Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chico Ten Race Stats here...

I forgot to include my finish stats in my last post.  Since I don't keep a running journal, this is where I keep track of how I progress.  There were only 95 runners total, this is a fairly new race for our area.

66/95 Overall
25/51 Female
9/14   Age Group (my friend Leslie was 7/14 and Stormi was 8/14, within a few seconds of each other)

I'm actually looking forward to next year's races, where I will be at the bottom of the next age group and I won't have to compete with those 40 year old youngsters.

I have heard a lot of runners mention that it's common for long distance runners to lose their toe nails.  Well, I have a feeling I am about to enter that distinquished group.  I have one toenail on each foot that is turning black.  I am expecting to take off my shoe after each of my runs and be missing my nail.  I'm kinda disappointed because I was trying to be extra careful and keep my nails trimmed so this wouldn't happen.  I guess there will be no open toed heels for me this holiday season.

Once they are gone, it will confirm that I'm a "real" runner.  (Please don't judge my crooked, mis-shapen toes. Thank you.)


Living...  with all the weird aches, pains and abnormalities of a runner.
Laughing...  with my running buddies; they make training so much fun.
Loving...  feeling the pride of accomplishment when I look at my race results.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's Catch Up...

I am going to try to make this a much more positive post than my last one.  After re-reading that post, I couldn't help but think "what a complainer!", but I was in the midst of my body rejecting all the extra miles I was logging.  We have come to some sort of a truce now, with just a bit of nagging after my runs from my hips and ankle; and occasionally, my lower back.

When I left off last time, I was heading to my doctor to check my ankle.  He decided I had some inflammation of the sheath that wraps around the tendon that runs from my calf to my foot.  No stress fracture!  He sent me to physical therapy where they did ultrasound and electrical stimulation therapy for a couple weeks.  They sent me home with elastic bands to use to strengthen my lower calf muscle. They also suggested using ice massage on it right after my runs.  Well, all that did the trick!  I still have a little tenderness, but it's all good now!

I also had an episode with a lower back muscle spasm a few weeks ago.  It was the Thursday morning before the Labor Day holiday. I bent over, reached into my freezer and pulled out my bag of blueberries and BAM!! I was stuck, pain and numbness all at once.  All I could do was drop to my hands and knees and crawl to the living room couch to pull myself up.  So many things were going through my head, like "what the heck are you thinking?!? You are too old to be doing this!!!" (running, not eating blueberries)   and how all my hard work so far had all just gone down the tubes.  I wanted to cry, but I tend to be a bit on the stubborn side, so I got mad instead and decided I was going to work this out.  I would just get myself to my chiropractor asap! Unfortunately, he was already gone for the weekend.  So, I had to wait to see him on the following Tuesday.  Needless to say, it was a crappy 3-day weekend.  I had to lay around all weekend and stare at all the things I had planned to do, namely paint the outside of my house. I wasn't able to go on my long training run that Saturday, the first one I have ever missed.  The adjustment on Tuesday made a huge difference and I have steadily gotten better.  I have kept running and my core workouts, but have been very careful to protect my back in everything!

On September 17th, I ran the Chico Ten to see how my training is going.  I can do the long distances and I can do the interval training, so I wanted to see how I could do putting them together.  I felt great that day, it really was a fun 10 mile race through Bidwell Park.  I ran with my two running buddies that I train with in the HM program.  We have the same pace that we are comfortable running.  We finished within seconds of each other. My time was 01:40:48.  I had a goal time in my head to come in under 01:45:00 and I did it!  It's great practice to see what works and what doesn't when it comes to fueling during the run.  This is me, Stormi and Leslie after the race and just before jumping in the icy waters of Chico Creek to soak our tired muscles.  It feels so good!  And quicker recovery, too.

I wanted to be sure and mention my shirt I bought from Beth at I love this shirt and was glad I wore it during this race.  The race is a benefit for the Chico State Cross Country Scholarship Program.  There were dozens of cross country volunteers out there at the water stations and on the course.  It was so fun to hear them shouting encouragement and "shut up and run!!" from the sidelines!!

I just made a couple new purchases that I'm excited about.  I have been looking for something to replace my water belt with, but haven't liked any of the belts with large bottles.  My belt has two 8 oz. containers and I can go through that in just a few miles, so I definitely need something with more water space, plus I want to be able to carry my fuel blocks and my cell phone.  I finally found the Camelbak FlashFlo! It has 1.5 liters of water storage, is a belt pack, not a back pack, and it fits so secure on the small of my back that I don't even know it's there. The water hose clips to my shirt, so it is super easy to get my drink without having to stop.  Plus I got a brand new one at a super great price on ebay.  And it's pink!! Love it!!

The other purchase is my new CW-X Pro Compression Tights!  Since I am still having a lot of tightness in my hips, I have been thinking about compression shorts or tights, and researching them online.  The CW-X brand seems to be highly recommended, and they carry them at my local Fleet Feet.  I tried on a pair after my 13 mile run last Saturday.  I could feel the muscle fatigue disappear the minute I had them on!  It was amazing!!  So I took those babies home with me right then!!  They were a little pricey, but I had a $25 discount at the store and I really have to do something about my hip tightness if I want to keep running longer miles.  I went with the full length tights for several reasons.  I wanted the extra support for my knee, which gives me a twinge now and then, and for extra calf support.  I don't have trouble there, but have noticed after my last long runs (over 10 miles) my calves are super tight.  I haven't run in them yet, but will this evening on our speed workout in the HM Training.  I can't wait to see how they work.  They are pretty cool looking too! (Although they really leave nothing to the imagination as far as what's underneath!)

Lastly, I want to say what a great long run I had last Saturday morning.  I got up at 5am (super dark thirty), showered (to get really awake), ate my oatmeal, filled all my water containers (including my new Camelbak that I added ice to), and I was out the door.  Got to the Fleet Feet store where we were starting from that morning and everything just felt good.  The route we were taking sounded complicated, since I'm not familiar with all the areas of Chico anymore, but it ended up mostly on city bike/walking trails that I never knew existed.  It was such a beautiful, long, slow run, out and back. 13 miles, 2 hours, 20 minutes, water stations set up along the way with NUUN and water.  Chatted with my friend, Leslie the whole way.  The miles fly by when we are talking (probably why we took a wrong turn on the way back).  It was one of those runs I will think of when I'm doubting why I run.

I found these this week.  Love them!  Will share them as much as I can.

I am totally relating to the one above, with 13 miles last Saturday and 14 miles coming up this Saturday!

I like this one when I am wondering why I am out running early in the morning when most sane people are still sleeping in their nice warm beds.

The last one will be my mantra from now on.  It is so true.  Every time I have had pain from one thing or another, I have kept going, and I have gotten better, stronger and more determined to reach my goal.

Promise to post more often!

Living...  my dream of setting what seems like an impossible goal and knowing I'm going to reach it!
Laughing...  at my whiney, "the sky is falling" self!
Loving...  hearing my daughter say "Mom, I'm so proud of you!"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Where To Start...

Well it's been over a month since my last post.  I've been thinking why I couldn't get motivated to write something.  I always want to be positive in some way, even if it wasn't a great day, or a great run.  The last few weeks have been difficult for me.  I love running so much, but hurting each and every time I run has gotten me down. It's gotten to be something I don't look forward to any more, and I am skipping a running day here and there, which is not good, and certainly won't help with being sore after the run.

I can't say there haven't been any good runs, there have, but I have such pain and swelling in my ankle the next few days afterward, it makes me wonder, "Is it all worth it?"  In my heart I know it is, but my mind is beat from hurting all the time.

I had a good race day on August 7th.  The training program set us up perfectly for the 10K distance, plus I took a couple extra days off during the taper to let my ankle rest up.  I had energy left at the end of the race to kick up my speed a notch and I came in at 0:57:59! My goal was to finish under an hour. It's an automatic PB for me, it was my longest race ever!  I felt good after running, but by evening, my ankle was really hurting and swollen.  It put a damper on my high spirits for accomplishing something I never thought I could do... run for an hour. 

I was feeling determined to try for the longer distances after handling the 10K distance, so I signed up for the 12 week training program for a half marathon in November.  Crazy, but I am really hoping I can find a solution to the ankle problem.  My theory is that I have tight hip flexors, those are always sore (another problem area).  I have had the coaches in the training program help me with strength exercises and stretches targeting that area. I do those pretty regularly, but am finding little relief from those super tight muscles.  So, because my hip flexors are painful, I think I have a wierd foot strike to compensate for the hurting in my leg, which is then causing some unusual stress on my ankle.  This is just what I am assuming from how things have progressed.  I looked at the calendar today and it has been 4 weeks today since I first noticed the pain and swelling in my ankle, so I made an appointment with my doctor.  I didn't want to do that, because the last thing I want is to have him tell me I have to stop running.  I really only want an x-ray, to rule out a stress fracture.  I have worked my way up to doing more miles per week than I ever thought would be possible for me, and I don't want to lose the progress that I've made, even injured. 

So, we'll see what he says tomorrow.  Maybe he will have some new ideas.  I hope so, because I have 5 miles of speed work on the schedule tomorrow afternoon.

Living... with a pain, and the fear that it won't ever go away. No, not my Hubby. ;)
Laughing... with new friends that are joining me in the next stage of training.
Loving...  my family that is so supportive of my running, even though I'm hurting.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Still Training...

My runs have been getting a little bit better. Had the best one ever last Saturday morning. Our training group ran in the morning through Bidwell Park. They said it would be about 4 miles, but when we reached the half way turn around, the runners with Garmins had 2.4 miles.  I was feeling really good. I had started at the back of the pack, visiting with a new friend. As I warmed up I was feeling pretty good, so I upped my pace and got into a rhythm. I started passing other runners. It was supposed to be an easy run, but I didn't feel like I was pushing it, just running comfortable. At the turn around, I was running with the front pack of 6 runners. As we headed back, I felt like I could run all day. I passed them and kept going. I wanted to see how good I could feel running almost 5 miles. This was my longest run ever and it was a great boost to my confidence. I am feeling like the 10k coming up in 4 weeks will be no problem. I CAN DO IT! I know I can now.

Tonight is another training run.  It is about 105 degrees outside right now. Been drinking diluted, decaf iced tea all day. Got my electrolyte enhanced water to go with me, I think I'll do fine this evening. The core training that I have been doing on the days I don't run is definitely making a difference. I see more toned muscles in my arms, abs and legs. I feel stronger, too... and that's the best part!


Living... trying to balance family time with my running and workout schedule.
Laughing... at the sheer joy my grand kids have learning to swim at the city pool.
Loving... having greater confidence in myself and my body.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Saturday Training Run...

It was hard! I have ran 4 miles before so I knew how it should feel. But I felt like I was running with just one and a half legs. I ran a super slow pace, felt like I was limping all the way through. The groin/glute pain was really bothering me. It wasn't very hot, but maybe I wasn't hydrated enough, either. I guess unless I drink a lot of water the night before, I'm just not going to be able to get enough in on the morning of the run. I had hoped to have a better time, since I was in for the virtual "Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K Race" by The Boring Runner. I finished the 4 miles at 45:30 so that put my 5k time at about 34:20. I stuck around for a double stretching circuit post race, though, and I seemed to get a little of the pain to subside. I felt like I had at least one and three quarters legs, and less limp, by the time I walked back to sign out of the training program.

After I signed out, I shopped a bit in Fleet Feet and couldn't resist this and this, then went to Costco and picked up a few necessities for the upcoming  4th of July holiday. By the time I got home, my leg was feeling considerably better. On Sunday, mMy Hubby and I spent the day out in the boat on a local lake. The day was perfect! Very little wind, clear cool water and it was warm, but not blazing hot. I spent most of the time swimming or floating in the water. I tried treading water to see how my leg felt and I had no pain at all, so I did a little mini workout and treaded water for about 15-20 minutes. I was able to do that several times. It felt so great, I really hated getting back in the boat, but I had to, because I was working on the tan a little, too.

Today my leg pain is barely there. I have a 3 mile easy run on the calendar today, so we'll see how it feels after that... hopefully I've worked through it and I won't have a problem with it anymore. Keeping my fingers crossed!


Living... and learning patience with all things.
Laughing... at the high's and low's running makes me feel.
Loving... spending "just the two of us" time with Hubby.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Runninghood: The Handful Bra Giveaway!

I'm posting this because I am hoping to win this bra in Runninghoods giveaway, but if I don't, it is going to be on my list next time I go shopping! It looks perfect for me. I have never found a sports bra that is comfortable for running. Either too short, too "smashy", too loose, too hot, too something! Thanks to Amanda at Runninghood for posting about this comfy looking sports bra. Go to her site and check it out!

Runninghood: The Handful Bra Giveaway!: "It's Friday! The sun is shining (finally)! And I have a fantastic giveaway to kick off the last weekend in June! Yes, that's right Running..."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not Serious... And I'm So Happy!

My 10K Training workshop was awesome yesterday! As soon as I got there, I talked with Susan, from Fleet Feet (she is the training coordinator) about the groin/quad pain I have been having and that I had no idea what to do about it. She was concerned and said she would work with me during warm-ups to do some stretching to target that area. I was hesitant to start warm-ups, but it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. The stretches she had me do before the run helped tremendously.

The temperature was easily at or over 100 degrees and we were running along the creek in the park, so the humidity was high. I was sweating buckets even before I got started on the run. We did four 1 mile circuits, given the high temps. We were encouraged to stop and get water or use the restroom at the end of each mile, if we felt the need. They didn't want anyone getting sick by over doing it.

At first, I could feel myself favoring the sore leg, but as I warmed up, I got a nice even stride, and was surprised as the pain faded away. Susan came up to run with me and my running partner. She gave me some pointers on my stride that may be contributing to put too much stress on my groin, glutes and quads. Evidently, I have too much "spring" in my step and my strides are too long. She said to try to shorten my stride, don't bounce so much, and take more steps in a minute. We counted my steps in 30 seconds and I am taking only 65-70. She said I should try for 85 to 90. I noticed a difference when I shortened up the steps, and I was able to keep the same running pace. She helped me with some new stretches in the post run to release those tight muscles. When I left, I had no pain at all, and I ran the whole 4 miles with my partner, except for about 30 seconds when we stopped for water. I met a great running buddy yesterday, too. It's not always easy to find someone who is comfortable running the exact same pace as you. I left training yesterday with an adrenalin high. I was so happy that I felt good and didn't hurt. Oh yeah, and I am loving my NUUN tablets! I have such a quick recovery using the supplemented water, it is amazing! No weakness or cramping at all.

I got up this morning and did a quick jog around our yard and then did a complete set of the stretches Susan showed me yesterday. I feel just a twinge of soreness, but nothing like I experienced earlier this week. I have my core workout on my schedule today, so no running, but lots of ab work and upper body strengthening. I'll probably finish up with a few miles on the bike, just to get some cardio work in, too. I'll be ending it with my "life saving" stretches.


Living... with so much more optimism than I started the week with.
Laughing...  at what I didn't know I didn't know... again!
Loving... having my daughter and her husband in California for the summer!