Disney or bust!!!

Fri. Jan. 7th: Just two more days until Disney! We are actually on the road as I write this. We are stopping off to stay the night at my mother in-law’s house so we can drop the boy off. We will journey the rest of the way there in the morning. Since Christmas eve, I have been pretty low-key with my running. On Tues. Jan. 4th, I ran 5k (3.2 miles) on my treadmill. I ran it in 30:34. Last night, Thurs. the 6th, I ran another 5k and finished in 29:24. Not that these times mean anything for the marathon, but I was happy that I was able to run that fast. And, because my back was killing me and my IT band was feeling tight, I did another ice bath. I did it for 10 straight minutes (I timed it on my watch) in my whirlpool tub. I felt numb when I got out of the tub and my legs and hands were shaking. Still, I was hurting…

I have been in pain all week with my back and neck. I think a lot of it is stress related. In a last ditch effort, I called the P/T to see if they could fit me in. Thankfully, they did and at 4pm today, I had my last visit with them before the big race. They put the electro-stem unit on my neck, and knee with a heating pad and the P/T was able to stretch me and even get my back to crack a little. He tried his best to knead out the knot in my back, but to no avail. He advised me to take an Alieve when I got home and then an Advil before bed. Maybe hubby will give me a little massage before we go to sleep?!

I have some exciting news. Some of my family is actually coming for the race! My uncle and his daughter are driving all the way from Tampa just to see me at the finish line. He even got my cousin and her boys to come so they can be there too!

So now the pressure is on… I MUST finish! My hubby and our friend, my uncle, his daughter, my cousin and her boys, plus all of you out there who signed up to track me online or via e-mail will be waiting to see me reach this goal. For me, this is college and the final exam. The finish line is going to be my graduation of sorts. This will be in lieu of the “BA” that I never got- The something I can look back on in life to say, “I DID IT.”

Because I also have time “goal” in my head, I have an added pressure on myself that I know may not be realistic at this point. I am not going to tell you what it is until after the race. If I don’t meet that goal, I will still be satisfied with finishing. I am looking at it like this: “If I meet my time goal as well, then I not only get my BA, but I’ll have obtained it “with honors.” LOL

My next blog won’t be until after the race.

Please pray for me during this most exciting time. Disney, here I come!

“All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them. “  –Walt Disney

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Ice, Ice Baby

 (Tues. Dec. 30th): I have really slacked off on this whole blogging thing! It kind of parallels my training for this marathon in a way. I started out doing great, but as the holidays came around, the dates on the calendar started booking up and then the weather has been crazy. And now, well, I am kind of petering-out so to speak. I have things I want to write, but just don’t have the time nor energy or motivation to do it. On the way home from being gone over Christmas I decided I was going to blog since I had 4 hours in the car. Then as I sat there, my mind went blank and I stared at the computer for about 45 minutes before I dozed off. When I came to, I just couldn’t wrap my head around blogging so I decided to play a mindless computer game instead.

On Sat. Dec. 11th, I did run 10 miles. Thankfully, it was just cold, but not raining. The worst of the dread was that I had no one to run it with. Hubby and our son weren’t even there to inspire me that day since they were out running errands. I did the whole 10 miles on my own and pretty much was hating every minute of it! I went back to my “old faithful” park to start my run from there, but soon tired of the dull course. After three monotonous miles, I ventured back out of the park and ran in the direction I did on my 18 mile run the week prior. Once I reached Chick-Fil-A, I ran my way back down to the park. The physical therapist I have been seeing had talked to me on my last visit about the way I run. He had me get on the treadmill so he could see how my feet looked while running. I was surprised to learn that I was expelling way more energy than I needed to. I had never noticed that I run toe and heal, but apparently I do. The direct result of that has been a lot of unnecessary pressure and pounding on my body and most likely the biggest reason I have been having so much back and hip pain. The therapist had me switch my running to the balls of my feet only. He explained that all fast runners run this way and that their shoes are even made with more of the tread in that area. It took some getting used to, but I definitely could tell a difference. I felt more “springy”, but now my concern is whether or not I will have more pain in my legs from running this way since I am not used to it… I’ll keep you posted on that.

Fast forward to Mon. Dec. 20th. I finally motivated myself enough to get on the treadmill around 11pm and do 3 miles. It took me 34 minutes, but hey, I did it. I mostly ran on the balls of my feet. I felt like a gazelle stuck on a hamster wheel.

Fri. Dec. 24th I finally pushed past 18 miles and ran my longest run. I did 20 miles and it took me 3 hrs and 54 minutes (not including my time-outs for the bathroom breaks here and there. That probably added another 15 minutes or so. By the 11th mile, I was really over the whole thing. I was so bored and tired that I seriously considered stopping altogether. I wasn’t even halfway to 26 miles and I was seriously sick of the time I was using up to do it. Here it was Christmas Eve and I should have been hanging out with family. I called hubby on the cell phone and he met me on the golf cart and encouraged me for the next 4 miles. At mile 15, one of hubby’s cousin’s came out to finish the run with me. Boy was I glad for the company of having someone run alongside me. Just a month or so ago, his cousin had run a marathon Greenville. He completed it in an impressive 4 hours and 6 minutes! Running with him gave me the “umph” I needed to continue on. I was so hoping to get 22+ miles in, but time wouldn’t allow for it. We had family plans that night and I had taken quite long enough already. I was tired anyway and in all honesty, glad for the reprieve. Still, another goal in my head that didn’t quite work out as planned. But, I did do two more miles than I had previously so at least that is something to be proud of, right?! Oh, I also have done not one, but three ice baths since then. Yes, you heard me right- ice baths. They are a cross between sick torture and relief! My first one was right after the 20 miles. I had hubby start the tub for me and pour ice in it just before I got back from my run. He was very gracious with the amount of water and ice! When I went to get in the water, it was all I could do not to scream in agony. I am not kidding! That water was freaking COLD! It took me almost 10 minutes to submerge my legs in all the way. Once in, I think I stayed in for about 3-5 minutes tops. Remarkably, I felt pretty good the next day. My legs were not sore at all and my lower back felt better than it had in weeks. I went ahead and took another ice bath the following morning. This time, I got in the tub with lukewarm water first and then I slowly cooled the water down. Once my body adjusted to the cooler water, I then poured a pitcher of ice in tub. I leaned back as far as I could handle it and tried to get most of my upper back submerged. That lasted about 5-7 minutes. But I have to say, it worked. I felt great all day long and I didn’t need to take any Advil or use any Biofreeze. My last ice bath was when I returned home from Christmas. I did one the day after we got home because we had been sitting in the car for so many hours the day before and I wanted to make sure that the pain didn’t come creeping back. My Chiropractor, massage therapist and physical therapist were pretty amazed when they saw me. They could definitely tell that I wasn’t inflamed like I had been previously.

As of today, I am only 12 days away from the big day. No more long runs. In fact, I have not run since Christmas Eve. I plan on 5 miles tomorrow because I really should. Tomorrow will be New Year’s Eve…

I printed out my race packet last night and scanned over it. I have to be in the “corral” no later than 5 am or I won’t be able to run the race. Say WHAT?! Seriously??? They also said it is a 20 minute walk from the entrance of the park to where the starting line is and to be prepared for heavy traffic entering the park. Say WHAT again?! I am really counting on that Mickey Medal to drive me to complete this thing now. It better be worth it! LOL

We have made tentative hotel reservations at a place close to the park. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to take advantage of my free ticket to the park the following day since we’ll have to be heading back to pick up the boy. Does anyone want a free Disney ticket for Monday, Jan. 10th?

Since it is after 1am now and my hubby is not too happy that I am still up and blogging, I had better get going for now.

Tonight, I leave you with this quote: “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” ~Newt Gingrich

Posted in A Journey to a marathon, A SquirlyGrl Quest to run a marathon, A very Squirly Training Blog, Marathon Training Blog, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sweet Chicken and Gravy, is it that time again?!

Thurs. 12/9: I am making myself sit down and blog tonight. Dog gone it! The days and weeks are just flying by. Every night I keep thinking I’ll sit down to write and then the day comes and goes, and look here, it’s been another 2 ½ weeks. I am going to have to back-track a bit to catch everything up to date. Bear with me. I am going to post my thoughts for the following days as I remember them.

(Fri. 12/3): Man, a lot can happen in a couple of short weeks… This whole running thing is starting to overwhelm me. The weather was bad with rain for several days and then the cold finally set in. Sat. Nov. 27th, was my next run after the big 18-20 miles. I ran in the neighborhood with my new friend and we did 8 miles. I was glad to run since it had been another whole week between my last run. I know my training has been really haphazard lately. I also know I have been doing just the minimum to get by, although not on purpose. With rainy, cold weather, it’s really hard to be motivated. And when I have to run alone, well, it just makes it suck that much more… Top it off with work, a four year old, PMS (sorry guys, TMI, but you’ll get over it), and all the holiday stuff going on… I have to admit, I am not as motivated as I was just two short weeks ago. I feel like my “get up and go” has “gotten up and gone.”

During the past couple of weeks, I have been regularly seeing the P/T and also getting Chiropractic adjustments and massages. I know that those things have really helped. I don’t think I could have ever gotten this far without them. Also, my dad surprised me by funding me to buy the runner’s watch I wanted. Can I hear a big “Yahoo!” I was (and am) very excited about it. I went walking 4.5 miles last night in my neighborhood with a friend of mine and it was so cool to be able to track our distance, time and pace. My goal is to run 15-20 miles tomorrow (because the cold weather is coming back again on Sunday (with a chance of snow flurries- YIKES!) Confession: My eating has been really out of control- basically starving all day because I am so busy with work and all the Dr’s appts, that I have been gorging out at night, which I know is terrible. I started wondering if I am subconsciously self-sabotaging myself from making a decent finish time for the race. It’s like, I know I should be (need to be) running 3-4 miles at least twice during the week and then doing the longer runs every weekend. I also know I should be eating better- no Juju Bees, pizza, Pringles or McDonald’s… Yet, that is what I seem to eating a lot of lately. Tomorrow I need to run 18-20 miles. I am not looking forward to it since 1) my schedule is really busy and I’ll be doing things back to back all day and into the night   2) I’m tired!    3) To be blunt, this weather sucks!   4) I am finding myself very unmotivated today and feeling very out of shape.   5) I am worrying that maybe I never did get to 18 miles in 3 ½ hours the other weekend and when I try to attempt it tomorrow, I may fail miserably. (If I wasn’t back-tracking my thoughts right now, I’d beg you to say a little pray for me at this time.) My friend that I ran the 8 miles with the other day said she would meet up with me to do some of the run. For that, I am thankful! I am relieved that I won’t have to run the whole time alone. As the song says, ‘One IS the loneliest number…”

(Sat. 12/4): Well, I got a later start than I wanted to today, but I decided to put my feet where they needed to be, which was on the road. I debated a good long time on whether or not to run today. It has been drizzling on and off all day so far and it’s pretty chilly out too. Plus, I couldn’t get a hold of my friend that was going to meet up with me to run. Am thinking she does not want to go out in this miserable weather and I really don’t blame her. It’s darn icky out. Dreading every minute, but too determined not to do it, I put my running shoes on and head out to my “Old Faithful” Park near my house. This is the one that has the monotonous 1.2 mile loop that I have done so many of my runs at. I feel comfortable there and even though it’s a bit boring, I feel safe and I know where everything is and if I have to stop running, I will know how to get home or off the track if the weather gets too bad. My friend (the one with the dog) said she may try to catch up with me later so I am really hoping that will pan out. Girded with my running belt, 20 oz. of water, my energy chews and my new watch, I get to the start of the loop, take a deep breath and hit the start button on my watch. I am one of three people I see at the park. “Fine by me,” I try to reassure to myself. (This is going to be a longer afternoon than I thought.) I finish my first mile and check my watch. Okay, so far, so good. I do it in under 9 ½ minutes. Let’s see how long I can keep up the pace. By mile 3, I start seeing a few more people out at the park and one guy who is running loops in the opposite direction as me, but I can see that we keep passing each other so I know he is in it for a long haul too. I do 6 miles total at the park and I am bored to death. I hit “pause” on my watch and run to the bathroom. When I get done, I make the decision to head out of the park and venture out onto the road and sidewalks outside of the park. I choose to optimistically run in the direction of where my friend with the dog lives. If she calls me, I can meet her close to her house. I punch “un-pause” on my watch and start my feet moving again. I run and run and still no word from my friend. Bummer. I decide to head on down to the Chick-Fil-A that’s nearby. I’ll stop in there to refresh, use the bathroom and rest a minute. Once I get there, I pause my watch again and get a fruit cup. As I sit there, my phone rings. Joy! It’s my friend with the dog and she still wants to run- even in this crappy weather. She’s running late, but she’s going to call me as soon as she gets home so we can meet up. I have already done about ten miles at this point. Only another 8-10 to go… I leave Chick-Fil-A and start towards her neighborhood. Meanwhile, I call my hubby to check in and let him know where I am at and where I am headed. He is not thrilled that I am running this far today in this weather and he is suggesting that I head home at this point because it will be getting dark outside soon. He definitely is concerned about me leaving my car at the park because he thinks they may lock the gates at sunset and then I won’t be able to get it when I am done with my run. He gets me paranoid so I instead of running circles near my friend’s neighborhood until she makes it home, I make the executive decision to run all the way back to get my car out of the park before it closes. I am about ¾ of the way there when my friend calls me. After I let her know that I need to move my car, we agree to meet up at a location not too far from the park. Then, hubby calls me. He’s really pushing me to go home now. Worried that I will get sick or worse, he does his best to convince me that I am nuts and should take better care of myself. But at this point, there is no turning back for me. I have come too far today not to finish and rain or wind or cold air be damned because I am NOT quitting! Besides, God sent me a friend and her dog to finish this run with me so I can do this. I HAVE to do this. Reluctantly, my hubby concedes. He knows he can’t change my mind, but he is not at all happy about my decision. Still running all this time, even while on the phone, I hit the pause button one last time so I am not counting my drive time to the meet up location as part of my run. Once my friend, her dog and I meet up, I un-pause my watch again and we take off. At first I am keeping up pretty well with the two of them. All things considered, I was pretty proud of myself because they are usually a bit faster than me and here I am maintaining their pace and I have already gotten 14 miles under my belt. By mile 15, I am plum worn out! It’s dark, it’s lightly raining, it’s getting colder and boy oh boy, I wish I had my gloves on. I am really slowing down, but my friend is encouraging me and keeping me going. I take lots of short 10 second walk breaks- something I have not done much of up until this point. We are running along in the dark, our flashing reflectors and lots of car headlights are all we can see very well. I get up to mile 16, then 17… I am mentally counting down the last mile and keep looking at my watch to see how much farther until I hit 18 miles. I will stop at 18 because I am so tired that to think about 20 is just too much for me right now. Only .7 to go…Then .6, .5, .4, .3, .2… Holy Cow… Finally, .1. I check my watch again and I see it change to 18 miles and I hit “pause” immediately. I DID it. I freaking DID it! According my watch, I really ran 18 miles. Total running time 3hr, 23 minutes and 35 seconds! WAHOOOO for me! I hug my friend and she is congratulating me and I just feel so overwhelmed and grateful. As I get in the car to leave, I am sitting there thanking God for sending me another “angel” to help me finish. It makes me think of Phil- my “angel” at the ½ marathon. I say little prayer for him and also for my friend and her dog to get home safely. With a big sigh of accomplishment and relief, I head home knowing that I really did 18 miles today. A feeling of pride and accomplishment well up inside me.

The rest of the weekend and on through the new week are filled with more Dr’s appts. Back to see the Chiro, the massage therapist and back to P/T. The weather is cold all week and windy. Again, I haven’t run all week. I did get a call from the sports medicine Dr’s wife. She and I were going to run this past Tues., but her child was not feeling well and with the weather being so cold, I easily opt out, but we agree to try to get together soon.

Right now it’s Thurs. 12/9 at 2:30am. I really wanted to catch up on this blog so I have deliberately stayed up to do so. I guess when I put my mind something, I am finding that I do it!

I am planning on doing a 10 mile run this weekend and maybe some loop walks around the neighborhood with some friends. After watching The Biggest Loser this week and seeing the final four run a marathon, I am feeling confident I too, can do it

I am still feeling pretty proud of myself today. I pray I can stay mentally positive and physically well enough to complete my goal. Only 5 weeks to go…

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” John Quincy  Adams

Posted in A Journey to a marathon, A SquirlyGrl Quest to run a marathon, A very Squirly Training Blog, Marathon Training Blog, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Eureka! I have found my mojo…

Sun. 11/21: Betcha thought I wasn’t blogging anymore, didn’t ya?! Well, I’m back and with LOTS of interesting news since the last time I wrote. I have taken several steps towards my marathon goal. First off, I am happy to say that on Nov. 13th, I ran 4.8 miles on my own and then 9.9 miles with a new friend and her friend. And no, this isn’t the Sports Dr.’s wife. I never heard from her so maybe he forgot to tell her. I met my new friend through another friend of mine. And (bonus), she happens to live in my neighborhood too, so I am hoping to be able to run some more with her in the future. She and her friend are running the Thanksgiving ½ marathon in Atlanta so this was the last long run they are doing before their big race. When I ran that day, my mileage was broken up- I ran the 4.8 miles at the local park I have been running at and then I met them at nearby neighborhood and ran the 9.9 miles with them. I was a little bummed that it wasn’t consecutive and that I didn’t get exactly 15 miles in, but hey, I came really close and I am confident I could have done the remaining .3 without problem. I also went straight from the park to meet up to run the remaining miles that I did, so there was maybe a ½ hour at the most that I was not running between the two runs. All in all, I was glad I was able to do it and that my IT band wasn’t bothering during or afterwards. I was so happy with myself that after I got home and rested and settled, I went online and I made my marathon goal official. I signed up for the Disney 2011 marathon which is on January 9th. Hubby and I have decided not to take “the boy” with us for this little adventure. It kills me not to take our little 4 year old. He’s never been there before. But, due to many factors including cost, length of the drive and the EARLY morning start of the race, (5:40 am- YIKES! What was Mickey thinking???), it is just better that we make Disney a reality for him another time when the focus will be all on him and not a race. But wait. There’s more… Hubby and I have a friend who is a real theme park aficionado and he is going with us! He knows Disney inside and out and even used to work there. He has done the ½ marathon there twice so he knows the layout and has told me lots of things that Disney does along the way to make it fun. He’ll be there to help hubby navigate the course and he’ll also be a big cheerleader for me as well. I am SO EXCITED that he is coming with us! He is the perfect person to be on this journey to the finishline. It will be like having our own personal Disney tour guide with the added bonus that I will have another person there to root for me who is just as excited as I am that I am going to run this. Truly, I feel like God is just working this whole thing out for me because I don’t know if I would have been as enthusiastic if it weren’t for all the help I’ve had along the way. I still think back to my ½ marathon and how “Phil” showed up right when he did. My angle out of nowhere. Now the ½ marathon seems so many miles ago… Mon. 11/15: I went to the see the P/T that the Sports Dr. recommended. In talking to him at length about my IT band and lower back pain, I learned that some of my pain could have been avoided had I been stretching regularly. I told him that what he was telling me conflicted with what Jeff Galloway’s marathon training book had said and that I had been afraid to stretch because of fear of causing injury to myself- like Jeff’s book had mentioned. What the P/T told me (and it made sense) is that muscles need to stretch or they will become very tight. Kind of like a rubber band that has no give. He said that Jeff Galloway must already be pretty flexible, but for those of us that aren’t, we need to loosen those muscles up so they don’t tighten up on us. He said that I could do my stretching well before running, as long as I was making sure to stretch consistently. He said that it would help relieve the pain I had been having along with making it easier for me to run because my body will be more flexible. It made total sense to me so I guess I am going to start giving this stretching thing a try. Maybe not right before a race, but surely during my downtime. Thurs. 11/18: I did the usual elliptical bike at the gym for about 30 minutes. Nothing exciting, but just trying to maintain a routine. I have not been running during the week. My friend with the dog has been busy and then out of town and I haven’t been enthused enough to go it alone. My weekday training has become pretty much nothing except the occasional walk on the hills in the neighborhood with friends or doing the elliptical bike at the gym. Fri. 11/19: I went walking the hills with a friend of mine in the neighborhood. We went for about an hour, I think. It was good to get out. Sun. 11/21: Hubby drove me to ‘the greenway” to run. I had it in my head that I needed to run 18 miles this afternoon. I couldn’t find anyone to even do a partial run with me so I had to go it alone. Rather than go back to the same park I usually go to and run the 1.2 mile loop over and over and over again (BORING), hubby convinced me to try the greenway. When I first got out there I was pretty agitated. The paths were not clearly marked, there were mile markers all over in every direction and no maps clearly posted. I had no idea where to start or where I’d end up. It was a nightmare. I decided to just run and go wherever the wind took me since paths seemed to appear all over the place. Hubby and “the boy” met up with me an hour later- somehow I found my way back to the same area that I started in. We agreed that I would continue running until 6pm when it got dark and I would meet them back where I started. So, from 2:30pm until 6pm, I ran and ran and ran and ran. I took a few short walk breaks and two bathroom breaks. Although I had no way of knowing exactly how many miles I did, I do know that my average has been 1 mile every 10 minutes. I gave myself a little wiggle room by running an extra half hour for a total of 3 ½ hours. So, I know I ran at least 18 miles and possibly up to 20. I DID IT! When I finished, I was definitely tired, but my IT band felt good. My upper and lower back was a bit sore, but I was able to walk without limping. My hips felt pretty good and I could tell that I must have had much better form this time around. All of my Chiropractic massages and P/T is paying off! As a treat, hubby took all of us to eat pizza for dinner. Gotta love those carbs! During the run, I drank 40 oz. of water (I have a runner’s belt with two 10 oz water bottles attached that I refilled once empty) and I had one package of Gu Chomps and one Gu Energy Gel pak for endurance. I highly recommend the Gu Chomps. They taste so much better than the Power Bars and the Gu Gel. I will definitely be using those for the marathon. The only thing I keep wishing I had was one of those Garmen Forerunner 305 watch that calculates the exact distance of a run, calories burned, speed, heart rate, time etc… They are way more accurate than any pedometer and you can upload all the data onto your computer so that you can keep track of everything about your run. It will even let you program the watch to pace your run. For instance, if you want to do a 5 mile run, you put the information in and how fast you’d like to do it in, and it will set your pace based on how fast you want to run it. How cool is that?! The uncool part- The cost… They are between $175 to $300 and just NOT in our budget. Although I did see it listed on Amazon tonight on sale for $129. Hmmmm… Mon. 11/22: This afternoon I went to get another deep tissue massage and see my Chiropractor friend again for another adjustment. She also did the electro-stem on my back and knee, and I used the roller bed too. Amazingly, I am hardly in any pain at all. If I didn’t know better, I would never have believed that I ran 18-20 miles yesterday. So there you have it. I am feeling pretty positive today and think I am on track to complete this thing. I’d like to get at least 2 or 3 more long runs in before the big race and I’d like to run a full 26 miles just so I know what it feels like. Yesterday I never hit that “wall” I keep hearing about so I do want to see at which mile that will be for me BEFORE the actual race.

Until next time… “It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.” Brian Tracy

Posted in A Journey to a marathon, A SquirlyGrl Quest to run a marathon, Marathon Training Blog, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Can I get a “Woot Woot?!”

Sun. Nov. 7th: I skipped a week of blogging since I really haven’t done anything training-wise or otherwise. In the last two weeks, the only running I have done has been on the treadmill at the gym, doing a little over 2 miles each time. I did this twice in the last two weeks. My knee has still been hurting and I have been debating heavily on what to do about the Disney Marathon. After the ½ marathon I started feeling deflated. Although my running time at the ½ was my best time to date, I am concerned that I won’t be able to keep such a good pace for the big race. I know “finishing” should be accomplishment enough, but I am realizing that for myself it needs to be more than that now. I’m still trying to figure that one out because when I had decided to this back in August, it was with the intention of “finishing.” Nothing more.

Yesterday, I ran the James Island Connector 10k in Charleston, SC. At first my goal was just to get out there and do it. I wanted to run and finish since I had paid the money and signed up to do it. Since I hadn’t really done any running in the last two weeks, I didn’t want to expect too much of myself, plus with my knee, I had no idea how I would run. But, as usual, I got out there to run and with the excitement of all the other people out there, I got caught up in the “race.” I started running, but cautiously paced myself because of my knee. The first mile seemed to take forever, but I passed the first marker in 10 minutes according to my watch. So far, so good. I was maintaining my ½ marathon pace even though I had not run for two weeks. Pretty good. Mile two was more reflection. My mind kept itself busy thinking about all the things that need to be in place for me to run Disney: Mainly, my mental focus and a positive mindset. I started thinking about where I could do my longer runs and who could maybe do some or all of those training miles with me. And conditioning. I need to condition my body for the long haul. I have approximately 6 weeks to double my running. Can I do this? With a husband, work and a 4 year old, is it possible to do without inconveniencing them? The answer is no. It will definitely be an inconvenience for them. Time away from them to do all the training runs and self focus for the next several weeks, means that my hubby and son will have to go out of their way and off of their regular routines in order for me to train. The marathon goal is a selfish one because it really is all about me. At the same time, in a weird way, yes it’s all about me, but I am certain I will be changed for the better if I can do it. In that respect, it’s for them as well. Which brings me to mile 3…

Mile 3 was where we ended the connector and looped around to run the other side back to the finish line. I was very surprised to see my hubby standing there at the end of mile three, cheering me on! We had discussed it beforehand and he was going to be waiting for me at the finish line. I found out after the race that he ran almost a mile himself to see me at the half way mark. How sweet was that? Just knowing that he did that for me added major deposits to the love bank. It may seem a small thing to some, but that small gesture was a big deal in my book. Despite all the inconveniences the training has caused him, he has been my biggest supporter. And when I think about that, it makes me fall in love with him all over again.

During mile 3, I used this time as my prayer time. I prayed for a sweet young lady with the initials “O.K.” who is still trying to recover from her second liver transplant. She has had many complications since the transplant, but is finally getting better. I prayed for another friend who is right now in Israel on a mission trip. While there, she will be sharing the love of Jesus with people- Arabs and Jewish alike. (She’s the one I did some runs with during the week with her dog.) I prayed for another friend of mine who is a full-time missionary in Thailand. She shares the gospel and helps young girls get out of prostitution. I prayed for my sister who just recently broke up with her fiancé and for her kids who are having a hard time. I could go on and on, but you get the point. I prayed! LOL

Mile 4: Still running and I hadn’t taken a single walk break yet. I decided during this mile to push it and see what I was made of. I made a goal to run the rest of the race with absolutely no walk breaks. My knee was feeling okay and I had a decent stride. I was still running a 10 minute mile so my thought was to see if I could keep going without stopping or slowing.

Mile 5: I was getting a little tired, but I was feeling good. Being around all the other runners always feels so good. I am really enjoying the atmosphere and the weather, despite the chill in the air. On this race day, it was 40 degrees so it was the coldest race I ran so far. I didn’t even think about a walk break. I drank some of my water while in mid-stride and keep on trucking. It was during this mile that a man pushing his child in a baby stroller passed me by. Talk about incentive to run faster!

Mile 6: In the home stretch and knowing that I only had one more mile to go made it easy to continue on. Thankfully, the knee cooperated. I chatted a bit with another runner and that helped me to take my mind off my body and focused on getting to the finish line. I picked up a little speed when I saw the finish line in site. As my shoe beeped, I looked at the time: 59:38. I had just run a 10 k in under an hour! That means my speed per mile has increased to 9:36. Okay, I know it’s not a whole lot under 10 minutes per mile, but, still… There were 21 women in my age group running in this race. I came in 14th in my age group. Not great, but it was my best time to date, so I am happy about that.

After the 10k I felt great. No knee pain, which was amazing to me. Hubby and I headed back to our hotel room so I could change and then we rented bikes for two hours. I never iced my knee, but I did put some Bio Freeze on it and I took an Alieve to ward off any inflammation.

Sun. 11/6: was a day of rest.

Mon. 11/7: I went to see a sports medicine Dr. today. He was referred to me by someone who lives in my neighborhood and he also lives in my neighborhood too. The really great thing about him is that he is a runner too so he knew a lot about running injuries and training for long runs. We talked at length about my marathon goal. He thoroughly checked out my knee and my hip- which has been bothering me for some time, but I never thought it was running related since it had been aching for several months. He also took a look at my lower back. He decided to have some x-rays done on all three areas. The good thing was that they were done right then and there in his office and he was able to view them during my visit as well as go over them with me. Luckily, he did not see anything of concern. No bone problems. No arthritis. Nothing that he felt should keep me from running a marathon on January 11th, 2011. He determined that I had some inflammation on my IT band and that was causing my knee pain. He also said that I have a very weak “core” and that is the reason for my hip pain and possibly why I stretched my IT band the way I did. He recommended that I physical therapy a few times a week so that I can strengthen my core, which will enable me to run without throwing my hip out. He also gave me a prescription for a rub on anti-inflammatory cream that I can I use after any long runs that I do. He even offered to have his wife call me if I wanted a running partner. Since they live in my neighborhood, I jumped at the chance and said, “Yes, please have her call me!” So, maybe I will finally have someone to run with.

Disney is now 91% full for the marathon registration. I have not signed up yet, but I still have time. The next thing I need to do is sit down with my hubby to chart the remainder of my runs before the race and figure out how we can make Disney work. The last thing we talked about was not taking our son with us because it would be too hard on him. Getting a 4yr. old up at 4am for a race and then making him wait half the day while I am running is not fair to him. We are considering by going ourselves, but there is another idea in the works as well. We have a friend who actually used to work at Disney and has run the ½ marathon there in the past. He has offered to go with us to cheer me on and to show us all the ins and outs of the park. He is a theme park enthusiast so this would be a HUGE treat to have him there. Plus, having an additional person rooting for me would be awesome. We are in discussion on how to make this work and do this affordably. So all I can say for now is that Disney is looking good. I am hoping to have things finalized this weekend.

In the meantime, please keep praying for me! After the Dr. had me do a little stretching in his office today, I got a shin splint on my right leg! But at least I have no knee pain. LOL

“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.”   -Priscilla Welch

Posted in A Journey to a marathon, A SquirlyGrl Quest to run a marathon, Marathon Training Blog, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I get by with a little help…

Tues. Oct. 26th: I had been feeling pretty stressed on Friday, the last time I blogged. My knee was killing me and I was seriously considering throwing in the towel. I was really getting down and questioning my motives and thoughts for pursuing this whole thing. Thank goodness, Saturday was a new day. I called my hubby’s cousin and sister (both are physical therapists) and spoke with them about my knee issue and they gave me some tips and thoughts as to what the pain was. I then called my neighborhood friend who is a Chiropractor and her office fit me in immediately. It was a huge blessing! I went to her office and she adjusted my back, my neck and hip. Then she worked on my knee. By the time I left her office, I felt so much better. Even though I was still a little sore, I could walk better than I did before I got to her office. I decided at that point to “go for it” so in the late afternoon, me, hubby and the boy headed out for Augusta. The race was on Sunday at 7am. God must have been smiling down on me because I slept like a baby, even though I had to get up at 5am. Since I had arrived too late to pick up my runner’s packet on Saturday, I had to get there before 6:30am on Sunday to get it, otherwise I couldn’t run in the race. Well, it got pretty stressful because hubby and I left before 6am, but got lost. At 6:20am, we were still driving around trying to figure out where to go. We finally found our way and at around 6:25am, I arrived to get my packet. Whew! That was a little too close for comfort for me.

7am… On your mark, get set, GO GIRL! As most of you already know, I DID it! I seriously freaking did IT! I ran my very first ½ marathon. At this point, I am going to recap the highlights of some the more memorable miles I ran.

Miles 1-3: I always take walk breaks. That’s how I run. But somehow, I got caught up in the frenzy of the race and since everyone in front of me was running and not stopping, I was darned if I was going to be the first. Yes, pride got the best of me for the first three miles. Visions kept filling my head of Lot’s wife from the Bible turning into a pillar of salt because she looked back on the land of Sodom. (Okay, I admit, I did glance back-just once during the whole entire race, but the thought of Lot’s wife kept me looking forward for the rest!) At around mile 2, hubby was there to cheer me on. It sure felt good knowing that he was there to encourage me. I blazed by him and did my best to keep trucking forward even though I wanted to give him a great big kiss for being there for me.

I was doing my best to get into that “runners zone” that all runners seem go into during a race. The thought that kept my mind most occupied during the first three miles was about the other acquaintance friend in my neighborhood that was running this same race. I just knew she was miles ahead of me by now. I tried to keep telling myself that it was “okay” and “no big deal” that “I am not competitive anyway” and “I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.” Right at the mile three marker, I made the decision to walk it out for a few seconds. Even though I was feeling surprisingly good still, I knew I needed to rest my knee a little and take a bit of my power bar. I walked for about 10-15 seconds, chewing my grainy bar and swagging some water from my bottle. Then out from behind me, she comes trotting past me right around mile 3! Say what?! I couldn’t believe she had been behind me for the first few miles! I joked with her for a second and ran past her. Then she ran past me. Then I ran past her. Then she ran past me and kept on running! That was the last I saw of her until after the race. But that’s okay, the thought that I was ahead of her for the first three miles, in some twisted way, gave me the energy I needed to keep plodding along. I found my “pace’ and kept on moving forward.

Mile 4 and 5: Those miles were pretty non-eventful. My mind was focused on the beautiful weather and how lucky I was that I had two legs to run with. The song “Eye of the Tiger” from the Rocky movie was blaring in my head and it made me laugh out loud at point when I thought about. I also kept saying to myself, “Run like a butterfly. Sting like a bee!” (Yes, I know it’s “float like a butterfly”, but that day, my brain was saying “RUN, FOREST RUN!”)

Mile 6: I started thinking about my good friend who has run several marathons already. Her encouraging words I read in her last e-mail and the fact that she was running in an underwear fundraiser for colon cancer awareness on the same day I am doing this ½ marathon. Mile 6 was dedicated to her and also praying for certain people I was randomly thinking about. I was also thanking God for my knee that was still going strong… At mile six, hubby’s cousin and my son were at the corner waiving and cheering for me! I was so happy to see familiar faces and hear cheers of encouragement. Then, just like a shot, a sharp pain entered my left kneecap and sent me limping. This is it, I thought. Just great. Here goes my knee and there isn’t a thing I can do about it. The pain was pretty severe. I started walking, drank some water and chewed some more of my power bar. “No pain, no gain” I kept saying to myself. “Dammit, Michelle, you CAN do this. Now DO IT. KEEP GOING.” After about 20 seconds, I started running again. I was bound and determined to run or collapse trying. I HAD TO FINISH. I was not going to go down like this. Or was I?

Mile 7-9: I somehow worked through the pain in my knee and the sharpness left me. I was going steady again and by this point, the run was becoming much more enjoyable. Hubby’s cousin and my son surprised me again and were there cheering me on. There were lot of trees and pretty views during this part of the run. I only slowed to walk very briefly- just enough to sip some water from my bottle and take a bite of my power bar here and there. I’ve gotta tell you, those things taste like gritty paste, but they really do work to keep your energy up. This is also the part of the race where I believe I ran under the bridge. At this point, my son, my hubby, his cousin, his cousin’s hubby and their baby were all on the bridge hooting and hollering at me. Gosh, that felt good. I cannot tell you how awesome it felt to have family there to cheer me on. As I ran, I dedicated this portion of the race to thanking God for all the incredible family he blessed me with. I started thinking about where my life was in my twenties and again, thanked God for all the changes He made in my life since then.

Mile 10: I am calling this my “angel” part of the race. I was getting really worn out at this point. I knew I only had three more miles to go, but I was tired and my knee was feeling it again. I slowed to take another walk break and from behind me, this man in his 50’s comes trotting up to me saying, “You’re doing great. Don’t slow down. Come on now, let’s go.” I picked up the pace again and with the help of my new friend, I started running in step with him. He talked and told me how he had run several marathons before and that this run was a practice for his next marathon coming up. I glanced over at him because to tell you the truth, I hadn’t even looked at him until then. My first thought was, “Could this be some famous runner like Jeff Galloway- Someone who now just runs for the fun of it and looks for people to encourage?” I took a good look at him, but I decided it couldn’t be Galloway. I asked his name and he told me it was “Phil.” I told Phil he was my angel and that I wouldn’t still be running if it weren’t for him. I wanted to walk it out. My legs were tired, but Phil kept me going. He could tell where I was mentally and physically and he understood. He just kept encouraging me and talking, giving me tips and telling me about different races. I was too winded at this point to be much of a conversationalist, but he thankfully didn’t seem to mind.

Mile 11: Phil was still with me and we kept trucking. I was dying to walk again, but he wouldn’t have any of it! “Let’s keep going,” he encouraged. I went as far as I could and then I had to walk a second. I took about 20 steps and got back in the run. Phil waited for me. I kept thinking, “This man is an angel sent from God to get me through this.” I asked Phil if he would take a picture with me so I could remember him. I wanted to make sure he was real.

Mile 12: We’re in the home stretch. I ran by my hubby’s other cousin as she cheered me on. I so surprised to see her since I had no idea she would be there. I waived and Phil and I kept moving forward. Another few minutes go by and we run pass my son, my hubby, his other cousin and her husband and baby. Almost there…

Mile 13: I am wheezing. I am tired. My knee is locking up again and as much as I want to plow forward, I begin to slow down again. Phil is still running with me and telling me about the rest of this last leg of the course. We go down this street and then turn left and then the finish line is just ahead. I slow to take one last walk break and thank Phil again for running this out with me. As I see the finish line, I gain the bit of momentum that I had stored up just for this time. I ran as fast as my legs could still carry me at that point. I could feel my running partner slip out behind me and like a ghost, Phil was gone. I kept running and through the finish line I went. Above me, the sign flashed 2:12:24. I DID IT! I finished my very first ½ marathon. In exactly eight weeks to the day of my first training run, I did it! And I finished it in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 24 seconds. For the rest of the day, I wondered if the time I thought I saw was right. My last long run the Sunday prior was over 12 minutes per mile. I finished this race one week later at just over 10 minutes per mile! I wanted to jump and shout. All of my encouragers were there to see me at the finish line- my son, hubby, his cousin, his other cousin and her husband and their baby. I felt so loved. Then I wondered where Phil was… And like a ghost, he re-appeared, next to me while my hubby caught us on camera. He was real! This race was real. And I finished it. I had the medal around my neck to prove it. I hugged Phil and thanked him again and we parted ways as I hugged the family that came out to see me. What a day.

Mon. Oct. 25th: Limped most of the day. Iced my knee and took an Advil. I went to see my Chiropractor friend again. Got a half hour massage and some adjustments. Felt much better after that, although the knee still hurt. At least I lost my limp.

It’s still hard for me to believe that the ½ marathon is behind me. It’s already Tuesday and my mind is still not fully wrapped in the thought of moving forward to the Disney Marathon yet. I have decided to pray about it for a few more days. Am I really up for it? Do I really feel like doing it? My time was so good on the ½, do I risk ruining it by pushing for the full? I can’t get “Phil” out of my head. How he ended up being there at just the right moment of the race… I know I would never have had that finish time I had if it weren’t for him. Will I be able to keep that kind of momentum going at Disney knowing that only hubby and our son will be there to cheer for me? And also knowing that I will be running 26.2 miles all by myself??? I am having some serious doubts now. I realize how important it was to have the “atta girls” and “cheers” from my family along the way. It reminds me of life itself. It’s hard to do on your own, all by yourself. You need people to get you though. I don’t know how people with no family do it. I sit here and count my blessings.

I have signed up for my next 10k which is next weekend. I pray that will get through it and have a sense of whether or not to pursue the Disney Marathon. I feel I have reached a plateau and I don’t know if the mountain I have set before me is too high or whether it’s something I still really want to do. It’s weird because before the ½, it’s all I wanted to do. Now I am wavering.

I am asking those of you who are reading this to please pray for me.

Tonight as I close, I leave you with this quote- The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move. – John Wooden

Posted in A Journey to a marathon | 3 Comments

I haven’t got time for the pain…

Fri. 10/22: I am going to start my blog this evening by telling you that I am in desperate need of prayer. My knee is definitely injured and all week I have been resting it so as not to agitate it further. I went to my friend’s Chiropractor on Monday and again on Wednesday, but unfortunately, my knee actually felt worse after leaving the office. I did not have what I would call a traditional adjustment and I am wondering if that is why I hurt so much. Instead, the Dr. used some kind of hand held device that looked like a drill and did this “click” thing around both of my knee bones. It was supposed to help put everything back in place, but really, I am not sure what it did because like said, I am feeling worse. I also did a foot detox. I do think that helped a bit. One Tuesday and Thursday, I went to the gym as usual and did the elliptical bike. I used setting 10 again with the endurance level and both days I did 30 minutes. Today, I felt so awful for not even walking my hills in the neighborhood, that I decided I had to get out there and run at least 3 miles so I could stay conditioned for Sunday’s race. Hubby, me and the boy drove up to the park and I ran my miles while they hung out. I wore my good insoles and really felt the difference from last week when I did the 10.8 miles. It took me exactly 35 minutes to run 3.6 miles. That’s a 10 minute mile so I was extremely happy with the outcome, but my left knee is in dire straights. I was hobbling for most of the run, but I kept saying in my head, “No pain. No gain. You CAN do this. You have to do this. Prove that you can do it.” I went home and iced both of my knees, did the Icy Hot thing and took two Advil.

Most of this week I have felt rather down. I can tell I am beginning to lose my mojo so to speak. I am sick of running by myself. I am sick of not having any music. I am sick of my knee hurting and I am worried I will not be able to finish this ½ marathon this Sunday because of it. I know I am at a crossroads. My desire is to just push through the pain, but I am worried that my body will get the best of me and I won’t be able to complete the run within the 3 hour time limit. I don’t want to be last! On top of all of this, the Disney Marathon is now 80% full. Do I really want to do this? Why? What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to prove it to? Why does my knee have to hurt?! *Sigh.* Yes, tonight I am sitting here feeling terribly sorry for myself.

I have been thinking a lot this week on how preparing for the marathon has been a sort of parallel to how I have lived most of my life. I start projects with a bang. Then as things get tough, I fizzle out. I hear a negative comment or two from people and instead of proving them wrong, their comments go straight to my heart and deflate my bubble. I’ve always been the kind of person who needs more than the average “atta girl”. I can hear 10 positive things and just one negative and my brain ends up fixating on the one negative thing. Why? Then slowly, I give up on whatever it was that I was aiming for and I just move on. Why? Why do I keep doing that? Why do I keep allowing that? What is it about me that I give up so easy? And am I setting myself up to do it again with this whole marathon thing? Who am I to think that I can run a marathon by Jan. 2011 with only 4 ½ months of mediocre training? I’ll tell you why. Because part of me is fool enough to think I can. Is that pride? Arrogance? Stupidity? Or, is it just wishful thinking? And if it’s wishful thinking, what’s so wrong with that? The other part of me is smart enough to question the sanity of it like many of you already have. My cop out is that it’s all Disney’s fault! Honestly, it’s the only marathon I really want to run. The location, the spectacle of it all, and the pure excitement and adrenaline of being around other people who I know will be there for the fun of it and not just the sport of it. Why does it have to be in January?! Yes, I am pushing myself to do this and on purpose. I don’t want to wait until Jan. 2012, which is over a year away to run the Disney marathon. So you see, I am stuck. I started training as soon the wild hair took hold. Unfortunately for me, the wild hair took hold a little late. And now with my knee I am afraid it may be over before I even get to don my Mickey ears and wish upon a star.

I don’t want to give up. I really don’t. I have to put on my thinking cap and figure out how I can get through Sunday and complete the half marathon I signed up for. And then there’s the nervousness about running it knowing that my neighbor acquaintance will also be there. And I know she’s in great shape and injury-free as far as I know. We’ll be competing against one another (sort of), and I already have this vision that she will be blowing by me while I am hobbling along in pain blaming and cursing my body for letting me down. That part is definitely a pride issue for me so I am doing my best to put that aside and not focus too heavily on it.  

If any of you out there have any last minute ideas on what I can do to get through this or any encouraging words to say to me, I’m all ears! Hubby’s sister and cousin are both physical therapists so I am going to be calling them first thing tomorrow morning. Neither lives local to us, but his cousin is who we are staying with for the ½ marathon this weekend. I also have a friend who lives in my neighborhood who is a Chiropractor and her office is open on Saturday. My plan is to call her and see if there is anything she can suggest. I’ll be downing the Advil prior to the race and I have a knee band support strap that I’ll be wearing. And prayer. Again, I can use all the prayer you want to throw my way.

Thanks for listening to my rant tonight. I needed to let off some steam. I’ll let you know how it goes.

“It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.” — Confucius

Posted in A Journey to a marathon, A SquirlyGrl Quest to run a marathon, Marathon Training Blog, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Triumph, Disappointment and Queasy Times

Sun. 10/17: Well hoo wee! Another week has come and gone. Have my two readers missed me? (LOL) Seriously, I must confess that when I first started blogging, I had rather grandiose thoughts of having a bunch of strangers read my words. But alas, I am still blessed, because I do have a few friends and family out there who care to see what I am up to and truly, I am touched. So first of all, I want to say “thank you” to you, because when I see my blogs stats and know that someone has taken time out of their busy life to read about mine, I am humbled and tickled at the same time. And it encourages me to continue, especially in the moments when I question why I am doing any of this in the first place. Yes, I do have my “negative” thoughts that I try not to let in my head, but they do get in there sometimes. Actually, they have been getting in there a lot lately. Then I have some juju bees and spice drops and get over it. (LOL)

I have decided, just so you know, that this is going to be just a weekly blog. No use trying to doing something more often than that, because a lot of my training is routine now- boring and uneventful, and so I’ll share highlights of that with some interesting tidbits in between.

When I last wrote, I mentioned that I was gearing up to run 10 miles with a friend and her dog on Sunday the 10th. Well, unfortunately, the friend and her dog fell through. An injury prevented her from going with me and I definitely did not want her to push it on my behalf. I had to make a tough choice. Do I go it alone and try? Or, do I just do the hills in my neighborhood and go as many loops as I could? Thankfully, my hubby is a real sweetheart and offered to take our son up to the park so I could run.  They stayed long enough for me to build enough confidence to run the rest on my own at the park alone. They didn’t run with me, but as I made my loops, they were there to cheer me on for the first four miles. We took separate cars, so I ran the rest after they left. I was spurred on by their encouragement and I was feeling so good as I completed each mile that I pushed on to continue to my goal of ten. I found a good rhythm and kept up the pace. I am not gonna lie, I did a lot of speed walking in between my jogging. I don’t think I can do any running without taking quick walk breaks. By the time I was done, I looked down at my watch, and to my amazement, I had run the ten miles in only one hour and 47 minutes!  I was a bit stunned! There is an acquaintance / neighborhood friend of mine that is training for the same ½ marathon in Augusta. A few weeks ago she had posted on her FB that she had just completed 10 miles in one hour and 45 minutes. I did the math and knew I would not be able to come close to her time because my mile average has been an 11-minute a mile. How in world could I have done ten miles in such good time? The question has plagued me all week. In fact, I’ve been questioning myself all week long. Did I have the time right? Did I calculate the number of loops on the running path correctly? But with each time that I passed the 1 mile mark, I wrote a line on a piece of paper so I could keep track. I had checked and re-checked my watch to verify my time. So, yeah me! I am not sure what happened, but I cranked it out. I really did it! I got home and iced my knees down for half an hour. Then I took a whirlpool soak in my tub with some Epsom salt, toweled off and slathered myself in Icy Hot. My knees were definitely feeling sore, especially my left knee. I took an Advil before bed, and okay, I had a glass of red wine too.   😛   By the way, I had taken a quick bathroom detour during my run and the pedometer I had attached to my waist (I wanted to try it out again to see if I could get it to work), went kerplunk into the toilet. Needless to say, it stopped working! I am letting it dry out to see if it will ever be useable again. Thought to myself? Why bother?!

I will try to recap the rest of the week as best as I can with my training. I am pretty sure I took Monday the 11th off. Knees were hurting. Enough said.

Tues. 10/12: I went running four miles again with my friend and her dog. I kept up the pace as best as I could, but I know I slowed them down a bit. And she was running with a bad ankle! Thankfully, they were gracious and kind and didn’t make me feel bad for slowing them down. When we reached the end of our run, I sped up the pace and at least finished big. Huff, puff, huff, puff…

I heard from my Krispy Kreme acquaintance! She e-mailed me today and we are in the process of learning more about one another and running routines. Not sure when we will run together, but at least the communication is open to do so in the future.

Wed. 10/13: I am pretty sure I took the day off again. Man, I should have written this down, huh?!

Thur. 10/14: I ran three miles with my friend and her dog. This time, she not only had an injured ankle, but also a broken toe. And get this- She and her dog kicked my butt running! My left knee locked up in beginning of the second mile and so I limped, walk / jogged along as best as I could, but I was feeling it pretty bad by the end. It was awful because they kept stopping so I could catch up. I felt like I was interrupting their run and I was intruding. Then I started in with the negative self talk. She probably thinks I am nuts for doing the half marathon next week. Am I kidding myself into thinking I can run that far? Look at me. Am I really training the way I should? Am I just setting myself up for failure? Despite my terrible run, after I picked up my son from pre-school, we went to the gym so he could have his little work-out. I did the elliptical bike for thirty minutes, but I only did the level seven setting this time. (Yes, I guess I am a glutton for punishment.) That night I was going to walk the hills in my neighborhood with some friends, but “the boy” started complaining about his stomach soon after we left the gym. The poor thing threw up for the rest of the day and into the night, plus hubby put his foot down and told me not to walk since I was already in pain and had already run and gone to the gym earlier. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I was going to go so hard that day. What was I thinking? Nevermind. I really don’t want to hear your answer. (LOL) On the positive, I made an appointment with my friend’s Chiropractor for Monday. I am hoping an adjustment will help get my knee back on track.

Fri. 10/15: I did not work out today. Instead, I caught the same bug my son had and it was not pretty. Right after dinner I puked my guts out and was sick, literally all night long. I won’t go into more detail, but suffice it to say, it was a very long and horrible night. Hubby decided to sleep in the spare room (very smart move on his part.) Thankfully, our boy showed no other signs of being sick and has been fine ever since.

Sat. 10/16: Well, my planned 10 mile run was a total bust. I stayed in bed for half of the day. I was still feeling a little queasy, but I finally made myself get up and get moving. I had some things I needed to do and once I got moving, I actually started feeling better.

Sun. 10/17: … Another week is already over. Ever the encourager (I am SO blessed), my wonderful hubby took time off from working so he could watch the boy and could I run. He knew I was really distraught that I did not get my run in yesterday. I took the boy to the park with me and I did the first two miles while pushing him in the jogging stroller. That was no small feat! Our son is 4 and at least 44 lbs. Who knows what the stroller weighed, but pushing it felt like ton. The boy was so excited he kept saying, “Go faster Mommy. I don’t mind.” Then he kept asking to get out of the stroller to run with me. It was so cute. Because of seeing me train and run the previous 5k’s, he is really interested in running a kid’s race now. Just having him with me for the first two laps was joy, but because of our continual start / stop to get him in and out of the stroller several times to “run” with me, I was getting tired and worn out rather quickly. Luckily, by the start of the third mile, hubby was there to meet us on the route so I handed over the boy and stroller and trudged my way back onto the path by myself. As I jogged the next laps I started getting pretty introspective. Since I still have no music to listen to, my head got filled with all kinds of thoughts, which kept me busy for the next several miles. I started thinking about all the blessings in my life- my hubby, my son, my health, the weather this day… Just thinking about such things overwhelmed me. I could and would like to go into more detail here, but the fact is, this blog is pretty long already so I’ll save my philosophical side for another time.

The last thing I wanted to tell you about this run was this: I finished my run at 10.8 miles. It took me a long time to do it. I had my son in a jogger stroller for the first two miles so I know that slowed me down quite a bit. My left knee was hurting too. On my third lap, when hubby got our son, I put on a knee strap to help my knee stay aligned. The biggest mistake I made was switching out my insoles. When I first bought my running shoes, I had purchased some expensive $60 inserts. I had been wearing them for every run, but had been thinking they weren’t making any difference. I had planned to return them so I bought some cheap ones at the grocery store and decided to run in them prior to taking the other ones back. Huge mistake! I have learned the hard way the difference between a good insole and bad one! The $60 ones from New Balance are definitely worth every penny, but I guess I never would have known that if I hadn’t done this little test. I could really feel the difference in my run. My feet were sloshing all over the place and I had no support on the soles of my feet. I would feel the impact with each step I took. Thankfully, I tried this before the 1/2 marathon! I just wished I had been smart enough to have tried it on a shorter run rather than on a longer one. My time on this last long run was a horrific 2 hours and fifteen minutes! Hubby helped me with the math and it is 12.5 minutes per mile. UGH! But, I don’t want to be too hard on myself since 1) I was just getting over being violently ill with a 24-hr. stomach bug.   2) I did run the first two miles with my son in his jogger stroller, which added who knows how many pounds   3) my knee was hurting pretty bad so I speed walked a LOT   4) The insoles definitely made a difference. I had NO idea that you do get what you pay for with them! Get some good insoles folks and use them.   5) I was still feeling sluggish from the previous night. Anywho, these are my excuses for my bad time.

I still have some many thoughts to share so maybe I’ll have to do one extra blog this week.

For now, I am going to close and leave you with thought that I snagged from a friend’s e-mail attachment this week- “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” – Winston Churchill

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Squirly is as Squirly does…

I am so overdue for my update! UGH! Thank you for your patience. Time has a way of getting away from me sometimes…

Well, I ran my second 5k on Saturday, Oct. 2nd.  I did an X-Terra run which was mostly on running trails in woods with some gravel and pavement in between. It was a lot tougher than I expected- or maybe I was a lot less prepared than I needed to be…  My time was 34:22, which was almost a full 2 minutes slower than my first 5k. I ended up in last place for my “women’s age group”, although hubby said that there were several runners who came after me that obviously had to be older or younger than me. (Thanks for the encouragement honie. MUAH) I am just happy I didn’t come in last! I wasn’t used to the unevenness of the terrain so I think that was part of it. The other thing is, I am not much of a competitor, so even though I did my best, I will admit that I have not been eating as good as I should or training as hard as I could either. So maybe “my best” is kind of being considered as a “slacker” to some. After the race, I made hubby take us to Krispy Kreme as my reward. LOL… Awwww-, come on! Don’t tell me that doesn’t sound absolutely yummy! So, to recap… my second 5k was a bust, but I got a really cool long-sleeve moisture wicking shirt for running it AND I also got to have two, hot out of the shop, Krispy Kreme donuts. Not bad… This running gig just gets better and better. I met another runner at the donut shop and we exchanged numbers. I was so excited because I was like, “Yes, this lady is obviously as laid back about her running as I am.” I told her if she ever wanted someone to do long runs with to please let me know. I e-mailed her this week to see about getting together to run, but I haven’t heard back from her yet. I’ll keep you posted. I keep hope that God made fate happen at the donut shop so I could finally have a running partner. We’ll see I guess.

Tues. 10/5: I ran on the treadmill at the gym. I went 2.5 miles on incline 4 and went at a 4.5 speed on average. I did this for thirty minutes. That evening I walked the “hill of death” in my neighborhood with a couple of friends. We did two loops, which totaled two miles. The incline is great for endurance, but does nothing for my knees. Still, I did not feel sore after the 5k or doing the exercises on this day. Yeah me!

Wed. 10/6: I looped “the hill” three times. Still just walking, but at least I am building stamina for hills. No soreness felt and glad of that. Knees are getting a little stiff at times, but all in all, feeling good.

Thurs. 10/7: I jogged 4 miles with a friend. I was pretty proud of myself because I only took a few short walk breaks, and also because I was able to keep up with my friend and her dog who run much more often than I do. We ran on mostly flat road so that helped quite a bit.  I had to stop here and there because of my knees and because I never run without taking walk breaks. (Thank you Jeff Galloway) I have to say, I am feeling rather encouraged because I never had to take any pain medicine or use my Icy Hot.

This Sunday I am going to push to my next level of training. My friend and her dog are willing to do a ten mile run with me. (Thank you friend- you know who you are and I APPRECIATE you beyond measure!) It will be my longest run to date so I am a bit nervous about how I’ll do and how I am going to be feeling afterwards. But, it has been several weeks now and I should be to the point where running 10 miles is doable without injury. (I hope!)

I did something pretty spur of the moment the other day. Some of you will be thinking, “Is she just dumb or what?” The answer is “maybe.” I went ahead and signed up for a ½ marathon on the 24th of this month. Yes, I know it is risky, but I also know myself. I need to push myself now to see how far I can go because if I just keep plodding along, I will never be ready for Marathon Disney in January, 2011. I decided to just be like Nike and “just do it” so I can see if I can finish and how long it will take me. If I can finish, and IF I can do it in under 16 minutes per mile, I will qualify for Disney and I will sign up for the marathon. IF I can’t do it, then well… Well, I am just not ready to think I can’t yet, so those of you out there that think I am CRAZY- humor me okay? I really want to be able to do this and finish this marathon adventure by my 41st birthday in February. My runner friend who has done several marathons thinks I am nuts! They don’t call me “Squirly Girl” for nothing I guess!

I have been getting migraines for the two weeks and I have no idea why. Hubby was wondering if had anything to do with me running. I think not. I was wondering if it could be allergy related. Anyone out there with any ideas? I don’t want to start getting all worried that I have something really wrong with me so I just keep telling myself in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, “It’s not a tumor.” For those of you out there who aren’t getting my joke, go watch the movie Kindergarten Cop.   😛

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you… Remember those cool and nifty pedometers I ordered? Well, I tried them both and guess what? They both suck! I was not a happy camper. Neither one of them kept the miles like they were supposed to. And the one that came with the pack that is supposed to hold a water bottle, well let me tell you what happened when I went running with it. The water bottle flew out of the holster twice! I ended up having to hold in my hand because the holster wouldn’t hold it. How retarded is that? There has to be one out there that works. A pedometer that is… I am thinking of one that wraps around the arm. Do any of you know of a brand you can recommend? The other thing I still need help with is music. Hubby has an Mp3 player that I can use, but I heard that they are not compatible with I-Tunes so I have no idea how to get music on it. I have a $50 I-Tunes gift certificate I can get from my credit card company because of points I have earned. I’d really like to use it for that so I don’t have to buy any with real money.  If any of you have an I-pod you’d be interested in parting with real cheap, please let me know.

Last little ditty before I get going for the night… I went to Target and found me a sports bra and a couple of running outfits. Oh yes, I be stylin’ now so watch out! This hoochie mama is looking hot while keeping “my girls” in place. LOL

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” — Author unknown


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Still plugging along…

Wed. 9/29: Tonight I got myself registered for my second 5k race. I am looking forward to seeing if I can quicken my time from my first race, but this run will be a bit different since most of it will be run on trails and not on pavement. I am not sure how that will bode for my race time.

I have been continuing to do cross training two times a week at the gym for 30 minutes each session and last night I jog/ walked 5 miles on the big loop hill in my neighborhood. The knees started hurting again so I am going to have to come up with a new plan. The “hill” is like a mini mountain and the incline is insane, so jogging it is pretty stupid. I know it’s good for endurance, but maybe I should only be walking it instead? If anyone has any tips, I’d be glad to hear them.

I have still not found a running group to join and I am at my wits end with trying to find someone to partner with to do longer runs with me. I really thought I’d have found at least one person to jog with by now! So frustrating because it’s so boring on my own and really, I am concerned about safety as well.

I have to figure out this whole mp3/ I-pod thing too. I have no running music and I think that would help motivate me to go faster if I had a “beat” to go with! I bought hubby an Mp3 player for Christmas a few years ago and he has barely used it. Time to dust it off and figure how to get some tunes on it…

There are two other runs I am looking at doing- A 10k and a ½ marathon. The ½ marathon is actually at the end of October, while the 10k is in November two weeks later. I know it is kind of crazy to do the ½ marathon first, but I am seriously considering it because of the location. I know it sounds like a silly thing, but if you are reading this, will you please pray for me about it? If I can get through the ½ marathon, I think it will definitely make me more confident about signing up for the full marathon at Disney in January 2011. That is the one I really want to do.

 I wish I had something funny to talk about today, but alas, nothing funny tell. No more brushing teeth with Icy Hot (thank goodness!) and although the road still makes my butt look big, I’m not laughing about it anymore. I can’t believe that after all the exercising I am now doing, that I have not lost not one single stinking pound!

And on that note, I leave you with this, “Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.” – Ella Williams

(Maybe that’s why I haven’t lost any weight?!)

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