Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 1

I’m officially back in training mode! It feels good, but I can also tell I’m not quite at the level I’d like to be. I’m not too far off, but I’m hoping getting back into the regular routine and following a training plan will get me back up to where I’d like to be soon.

As I was planning my spring races last fall, I knew I wanted to do a half marathon. This was the perfect year to give the Eau Claire Half a try. It is in my hometown, after all!

I’m following the same training plan that I did last spring to train for the Divas Half Marathon where I broke 2 hours. I’m not really sure yet what my goals are for this year’s half, but running strong and feeling good are a good place to start.

Here’s how week 1 of training went.

Monday – rest

I was technically supposed to do 30 minutes of cross training, but after the tough Pettit Marathon Relay on Saturday, I decided one more rest day would be ok.

Tuesday – 3.22 miles (9:30/mile)

I met up with some of the Oiselle Volee team for a group run and dinner. We ran along the river on the St. Paul side and then had some Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant to warm up.

Wednesday – 4.01 miles (9:37/mile)

Sometimes getting out of the house for a run after work is tough. I was a bit tired after the day, so started out telling myself I could do 3 or 3.5 miles if I wanted. I got going and started to feel good, so I settled in and made it the full 4 miles to hit my full training run for that day.

Thursday – 3.04 miles (9:34/mile)

An uneventful 3 mile run, and those are totally ok with me!

Friday – rest

I met my sister and a couple of friends for dinner and a Gopher hockey game!

The Gophers beat Ohio State 2-1! The game started at 8 p.m. — a little later than normal. By the time I got home and got to bed, it was about midnight.

Saturday – 3.15 miles (9:34/mile)

I let myself sleep in a little bit after a later bedtime and got a few things done around the house in the morning. Around 11:30, I headed out for a quick run.

After that, it was a quick shower and lunch before heading to help out a friend at a fundraising event. We were bagging groceries for donations.

On my way home, I got some gas and a car wash since the weather was finally warm enough. I had to grab a little coffee at the gas station knowing that I had one more outing for the day.

I headed to a girls’ night out/birthday dinner for a friend.

We made a stop for another drink after dinner, so it was another late night with a 1 a.m. bedtime. So yea, I know I’m getting old when a midnight and 1 a.m. bedtime for a Friday and Saturday night are “late.” 😛

Sunday – 4.23 miles (9:30/mile)

This was my long run for the week. Feels a little weird to call 4 miles a long run, but also felt nice not to have a daunting distance ahead of me as I get back into training. It was a good run and I’m looking forward to building up the long-run mileage over the next 11 weeks.

I got a couple of other errands done during the day and then met up with a friend for dinner. It was Restaurant Week, so we feasted on a 3-course meal. We split the mac & cheese and pot pie, which was a really good decision because both were amazing! A true comfort food meal.

I did a lot of eating out over the weekend. While it was fun and really good food, I’m hoping to get back on track this week.

Advertisements

Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay Race Recap

I’ve run a lot of races. Lots of different distances. Lots of different locations.

But the race I did last weekend was definitely a first. It was a marathon relay, so 4 people were covering 26.2 miles. That doesn’t sound too unusual, but the kicker for this race was it was indoors…on a track…surrounding an ice rink.

It was at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, WI.  This race was a meet up for a lot of area Oiselle Volee runners. I recently joined the Volee team, so I was excited for my first race as an official member. There were 10 Oiselle teams doing the marathon relay–40 ladies total. My team was made up of three other Minnesota Volee members.

For the relay, you can split up the distance however you want, but most teams do 12 x 800’s. Meaning, you do two laps around the track (800 meters) and then change runners. Each person does 12 two-lap sets.

You wear an ankle bracelet to keep track of your official time, so you have to hand off the bracelet each time you change runners–just like passing the baton in a relay. Our on-deck runner was the person in charge of moving the bracelet from one runner to the next.

Since we were running shorter distances with each leg, we all tried to push our pace a bit. It was like an intense interval workout. The concrete under the track and the fact that you were running in circles in the same direction took a little bit of a toll on your body. I could feel it a bit in my left calf and my right hip.

I didn’t have a watch to keep track of my personal pace/time for each leg, but I was able to sneak a peak at the main race clock and get an idea of how fast I was going around the track. I think I was hanging somewhere around 2:15 – 2:20 per lap. No matter what the pace, I felt like I was pushing myself to run as fast as I could with each leg.

Everyone on our team was doing awesome and flying around the track! Very fitting since our team name was The Flying V!

We finished the marathon relay in 3 hrs 39 min 37 sec! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to achieve a marathon time like that on my own, so it was amazing to do it on a team with three other stellar runners. And with the support of all the other Volee teammates cheering each other on. We kept it light and fun all weekend with lots of laughs and a fair amount of inside jokes when the weekend was over. 🙂

Certainly an interesting running experience! If I do this race again, I’d probably train a little bit differently to prepare for the speed and interval aspects, but overall I felt good throughout the race. Getting my running groove back slowly but surely.

Next up is training for a spring half marathon with a 10 mile and 10K race thrown in. Looking forward to getting back into a regular training routine!

Have you ever run an indoor race? What’s on your spring race schedule?

A week without social media

I took a week off of social media. And as you can see, I survived.

Social media is part of my daily life — as I’m sure it is for many you. It’s not only part of my personal life but my professional life as well. I work in communications, so I spend time at work strategizing how we can use social media to reach people with a health message.

I love social media. I love that I’m able to keep up with what family and friends are doing. I love that I’m able to share moments and memories from my own life. But I started noticing some not-so-good things and habits, too.

  • I’d wake up in the morning and check Facebook or Instagram before even getting out of bed.
  • I’d mindlessly scroll through my feeds looking at pictures and status updates on my phone. Not all bad, but still a lot of time on social media channels rather than connecting with people in real life.
  • I’d spend all that time on social media and come away not feeling as good about myself or my life. A great thing about social media is sharing things from your life, but a bad thing is when you start comparing your life with other people.
  • I’d post something and find myself constantly checking to see how many “likes” it got.

It was around the holidays that all of these habits and feelings came to a head for me. I decided I needed to do something to reset my social media mindset. I figured January was a good time since it was a new year and the perfect opportunity to just step away for a week.

I primarily use social media on my phone, so on a Saturday night I deleted my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat apps to reduce temptation. From that moment on, I was off social media for seven whole days. And you know what–it was surprisingly easy. I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would.

In those first couple of days, I still had the impulse to go on social media and check out what was going on, but I’d move on to do something else and it would go away. On Monday of that week we had a really big snow storm, and I was definitely tempted to share a picture of the snow outside my front door, but the feeling quickly passed. I’ll share it with you now, though cause this post needs a couple pictures. 😉

After those first couple of days, I wasn’t noticing that urge as much. The week got easier as it went by; even when Facebook started sending me emails telling me a friend had posted a photo or updated their status to try and get me to come back to the channel. Before I knew it, seven days was over and the world hadn’t ended.

It felt really good to just unplug and reset both my habits and my mindset around social media in my personal life. I’m not giving up social media forever. The apps were re-downloaded on my phone after my week was over.

The usual things I post about will still show up on my profiles: running, food, etc. I even posted a food pic the day my break was over after brunch with friends.

But I am trying to change a few things to help keep a healthy relationship with social media.

  • Being mindful of how much time I spend on social media. It’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole of scrolling and get lost in your feed. I want to spend some of that time connecting with friends offline or doing other things to stimulate my mind.
  • Turning off push notifications on my phone. I go on social media enough that I’m not concerned about missing things. I think things like the notifications from Instagram when someone liked a post just added to my need to constantly see how many likes it had. Not needed.
  • Reminding myself that someone’s social media life isn’t their real life. Most of us pick the fun, cute moments to share, so it can be easy to assume that everything is sunshine and roses in someone’s life (heck I’m guilty of doing that). I need to do better at stopping myself from comparing where I’m at in my life with where other people are. It’s not good for my mental health.

This break really showed me that while social media is really nice to have in my life, it’s not something I have to have to get through the day. I want to focus on the good things social media can bring to my life and limit the negative. I may take other social media breaks from time to time, even for a day, just to remind myself of these things if I start to forget.

Have you ever taken a social media break?

Don’t call it a comeback

No, I did not fall off the face of the earth.

Just took a break from blogging. Mostly because there hasn’t been much to say about my running/workouts for the last few months. Some life stuff got in the way and changed up my usual activity.

I felt good after the marathon–tired and sore, but good. It went surprisingly well given the derailed training I had near the end. I took a couple of weeks off of running after that, which I had planned to do. I was just starting to slowly get back into it at the end of October when I got a bad cold that knocked me out for about a week. I took 3 sick days at work, which I never have to do.

I finally got better a couple of weeks before my annual 5 mile Turkey Trot race and tried to get myself in (somewhat) decent shape. The weekend before the race I was doing a 4 mile run and my right hip flexor started to hurt while I was running. It remained really stiff and sore the rest of that day and even the next day. I made it through the Turkey Trot, but it hurt. Any time I ran after that caused the pain to flare up. That caused me to take some more rest days than I was originally hoping.

To top it off, since November I have been feeling more fatigued than usual. I’m not 100% sure why, but think it is related to my ulcerative colitis flaring up. A flare means there’s inflammation and one of many symptoms can be fatigue. The flare started sometime around September and, so far, hasn’t got away yet. I switched to a different medication a couple of months ago to see if that would help. I’m hopeful that things will get back on track soon with having my UC under control.

The illness, injury, and fatigue have really affected my running. I’ve been less motivated to go out and run or do any kind of workout.

It’s been hard.

Running hasn’t been the physical, mental, and emotional release that it used to be. It hasn’t been fun. That just affects my motivation even more and it turns into a bad downward spiral. This is the first really rough patch I’ve gone through with my running. A running slump, if you will.

Over the last two weeks I’ve been trying to get back into more of a regular workout routine. Trying to get out for even a short run after work and doing some other cross training workouts. I had a three-day weekend last weekend and did hot yoga, two runs, and a spin class in those three days.

Super sweaty hot yoga

 

Yea, it was cold
Killer spin class

I kept it going with a group run on Tuesday and a 3.5 mile run on Thursday night. It’s feeling better to be back in a more regular routine. Crossing my fingers this means things are looking up.

Don’t call it a comeback, cause I don’t know what it is yet, but I’m working on it. And that’s what matters.

Have you ever had a running slump? 

Twin Cities Marathon Race Recap

It’s been a week since marathon day. The soreness in my legs is gone, but the good feels about the day remain. I’m proud to say I finished my second marathon and that it went even better than I was expecting.

The day started off with a 5:30 a.m. alarm so I could eat breakfast and get ready before catching the light rail to the start line. In looking at the weather, I opted for a t-shirt, capris, and a hat. It was going to be cloudy, and there was a chance of rain in the afternoon, so I knew I could get a little wet near the end of the race.

I got to the start area about 7:15. I snapped a picture of the sunrise behind U.S. Bank Stadium.

As I started walking around, orienting myself with where I needed to go, it started to sprinkle. Then it started to lightly rain. I popped into an underground parking entrance to take cover and avoid getting too wet before the race. Of course I didn’t bring a poncho or trash bag cause I wasn’t expecting pre-race rain. The little bit of rain that did fall on me made me chilly. At that moment I really regretted leaving my arm warmers on my kitchen table. I realized that if it rained during the earlier miles of the race, I actually might want them. Luckily, my parents were still at my place, so I texted them to bring along while spectating.

I had to hop out into the light rain for a few minutes to hit the bathroom lines, but didn’t get too wet. The rain stopped by the time I headed to the corral. Before I knew it, corral 1 was off. I actually felt pretty calm. I think I was just ready to get running. I ditched my throw-away shirt as we made our way up to the line, and then I was off.

My legs felt good and fresh. I think not running for two days before the race was good. I did my best to find a comfortable pace without going out too fast.

At mile 2.5, I saw my parents and my sister. I was feeling good and holding on to about a 9:40 pace. As long as that felt good, I was going with it.

The miles continued to tick by fairly quickly as I tried to take in the sights of the spectators and fellow runners. We passed the 10K checkpoint and then were heading around the lakes. I saw my parents again around mile 8 and was still keeping my pace. My foot was doing just fine as well. No pain or soreness to get in my way.

That’s me in the white hat

I couldn’t believe it when I passed the halfway point! I was still feeling good and able to keep up a good pace. There were some sprinkles falling periodically around this point of the race, but nothing that lasted too long. I saw some friends on the south side of Lake Nokomis and gave them huge hugs, which gave me another burst of energy.

I could feel a bit of fatigue in my legs around mile 15, but was able to keep my pace. I saw my friend Kate just past mile 16. She brought me a dry hat and socks if I needed them, but I was doing ok, so gave her a hug and keep chugging along.

Getting to mile 17 was sort of a milestone in my head since that would mean the remaining miles would be in single digits. I kept pushing knowing I would see more friends around mile 18. I got much needed high fives from them as I continued on. I was certainly feeling the tiredness in my legs. When I saw my parents just before mile 19, I warned them that my pace would likely slow from then to the finish.

This face! Photo credit to my dad.

Mile 19 was the first time I had to do a little walking. I knew that would happen at some point. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt as good as I did up until that point. I made it closer to mile 20-21 before needing to walk in my first marathon, but given my altered training near the end, 19 miles was pretty darn good.

I used downhills and flat areas to run, and resolved to needing to walk a bit on some of the uphills.

As I made my way up the hill towards Summit Ave, I knew I was approaching the home stretch, but the rain was also starting to come down. It was going to be a long final 5 miles, but I told myself to just keep moving forward.

I kept my walk/run routine going. I was also keeping an eye on my left glute. I had a few steps where I felt some pain in it while running. It wasn’t constant and didn’t hurt when I walked, but wanted to make sure it didn’t get worse. I think it was an effect of my legs just getting really fatigued.

The rain sucked and I was getting chilly, but it motivated me to run as much as I could to get to mile 24 where Hyedi would be cheering. I didn’t want her standing in the rain any longer than she had to! I really appreciate that she braved the rain because it was certainly needed to get some words or encouragement as I pushed through the last two miles.

I did a little more walking in those last two miles than I wanted, but as I spotted the top of the cathedral, I knew I was almost to the end. Thank goodness the last part of this course is almost entirely downhill. I used that to propel me through the last .2 miles and pushed my legs as hard as I could.

As I approached the finish line, I felt a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

I had to compose myself a little as I turned off my Garmin and approached a volunteer who put my medal around my neck.

I made a beeline for the volunteers with the heat sheets so I could warm up. Then I grabbed some food and my finishers shirt to make my way out and find my parents.

It’s amazing the range of emotions you go through at the end. From feeling exhausted and uncomfortable to elated and in disbelief that you just put your body through that kind of physical and mental challenge.

In looking at the TC Marathon app on the way home, I saw that my race time was 4:34:41. A new PR!!!

I really did not know what to expect with this race given the end of my training. Apparently, it was good that I did as much resting and cross training as I did because my foot held up just fine for the whole race. And the good training I put in all summer certainly paid off and pulled me through.

I can’t help but wonder what the race or my time would’ve been like if I had been able to complete my training as planned, but I cannot complain about the outcome. And I know there’s always next time. 😉

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Weeks 16-18

Well, I’m way behind on updates. Sorry. It’s been a busy month!

The foot is…ok. It’s not worse, but it’s not totally better either. The past three weeks of training were heavy on cross training with a few short runs thrown in. My hope is the low impact and extra rest will keep the foot in good enough shape to get me through 26.2 miles.

I won’t give a day-bay-day account of training since I’m so far behind. Let’s give some weekly recaps instead.

Week 16

I got in a couple of 10 mile bike rides and a 30 minute elliptical workout during the week. My sis and I also headed to a MN Lynx WNBA game. They are pretty phenomenal athletes and really fun to watch!

The big event of the week, ok year, was that I closed on a new home! Excited for new adventures in home ownership.

On Friday, I went for a 3.1 mile run to test out the foot. It felt fine on the run, and felt great the rest of the weekend! Over the weekend, I headed up north to a friend’s wedding. We had gorgeous views of the lake from our cabin.

And we stopped at the iron mines on our way home.

I was exhausted by the time I got home on Sunday. I had high hopes of getting in a 2 hour workout to keep up my fitness. I ended up getting in 90 minutes on the stationary bike and elliptical. Not bad, but wished I could’ve done a little more.

Week 17

I did a short run on Tuesday morning since my foot had done so well over the weekend, but then it was sore later in the day. So, obviously not totally healed. My other workouts for the week were cross training.

Bike ride views

Over the weekend, I moved into my new home. Moving is a workout all its own. We were going almost non-stop from about 10 a.m. until about 4 p.m. It was exhausting, but so glad we got everything done. And my foot did just fine all day.

Week 18

In this final week before the marathon, I was continuing to try to be smart with my workouts. I did a 3.3 mile run on Tuesday and felt good on the run and the day after. I did a bike ride on Wednesday just to be safe. On Thursday, I did another 3.1 mile run and then had to go clean my old apartment. I felt good on the run, but noticed my foot getting a little sore after bending, twisting, squatting as I cleaned. I iced when I got home and decided I needed to just take it easy for the next couple of days to be ready for Sunday.

On Friday evening, I headed to the Health & Fitness Expo to pick up my packet and check out some of the vendors.

I could feel the energy walking around. I could also feel the nerves. I’m ready for Sunday to get here so I can just do this thing and stop thinking/agonizing about it.

I’m as ready as I can be, and just want to get out there and enjoy the race and celebrate the end of a 4+ months of training.

TC Marathon, here I come!

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Weeks 14 & 15

I had a vacation that fell in the middle of these two weeks, so I’ll have to catch you up on everything that’s been going on. Unfortunately, it’s not all good.

Week 14

Monday – 2.69 mile walk

I woke up still on a bit of a high after completing my 20 mile run. My Achilles was a bit tight and sore in the morning. It loosened up as the day went on, and Hyedi and I were able to get in a nice walk in the evening. It felt good to move my legs a bit.

Tuesday – rest

Technically, I had flag football practice, so I did do a little running. I was taking it easy because the field was a bit uneven and my legs were still recovering. I was tired when we were done and needed to pack for vacation, so I didn’t do any more running that night.

Wednesday – 4.12 miles (9:48/mile)

I went out for a morning run before needing to head to the airport. I was planning to do 5-6 miles. When I started out, I felt ok. My legs did not want to move very fast, so I resolved that this would be a slightly slower pace. Then somewhere around mile 2-3, I started to have some pain in my left foot. I kept going to see if it would go away. It didn’t. As I made my way closer to home, I realized I needed to cut this run short. The pain was more than I’m used to dealing with and did not feel like something I should run through.

I headed in and iced my foot a little before leaving. Walking through the airports wasn’t a lot of fun as my foot still hurt. By the evening, I was at the beach and hoping that a good night sleep would make my foot better.

Thursday – rest

The foot was a little better, but not enough where I felt comfortable running on it. I decided to take a rest day to see if that would help. Sitting on the beach with family was also a good excuse to take it easy.

Friday – 7.37 mile bike ride (36 minutes)

The foot was still a little iffy, so my sister and I hit the workout room and I did some cross training on a stationary bike.

Saturday – 7.1 mile bike ride (30 minutes)

One more day of cross training to give the foot a break.

Sunday – rest

I was supposed to do a 12 mile long run as a step-back week, but with the foot I figured I’d better skip that and keep resting it until I felt more confident that it was better.

All of these foot issues were not fun to deal with, but at least I was still soaking up the sun and enjoying some time in my happy place.

Week 15

Monday – 3.03 miles (9:57/mile) and 6 mile bike ride (25 minutes)

I decided to test out the foot on a short run. I did an easy 3 miles. It felt just fine during the run. Yay! I hit the workout room right after to get in a little bit more of a workout.

I was really happy that my foot held up ok on the run. It did good the rest of the day as well. I was really crossing my fingers that the time off had solved the problem.

Tuesday – 7 mile bike ride (30 minutes)

I got up and got myself ready to run. I even went outside and started warming up. As I was doing my dynamic stretching, I felt a little soreness in my foot. I was super tempted to just run and see how it did, but I decided it would be smarter to go with a low impact workout that day.

Wednesday – 4.77 mile run (10:01/mile)

I felt ready to attempt another run. I had 5 miles on my training plan for the day, so I thought I’d aim for something around 4-5 miles as long as my foot was feeling ok. My foot was feeling good as I got going. My legs were tired–my calves were tight for some reason–so pace was a little slow, but I was so happy to get through the run ok.

Later that afternoon, it ended up being a cloudy, rainy day so we went shopping. As we were walking around the outlet mall, I noticed my foot hurting. *Crap* I had been thinking about going to a doctor if my foot still didn’t seem like it was getting better and this pushed me over the edge to wanting to do that.

Thursday – 7.79 mile bike ride (35 minutes)

I had to say good-bye to the beach and travel home, but I was back early enough to get in a short workout on the stationary bike. My foot was feeling ok, but I wanted to take it easy.

Friday – rest

I had a doctor appointment in the morning for my foot. They did X-rays which didn’t show a stress reaction or stress fracture. That was good, but the doc said it could still be early, so something just isn’t showing up. He said and MRI is an option to see more. I’m giving it another week of rest/cross training before I think about going that route.

I’m working on finding some cross training things that will still help me keep up my fitness. I’ll keep biking and might try to do some pool running and swimming.

Saturday – 12.88 mile bike ride (1:10:08)

This was supposed to be the day I did my second 20 mile run. I woke up and it was 55 and sunny. An absolute perfect day for running. But, I was not running. I had already decided that attempting a 20 mile run would not be a good idea. I set out for a bike ride instead. My foot did fine, but my butt and hamstrings were sore afterwards–not used to that much time on a bike seat.

I was super frustrated and bummed that I couldn’t run. I have one 20 miler under my belt, but I had a goal of getting in two for this training cycle to hopefully help me be even more prepared for marathon day. I’m a little anxious thinking staying in shape for the big day without Hanging out with a cute kiddo in the afternoon while babysitting for friends helped brighten my mood. 🙂

Sunday – Flag football tournament

Sunday was the Touch of Football event benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. The flag football tournament took place at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the MN Vikings play. I was taking it really easy with my foot, and luckily had a very understanding team. We did A LOT better than last year and had a lot of fun for a good cause!

I am hoping and praying that some more rest and cross training will help me get to the marathon start line healthy enough to still have a good race.

How have you dealt with a running injury close to a race?