Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guess what I did today?!

I RAN! I freakin ran! Without pain! And it was awesome!

I took 11 full days off of running after my last 20 mile run, which caused some pain in my left foot.  I went to the doctor on Monday, and she said she thought it was tendinitis.  So I've been RICE-ing my foot constantly since then.  Finally, yesterday I was walking without pain, so today I finally decided to get out there and try running.

Was I nervous? YES! Was I excited? Yes, but mostly just nervous. I was prepared to turn around after half a block if my foot hurt. I wore different shoes. I re-tied them like 10 times. I wore inserts in them.  I didn't listen to music so I could listen to my body.  (But I did take my Garmin. I'm addicted. Although I didn't look at it much, and didn't adjust my pace based on what it said.)  I ran easy, and I didn't run long, but it was glorious anyway! It was so nice to be back in Central Park, to run along the reservoir and to chick some dudes! I just enjoyed it, and tried not to freak out about every tight muscle or little ache (fortunately there were none in my foot) that I felt along the way.

Taking the last week and a half off of running has given me a chance to rethink running, the Philly marathon and my training.  I definitely need to adjust my plan now since I'm two weeks behind.  And think I'll take out a 20 mile run and/or add another (shorter) long run in before I do 20 miles next time.  I need to find different shoes, or have a pair to alternate my PureCadences with.  I definitely need to keep incorporating cross-training into my plan (which I haven't done in several weeks...eek!) and I just need to focus on getting to the starting line healthy, instead of focusing on a time.  I have been running comfortably, without pushing myself to my max, but mentally I need to focus on being healthy and strong, and hopefully my goal time (still unsure!) will come with that.

I ran today because I wanted to, not because a training plan told me to.  That's the best kind of a run.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Being Smart, For Once

I haven't run since Saturday.  It's Thursday now.  The last time I took this many days off from running was after the Brooklyn Half Marathon in May, when I forced myself to take a week off.  Not because I was injured, needed to, or necessarily wanted to, but because I thought I should so I wouldn't get injured.

On Saturday, I ran 20 miles.  This was my longest run yet.  I felt great (physically) during the whole run.  When I was done, I stretched, took a cold bath, put on my compression socks, ate some food and took a nap.  It wasn't until I woke up from my nap and started walking that my left foot/ankle started hurting.  I didn't think much of it, since I had just run for 3 hours.  But later that night, it was feeling worse.  On Sunday, it felt slightly better and I was hopeful that with rest, I could run Monday.  Monday came and went, and I didn't lace up my shoes or put on my running clothes.  The same went for Tuesday and Wednesday.  This is unheard of for me.  I'm the one that will go out for a run even when I'm pretty confident that sometimes I shouldn't.  Fortunately, I've been lucky up to this point.  But, with lots of people around me getting injured during marathon training, I decided that for once, I was going to play it safe.  I planned to try running this morning.  I slept instead.  When I woke up, my foot/ankle felt worse than yesterday.  Then I got ready for work, and it was feeling much better.  MAKE UP YOUR MIND!  I'm going away this weekend (again!) and decided that I'm only going to bring my running stuff with me so I can ride the hotel bike, or possibly do the elliptical (if everything feels okay), but I will not be hitting the streets for a run.

This is a cut back week for me anyway, so I don't really feel like I'm getting behind on my training.  But also, after my 20 mile run on Saturday, I really haven't WANTED to run.  I think I needed a break mentally, so perhaps my foot/ankle hurting is a blessing in disguise.  As long as it doesn't last too long.

If everything is feeling better by next week, I'll readjust my schedule and make next week my cut back week, so I don't have any super long runs on the books. I do still have 13 weeks of marathon training left to get through....    

I'm trying to stay positive, RICE my foot/ankle, take it easy and not freak out.  Check back next week.  If I haven't run in over a week, all bets are off!  Watch out! :)

How's your training going?  What are you doing to stay injury-free?  What are your favorite cross training classes, that I should be doing?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thank you for 20 miles, Mom!

I get nervous before every long run. Not nervous, like butterflies in my stomach, but nervous that I'm going to get injured, or nervous that I won't have the mental strength to finish my run.  Yesterday, I had 20 miles on the schedule, for the first time ever.  When I run in Central Park I know where each mile is, I know how to pace myself and I know where the hills are.  I was in upstate NY visiting family all week, far away from NYC, with my longest run ever on the schedule.  This made me even more nervous than usual.  Not to mention that it would be the first long run I've done alone since my horrible 14 mile run a few weeks ago.  My mom lives 6 miles from the "big town" so I planned to run there and back, and knew I'd have to tack on some miles to the beginning and end of my run to get it to 20.

My mom is the cutest.  When I told her I was going to run 20 miles there, she asked if she could follow along in the car.  Since that MIGHT hold up traffic, I told her no.  However, knowing my mom, I knew that she'd still appear on my run.  I told her my route since I wasn't taking my cell phone and set out for a 3 hour jaunt.  About 4 miles in, I saw her car pass by me slowly.  She was waving and smiling and I was happy to see her! I had my own personal cheerleader and my own photographer for the day!

I promise I wasn't picking my nose!  Annd glad to know what it looks like 
when I have a bunch of Honey Stingers in my back pocket...

My mom appeared a few more times between miles 6-14. It became like a game to see if I could guess when/where she'd appear!  Then finally, she'd drive by me slowly and wave, probably took some more pictures, and I'd smile, say hi and keep trucking (instead of getting in her car and having her take me home, which I did think about a few times!) I ran up mountain hill after mountain hill and down little dips.  It definitely felt like I was running up way more than down! Central Park has NOTHING on upstate NY!

Around mile 15, I started to crash mentally.  It was hot and humid and there was no shade to be found. I told myself just to get to mile 16.  Then once I did that, just make it to 17, then 18. I actually even told myself I could stop completely when I got to 18 if I wanted.  I was that desperate.

When I got just past 17, I saw another huge hill looming in the distance. I wanted to cry. I told myself just to get to the top of that hill then I could take a break. Then I saw my mom. She was standing outside her car with a spray bottle! AMAZING! She sprayed me until I was almost completely soaked! After that, getting to the top of that hill didn't seem so bad! I made it over the hill and down the other side, but think I had already completely dried off, and was so tired mentally. Then there was my mom again, ready with the spray bottle in hand! After she doused me again, I took off (okay, slowly ran off at this point) for miles 19 and 20. I hadn't planned this part of my run out, and since I was only a half mile or so from home, it made it so mentally hard to keep running instead of going home. I didn't even care about getting to 20 miles at this point. But with only one mile to go, I saw my mom again, and she sprayed me yet again! My last mile was my slowest (except for the first mile when my GPS couldn't find signal), and by far the hardest mile I've run in a long time.  I may have thrown out a few swear words along the way for all the neighbors to hear....

BUT!...I made it to 20!  I definitely can't say that I did this all on my own.  If it wasn't for my mom, I can almost guarantee that I would have stopped and walked after mile 18. So, THANK YOU for getting me to 20, mom!!!

Here are my splits in case you want to see how much I crashed at the end!

Now that this run is over (and I don't have to run hills for 14 miles again), I'm happy with how it went.  I was REALLY skeptical going into it, didn't sleep well the night before, and really wasn't sure that I had the mental capacity to make it to 20.  It's by far the longest run I've done on my own, and was actually quite pleasant until mile 15!  I'm hoping that Philly will seem really easy after this- flat, crowds, other runners, and my mom, boyfriend, dad, sister and brother-in-law will all be my personal cheerleaders and photographers!

Crazy observation from this run- I only saw 1 other runner the entire time I was out there! SO unlike NYC!

How's your training going?  How do you keep yourself from breaking down mentally during long runs?  PLEASE TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!!!