Your Body is Capable of More, Ignore the Naysayers

I’ve been deep water via @runcompetitorpool running these past few weeks. I had been having trouble with my plantar fascia this training season. I went to the podiatrist, did physical therapy but the fascia had enough of training. I ended up with a partial tear and a walking boot.

I don’t love pool running, particularly but I am grateful to be able to do an exercise that keeps up my running fitness. I’m currently only allowed to do this, swim, or activities where I’m off my foot. No biking, including Spin, elliptical and the like. I can walk only in the boot, even in my house. I go to the YMCA 5 days a week. On Saturdays I do either chair Tae Bo or other chair cardio workouts. (and they really do get my heart rate up).

It hammers at your confidence to be injured, especially when you’ve had other injuries recently. I’m hearing a lot of “maybe this isn’t your sport” “maybe you should stop running” and “why would you want to do this anyway.” It’s annoying and it’s not helpful, even when it’s meant well.

My tipping point today was a woman told me I was crazy for even thinking of walking a half-marathon. I know what I am and aren’t capable of. When my foot is healed I’m completely capable of walking 13 miles. If I were indeed crazy I’d try walking it whether I was healed or not. Nope, not crazy. I respect my injuries and my body’s healing process.

Our bodies are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. We are made to move. Running a marathon may not be everyone’s cup of tea but neither is Zumba, Spinning, or rollerblading. To each their own, just move.

Keep your body strong and healthy. If you’re sidelined try to find something that you can do and ALWAYS check with your doctor before attempting it. No sense in sitting on the bench longer than necessary.

Don’t listen to the naysayers, either. You know, deep down, what you’re capable of.

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Staten Island Half-Marathon Finish & Recap

2015 SI half marathonI finished the Staten Island half-marathon on Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day but a little on the warm side. I started out running with friends who were in my corral but we know that we all run our own race. Which means we part ways as needed and no one minds.

Spectator support isn’t high at this particular race and those who came out were thanked profusely. I was feeling a bit cranky at mile 5 but seeing my friends and hearing them cheer gave me the boost I needed at that moment. I also found a friend of mine and me ran/walked together for a while.

The course was altered from the previous years and included a stretch on the boardwalk. I despise the boardwalk, there are loose boards and I caught the edge of one. Luckily I didn’t trip, just cussed a bit. I found another teammate and we ran together for a bit. After the boardwalk at around mile 8.5  was the first tough hill. I laughed to myself as people were cursing it. The next hill made this look like a bump in the road.

Mile 9 was a steep hill that feels like it goes on forever. I’m used to running and/or walking up this hill during practice. Unbeknownst to me a friend of mine was behind me and focusing on me helped her up the hill. I wish I had seen her! By now it was mile 10 and I thought well, 5k left now you’ve got this. And hallelujah, finally some shade!

At 11.5 miles I started having a little hip pain. With 1.6 to go I was finishing either way and it wasn’t bad if I had to walk the rest of it. I see a little Yorkie on the course, off leash, and I cannot figure out who he’s with. I worry that he is lost but he went trotting over to someone. I keep going.

At the 13 mile mark a man thinks he is being helpful by yelling at runners who are walking to start running. He’s calling them out by shirt color and I’m getting mad. I’m running next to someone who clearly has some sort of disability and needs to run/walk. I am running but I know that if my hip hurt I’d have to walk. I yell at the man and the person I was fretting over thanks me. He said, “We’re all out here doing the best we can. I am pushing to finish.” I assured him he would and we wished each other well.

I crossed the finish line I smile as I hear the announcer call out my name. My legs ache from the hills but my hip feels surprisingly good. I grab water and wait for my friends to finish. I check my watch and this is the fastest run I’ve had since March. Whoo Hoo! While waiting I see the Yorkie and his owner and both of them are wearing medals. I can honestly say I have never seen a dog run a half marathon before.


Tough Long Run With a Surprise

clove lakeSaturday’s run was one of those runs where you feel achy and it’s hard. It was a rough week and I was tired. My husband had surgery and had come home from the hospital the night before. I was worried about him, my allergies were kicking in and I was sleeping on the wrong side of the bed, literally. We switched spots since my side is easier mobility wise for him.

The run felt tough from the start. I generally ignore the first mile, it’s rare that it’s a true indicator of a run. The second mile didn’t feel any better and by mile 3 I was checking my watch – it’s only 3 miles?! How is that possible? Meh. That pretty much continued until I got to mile 6.

I was running alone and I was regretting not strapping on my iPod. I rarely run with music when I’m outside. I prefer to be able to hear my breathing, my foot strikes and what’s going on around me. (When I do wear my iPod I only put one ear bud in, essential for safety when you run alone and/or on streets). I could have used the distraction and I missed my running buddies.

I made bargains with myself. Just get through the first park lap and you’ll have 4 miles done. You can get one more mile in and then jog home. Would it be terrible to run 6 miles instead of 8? No, honestly at this point in my training it does not matter if I run 6 miles or if I run 8. I’ve had a couple of 10 and 11 mile runs plus a 12 miler, this week wouldn’t make or break me.

Somehow that did the trick for me. I was able to finish up my second lap in the park and run home, hitting my 8 miles. When I looked at my time on my watch I saw that I ran my fastest long run since my injury. What!?

Wednesday I ran the fastest time period since my injury and now I’ve had my fastest long run. Both felt physically hard but my hip felt okay both times. Little twinges but not hard aching. Yes I’m ready for my half-marathon but I’m happy for the taper!

How have your runs been lately?

Have you started running after an injury? How did that go for you?

When the Training Goes Well and the Long Run Feels Good

sneakersI am almost afraid to put this in writing – I’ve had some really excellent runs lately. There has been some hip pain but overall I have felt stronger and faster. I started seeing a chiropractor for hip manipulation and he noticed this past week that the area of tightness was smaller.

I’ve been doing hill training and added in a fourth day of running. I had been sticking with three and doing strength, exercises from my physical therapist and cross training cardio. This week I felt so good on that fourth day I was able to add an extra mile and I felt fine afterwards.

Saturday was a down week, 8 miles instead of 12, and I took advantage of it. It’s crazy how much it makes a difference but I just did some stretching and went on with my day, no ice bath needed. Today I could have run but I stuck with strength, cardio and the PT exercises.

I think it helps that my training partner is pregnant and we’ve been running more slowly. I have a tendency to push and this forces me to take my long runs at an easier pace. I can run my shorter runs faster when I want to. Some days I do and some days I just run easy.

It seems to be working and I’m sticking with it for now. My half-marathon is 5 weeks away and I plan to have a good race. I have not signed up for anything else, I’m planning on taking a few weeks off to do interval training. After that I’ll see how I feel and what feels right.

I’ve also found my new favorite long run meal: Pineapple Coconut Curry. We hit a vegan restaurant in New Jersey, Kaya’s Kitchen, and the food was amazing. I was very surprised when my meat and potato loving husband suggested eating there. They have a lot of gluten-free options as well, so it was a win. We had Missy Dog with us so we chose to eat outside. Missy gives the dairy/gluten-free Mac N Cheese 2 paws up. (And she only had a few pieces – so no warning letters needed, thank you).

Do you have any races coming up?
What’s your favorite recovery meal?

Running by Feel, Rather Than Time

sneakersLast week’s long run was humid and kind of tough. The kind that sometimes makes you wonder how in the hell you’re going to actually finish a half-marathon. The kind of run you shake off and say, hooray I did it and it’s over.

I did a few runs during the week, one on the treadmill since it was 90+ degrees out, and one outside. I felt so good on the treadmill I ran an extra mile. I did a few walking intervals but didn’t follow my set pattern. Last night’s run I decided to not use my watch and run purely by how I felt. I planned out my run in advance so I knew I’d get my mileage in.

I picked a hilly route, but it’s hard to avoid hills in my neighborhood. I never realized exactly how hilly it was until I started walking the dog everywhere. I also decided not to carry water since it was a 3 miler. That was a bad decision; I’m a thirsty girl and it was warm out. My mouth felt like cotton was stuffed in it.

Running without the watch beeping intervals was pretty freeing. I ran by feel and walked when I felt I needed to. I walked less and I ran faster than recent runs. I did feel the results of the strength training the day before, damn I worked my pecs and abs hard! On the other hand, it was not humid and I hit a nice stretch of downhill on the way home. Love when that happens!

I was aware of my posture and tried to run with the forward lean. It’s hard to say if I accomplished it but I did focus on landmarks that were off in the distance, which is supposed to encourage the lean. The glutes kicked in and my hip felt pinched on occasion but no stabbing pain. (stabbing pain would end the run).

It’s hard coming back and not going all out. It’s also frustrating to worry if something is going to trigger another injury. Rather than crossing my fingers I continue to do the physical therapy exercises and barre work to keep my hips and glutes strong.

Have you been injured? What did you do to recover?

Running, Injuries and MRI’s

ellipticalRunning has been difficult. Not because of the mileage but because I pulled a groin muscle. I rested a few days and tried running but my 10 miler turned into a 6. After another week of rest I called the orthopedist and made an appointment. The bad news – I needed to get an MRI. It’s my version of hell: loud, closed in and you have be still. I’m trying to keep my karma positive so I don’t end up spending my afterlife in an MRI machine.

I got the report and I can breathe a bit easier. There are not cracks or tears, just inflammation and some bursitis on the hip which is from every day wear and tear. (It also said I a small cyst on each ovary. I know this because I read the report as I was getting changed. I think it would have been good to mention even if it had nothing to do with my hip and groin).

A steroid shot was an option so I took it. Normally I’d skip it and heal on my own the race is in less than a month. I feel like I need to get another long run in to feel mentally trained as well as physically. I also don’t want to hurt myself further so I can actually complete the darned race.

In the meantime I joined a gym. I don’t enjoy going to the gym but I like having access to the elliptical machine and the bike. I was sore after the elliptical machine but it still felt better than running. I’m hoping after today’s steroid shot I can get a short run in tomorrow. I really want to do a long run this weekend, it’s really the last weekend to do one.

So I sit here with my ice pack on (yes, that’s a fun injury to ice) and driving myself nuts. I know I’ve been running consistently but I also know how I feel at 18 miles. Could I push through to 26? I believe I could, even if I end up walking after 18 miles. I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to that.

Have you felt under-trained but still completed your race?

What cross training do you do when you’re injured?



Ran My First 18 Miler in the Fog and Drizzle

P5030008A huge first for me – I ran 18 miles in one run. What a feeling of accomplishment! Yes, I know I’m going to be running a marathon next month but it’s really empowering to know I can go out and do 18 now.

Yes, I was tired and I didn’t do much that evening. My legs are sore and I did my recovery run today rather than yesterday. Instead I walked a bit, did upper body strength and stretched my lower half out with some yoga.

Today’s recovery run was tough and it was slow. Well recovery runs aren’t supposed to be speedy. I did feel like my gait was off, especially with my right leg. I stopped to stretch along the way and I used the foam roller while dinner was cooking. I’ll be icing it in a bit as well.

It was pouring when I woke up and it was cold. The forecast was for light showers in the afternoon and happily my running partner was fine with running later.

What got me through the run? A few things. I was smart about hydration the day prior and the morning of my run. I made sure to eat enough carbs to keep me full but not make me feel bloated. I took my nutrition with me and made sure to take it early and regularly. I also varied what I was having: chews, a gel and a Honey Stinger Waffle. The waffle is like eating a thin cookie and I LOVE it. (a little too much truth be told – I don’t keep many on hand so I only use them for runs rather than snacking away on them)

I visualized running strong and completing the 18 miles. I read a post that the brain cannot tell the difference between an event that actually happened and one we imagined happening. Visualize finishing a race and feeling good and your brain thinks it actually happened. I’m hoping this really lessens my pre-race jitters!

The biggest motivator on my run was my friend who met me for the last 9 miles. She knew I was a little tired and was easy-going about our pace. She kept up a nice conversation and didn’t get offended if I wasn’t overly chatty back. I was very grateful that she came out in the drizzle and getting me through that run!

How do you motivate yourself on a long run?

Do you prefer to run alone or with someone?

What’s your favorite nutrition when running?

A Surprising Good Run

a normal shot before my extra gear.

a normal shot before my extra gear.

I had a miserable sinus and respiratory infection that knocked me on my butt. The doc told me no running last weekend and to be honest, I couldn’t have even if I wanted to. A week later I felt okay so I did an easy 3 mile run. In theory it was easy, in practice it was pretty tough. I wanted to get some runs in before Sunday’s 10 miler in Prospect Park. I figured it would be miserable to have that as my first run after being sick.

Saturday I went out for 5 so I could get my 15 in. It was crazy cold again and it made the run harsh. I was feeling dizzy at times and after 4 miles my coach told me to pack it in, knowing I would run the mile home. Mission accomplished but it wasn’t a fun one.

with my buddies, in my crazy person garb.

with my buddies, in my crazy person garb.

Sunday, however, was much better. I felt better, it was warmer out and I’m not really familiar with the park so I had some new sites to look at. It’s a good thing my friends like me because I looked like a crazy person. I grabbed a sweater and sweatpants out of the clothing to donate pile. The sweater was covered in cat hair and the sweats were two sizes too big and cropped. All I needed was a bag on my head to complete the look…

The race was three laps of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The first mile was downhill followed by a long rolling hill that felt like it was never going to end. By the third time I was pretty sick of the damn hill. The good part is 3 wonderful people stood out there loudly cheering runners on. I think they were with the track club and I enjoyed their enthusiasm.

I did a walk/run after the first 2 miles. I knew I wouldn’t get through running straight since I was still congested and coughing a bit. My time wasn’t too far off from what it would have been had I run the whole race, which made me pretty happy. I wasn’t expecting anywhere near as good a race as I had.

How do you get through races when you aren’t feeling your best?

How do you stay warm pre-race?


Surviving a Long Run on the Treadmill

treadmillI signed up to run a 10 miler last weekend. Even as I signed up for it I wondered what I was getting myself into. On the other hand I had to train anyway, I hate to run indoors and a lot of my friends also signed up This race promised to be held no matter what the weather would be.

A few days prior to race day the weather predictions were grim: bitter cold temps, snow and heavy winds. Oh joy. The day before the race wasn’t too bad and I thought about running. I was committed to the race, though, so I decided to just bundle up and go for it.

I was out most of the day with my husband and didn’t see the email until 7 pm. The race was canceled. I was a little disappointed but also relieved. I really didn’t know how I would be able to run in 30+ mile an hour winds in 10 degree temps and now I wouldn’t have to.

Unfortunately I still had to do my long run, it was now after 7 pm and snowing out. There was no way I was getting a long run in and would have to run on the treadmill the next day. Blech, 12 miles on the treadmill did not sound fun at all. I recently read a blog post on how to survive a long run on the treadmill and decided to follow those tips.

I had music, movies, nutrition, sports drink and water. The benefit of running in your own home is the things you like are easily accessible and so is the bathroom! I couldn’t get the dvd player to work so I listened to music for the first 5 miles. After that I decided to grab my laptop and watch The Birdcage for the rest of my run.

The movie let me focus without thinking how many miles I had left or how much I dislike running in place for hours. I focused on the brilliance that was Robin Williams and made a plan to walk during my next nutrition break. (it’s very sad to think Robin Williams is no longer in this world).

Breaking the run into chunks also helped. it’s less daunting to think of the run as a 5 miler then a 12 miler. At mile 5 I walked a bit and had and half of my energy gel. Another 4 miles in I had the rest of my energy gel. (I will never buy Vega gels again, it was one of the most disgusting gels I’ve ever had). Then I only had 3 miles left, which didn’t seem daunting at all.

I finished up my run and felt like I really accomplished something. I may not want to repeat the experience any time soon but knowing I could do it was pretty empowering.

Do you run outdoors regardless of the weather?

How do you get through a long run on the treadmill?

Cross-Training Through Minor Injury and Some New Nutrition

guI haven’t been able to run for the past week. I did my long run on Saturday and my back was achy. No big deal, I thought. I got in 11.5 miles with the help of my training buddy and one of my coaches. I got home and stretched. As the day wore on the pain got worse.

I waited a day or two and tried again. Nope, the jarring was killing me. Even on the treadmill I just couldn’t take it. So, more cross-training this week. I figured out if I do the low-impact version of my workouts I could still get some cardio and strength in without the agony.

Then I did a not so brilliant move. I tried getting rid of some of the melting ice on our sidewalk. That’s when I knew exactly why my back was aching. I stopped and just sprinkled down more snow melt. The melt is working and my back thanks me.

I’ve been using the 21 Day Fix workouts by BeachBody. There are about 10 different workouts and my muscles know they’ve worked. It’s kind of funny that I work out consistently but this can kick my butt. They’re not all new exercises either. I’m glad it’s working, I’d like to avoid further injuries as marathon training progresses.

I usually stick with Honey Stinger chews as my fuel. I tried the Pomegranate Passion this week and I really liked it. It reminded me of a jam my grandmother used to make. I will definitely get more of those.

I also tried Gu’s Caramel Macchiato. I usually find gels sticky sweet but this was quite enjoyable. I used it prior to a 6 miler. (It had been a while since breakfast and I needed a boost). I may get a few to break up the chews. I also purchased Salted Caramel but haven’t tried it yet. I hope it’s as good as the macchiato. Yes, I love caramel.

I’ve signed up for a 10 miler Sunday. I’m hoping that my back is fine and I get through the hella cold weather they’re predicting. The race is on, no matter what the weather is. At least I’m running with friends.

What’s your favorite fuel?

What do you cross-train with?

Tips for running in 10 degree weather?