Karen clutters up her little corner of the internet with her love of running

Monday, April 20, 2015

Petersburg Half Marathon ❤

I have missed some fun events due to my stress fracture.

March (I missed)
  • the chance to run my 1st marathon
  • a trail race (half marathon) 10 minutes from home 
  • the 10K that I've done three times in the past.
April (I missed)
  • my favorite 15K race, I've run the past two years.

I didn't want to miss out on another close to home event, so I decided to run the Petersburg Half Marathon. The web page promised battle re-enactments taking place while you run by! Sounded fun to me. note: Petersburg is an old civil war town. 

To say I am under-trained is an under statement. My longest runs the past two months have been one 10K and a few five milers. I think part of me is afraid I won't be able to run the distance anymore, and I feel like I am losing my identity as a runner. It's just like the pace problem, as soon as I could run again I started pushing because I just needed to prove to myself I could still do it. I don't want to cave and admit I've lost a bit of my fitness level while injured. Hard headed...
Anyway, summer will cure that, I have a limited window of time 
(right now) before it is consistently 90 degrees and humid. 

SO, I decide to run and all I could do to prepare, was get enough sleep and watch my food choices. So, I tried (•◡•) my best. 

 Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday...
I filled and drank this at work
took healthy lunches
and ate healthy stuff at dinner 

Race morning it was 100% humidity.  The start was at 7 a.m. and the temperature quickly climbed to 75, and it was sunny. Oh and hills! Check out the course elevation.

Runners be like...finally some downhill! 

I clicked off a few good miles 9:38, 9:37, 9:46, but I wasn't breathing as easy I should have been, due to the 10:21, 10:27, 10:28 and I felt better. Then, the hill work started zapping my energy even at the easier pace. 

The Galloway method saves me again. I turned on my timer, and the little break during mile 7 enabled me to run all of mile 8, and at mile 9, I started the 4 x 1(run/walk intervals) again. 

I saw my hubby at mile 8. Yes, he is ♡ amazing to wake up at 5 a.m. and go to race on a Saturday morning! Seeing him on the course always gives me a humongous pick me up. 

I was really hot at this point, but seeing Kenny was a definite mood lifter, can you tell?!

The second hour of this event there wasn't any shade on the course, just warm humid sunshine, but I was surviving due to the decent supply of Gatorade along the way. I was drinking the Gatorade, and dumping the water down my shirt!  I was surrounded by the same few ladies for the second half of the event, and everyone was taking short walk breaks, we would fall back, then catch back up to each other. We whined together about the heat, which made me feel better I wasn't the only one struggling, and we tried to encourage each other to get to the end.  I told myself I was running the last mile no matter what, no walk breaks on the last mile! At the mile 12 sign, I realized I had done pretty well time wise, and knew if I could just pick it up a little I was going to finish with a pretty decent time. Well....(hear the loud sigh) mile 12 is where my lack of training showed up. I tried to dig deep, and when the timer beeped...I just. couldn't. skip. the. walk. break. 

I was spent. I felt a bit defeated, and I had a little moment. I spent the next minute telling myself there was barely any distance left to cover, but no tenacity found. I could not make my feet run until I heard the beep.  My last mile was 11:05. 
2:14:51 my official finish time. 
Crossing the finish line was a challenge, the final stretch was across the old brick streets and I had no hope of accelerating on it.

I reminded myself at this point, it was silly to fret over a finish that could have been maybe a minute better. I had just finished 13. 1 freaking ❤ miles...
My grumpiness with myself quickly passed when I got a hold of 
my awesome looking medal! 

After race set up was pizza, pancakes, oatmeal, bananas, and beer (which I only had a sip of) and of course water! I downed two bottles and overall I was in good shape, the only thing revolting a bit was my tummy. 

I have not experienced any digestive issues since January. After the race I had that angry rumbling in my tummy, and I was bloated up like a beach ball. I am glad I wasn't far from home. After my shower I had to lay down for about 20 minutes and let my tummy get it together. I was grateful the episode passed pretty easily. Sorry about the TMI...
It's amazing how distance running can jumble up my insides.

Overall, it was a fabulous day! It was a fun course to run even though it was challenging. Honestly with the heat and humidity only getting worse from here, it was probably my last chance to run a decent half until Fall, so I am glad I seized the opportunity. 

A pretty sunrise to start the day
All photo cred goes to my sweet hubby :) 

Battle re-enactments
All I could think about was Beautiful Creatures lol 

It is always so fun before you get sweaty! 

Ewww! But I was dumping water over me to be fair lol 

yes. I. love. running.

Ouch! These bricks hurt

Woohoo! I am not dead! It is all good :) 

      Sadly, you can see how much my tummy had bloated - it's never totally flat, but it was puffed up!

I was so flipping hot!

Have you ever run to the boom of a cannon? 
Do you feel like it's lunch time when you are done running, even if it's only 9:30 in the morning? 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tag Your IT!

Darlene from My First 5K and more...  tagged me to share my...

Thanks Darlene! 
1) Location: Trail, Road, or Indoors?
Mostly paved, just running around the neighborhood for me...

Kind of boring...but it works! 

It's sad, but there is a lack of decent paved paths and parks close by to run in. I love to trail run, but haven't ventured back since my injury. I am still recovering, and a bit nervous about twisting my leg. I have fallen before because its very rooty and leaf covered where I go. 

This hurt that day, but I ran the next day and was fine :)

I do miss the quiet and the views on the trails.

2) Time of Day: Morning, Noon, or Evening? 

Usually it's a moon view for me very early in the morning lol but as the days are getting longer, I am starting to see more light on my morning runs.

3) Weather: Sunshine, Mild or Hot?
I don't do summer humidity well at all. I much rather be cold, but in sunshine! I can not take strong summer sun, I've had basil cells removed and I try to limit being out at peak times.

4) Fuel: Before, after, during?
I have become addicted to Nuun before and after. I will carry a hydration pack when it gets hot, but most runs in Fall, Spring, and Winter, I don't carry anything.
I do enjoy my hubby biking along with me so I can snag the water bottle from him :)

5) Accessories: Music, Watch & More?
Music - always! I have wireless headphones I love, and my Garmin Forerunner 110 is my constant companion. 

6) Rewards: Food, Wine, or …?
Water! I always drink a lot after running, and running motivates me to drink more through out the day.

Oh, and sometimes Waffle House scrambled eggs and cheese with hash browns after a long run.

7) Type of run: Long, tempo, intervals, hill repeats, progression, or recovery/easy?
Usually I am content if I am moving! I don't race much, so I often just run on feel. I am sure eventually, I will get back to the place where at least one work out a week is an interval or progression run, I enjoy both!

Have a great weekend! I have been ready for it since Monday!

I have been sitting here today visualizing myself happy at a finish line...

I am running a half marathon Saturday, even though I am totally unprepared!  I'll let you know how it goes.
What are you doing this weekend?

Hope your runs are happy ones, 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Last year, I wrote this about Boston 2014...
Boston 2014 was the kind of day many needed. A wonderful high to balance the darkness, a chance to honor loved ones, a step toward healing, a memory to cherish, and for some I am sure it felt like a chance for a fresh start. 
Boston Strong :) 

Cheers to a wonderful event Monday! Extra special wishes of health and speed to Heather from
and Lora
and Janae
and if you are running it and I didn't know, please tell me in the comments!

I told this story before, but it seems appropriate today...
My father was an amputee, he was hit by a car and his leg was crushed. Infection spread to his bone and he went through a few surgeries till eventually there wasn't enough of a leg to attach a prosthesis too. My dad spent 20 years on crutches before he passed away in 1986.
My pop got pretty good with those crutches though, he would play with me and try to "run" and he was fast! He dreamed about running. He often talked about running as fast as he could while growing up, and he missed being able to have that wonderful feeling of exertion. 
My Dad before he lost below the knee cap 
My Dad didn't take many pictures with his missing leg, I have very few (yes that's me)
That's me at 2 years old - my Dad battled infection for years after this
I admit, while injured it was easy to feel discouraged, and I certainly have felt irritated on a run when it isn't going quite right, but I shouldn't...
I should be grateful I am on my own two feet. 

Whether you can run like those who can qualify for Boston, or a bit slower like me (◕‿◕) running is a gift! 
Try to take a moment on your next run and just enjoy how wonderful it is be strong and running!

Hope your runs are happy ones, 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hamstring Hurdles

My hamstring is feeling a lot better. Icing did wonders. I think I am almost over this hurdle, as long as I don't try to push too much.
I ran 4 miles on Tuesday and I was alarmingly tight at the end. I could feel a hard tug all night, so I took Wednesday and Thursday off.
Friday I woke up and felt great, so I went out the door to run a 5K before work. It was 97% humidity, but a delightful 50ish degrees. 
I ended doing 5 miles and I was late to work   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  but it didn't matter because everyone is on Spring break.  It was just one of those runs where I found a happy pace, and I could have gone for miles. 

I walked a whole mile and did a few skips before I started running. I could feel some tightness on the hills that worked itself out while I was walking. Warming up extra long is good when in doubt.

On my typical route, I hit this spot about three minutes into my run. 

It's hard to tell from the pic, but it's a long gradual climb. At the top there's a short dip, then you go up again. It's about 72 ft. elevation gain. I think for my legs at this stage of healing, it's just too much, too soon into a run. 

My before work 5K's are awesome, but don't allow me the luxury of a long warm up, and I think that may have contributed to my hamstring issue. Usually, I walk about 3 minutes and I do a few skips. I always spend about 5 minutes static stretching when I am done. I need to work on some dynamic stretches to get my legs ready to run. 

Saturday I woke up and I felt good again. I walked about a half mile before I ran in the hot sunshine.

I did get the urge to pick up the pace on my last mile, but a half mile in I could feel that tug in my hamstring. I backed it down and started feeling comfortable again. 

My legs feel fatigued today, but no pain (◕‿◕)
Two runs back to back, guess who is worn out?!

I am plotting a new flatter route for my short morning runs, and thinking about the best short warm up I can do. 

How do you warm up before your runs? 
Do you do any dynamic stretches I should try? 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Two and Tooo Many

Two steps forward and a few steps back. 
That seems to be my pattern recovering from this stupid stress fracture
photo cred
I have a tightness/sore spot happening in my hamstring. 
I am sure it has something to do with being in the boot for five weeks and not bending or using my muscles in a normal way, because this has never been a problem area for me since I started running. 
My calf muscles are now feeling awesome, and I have not a hint of any pulsing, or soreness in the injury area when I run, but it took about 11 runs to get that point. Oddly, I still can't plank, it makes my shin ache. 
I guess it will just take a few more runs and sufficient rest to get my hamstring back to full strength.  Patience...I am trying to have patience
I suspect this is from pushing the pace on my last few runs. It is much harder to live in easy paced land than I expected. I missed running so much. I just want to push till I pant. 

This is not logical at all! 

I did better easing up on my pace on Tuesday's run - it was 92% humidity, but I could feel the tightening during my last mile. 

Time to rest...sighhhh, it's my own fault. !!*#%#!!!

If you aren't an animal lover this post will probably just make you think I am crazy. 
These are our furry babies.

I should not work full time and have this many animals, but I do.
I do spend a crazy amount of time pet cleaning every day, and it is a lot of responsibility, and if I could choose a perfect number I think I should have stopped at four, but I love them all. Working full time and trying to clean up behind these little critters consumes a large chunk of my life.
Once you add in my gym time and running, you can see why my closet cleaning, meal prepping, and other important chores in life I'd like (should) to do, take a back seat. There are not enough hours in the day.

As my animals age I will not be letting any more move in. I love them, but this is too many.
Hubby and I have a heart for animals, but I look forward to the day we just have one or two. We've had a lot of pets over the years! Each of our little critters has their own rescue story, and I will be adding tabs with a quick narrative explaining how we ended up with them one day soon. 

Hope your runs are happy ones, 

Tell me your about your love of furry creatures or not...
If you tell me I am crazy, I won't be offended, I think this is too many. 

Has your hamstring ever boycotted your running before? 

I am adding tabs on my home bar about my rescue kitties. Click if you want to read about them :) 
Otto's Story