Tuesday, March 08, 2011
To all of you who have cheered me on, THANK YOU so much!! (I hope this works!)
Monday, March 07, 2011
So, I ran my first marathon! And I trained and ran it free of injury. This is not something I take lightly, nor do I feel like I have all the answers on staying free of injury. I consider this a gift, and I am thankful every day for the strength and ability God has blessed me with so that I can run.
When I started training for this marathon, I said to DH, "I do NOT want to kill myself or my body to do this!" And I meant it.
I had been a little naive and careless in my training for my HMs between Aug. 2009 and April 2010. I had developed some extreme tightness at one point in my left butt cheek (didn't know what it was at the time), and though the pain left and the tightness improved with stretching, the stiffness didn't go away. Then, I had pushed myself too hard one particular week, and I ended up with a pain behind my knee on the inside that didn't go away for about 6 months.
I kept running. I kept thinking it would just go away eventually. I even took weeks off of running here and there, but it didn't go away. It wasn't so painful as it was bothersome. I thought these discomforts were just the price to pay for being a runner.
In May of 2010, I started training for a full marathon that was scheduled in August 2010. I remember these discomforts bothering me, obviously they were aggravated by the extra mileage, and I remember thinking (I am not proud of this now), "It's ONLY pain!!!!" I know it's horrible, and I admit now that I was being foolish.
I ended up rethinking the marathon thing about half way through my 18-week training plan, and then got very sick a week or so later, which REALLY blew the marathon ambition out of the water! The sickness, which knocked my on my BUTT for WEEKS, was actually a blessing in diguise. The knee issue (which I STILL don't know what it was, because I can't find ANY knee diagrams that label that part of the knee) COMPLETELY cleared up.
When I started out training for the Kiel marathon, I made a commitment to myself to strive for safe training. Being safe, being cautious, listening to my body became TOP priority.
When an irritated IT band raised its ugly head shortly into my training, I was really disappointed, but that too became a HUGE blessing. It motivated me to buy a foam roller, and to do a TON of reading about all sorts of runners' ailments!! I gained a VAST amount of knowledge in the past several months. Best of all, I took care of my own IT band issue, as well as the tight hip and butt cheek issue (piriformis-related??), and I have never heard again from the knee issue I had before!!
I have completed my marathon training, and running the marathon, INJURY-FREE, and have never felt better as a runner!!
I do not claim to have all the answers. I have sort of found out what works for me, but I know it may not work for everyone. I know there are a lot of philosophies and running tips/guidelines you can train by, all claiming to keep you injury free. I've stated this before, that I think that even if you follow all the "rules," you can still end up with injury or physical problems related to running. The truth is, we are ALL pushing our bodies to the limit! Something is bound to rear it's head here or there!!
Here are some things that I THINK work for me, though:
1. Foam rolling/Trigger point release therapy - this has totally taken care of my tight hip and hamstring! I believe getting my hip loosened up was ultimately what took care of the IT band, though I did other things as well to help it.
2. READING, READING, READING all the info I could about my own discomforts and how to help them/ prevent them (causes, preventative exercises, stretches, etc.)
3. Listening to my body carefully. Taking action at the first sign of something (not necessarily stopping running.)
4. When I was increasing my mileage on my long runs drastically, I kept my long runs (painfully) slow. I hated it, but I forced myself to go really slow.
5. Strength training, strength training, strength training!!! I do ST, and I push myself hard on weights. I have read over and over, from multiple running sources that strengthening the muscles around problem areas is one of the BEST ways for runnings to avoid injury. In several sources I read about IT band and piriformis issues, exercises for the hip abductors were highly recommended. But I found that core ST was also highly recommended, because often times, runner's problems develop from weak back muscles which can lead to misalignment and bad form....
Just thought I would share my thoughts on this. I am incredibly grateful for the gift of running!
Saturday, March 05, 2011
The last few days, I have been honing in on my new running goals.... aka - RACES! I am registered for a 30K on June 18th here in Germany, then I wanted to do a second marathon (the mountain-climbing one) in October. I have also been planning to go to the States (Florida) in July, but wanted to do 2 10Ks on July 9th (my birthday) and July 16th (one that is really small and local, that I REALLY wanted to do!).
The problem was, while 10Ks are fun, I had to work them into my marathon training for the marathon in October. PLUS going to the States for 2 weeks in July/beginning of August... Where would I run? How would I get those long training runs in? Would I even WANT to run a 20-miler in Florida heat??????
So, I ran it by Runtrilaugh (Wendy), that I was planning to come over there in July, and she suggested the Make It By Midnight Marathon in Macon, Georgia. It means I miss out on my local 10K.... But meeting up with Sparkers to run a MARATHON?!?!?! HOW COULD I SAY NO?!?!?! So, I signed up!!!!!
WOOOOHOOOOO!! Marathon #2, HERE I COME!! Then last night, I ALSO signed up for my mountain marathon in October! So there is marathon #3, if all goes well!!!!!
This works out much better, I think, to be training toward a marathon in July, then using my visit time in the States to recover a little, and then picking up training again for the 3rd one in October. I think this is a great plan.
But what I am excited about most of all is meeting fellow Sparkers!! I was so BEYOND excited last night, I felt like I was gonna barf!! My sweet hubby, who is SUPER supportive, was just looking at me like I was CRAZY! (He is just *slightly* aware of my running AND SP obsession!) I'm so excited to meet Becki and Wendy and Suezette (the ones I know are registered for this so far)!!! This is just so awesome for me!
HERE I COME, my fellow Sparkers!!!! I CANNOT WAIT!
(Yes, I am a *little* crazy. And yes, if you think I am "a machine," you are probably right. My hubby calls me that ALL. THE. TIME!!)
Friday, March 04, 2011
I know I just ran a marathon last Saturday, but I have been eating like a huge hungry BEAR!! (If you wanna read my blog about that, here it is: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4051668 ) I'm pretty sure I am using the "I-just-ran-a-marathon" excuse a little too much!! I am hungry all the time, and my friend was here, so I HAD to have her try all the yummy German stuff, right??? And of course eat it myself. Oh, all the wonderful assortments of German chocolate.... Yummy!! Plus all the yummy Bratwurst fresh off the stand!
The craziest part about it, is that I have TOTALLY not cared!! I have been eating and eating, and enjoying every minute of it. This is not an attitude I recommend to others, especially if you are trying to lose weight...
Well, this morning, I braved the scale.... yeah. Not pretty. And it is not really about the number on the scale. It is how I feel. I feel pudgy and flabby, my pants are DEFINITELY tighter, and I just FEEL like I have been eating junk. When I follow my "normal" diet, I feel so great. Eating lots of veggies, and steering clear of the sweets and junk just FEELS GOOD!
So, TOMORROW ( I know, that is the CLASSIC, right? "Tomorrow, I will....") I am gonna jump back on my healthy eating and lifestyle!!
First of all, my body feels great - no aches, pains, or discomfort whatsoever as far as I can tell - so I would like to go for a run/walk tomorrow. Nice and easy and slow.
Secondly, I need to be cutting out all the sweets, so TOMORROW, OUT THEY GO! Well, actually, I don't have any to speak of in the house, because I typically don't keep sweets around, so I guess I will just NOT BUY anymore... And no more cookie baking!! That was a real kicker!
Thirdly, I know, not only do I need to cut the junk/sweets, but I need to get back to tracking. I haven't tracked any food in over a week!! Tracking is ALWAYS the key for me, so I need to get back to that... TOMORROW!
Fourthly, WATER, WATER, WATER!! I have noticed that not drinking very much water REALLY kills my inhibitions when it comes to food, ESPECIALLY sweets! And I just FEEL CRAPPY! So, starting TODAY, not tomorrow, I am pumping up the water... reaching for my water bottle now...... drinking...... aaaaahhhhhh!
Ok, now that I have had a little water break, that pretty much sums up my plan!
My next RACES!!! After I posted my blog yesterday, I checked out a few websites, and found...... THE REGISTRATION IS OPEN for my next marathon that I want to do!! WOOOOHOOO!
The picture (I hope it posts nicely) is of the marathon at the top of the mountain!! The sign there says "Brocken (the name of the mountain) 1142 m (elevation)." CRAZY! Running a marathon AND climbing a mountain, but I really wanna do it!! That is gonna be such an amazing challenge, I think. It really is called the most difficult marathon in all of Germany. Even states that on the website, with a big warning about the challenge of this race. hehehe... I know I am nuts! The registration is also open for one of the 10Ks I wanna do in July, so that is a definite.
So, onward to the next challenges!! 2011 is gonna be an awesome year!
Spark on, my friends!! Have a GREAT weekend!!
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