Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10/27/10 (recovery run)

Can you actually call it a recovery run, when the half marathon you are "recovering" from was a week and a half ago? :-) :-)

Two days after the marathon, some of the stiffness I'd been feeling in my right quad wasn't going away, in fact, it was getting worse. Much, much worse. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation worse.

Pretty sure I pulled something, tore something, or just plain ticked something off. :-)

Two days after that my hubby and I were with friends in New Orleans. Our hotel was a block away from the French Quarter.

Now, when visiting New Orleans without a rental car...what do you do? Allot of walking, that's what.

The first two days of walking were pretty much agony. That leg wasn't pleased with my decision to put it through it's paces from sun up to sun down. It would much rather I sat on the couch, in front of the TV, eating Bon Bons and watching cheesy Lifetime movies.

By the time Saturday rolled around, my leg had stopped screaming at me....and I was itching to start running.

It's now Wednesday, and I'm posting about my first run in what seems like ages.

Bless me bloggers, for I have sinned. It's been 10 days since my last run. :-)

4:45 am came very, very early this morning. I donned my running gear and left the house without a plan.

I headed west, ran to the country club entrance, then turned around and came back home. Calling my pace "leisurely" is an understatement.

I stopped my watch as I neared our driveway. I figured I'd run a couple miles, just to get things loosened up. It read 1.99 miles.....close enough. (giggle)

When walking around at 5 am now, compared to a month ago....I don't see much difference. It's dark.

But, it's much darker than it was. With a nearly full moon above me, it's now dark enough to actually need my headlamp...even in the open areas not shaded by trees.

Dry leaves, on trees before we left for New Orleans, are now on the ground. The wind blowing them around, making the creepiest of sounds. I love fall!!!

The air isn't much cooler, but I notice my breathing sounds very "weezy"...the cooler air is working it's magic on my lungs.

I'm wearing long running pants, my new running jacket, and lightweight gloves.....yet barely working up a sweat.

Six months ago, this run would have felt like torture, murder.

The training schedule that has lived on the side of our microwave for 6 months is now in the recycle bin waiting for the trash collectors.

I'm running with only one run.

I can tell you right now that running to run probably isn't going to keep me motivated for very long. Once the newness of "running to run" wears off....the snooze button and I will reunite.

It's time to figure out my next step.

But, until then, the freedom of running without a master plan is wonderful!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon, October 2010

I did what I said I'd never do.

I cried when I finished.

They handed me my time print out, and it was 23 seconds over my goal. 23 seconds! I wasn't watching my pace, I wasn't watching a fancy GPS watch on my wrist. I just ran.

I wanted to do my first half marathon in 2 hours and 30 minutes (or under).

I ended with an official time of 2:30:23.

That's about as close as you can get.

But.....I'm way ahead of myself.

Let me go back a little first.

May, 2010. I was cleared to run outside.


Not on a treadmill!!

For the first time since I started this journey, nearly 2 years before. 3 physical therapists, 2 doctors, and one specialist later...I was finally able to run outside, for real.

After that, I experienced 6 months of 4:45 am mornings, hip pain, foot pain, leg pain, and one nasty pothole incident.

I ran in the dark, I ran in the heat and humidity, I ran when it started to get chilly, I ran when it was the last thing I really wanted to do.

I lost 30 lbs, I lost 3 or more dress sizes...but I gained so much more than that.

And here it was, October, I was standing in the middle of the street, just outside my hotel.....surrounded my other runners....packed in like sardines, using each other for heat to stay warm until the started gun (bell, whistle?) went off.

Wow, I'm getting ahead of myself again.

Let's back up one day.

Saturday, October 16th.

Mot got home from work at 7 am, and we immediately got into my car and headed towards Des Moines.

We arrived at the hotel my aunt and uncle were staying in two hours later.

We chatted for a bit, then the four of us walked downtown to the convention center. Linda (my aunt) and I had signed up to go to one of Jeff Galloway's 3 hour seminars.

It was great! Jeff is a truly wonderful person. Kind, open, honest, full of information, down to earth. His joy of running is apparent in everything he does. And his joy of helping others do what he loves to do is even stronger.

(side note: why is there always one of "those" people in a seminar? You know the one. The one that won't shut up. The one who sits in the front row and comments on everything the speaker says. The one who has done it all bigger, better, and faster than everyone else there. Why, why???? Why are they even there, if they know it all? I sent Mot a text message two hours into the class "bring bail money"...I was ready to take her out!)


After the class was over, we met up with the husbands...and also met up with Linda's close friend and the lobby. The six of us walked to lunch (via the most roundabout way possible) to a place called the Court Avenue Brewery (or something like that).

People of Des have steps leading into your river. Don't you think this is a little strange?

Thank you Sheila for helping us out, or we might still be wandering around downtown Des Moines. :-)

After lunch, we all headed back to the convention center to check out the fitness expo. I'm not sure how long we were hour or so at the least. Mot got himself a tshirt "Save the Ta-Ta's"...Kent and I got ourselves new coats...and I drooled over a couple of GPS running watches.

From there we went back to their hotel (Mot and I were staying at a different location, but also downtown) to take a peek at our race packets. Mot picked them up for us while we were in the class. Rumor was it, there were so many late entries into the marathon and half marathon that there was going to be a shortage of tech shirts.

And why do we all run in these things?

The medals and the tshirts...of course! :-)

We got to their room, and dug through our loot....then met again back down in the lobby.

Dinner wasn't for an hour or so, so we sat there, talking and laughing, for quite some time. What a fun group to hang out with! We all had a blasts!!!

(Mot helping us set our new run/walk timers.)

After that we split up. Linda and Kent had purchased tickets to the pasta dinner held at the convention center....while Rob, Stacy, Mot and I went downtown to find something to eat.

After a wonderful dinner, we all headed back to our hotels to get ready for the next day. I was in bed by 8:00. I fell asleep about midnight. :-)

The six of had had planned to meet in the lobby of our hotel (it was less than 1/2 a block from the start of the race). We took that time to talk some more, laugh some more, get some pre-race photos...and act like we weren't nervous. :-)

(pace tattoos...on upside down....awesome!!!!) :-)

At 7:45, we left the hotel, and stepped out into the street.

It was chilly, low 40's...and it was crowded.

Earlier in the morning, Mot had gone down to the car...when he came up he said "Oh my gosh Nej, it's completely different out there than it was last night."

He was right.

I volunteer at allot of triathlons, so I've been around pre-race areas.....but nothing seems the same when you're the one getting ready to run.

(See that person on the far right side of this green not in ponytail...face cut off? That's me!!!)

(check out the beard)

We didn't stand there long, before the crowd of runners started moving. They'd started the race, but from where we were, we didn't hear it happen. All of a sudden, we were moving, and that was that.

I ran across the start line, and there was no turning back.

(Linda and Stacy, right in the middle of the picture, looking at the camera!)

I did what ever runner does...I took off like a shot. I knew darned good and well that I needed to watch my pace and start slow.....but as I've heard others say time and time again "you get caught up in the moment".

The route took us around down town, then around Gray's Lake and back. It was beautiful!

At about mile 7, I knew I was in trouble.

My 3:1 run/walk ratio started to turn into 2:30/1....then 2:1.

Eventually I switched to what Jeff Galloway called (the day before) my "Nej's run/walk method".

It's much less scientific than his method. And, I'm sure, quite a bit less productive!!! (giggle)

At mile 10 or 11 (they were all running together by then), the first elite marathoner passed me by.

He was a blur.

I know what their times are, I understand how fast they are going in relation to me, I get all that.....but you just don't understand it for real until they go flying by you. You're at mile 10, they're at mile 22 or 23. And they make you feel as though you're running backwards.

Amazing. There's no other word for it.

I saw one of the people that was on the Glacier backpacking trip along the way. I was nearly passing him when I saw him and called out his name. Pretty sure he didn't know who I was at the time.....I waved, said hi, and continued running. But it was AWESOME to see a face I knew along the way!!!!! :-) Small world!

At mile 11 I was done...spent...kaput. If I was a navy seal, and there were a bell to ring, I'd have rung it.

I knew that my fast pace in the beginning was going to kill me...and it did. But that's ok...the finish was soooo close!

After making the last turn of the race....with the finish line in sight.....I picked up the pace. I didn't look at the people along the route. I heard a familiar voice at one time, but didn't look over to confirm it's owner.

I was going to get across that line, and I was going to do it now!!!!!

Getting my picture taken after crossing the finish.

I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!

After I was done running, I met up with Mot and we rushed over to the hotel. We had an hour for me to recover (somewhat), shower, and get checked out.

As soon as we entered our room, and laid down on the floor....and I'd still be laying there were it not for Mot helping me out.

After I'd showered, packed, and gotten us checked out...we walked back over to the race finish to get a print out of my official time.


I'd been telling everyone my goal was 2:30...and I did it.

It was everything I had in me to not cry right there on the spot. :-)

Everything that I'd done.....and it had finished exactly how I'd hoped.

Now, just imagine what I can do when I actually take it easy at the beginning...when I actually add speedwork into my training.

Mot asked me, on our way to the hotel after running, if I was going to do another one...and my answer was "hell to the no."

On the way home he asked again. My answer was a little more positive that time around.

"Another half in the spring, and then maybe....just maybe...a full in the fall."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Then what??????

I've run a couple times this week....but the times and distances were pretty pathetic, so I haven't felt like posting them.

I'm experiencing a new pain. It's in the "L" of my leg....where my foot curves up into my shin.

I'm good for about a mile, and then I can feel it starting. If I were to stop running right then, stand flat footed, and try to just lift the ball of my foot, keeping my heel on the ground...I'd fail. The tendon or muscle on top of my foot is screaming!!!!! If I keep running, it gets worse...and I start looking like Frankenstein, stomping down the road.

I try doing different stretches every so often...but nothing I'm doing is really helping.

There must be a stretch I can do before, or during, my run that will help. Some exercise that I can do while watching TV that will loosen whatever is ticked off. :-)

I need to get online and do some research.

Self diagnosis, always a good idea.


This weekend's half marathon is a flat lander's dream. The pain comes on flats and hills....but mostly hills. So I should be fine on Sunday.

And...speaking of the half marathon this weekend....

My first ever half marathon is THIS WEEKEND...aaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I've been completely gung-ho about my running since May. I found a training schedule and have stuck to the running bits, almost exactly. I actually enjoyed getting up early and hitting the pavement before work. I couldn't WAIT to lace up those shoes, and head out.

But these last two weeks have been hard.

Really hard.

I can barely get myself out of bed in the morning. My times have been getting worse, not better. And I didn't even DO my long run this past weekend.

The honeymoon period is over...officially. For some reason, the joy of running has left the building.

"Paging the joy of running. Joy of running, please report to the front desk."

I have the same problem when I'm out running. I'll pick an object I know I'll pass along my route. "I have to make it to the _____. Once there, I can walk for 15 seconds." When I get about 20 feet from the object, my body gives up, and I start walking early.

It's 100% mental.

So, I'm guessing that having the half marathon actually right around the corner, within sight, my body is giving up and I'm walking early.

I'm not afraid of the half. In fact, I'm almost jumping out of my skin excited about it.

No, what I'm worried about is what happens AFTER the half. Since May, I've had a training schedule telling me what I need to be doing.

It doesn't tell me what to do after.

Sure, I need to rest a couple of days....and ease back into running slowly. I get that. But what happens then??

Do I need to find another goal....another object to run towards? A spring half marathon perhaps??

And then what?

Do I keep running half marathons, always working to PR?

Do I sign up for a fall marathon, and write a new chapter in my running life?

There is a series of books that I read....the main character gets up and runs a mile or two every am to stay in shape. She's another reason I started all of this. I want to be the girl that gets up in the morning and runs....accomplishing more by 6:00 that most people do by noon. It's a pretty "romantic" notion I think.

I'm usually more of a free spirit. I just go where life takes me. I play it by ear, with as little planning as I can get away with.

But for some reason I crave a goal, a plan, when it comes to running.

Running isn't easy for me. I really have to work at it. I'm slow, I'm weak. I'm never going to win a race, never going to stand on a podium.

And I'm perfectly fine with that. But running is work, and I need something to motivate me to keep going. I go to work everyday, so they will pay me and I can buy things.

I've lost almost 30 pounds running. I've gone down two full dress sizes. I'm healthier, I have more energy, and I'm much much happier.

But, for some reason, a tech shirt and medal is more motivation right now.

It's nuts! :-)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

10/03/10 (11.57 mi, 11:13 pace)

Long run day! One of two before the big day...half marathon!!!

I had a 9 mile run scheduled, so off I went first thing Sunday morning.

I took to the trail at about 6:45.

The plan was to park at Peak 2.5 miles one way, and then back.....stop at the car to refill the water bottle, shed my headlamp, stretch, then go 2 miles the other direction and back.

I had the trail to myself. All to myself. No one was around. No one.

It was a little spooky to be running through the middle of town, and see no one.

At one point a guy on his bike came up behind me. He was so quiet, and I nearly jumped out of my skin when he announcing "on your left!"

(I gripped my pocket knife a little tighter for a while after that.)


About 2 miles into the run, I noticed something black in the middle of the path. The closer I got, the more I figured it was an, raccoon, or skunk.

"please may it not be a skunk, please may it not be a skunk, please may it not be a skunk"

Finally it stood up and turned towards me. Cat!


It went to one side of the path so I could pass...but before I got there, it ran across the path in front of me to the other side.

It's a good thing I consider black cats crossing my pass good luck, or a piano would have fallen from the sky right then and there!!!!

At 2.5 miles into the run, I was scheduled to turn around....but the end of the trail was up about another 1/4 of a I figured I'd run to the end (my OCD kicking in) and turn around there.

I made it back to the car in relatively good time...except the return trip was .25 miles shorter than the trip out.

What is up with that?????

Oh well.

I stopped at my car, refilled my water bottle, took off the headlamp, blew my nose (stupid allergies)...and headed south to finish the last 4 miles of my run..

30 minutes later.....

"How can I JUST be finishing two miles now???? That's 15 minute miles, and I'm running for crying out loud!!!!!"

I finally turned around and headed back to the car.

Once there, it told me I'd ran a total of 8.75 miles.

Whoa! Hang on just one second!! I've been out here for just over 2 hours.....granted, five minutes were spent at my car at the halfway point...but STILL!!!!

I know I'm a slow runner, but that's ridiculous!!!

On the last 4 miles of my run, I started paying closer attention to my watch. It's one of those that hooks up to the nike sensor that's in my shoe.

I noticed for two minutes it said I wasn't moving.....and for three minutes it said I was going at an 18 minute mile pace.

I was running the entire time.

Something's not right here.

I KNOW, I mean, my body KNOWS that it rain further than 8.75 miles today!!!!!


I got home and logged on to my computer. After mapping the route, I found not only did I run my full 9 miles....I actually ran 11.57!!!!

Nearly 3 miles further than I was supposed to!


It was then that I took the watch, and threw it across the room.

The action may have been childish, but it felt good!


So there you have it, my 9 mile run, that turned into almost 12. I accidentally ran 2.5 miles further than I was supposed to.

Accidentally that's something I never thought I'd hear myself saying! :-)

Friday, October 1, 2010

10/01/10 (6.15 mi, 9:07 pace) pace seemed quite a bit faster than I expected. Finally, since my wipe out and knee injury, I found my stride. The first half of the run wasn't so great....but with about 1/3 of the run left, I started running differently.

I didn't think about it, I didn't do it on purpose....I was just running along, thinking about life in general.

Next thing I know, I realize I'm covering more distance, and it felt good. My left hip wasn't "catching," my right shin wasn't screaming....I can't describe what was different. It just was.

I'd skipped my Thursday run because my legs were still pretty painful from my runs on Tues and Wed. Then, I slept in Friday and just couldn't get my lazy rump out of bed. By the time lunch of Friday rolled around, I was feeling guilty for skipping the run.

So....when I got home....I loaded everyone up in the Jeep and we headed to a city park near our house.

Mot took Sam to a more secluded area, so he could through dummies into the water for her to retrieve, without disturbing all the fisher-people who frequent the park....while I took to the trail that goes around the lake.

I'm so used to running in the mornings, and running later in the day after work felt odd. There were people all over the trail...some with dogs...some with bikes....some just out for a stroll.

The sound of an gas powered remote controlled plane haunted me all along one side of the lake. The buzzing was getting a little old, that's for sure!!! :-)

I ran until I hit my halfway mark (2.5 miles) and turned around to come back. Once I got to the Jeep, I had to keep running to finally meet my 5 mile goal.

How can I run out and back....but the second half measures shorter than the first? It happened the other day to me as well. *****

Hmmmmmm.......maybe finally finding my stride affected the sensor in my shoe??

Oh well....I got my run in! I'm not a slacker! All is well with the world!

We stopped at a grocery store on the way back to get stuff for dinner. I was wearing spandex running shorts, a soaked (with sweat) tshirts, and my compression sleeves on my legs.



We went home, ate dinner, watched a TV show or two, then headed to bed.

Very good evening!!!!!!

***** You'll notice that my total distance, in the title of my post, isn't 5 miles. My post for my weekend run will explain! :-)