Friday, June 29, 2012

Trust your Struggle

I keep this in my head and it comes in handy for AMs and days when I am struggling. Struggling with low energy, lack of focus, a new ache or pain or just the balancing act of it all. Today I woke up that calf being tight again when I was walking especially on the stairs I could feel it's tightness. Add overall low energy and this heat wave that is looming - I am struggling to stay focused and positive.

It is funning how you can have some great days like yesterday that turned into days of struggling the next day. Who knows why? But I was on cloud nine yesterday and really focused and excited but today I am struggling to find energy.

On days like today, I wonder how I am going to contiune to pull down 70 mile weeks in the midst of this heat and summer break. It is truly hard for me to be focused during the summer. Not only because the kids are home but because of the relationship I have always had with summer. Like it is the chill season where you relax a lot, swim a lot in the pool and having lazy evenings drinking some firefly lemonade. Summer has always been my down training season where I had start ramping back up for the fall in August. This is not the summer I have had in the past so I am learning to adapt but there is a voice inside me that yearns for those times too and thus I struggle.

These are thoughts & quotes that I try to counter that voice of doubt & fatigue -

You can't have the rainbow with the rain.

The thing you want is on the other side of this struggle. You can have anything you are willing to struggle for.

A smooth sea never made for a skilled sailor.

Do not pray that your path be easier but that you are blessed with more tools and resources to navigate your path.

“Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory.”
–Mahatma Gandhi

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

Whatever the struggle, continue the climb. It may be only one step to the summit.

For better or worse, our future will be determined in large part by our dreams and by the struggle to make them real.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Ran

I was able to run today. Woo Hoo! Calf was a bit sore but held up fine for a nice 6 mile run. It was the prettiest AM we've had in a while. I totally enjoyed every a moment of this run and said many prayers of gratitude that I was able to run today.

Now I think I am out of the woods on this calf issue. I am contiuning to ice, heat and self massage & AIS. Post run I was thinking about how I have not been doing a very good job of taking care of my body in the past couple of weeks. I was rushing the post run stretching & flexibilty stuff and/or totally skipping it all due trying to get evertyhing in before I had to get kids off to camps or get them from camps or just trying to get out of the heat. Sometimes after a run I could barely tolerate the heat & sun to do my cool-down stretch routine. Honestly having to do that soemtimes a twice a day was making think I could skip it once an while. Yes, I was not being the runner that I am in the school but this issue was a reminder that stuff is important as the running. Do all the work not only the running. I have to figure out a way to be better about all this stuff for the next 6 weeks! Can't take my body for grant as I ask a whole lot from it.

‎"Be good to yourself. You are God manifested, and that's reason enough to treat yourself kindly." - Wayne Dyer

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training Pause Maybe??

Today I had a big workout planned that I was sort of scared of. It was 2X3 miles @7:05-6:55 pace. Yep that is faster than I just ran that 5K. I was preparing for it by not thinking too much about it as to not let it freak me out. There is something soothing about a warm-up that helps calm the nerves a bit. During the stride portion of my warm-up, I noticed one of my calf muscles feeling funky. Nothing too concerning but noticeable.

I decided to take this work out indoors on the treadmill as to get away from the mid-morning heat. Plus I really like having water on hand.

Okay jumped on and hit 8.6 on the treadmill and went sailing through the first one pretty easily but I was starting to feel that calf muscle. With one mile left, I dropped the pace 8.8 which is 6:53. Just want to finish this off and stretch the tighting calf.

4 minute rest to stretch and calf was tight and a little tender. I made the call to get through the workout on it and said a prayer I was not going to do any damage.

Killed the second 3 mile interval mostly because I wanted to get off the calf sooner than later. Run first miles @ 7:03, second @ 6:58 and third @ 6:53.

Now to attend to the calf. Yes, sore to the touch after run and funky to walk on. Luckily I had a pre-scheduled massage this afternoon. She went to town on my calf muscles which were in need of some deep work as they had been negilent for 2 months. Especially needed the work with sn increase in speed & sprint work that demands more out of the calf especially in racing flats on the track.

Coach Jeff thinks it is going to be fine with maybe one day off or two days to let the muscle fibers heal. Since I have had only 1 rest day since my cruise in May, he thinks it will do more good than harm to rest so I can be strong for the weekend. I am hoping it feels good tomorrow so I can run easy as it suppose to be like the nicest and coolest AM that we have had in 2 months. 55 with low humidity folks!!! Please, Please, Please do not have me resting on a day like that!! What the kicker is that our weather is going to be like 100 + over the weekend so I was looking forward to enjoying a run before I had to gut it out in the tough conditions of this weekend.

So I lay here with my compression socks on thinking positive & healing thoughts.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do the hard work

Gosh I am feeling all inspired to write more of my thoughts.

I was thinking of this topic while grinding out 8 lovely miles on a very hot AM. Say 80ish with high humidity. Luckily I was running a trail that provided lots of shade, a nice breeze and lots of wildlife. Anyway it was a hard run in that it was not the most comfortable feeling as sweat was rolling off me saturating my clothes and I could feel the wheezing of my lungs trying to gather some oxygen but at the same time there several things about it the made it doable like I said shade, breeze and wildlife.

So an easy 8 miles that was a bit uncomfortable made me think of this of a quote I had come across "Do the Hard Work". Sometimes we wait for all the conditions to be perfect to get after it. It has been my experience that the conditions for chasing your dreams are rarely ideal. For me, I have had to come to accept the summer time training conditions as they are and commit to doing the work. All of it - the hard work especially of gutting out those miles in tough conditions.

Using your gifts

Do you know your gifts? Are you using your gifts?

I think the most powerful and amazing feeling is knowing your gifts, honoring your gifts and using them. The joy of finding them and using them is amazing. It gives you the courage not to compare your gifts to others gifts. It allows a since of pride in what God has given you. You do not wish for different gifts or gifts that are not yours.

I honor my gifts by using them daily and knowing that I am perfect as God created me. I do not need to punish myself for not being like someone else. I accept that I that I have gifts that others do not have and they have gifts that I do not have. I celebrate my gifts while celebrating their gifts. Not judging myself or them for not sharing in the same gifts.

I think as mothers & women we can often get in a trap of comparing our journey and gifts to other mothers/women. I see this so often in the community I live in. I celebrate the uniqueinss of the stay at home mom who takes extra pride in the decorating of her home, the dress of her children and rpide she takes in partiticpating at the school activities. I celebrate the working mom who strives to balance a career with the demands of motherhood. But I also celebrate my uniqueniess as a mom & women. My gift is not in creating a Martha Stewart life for my family or children. My gift is in setting a example and role model of going after your dreams and overcoming obstacles and doing it with passion and love. Those are my gifts to my children and family. I embrace them and know it why I was put in on this earth. I do not measure myself again other women and mothers but I measure myself against how much love, passion, courage I show my children & family day in and day out. Lessons are caught not taught - I must be in life what I hope my children are in their life. Courageous, Strong and Willing to fight the good fight for whatever passion stirs in their hearts.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week in Review

Officially the hottest and swampiest week thus far here in South Carolina! I am fairing better than I thought. I think what has really helped keep me tough through it has some awesome running company in the past week. I got to run with a dear friend and lots of new running friends. I usually am fine training alone but I have really needed the company and friendship to help grind out these miles is these adverse weather conditions. I actually read the humidity is the poor man's or lowlanders subsitute for alitude training. I am banking on that so when fall weather arrives, I suddenly feel like superwoman.

Monday (AM) 6 easy (PM) 4 easy
Tuesday 8 easy
Wednesday 3 w/u, 1 mile @ 6:30, 1000 @ 3:55, 800 @ 3:00, 600@ 2:10, 400 @ 1:25, 2 C/D
Thursday (AM) 10 easy (PM) 4 Easy
Friday 6 Easy & Strides
Saturday (AM) 2 w/u, 5K race, 1 C/D (PM) 6 Recovery
Sunday 14 easy (Soupy & Swampy)

Total = 71 Miles

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Good in a different way

So I did it and pretty proud of myself. I had an amazing day and not an amazing PR sort of day but in a day where I can be happy that I accomplish what I set out to do. Not all runs are about PRs anyways...

I woke-up more nervous than I am usually am about a race and that feeling of why am I doing this hit a couple of times. I kept settling those thoughs with thoughts like it is what you are meant to be doing and it is going to be good. Trying to get that brave face that I had yesterday. And I knew it was a muggy AM as just walking around the house you could almost since the muggy air outside. I kept trying distract myself with other thoughts beside the weather conditions. I even covered the temp gauge on my car dashboard.

Arrived at race parking a bit later due to not exactly knowing where to go so I hurried to do race day registeration and get in my warm-up which I had to cut short by a mile due to time constraints. I had just enough time to drop my watch in my car and get to race start.

I lined up and my mind was sort of blank. I can't even think of the thoughts that were in my head but atleast I know I was not focusing on the heat & humidity. We were off straight up a steady uphill climb which leveled out somewhere before the first mile marker, my breathing was a bit strained so I slowed up a bit and focused on relaxing over the next 2 miles of rolling hills, nothing to big but a steady rolling and just after the 2 mile marker I started working to pick people off that was my only focus. I knew I was in a good place when my breathing was relaxed and everyone I was passing was laboring hard for breath. As I passed a gal, she said good job and than I started to encourage her to come with me. It was really nice cause in a way we worked to help each other in. She fell off behind in the final push in but held strong enough only finish 9 seconds off me.

I finished 22:17 which is a PR. Since I have not raced a 5K in a year since I bomb very badly at Blue Points last summer with a 23:35 finishing time. I know that I am way fitter than the 5K represents but hey what can you do when temp is 76 degrees & 90% humditiy and dewpoint over 70. Plus I am training though this race with no race specific work to get me in specficially ready for this race. I am pleased..did I hope for more? Yes! Does my coach think I am way better shape than this number represents? Yes If I had worn a watch, would i have pushed harder if I knew the spilts and distance? Maybe but maybe not ....but I know I ran the best I could with the conditions that I had today and even manage to make a friend and push her to a PR. So not a bad!

Friday, June 22, 2012

You must do the thing you think you can not do!

There is a Eleanor Roosevelt saying which includes the phrase "you must do the thing you think you can not do"!

Well tomorrow I am going to face a fear head on! I am pretty proud of myself from no longer hiding from it and have replaced the fear & anxiety with curisoity.

I am sure you may be thinking what am I going on about! Tomorrow I am going to race a 5K!! Yeah - The 5K is the big bad wolf in my mind and it time to tell the wolf I am longer afraid of it. To that end the 5K in heat & humidity is sure to have had me turning in the opposite directions. No sir not tomorrow!!! It will be me, that 5K with plenty of heat and humidity and NO WATCH! I will racing with no watch - completely on effort. I am no longer going to let a garmin tell me what my body knows how to do. The watch is not going tell me to speed up or slow down. I am going to listen to my body, be in the moment and chase down some competitors. Come what may, I am sure to be happy with my performance if I can stay in the moment and let my body run fast.

I can not expect to become the runner I want to be by hiding from the one race distance that had freaked me out.

I have always been able to do well at the marathon distance, maybe outperform for my fitness level by in the past I have always underperformed in the 5K.

I need to be face up to it so I can keep growing as a person and a runner. Tomorrow I grow!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Getting Shit Done

Wow! It has been while since I have written something in this blog. I do feel a sense of loss about not blogging about my training but I think my mind and life has been so full that blogging has taken a back burner.

Training has had its ups and down over the course of the past couple of weeks. I am very grateful to be training consistently but it has not been easy. Lots of juggling and sitting tired in the AMs when preparing for my run thinking I am doing the right thing and coaxing myself to get out the door. Balancing the kids at home and getting my workload is testing me and my commitment add the heat and I am doing lots of praying for guidance and strength. My mileage and intensity is double what I was doing last summer. Recently, I compared my training schedule from last summer to this summer and it was shocking to see the progression in not only weekly mileage but paces & volume of workload.

I am proud of myself for getting shit done this summer :-) For instance, yesterday morning did not permit me to get out early before my husband left for work so I had to wait to get my daughter and son to camp and than run the workout at the treadmill at the Y. I had just enough time to get the warm-up & workout in but not enough to get the cool-down run in before to grab my son from baseball camp. I jetted to the althetic fields 10 minutes away to grab him and realized I could do the cool-down at the fields. So I told Christian to run 2 miles with me and he agreed. He would run one lap, rest and watch me and than catch me on the next lap. Awesome - post-run stretch in and we were off to grab Joey at her camp. Felt like an accomplished Mom on this morning!

So getting creative has allowed me to get my runs in when 3 weeks ago I was anxious about how I was going to train at the level I had been training before school got out.

I have been pondering my Fall/Winter marathon plans. I think I am reconsidering my plans and may have a new marathon picked out. California International Marathon is being highly considered over Disney Marathon. Something is tugging my heart & mind on that one. It keeps coming up and coming back to me. Like it is tapping me on the shoulder! The other option is a local marathon in January - Charleston. I believe the ultimate call is going to be left up to coach and what he thinks is best.

I will add my last week in review in this post -

Pretty proud to get though this week with 2 sick kids in which I managed to get both of their illnesses. Most all of these miles were accomplished while having a sore throat virus and than an upper resipratory virus. I had hoped to hit those MP miles much harder in the long run - target was 7:10 but alas my lungs did want to participate in that endeavor.

Monday (AM) 7 easy (PM) 4 easy
Tuesday - 3 mile w/u, 4 X (600, 400, 200), 2 c/d
Wednesday - 6 Recovery
Thursday - (AM) 10 Miles easy (PM) 4 Miles
Friday - 3 mile w/u, 1 mile @ 6:45, 3X150, 6X100, 3X200, 1 mile@ 7:00, 1 @ 6:55, 2 mile C/D
Saturday - 6 miles easy
Sunday - 16 miles miles 12-15 @ 7:26 average

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pick Your Poison

This title came to mind as I was gutty it out in 73 degrees, 100% Humidity & dewpoint @ 70. This figure lets you know the air is lacking serious amounts of oxygen which is sort of required for sprint work. Yeah sprint work not to be confused with speed work. Sprint work is more of effort level at 100% percent rather than speed work which are efforts in the 90-95% range. Woo Hoo!

So as I was saying about gutty it out in these weather conditions, I thought about a recent conversation with a Seattle friend and runner. She was commenting on how hard to motivate yourself to run in the AM when it raining and dark. To me that weather sounds delightful and strangely running in warm temps sounded tempting to her. Grass is always greener sort of conservation.

Six months out of the year here in the Carolinas, it is some varition of hot & humid. Sometimes really hot and low humidity, sometime lower temps but super high humidity like today or you can get socked with a combination of both delightful weather patterns. Too me this is tough to others not so much. To some running in the rain is not so enjoyable, to me it is bliss. Or god for bid, I had to live back home in Michigan, you'd have long, cold & snowy winter. Yikes but doable. So in the end I will say the humidity is my poison but I am getting better & better at dealing with effects on me mentally & phyiscally. But if I got to pick the poison - it would be hands down the long & rainy 6 month stretch in Seattle.

I faced up to it today and feel proud that I didn't let it get the best of me on the track.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Its Friday

It's Friday, Woo hoo!!! I made it though the first week of the summer!!! Yeah!!!! Everybody (ME)is looking forward to the weekend. Fun Fun Fun - Looking forward to the weekend!!! Run Run Run all weekend long for me!! I got this, you got this!! It's Friday, Friday - Got to get down on Friday - Running, Yeah, Running, Yeah!!! Me - so excited!!! Fun, Fun, Fun - Looking forward to the weekend!!

Sound familiar - taken from the It's Friday song!!! Super Cheesy I know but this is what having a positive attitude in the face of fighting and demanding children all summer will have to be like.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

More life and less running

I think the business of life these last few weeks has keep me so busy that being all inspirational has gone by the way side. I get moments on a run when I am thinking all these awesome thoughts but once I get in the door they are lost in myriad of mommy duties and I never really have a chance to get back to my deep thoughts.

The transition with having the kids home for the summer has gone better than I was preparing for. I took a chill pill and I think that helped. I am not trying to do everything. I get my runs in, chill in the AM with the kids, maybe we get out in the afternoon or maybe we don't, maybe I clean or maybe I won't, maybe I will hit the grocery store or maybe I won't, maybe I take them to pool or maybe I won' get the jist, right I am just taking each moment and day on how I feel rather trying to be super mom with a big list of things to do and the feeling of being overwhelmed becaIuse I am running around all day. Yeah this is the summer of the chill pill, go with the flow, relax and let go.

In fact to illustrate my point, yesterday, Joey, my daughter of 6 had what I call summer hair where her and I never got around to brushing it out. hehehe C'est la vie!

Yesterday was National Running Day - I decided to "Carpe the hell out of that diem" with an unplanned double run. What also really inspired the double was the Seattle-like weather pattern we had yesterday. It was most pleasant running weather we have had in this part of the country in months. I had to cease the day as it is unlikely to stay for more than 2 days so DOUBLES - So awesome!!!

I also am very excited about my new running partner!! She is so awesome and I think we are good balance for each other. She is previous colleigate runner and was on the Olympic Trials training circuit when injuries derailed those efforts. She is now a mom and has not run competitively since just runs for fun and building back the mileage. We have a good easy vibe running together. I think it is really going to help her & I get miles in together. Woo hoo!! Cranked out 9 easy miles this AM @ 8:37 pace.

Some of know I ran a race this weekend. It was more suppose to be just a hard effort not 100% effort given I was not tapered and came off a 2 week high block in addition, I had done no race specific work to prepare the race so the effort was all on general fitness. Goal was to go in to practice pacing and racing skills. I knew my coach did not want me near PR effort for the half but honestly in the back of my head I was like hoping and thinking I would PR huge. I mean the work I have put in for the last 10-12 weeks should put me in PR territory. I had that PR plan in my head. How humbling life can be! hehehe I bombed the race! I mean bad - hehehe I went in knowing it was not a PR course and coach did not want me to run a PR effort but I thought I was so strong I could handle it. Let me first state I can't read fricking elevation charts and have no idea what a hill on a chart actually will feel like running. The course started with a very steep downhill - coach told me very firmly not to use that downhill. I had to run very controlled while I watched what seemed like half the runners in the race use the downhill wildly past me. I had to be patient and control the downhill decent. At the end of the downhill something clicked - I will be running up that bitch of downhill starting at 11.5. I thought Fuck in my head but tried not to think about and just set into a steady pace. I realized about 3 miles in that I did not feel great at all but rather sluggish. Than a series of more steep hills starting around mile 5-8. The bummer was the downhills were so steep and curvy you couldn't use the downhill to gain back what you lost on the uphill. I had manage to keep my spilts pretty even and pick off all those runners who took that downhill fast but around mile 10 I was starting to struggle myself and than it hit me that in about a mile I had to start up that mile and half climb to the finish. I just got overwhelmed and disappointed that the PR in my head was slipping away. I think having focused on getting a PR was scuh a bad way to approach this race cause as soon as that slipped me fingers I was pretty upset and didn't really push as hard and sort give up before I even hit that hill. At the finish, I met with a few gals that I chatted before the race and found out the hills also crushed their time hopes - one gal had run 1:30 6 weeks before at another half in Raliegh and only managed 1:39 on this course and a gal that I had hoped and trained for 1:36 finished jsut 45 seconds a head of me 1:42. So I wasn't too dishearted and than I found out I was 1st in my age group and 10th women overall which totally changed my perception of the course and my run. I did get a little upset though and my coach quickly pointed out that given my high mileage my body was not prepared for 100% effort and that is why he did not want me at 100%. Ah - Live and learn - Listen to your coach and not think you are above his plans and recommendations.

I am learning though and this journey is teaching me so much about myself and about life in general. I love this path and so so so thankful for everyday - good and bad that I get to be on this journey. Yes my faith will be test, yes, there is a voice sometimes where that voice in my head says you won't make it, every step I am taking sometimes seems like lost with no direction, yes the struggles I am facing my take the wind out my sails sometimes and sometimes they knock me down by I am not breaking. Just have to keep going, Just keep being strong, Just keep pushing on..

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just life...

I haven't wrote much this week due to life outside of running just being busy and it is a down week so I am less focused on running. In fact, the extra rest makes me feel like I am on vacation. I think it has been very good for me overall to have some shorter and less demanding runs. I feel very much rested and recovered from last week. I should hit 57 miles over the weekend for the week which is amazing that is a recovery week for me and I feel rested from it.

I was feeling a bit stress this week about the kids being home all summer and me trying to keep my training in check so I can go into the fall strong. I was chatting with a friend about it this AM on my first early, early run. She told me to stop overthinking it and take it one day at a time. Which is totally sound advice and I need to remember that day in a day out and not get caught up in the stress of how will I manage.

One good thing is we have been hitting the pool the last couple of days and that is amazing for the legs..woo hoo! I am thinking a swim will help my legs recovery from all these before dawn runs. I just have to get back into this routine of early runs and days lazinen-it up at the pool during day. Not a bad life for sure just less focused and hurried.