Tuesday, February 28, 2012
This week my plantar fasciitis went from bad to worse. It was not by best week by any stretch, it was certainly my worst. I completed a seven-mile and five-mile run last week and did a little cross training on the bike one day. I was gearing up for my 16 miles on Sunday and actually looking forward to the challenge. I knew I could do it and it would be the furthest I had run. My son's basketball resumed after the school break on Saturday morning so I had to switch my long run back to Sunday. I got up and out early around 6.30 am as my youngest was just starting to wake up (I knew if I went into her room it would be at least another hour before I left the house).
I had packed my fuel belt the night before and was planning to try out some Gu as well as some music for after mile 10 when the novelty of peace and quiet starts to wear off! My plan was to also try and take some strategic “stretching breaks” to just keep my plantar fasciitis at bay. I ran the first five and turned to head west again and felt fine. I tried out the Gu at around the five-mile mark and it was pretty disgusting! It's like thick, sickly sweet sludge! I think I will try to stick to my Gatorade or maybe a bite of a Clif bar from now on. At about the eight-mile mark my heel pain started nagging again and I could feel myself change my gait. I stretched out a little, walked a little and got back to jogging. By mile 10 I was wrestling in my head whether I was better to stop short and prevent further injury or to go the distance no matter what. All along I have been telling myself this is a mental race after 10 miles. Of course I decided that distance was more important than injury prevention! I turned on my music and Lady Gaga came on to help me through the next two miles. Around mile 12 I was getting to my turning point at Speen Street in Natick and all I could think was “where’s that bench by the lake, it must be coming up soon.” The pain in my heel was so bad I could barely walk. I never found the bench and half a mile short I turned back for home. I managed to hobble another two miles before the pain started travelling up the outside of my leg. At this point it was painful to walk and I was barely even walking. I bit the bullet and called my husband to come pick me up – a mile from my house. I couldn't even make it the last mile.
I got home feeling disappointed in myself. My almost-two year old must have missed me that morning and she decided it was time for a full-on, face-in-the-rug meltdown. I think we both shed a couple of tears! Later in the afternoon after some ice, Advil and stretching I think I pulled myself together! First thing on Monday I emailed Garth in physical therapy so we could make a plan. In the meantime I have been hobbling around the office, complaining that I feel like a 90-year-old and will be doing a fair bit on the elliptical. I am hoping to do a shorter run later this week if I can. I think I could deal with two weeks of cross-training if I had to! I think someone wrote on the board in the Shipley Fitness Center, “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger” – those are the words I have been repeating to myself over and over this week!
Monday, February 27, 2012
Well it's been two weeks since I posted. I've recovered from what I now term "whatever it was" a few weeks ago and continue to push forward training. The week before I set out for vacation in Florida, I ran three times. I did 13 miles one day, nine the next and then pushed through a 17-mile long run. That was tough because I purposefully made mile 16 and 17 a hill run. The country roads around here are full of those long, gradual hills, so it is fairly easy to make it happen. Of course my time on the hills was probably slower than if I would have walked them, but I made it home and that's all that counts. Of course, Justin was a bit surprised when I showed up at physical therapy that day. When he asked me how I felt, I said, "Fine but everything from the waist down is sore!" I explained to him my day. He decided that day was going to be more of stretching session and not much of anything else. I actually felt great after I left. Hence, stretching well after a long run is very important. On Friday the 17th, my family set out on a vacation to the Florida Keys with three other families. The weather was beautiful and the company superb. I, of course, could not even think about sitting at a computer the whole week aside from uploading all the great photos being taken. So I missed a post. During the week in the Keys, I ran a total of 42 miles, all of which ended up being short runs averaging six to seven miles. We were going to bed late and getting up late. I thought it would be great running in warm weather, but I quickly realized that running in 80-plus degree weather in the direct sunlight with minimal wind was clearly more difficult than running in seven degree weather in RI. So runs were short. I returned home to new running shoes, threw them on Sunday, and ran 13 in the cooler weather. Much better! I'm realizing time is flying and I still have a lot to do. I'm far from my 22 to 23 mile goal. When you run 17 and stop, it's hard to think you still would have nine more to go. I have reached one goal though. I'm $100 shy of reaching $1000 for the Cancer Center. Of course I'd like to raise more, but it feels good knowing that I was able to raise the suggested amount. I am super grateful to all the wonderful people who have donated and are supporting me in my run! Lastly, with March approaching, I enter what I call "March Madness" in my house. It happens each year and the madness has nothing to do with basketball but everything to do with soccer. It's when indoor soccer overlaps with outdoor soccer for about four weeks. Two kids, five teams....practices, games, three tournaments. This is going to be interesting. I'm definitely going to have to manage my time well to get in all the physical therapy and runs I can. I'll let you know how I make out!
Friday, February 24, 2012
What amazes me is how many people asked how the running was going. When I told them that I took the weekend off the response was nothing short of comedy. Some had a look of horror, as if I just slapped the queen. Others looked at me disappointingly, like I had just let them down. The best response was, “well, it looks like you will be finishing the Marathon in the back of the truck.” Really?? Haha I laughed. All of the above is what I like to call tough love. Nice to know people are concerned but I will be finishing the Marathon on my own two feet thank you.
The past week was not a total waste. I still somehow made it to the gym every day. I did manage to run six miles on Wednesday and another two miles this morning. Both days I felt like I had medicine head and just wasn’t really with it. I have a half marathon in Hyannis on Sunday and I can’t wait. It’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and get serious.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Last Tuesday I had a seven-mile run scheduled so I decided it was time once again to run Heartbreak Hill. It was a great day to be out, the temperature was perfect. I have been trying to figure out if I can get some more speed up before the Marathon as some of these runs are taking me so long. I tried to do a run-walk the other day but I feel like I lose my momentum so I am going to stick with my slow steady pace! At this point, only eight weeks off the Marathon, I think my focus has to remain on just covering the distance rather than worrying about how long it's going to take me.
On Thursday I was supposed to do another seven miles but I just wasn't feeling like more of the same so I got on the treadmill and did a shorter distance at a slightly faster pace, which was a good change. On Saturday I headed out at 7:00 am for my 12-mile run. The weather was gorgeous and the birds were chirping; it felt like spring! I headed west from Wellesley College to Speen Street in Natick and turned there and headed back through Wellesley. As I reached Speen Street, a coach full of runners pulled into a parking lot. I spent the next couple of miles wondering when they would come thundering down behind me but it wasn't until I got back to Wellesley College that about 20 people dressed in costumes - everything from batman to ninja turtles and Spiderman - ran by me. I turned around at the new Whole Foods in Wellesley for my last two miles home. My feet were hurting (read plantar fasciitis) so I headed home on the Crosstown Trail thinking that might help. I had to stop and walk and stretch out my heel and calves and figured it was just as uncomfortable walking so I may as well plod the rest of the way home! I made it back and a couple of ibuprofen and some more stretching seemed to help a lot. On Saturday night my husband and I had a babysitter and went out for dinner - it felt good to have a great meal, a margarita and feel like I earned it!
This weekend is 16 miles so I will be intrigued to see how that goes. It will be the furthest I have ever run and only a taster for the 20 miler coming up in the next few weeks. My focus this weekend will need to be keeping up my energy after a couple of hours and stopping for stretch breaks. I've ordered some Gu (the thought of which makes my stomach turn) and Jelly Beans to see if those will help out; hopefully they'll arrive before the weekend!
Friday, February 17, 2012
I did my long run on Sunday morning; I left the house around 7:30. My plan was to run 16.2 miles and loop through Kingston and Plymouth. I was around the half-way point on a very busy road when I saw two little kids on the side of the road. Now, this is a busy road, its 9:00 am in the morning and it’s 25 degrees. My first thought was what kind of parent would allow this? Then I realized that they were my kids and my husband had brought them so they could cheer me on. My son brought me a bottle of water and a few hugs and kisses later I was off. I felt pretty good at that point and thought the second half would be a breeze. Key word is breeze, which is what I was running into down by the water. I felt like I was running in slow motion when the wind blew. My left leg started to hurt so I had to stop every so often to stretch it out. I finished the 16.2 miles in less than three hours and was glad to be done.
Tuesday morning I was supposed to run with Freddie Sanchez, but my body vetoed that. I couldn’t seem to function and ended up being two hours late for work. Sorry Freddie, maybe next week? Needless to say Tuesday ended up being an off day.
Thursday I did sprints on the treadmill. Did I mention how much I dislike the treadmill? I’m not sure if is the fact that the stop button is so close or I feel like a hamster running in the wheel. Regardless, I would rather be outside.
On the days I don’t run I’m usually am at the gym, I do take Saturdays off. By taking Saturday off I mean I don’t do any physical exercise. Instead, I run around getting the kids to karate, various birthday parties or play dates. If I’m not doing that I’m doing errands, cleaning, laundry, homework......does the fun ever end?
I have a 10K on Saturday in Plymouth and am debating on a long run on Sunday. I think Sunday will depend on if it’s going to snow or not. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I decided to dip into what I call my father's polypharmacy that he left after he passed away. Tucked deep in the cabinet amongst several prescription drugs was a large container of Muscle Milk. He took it religiously when he was sick. I decided a dose a day of this will hopefully bring back the muscle and some of the weight I lost over the past week. The stuff is not that bad!
I continue to do physical therapy with Justin G. He is good motivation and is helping me realize my core has a lot of work and my balance is a far cry from perfect. I'm hoping in the end it helps improve my running form for races to come. All the insurance co-pays are worth it!
I'm heading to the Keys on Friday but I will keep up with my running schedule and physical therapy exercises during my vacation. I'm looking forward to running in summer gear. After my return, my husband is going to do hill training with me. He has been a runner most of his life. Not sure why he hasn't done a marathon yet because he definitely could do one much easier than I.
Lastly, I just want to say "Hi" to all the ladies blogging. I love reading your posts and you are an inspiration to me to continue onward!
Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday morning I went out early as planned as I knew my longer run was going to take me between 2 to 3 hours. It was 18 degrees out and much colder than I expected. I left my house at around 7:00 am and started out past Wellesley College heading toward Newton. There was barely a soul out - they must have had a lot more sense than me! By 8:00 am there were a few more runners passing me by (let me make it clear, I don't usually pass anyone else, my pace is that slow!) I ended up sticking to my Rte 135/Rte 16 route from Natick through Wellesley to the border of Newton and back. It was quite the experience. At around the four-mile mark I saw about three or four school buses of people heading through Wellesley. I figured they could only be there for one thing and that wasn't high school football! A little after I had turned and was heading west again I came face to face with about 100 runners from Tufts University/John Hancock Boston Marathon training group. It was like trying to swim upstream and avoid a head-on collision. After weaving in and out of them for a few minutes I decided it would be better to just cross the street for a mile or so. It was quite a sight and I started to feel like this Marathon is coming up soon and how cool it is to be part of something this amazing! One of the things that first got me motivated to run a marathon was watching a documentary on PBS called “Nova Marathon Challenge” where they took around 10 regular people and put them through training at Tufts to see if they could run the Boston Marathon. As I saw that group of people running towards me it seemed like my goal was finally a reality.
About nine miles into my run I was passing Wellesley College in the opposite direction when none other than Sherwyn Rocke flew by me! I had to wave him on, he would have frozen running at my pace! I think the hardest thing about this week's run was trying to stay warm. When I got home I was still freezing and a warm shower only turned my legs from bright red to purple!
I learned a few important lessons on Sunday morning:
1. Warm the Gatorade before you go out. Mine turned to ice in my fuel belt after about 45 minutes!
2. Bring some Kleenex. I have had a stuffy nose for a week or so and the whole blowing over my shoulder wasn't working for me. I resorted to shirt sleeves, which also became frozen!
3. Put two pairs of running pants on. I had three layers on the top, which was barely enough but my legs were freezing!
4. Do a better job planning my runs against the weather this week!
Looking forward to a couple of shorter runs during the week this week and then another long one next weekend. I'd better check the weather to figure out which day!
Thursday, February 9, 2012
I gave my legs a break on Monday and Wednesday and just did weights. Tuesday was sprints on the treadmill for about an hour. Thursday was another run day but not 14 miles. Freddie Sanchez was nice enough to meet me at 6:00 am even though he was still not feeling 100%. Seems he got that nasty cold that was going around. We only did seven and a half miles, half-way up Heartbreak Hill!!! As bad as this sounds, I was glad he was under the weather, it slowed him down to a reasonable pace.
The plan for next week is more of the same. Sunday I am shooting for 16 miles, and it is going to be 20 degrees, should be fun! I never realized how difficult it is to try and map out a long run. I may have to run through three towns by the time the Marathon rolls around. Hopefully Freddie will run with me again and maybe Sherwyn. We are under 10 weeks, it’s time to get serious!
Last week I did my six-mile run on the hills of Comm. Ave in Newton. I figured if I run them enough it will be less of a mental hurdle on race day. That run went well and I followed it up with a five-mile run around Newton Highlands later in the week. I'm trying really hard to make sure I stretch after my workouts as I tend to skip over that and I know it will be crucial to avoiding injury as the mileage increases. I've had a little nagging plantar fasciitis for a few months now and am just hoping it doesn't get any worse!
I was scheduled to do my long runs on Sundays with a shorter five-mile run on Saturdays. Last weekend I knew I was supposed to run 10 to 12 miles on Sunday but by Saturday I was just dying to get out there and try it after being sick the weekend before. Waiting until Sunday just seemed to be dragging it out. Saturday was a gorgeous day so I got out there around lunchtime (my daughter still naps in the early afternoon, which has ended up being my default running time on the weekends!) and did 10 miles on the Marathon route. I felt great and that helped my confidence for some of the longer runs ahead. I started out very slow as I was more concerned with covering the distance than my speed, which instigated some sarcasm from my husband about my lack of speed when I returned!
I also made a little purchase this week. I decided to invest in a fuel belt. I had been running with a small water bottle in my hand but figured as the runs get longer I might need some more water or Gatorade on board. I tried it out on my long run last weekend and after getting over that I looked a bit geeky I appreciated its benefits! I am in desperate need of some more shirts as I've worn holes in two old ones already!
This week I did another seven miles around Newton and have to admit, my motivation was not where it was last week. I guess the novelty has worn off but I'm sure that will pass as the miles increase! I am supposed to do eight miles today and I am trying to figure out how I am going to get that done as I only have an hour free to run and I am certainly not at eight mph speed - or anywhere close!
In the meantime, I'm keeping an eye on the weather for this weekend's 14-mile run!
At the end of the day, I went to the doctor’s and they immediately sent me to the emergency room to rule out the obvious. I was admitted and spent the next three days undergoing multiple tests including MRI/MRA, MRI of the c-spine, several vials of blood, and my favorite, a lumbar puncture. All tests have been negative to date except my thyroid function tests; I have Hashimoto's and it looks like I need an adjustment in my medication (no wonder I'm so darn tired all the time!). My eye eventually went back to normal and I was discharged Thursday night with instructions to follow up with the neurologist and my primary care physician.
On Friday, I started having super bad headaches and after 24 hours I called the neurologist who diagnosed me with spinal headaches (a side effect after a spinal tap). He told me to lie in bed flat for eight hours. Over the course of this time, I began having some belly cramping. I suspect I now have a stomach virus (when it rains it pours).
I did push myself to run six miles on Saturday but essentially I have been out of running commission for a week now. I'm obviously frustrated by the whole thing but all I can do is wait it out and hopefully things are going to get better.
The one thing I am chuckling about to some degree is watching my husband push a vacuum, clean toilets, do groceries, laundry, cart three kids around, etc. In all honesty though, I'll be super happy when I'm back to my old self, can be useful around the house again and can hit the pavement with my new running shoes! I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll be 100 percent by the end of the week because I have a lot of miles to catch up on!
Monday, February 6, 2012
Sunday morning I was scheduled to run 13 miles, but my company is busing us to a new location closer to the corporate office. I decided to run my 13 miles once I got to the new location. BIG MISTAKE!!!! Not only is the new location more rural, there are no sidewalks! Ugggg! So here I am now in Branchburg, NJ with limited knowledge of the area. The hotel staff was not that familiar with running routes but I was directed to a residential area. So bottom line, I not only ran my 13 miles and got lost a little, but my total amount of miles was 15.15! Unbelievable I got a little turned around. This has truly been quite the adventure. I have learned a lot about traveling and trying to maintain a running schedule in unfamiliar areas. Did I mention that I am looking forward to returning home to get back to some familiar roads? The good news is I will be home Thursday night so I will be able to do a couple of miles on Friday and Sunday I am scheduled to run just 10 miles.
As far as mileage, I can run 13. My goal this week is to start on a 17-mile adventure – I call it. I head out to do my 17-mile loop, I run as far as I can, then I do a walk/run with hopefully more running than walking in the last part. I'll continue to do this until I can run all 17. My goal is to do this in the next three weeks.
I've been going to PT regularly and it seems to be helping. I have also discovered that although I am fit, I have a lot of weak areas on my body, especially my hips, back and core. My physical therapist, Justin, is super. He has me doing all kinds of exercises to strengthen all the weak muscles and then some. I can already feel a difference when I'm running.
My big purchase yesterday was a brand new pair of running shoes. I bought Newton's on the suggestion of my brother-in-law who runs in this brand and swears by them. He has seen a lot more miles than me. I am hoping they work out for me as well. I was looking for a shoe that will help my running form and help to decrease the impact on my knees and back. I also purchased my running shirt. I'm very picky about my running gear during a race for some reason. I plan on having it embroidered with a design my daughter put on her soccer jerseys just before my dad passed away. It is the lymphoma ribbon with the number nine imbedded in it (my dad's hockey jersey number he had his entire life). I also will add a fist underneath the whole picture. My dad would always hold up his fist jokingly and say to us, "Do you want to meet my five brothers?" For me it also represents the tough fight that he never won against lymphoma. I'll also plan to have the NWH logo on the shirt as well.
Lastly, I am realizing that taking on training is really causing me to get behind on some daily tasks. So on that note, I guess house cleaning, laundry and cooking gourmet meals have gotten somewhat put on the back burner. A common question from my kids over the past few weeks, “Mom do I have any clean….” you name it. Their dresser drawers have been empty at times but they are quite understanding and I think as things go along, I'll get more efficient at doing everything somehow…or maybe it's a good time to teach them how to do all the above themselves?!!
I guess that covers my activities for the past two weeks. I'm feeling pretty good and highly motivated. See you at next check in!
Thursday, February 2, 2012
If you had asked me last year if I would ever blog I would have said no let alone blog about running in the Boston Marathon. Bear with me on both because I have never done either. That’s right I don’t run races or should I say I didn’t. The first and only race I have run in was January, 5, 2012 in Quincy, it was a 5K. A far cry from the 26.2 miles I’m about to embark on. On the recommendation of Daniel Destin from the Shipley Fitness, I put my name in the hat to run in the Boston Marathon for Team Newton-Wellesley. Not sure if I should thank him or curse him, I will decide after the race. I wasn’t a hard core runner; I did it more because I would rather do cardio outside than run on a treadmill. Funny how quickly things can change, now I run so I can finish the Marathon not in traction.
I don’t have a clear cut training plan. I ran eight miles this morning with who I like to call my secret service agents: Freddie Sanchez, who is marathon man, and Sherwyn Rocke, who is also running for Team Newton-Wellesley in the Marathon. Freddie has done numerous marathons and runs all the time. He has been nice enough to volunteer to run with Sherwyn and me. Freddie’s job is to basically push us to our breaking point. Keep in mind we do this at 6:00 in the morning while most people are starting their day. I realized running with them pushes me to not stop and to try and keep pace. There were points that I know if they weren’t with me I would have walked, stopped or maybe cried. Thanks for the push guys!
I originally decided to run the Marathon because Daniel suggested it. After the excitement, shock, horror and denial of it all I have realized why I really am running. First, we are raising money for a great cause, The Vernon Cancer Center. We all have a family member or know someone who has or is battling this awful disease. Second, I want to be able to say I ran and finished the Boston Marathon. How cool is that? Third, I want my children to know that if you put your mind to something you can do it. I have no formal training for this and not a lot of time to train. I have 16 weeks to prepare, most people train up to a year in advance. I’m not afraid, bring it.
My husband has done a few marathons, including Boston twice, but the furthest I have run before is a half marathon (in Scotland many years ago) and a few 5ks and 10ks here and there. I will certainly not be breaking any speed records and my main goal is to cross the finish line on two feet! I've been working out with Daniel Destin at the Shipley Fitness Center for a while so when I found out I had a number we reviewed a few training plans and picked a beginner marathon schedule that calls for four days of running with a long run on Sunday. I'm going to try to cross train the other days as well. Fitting in the runs with two young children (ages 1 and 6) is the biggest challenge and I may do a couple of the long runs with my husband for some company along the way. I plan on getting up and out early in the morning for most of my runs as it's my favorite time of day and too many obstacles come up once the day gets started. I'm just hoping the mornings get a little lighter sooner!
My biggest concerns for the Marathon are staying healthy (I managed to start week one of training with a nasty virus I picked up from my children but still got my runs in) and injury free. I am lucky enough to live in Wellesley, just a few minutes from the Marathon route so hope to get some runs in on the route and also the Crosstown Trail, which is a much softer surface and a little easier on the joints!
Once I completed the Chicago Marathon, I said that I would NEVER EVER DO THIS AGAIN. In fact I pretty much committed to not training for anything again – until three years ago when a girlfriend asked me to train for the New York Marathon. Initially, I trained with the idea I just want to through this challenge and never commit to doing another. Well, after the race I caught the “runners bug” and it allowed me to remain committed and healthy. This past October I ran the Lowell Marathon. I had hopes that I would qualify for the Boston Marathon but during my training I realized that registration for Boston was pushed up to September so even if I would qualify, I wouldn’t make registration. Nevertheless, I committed to the marathon and ran my best run even with an injury by mile 22.
So, here I am fully committed to running the Boston Marathon a dream of mine for at least ten years. Ironically, it looks like I lucked out because this year’s weather has been AMAZING! I have followed a simple training schedule designed by Hal Higdon. In addition, to training I have two great things that keep me going on my long runs, which are the Heart Break Hill Striders (running group) and I have a cool running partner Sherwyn Rocke, who also got a number through Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The best advice I can give anyone who has thought about running but wasn’t sure how to get started is baby steps - just start off walking and run for 10 to 30 seconds and then walk for two. Find what works for you. Clearly, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know how I feel after I exercise and there AIN’T no pill for that!
My commitment to getting and staying healthy is not just one sided. My husband plays a huge part in this because we have a son who is four years old. So many mornings I go out to do my miles while my two boys are still sleeping. On Tuesday and Thursdays, I teach spin at 5:30 am at the Shipley Fitness Center and dash home to walk the dog and get ready for work. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I go out to complete my assigned morning runs (usually while the boys are sleeping). Sundays are my long runs. This Sunday, Sherwyn and I completed 12 miles and we both felt really good. There is something about training with a friend rather training by yourself. Of course I miss a day or two here and there for one reason or another but for the most part I want to remain committed to my goal. As fate would have it, during this great news, I also started a new job which has also gotten to be very challenging with home study and regional training. This has forced me to be more organized and prioritize my running schedule for early in the morning verses mid morning or late afternoon.
So my journey is long and it does come with a little history but doesn’t everyone have a story to share as to how they arrived to where they are now? Yes I can and Yes I will!