Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thankful Tuesday

I have hermit issues at times...
I like solitude.  I enjoy starting my day quiet, alone, pounding the pavement, not passing another soul, just a few cars here and there...
I love having those moments to myself before work. I love starting in the dark and ending when there is just a crack of light; it gives me a sense of privacy and tranquility.
I love Spring weather.

Monday, I woke early - when I see this on my weather app it motivates me to get up and go!

Crisp and clear. I can push, I can enjoy it, I can get my breathing easily under control, this is my happy place.

Monday morning - 5 happy miles 
I decided to get up at 5 a.m. again this morning (Tuesday) and see how my legs would hold up for back to back to runs. I am eight weeks out of the boot now. I am enjoying some very happy runs, but my stamina has still not returned. I run, then I usually rest a lot.

It is still pretty dark at 5ish a.m., so I can't see my Garmin unless I turn the light on. I adjust my running pace solely by feel. I kind of like not seeing my splits until after I run. I have been pleasantly surprised. Paces I normally struggle to hit, I have been consistently sustaining a few miles at a time. I seriously have no idea where this is coming from, but it sure is fun! I'll ride the wave while it lasts! I know eventually I will settle in to my "summer" pace.

This morning's run felt a little challenging to my tired legs.
I worked really hard for my 5 miles today. I had a few moments when my form got sloppy and I had to think about picking up my knees, slow up a little, but somehow I ran faster than yesterday. I averaged a 9:22 pace. Craziness...

There are moments in the early morning hours, I don't want to get out of bed...I LOVE my snooze button, but I have tried to keep this "goal" going... 

These wonderful Spring mornings will soon fade away into a humid, sticky, 85 degree morning haze, and I will be thankful for waking up early and making the most of my Spring. 

I am still in recovery mode. I do wonder if I am running too much. I really am not sure. I am trying to go off feel. 
I ran 15 miles last week and honestly it felt like plenty.  I was worn out from the 15 miles I ran. I am not sure how much more I will run this week, but I will be thankful for every step!

Just four runs last week....
and three more miles on the treadmill later that day...

my joyous progression run


Anything you are thankful for today? Do you have hermit issues like me? Do you love to run by feel? 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Celebrating Small Gains

My thoughts for this post begin back on Wednesday...

but first I have to tell you, the weather has been amazing this past week. Wonderful, cool, morning temps, showed up right after my hot, 100% humidity race...gotta love it. 

Wednesday, hubby declared a rest day, which may have turned into a rest/cheat day. We went to O'Charley's. I usually try to be fairly healthy with my food choices even when we go out, but for whatever reason my self discipline went out the window. Those darn rolls...

Hubby however, is still on a roll making healthier choices in his diet and strength training.
That's us in April 2013               and April 2015
I am so proud of him! 30 lbs. lighter now and stronger. He has actually made big gains in his fitness level, the small stuff in this post is for me :) 

Somehow, my overindulgence turned out to be good fuel for my Thursday morning run. I went out the door at 5:25 a.m. and it was a delightful 47 degrees.  Perfect, crisp, bliss!

I ran a mile at a comfortable pace and loosened up my legs. When I heard the mile beep, I picked up the pace. I just felt on. The next mile beep, I picked it up again...
I was thrilled when I stopped my Garmin and saw I had knocked out four miles in 36:09. 
Trust me, I never run that fast! 

I didn't see my splits until later that day. I couldn't believe it, I was thrilled! It's just one run, but I am excited to see some gains, while I am still in rebuilding mode. 
My previous PR mile is 8:32
In a race situation it is 8:40

I could have kicked some tush, if I had that kind of weather during my last race.
Thursday evening, we got back to our routine after our declared rest/cheat day.
I was pedaling uphill, hubby was pedaling in front of me 
my legs were a little tired from my morning run

Busting it out
I still had my runner's high going, I was ready for some heavy stuff. I am close to achieving some personal weight goals. 
I can now push up about 67% of my body weight, maybe one day I will actually be strong enough to do a pull up!

A PR curl -  20 lbs. happened for one set of straight curls. They weren't pretty, but once I can get a weight up, it's just a matter of time before it starts to feel a little easier. I have been doing hammer curls with 17.5 and 20 lbs., but straight curls feel harder to me, and I always have to do them lighter...until now (•◡•) One day I will leave those 17.5 lbs. weights behind for good...

I started this journey using 5 lbs. weights

When I joined Gold's Gym back in 2012, they did an evaluation and checked my body fat percentage.  I had been battling my weight for a few years at that point, and was making very little progress. In 2012, when I gripped the handles of the body fat reader (I betcha there is a more technical name) it diagnosed me clearly overweight. I wasn't shocked, I just hated to see it. 

August 2010  - about 25 lbs. heavier 

That's me on the end - July 2010 

October 2010
Recently, I grabbed the handles of the body fat reader again. I was a little apprehensive about checking it; I knew it would be better, but the reality is, I am still not a super lean person. I have made it into the healthy body fat percentage group...finally. Just barely, but I am in! I still have a lovely layer of padding around my middle. I have never lost all the weight, but I gave up worrying about it. I keep trying to push my limits, gain more muscle, and let the rest work itself out. I try to keep my focus on the small strength gains I am making.

Sometimes, it's really good to take a moment, reflect on your journey, and celebrate your progress. 

Currently, it's the small gains that build my confidence, remind me I am on a healthier path, and...e
ventually, the small gains add up!

No significant change comes without a series of small gains.  However, I am always mindful...

Fitness is a moving target!  You never really "arrive".  

When you achieve a goal, it is time to throw your focus toward a new one!  

Thank you for understanding my nerdy gleefulness over four miles. 
Please tell me you have felt the same :) 

When was your last happy run?!
Do you ever roll out out bed and start running? Have any current fitness goals you are working on? or have a small gain you want to celebrate?

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. 426 ft. total elevation for the run

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 humidity...so 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,