The 22 Mile Run That Wasn’t

Oh hi, remember me? It feels like it has been way too long since I have been on this side of the blog. Needless to say, this week has been absolutely crazy. Between work, coaching, finals, and trying to get my workouts in…I feel like a hamster on a revolving wheel.

Conveniently, I am also three weeks out from my next marathon, which naturally, is when the longest long run of a marathon training plan takes place. So between the aforementioned chaos, I was needing to fit in a 22 mile run somewhere this week. That day was today. Because I literally had no other day or time available to do so. Also, summer is upon us here in the midwest and afternoon highs have been in the 90’s for the majority of the week.

I continue.

Getting my run in today meant being up at 5am, greeted with a lightning show, thunder, and big, fat raindrops. I had no way of stalling my run, so I booked it to the gym to do this long run. Before I left the house, I started to download Mean Girls on my iPhone to watch while running and made sure that my iPod was charged to keep me occupied for the four hours I was to spend on the ‘mill.

The first six miles went by pretty well, despite getting a weird stomachache/barfy feeling after mile five. I continued, the next six miles were not well. Mentally, things were getting tough. I tried positive reinforcement to no avail, was sweating like a sumo wrestler on a summer day in Louisiana, and the rain was starting to clear which made me mad that I wasn’t running outside. Ultimately I just could not pull my crap together. My heart wasn’t in this.

One promise I made to myself about a year ago was this:

If there was ever a moment that I didn’t absolutely love what I was doing, then I needed to take a step back, look some things over, and remind myself of why I was doing what I was doing.┬á

I cranked three more miles out and was done. I wasn’t going to put myself through those other seven miles because it would have gotten me nothing and nowhere. To console my feeling of defeat, I climbed for thirty minutes on the stair master and called it a morning. My skirt was dripping sweat, my thighs had chaffed so much they were bleeding, and I needed to refresh my love of running.

Today was a combination of things that I’m well aware of– stress, not getting enough sleep, and my eating has been sub-par (for me) the past week. I also accepted the fact that I need a break. One of the first signs of over-training is not being able to complete a workout, and while I don’t believe I’m over-training, I realized I have spent the past nine months either training for marathons, maintaining mileage, or racing. I accept that I am feeling just a little burnt out. I absolutely love running, but I have to take some of the stress and pressure away, because those don’t equate to enjoying running for me.

I still love running; in fact, I’m looking forward to a trail run I’ve planned early next week…no watch, no route, no goal pace, just me and the trails. After Med City I’ll be taking near a month off of being on a consistent running schedule and I’m going to be honest, I haven’t felt a release that great in a while. My body needs the break mentally, physically and emotionally. This rest will do me good because when I start training for Chicago I want to give it all I’ve got!

Even though today was the ‘run that wasn’t,’ it was a learning experience and reality check. I must say, I’m blessed and it’s pretty amazing that I was so disappointed with ‘only running fifteen miles…’ WHO says that??

That’s when I finally got my crap together.

Running Errands and I’m Crazy

First I just want to share something I found amusing that I did yesterday. I needed to go to the post office to ship off a package for one of my Stimulock clients, but really didn’t want to drive. I also wanted to get a run in for the morning as well. So what do I do? Combine the two, (un)naturally. I was laughing at myself as I was getting ready, thinking, “Who runs to the post office??” The package was small enough to fit in my Camelbak (I took the water pack out), I stuck my ID and credit card in, and went to literally run my errands! The stares I got at the post office were priceless, and it was really fun to run a route that I’ve never run before, I loved it! 4.25 miles later I returned home and was happy to have knocked out two birds with one stone.

Last weekend signaled the start of a large chunk of spring races that I’m doing, including four half marathons and one full marathon. I like a good challenge, and this is definitely that. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally and not for the reasons you might imagine. People question me and my sanity daily. Not exaggerating here. Part of me wants to completely shut up about running sometimes because of how much flack I have been receiving about it lately, but we know that’s not going to happen. Terms I hear pretty regularly are: insane, crazy, obsessed, nuts, and the list continues. Please note that generally, all of these terms carry a negative connotation and I’m doing all I can to not let them bring me down.

In the broad spectrum, they won’t keep me down. But right now, it’s just a little tough. I am beginning to accept that a lot of people will not grasp and understand why I run, or why I’m so passionate about it, and I don’t need them to. Passionate people, in my opinion, are refreshing in our society which thrives on instantaneous satisfaction, all things superficial, and a constant inward gaze.

I’m a firm believer in that, if you want to get better and be the best you can be, you have to be around people who are going to challenge you and help you grow. Surround yourself with the ones you want to be like. Though I can’t physically surround myself with some people I’d like to, I draw a great deal of inspiration from them. Take Dean Karnazes for example. He ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. He’s ran across America. He has competed 200-mile footraces by HIMSELF from deserts in California to the Pacific coast. A blogger I follow, SkinnyRunner, runs marathons like nobody’s business. Just this past weekend, she ran a marathon on Sunday, the Boston Marathon on Monday, and is running the Ragnar Relay later this week.

These kind of individuals motivate me to push my limits feed my desire to see what this body that I have is capable of. This weekend I’m running a half marathon on Saturday and one on Sunday, which to some may seem crazy, but to me, it is more than attainable based on where my inspiration comes from. Plus, I know where my strength comes from, and it is not my own. I often have conversations with God saying, “This is all you, because I definitely can’t do this on my own. What are you doing with me?!” Ha!

I’m also blessed that my life currently allows for such crazy adventures. I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t have kids, I have a very flexible schedule, and my body and I work in conjunction with one another– I’m good to it, so it returns the favor and allows me to log all these miles and do what I ask of it.

In my mind, there’s nothing I can’t do. Yes, some things look big, scary and intimidating, but I’ll never know that I can overcome it if I don’t go find out. Running blesses me exponentially. It adds life to my years. It inspires me, pushes me, and fills me up. Though the negative comments might get to me and start to burn a bit, I’m going to keep going. Nothing worth having comes without a challenge. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, living life to the fullest and loving every minute of it, hopefully inspiring and motivating many along the way.

This is a journey, and I’m on a constant pursuit to see where my limits are, and then push past them.

My Life on Crack

Do you ever have those days where you couldn’t tell anyone a single detail of what happened that day because so much was going on that it all was kind of a blur? That’s about how my past several days have been. These days haven’t been wasted that’s for sure, but looking back, I’m kind of like, “Wait, what happened again?”

Getting into the swing of things this year has been a change, there’s no doubt about that. Extra busy-ness at work, trying to make the most of time and marathon training again has left me in a whirlwind. I can’t complain though; it’s in these times that I thrive and am most productive it seems.

I also am fully enjoying the incredibly mild winter we have been having….seriously, we have had average highs in the 50’s since December with NO SNOW! I’m pretty sure my prayers have been answered. But for long run Thursday this week, the high is supposed to be 26. What gives?

Last Thursday for my 12-miler I started off my in standard running skirt, Nike tank, arm warmers, ear warmers and gloves and about 4 miles in I had stripped off everything but my tank and skirt. I sweat a lot and I think the temperature was well into the 50’s at this point, then an old couple who thought they were funny said to me as I passed by, “Don’t you think you’re jumping the gun on spring? Ha-ha-ha.” Not funny, old people, not funny. If you were running and not sitting on a bench by the stream you would probably be a little warmer.

Want to know something else that’s funny? I’m clumsy, very clumsy…it’s in my genes. Thanks, Mom. Yesterday I was out for a 5-mile run and it was cold, so naturally, I ran faster than I normally do. This was the first time I’ve ran with a watch in a LONG time and I was happily surprised to see I was consistently holding a 9:00-9:30 pace the whole time (yes that is fast for me…I am slow. I know this). As I was turning into my neighborhood, I don’t know if I was just tired or what but as I slowed down, I tripped over a raised crack in the ground. I ended up in the street with a skinned left knee, scraped and bruised right thigh, a skinned right elbow, and my gloves both ripped to shreds. I sat up in the street and thought, “OUCH,” but got up immediately because I didn’t want anyone to see or think there was actually something wrong with me, and I continued the jog home and couldn’t help but thinking, “Kelsey, did that seriously just happen??” I haven’t skinned my knees or elbows since I was a kid and felt like a huge dork. Running is a simple motion, putting one foot in front of the other and I still manage to get hurt and make myself look like a goof.

For the record, I have now tripped while running, gotten pooped on by a bird while running, and had an altercation with a vehicle while running. Good track record I have going on here. If you want to know my secrets of being awesome at running I will be happy to divulge details so that you too, can reach my level of awesome.

I need help.

Also, since I don’t really do the whole multiple posts in one day kind of thing (lately it hasn’t even been multiple posts in one week which I HATE and will be changing as soon as I get my crap together…aka now), I will be writing a follow up to this post entitled, Marathon Training on Crack. No, I’m not on drugs. I just want to get in the habit of posting about my training at least once a week like I did for my first marathon. Training is on crack because I’m running a marathon in 53 days. Yessssss.

Keep it real, friends. Happy Tuesday!

 

I’m a Streaker

No, not that kind of streaking, gosh! More of a workout streak of sorts. Typically, I workout 4-5 days a week, with a day of rest in between workouts because that’s what I like. Last week I was pretty sick (read: left bed only for necessities) and slept in longer increments than I have ever slept in my life. Come Wednesday and Thursday nights, sleep was hard to carry out because I had been snoozing most of the week.

Friday night I woke up at 5, drank some tea, and was going to try to go back to sleep. My body would not have it and I knew there was no way I could sleep more. The lightbulb in my brain went off and immediately I knew that I was having trouble sleeping because I had only worked out once last week (on Monday)…it was a huge duh moment for me when I realized how much working out actually helps me sleep. So for the first time in many months, I was on my way to the gym before 6am to hit the treadmill for 5 miles. All I wanted to do for the rest of Friday was sleep. Then comes Saturday morning, Christmas Eve…and I am up again at 5am. I knew that entire day would be dedicated to baking and eating food that is not high on the nutritional value chart, so again, I trucked to the gym before 6am for another sweat sesh.

Pause. How was your Christmas Eve and Christmas? Mine was completely wonderful and I loved spending the time with my family. This Christmas was different than what we normally do; we had a Feliz Navidad Fiesta for dinner on Christmas Eve and also opened presents instead of waiting until Christmas morning. I enjoyed this especially because I was able to sleep in past 10am on Christmas morning. My mom is a great fiesta-maker. Call her if you ever need the best queso ever

Dear Mom, please don't hate me for this ­čÖé

We only got a couple of good snapshots from the night because we were busy dipping our night away and opening presents, as a good Christmas Eve should be!

I also found out that you can get a really cool picture of your Christmas tree while someone bumps into your elbow mid photograph

Tell me this is not so cool

Sadly, Christmas came and now it is over…I never like this week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I don’t know why but it’s always one of those ‘awkward weeks.’ Now back to the topic of streaking.

Sunday was another dippy, snacky, sugary, family filled day. It also happened to be in the 50’s on Christmas day and I will take that over a white Christmas ANY time! Since it was so nice out, I took it upon myself to go for a 3.5 mile walk to burn off some excess calories and make extra room in my stomach for more good food. This was day three of working out in a row. Who am I?

Monday morning I woke up and was pretty sure I had stored away enough food to not have to eat until summer, and Monday night I went to Zumba off all of those dips and cookies. Then Tuesday morning, Zumba is a regular thing for me. As much as I wanted to stay asleep, I made myself go and am glad I did…girl worked hard! It’s always a fun workout to shake your booty and pretend you’re a backup dancer for Pitbull or something. Right….right?

So there was my five day workout streak and I cannot remember the last time I ever did that. Yes, I train for marathons but no, I do not workout for almost a week in a row, I like my rest days. Today is definitely a rest day, but tomorrow I’m going out on one of my last non obligated trail runs because the weather is supposed to be amazing and I start training for marathon #2 next week.

I’ll be sharing my training adventures with you as I did for my first marathon, but this one will be different because I completely made my training myself and I’m doing things a little different this time, including the fact that this training is half a long as my training for Tulsa was (praise the Lord on high). I’ll go into that later this week or early next week.

Are you doing anything fun for New Year’s Eve? Can you eve BELIEVE it’s almost 2012??? What are some of your goals for the new year?

First the Worst

Ok I just need to be honest here for a minutes while I bake some cookies for a Christmas party tonight! In case you are wondering, they are clean eating peanut butter cookies, with only FIVE ingredients! And they are so good. Not that I would know, because I definitely didn’t sample one. Or two. For breakfast.┬áThe website is currently down but I will link you the recipes as soon as it comes back up!

Time to spill. All of my runs that I have done since the marathon have been on the treadmill. Which is only like 4 or 5 runs, I haven’t even been logging my workouts. Granted all of those runs have been an hour-long, don’t ask me why. I had just been wanting to do nothing but run for an hour on the treadmill, yes I am crazy, people told me this before I did ┬áa marathon, I have accepted it.

Now this brings me to my title. first the worst. Between batches of cookies today (to run off the ones I sampled), since I didn’t have time (or the patience) to drive to the gym, I decided to put on my warm big girl pants and go for a run outside. It’s not even really that cold, mid 30’s but with 15mph winds. I didn’t expect it to be great, I just knew I needed to get it done. I ran around a 10:00/mile pace and my legs felt great, but cardiovascular-wise it was AWFUL. Ok maybe not that bad, but it was NOT fun.

Which reminds me, on Saturday I spent about 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym for the first time in a few weeks and the first five minutes felt like someone had put a brick on my chest, not fun. I was honestly asking myself, “Awhhh crap don’t tell me I lost my cardiovascular endurance after ‘going easy’ for the couple of weeks after the marathon!!!” I know it’s not totally gone, but I definitely am not ready to crank out any (pleasant) 18-milers in the immediate future. It is hard to deal with because I spent four months of hard training for the marathon and I need to maintain my fitness at the very least for Little Rock in March.

How does this relate to anything but me whining? This experience reminded me of what it was like when I weighed 300lbs nearly five years ago and could barely hold onto the elliptical for dear life for five minutes at a time. Whether you are 140, 160, 180, 200, or 300lbs, those first steps might not be the easiest or most fun. Maybe you were at the peak of your fitness and were sidelined with an injury and are so afraid of what it will feel like to go back, that you keep avoiding it. Let me tell you something– stop thinking about it and take those first steps. Those first steps are not fun, pretty or exciting, but without those first steps you won’t get to where you want to be. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes,

“You have to burn to shine.”

Happy Monday, ya’ll!

Post Marathon Life

I wish post marathon life was as exciting as pre-marathon life, but it has been kind of regular. The thought of posting has crossed my mind about three times in the past week, but I obviously haven’t done anything with those thoughts, until now.

For three days after the marathon I was walking like I had some serious problems but also experienced something I didn’t expect, I was THIRSTY. My body was clearly telling me I needed to rehydrate. The day afterwards I was with some friends and jokingly mentioned that I wished I had a pitcher of water…and the next thing I knew our server had brought me a pitcher of water. Complete with a straw.

How kind, sir. How kind.

Back in September I booked a tour at the Boulevard Brewery for post-marathon happenings because I knew I would be bored without all of that running. And what’s better than to be a tourist in your own city?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fun, cute, and the brew masters were incredibly nice. If you live in or ever visit the KC area I would highly recommend you take part in this tour!

Then there was Thanksgiving. I hope yours was enjoyable and that you ate a lot. I didn’t eat near as much pie as I anticipated, but instead ate my fair share of this:

Oh mahh gahh. That stuff went straight to my hips, but that is the best cornbread dressing ever. I’m pretty sure I could eat that forever and be okay. Actually I would be okay, but my pants would not.

Did you go Black Friday shopping? Whoever says running marathons is dangerous obviously denies the news reports from Black Friday. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard of grandma’s getting pepper sprayed during marathons. Speaking of grandma’s, mine visited, and my dog loves her more than me

Oh work, I’ve been doing that too since my funds were depleted from not working a lot while marathon training. Oops. Never mind the fact that I need these funds for races this spring.

Then there is healthy eating. So long are the days of turkey leftovers and getting to eat carbs before long runs. Return are the days of vegetables, eggs, scant carbs and no refined sugars. This is what works for me. I hope you are better off with more carbs than I am. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to carbs. and sugar. and fat.

Whatever.

Today I am making my return to the gym. This workout is going to suck the most because it’s my first hard workout since the marathon, I just keep telling myself that this is as bad as it’s going to get. I have also noticed it’s SO hard for me to find motivation to run when it’s 17 degrees outside in the morning which is why I keep signing up for races. Otherwise I would be

Maybe after this workout I will feel back to my normal self, I can only hope. It’s about time that I get in this Christmas spirit thing, workout thing, and getting ready for spring races thing.

Question: would you ever buy a Forever Lazy?

18 Things

18 is a lot, I know. But it’s how many miles I ran this morning which provided ample time for my thoughts to disperse out of my brain.

  1. Running skirts are dreamy and amazing and wonderful. I cannot believe I ever used to make fun of them. I will have a post for you soon about this in more detail.
  2. I am running an ultramarathon next year (ermm…probably)
  3. I refer to hills as ‘hells’ because that’s what they feel like
  4. Every time I get passed by a cyclist while running, I convince myself that I am an idiot and running is dumb because cyclists cover so much more distance in a fraction of the time
  5. To pass time while running 18 miles and to stave off boredom, I counted backwards from 500, then I did it again in sign language. Each time I messed up I made myself start over. Psychotic? Maybe. But it took my mind off of pain and discomfort for about 6 miles.
  6. Today I tested myself; I did not allow any potty stops for the whole run. And I didn’t wet or crap my pants…now if this could work for 26 miles…
  7. Oh, my marathon that I’m running, isn’t actually a marathon. It’s technically an ultra because am running 26.5 miles because I’m crazy. Not totally, this race offers a special thing called ‘Detour to the Center of the Universe,’ a landmark in Tulsa where apparently you can stand in this spot and you can hear an echo of your voice but no one else can. It’s sponsored by Michelob Ultra and they challenge runners to ‘Life Life to the Ultra.’ Clever, right?
  8. Running has made me learn to pay incredible attention to detail. I have a post for you about this too, regarding safety. I could tell you every single person I saw while running this morning and provide an accurate physical description. Just call me Harriet the Spy.
  9. I have almost mastered the art of texting and running. I feel terrible to admit this, in defense, see #8. I see a cracked iPhone in my future.
  10. I cannot believe the marathon is in FIVE WEEKS!!!!
  11. My legs didn’t hurt as bad as they did after my last 18 miler, however my knees are still shaking and I threw in a couple of miles in at goal race pace. Because I need to practice actually running at the pace I hope to sustain for five hours. I’m sure I will feel it tomorrow.
  12. My hips. Oh mercy. These ‘baby making hips’ (yes, someone once said that to me) are not good for running. I will fight this until the end of my life, or running life. Whichever comes first.
  13. Running today has left me completely spent. I haven’t felt this done after a run ever. Just stick a fork in me, please!
  14. I never feel like a runner, which makes me question my own theory: If you run you are a runner.┬áSometimes I feel like I’m well on the other side of crazy from being a runner. I’m just a girl out there with short legs, a long torso, Camelbak and more sweat than anyone would ever want in their life who is trying to run for ungodly amounts of time. That’s what I would call cray-cray.
  15. If I were to ever suffer a running injury, it wouldn’t be because of my IT band, a stress fracture or overtraining, it would probably be because I tripped on an acorn amidst a trail run or some other cool reason like that.
  16. A book that I’m going to write shall be entitled, “The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Healthy Eating.” Because I like to eat healthy with as minimal effort possible.
  17. Runners can be lazy. Just because I run does not make me not lazy. In addition to #17, I always park as close to the store as I can, when it comes down to taking a nap or taking a shower, I’d take the nap, rest days are the best days of training and I would rather spend time Pinning than cleaning.
  18. I love life. Happy Friday ya’ll.