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.

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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.

Day 78

I was really nervous for Tuesday to come around. I had an appointment with my physical therapist, who would decide whether my leg was strong enough to run again. I had done all of my exercises religiously over the past two weeks, so a “no” from him wasn’t really an option in my brain. I was so excited that my non-running streak of 77 days could come to an end that I accidentally grabbed two left running shoes and threw them into my bag that morning… luckily I realized my idiocy early enough to stop by my place before heading to my appointment!

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on...

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on…

My PT really put me through the grind. It was an hour of exercises that got more and more difficult as I went along. I was petrified that I was failing to demonstrate that my leg was fine. I got frustrated at one point but he interrupted me and said that he was purposefully was trying to fatigue my leg so he could make sure it was up for running. Which would have been nice to know from the beginning…

After what I hoped would be a convincing performance, my leg was iced for 12 minutes and I learned that I was indeed cleared to run – YESSSS!

I was so excited, I didn’t even change out of my running clothes when I returned to work. I finished my day in them so I could easily get home, walk the dog, grab my GPS watch and go. And that’s exactly what I did.

It was a perfect evening. Temperatures were in the 40s and the sun was setting. I only run with my iPod perhaps 50% of the time anymore and I decided for this special run I wanted no distractions. I wanted to hear my footsteps and my breath and remember what it is like to be a runner again!

Park 1

I headed into Piedmont Park. With each step, I felt more like me. Running is truly my happy place. It’s a time when nothing else matters but that moment.

I made sure to take in everything as ran along the path. I probably looked like a big dope smiling and looking around like I’d never been there before. But I didn’t care!

Park 3

I knew I had to ease into running, so I forbade myself from going more than two miles. This was actually very fitting, since the last run before my diagnosis ended up being that exact distance. However, this run didn’t end in tears after feeling like someone was stabbing me in my tibia with each stride.

It was only two miles, and I am a far cry from where I was in November, when I could go out and run 20. But I don’t care. I’m me again! And I can’t wait to see what I will accomplish this year.

Do you have a recent run that has meant a lot to you? Tell me about it!

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

My Goals for 2015

Putting together my goals for 2015 has been a little difficult for me. While most of 2014 was fantastic in terms of running, recovering from my stress fracture has me a little on edge. It has been 50 days since my last run and it’s a little unnerving not knowing how I’ll feel when I am able to lace up my running shoes once again!

However, I’m very optimistic after yesterday’s visit with my orthopedist. He says my tibia is probably about 95% there. I am currently weaning myself off of the boot and will be completely free of it by Friday! I have been cleared to start PT, and will likely be running again in the next couple of weeks. I feel like it will be Christmas all over again when that day comes!

2015 goalsSo here are my running-related goals for 2015:

  • Get healthy, and stay that way. I have been following doctor’s orders and will continue to do so until I am 100% done with this stress fracture. This injury has been maddening and I can’t wait to be completely healthy again!
  • More strength training and cross training. I made an effort to do more of both in 2014, but next year I want to be even more consistent. This will also help with my first goal.
  • A new half marathon PR. My best was the Shamrock Half in 2011. It was my first half and I came in at 2:03:43. I want to break 2 hours this year. I had hoped to do it at the very same race this March, but obviously this may be in jeopardy since I’m coming off of an injury. I’m not ruling it out though – and if I don’t get my shiny new PR there, I’ll try again somewhere else!
  • Run at least 800 miles. I managed to get in 711 miles in 2014 by November 11, so I think this goal is more than reasonable.
  • ???Complete my first marathon??? This almost happened in 2014 (so frustrating that I came so close!). I’d like to make it happen in 2015, but my injury has me a bit scared to completely commit. But I am about 75% sure that I still want to do this, ha!

I really am proud of how consistent I was in 2014, and the fact that I did up to 20 mile runs this year (you can read my full 2014 recap here). Here’s hoping that 2015 will be even better!

What are your 2015 goals? Did you accomplish all you had hoped in 2014?

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 – the 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.

The Choose Your Own Adventure Run

Remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books when you were a kid? You reached a situation in the story and you could pick from 2 or 3 options of how you’d react. With each choice, you created your own destiny. Well this idea can apply to running too!

Most runners will hit a lull in their racing schedule from time to time. I purposefully scale back in the late Spring and Summer months to give myself (and my bank account) a break. I choose this time of year because I don’t enjoy running in heat as much as I do in cooler temperatures.

This break in the schedule usually makes me a bit uneasy. I always like to be working towards specific goals. This year, I decided to set a mileage goal for the entire year to keep me motivated (700+ miles). But there is something to be said for running for the sake of running too!

Last Sunday, I wanted to get in some miles to round out the week but I didn’t have a specific plan. I was determined to head out despite being sore from a TRX workout the day before. Then it dawned on me to bring back something I hadn’t done in a while: the Choose Your Own Adventure Run.

A frequent stop on my Choose Your Own Adventure Runs - Piedmont Park

A frequent stop on my Choose Your Own Adventure Runs – Piedmont Park

If you run with any regularity, you have several different routes that you use and you know exactly how long they are. You even know which ones to string together to get those long runs accomplished. But it’s nice to liven things up with some spontaneity! Enter the Choose Your Own Adventure Run.

Start out on a route you could run in your sleep. But instead of doing the full loop, break it up by heading into a different direction. As you come to areas where you can either head back home or continue on to another neighborhood, take stock of how you’re feeling. Still feeling good? Add another detour to your run! Energy still holding on when you hit the next “turn back” point? Keep going! Something is going on up the street? Go check it out as you run past! And so on… until you feel ready to call it quits for the day.

Because you don’t know exactly how many miles are left, these kinds of runs can change your mentality from just “getting in the miles” to enjoying a fun day of exploration. Take in the sights, wave to your fellow runners, and don’t worry about pace. After all, we run because it’s fun, right?

Do you have a way to spice up your weekly mileage? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter: @AtlRnnr!