Counting Down to the Shamrock Half

Loyal blog followers, I am indeed still alive though I’ve missed 3 weeks worth of training updates. Let’s blame it on juggling a new job with trying to get out and enjoy the beginnings of nice spring weather.

That said, I’m one week away from the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach! I won’t bore you with every detail of my training from the past few weeks, but it has been going better than I hoped. I was only cleared to run again a little less than 8 weeks ago following a stress fracture in my tibia but I feel as prepared as I can be heading into this race.

Photo credit: J&A Racing

Photo credit: J&A Racing

Last Sunday I completed my longest run for this cycle – a 10 miler. I was so relieved that my leg felt strong and was pain-free both during and after the run! Yesterday was my longest run of the week and I even decided to push the pace for the first time since my injury. I completed a progression run of 6 miles, starting at 9:38/mile and dropping time with each mile to end at 8:10/mile. Again, no pain!!

To say that I’m excited about Shamrock weekend is an understatement. This will be my first race since November. It also happens to be my favorite half marathon course. J&A Racing does a fantastic job with this race – a flat, fun, and interesting course; a great expo and post-race party; tons of swag and great-looking finisher’s items. I’ll also get to see my family and hometown, which is always nice. And you can bet that at some point during my trip I will head to Rudee’s for a crabcake sandwich – I only hope it’s warm enough so I can sit on the best bar patio ever built. (Seriously if you’ve never been there and find yourself in Virginia Beach – go! Just don’t get there right before me and cause me to wait…)

Rudee’s patio – the best place ever. Photo credit: Trip Advisor

 

This week, I’ll fit in a few miles here and there ahead of race day but will mainly be focusing on packing and then enjoying the weekend ahead! And I promise to post a timely race recap afterwards ūüôā

Roll call – who else is participating in Shamrock weekend? What other St. Patrick’s Day races do you like in your area?

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

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Shamrock Half Marathon Training Week 4: 02/16-02/22

Sunday marked one month until the Shamrock Half Marathon! It also marked the halfway point of my training. Of course, my injury put me behind, and obviously my original goals have shifted. I am not only trying to be half-marathon ready in just 8 weeks time, but my weekly mileage is less than what it would normally be.

I love a good sand castle -Shamrock in 2011

I love a good sand castle – Shamrock in 2011

That said, I’m feeling good! This week’s long run was a big confidence booster for me. My pace is actually not too bad, and I am by no means pushing it for fear of more tibia troubles. My leg was a little sore Sunday morning so I chose not to run a few easy miles that day as planned. Here’s how the week shook out:

  • Monday:¬†PiYo: Upper Body
  • Tuesday:¬†PiYo: Sweat
  • Wednesday: Staff workout at OrangeTheory Fitness (including 3 treadmill miles)
  • Thursday:¬†Rest
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday:¬†8 mile run
  • Sunday:¬†PiYo: Sweat

Total miles: 11 miles

One of the exciting things about my new job is that we have weekly staff workouts. Last week, we checked out OrangeTheory and I really liked it! We rowed, did some speedwork on the treadmills, and mixed in some weights and TRX exercises. If you live in the Atlanta area, try it out!

While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and talk about some other things I am loving this winter! My friend Amy (who recently became a certified personal trainer!) suggested mixing in PiYo after I was cleared to work out again as a way to do some strength training. I really like it! The DVD set came with 9 different workouts and a schedule (which I don’t really use because I’m really trying to get ready for this race). If you’re looking to get stronger without weights, this is a great program!

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With all this cold weather, I’m also loving some new gear. The Mizuno Breath Thermo gloves, hats, and headbands are AWESOME! They keep you warm and are really light weight!

How are you coping with this winter? Layering up? Hitting the treadmill? Anyone else ready for spring??

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Shamrock Half Marathon Training Weeks 2 & 3

It has been a crazy couple of weeks! Since my last post, I finished my old job, started a new job, planned and executed the boyfriend’s birthday weekend, hosted my mom for a visit, and oh yeah, ran/worked out. It has been hard to juggle all of those things but it has been really fun and exciting… although I’m ready to get back to a more solid training routine.

Here’s how the weeks broke down:

Week 2 (02/02/15-02/08/15)

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 3.1 mile run
  • Wednesday: PiYo: Define Lower Body
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Snow tubing and hauling the tubes around at Snow Mountain
  • Sunday: 2.5 mile walk with the dog and the boyfriend

Total: 5.6 miles

Week 3 (02/09/15-02/15/15)

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 2.5 mile run
  • Wednesday: 3.5 mile run
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 6 mile run

Total: 12 miles

The leg is still feeling strong post-stress fracture, and maybe it’s a good thing that I’ve been so busy – I don’t want to run too much, too soon. But this week I will be far more consistent in my runs and workouts for sure!

Now to some exciting news – I have joined Atlanta Track Club as PR & marketing communications manager! While I don’t plan to chronicle my (awesome) new job here, I thought I would at least mention this change since it is indeed running related. I am so happy to be able to channel my professional skills into something I am truly passionate about – for that I am very lucky!

My new work home: Atlanta Track Club!

My new work home: Atlanta Track Club!

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day and that you remembered to show your running shoes some love this weekend. My date with my Pure Connects was a very cold and windy one, but we had a great time Sunday morning!

Hope you felt the love this weekend!

Hope you felt the love this weekend!

With all of the cold weather taking over the U.S., how are you coping? Layering and sucking it up? Treadmill?

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Shamrock Half Marathon Training Week 1: 01/26-02/01

It’s great to be back! Obviously my training for the Shamrock Half Marathon¬†is beginning much later than I would have liked, but I still have some time to get it together. Sadly, this will not be the PR I was hoping for this year.

I was cleared to run again as of last Tuesday, but there were rules: no more than 15 miles for the week, no more than 3 runs for the week, and I had to take at least one day off in between runs. I decided to err on the side of caution and did less mileage than I was allowed.

  • Monday:¬†45 minutes of physical therapy at home
  • Tuesday:¬†1 hour physical therapy session + 2 mile run
  • Wednesday:¬†Rest
  • Thursday:¬†3 mile run + 20 minutes of physical therapy at home
  • Friday:¬†PiYo: Sweat
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday:¬† 5.5 mile run + PiYo: Define Upper Body

Total: 10.5 miles

These runs were more exploratory in nature than anything else. I’m happy to say that the leg is feeling great – no pain at all! I am also not as slow as I would have anticipated after being out for so long, which gives me hope for a swift comeback!

Sunday’s run was along the Beltline. I was happy to see that there is some new art to enjoy since the last time I ran there!

A new mural along the Beltline

A new mural along the Beltline

Awful picture, but happy to be running again!

Sunday’s run also led me to discover that fellow blogger Kristen (Running for More) lives in my neighborhood! She saw the above picture posted on my Instagram and realized she saw me leaving for my run the same time she was heading out for hers! Small world!

How is your winter training coming along? What was your favorite Super Bowl ad? (I of course loved the Budweiser puppy commercial and the Always “Like a Girl” ad!)

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Marathon Lost

Three weeks from today, I was supposed to be crossing the finish line of my first marathon. Sadly, this is no longer possible.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had been experiencing pain in my lower right leg. I saw an orthopedist who was pretty confident that I had a stress fracture but wanted to see a bone scan to be sure.

I went back in for the scan yesterday. As I laid on the weird (yet oddly comfortable) table, I stared at the ceiling, hoping that my doctor was wrong and that somehow I’d still become a marathoner by the end of the year. About halfway through the 10 minute scan, I carefully turned my head towards the monitors to avoid moving my legs at all. I’m no doctor, but I was pretty sure the bright yellow orb that was showing up right where my pain is was not a good sign. A little over an hour later my doctor called with the bad news: confirmed stress fracture.

My sentence: at least 2 weeks on crutches followed by 4-6 weeks in a boot. This not only knocks me out for the Kiawah Island Marathon, but also the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler that I was so looking forward to.

Thumbs down for crutches

Thumbs down for crutches

My doctor talked at length with me about my nutrition, my training plan, and my running history on our first visit. He told me I’ve done everything right – this isn’t an overtraining issue or some other stupid thing, it just happens to endurance athletes of all levels. This is comforting but also infuriating at the same time. Had I done something wrong, I could point to the problem and never, ever do it again.

I’m not trying to sound like I’m the only one who has ever trained for a marathon, but I’ve worked so hard and now I can’t even cross the finish line to prove it. I’ve logged countless hours since August towards this one goal. I’ve paid close attention to what I’ve been eating and drinking to make sure I’m properly fueled. I’ve said no to fun things so I could get extra sleep or make sure I could get up early for my long runs.

To come this close to completing a marathon and not being able to do it is maddening. I’ve cried. I’ve dropped F-bombs. I’ve cancelled hotel reservations and deferred my entry. I’ve cried some more.

But one thing’s for sure: as soon as I am cleared to run again, I’m immediately going home, changing into my gear, and heading out.

Any advice or encouraging stories for an injured runner? Leave me a comment or send me a tweet.

The Waiting Game

They’re the words you never want to hear as a runner: “I’m almost certain that you have a stress fracture”. And I heard them yesterday morning at the orthopedist.

But before I get into all the medical fun, let me first take you back a little bit in time. Picture it:

Picture it... It was a Saturday...

Picture it… It was a Saturday…

A week and a half ago. It was a cool Saturday morning, and I had just crushed a 20 mile run. It was a great confidence booster heading into the Kiawah Island Marathon. The run felt good and I was in great spirits afterwards, happily stretching afterwards and telling the boyfriend about all of the fabulous moments of that run.

That evening we went to a brewery for an event with friends and I felt a little pain in my lower right leg just standing around. I decided to skip my run for Sunday to rest, ice, foam roll, and stretch. Mondays are a scheduled rest day and I took that day off as well. A week ago Tuesday, I set out on a 7 mile run before work. The weather was great, but every single stride on my right leg hurt. I quickly detoured and slowly jogged back Рthe entire endeavor lasted only two miles.

For the next week, I kept icing, rolling, and even wore a compression sleeve during the day and sometimes at night to try to speed along healing. It felt a little better to walk and stand on, but every morning when I tested my leg with a little jog around the house it felt like a stab every time I landed on it. I have not run since last Tuesday.

This is how I feel right now and I hate it. Photo courtesy: biomed.missouri.edu

This is how I feel right now and I hate it. Photo courtesy: biomed.missouri.edu

I made an appointment to see the orthopedist and went in yesterday. After feeling my leg, looking at it, and talking to me about what has been going on, he uttered those cruel words: that my injury was likely a stress fracture. I’ll be having a bone scan on Friday to confirm it – though I really wish they had an appointment earlier in the week. A small part of me hopes he’s wrong, but I know that is a long shot. He warned that crutches may be in my future and I could be out for several weeks.

I’ve been injured in the past, but this development could be a pretty big blow. I am scheduled to complete my first full marathon in just 3.5 short weeks. The week after, I was planning on running the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler under the holiday lights on the boardwalk of Virginia Beach. But for now, I sit and wait. And hope that somehow my doctor is wrong.

Marathon Training Must-Haves

I’m (almost) halfway there! This week completes¬†week 8 of my 16-week marathon training. The Kiawah Island Marathon is on December 13, so we’re just under two months away! I’ve learned so much, but I still have quite a ways to go!

Photo courtesy: Kiawah Island Marathon Facebook page

Photo courtesy: Kiawah Island Marathon Facebook page

I actually had to take a couple of days off due to what seemed like an “overuse” kind of pain in the back of my right knee. After icing, stretching, and resting, I got back out there yesterday afternoon – thankfully I am feeling much better! If this setback had to happen, now is at least a good time. This week my long run is only 13 miles and my total mileage will be 32, so at least my legs will have a bit of a break!

Now that I am hitting the halfway point, I feel like I have a good system down. I don’t mean just having a plan – although that is certainly the first step towards marathon training. (I spent a good amount of time researching different programs and then tailored one to fit my needs.) But in addition to a plan, you need a lot of other things. Here’s my shortlist:

  • Motivational reminders.¬†It’s great to have a plan, but you have to find ways to make sure you stick to it. I actually printed out my plan and¬†wrote down how many miles I’m supposed to run each day on my work calendar. These are visual reminders of what I need to do, both at work and at home. Then when the miles are complete, I highlight that day on my printed plan and update my computer calendar that I use to track my mileage throughout the year. This helps me remember that I am making progress when I feel overwhelmed.
  • A support team.¬†You may think training for a marathon is a solo endeavor unless you have a training partner/group. It’s not! You need cheerleaders to celebrate the process as well as lift you up when you have those low moments – and you will have some. Make sure key people in your life know how you’re feeling and what you need from them. This can be anything from encouragement to joining you for a run to just asking how your training is going.
  • Body glide.¬†No seriously. Even if you haven’t chafed a lot in the past, you better have some now. Once you realize your normal “trouble spots”, slather it on, especially before your long run. There’s nothing worse than getting in the shower, having the water hit you, and wanting to scream because of all the raw spots that quietly showed up on your body while you were out.
  • A willingness to sacrifice.¬†You will miss things, simply because marathon training takes a lot of time. Lately I’ve been known to fall asleep on the couch by 10:30 p.m. or leave Friday night social outings early because I have to be up for my long run dark and early on Saturday morning. Sometimes I can’t have another glass of wine because I know that it’s just going to hurt me the next day (what a horrifying first-world problem). That’s not to say you can’t have any fun, you just have to be smart about it.
  • Good nutrition.¬†I am a pretty healthy eater overall. However, I have had to be even more careful about what I’m ingesting throughout this process. A couple of weeks ago, my long run ended early – I was nauseous, dizzy, and in tears. The next week, I made a conscious effort to eat more and to increase my protein intake. The result? I rocked a 17 mile run. Pay attention to what feels good and what doesn’t.
  • Short-term memory.¬†You have to put any bad runs behind you. Quickly.
  • Long-term memory. This is where you store those great running moments. If you focus on these, you can get through anything!
  • Yes, you can even get inspiration from a holiday classic...

    Yes, you can even get inspiration from a holiday classic…

    Mantras. I’m all about positive thinking while on the run. Sometimes you have to dig deep to keep going. I find I have been repeating one of two things lately: “You just need miles on your legs” and “How bad do you want this?” The first reminds me of the fact that I don’t need to be speedy on my long runs. The second is just a personal challenge to myself. On a side note, this has also been in my head on runs when I don’t bring along the iPod lately – which is oddly encouraging while getting me excited about the holiday season:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OORsz2d1H7s

With all these tools, I’m feeling excited and really happy that I’ve made it halfway through the training process. I just have to keep focusing on the goal – I’m coming for you, Kiawah Island Marathon!

What helps you when you’re training for a big goal? Leave a comment or send a tweet!