity to come, see the city and be together for the holiday weekend and no one wants to. And that makes me sad. And it's funny that all this came out just now as I've been writing it, because that would certainly explain my lack of desire to run and the depression that I've been feeling about the whole thing. (Side note - blogging is awesome and totally necessary for this reason alone).

However, my parents ARE coming, are wickedly proud of my accomplishments, have just laid out $882 for a hotel room for the weekend to see me do this thing, and I'm sure will make a HUGE deal about it - turkey or not. So I'm in it. I have to be now - the room is non-refundable. And that makes me anxious because my training has been suffering from a number of challenges. While I am doing this for myself, I still need support. And I'm not sure if a non-refundable room is support or pressure.

I tried a few different things this week to varying degrees of success. I'm trying to get out of the habit of trying something once, or for a week, feeling that I failed at it and giving it up before allowing it to have a chance to work. So even though I didn't see huge success from any of this stuff this week, I'm going to keep on it for at least another few weeks to see if it makes a difference.

#1 - The rule of 500.
I dropped my calorie intake again this week. I'm just so frustrated with not losing any more weight that something has to give. So I have done what worked for me when I joined Spark, which is to zero out my calorie burn every week on my Fitness Tracker and just eat what my body needs at the baseline assuming no exercise. That way it doesn't matter how much activity I get in or don't get in, my ticker should still move down based on the fact that monitoring food alone should allow me to lose. Throw in a bunch of physical activity on top of that and you have a bonus, which also enables me to go over my calorie limit for special occasions, or if I'm feeling super hungry, or if the day works out differently than I had planned (which happens all the time). Just make sure that you don't eat more additional calories than you burn in a day, and it should all even out. SHOULD. A week in and I definitely saw positive results from this - was back down to my all-time low of 182 on Thursday morning last week, but after an indulgent Sunday where I ended up eating pretty much every calorie I burned this week in a single day, I'm back up to 186 today. So frustrating that I can gain and lose 4 pounds of water weight in a single day.

So the rule of 500 is my easy way of dividing out my day. I get about 1500 calories a day at my baseline level. So if I plan a 500 calorie breakfast, 500 calorie lunch and 500 calorie dinner, it's easy to stick to. If I run over 5 miles and burn 500 calories, that gives me up to that to indulge in extra - but only if I really want to/need to because I'm hungry. The rule also means that even on days of BIG exercise burning over 1000 calories, I still don't get to eat more than 500 additional. Because even with added fueling calories, I shouldn't need to. We'll see if I can keep this up - before when I dropped my calories this low, I got scared about being hungry. But something in my brain has clicked this time and I'm not scared anymore about being hungry, even with the intense exercise. 1500 calories a day feels like an ok place for me to be, and at least that is a positive change.

#2 - Interval Training.
I tried my long run this week on a 5:1 interval. 5 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking, for 14 miles. I'm not going to give up on this method, but on this particular Friday, I made it 6 miles and had to stop which is going down in the books as a huge failure on my part. I was really bummed with myself.

The plan was to get up early and run before it got too hot outside. But I slept through my alarm (something that is becoming an all-too-regular occurrence) and didn't make it out on the roads until 11am. I had set my 14 mile route to take me along a major street to the Lakefront Trail, run the trail, and then bus it home in some AC. So I had my bus card with me. Which I have found that although safe, and a necessary evil, is my ticket out of doing anything that feels remotely hard. Since it was my first time running intervals, the constant walk breaks felt a little too good and a little too short, and running on a major street stopped my 5 minute runs a little too often for red lights. The sun was directly overhead and beating down on me at a hellish and humid 87 degrees and climbing. I made it to the Lakefront trail just in time for high noon and not a bit of a lake breeze and couldn't take it for one more second. I finished out mile 6 and walked, with my tail between my legs, to the nearest Starbucks for a Trenta Iced Tea and some self-loathing. I thought about trying to run/walk the 2.5 miles back home, making the 6 mile run into an 8.5 mile run, but I was just so disappointed with myself, and running out of time before I needed to report for work, that I just got on the bus, sat in my fuming state of sweaty mess, and rode home. And then I didn't run all weekend.

#3 - Moving Forward.
Since this is a training blog, and since I have focused mostly, so far, on my emotional journey getting me to certain points, I want to try to get a little more technical going forward for those actually interested in knowing what I'm eating, when I'm fueling, what I'm wearing, what the temperature was, how far I ran, and any challenges I faced along the way to those longer distances. I am determined to continue, no matter how my brain feels about it. But I have learned a few valuable things that will make a difference as I get into these last couple of months: my long runs HAVE to be on the Lakefront Trail so that I don't have to stop and start for stoplights. It gives me too many reasons to flake out when I have to slow down and wait, and it IS harder on the body to run long with constant interruptions; and as much as I'm loathing and fighting against the schedule right now, I need to stick to my training times like I stick to reporting for work on time. When I'm as busy and stressed as I am, now is not the time to rile against the structure that is keeping me sane. Being MORE structured will allow me more time to myself - believe it or not - and if I want that time to myself, I need to do the things that I have set out to do on time.

For those of you who are interested in comparing training plans, I started with Hal Higdon's book, threw in a little Jeff Galloway with the run/walk interval training, and am now abiding more by this schedule, published by the Bank of America Chicago Marathon: www.chicagomarathon.com/CMS400Min/up
loadedFiles/Chicago_Marathon/Runner_In
formation/chicago_finish.pdf


It makes me feel better to see that I'm only technically on Week 4 this week and that it only involves 19 total miles with nothing run over 7 miles. I will be throwing in a longer run this week to keep myself closer to the 13 that I have already trained to, but I'm trying not to stress about the fact that I had planned to be running at least 15 by this point in the game.

Can someone up there just send us a respite from this heat? 97 degrees today and counting. For an outdoor-only runner, this is worse that slush and sleet in my books. Yuck.

Week 14 Schedule (Completed):

Mon - Rest
Tue - 5 miles
Wed - Swimming
Thu - Rest
Fri - 6 miles (5:1 intervals)
Sat - Lazy
Sun - Work: Blue Man Group Double

Total Weekly Miles: 11
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 1389
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: 183.2 (was 182.6 on Thursday)

Week 15 Schedule:

Mon - Rest
Tue - 7 miles
Wed - Swim
Thu - 5 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - 8 miles
Sun - Kayaking!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOUTHPONDCAMP 7/24/2012 10:22AM

    Hey there.....give yourself some credit in there somewhere...running in the heat is impressive. I've got MUCH smaller goals and am not sticking to them because I just fall apart with the temperature and humidity. ugh.

Bummer about your family. It hurts to feel that a plan that you thought would be really awesome fell flat. I've definitely been there---and had my feelings hurt too (three of my cousins have had two years to figure out how to get to my wedding this summer---but suddenly don't have the vacation time/money. I really really really wanted a full family photo with my 97 year old grandmother....she won't have many more summers!) The running thing is YOUR goal though, so keep that in mind---and it is awesome that your parents will come for the holiday and the celebration.

Keep up the awesome work!

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/21/2012 2:24PM

    It is amazing what an accomplished runner you are. Congrats on the half marathon. I am glad your parents are coming to see you run in the marathon that is a huge show of support - and it's nice to know that they are so proud of you - I am who wouldn't be? :)

I remember working 100 hours a week way back in the day... I was going to school, somehow I purchased a retail store franchise and I was still working part-time when I could. It was so crazy - I don't know how I did it - but I sure can empathize with anyone who does. It just wreaks havoc on your body and life in ways that are incomprehensible. I say all that to say, I could not admire your dedication more - it takes one heck of person to do what you are doing. But I guess you know how awesome you are already. Go get 'em, Tiger.

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Huzzah.

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SHELLYBABE2 7/19/2012 11:11AM

    Even when you're in turmoil I still manage to pick up a great tip from you (I've been plateauing again myself and going in a downward spiral of a serious flunk with myself and my failings and no matter what I seem to do the only thing the scales want to do is see-saw by the same 2-3lbs) I too will try taking your tip for taking exercise out of the loop and having basic calories etc. thanks :))

emoticon to you and know that we all know if we keep pushing through these blips, they end, the emotional roller coaster levels off and we all hope that not much damage weight/health wise is done. You have come so far, when the journey takes years it's hard to see back to where we started but to me you have done marvellous with your training (I would struggle to stand in your temps/humidity never mind exercise) so pat yourself on your back and only look to the positives because we all have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves. Stop the self punishment it achieves nothing and uses so much energy. How would you feel if you were reading someone else's blog saying your words, try thinking of your response to them to/for yourself and I know i've said it before, try to be kinder to you! hope that made sense lol I knew what I wanted to say but came out a little garbled, hope you got the gist. Emotions always get in the way of living our life exactly the way we want it, but they always pass. You just have to decide that you're making the choice to light a candle instead of living in the darkness.

Do you know what, I think I feel a little better myself, re-read what I've written to you and am trying to practice what I preach, responding in the same vein to myself as I would others :))

Also forget about the dollars your parents are spending to see you succeed in the marathon, I'm confident right now you will succeed because you wouldn't be where you are right now if you were a quitter. As a parent who loves their child, and is making the time and effort to be there on an occasion that means a lot to you, I know they must be proud of you no matter what and the dollars mean nothing compared to that!

Take care & emoticon

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SEPPIESUSAN 7/18/2012 4:56PM

    6 miles in the heat is still impressive!

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-POOKIE- 7/18/2012 11:24AM

    Im glad you can feel you cqan share your thoughts here, letting thoughts out of your head into words (text?) often clear things up for me.

I dont honestly know what to suggest, when I got myself in a funk I didnt find anything other than riding it out the other side to make it pass xx

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JENJESS48 7/18/2012 10:07AM

    Any big achievement comes with big challenges. (Which is another way of saying "If it were easy, everyone would do it.") But you are totally up to meeting them! And your plans are good ones. Just keep working at it and give your your techniques the time they need to show results. You've totally got this!

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RUNNER12COM 7/18/2012 1:01AM

    I am so excited for you and this marathon. You can do this!

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LAURIETAIT 7/18/2012 12:39AM

    I know you'll work through the frustrations of weight loss and marathon training and triumph in the end. I have no doubt that you will, to quote John Montgomery, "GitRDone".
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LOTUSFLOWER 7/18/2012 12:28AM

    p.s. what are your tips for summer running? I had to run on the dreadmill at the gym today, it was just too hot for me. So far I have a running cap, and that's about it. As far as tips go. Do you use a fuel belt? I bought one for when I run longer distances, but right now I'm working back up to the 5k distance (yes, 3 weeks off of running is no bueno).

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LOTUSFLOWER 7/18/2012 12:27AM

    I am right with you with not being able to get up in the morning. I am definitely in a depression, I believe...can't seem to drag myself up from the muck. I think you are amazing, and I know that you've got this. You know you've got this! Try to let everything else fall away but your dream of running the marathon and the means to get there. Tunnel vision your way to success. I am so proud of you.

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VICKYMARIEC 7/17/2012 3:55PM

    Congrats on getting so close to your all-time lowest weight! It sounds like you are doing everything right for yourself...just hope that your body cooperates with it. I know it can be so frustrating to not see or accomplish what you "thought" you should have done or be at. BUT you've acomplished a LOT over the last few years. I'm sure you're sick of that line...but it's true. Keep pushing yourself and don't beat yourself up to much.

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JEREMY723 7/17/2012 3:50PM

    I sure hear you on #2. Had my worst run possibly ever yesterday. Almost 9 miles because I made a wrong turn, one short walk break turned into many, very hot, knee pain, etc. If I'd had a phone I'd probably have called for a ride.

But, each day is a new day. I'm also worried about my folks seeing in a half at the end of September.

(if you want to borrow my 2 year old, he wakes us up between 5:58 and 6:20 every morning, like clockwork.)

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