Recovery…

You are forced to see another picture of Jasper on the marathon course, since I've haven't taken any other recent pictures

It’s hard to believe I am still a few days post marathon.   There’s such a long build up for these things, and then “poof!” , it’s over.  I am trying to be good, very good about recovery.  I’ve done 23 marathons and over a dozen ultras.  By now, I no longer need a week until I can walk down stairs.  My first marathon I had to use the elevator where ever I went for a full 7 days….stairs weren’t even a possibility of me.    By now my course always seems about the same:  total misery  the day of the race, including a night of bad sleep, semi-misery the next day, but by day 2, I feel pretty good, minus some tightness.  I always feel like I would be fine to run, if maybe a little slow.  For my last gazillion races I am back doing 12-15 mile runs within 7 days.   This time I ‘m really going slow…not that I feel any worse after this race, but ever since I threw my back out when I was pregnant with the Owl, I have realized I need to do whatever it takes to ensure longevity in my running.    I was completely out of commission then, and I don’t want to ever be injured to that point again!

So I did not run a step for 3 days.  I ran very easy today and will repeat tomorrow.  The big difference this time is this weekend I am running much less than I normally would.  My eyes are on the prize (Boston), and I want to be injury free for it.

Some other things that work for me:

The ice bath.  It really does help me.  I did not get to do one after last weekend’s race due to someone not taking his nap  😦

Eating/ drinking protein right away.  I read that studies show this does nothing, but I swear I feel better if I do a protein smoothie, or get an egg taco.   Now, this is only after a race or massive effort, but I feel less “hang-overy” later on if I get something in my belly.

Sleep with a firm pillow between my knees.  I do this most of the time anyway, but after a big race I really make sure to.  It just helps my legs feel less achy during the night.

I generally try not to take ibuprofen.   It is a good pain reliever for me, so I try to not use it except in times I am really hurting.  That being said, there have been some races I’ve just been miserable from and I break down and take 400mg.

Another thing is I generally don’t have a huge appetite the day of the race.  I wish I did because I always have fantasies of big feasts, but I usually end up eating something pretty small.  I do like a celebratory beer that evening, but I limit it to one.

I also try to stay active.  Lots of light walking.  Just lying around definitely makes it worse.

One thing I am going to try this time is a massage.  I get them every 4-6 weeks, but usually I go before my race, not after.  This time I am doing both.  I know that makes me sounds like I have money to burn, or at least think I do, but I go to someone who’s very reasonable, and I think it’s a better use of my money than eating out or a shopping trip.  I’ll have to report back if it helped.  As of know I feel pretty good minus a slightly sore heel and an angry hamstring insertion (aka my butt).

And on that note…time for me to go watch The Walking Dead.  I love AMC shows!

Frankenthon…

Today was the Frankenthon marathon.    My goal was to get my BQ (Boston qualifier) and I did.  so, I am good if I decide to go in 2013 (as long as I get past the tiered registration system).  So I ended up with a 3:38 and change.  I needed 3:40.

I had my doubts:   my fall, nursing a cold, and a crappy night of sleep.  I was really nervous yesterday.  This morning, I guess I had gotten all my nerves out, because I didn’t feel too anxious when I got up.  I was more anxious about driving the torn up road to get there that is pitch black.  The minute I started I was calm and went into my rhythm.  My goal was 8:15 miles, and that would give me a little cushion for 3:40, so it would cover water stops and if I hit a bathroom.  I started with a 8:25 opener, and then hit 8:00s.  I checked in to see if that was too fast for me, and I felt 100% relaxed with no heavy breathing, no tension, so I kept it up….for the next 18 miles.  I felt completely fine, but at mile 19, I slowed by 30-45 seconds per mile, and despite trying repeatedly, I could not respond.  I would surge to an 8:20, but it was always short lived.  Did I go out too fast?  I really don’t think so; I was so relaxed.  I am really not sure why my wheels just fell off.  The last 2 miles were really painful, and I saw my huge lead on 3:40 chipping away.  With a mile to go, I realized I was in danger of missing the time by just a minute or two.  That’s just way to close to a goal for me…..I knew I would be so mad at myself if I ran 3:41.  So I pushed hard and barely got it, but I got it.

One reason I love racing is every race is still such a challenge.  It never gets easy.   I always learn something to apply to my next race.  I may need those goofy compression socks next time.  My feet and lower legs got so, so sore on my drive home.  I blame it on the fact that most the course is concrete…the most unforgiving of surfaces.  I can tell I worked really hard though, because I am soooo spent.  Even with having Mike around I was looking forward to the Little Boy’s bedtime.  Nothing like holding a 30 pound toddler while standing on feet that feel like they had a caning on the bottoms.   Jaspy is by far the hardest part of marathon running.   There is NO rest afterwards.

The Frankenthon is just a perfect race though.  If you live in the Austin area and want to try to run a fast time…it’s a good course.  It’s not crowded, but you’re never alone with the out and backs.    The water stops are very efficient since the race is small.  The course is super pretty, and doesn’t get boring.  I will be back.  I’m two for two on getting my Boston time!

Inspiration…

So things are not ideal for marathon running.  While I still plan to run Saturday, I’ve been limpy all week with my big toe, and the rest of me was pretty sore from falling hard, which almost has been worse than the toe  I really don’t have Jasper’s resiliency.  But I am trying to be positive.  I don’t want to sound like I am making excuses or being self defeating, but the reality I still am not 100%.  I may not meet my goal, but I am just happy to run, and I have Boston to really focus on.  After this race I really, really want to rest and get all these little sore areas knocked out.

Did you read about the Hawaii Ironman a few weeks ago?  The women’s winner, Chrissie Wellington, took a really hard fall on her bike a few days before the race and could barely move.  Somehow she blocked it out and it all came together for her on race day.  I don’t follow triathlon, but I heard a couple of interviews with her on Competitor radio, and she sounded like the nicest, most humble person.  Definitely inspiring stuff if you need something to listen to during a workout.  And for those who fear triathletes having long ramblings about their training, she really doesn’t talk about that, but about not wanting to let her fans down and about wanting to give a great performance.  There’s not really a way I can compare something that epic to my small, little local marathon, but it’s a lesson in not giving up.

Ok…gotta start thinking about bed.  No run tomorrow = a little extra, much needed sleep.  Yay!!!!!

Stupid, stupid, stupid…

Uggg, I am a complete idiot.  Please know that my stupidity comes from a place of good….from the love for my dog and my family.  The main reason I run trails once a week is for Pancake.  Watching her run off leash for about 6-7 miles in pure nirvana is really incredible.  I also don’t want my selfish running to impact my family, so I run pre-dawn.  This means the trail run is in the dark using a headlamp…which has worked most of the time.  A couple of weeks ago I took a hard fall and landed on my hip and didn’t make it out there for a couple weeks.  Mark and I tried again today…and I’ve run my last trail run.  Another fall for me, and I am now done.  It’s just too hard on me if I go down while I’m running out there.

Yesterday was a nice day with an easy, easy 12 miler.  I ended it feeling like I hadn’t run at all and felt confident for my marathon.  Then I had a much needed massage in the late afternoon, and we went to dinner with some friends, so it was a rare night out.  Got up early to hit the trail and all was fine for almost the entire run.  About a mile and a half before the end I stubbed my big toe hard on just a little stump sticking up…but it brought me down.  The fall part wasn’t too bad…the toe jamming against the stump was.  I have no give at all in my big toes since they have arthritis.  For a while it really, and I mean really hurt.  I freaked (and am still freaking out).  I have a bruised toe, but my joint is so stiff now it has no bend.  I’ve been icing it and taking ibuprofen today, but I am concerned about the marathon.  One positive thing is it has felt better as the day has gone on….not worse, so I have my fingers crossed I just wake up tomorrow a little sore with a purple toe, and not limping!

Lesson learned!  Sure it’s not something serious, but I may have ruined my marathon next weekend by doing something stupid.  I knew my big toes cannot withstand jamming into something, and that is a big risk if you run rocky trails.  I promise to never run trails again unless it is a gravel hike and bike.  Can I somehow sign my name in blood online?   Poor Pancake will need to find another way to running happiness…because two big falls in a row is my limit.  Not only is my toe sore, but the impact and tensing up when I hit the ground has me sore.  I completely undid the great massage I had yesterday…now I feel like a ball of knots.

The pictures are from the marathon course.  Jasper and I scouted it out yesterday.  I WAS excited then after seeing it, but now just worried I won’t get to run.

Ok….gotta get some more ice on the toe.  Good bye trails…unless I am walking.

Pre-marathon thoughts…

There’s really not much going on here.   It’s finally starting to dip below 90 degrees so we’ve been hitting playgrounds every chance we get.    The biggest thing on my radar is a marathon next weekend.  I’ve had the world’s longest taper, so I suppose I am rested..but not necessarily ready.

Mark is a great running partner because he’s also a total geek when it comes to articles on training.  I’m not sure why we geek out on stuff like that, because we really end up running the same workouts all the time.  We were talking about it this morning, on a pre-5am run, and we agreed we’re both just trying to be reasonable with what fits in our lives.

Austin is not a good representation of most of America.  It seems like just about everyone here is pretty fit, and doing Ironman races and ultras is the norm.  So it’s really easy to know people who train like crazy.   There’s also so many stories in Running Times, Runner’s World, and the running blogs that talk about someone working a full time job, having 2 kids, and still finding the time to work out twice a day and cook vegan meals.  I’ve analyzed my day…I’m not as busy as a lot of my friends, but I am busy enough that increasing my workouts would come at a price.  I guess you could argue that if I want to see improvements I need to be willing to put forth the effort.   I am…but to a point.  When the evening chores and Jasper stuff is all said and done, I usually have an hour to an hour and a half before I need to crash.  If I always spent that time working out I would be a very dull person.  And, you might say “you’re a very dull person already!”..and maybe you are right.  But in the little bit of time I like to do things like write on this blog, bake sugary things I shouldn’t be eating, watch really good shows on AMC like “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead”, read, and sometimes I get caught up in  home improvement projects.  I know…real exciting stuff, but I need that stuff.  Mark and I agreed we always torn between striving for improvements in our running, and just doing it for fun.    I definitely did not do everything I wanted to for next week’s race.  I didn’t near as much speed work as I wanted and my last long run was further out from race day than I would have liked.  I’ve just gotta roll with I got.  I tried to focus more on building strength in my weak areas through yoga and cycling.  I feel like I got a good start to this, but I plan to build on it for Boston.

Oh yes, Boston…I need to keep my eyes on the prize.   My number one goal is to get to Boston healthy.  So, a little leaner, a little stronger and a little more flexible.  After next weekend’s race, I expect to go into full spreadsheet making mode and come up with something that will work for me and my life.  Mark was so wonderful to make me a training spreadsheet for next weekend’s race, but I learned it’s just doesn’t work for me to follow something that doesn’t take in to account all that I have going on.  I need to be my own spreadsheeter…although Mark and I do plan to collaborate on training.

Anyone read about the 39 week pregnant woman who ran the  Chicago marathon and delivered later that day?  I think it’s a great story.  What no one seems to mention in any of the stories that question her judgement is she did it in over 6 hours.  That’s a pretty mellow pace.  She was very experieinced, so it sounds like she just had an easy day of walk/ jogging.  I never even made it to 39 weeks, I only made it to day 1 of 38 weeks, but I couldn’t even walk at that point.  You can bet if walking felt good, as long as I felt fine, walking a race would be something I would have wanted to do also.   Everyone’s experience is so different.

Ok…back to me  🙂   Next week will be a mild taper.  Since I’ve been doing pretty mellow runs for a while, I just plan to keep it up.  I am excited.  After last’s weekend’s half marathon fiasco, I am itching to run.  My goal is a 3:40.  It’s a reachable, but challenging goal.   I hope I have it in me.

Other stuff up this weekend/ next week:  getting a massage (yay!), going out for sushi (double yay), lots of playground time with the little boy, and hopefully some cool weather.

See Jane (not) Run…

Today was the See Jane Run women’s half marathon.  I had signed up for this as soon as I learned it was about a mile from my house.  I could walk to the start, and the whole all women race thing means nice shirts, nice expo, and race goodies.  The stars did align and Mike made it home late last night, so I knew I could race in the morning.  I had planned to test my fitness and see where I was…by taking out the race pretty hard.

Rain was forecast, but seeing as how the several months long drought has been devastating to the area, no one in their right mind would complain about running in the rain.  We have not had a downpour in over 6 months.  At 5am I woke to pouring rain.  No need to worry, the race was at 700 and it could easily let up.  I decided not to walk to the race to stay dry just a little longer, and drove, parking a little ways off, staying in my car until the last minute.  I was killing time on my iphone, when an email came up that the race was canceled.  Ok…I didn’t think it was that bad out anymore, but whatever.  But then I saw NO REFUNDS, THE RACE WILL NOT BE RESCHEDULED.  WTF?!?!!  (that last part wasn’t on the email).  Just then, I saw a couple of girls running by, and hollered at them to turn back, the race was canceled with no refunds.  They had the same reaction I did.  One of them said, “I trained, I am running anyways!”  I was already planning this since Mike was home with Jasper and I was free for the first time in over a week.  So we all decided to run together.  One of the girls actually recognized me as a frequent customer of a coffee shop she used to work at.  We ran into a friend of theirs, who thought the whole situation was BS as well, and now 4 of us were off to run a half marathon in a little drizzle.

Turns out I met 3 super cool mamas who all live near by me and were a lot of fun to run with.  One of the girls was doing her first half marathon, so I promised her we would hit 13.1 miles since I was armed with a garmin.  We had a really nice run….took it nice and easy, and all agreed the rain felt great and was not any issue at all.  We parted ways at 13.1 miles (and no rain at all), and I have some new potential running partners.

So I am very disappointed with See Jane Run.  Apparently they are a women’s running apparel retailer but I will not be buying anything from them.  I get that they probably couldn’t credit everyone at this point, but do something.  A rollover to next year, a gift certificate for their store, postpone the race by half an hour, there are many options other than, “sorry for the inconvenience.”  And, did I mention the race cost me $80?  So a huge F- on all accounts.  The packet pickup was unorganized, the race sent a few emails that had indicated they weren’t very together, and then canceling while offering no type of consolation at all.  I WILL NOT be running this one in the future and I would hope anyone that paid upwards of $95 for last minute registration won’t either.

But I had a great run, and still made it to Ashtanga for the first time in a couple of weeks.  I will be feeling it tomorrow!

I am glad to have Mike home and glad I still got my half marathon in today.  I am all the more excited to race the Frankenthon in 2 weeks.  Hopefully Austin will get some more rain this week too!

Collapse…

Collapse is what I seem to do every evening this week after I get Jasper to bed around 800, and then venture out into the Jasper fall out that lurks in the rest of the house.  I don’t mean collapse in a negative sense, I’m just tired and ready to RELAX!  And, call me OCD, but I cannot relax unless I have cleaned up all the Jasper fall out.

Overall, we’ve done pretty good by ourselves, minus a giant hiccup of me getting sick.  Jasper was sick last week, and so I knew it was only a matter of time.  In a strange way it was a relief when I got it, because now I at least knew it was on it’s way to being over and done with, and I could check the box for at least one of us getting sick when Mike is out of town.  I am fine now, and very slowly regaining my appetite, which really just means I probably am eating an appropriate amount at this point and not enough for a family of four like I normally eat.

As a result of two back to back illness session…Jasp’s then mine, he’s watched more DVDs than normal (and more than I would like, but what else do you do when you have a fever of 101 and a toddler?).   Which means I have seen Cars everyday since Mike has been gone.  I had a dream last night I visited Radiator Springs, so obviously we need an intervention.    Jasp is totally obsessed with the movie.  Luckily I think it’s fantastic, but I wouldn’t mind if he switched it up.  I bought him Fantastic Mr. Fox, but he’s not sold on it yet.

And on the running front, I am getting my loops in with the baby monitor.  7 miles worth today, which is about 36 or so loops.   But it’s all just running…I wouldn’t call it training.  I can’t will myself to do much more than get in a nice run…and it is kinda nice listening to good podcast, seeing the stars very clearly since we do not have streetlights, and not getting spooked by anything since I barely leave my porch the entire run.

Some good things happened this week too.  In no particular order:  got word I am on the Austin marathon pace team again, yay!, got my official mail confirmation I am in the 2012 Boston marathon, our Dyson vacuum arrived….it’s incredible, how did I live without it?, the Owl got 2 new pairs of shoes since he went up an entire size in a couple months, I got my driver’s license renewed…not fun with a 2.5 hour wait, but a major hell task off my to do list, which always feels good.

And, lastly the Owl and I have done lots of fun things together, not just watch Cars.  Here’s pics from our pumpkin patch trip……

Coming up:  half marathon!, the return of Mike, pumpkin lattes….I didn’t manage many since my GI flu bout…I need to make up for it this weekend.

Saturday cuteness…


The Owl is much better.  Stomach bugs just seem to be 24 hours of misery…for the Owl and me, and then they get better quick.

 

And this will be a quick post.  I have to pack us up while Jaspy naps.  We are headed to a pumpkin patch when he wakes up.  I figured it’s a nice, balmy 90 degrees….so fall is here.

I did something this weekend I swore I would never do:  I got a babysitter to go run.  Yes, I have a really nice jogging stroller, but Jasper just won’t have anything to do with it right now, and it’s not really fun to try to run with a child throwing a tantrum.  Mike left very early Friday morning, and I had spent all day Thursday on the couch with Jasp while he was sick.  Yesterday I took him to Mueller to run the trail, since he doesn’t seem to walk anymore, only run, and to the nature center that afternoon.   I finally had to ask myself, “why I am feeling so guilty about wanting 2 hours to get away and run?”  So I was able to get one of his teachers from school to come over this morning.  I usually run before 6am, but I knew for someone right out of college who still has a nightlife, that time would be absurd.  So I asked his teacher how early would she be willing to come over and she said 900….sold.

Meghan was the friend of the year and agreed to meet me that late and drive to Hyde Park so I wouldn’t waste babysitting time driving around.  We had a lovely 12 miler and it was strange to run Town Lake at prime time…I NEVER run this late.  I actually had to wear sunscreen.  I had about 10 minutes to spare before I had to be home, so I grabbed a Pumpkin latte and made it home right on time.  It was just nice to have a couple of hours to just enjoy.  Jasp and I had a fantastic day yesterday, but just about every runner in Austin has been waiting for a hint of fall weather, and we have it this weekend.  I really wanted to get out and run, and not run loops with a baby monitor before 6am.  So yes,  the babysitting run was some of the best money I ever spent!

Otherwise, yesterday I prepped a bunch of food so I can eat something besides veggie burgers on salads while Mike is gone.  I bought a bunch of Costco produce so I had  a mountain of spinach and tons of fruit.  Maybe I am starting to catch on to ways to make this single parenting thing easier.

I leave you with a picture of the Owl crunching leaves.  Spending a day with Jasper outside reminds me to really appreciate the simple things in life.