Tag Archives: training

Successful half-mile run!

6 Jun

Well, after an exciting/disappointing assessment from my most recent visit to my sports med doc, I put in my first couple runs on my training schedule!   Tuesday I ran my half mile jog and this morning I graduated to my 1 mile run.  Yep, that’s all!  I felt pretty good, though a bit tired.  It’s funny, when you are used to running at higher distances it’s amazing how short half a mile can feel.  That was a pretty nice feeling.  Though it reminds me of my rehab days from my ankle injury a couple years ago.  After getting out of my cast/crutches/cane/walking unassisted, I was absolutely elated when I was able to first run a half mile without stopping!  This week I’ve been trying to recall that experience and the joy at being able to run any distance.  So whether it’s 7 miles or half a mile – I’m going to celebrate it!  Running really is a gift, and I am so fortunate to have a body healthy enough to do it!

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Do you see the giant bird I spotted on my run this morning?

Because I am not able to do Insanity (yet), I have fallen back to my trusty P90X videos.  I really enjoy the workouts and I am to the point where I don’t like missing a weekday of a workout (Hallelujah!).  I am not doing them in any particular order at this point – just one a morning to maintain.  Over the next week my plan is to create a workout schedule for the next 6 weeks.  It’s going to be called “Get My Knees and Hips BUTT KICK Strong”  or something like that – I’m still working on it :)  I’m hoping to combine running, P90X videos, hip/knee exercises, and maybe throw a couple Zumba/other videos in there just for some spice – I have been doing P90X for more than 6 months so I’m ready for a mix-up.  I’m looking forward to sitting down and mapping it out next week!

 Ch ch ch Changes…

This is Adam’s last week living in Indianapolis and bittersweet for sure.  It’s finally sinking in that he’s leaving (sniff).  Adam begins his residency program in Nashville, TN on July 1st and that next chapter will be incredibly exciting!  I get nervous butterflies for him just thinking about his first day!  I will stay in Indianapolis at least through our wedding (January) – so it’s back to long distance for a bit.  Womp, womp.  It’s going to be a shock to the system, but I figure I’ll have more time to wedding plan, workout, and blog about both of those things!  Additionally for my birthday a few weeks ago, my family got me a TV and cable/Netflix (I think they thought I might be lonely).  I am not used to having a functioning TV (sort of got used to living without it for the past couple years), so I guess I could call that my fiancé replacement :)  If you don’t hear from me, I’m probably fine…just watching whole seasons of Lie to Me in my pajamas oblivious to the world for shower-less days on end.  Yikes.

 Pause for a moment of Mushy Gush (or skip ahead)

Remember that cabaret Adam sang in last week?  The one where we got to dress up like fancy people.

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Heading to the cabaret. Yay for fancy clothes!

Well, a review of the show came out, and I almost dropped my computer when I read it.  Please bear with me while I share an excerpt – I’m bursting with pride!

Baritone Adam N., undeniably the most impressive member of the cast, is a recent IU Medical School graduate who is leaving Indianapolis soon to move to Nashville where he will undergo his residency. Showing the sort of star quality that might have landed him in the entertainment big leagues had he chosen that route, Nagy was stupendous in both his vocal and dramatic interpretation during his swan song performance of Jason Robert Brown’s “She Cries,” from the musical “Songs for a New World.”

For serious!  I can’t make this stuff up.  At another point it calls him electrifying.  Wow.

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Looking good Dr. Adam!

Learning to feed myself again

So in addition to losing my singing, working-out, doctoring fiancé…I’m losing something else.  I have a big confession to make.  A big one.  Like I don’t even want to admit it.

Deep breath… so Adam has been on vacation the past couple months (i.e. no work).  Because of this extra time and his kind heart, he has made my food for the last 2 months or so.  And by food, I mean every single thing I eat.  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and snacks… yeah… everything.  I know, I am beyond spoiled.

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He even tells me if I need to get things to supplement the meals he makes.

I’m almost embarrassed about how much of a help he is to me…I don’t want to use words like “helpless” or “lost”…but that’s what next week could be like for me.  Pathetic, I know.  So one new exciting aspect to this blog could be “Kelly learning how to feed herself again.”

Quiet on the blog front

In our last couple days together in Indy we’ve been doing exciting things like Wedding Registry and packing.  It’s a thrilling life, I know.

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Doesn’t this towel look lovely for our registry? I swear I’m not pregnant – just my purse underneath it. Adam says I look like a creepster in the picture. I say classy.

The nice safety net is that although Adam moves next week we’ll just have 4-5 days apart before reuniting for a week of family vacation (with his family in Hilton Head).  Woot!  Because of this upcoming departure, things will be pretty quiet on the blog front for the next bit.  I want to make sure I’m soaking up every last minute of time together.  Send me strong thoughts and vibes so I don’t totally lose it next Tuesday when the moving truck pulls away!

Happy almost-Friday! :)

-Kelly

The Decision Not to Get Knee Replacements at Age 46

3 Jun

This post was supposed to be all about Day 1 of Insanity.  I would write about the difficult fit test (I was pouring sweat).  I would write about how I proudly crossed my workout off my Insanity wall calendar (I almost asked Adam to take a picture of me I was so excited).  I would write about my meals for the day, following the Insanity meal plan (I’ve been surprisingly satisfied).  I would tell you my initial thoughts and excitement (Shaun’s voice is slightly annoying, but I like the set).

Though all those things happened this morning, this post is not about all that…

This morning my alarm went off as usual and I excitedly remembered today was the day to start Insanity.  I laid in bed a few more minutes trying to convince myself to wake up.  No matter how excited I am for something, I still don’t want to wake up.  I must’ve fallen back asleep because I suddenly woke with a huge start, “I have a sports med doctor appointment this morning!!”  I completely forgot about my follow-up appointment and panicked that I was too late.  (How I remembered it in a start I have no idea).  Thankfully it was only 6:50 am and my appointment wasn’t until 8:30.  I decided to just move quickly in order to get through Day 1 of Insanity.  Adam took my before pictures and I watched the DVD.  Hilariously, step 1 was Obtain MD Consent…well isn’t that just convenient.  After finishing the fit test (I was only slightly sweaty and asthmatic), I quickly showered and went off to the doctor.

Over the last month, my recurrent knee pain has greatly reduced.  I have been going to physical therapy twice a week and performing exercises to strengthen my hips at home.  My Physical Therapist is wonderful and tells me I have been making great strides with my Runner’s Knee.  I would agree because my knees no longer ache at rest.  I’ve been feeling good and she even cleared me to start running this week (yay!).  My appointment today was with the sports med doc who originally diagnosed my runner’s knee and prescribed physical therapy.  Honestly I completely forgot about it altogether! (oops!) On my drive over I was contemplating whether or not to tell him I was starting Insanity.  After watching the intro DVD this morning I started getting really nervous.  It showed the proper form for squats, lunges, and jumps…all things my doc previously told me to avoid.  Is it possible Insanity might be harder on my knees than running?

Once I arrived a resident reviewed my symptoms and history.  He examined both knees and I explained the pain (and my decision to run 2 half-marathons sort of against doctor orders).  The resident was a runner and also has done Insanity – how convenient!  When I told him sheepishly I started Day 1 of Insanity today he just sort of shook his head.  He thought for a moment and said, “you know…Insanity will be harder on your knees than running.”  Le sigh.  I was really hoping he wouldn’t say that.  After he finished his exam my doctor came in to take a look.  He was very pleased with my progress and said that he could tell that things were looking better.  (Hooray!)  But… (and there’s always a but) my knees are still recovering and they aren’t fully there yet.  Okay.  I can deal with that.   He said it was time to start running and gave me a 5 week schedule to follow to build back up my mileage.  The first run is .5 mile just to give you an idea of where I’ll start out.  Double sigh.

Should I even mention Insanity?  He’s just going to say no.  If he doesn’t want me to run more than half a mile I hardly think he will allow Insanity.

“Well, I don’t know if the resident told you…but I just started Insanity today and I was hoping to incorporate that daily.”

Look of unhappiness crosses doctor’s face.

“Is that the one full of squats and jumping?”

I started feeling hot as my face turned red

“Yeah…”

After discussing it for a few minutes my doc agreed to allow me to start Insanity but… not bend my knees more than 30 degrees.  I also wasn’t allowed to double up running and Insanity – too much stress on my knees.  I could do one or the other.  I left with a running plan, prescription for orthotics, and a huge lump of disappointment in my stomach.  I couldn’t help but feel depressed.  My plans were all shot now!  I should’ve felt happy that my knees were making such good progress – instead I was so incredibly disappointed.

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Ignore the laughter – 2 convos at once…but you can see where Dr. Adam’s feelings are on the matter.

The rest of the morning I had a bit of a sad attitude and really didn’t know what to do.  Should I do Insanity, but have to modify like crazy and worry about my knees?  Should I push it off for a few months until my knees fully recover?  Should I try it for a week and see how my knees feel? I threw around all the options in my head and landed on what felt to be the smartest decision: I shouldn’t continue with Insanity yet.  (Noooooo!!)

My knees are just beginning to recover, I would be heartbroken if I had another setback with them.  Yes I’m a little heartbroken I can’t get going on Insanity, but the nice thing is: I still have the DVDs and program!  It isn’t going anywhere, there is no rush or time limit on finishing it.  I’m just going to have to be patient and wait until my knees are ‘back to normal.’  At the heart of things I’m a runner, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that…especially after I’ve seen so many improvements lately.

So I’m sad to report that you won’t be able to follow along with the Insanity program.  No updates, no reports, and no reviews.  I always love following blogs that have goals and programs so it’s disappointing not to be able to write about that journey. But I think there comes a point where you just have to let go of ego (This is where I say get a grip Kelly…your only hard-core dedicated reader won’t care what you write about.  Hi Mom!) and do what’s smart.

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Yeah I even let this thought cross my mind…thank goodness for Adam and auto-correct.

So instead I’m going to come up with a game plan over the next few days and create a program to help strengthen my knees and my running.  I have no idea what that will look like – but I’m sure I will think of something.  Throughout the day I have felt more positive about my diagnosis, and honestly, I’m truly happy to be taking care of my knees.  I believe they will thank me some day.  And maybe, just maybe…I’ll get that sub 1:50 half-marathon.

So until I have a plan…have a happy Monday!

-Kelly

Half-Marathon in the Morning!

17 May

Happy Friday everyone!  Hard to believe the week is almost over.  And even harder to believe that I have a half marathon in the morning!  This will be my second half-marathon race in 2 weeks and let’s just say I’m a little nervous.  This has definitely been a very good learning experience (or a learning what not to do experience) :)  I came up with this brilliant back-to-back half plan about a month ago.  I tend to get race anxiety and thought “Hey!  Another half – this will be a great way to reduce my anxiety!  I’ll have another ‘chance’ to break 2 hours if my first race goes poorly.  Oooo.. and I can join the ‘Month of May Club’ and get a t-shirt if I do 2 halfs in May.”  Goodness, what I’ll do for a ‘free’ t-shirt.  Thus my brilliant plan was born.  Now that I’m a day away, and not quite recovered from my first race, I’ll give you the pros and cons (for me) of doing back-to-back half marathons.

Pros:

  •  I already know I can get the miles in.  After all, I just did it.  Right?
  • Hypothetically I have another chance at getting a fast time (note: not going to happen in a million years).
  • I enjoy racing; neat to have another race! (this is true, not sarcasm)

Cons:

  • I am tired – physically my body is just not 100%.  I still feel muscle fatigue – often.  I just feel like I can’t do what I did just a few short weeks ago.
  • I am missing the pre-race anticipation.  I already went through that and 2 weeks isn’t enough time for me to get excited all over again. Yeah debbie downer, I know!
  • I’m bummed because I’m going into this knowing I won’t be fast.  That’s kind of deflating.  My runs since my half have been slow.  I mean, full minutes slower than usual.  Yeah – multiple minutes.  And the kind of runs where you think ‘man can I even finish this short run?’  I know running isn’t all about speed, but lately that has been a goal of mine, so it’s disappointing to not realize those goals.
  • I’m not as motivated.  Due to above reasons I just don’t feel as excited and motivated to run this one.  It’s essentially an after-thought of a race.
  • I have injury-anxiety.  My knees aren’t doing amazingly and I’m worried about over-use.

Okay – clearly you can see where I’m at as far as readiness/excitement for the race tomorrow.  Man – I am such a whiner!  But it’s not all bad!  It’s just a matter of wrapping my mind around the fact that for me, tomorrow is not going to be a speed-oriented race.  It is going to be a chance to do a nice long run on a beautiful (hilly) course.  It’s a chance to proudly wear a bib and be out on the course with many other runners.  It’s about the opportunity to run: that’s not something everyone has the privilege to do.  Tomorrow is about relaxing, having fun, and knowing that this isn’t going to be my PR.  And that’s okay!  Sometimes I think racing is all about expectations.  I’m trying to set the appropriate expectation so I walk away feeling excited and not disappointed in myself.  I got a 1:51 two weeks ago.  And that’s awesome.  No one can take that away.  If I run a 2:15 tomorrow it doesn’t take away my 1:51… it just means this wasn’t a speedy race for me.  I don’t think it’s healthy for me to think that every race is about a PR.  Setting goals is awesome and you can bet your bottom dollar I will have some goals for my fall half.  But the goal for tomorrow: enjoy running!  It’ll be my last long run for a few months at least (thanks knees!) and gosh darn it – I’m going to have fun!!

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I get to run this lakeside beauty of a course!

The Plan

Well… here’s the thing.  I don’t really have a plan.  HAH!  (Yeah – I know, am I feeling well?). I haven’t studied the course.  I haven’t marked my water and gu spots.  And you know what: I don’t think I will.  Eek.  Yeah, scares me a little bit.  But honestly it’s a small race, I’m not going for a PR… so I sort of just want to go out there and relax!  I’m going to see how my body feels and wing it. I’ll let you know how that strategy goes.

The Course

It’s hilly, around a lake reservoir, and supposedly beautiful.  It’s one of those ‘your spectators are people drinking their coffee and walking out to get their morning paper in their bathrobe’ kind of races.   Haven’t done one of those in awhile – sort of looking forward to the change.

The Prep

Adam and I have some awesome friends that live right on the course.  We’ll head up there tonight for an evening of fun and hopefully a relaxing morning of cheering from the house for them.  This part of the race is amazing – I can’t wait to run by them!  Tonight I’ll do my usual spaghetti, ice my knees, tape my legs, say a little prayer and hope for the best.

The Goals

  1. Have fun – relax and enjoy
  2. Finish the race (yep, this is a real concern)
  3. And last and definitely least: going for a 2:00-2:10 finish

It’s a little too early to say “I’d never do back-to-to back again” or “I wouldn’t recommend this.”  I think it is all about training.  For me, I’m realizing this wasn’t maybe the smartest plan.  But I know many people who do this sort of thing often and have great success.  I’m sure I’ll have some opinions tomorrow concerning whether I’ll do it again ;)  No matter what: my race will be a great start to another awesome weekend!  Man alive, I love May.  Have I mentioned it’s the best month ever?!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!  I’ll be tweeting my results (good or bad!) so you can see them here on the blog homepage or follow me on twitter @racesrepsramble :)

-Kelly

Race Rematch!

3 May

Well, tomorrow is the big day.  Tomorrow I will run my second Indy Mini-Marathon.  My stomach hurts just typing that!  Right now I’m a bundle of excitement, nerves, confidence, worries, and anticipation.  This will be my first half marathon in a year (I pulled out of one in October), and I can’t wait to see what happens.  My goal is to finally hit sub 2 hours.  My two other half times were 2:06:00 and 2:06:01.  I don’t think I could’ve done that if I tried!  I hope to finally break the 2:06 streak.  This time the race is different.  I am more prepared.  I am more fit (thanks P90X!).  I am healthier.  And most importantly, I am more confident.  My outfit is picked out, my bib is picked up, my knees are iced, and I have my game plan for tomorrow.  Indy Mini – Bring it on!!

This race holds a special place for me because it’s the first race Adam and I did together.  It also holds a little anxiety-filled piece of my heart because it was one of my worst races to date (excluding my Columbus full marathon…  no training = wanting to die).  The Indy mini is the only race I’ve ever cried during and sobbed hysterically afterwards (yeah drama much?).  I am determined to create better memories of the Mini tomorrow.  I am determined to overcome what happened last year.

Why am I so anxious for this race?

Well, that’s just it.  Last year, anxiety literally killed me during the race.  I was excited for the race – I had high hopes that I could help guide Adam to a sub-2 first half marathon.  After all – I was the experienced runner.  I was going to be the rock for him.  We would laugh and run, make great memories, then run through a field of flowers and rainbows.  Early in the morning we were suited up and ready to go.  Even then, I knew something wasn’t quite right.  My stomach wasn’t really taking to breakfast, and I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom.  The anxiety started setting in.  What if I couldn’t go to the bathroom before the race?  What if my stomach doesn’t stop hurting?  Well as you can imagine this sort of thinking just made my stomach hurt more.  I tried to stay calm as we made our way over.  After a quick successful stop at the porta potties I had a renewed sense of hope: maybe this was just pre-race jitters!  We hopped into our corral and remarkably ran into our two close friends running the race (in a sea of 35,000 people).  This was a huge boost and we had a great time before the gun went off.  My stomach wasn’t doing great – but I did feel more confident I would recover.

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Our fake “finish-line” photo taken at the start line before we began the race.

Soon we were off!  The beginning of the Indy race is pretty congested, but also incredibly thrilling.  Adam and I dashed and darted around runners trying to navigate as politely as we could while staying near each other.  Mile 1 and 2 came and went, but by Mile 3 I knew this was truly going to be a battle.  I told Adam I really needed to stop for a bathroom break.  I kept going back and forth and finally he said “Kelly, just stop!  You will feel better and then we can just continue.”  I followed his advice.  But alas, no luck at the stop.  I couldn’t go!  What the heck, body??  So on we went.  The miles kept dragging on and my posture kept hunching over my stomach the farther we went.  Miles 6 and 7 are around the Indianapolis Speedway (the race track of the Indy 500).  I hit my low point on the track and kept urging Adam to leave me.  I wanted him to have a great run and I was a sandbag pulling him down.  He cheerfully kept encouraging me and telling me he was sticking with me.  I started to get a bit grumpy towards all his perkiness, and after a not-so-nice exchange of words and some tears we continued on in silence.

My stomach was still killing me and I was a black hole of negative energy.  I felt so guilty that I was ruining the experience for Adam.  Around mile 10 I knew I’d be able to finish and I started perking up a bit.  Just a bit.  We kept painfully and deliberately pushing towards the finish and soon it was within sight.  Adam grabbed my hand and literally pulled me across the finish line.  Some days later I could watch the finish line video and chuckle at how pathetic I looked.  Adam holding my hand like a sick child dragging me behind him.  At the time I was happy to be done, but heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken.  We collected our medals and started walking a few feet back.  I just started sobbing.  Not only did we not get the sub 2-hour race I desperately wanted for Adam, I ruined it.  I still hurt and I ruined the day.  I was pretty inconsolable for a few minutes.  Let’s just say lots of running and pressure can quickly take you to an emotional place.  Soon Adam was able to get through to me and I started feeling a bit better.  We stilled managed to get a “B” in terms of what we were hoping to attain time-wise (We had a sliding scale of goals set). We grabbed some food and ended up meeting with some friends at the end of it.

Even now I’m not 100% sure that I didn’t get food poisoning or Montezuma’s Revenge as I dramatically titled it in the days following the race.  But in my gut I know a big factor was my anxiety.  I put too much pressure on myself and either made myself sick or exasperated an existing stomach issue.  Either way, I let my disappointment get in the way of positivity and making it a great day.  It was a good lesson to learn.  As much as pace is important and it’s wonderful to have goals, I never want to let myself get so down for doing something so great.  For goodness sake I ran 13.1 miles!  That is an accomplishment, whether I shaved those 6 minutes off or not.  And the reality is: we didn’t train for a sub-2 hour race.  I should’ve stuck with more realistic goals based on my training (Another important lesson).  Last year during this time my asthma was causing a lot of trouble and I was traveling weekly for work.  I just didn’t make my runs a priority.  It makes sense – you get what you put in.

What about this year?

Fast forward to today: the night before my rematch.  My chance to have a happy and successful race.  Yes I have time goals, but I will not let myself get on the train to negative town.  My most important goal is to enjoy and have fun.  That was my biggest lesson from last year.  Because after all –  I’m running a half marathon tomorrow baby!

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Getting ready to head into the Expo!

Yesterday I went to the expo and had an awesome time.  I grabbed my packet easily and sure enough my bib says Corral D.  Crazy.  Still convinced that’s an error.  Adam and I wandered around the expo and I picked up some tape for my knees, new bottles for my fuel belt, and an awesome sparkly headband (score!).  It was a great success and not too crowded.  I could feel my heart pounding when I was heading into the expo. I’m hoping I can stay calm and anxiety free tomorrow.  I trained for a successful race – I just need to remember that.  I made a game plan for fueling/water stops so that’s all decided as well.  All that’s left is running!

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Red circles are water stops and blue stars are 1/2 Gu.

If you’d like to track my progress you can sign up for that here.  The Indy Mini has race tracking available for all participants.  I love it – my family across the country is already signed up to get updates.  How sweet is that?  Additionally you can follow me on Twitter (@racesrepsramble) as I signed up to automatically tweet my splits.  You’ll see the tweets here on the homepage too.  Isn’t technology amazing?  Enjoy the weekend!

Wish me luck!  And fingers crossed my knees hold up!

-Kelly

Do you get race anxiety?  Have you ever wanted a race rematch?

The Dreaded Runner’s Knee

1 May

Well, I finally did it.  I went to the doctor about my knee pain.  As a long distance runner I’m very accustomed to over-use injuries.  Whether it’s stress fractures or sore joints or ankle pain – been there done that.  Normally the recipe for success and recovery is the same sad story: no running, rest, and ice.  When my knee pain started last September I did just that.  I dropped my half-marathon, I stopped running completely, and I let myself totally rest.  About 6 weeks later I began P90X and maybe a month after that I started running again – this time only short distances.  I am pretty “by the book” when it comes to treating injuries, so I really expected a quick recovery.  My body had something else in mind.  When I started training in February for the mini-marathon I experienced little knee pain and felt confident progressing.  About a month ago, however, I had to walk home because the pain was too much.  That was the final straw.  If weeks of rest, strength-training, and limited racing didn’t solve the problem, there had to be more to the story.

Today I found out that I have Patellofemoral syndrome aka ‘Runner’s Knee.’  This is the most common running injury and certainly nothing out of the ordinary.  It’s a relief that this is something pretty standard, but also a bummer that it is bad enough to be qualified as something.  My sports med doc was very thorough, and I left feeling a bit sad but confident about the next steps.  I had a resident in my appointment, which was fantastic because the doc ended up explaining verbally all of his testing and tweaking – which was great for me!  I loved hearing the explanation behind all of the pushing, pulling, and analyzing he did.  Based on my pain, symptoms, and physical exam he came to a swift conclusion that I have runner’s knee.  Yay – no MRI or x-rays needed!  But sad that the pain was real enough to lead to such an obvious diagnosis.

What is Runner’s Knee?

According to trusty Wikipedia, Runner’s Knee is caused by the prolonged repetitive compressive or shearing forces (running or jumping) on the Patellofemoral joint.  The result is the thinning and softening of the cartilage under the patella (hence the pain under my knee cap – makes sense!).  Essentially my kneecap is irritating the groove where my femur is resting.  It is very common, and is found twice as often in women due to wider hips (thanks Ma!).  It’s tough to say exactly what is causing it in my case, but it could be any of the following:

  • Overuse
  • Biomechanical problem – my body just might be more prone to it (something about Q angles?)
  • My quads are weak, specifically the inner quad
  • My hamstrings are tight
  • My gait isn’t aligned appropriately
  • Or a few other things

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So how do I fix it?

The bad news: no running.  This was to be expected.  I think this is a big reason I’ve been putting off this Dr. visit for so long.  I knew this was going to be the first order of business.  Though he did tell me, “I know you have your races coming up so go ahead and do those.  I’d tell you not to, but I know you wouldn’t listen anyways.”  I laughed and told him he was very correct.  He must be a runner :)

The good news: there is more to the story than just rest and ice.  Obviously rest and ice is the first step, but there are also exercises for strengthening the inner quad muscles.  Additionally I can tape my knee and wear a brace that might provide some support and relief.  The last step: Aleve twice a day for 2 weeks.  That’s a lot more anti-inflammatory medication than I’m used to taking, but he wanted to be aggressive in relieving the inflammation.  I have to admit that it felt pretty good walking out of there with a prescription and Physical Therapy referral, as opposed to just “rest and stop running.”

Hopefully I’ll get my first PT visit scheduled soon and I’ll be on the road to recovery.  I’m still looking forward to my upcoming races, but sad that I’ll have to take a break once they are done.  I’ll be sure to soak up the running happiness and really enjoy them.  Biking and swimming were the recommended replacement activities, but I’m still not sure what my next step will be exercise-wise.  I’m not sure how much this will affect my 2013 Fitness Goals.  Really I’m just trying to process the information.  Let’s see.  Essentially any bending motion irritates it more: so no Plyo, likely no Insanity, lunges, or squats for a few weeks, along with the running.  Sigh.  Should I start thinking more seriously about committing to biking and swimming?  Ugh.  Knees – you can get better!  I believe in you!

I’ll leave you with some old lady advice: take care of your bodies and be sure to stretch and rest appropriately! You don’t want to be sad and benched like me!

-Kelly

How do you handle periods of rest and recovery?  What’s your favorite ‘recovery’ exercise?

Back to Reality!

28 Apr

Le sigh.  Vacation is over and back to reality.  Adam and I just got back from an awesome week in Costa Rica.  I lived in San Jose for a year after I graduated from college and hadn’t been back since!  It was pretty awesome to return after several years away – it felt like not much time had passed at all.  We spent part of the time visiting my old friends, another part doing touristy things like zip lining and visiting volcanoes, and finished up the trip with a few days at the beach relaxing.  The trip was pretty full, but also allowed for some nice relaxation – a perfect mix.  We rented a car and drove to my favorite parts of the country.  This was Adam’s first time in CR, and I wanted to give him a nice overall tour and flavor of the place I called home.

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Time at the beach: perfection!

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On one of our daily walks.

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Breakfast at our beach apartment. (oops.. yep that’s some diet coke there!)

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One of my favorite spots in Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano!

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Relaxing in the thermal waters near Arenal Volcano.

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This. was. amazing.

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Dinner, drinks, and lounging in volcano-heated thermal pools all evening? Yes please!

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We made it! A rewarding climb down to La Fortuna waterfall. We jumped in after this picture.

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Ziplining like a real tourist!

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Visiting with old friends – what a wonderful trip!

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Mango! It was a culinary treat to eat all my old favorites again.

During the trip we *tried* to not totally fall off our P90X/half-marathon training plan…and I can say that we sort of succeeded.  Before departing we knew we weren’t going to do our normal P90X workouts (this had already been decided for weeks), but we wanted to be somewhat active (my half-marathon being the main motivator).  We ended up doing only one run (fail) but walked 3 or 4 miles everyday (win!) and even did a pretty exhausting hike to a waterfall (double win).  Although we didn’t do our normal workouts or training we still managed to stay active, which was great.  On the nutrition front we were so-so as well.  We didn’t follow our post-it note eating habit while away and weren’t super strict with our nutrition.  The two things I missed most when I moved back to the States from Costa Rica: 1. the people 2. the food!!  So I was sure to sample all of my favorite cuisine that I have missed so much.  I really didn’t want to limit this as some of this food I’ve been dreaming about eating for years!  Some cuisine (fresh tropical fruit) healthier than others (rice, beans, Costa Rican chocolates and pastries).  During our last couple days we stayed at an apartment with a kitchen, so we got more on track by making our own food – this helped out considerably.  We had the most difficulty during our first few days in San Jose when spending time with my friends.  A lot of our social gatherings focused on food at some point and we didn’t want to be rude :)  We both feel that we did a relatively good job and didn’t cause toooo much damage.

As with most vacations: it is great to go, but it’s nice to be back.  The month of May brings lots and lots of fun with 2 half-marathons for me, Adam’s graduation from med school, a friend’s wedding, and my birthday!  Our vacation was the perfect kick-start to an exciting next few weeks.  The first May milestone: just 6 days until the mini-marathon – yikes!  It’s really hard to believe it’s almost here.  Let the countdown begin!

Happy to be back and enjoy the vacation pics!

-Kelly

Back-to-Back Half Marathons!

18 Apr

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In the spirit of keeping on keeping on, I signed up for another half marathon!  I’ve been hemming and hawing about it for a few weeks now, but I just decided to go for it this week.

The awesome:

  • It’s near me.  Close races are always convenient.
  • It’s on the smaller side, which will be fun after doing the largest half marathon in the country.
  • It’s around a reservoir; I’m guessing lovely views!
  • No pressure – the mini will be done…this one is for fun.

The con:

  • And this one I’m pretty worried about: it’s only 2 weeks after my other half.

I know, I know…all you marathoners out there are thinking ‘I do that mileage in my sleep.’  Well this marathoner is thinking – woah I really don’t want to hurt myself.  I’ve been feeling pretty strong lately (thanks P90X!), but I don’t like to push my luck.  I think 2 weeks is just a week or two shy of what I’d feel comfortable with to recover fully, but I think it’s doable.  I am going to going to do the second half-marathon as a chance to do something fun and relax – I’m not expecting any PR.

I’ve been thrilled with my running lately, and why not seize the opportunity to do another race?  With Adam moving to Nashville in June, I won’t have many chances left to have my #1 fan in tow (though my mom might object to that title ;)).  Summers are always crazy busy for weekends and there are usually far less race opportunities (at least close ones).  In the fall, there are 3 or 4 all right back to back so this will be a good time to see how many I should sign up for then.  I’m also hoping that knowing I have another race soon will keep my anxiety low on race day for the Mini.  It’s not “hey this is your one and only chance to do well,” so I’m guessing this will keep me more calm and allow me to set appropriate expectations for myself.

The Mini is almost here!!

Just a little over 2 weeks until the mini-marathon, and I am beyond excited.  I got my race confirmation in the mail yesterday and my corral placement.  It makes it seem that much more real.  I am up really close in corral D – which seems like potentially an error (for real people – I’m not that fast, come on!).  Though I was in E last year.  Moving on up ;)  I can’t believe my chance at a rematch is almost here.  I’m feeling good about going into it confident and prepared.  Last year’s mini was a pseudo-disaster…more on that another time.  Let’s just say I’m looking forward to kicking booty!

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Signing off for a bit…

And last but not least, Adam and I are off to a real vacation tomorrow!  We are thrilled for a little R&R and time away.  We’re going to work hard to stay accountable to enjoy our vacation but not completely and totally fall off the P90X (healthy living) bandwagon.  We’ll just do our best!  We are packing some snacks just in case we can’t find anything healthy – that should help…right?  Our goals also include getting in 2 short runs and a couple rounds of ab ripper – though we are postponing P90X for our vacation (a calculated decision based on where vacation and the mini fell).  Things will be quiet for the next bit – see you when I get back!

-Kelly

Have you run any races back to back?  What are your tips for a speedy recovery?

Successful 12-miler!

12 Apr

Well I’m pleased to report I had a great run this morning!  Yes, you’re reading that correctly, this morning.  This Friday morning…before work.  Okay so it was a little insane, but what’s a busy gal to do?  I had to squeeze it in some time!  My pace was on the more conservative side with an average around 9:20/9:25.  I stopped a few times and I know I’ve got some inaccuracies in my tracker so I’m not 100% certain, but that’s okay by me.  The weather was cold, at least cold for this week (we hit the 70s a couple days ago)!  My weather app said it would be 39 degrees…but it was a mighty cold 39 degrees.  It was consistently very windy, and I was glad I opted for gloves and ear warmers to shield me a bit.

I ended up choosing the ludicrous time of  Friday morning for my long run because I’m headed out of town this weekend.  I’m going bridesmaid dress shopping with my sister and future sister-in-law in Atlanta!  I’m very excited for the trip, but it also presented some logistical challenges.  A month or so ago I went to Atlanta and ended up doing my long run in a great park.  The difference?  That run was 5 miles, this one was 12.  I didn’t want to be sore and paranoid about hydration on a day dedicated to helping out my soon-to-be sister-in-law.  Nothing says ‘this day is about you’ like “We need to stop and get more water…I need to stretch more…I can’t walk that far…I’m tired.”  Do you see all the I’s in that?  Running this morning will allow me to relax and go with the flow as far as plans for the weekend.  I also did a triple day this week (running at lunch and P90X videos in the morning and evening) to help front load a little bit.  It will be great to not have to think about things!  I should get home early enough Sunday to squeeze in my last  P90X workout.

All the planning and thoughts about the timing of my long run are wonderful and make some sense – but wow when my alarm went off at 5:20, it seemed like just about the stupidest idea in the world.  I kept trying to think of another time I could make it work.  After a couple minutes of letting myself come to the conclusion I needed to run (and possibly dozing back to sleep during that time?) the snooze alarm went off and I went to work getting ready to head out.  In training for the Mini-Marathon, I have focused on keeping all my long runs in the morning.  I want to simulate a race run as much as possible.  In previous training periods I did all my long runs (or any run) in the evening or afternoon, and had quite a shock race day.  This morning I felt like I really was getting my routine down.  I had everything laid out the night before so could just go on auto pilot.  After eating my English muffin and filling up the bottle for my fuel belt, I was out the door!

And yikes, when I turned the corner it was windy.  Cold, I’m-gonna-be-happy-when-this-is-over windy.  Thankfully, the first few miles passed pretty quickly, and happily, I experienced no knee issues.  I noticed my miles were coming in a bit on the slower side: in the 9:10s-9:30s.  I haven’t seen those numbers in a while so it was a bit disheartening, but I reminded myself the goal was just to get the mileage in!  Slow and steady wins the race.

On this particular run, I was excited to try something new (always smart to do it before race day).  Normally I use Gu gels, but I had just stopped by the running store and picked up some chews to try.  Generally when you’re running over an hour it’s important to refuel with something to give your body some carbs and energy it needs.  I try to eat something every 40 minutes if I’m running over an hour.  My chews were pink lemonade flavored and I couldn’t wait until mile 4 to give them a try.  Shocker: I didn’t like them!  Now don’t get me wrong – I loved the taste.  What a great change from Gus (I sort of want them just as a non-running snack)!  But there was something about the act of chewing while running that I found difficult.   Pathetic right?  I did end up finishing the bag over the course of the run.  I could certainly handle them, but it was an important discovery that this won’t be my favorite form of refueling.  I’ll stick to my Gus for now.

Yummy! But… discovered it’s a challenge for me to chew and run.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  Kind of what you’d expect from a dark, cold, early, long, pre-work run.  Wow when I put it that way – the run was actually fantastic given all those modifiers!  Throughout the run I wasn’t really pushing for speed.  I wasn’t slacking, but it was certainly on the slow and steady track.  It was nice to have a relaxing long run.  It was quite a bit windier near the river, which was a good challenge too.

Normally these bridges are gorgeous, but holy windy today!

When I got home I realized my average pace was officially on the slower side (didn’t I just do 10 miles at an 8:14 pace last week??).  Thankfully Adam was there to remind me “wasn’t your goal between 9 and 9:30?”  Hmm… I guess I had forgotten that.  I mean come on – it was early, I was barely functioning, let alone remembering what goal I had set earlier in the week!  Adam suggested that my body just knew and remembered what my goal was :)  I stretched as much as I could and got ready for work.  I was very fortunate to have Adam there after the run.  He packed my breakfast/lunch/dinner – what a doll.  That was a huge help in getting me out the door and to work on time.  Maybe it’s a good thing he isn’t doing this race!

After a bit of reflection about my run – I’m really feeling quite pleased with it!  It was tough to do it this morning, but I still managed to complete it.  AND – complete it with little to no pain.  I’ll call that a win-win.  I saw this picture on Pinterest this morning and laughed – an accurate summary of my morning!

Probably true for this morning!

Now onto the weekend and wedding details in Atlanta!  A great start to a great weekend for sure.

Happy Friday, and have an awesome weekend!

-Kelly

Race Recap: I Run This Town 15K!

7 Apr

Hooray!  I completed the race!  Friday night I feared the worst with two bags of ice strapped to my legs.  Lately my knees have been causing all sorts of trouble, but I’m thrilled to report that yesterday they cooperated.  I had a very successful run and felt pretty strong throughout.

The “I Run This Town 15K” is a part of the training series for the mini-marathon I’m doing May 4th.  It is a fantastically organized series, and I have enjoyed both the 10K and 15K events immensely.  They have helped me believe in myself, and I know I will have more confidence going into my half-marathon.

Saturday morning I woke up excited, but also a bit anxious to see what was going to be possible with my knees.  I started my half bagel in the toaster and went to the bathroom to get ready.  I ended up cutting it pretty close on timing.  Because I live so near to the start line I kept thinking “oh I live so close, I’m fine.”  My bagel was pretty much the last thing I did on the way out the door.  Yeah – rookie mistake.  I only had a bit of stomach jostling during the race, so I lucked out.

I also had a tough time deciding exactly what to wear.  It was in the low 40s but cloudy, and I had my outfit picked out – but gloves?  or no gloves?  hat?  just an ear warmer?  I ended up going with light gloves, a long sleeved cotton shirt, and shorts.  With everything settled I headed out the door.  I needed to complete 10 miles so I ran the mile to the start line to get my extra mileage. The closer I got to the start, the more I noticed I didn’t see anyone for the race.  No bibs, no runners, no people stretching with a warm-up jog around the canal.  For the 10K, runners were everywhere, so my nerves kicked up that I might be missing the start!  I turned the corner and to my relief things hadn’t started yet – everyone was just already in line.  After making my way up to the start I checked my watch- 7:59.  For a 8:00 am race.  A whole minute to spare.  I was golden.

The training series races don’t have corrals, so the beginning is sort of hectic.  It can be frustrating to have walkers and very slow runners right up at the front.  But then again – I could be slow to the person behind me, so it’s all relative.  I tried to pick somewhere near the front, but not too far up.  I settled upon a spot and awaited the gun.

We were soon off and the first few miles felt great on my knees.  In fact, I was quite shocked at how little I felt any tweaking or issues of any kind.  The temperature was pleasant enough, but quite windy and overcast.  There were points that I was wishing I had pants…so the gloves were a great choice.  Mile 1 clocked in at 8:22.  I reminded myself to pull back.  My goal was between 8:30-9:00.  After all, this was a training run and I’m already dealing with injuries.  Mile 2: 8:26… that’s better.  I continued to feel strong though and my pace remained in the low 8:20s.

My normal race strategy is to control my start and leave juice for the end.  Therefore, during the first few miles I give myself a couple of milestones to keep from pushing it too early.  I had until mile 7 to control my pace and keep consistent.  At that point I could begin to push a bit more (if my knees felt great).  Then, at mile 8 I could really start going to town if I so desired.  This strategy kept me excited and motivated for the last few miles, but also in control of the adrenaline and desire to run.

During this race I had a funny moment that really reminded me of my age and experiences with injuries.  One of my favorite mantras when I did full marathons was  “Pain is only temporary, pride is forever.”  I would often chant this repeatedly in my head along with several other mantras.  I picked up the tactic from a marathoning book and always really enjoyed it.  I hadn’t done it in awhile and started saying to myself, pain is only temporary, pride is eternal.

Pain is only temporary, pride is forever. 

Well really Kelly – that’s a lie.  If you injure yourself good enough, you could really have that injury plague you forever.  So maybe let’s keep away from the pain part and just run the best you can.  

After my little inner monologue I laughed to myself.  Pride was no longer a good enough incentive!  I started thinking about the other half of my bagel and Adam at the finish line and that seemed to work too :)

When mile 8 hit I couldn’t believe it – I still felt strong!  I had a lot of juice in the tank and my knees were giving me no issues.  I still tried to control my pace as I knew I was already ahead of my goal of 8:30-9:00.  Throughout the race I used one Gu and split it among three different aid stations.  This strategy seemed to prevent the stomach sloshing/cramping I had during the 10K.  I’ll probably use this strategy for my half.

Rounding the corner, I had the finish in sight!  I was soo excited to see Adam (and my half bagel of course).  I wanted to yell and shout at him “Look!!  Can you believe the time?  Can you believe my knees!”  I was still in such shock, I wanted to share in my excitement.  Adam had instructed me to remove my headphones when I neared the end, as last time I was oblivious to them cheering for me.  I was feeling well enough to keep my eyes peeled for him.  I kept looking and he was nowhere to be found.  The finish line was small so I knew he wasn’t there.  Was it possible that I beat him to the end??  I crossed with a smile on my face – quite pleased with how I was feeling: not dead!  In fact, quite strong.  I was very happy to be done, and it was awesome knowing I could’ve cranked out a few more miles.

I collected my banana and water, still in disbelief Adam wasn’t in sight.  He’s never late!  I texted him, both delighted I was early enough to beat him (I couldn’t wait to hear his surprise), and irritated that he didn’t see me cross the finish!  I didn’t have to wait long as I saw him immediately after leaving the finish line area.  His face said it all: disbelief, happiness, surprise, pride!  It was so great to have him there and share in the excitement that not only did my knees not fall apart, I had a great run!

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Better late than never!

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I did get something – a bag, sweet!

After stretching a bit we walked home, a relief to my knees (which of course now started cramping up and screaming).  My knees weren’t all that happy with me but I iced, stretched, and stretched some more when I got home and soon felt better.

The results were soon posted and I found out my average pace was 8:14 with a total time of 1:16:45.  Nothing short of amazing!  I also placed 10th in my division out of 152 – another fun bonus.  2013 is the year of sub 9 races…something very new and thrilling to me.  I really attribute a large bit of this change to P90X.  I can’t wait to see what May 4th will bring – fingers crossed for a sub 2-hour half!

Adam and I had some celebratory Pei Wei asian for lunch (don’t worry – we consulted their nutrition guide and didn’t totally blow the P90X plan)  and had a great rest of our Saturday!  I just keep thinking back to my race and it makes me smile every time!

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Deliciousness!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

-Kelly

Have you ever totally surprised yourself in a race?  

Reasons to Run

2 Apr

Running is a sport that brings me calm, keeps me in shape, and allows me to set and achieve (hopefully:)) personal goals.  This post is dedicated to my dear friend Katie.  Just yesterday she was saying, “Well, running is free.”  But pretty much stopped there on her reasons to run.  After our conversation, I got to thinking about why I run – or why someone should consider running.  So if you’re looking for some motivation to start or just want to reflect on why you currently run, here are my top 25 reasons to run.

  1. It’s free!  Well sort of, you do have to buy some quality shoes, an ipod maybe or some clothes…but it is a relatively inexpensive way to exercise.
  2. It’s relaxing.  This one has an asterisk…it’s relaxing once you’ve been doing it awhile.  And believe me, it can take a while.  It took me about a year after a break from running to enjoy it as a “relaxing” activity again.
  3. Cardiovascular health.  It keeps you in good cardiovascular shape.  My lungs will attest to this.
  4. It can be social.  I’ve had amazing runs out with friends or coworkers – running can be an awesome way to socialize (while working out, talk about efficiency!).
  5. It can be you time.  On the flip side, you can enjoy running to just think, ponder, and zone out.  It allows you a bit of quiet alone time.
  6. Musica, musica!  It’s a great way to catch up on music.  I love listening to new music or Pandora to hear new jams.
  7. Goals.  Running is an awesome way to make small goals and work towards them.  No matter where you begin you can always have new goals.  Whether it’s pace, distance, or just number of times per week, you can always make a new challenge.
  8. Racing is fun.  Whether you like the medals or the free food at the end, racing is pretty cool. It makes me feel like a real athlete, practically an Olympian.  I mean, right?
  9. “Free” t-shirts.  Okay so you really pay for them, but somehow on race day it feels like ‘oooo a free tech shirt!’  Some of them turn out to be pretty awesome.
  10. Participation trophies aka medals.  It’s one of few places you can get a medal just for participating.  It’s like t-ball trophies…for adults!
  11. General fitness.  It’s possible to get into pretty decent shape running.  Like I sure can wear this dress fitness.
  12. Vitamin D.  Running is an awesome way to spend some time outside in the daylight.  I find the extra dose of vitamin D particularly helpful in winter.
  13. Runner’s bond.  Yep – there is a definite bond.  When I hear someone is a runner, suddenly it’s ohh you’re a runner! 
  14. It’s challenging.  Let’s face it, running is hard. Being able to do it genuinely feels like an accomplishment.
  15. You can be proud of it. Because it is so challenging, running is something to really be proud of…or at least I am :)  Gearing up for my long run I will  silently feel proud of myself all day for getting that distance in.  What a boost for mental health!
  16. It’s simple.  Not simple in the actual act of running, but simple in terms of just needing yourself and a road.  Basic.  Simple.  No gimmicks.
  17. It’s rewarding. You put time into it and you will get something back.  Whether it’s toned muscles or better health or a faster pace, you get a return on investment.
  18. Running can be a family affair!  I’ve attempted to drag my sister and brother into running…it’s something we can all do together.  And someday if I have children I’ll drag them into it too!  Themed races or 5Ks are great ways to get people introduced. How neat to have a fitness related activity to all do together!  So much of our culture centers family time around food (Just think of holidays…Thanksgiving, 4th of July etc.) that it’s great to have running as an alternative activity.
  19. Stress Reducing.  Running can be very calming in itself – but exercise in general is a huge stress reducer.  Feeling tense?  Go out for a jog.
  20. Potential.  I love the idea of pushing my body and seeing my potential.  That’s an empowering thing!  It’s one of those, “If I don’t push myself now, when?”  I’m not getting any younger. What can my body really do?
  21. It’s convenient. Because running requires essentially no equipment (besides sneakers) you can do it anywhere.  It’s easy to plan around travel schedules or busy weeks.  Some weeks I end up running over lunch or early in the morning, and occasionally late at night.
  22. It’s great bang for your time bucks.  Running is a top calorie burning exercise, burning about 100 calories per mile.  If you’re going to put in time to work out, why not go for something with a great return?
  23. Self-esteem.  Running can make you feel pretty darn good about yourself.  Whether it is meeting goals, losing weight, or just the endorphins from exercise running will have you feeling more self-confident in no time.
  24. Purpose-oriented training.  Whenever I struggle to stay in the habit of working out regularly, I sign up for a race. Every workout has a purpose and the ‘training’ aspect of it keeps me coming back for me.  I’m not just running, I’m training.
  25. Improved overall fitness.  This one is huge.  I love when I’m in good running shape because it translates to so many other aspects of my life.  Suddenly I can climb stairs faster, I can carry in my groceries more easily, I’m happy to go on a long walking tour, and I’m prepared if I’m suddenly getting chased (you never know when you might need this one).  If for no other reason to run – remember you will be ready to outrun zombies should the need ever arise.  That’s preparation.

Hope you’re feeling motivated to lace up those sneakers.

Happy running!

-Kelly

Why do you enjoy running?  What’s your favorite reason to run?