Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The stress fracture scare of 2013

I was a little lax on my blogging last week.  Two reasons:  

1.  Rachel and I put hella man hours into Team Run for HD.  I think its going to be a really awesome fundraising year for us, and we already have a few great events on the calendar!  So pumped!  (and exhausted!)

2.  I started having foot pain.  Not like "awwww, my feet are sore", but more of a "this spot feels broken" sort of pain.  Obviously, having just run two races i was severely undertrained for, my mind instantly jumps to stress fracture.  (for the record, i thought i had skin cancer the previous week, but it turned out to be melted chocolate.  Because thats normal too.) I think i jumped to that conclusion because that's the worst thing that could happen right now.  I am starting to feel great about running finally, because i am not stressed or beating myself up, and i am enjoying the shorter, faster runs without a marathon looming in the near future.

Don't fear, Ragnar teammates, it's most likely not a stress fracture.  But i do have a dilemma on my hands.  Between roller derby, running, and summer walking, my feet will only allow me two out of three.

The helmet is filling in for my skate because i am too lazy to walk down the street and get my skate out of the car
We all know running is hard on the feet.  And so is roller derby - you shove your feet in uncomfortable skates, and you stretch all those foot muscles as you try to stay standing.  And then summer sandals - don't get me started (or even worse - toms! so painful!).  I have a desk job, so it's not like i am on my feet all day, but i do spend a lot of time strolling the streets with waffles, and gladiator sandals do not provide the foot support you would assume they would with a name like gladiator sandals.

Which two would you choose?  I am naturally going to kiss my fashionable sandals goodbye.  But i am not happy about it.  What am i supposed to wear all summer?  Don't they make supportive sandals?  Like nurses shoes in sandals form??

Woe is me.

But seriously - what is on your feet this summer?  Or should i just make a statement and go barefoot everywhere?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a forwardish motion

True story - I started this post Sunday night.  Have you ever had one of those days that feels like your Monday is dragging, and lunch will never come, and then you realize it's actually Wednesday already?  Yeah.  That's what my week has been like

If you've reading my blog, first off, i'm sorry - because this blog is lame.  But you will have noticed that i have been having a bad time keeping my running and training on track.  I would love to say that now, post marathon, it is a new day, and i can start fresh, and blah blah blah blah.  But the truth is, we are still going through a lot of changes over here.  Matt is starting his new job, and we are going to have to move this summer.  Change is stalking me.  But i am proud that over the past few turbulant months, I have managed to keep up with about 20 miles a week.  Granted it should be more like 50, but sometimes that is just not in the cards.

So, looking ahead, i can promise you nothing more than a somewhat forwardish motion.  My next race on schedule is Ragnar, so at the very least - there will be double run days.  I actually enjoy doubling up on runs.  I just don't have time usually for an 8-10 mile midweek run unless i wake up at 4am, or stay up past my 10pm bedtime.  But, i can usually swing breaking it up into a morning and evening run.  I really need to focus on bringing my mileage up this summer, and improving the quality of the miles.  It doesn't help that summer is the worst time ever for me for training.  The heat, the sun, the pollen - blergh.

Just to prove i am still running, i have started forcing people to run with me as proof - I got to run with Bobbi on Saturday, and my newly-wed friend Eric on Sunday! Eric and i hit the trails down in Palos, where i stubbed my toe so bad i flew face first into a pile of leaves.  Now my good toe is also turning black.  Totally ready for this trail marathon in August.  TOTALLY.

And just to keep this as a running blog, (on a technicality) i ran last night.  And i saw a deer.  And the deer was eating a cake. I didn't have my phone, but here is a reenactment of the scene.

Did i mention the cake was on a pedastool wooden display thingy?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good, Bad, and Ugly

In an attempt to actually keep up with my blog (something i seem to be epically failing at lately)  I am going to try a new weekly thing.  Mostly as an excuse to post ugly pictures of my feet.  And because i like to pretend that people both read my blog, and care about the inter-workings of my daily life.

This Week:

The Good:  Matt finally found a new job!!  I can't tell you how stressful the past few months have been.  Matt is in the same field as i am, so we found ourselves both in crappy jobs, and competing for the same obscure jobs in the same city.  Not our finest planning.  But now i am so relieved we are both in stable jobs that respect us.  And no more working until midnight most nights - so yay for having dinner with Matt again!

The Bad:  What is with all the non-rescue dog shaming lately?  We go to the dog park by my house almost everyday (unless its raining) to let waffles run around and socialize.  So naturally, we meet lots of dogs and people.  Most of them are cool.  I had a lady start asking me about waffles, what breed she is, where we rescued her from.  I told her we got her from a breeder in Michigan.  She immediately turned around and walked away, refusing to talk to me.  Until later when she came back to lecture me on how i should have adopted a pitbull or a chihuahua, because the shelters are filled with them.
1.  We specifically chose the breed of dog we have because it is one of the few truly hypo-allergenic dogs out there.  Even all the doodle hybrids make Matt sick.  If it were up to me, i would adopt ALL THE DOGS!  We have been on the Basenji Rescue list for two years.  TWO!  They have deemed us unworthy dog owners because we both work.
2.  Matt volunteers at paws twice a week, and i donate money.  We DO care about those pitties and chi's.
3.  We could never give a good life to a pitbull in our 800 square foot apartment.  Maybe a chihuahua would be happy, but they need an owner who will give them constant attention - thats not me.
4.  You're a giant bitch lady.  Mind your own business and stop trying to shame those of us who got our dog in a different but still responsible way.
Why does everyone hate me so much??
The Ugly:  (If you are eating, you should just leave.)  As the weather got warm, i realized i will never, ever be able to wear sandals again.  After the Dublin marathon last fall, my big toe went black, and never recovered.  I learned to live with it, and even lovingly named him big blackie.  Then he fell off about a month ago.  And underneath him, was a new gargoyle of a mishapen toenail.  And now, after running Jailbreak and Flying Pig, even the gargoyle is starting to turn dark.  How come runners world never posts an article on this shit??
I won't even show you the other foot, because my pinky toenail split down the middle during jailbreak. I honestly wouldn't be shocked if the whole toe just fell off at this point.

So - Good, Bad, and Ugly.  We'll see if it sticks!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A floating pig.

To reward myself for not training all year and half-assing my way through a marathon a week ago, i treated myself to a half marathon on Sunday!  Actually, i was looking forward to the Flying Pig all year.  I don't normally like "big" races, but the Flying Pig stole my heart last year, and i want to do it every year now.  I even briefly considered going to for the full this year, but just because i survived one marathon without training, doesn't mean i should push it and try two back to back.  So, i did the half again this year, and it was the best thing ever.  Maybe next year is the year i go for the full Monty!

We drove to Cincinnati friday night after work, which is the worst part.  Its late, and we were both trying to stay awake.  We ate Taco Bell on the road, and i make the mistake of trying to be healthy and getting the Cantina Bowl (which the "veggie" cantina bowl is just lettuce and rice.  Because iceburg lettuce is totally a vegetable.) Never try to be healthy kids. 

We got there late, but woke up early and took waffles for a four mile run.  Normally, i don't run the day before the race, but i knew this race would not be raced in anyway what-so-ever.  It was a nice way to get used to the Cincy weather (900% humidity) and Waffles needed the fresh air after being cooped up in the car on Friday.  We even took time to good around!
 Then we went to the BEST PLACE EVER for "noon tea/lunch.  There is a place in Cincy called The BonBonerie.  We got to eat finger sandwiches, fruit, and cookies, and other light fare.  If you are in Cincinnati, you MUST go here.  For little bites of food, it was actually really filling.  They even had Flying Pig cookies!  I love that the Flying Pig literally takes over the whole city for a weekend.  

Then Matt and i headed to the expo, which is huge.  It's not quite as big as the Chicago Marathon, but it's pretty dang impressive

I got my yearly picture with "Pigippides."  He is the pig that ran from Marathon to Athens that the history books left out.  Typical.
We went home and then decided to take Waffles hiking in the local nature preserve.  Because i am a pro at doing everything you shouldn't do the day before a race.  The weather was so nice i couldn't resist.

I went to lay out everything before i went to bed, and realized i only packed one arm warmer.  Because I'm awesome.  Bonus points because it was raining and i really wanted it.
The race starts at 6:30am eastern time, so that involved me getting up at 3:30am Chicago time.  Happy camper i was not.
They let the runners hang out in the football stadium before the race.  My pace leader David runs the pig every year, so he was going to run with us up until the split, and my friend Brittany was running the half too!
The rain cleared up for the start of the race, and except for a few drizzles hear and there, didn't start again until the finish (but then it poured)

The race was awesome.  So many people out SO EARLY cheering, dancing, having a good time.  It was like all of sudden we teleported to mile 5.  And then began our journey to the summit of that stupid giant Cincinnati hill.   It's really not the worst hill ever, its just that I am a Chicago flat-lander.  On the plus side, I ran up that entire hill (to mile 9.5) without stopping once.  On the down side, i had an asthma attack.  It wasn't the worst one ever, but it is still sucky experience.  I had mild asthma problems on the hill last year, but it was so hot last year i was taking walk breaks, so it didn't catch up with me.  This year it did, but luckily enough i had coach Matt to talk me down.  The worst part of having an asthma attack is the sheer terror of not being able to take a deep breath.  Luckily Matt was super calm, barking Lamaze orders at me (in through nose, out through the mouth!)  Eventually, we just stopped for a minute so i could just get re-center and get some oxygen in me.  I was very glad they didn't mind stopping with me.  After that, we began out descent back down.  This was much easier, and my breathing was in control (for the most part) for the rest of the day.  The downhill parts FLY.  (Crap - maybe thats why they call it Flying Pig??)

We all finished together as it started to rain.  They have TONS of food after the race as well.  Like more food than i have ever seen at any race.  I actually had to use my mylar blanket as a satchel to manage it all.
 We parked maybe 3/4 of a mile away, and we made the soaking wet trek to the car.  Only i forgot, i had put the parking ticket in my SPI belt.  It got SOAKED.  I don't know why, but we decided to try it anyway to see if the machine could read it.  Naturally, it jammed in the machine, and it was out of commission the rest of the day.  I was scolded by a 16 year old parking attendant who was in disbelief at the fact that i would even consider jamming the wet parking ticket in the machine.  He then parking shamed me as he glared at me while making an "out of order" sign for the machine.  

In short, despite the giant hill, it is really one of the best races i have ever run.  They really make it an event for everyone too, with a 5k and 10k on saturday, and a kids run.  The whole town seems to participate.  If you are ever in need of a spring race, GO TO THE FLYING PIG.  The only thing i would change about the whole weekend would be the Cantina Bowl, and the bad call on the parking ticket.

I will be back for you next year, Flying Pig, and i will make it up the hill without stopping again, AND not have an asthma attack - its on, suckas!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Mental Marathon

On Monday night, i went to Universal Sole for a fun run and training seminar put on by CARA.  I am doing the half training program this summer in preparation for the ZOOMA half marathon in August.  Some of our ZOOMA ladies showed up, as well as our sponsor, muscle milk! It was a kick off for half marathon training.  So, if you are on the lakefront Saturday mornings - look for me!

Because I am me, i missed the training run because of my inability to emotionally handle parking downtown, and ended up sitting in a corner of Universal Sole stewing.  Luckily Katie and Lauren couldn't find parking either.  Eventually the runners returned, including Kelly and Sierra, and we got down to business.  

Stole ya pic, Kelly!  Thanks!
I have been to many of these seminars, so most of the information wasn't new to me (but super helpful if you are a newish runner!)  Things like stretching, nutrition, etc.  The one new element was that they had a sports psychologist talk to us.  First off, i didn't even know there was such a thing as sports psychology, and now i want to know more about it.  Secondly, she briefly went over coping with the Boston Marathon tragedy, but mostly went over the mental aspects of training and marathoning (or half-marathoning!)  I know a lot of people (myself included) that do not perform well in the marathon distance despite being very talented runners (myself excluded).  Most of us train every muscle in our body except our minds.  (Except me - i skip my core workouts also).  So our body is physically able to keep going, but our minds freak out and we end up walking, crying, puking, drinking bloody mary's, whatever our coping mechanism is.  So really, most of it is a mental battle.

It's something i want to learn more about, and obviously, she only had 10 minutes to talk about it.  One snippet of advice she shared was to have a "power song".  A song that no matter what, you will run to. Its almost like a subconscious message to focus and get back in the game!  I have always had a power song, and it's Freebird, by lynyrd skynyrd.
Press play if you can handle the awesome.

Something about the slow start and increasing tempo just gets me to run, no matter how tired or hurting i am.  And it doesn't hurt that its like a 10 minute song.  I wont lie, during really awful training runs, i have listened to it multiple times in a row.  

Do you have a "power song"?  Have you ever heard of sports psychology??