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? 

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Vancouver Half Training – Week 7

Finally getting back at the weekly recaps. We’re passed the halfway point in the training cycle, so mileage is getting higher, but so far feeling good.

Monday – cross training

I did a leg workout, as my cross training for the day.

Tuesday – 4.76 miles (9:33/mile)

My hamstring was bugging me a little during Monday’s leg workout. Felt tight and sore. Could’ve been the flag football and busy previous week, but I wasn’t sure what this run would be like. I ended up being able to do all of the miles I needed to and kept a good pace with no issues.

Wednesday – rest day

I picked up a friend and we headed to book club for the evening.

Thursday – 7 miles (9:28/mile)

I had the day off from work, so it was easy to fit in a longer weekday run. I also managed to get in an ab workout.

Friday – 3 miles (9:07/mile)

We had the Run@Work 5K over our lunch hour, so I ran with Kate. We started somewhere in the middle of the corral and planned to run between a 9:00-9:30 pace. The course starts on a steep uphill, but you’re met with an immediate downhill and then it got flat for a while. It was an out and back course, so we had to deal with the hills one last time, but it ended with a downhill. Overall, a great race except they didn’t have cups at the finish line for water.

runatwork5k

I took the afternoon off from work, so I headed home and did a little strength training.

sweaty selfie
sweaty selfie

Then I met up with Hyedi to hang with her and her son at a nearby playground. So cute watching him explore!

Saturday – 4.01 miles (9:35/mile)

I got up and did a short, easy run before heading to the farmers market to pick up some veggies for the week. Also had to get a delicious Rise Bagel and Arrowhead coffee.

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I spent the rest of the day grocery shopping, cleaning and relaxing.

Sunday – 9.06 miles (9:29/mile)

I headed to the lakes for a change of scenery. I planned to park at Lake Harriet, but several streets were closed for a bike tour, so I changed my plan and headed to Lake Calhoun. Legs felt pretty fresh even though I’d had several run days in a row. By the last 2 miles my legs were feeling it a little, but I was also feeling thirsty, so might have been a touch dehydrated. I guzzled down my water when I was done and headed home.

Time to rest up before the start of another week!

Day off in pictures

After several busy weeks at work, I took a much needed day off on Thursday to relax and have some “me” time.

I started the day with coffee in my favorite mug.

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Then headed out for a run and did an ab workout.

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For lunch, I made a fish taco bowl.

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I pampered myself with a haircut in the afternoon.

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And picked up a sweet treat.

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I enjoyed my caffeine and chocolate while working on some spin4 stuff for our upcoming event (I’m on the planning committee).

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Later, I met a friend for dinner at Parlour. We had to have the burger – so good!

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All in all, a lovely day off!

What would you do on a day off?

Vancouver Half Training – Week 3

This is coming a bit later than I planned. It’s been a busy week.

I had to make some tweaks to the training plan last week due to weather and my knee feeling “off.” Changed up the mileage a tad on a couple of runs and swapped a run for the elliptical for something low impact. Overall not too bad of a week for training.

Monday – 2.43 mile walk (40 minutes)

Just did a walk on this cross training day.

Tuesday – 3.5 miles (9:51/mile pace) 

Kate and I were planning to meet up for a run, but rain moved in, so we called for a literal rain check. I hit the workout room for an indoor run on the treadmill. Had some Olympic track & field for motivation.

treadmill

It always happens that after running outside consistently I remember how much I dislike the treadmill. I feel like my form is different or I’m not as relaxed. My knee started to hurt a tiny bit during the run. It’s been a little off lately. Not sure what’s going on there.

I made it through the run and then looked out the window to see a beautiful, epic rainbow over the river. It had stopped raining so I darted outside to snap some pictures. My camera couldn’t do this thing justice.

rainbow1

rainbow2

Wednesday – rest day

I had a Spin4 planning committee meeting after work (an upcoming CCFA event!) and then I headed straight to book club, so I embraced the rest day after my knee feeling weird the day before.

Thursday – 35 minute elliptical

The weather wasn’t fabulous again, so I opted to swap my run for an elliptical workout to give the knee an extra break.

Friday – rest day

Saturday – 3.82 miles (9:42/mile pace)

I woke up about 7:30 and checked the weather. Looked like rain was coming in and it would be rainy most of the day. I decided to get up and try to outrun the rain. I had 3 mile run on my plan, but I wanted to do closer to 4 since I skipped a run during the week.

Of course it started lightly sprinkling as soon as I walked outside. The light sprinkle lasted most of the run and then the rain picked up in the last mile. It actually felt good to run in the rain for a little bit. I stopped at 3.84 miles and felt good about it. And the knee felt good, too.

rain

That night I met up with some college friends to grab Chinese food at Village Wok one more time before it gets torn down. So sad to see a campus staple going away. All in the name of another apartment building. There’s a sign in the window that says Village Wok will be back, but I know it won’t be the same.

Sesame chicken
Sesame chicken

Sunday – 6.27 miles (9:36/mile pace) and 32 minute walk

It was a gorgeous morning, so I decided to head over to Lake Nokomis for my long run.

nokomis

I felt good running around the lake. My knee hurt a tiny bit around mile 4.5 (grrr), but then it went away. Not sure what’s up with that, but it’s annoying! I’m got a plan to start doing more consistent strength training that I’m hoping will help.

I didn’t have much going on the rest of the day, so I got to relax. I was feeling restless in the afternoon and decided to go out for a walk before dinner just to get a little more fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.

Looking Ahead and a Few Favorite Races

This post was inspired by Eventbrite. All opinions are my own. 

Now that the Garry Bjorklund Half is done, I’ve been looking ahead at the second half of the year and my upcoming races. My big thing will be my third half of the year at the end of October. It’s the Vancouver Half, and I’m super excited for this runcation (and hopefully another PR)! I’ll officially start training for that Aug. 1. I’ve got a 5K in August and a 10 mile and 10K  in the fall that will fit nicely in my training plan. I might keep an eye out for some other small 5Ks or fun races as well. Eventbrite’s local events page is a good place to find and sign up for races in your local area. I’ve also heard their event planning page is a great resource for organizing your own race or charity run.

Three of my four upcoming races will be new ones for me. I love trying out new races and experiencing different courses, but I also have some favorite races that I can’t help but do every year. One that I had done every year (until last year) was the Building Strength 5K. It was the first 5K I ever did, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a small 5K that benefits a great cause–I love those kinds of races. The energy at big races is exciting and a lot of them have charity partners, but I feel a little closer to the cause when I do the smaller community races. It feels good to do something I love while supporting organizations and people who are doing some good. I’m going to have to miss the Building Strength 5K again this year, but I really hope I can be back in 2017!

After the Building Strength 5K in 2012 - my first 5K!
After the Building Strength 5K in 2012 – my first 5K!

Another one of my favorite races I do every year is Goldy’s 10 mile. That was the first long distance race I ever did and as a Gopher alumni, I love running around campus and finishing on the 50 yard line of the football stadium. This race made me fall in love with the 10 mile distance. I’ve seen my time improve on this (hilly) course each year. It’s a great spring race to keep me running through the cold MN winters, too!

Goldy's 10 mile finish line
Goldy’s 10 mile 2013 (my first!)
Goldys2
Goldy’s 10 mile 2015

One more race favorite – the Turkey Trot in my hometown. My family and I have done this the last few years. They do the 2 mile walk and I do the 5 mile run. I love starting out Thanksgiving with a run. And you get a mini pumpkin pie!

Who needs a medal when there's pie?!
Who needs a medal when there’s pie?!

What races/events do you have for the 2nd half of 2016? What are some races you do every year? 

 

Lola’s Half Marathon Goals

Hey all! Just stopping by because I’m running a half marathon tomorrow! Unfortunately the weather is looking a bit dicey. There’s a 50-60% chance of rain through the early morning hours. Not sure what that’s going to mean for the race, so I’ll have to arrive prepared for anything.

I’ve been thinking about my goals for this–my third–half marathon. I came up with my A, B, and C goals:

A: Average 10 minute miles and finish in 2 hours and 11 minutes or faster.

B: Finish in under 2 hours 14 minutes and 45 seconds (my current PR)

C: Finish.

I feel like my training has prepared me to reach my A goal, but of course there are lots of things you can’t control/predict for race day. We’ll see what the weather is like and how my legs feel. In the end, that C goal is the important thing – to cross the finish line no matter how long it takes.

Stay tuned for a race recap!

Who else is racing this weekend?

Top 13 Runs of 2013

Well, since everybody’s doing it, I guess a recap of 2013 running is due. In all seriousness, it was nice to look back and reflect on my training and races from this past year. 2013 was my first full year of running, and I totally exceeded my expectations. I ran more races and longer distances than I thought I’d be able to. I stepped out of my comfort zone several times by signing up for various races, and they all paid off. I want to keep that going in 2014.

So, here are my top 13 runs of the year. Lots of them are races because those are often the most memorable, but I realized I have some fun runs and training runs that stick out in my mind for 2013 too.

Las Vegas Half Marathon with Team Challenge: This race stands out for more than just running the Las Vegas strip at night. I got to run with people from across the country representing Team Challenge and raise awareness for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Documenting my training and fundraising for this race was the whole reason I started this blog. I met great people and really learned to open up about my ulcerative colitis.

Minnesota/Dakotas Team!
Minnesota/Dakotas Team!

Monster Dash Half: This was my very first half marathon, and it fell on my birthday. I was really happy with my performance in this race.

MD finiser

Big Ten 10K in Chicago: Hyedi and I ran (and ate) our way through Chicago this summer and it was awesome! We’re already plotting our next destination race.

Me and Goldy at Big Ten 10K
Me and Goldy at Big Ten 10K

Myrtle Beach: I traveled to Myrtle Beach with my family over the summer and got to do some runs on the beach. I was training for Ragnar Relay and half marathons. If you’re gonna be training, you might as well do it somewhere beautiful!

Morning run on the beach
Morning run on the beach

Ragnar (Leg 3): I ran 3 legs for our Ragnar Relay, but my third leg stands out to me. It was my longest leg (6.7 miles), I was running on a couple hours of sleep, and it was hot in the middle of the afternoon in August. But, even with all of that, I felt great the entire way. I ran faster than I expected (and faster than my team expected). Great way to end my first relay race!

After Ragnar Relay 2013
After Ragnar Relay 2013

10 mile milestone run: I did a 10 mile training run around a couple of the Minneapolis Lakes as training for my half marathons, and this one stands out because it was one of those running milestones where I ran farther than I had ever run. On top of that, it was a gorgeous day to be running around the lakes!

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Lake Nokomis runs (and Sandcastle for dinner after): I fell in love with running around this lake over the summer. I loved all of training and fun runs I did there. Having a super yummy restaurant there made it a great place to meet up with friends for a run and some food.

Post run dinner by the lake
Post run dinner by the lake

Turkey trot: I did a 5 mile turkey trot on Thanksgiving. It was just a couple weeks after the Las Vegas half, but I felt great and ran a bit faster than I thought I’d be able to. Plus, we got pie!

Who needs a medal when there's pie?!
Who needs a medal when there’s pie?!

Run @ Work 5K: I PR’d! And that made it very memorable 🙂

Finish line!
Finish line!

Goldy’s 10 mile: It was literally last New Year’s Eve that I registered for this race. At the time, I hadn’t run anything longer than a 5K, so 10 miles was a huge step for me. Signing up for this race was a New Year’s resolution to myself to make sure I kept up with running during the winter, and it totally worked! I ran a great race, had so much fun, and gained a lot of confidence. And now, I’m coming full circle and have once again registered for Goldy’s 10 mile on New Year’s Eve. Bring it on!

Finished on 50 yard line
Finished on 50 yard line

Get in Gear 10K: This race was just 2 weeks after Goldy’s 10 mile, so I wasn’t sure how it would go. I started out and felt great. Apparently the 10 mile training did wonders for my 10K because I finished in 1:00:04 and was not expecting that at all! That’s still my current 10K PR, but I’ll be back for the 2014 Get in Gear and hope to break that 1 hour mark.

8 mile training run on Summit: This was a chilly Sunday morning training run with my Team Challenge group, but it was a new location for me to run. Summit is a street in St. Paul. It’s got a slight hill that starts around mile 21 of the Twin Cities marathon, so it has a bit of a reputation. It’s not a super steep, but I imagine any incline at that point in a marathon is not pleasant. The street is also lined by beautiful houses, so I was excited to run in this iconic area of the city.

Summit Brewery Beer Run 5K: I took this race really easy because it was the day after my 5K PR. I ran with some friends and it was a gorgeous day for a leisurely 5K. Plus, it ended with beer and bagels, so who can complain?!

Beer and bagels - breakfast of champions ;)
Beer and bagels – breakfast of champions 😉

I’m so excited for all of the races I have planned for 2014 and hope you’ll continue to join me on this fun run we call life! Happy New Year!

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? Any New Year’s resolutions involving running?