Grateful

I’m a few days into my running restriction and I had great plans to do all of this upper body work and then I fell, hard, yesterday morning and am now having problems with my wrist and shoulder. It looks like I’m on a full restriction for at least a week. This has been a bit of a blow and I was tempted to wallow in self pity but, instead, I’ve come up with a list of 7 things for which I’m thankful – one for every day of healing.

1. I’m thankful for my husband. He doesn’t always understand my fitness craziness (see the handbag/sandbag funny from Sunday!) but he always supports it. He drives all over for races, acts as my Sherpa and wrangles Little Runner while I’m on the course, and just generally picks up the slack for me so I can train. I literally could not do it without him!

2. I’m thankful for Little Runner and for his desire to run with me. We have a great time at our races and while training. I’m hoping that he keeps this love of running and physical fitness so he doesn’t face the same physical struggles that I did.

3. I’m thankful for finding like-minded friends who have encouraged me to go WAY outside my comfort zone. I mean, I can climb a wooden wall now! How nuts is that? I’m much more confident and willing to try new things because of them.

4. I’m thankful for my running group. My chapter of Moms Run This Town is phenomenal. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive bunch! I’ve been hearing stories lately of people being left by their running group because they aren’t fast enough and being asked to leave the group and I just find that incredibly sad. If that has happened to you, don’t give up! Thankfully, not all running groups are like that.

5. I’m thankful that running and exercise is now a way of life for me. Some days it is a struggle to get out the door but I know I will be better off once I do. I’m so glad I made the change last March. I know that I’m much healthier and happier because of it.

6. I’m thankful I was doing something that had an injury risk. You don’t hurt yourself when you have your butt firmly planted on the couch!

7. I’m thankful that this is temporary and that it won’t be long before I’m back to work. I’ve achieved amazing things this year and I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

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Going Out With a Bang

I’ve been messing around with my left foot since late in my marathon training.  I don’t remember when it started but it was shortly before my 20 miler.  I did everything you are supposed to do for plantar fasciitis.  I stretched, rolled my calf, iced, massaged my foot, wore supportive shoes (as much as I could) and some days it was better but then there were days like last Thursday.  It was killing me!  I could hardly walk most of the day and my commute to work was miserable.  I finally decided to see a podiatrist and, after yelling at me, he put me on a one month running restriction.  He also told me to get a pair of Super Feet insoles.  I asked if that meant the Turkey Trot on Saturday was off and he rolled his eyes and muttered about how much he hated treating runners.

Now, this Turkey Trot was very important to me.  It was being held on Little Runner’s birthday.  We have been talking about it since we ran it last year and were both VERY excited to do it again.  The doctor said that I had a moderate case of PF with no signs of rupture. I talked it over with my husband and decided to go ahead with the trot, AMA (against medical advice). 

I was anxious going in.  My legs have felt like lead weights since the marathon and my five mile trail race two weeks ago was rough.  I felt like I was going in slow motion even though I was running as hard as I could.  Needless to say, I spent a good deal of time Thursday night fretting over it.  This was also to be my first repeat course so I really wanted to do better than last year.  Nothing like some internal pressure!

Saturday morning was chilly but we bundled up.  Little Runner had a lot of fun on his mile run (as long as the wind wasn’t blowing in his face!).  He had originally wanted to run it alone but I asked if I could join him as I was running along the side, cheering him on, and he happily agreed.  I really enjoyed being with him and using it as my warm up!  He did have a strong solo finish, though.  After all, he’s “a big kid now and needs to do these things on his own”.  Man, he cracks me up!

Our Little Turkey
Our Little Turkey

My 10K start was shortly after that.  I was wearing my new insoles, which bugged me a bit, but I had a friend running with me so I tried to just focus on the chit chat and not pay attention to my feet.  My friend is pretty speedy but she said she wanted to just hang with me.  We started out pretty fast (for me) and I was a little concerned but I knew we’d settle down once my legs figured out what I was doing.  About halfway into mile 2, I told her that I was feeling pretty good so I wanted to try to get a sub 30 minute 5K – one of my goals for the year – but would likely settle in to a 10:30 pace after that.  I passed the 5K mark at 29:09!  That was a HUGE PR for me! Over 3 minutes off my previous times!  And the real shocker was that I felt good and really didn’t want to slow down!  We kept going at the same pace and I was able to maintain it while talking and kidding around until the last mile when we hit a hill.  Even then, we didn’t slow very much (but I did shut my yap so I could focus on breathing).  I really couldn’t believe it.  My final time was 1:00:29, almost 9 minutes faster than last year’s race, with an average pace of 9:37.  That’s like Kenyan fast for me!  I still can’t believe it!

2Turkey2013

Why yes, I do have my head shoved up a turkey butt
Why yes, I do have my head shoved up a turkey butt

This was the first race where I was actually middle of the pack instead of bringing up the rear.  My overall time was exactly 51% of the field.  What a hoot!

So, LR and I had a fun morning and I achieved the goals that I set for myself – but now I’m paying for it.  My foot is much more sore than it was so I’m settling down and will seriously rest it.  LR and I do have our 5K in two weeks but we are doing that at a “fun” pace with much walking.  That may delay my healing again but I don’t think it will be by much.  In the meantime, I’ll be focusing on my core and upper body and, when I’m cleared, I’ll be back out on the roads.

I can’t wait!!

Product Review: Gracie & Me Jewelry

Apparently it is gauche to be proud of your accomplishments. I mean, really, who on earth would put a 26.2 sticker on their car?? Oh…

26.2
Oops!

I am so not sorry for this.  In fact, I decided to further announce my accomplishment by having a custom necklace made! I contacted Barbara at Gracie & Me and asked her to make a necklace to commemorate MCM.  The original design was all silver but I wanted a little more pop so I asked that the smaller distance charm be copper.  Barbara was all too happy to oblige!

Isn't it pretty?
Isn’t it pretty?

I absolutely love my necklace!  I have received many compliments on it and I know I will cherish it for a long time.  If you are looking for some custom bling that you can wear every day (the medals just aren’t practical for every day wear 😉 ), I highly recommend you check out this store.  Barbara is very easy to work with, you can customize just about everything, shipping is super quick, and the necklace came nicely packaged in a protective tin along with an anti-tarnish bag for the rare occasion that I’m not wearing it.  You can also have it placed in an organza bag if you are giving it as a present (hint, hint guys!)

Happy shopping!  Oh, and be proud of your distance if it is 1 block or 100 miles!  You’ve earned your bragging rights!

Rules of the Trail

I participated in one of the local trail races last weekend.  Overall, a good time was had by all but there were a few WTF moments that made me realize that not everyone knows how trail running is different than road running and, therefore, has a different set of “rules”.  Here are a few that came to mind:

1. Call it out when you are passing.  Trails are usually fairly narrow and it can be tricky to pass someone. If you call out “on your left”, it alerts the person ahead of you that you want to pass so they can move over a bit.

2. Don’t wear earphones. If you do, you can’t hear those around you.  In a trail race, this is extremely dangerous and can usually get you disqualified.

3. Don’t slow to a walk without checking behind you.  Okay, this is true on the road too but on the trail, which is NARROW (have I mentioned that?) people tend to bunch up and run in pretty tight formation if they are unable to pass.  If someone at the front suddenly stops, the whole group goes down.

4. If you are walking, stay to the right and be mindful of those wanting to pass.  ‘Nuff said.

5. Point out unexpected hazards.  Some people call them out but I never have enough breath to project so I just point down.  I do this for unexpected drops, a particularly large rock/root, etc.  Also, watch the person ahead of you and if they suddenly point down, treat that spot with care.

6. If you see someone take a fall or is obviously limping along, ask if they are alright and if they need assistance.  There is usually an aid station relatively close so you can tell the workers to send help.  If you are trained and want to so more, that’s up to you but at least ask.

7. If you take a fall and someone asks if you are okay, don’t get embarrassed and huffy. We’ve all gone down and trail runners need to take care of each other.  If you’re fine, just say “I’m good! Thanks for checking!” and move on at a comfortable pace.  Don’t act like you suddenly need to “prove” yourself by sprinting off without a word to the would-be Samaritan.

8. Have fun.  Run the best race you can given the trail conditions and the natural congestion.  If you get behind a slower group, bide your time until you can politely pass. Don’t huff and mutter and elbow your way through. Settle down and enjoy the scenery while you wait to move – you’ll live longer without the extra stress!

9. Accept the mud.  Chances are good that you are going to get wet and muddy.  Just go for it!  Trying to find a drier spot to cross may take more time and take you off the course.  You’ll wash up just fine later.

10. Thank the volunteers.  All race volunteers work hard and endure a lot but the trail group often has to hike to their location, stand for long periods of time in the woods (where it is usually shady and cold), and deal with a lot of weird crap.  Hopefully, they are making your race better by providing fuel, fluids, and moral support.  A thank you from the runners goes a long way toward warming the hands that are freezing and chapped from dipping Gatorade all morning.

Do you have any “rules” you would add to the list?  Do you prefer road or trails?

Playing It Safe

I’m out of town for work for a few days and, while I know the area from previous visits, I played all of my “safe” cards on my run tonight. Here is a list of some of the things I did:

– Left all of my valuables in the hotel room, including my rings
– Used my Roo pocket so my iPhone wasn’t conspicuous
– Told my husband when I left and approximately how long I would be gone
– Told the front desk the same
– I knew the route I wanted to take but if this was a totally new town, I would ask the front desk for suggestion and check out logged runs on Map My Run
– Used the Road ID app so my husband could see my route
– Did not listen to music
– Ran during daylight hours
– Stayed on more traveled roads and not a lot of quiet cross streets
– Stayed alert and noticed the people around me

It’s terrible that we have to be so cautious but better safe than sorry! On the up side, this was my view tonight!

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What are some of your safety tips?