Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thankful For Running

Ok, my internet hasn’t been working at home since I got back from Thanksgiving travelling hence the delayed post. I’m starting to think I should post twice a week rather than once a week since I always have so much to say!

Update on the knee: after lots stretching and foam rolling it is feeling much better but I haven’t done more than about 3 miles of running in one period. I took about a week off from running (which has really hurt my Holiday Booty Buster Challenge) but it has been beneficial so far. I did manage to get a 3 mile walk in with a good friend before the holidays. Then I did 3 miles on the beach on Saturday and 3 miles around my neighborhood in Wilmington, NC on Sunday. I tried to focus on my stride as well as listen to my body and I didn’t have that much pain at all, if any. I really think it’s because I need new shoes. Word to the wise: having good running shoes are a must! I have put this pair through the ringer and I am paying the price for not replacing them earlier. I am going to go for a run tomorrow but hoping to get some new kicks in a week or so. Oh, being a poor college student again has its ups and downs. ;-)

What my run on the beach looked like Saturday a.m.

I hope you all had a fabulous Turkey Day. Mine started off pretty awesome by volunteering at the Charleston Turkey Trot affectionately called the Gobble Wobble 5k. I’m really glad I volunteered because the volunteer shirts were much nicer than the runner’s shirts! I got a pretty Carolina blue (for the UNC girl) long sleeved shirt with the piggly wiggly logo on the back. For those of you who don’t know what the Piggly Wiggly is, it’s a local grocery store. Many out of towners get a good laugh out of the name and the fact that its logo is a smiling pig. I must admit, it’s a pretty nifty gimmick but I don’t shop there. I have other preferences (insert snobby look here).  I really loved helping out at the race setup and getting to see the race from a non-runner point of view. This race is one of the top 25 largest 5k’s in the United States and it’s crazy to see the waves of runner cross the finish line, it never seemed to end! I left just in time to see the elite runners cross the finish line and man, were they fast! It was on my way back to my car that I realized I was so happy to finally be able to call myself a runner and really mean it. I love being a runner. Everyone is so fun, happy for the most part and pretty healthy too. It makes me happy from the inside out.

Me and Mr. Pig!

My sweet volunteer shirt (back view)

Before the start of the Gobble Wobble 5K
I didn’t get to the pool last week nor did I get in any yoga. So those are really my main goals this week: cross training as much as possible before my half training starts up again. Oh and staying out of these running shoes until I can get some new ones!

Have a fabulous week everyone!

Weekly miles: 6  (boo)

Stretching sessions: 2 (yay!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Running in Pajamas

I must say, this week and past weekend shaped up pretty nicely, despite some minor (well I hope it's minor) problems.

I went out to meet up with my running group last Tuesday. My knee had been feeling better and I was hoping that intervals wouldn't tweek it too much. I thought wrong. I did great in the intervals. Mainly because I tend to pick someone to "race" but they don't really know I'm racing them. We normally do a 1 mile warm-up, intervals or tempo for 2-3 miles and then a 1 mile cool down back to our starting point. The warm up was fine, absolutely no pain. The first half mile interval went pretty well also, no pain as of yet. The second half mile, I noticed it a little bit. By the third it was definitely there and when the 4th half mile came around, my knee was screaming at me to stop. I took it easy on the jog back deciding not to stay for 2 more half mile repeats. I came home and tried to ice it and look up some more info on this mysterious knee pain. I'm almost 100% sure that I have text book ITBS. My pain is exactly as described and localized to the spot on the outside of my right knee, exactly where the IT band insertion point is located. Bummer. As I kept reading, I found that it's not really an easy thing to get rid of. Takes a lot of stretching and icing and just when you think it's gone, it could come back.

Either way, I still had a 5k to run on Saturday so I decided to just not work out and rest my knee until Saturday hoping I would be able to make it through. I also purchased a foam roller to see if that would help work out some soreness. Man, that thing is awesome. Anyway, back to the run. A while back, I won a free entry to a local 5k called the "The Pajama Run" to support awareness of cancers below the waist. The idea is to run in your pajamas but some people wore Halloween costumes, so it was a mixture of everything. It turned out to be a really fun event. I've run the race course before for a different 5k but it's still one of my favorites. It starts at the Joe Riley Baseball stadium, goes through the Citadel and loops around Hampton Park then back to the stadium. The weather was perfect, my friends were with me and I had my favorite PJ slip on over my running clothes. Also, the race was small which was a real bonus for this course, didn't have to worry about dodging others and could just really enjoy the run.

My friend Pat wore the most awesome baby costume, which got tons of laughs. Jen, Pat and I started near the front of the start line. At the sound of the horn, Pat took off in light speed and that was the last I saw of him until the finish. I pretty much lost Jen instantly too but it was a small race so nothing to worry about. Everything was going great until about mile 2.5. I rounded the corner and BAM, the knee pain started to kick in. It started out just the nagging side pain at first but by 2.9, I had sharp stabbing pains that kept locking up my knee. I was at the point where I could see the finish and I was determined to keep going. I made it across with a grimace on my face and somehow managed to PR with 28:25. I knew I would be faster since running the half marathon but I was hoping for closer to 27. Hey, I'll still take the time that I got! I was happy with that but boy, I knew I had done something to my poor knee. Today is Monday and I'm still walking kind of funny.

Pat and his baby costume

Pat, Jen and me before the start of the race

I've decided to hang up the running shoes for a few weeks which might work with finals coming up, but I'm hoping to dive into swimming (get it, get it?) for a few weeks to cross train. I know the best thing I can do right now is rest, stretch and ice. I am itching to run though. I got bit with the bug real hard after my half marathon, unfortunately my knee begs to differ. I do know I need new shoes and I'm pretty sure this is probably related to over doing it and pushing myself during the half but I don't regret it for right now. My goal is to maintain a steady work out plan while still rehabbing my knee. I want to be ready for my next half in March!

One last thing, I was really hoping to get in another 5k before the end of the year but that's not looking possible. So, instead of running I am going to volunteer at the Charleston Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day morning. They are expecting a ton of people and they are short handed for the race. So, since I can't get out there and join them I might as well give them my support. I know it has sure helped me in the last few races so the least I can do is give back and how fitting on Thanksgiving Day!

Look at me, taking lemons and making lemonade. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Total weekly mile: 7 (sigh)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Asking for more!

Only Tuesday and it feels like the longest week ever! I haven't gotten much running in last week due to a somewhat mild cold that I quickly "nipped in the bud", so to speak. I got a last minute invite to the James Island County Park 2 mile fun run last Thursday and decided to go. It's quite the event. The James Island County Park opens up for its "Festival of Lights" every year, the whole park is decked out in these fabulous light displays and every night for a small fee you can drive through the park to see the lights. Also, you can park and go through some lit up trails, see Santa, have some hot chocolate, roast 'smores by the fire pits and even check out a large sand castle display (note: I live near the beach). The fun run kick starts the opening of the park and runners get to run through the streets to see all the lights first hand. How fitting that the race started under a lit up wreath of holly berries?! Although, it does seem a bit early for Christmas, it was kind of fun to get in the spirit.

I've seen these light displays a million times and they don't change much from year to year but this was the first time I have done the fun run. It was definitely a lot of fun and a better way to see the lights than just from the seat of your car!
While on the run...

Awesome sand sculpture (and sand castle maker)

Later that evening I started having some right sided knee pain in my right knee. I figured I must have some residual pain post marathon so I didn't think much of it as I headed out for my 4 miler the next morning. Later that day I was pretty much hobbling around with an interesting limp. I haven't run since Friday  but I still feel it every now and then in my right knee when I'm walking. It's very strange, only on the right side, no swelling or redness. Just a mild ache from time to time. We'll see how my run goes this evening. I may need to hit up the elliptical for a while. In other news, my knee has to get better because I signed up for my next half marathon last week!!

New Orleans! March 4, 2012!

It just so happens to be the week before my Spring Break so I get to run a half marathon and then live it up adult style. I feel like a young college student all over again. ;-)

I need something to keep me motivated over the holidays so signing up for a race in March sounded like a good idea. And why not in the Big Easy?!


Total weekly miles: 7 (whoa...)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm a Half Marathoner!

Lots to report! I am going to aim for posting at least once a week but I am new to this whole blogging thing so forgive me while I get my bearings. There is much to update, with fall break in Pittsburgh and last runs before the half but since my most exciting news happened this past weekend, I'll start there!

I ran my first half marathon in Savannah, Georgia on November 5th, this past Saturday! I have to say, I am very glad that my first half marathon was a Rock N' Roll event. I've spectated other races and been to a lot of the local Charleston events so I know the ups and downs of smaller races. Also, the Rock N' Roll people know their stuff! The race was very well organized and the course was pretty smooth. There was plenty of crowd support and well stocked water/cytomax/gu stations. Being a rookie at these events, I signed up in a later time corral so I was pretty much dodging people the whole time (which was a good thing!). So, my goal back in July was to finish in 2 hours 30 minutes. As my training progressed and I had a feel for my time, I started to aim for 2 hours and 10 minutes. This, my friends, is the smile of someone who finished in 2:08:28! 

I wish I knew how to bottle that feeling of completing months of training (and training well), combined with that feeling of overwhelming fulfillment of meeting a sought after goal! I had an excellent pacer, a friend who not only encouraged me to sign up for this race but someone who was with me when I broke my ankle back in December 2010 and knew how bummed I was about not running. A perfect person to share my finish line smile with! It really was an excellent day and I'm all ready looking forward to my next half. I am so lucky to have found something that I love to do that is also healthy for me. I encourage you all to keep an eye out for that one thing that gets you motivated to stay active. I can make an impact in your day to day encounters and outlook on life.  I hate to say it, but I do see a marathon in my future! And almost anything else active! 

I remember during the race that I thought, if my 28 year old self could go back in time and tell my 8 year old self that I would one day run 13.1 miles without stopping, my 8 year old self would probably sob with despair at the thought. I was an overweight, asthmatic 8 year old. After losing weight in high school and just recently getting my asthma and allergies under control, I feel like a new person! 

Even if you're just training to run 1 mile non-stop, I encourage you to do it. That feeling of being able to look back on what you did and feel accomplished is something you will constantly be rewarded with through running. There will be ups and there will be downs, as with all walks of life, but you will never regret putting one foot in front of the other and getting in a run. 

What's up next, you might ask? I have some 5ks coming up and a 15k in January but the next big event will more than likely be the New Orleans Rock N' Roll half that will conveniently kick off my spring break! 

Get excited! I'm hooked!