Sunday, April 29, 2012


Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you've had a great weekend. I've got one more day left to mine, but please don't hate. While I kick back and watch the Yankees on this beautiful afternoon, please enjoy this week's installment of High-Low.

Emotional High:
I am not sure I can pinpoint one moment this week. It was more about a series of choices I made over the course of several days that I can be proud of. There were ample opportunities to let others influence my emotions and to let those emotions control me. What was different, for once, was that I put my foot down. I made the choice not to let someone make me feel like less than what I am. I refused to enter a difficult situation letting someone else's emotions set the stage for the encounter. This is brand new territory for me.  I usually give my emotions free rein and then wallow in the aftermath, wondering what went wrong. Bottom line, I'm tired of feeling terrible. I'm taking small steps to change that, and it doesn't happen overnight. I'll still have rough days, but I think I'll be able to roll with them better.

Workout High:
It wasn't the elusive good run that I'm looking for, but it was decent and I had super new company. Thanks to Team Tough Chik, DC-based Toughie Becky heard my plea on Facebook and agreed to join me for 10 miles on Saturday morning. It was my last long run before the half and I knew I didn't want to do it alone. Never having met before, conversation came easy. We headed out from Columbia Marina, up through Rosslyn, on the Custis Trail to Stafford Street and then back. The time wasn't spectacular but there was no walking and little pain, which made me pretty happy. I'm slowly getting my hydration figured out as well, so there was no panicky water stop like there was on my 12 the weekend before. The weather was beautiful, the company was great, and the hills were the right challenge. Thank you, Becky!

Emotional Low: 
This week's emotional low came while I waited for the 5k to start this morning. There was a 1 mile family fun run first, and I decided to watch everyone cross the finish. Moms and Dads, their little ones in tow, laughing and running towards the finish together. It had me in tears. It just bowled me over in that moment. All I could think about was relationships past, some more recent than others, and things that I probably won't get to have in this life. A little too heavy for a Sunday morning and not the mindset you want heading into a race.  It wasn't anything I could shake off right away, and it definitely weighed on me as I slogged through my own three miles. As soon as I got back to my car I reached out to a friend who would know exactly what I was talking about. Sure enough, she commiserated and tried to hold me up. I'm trying not to let it set the tone for the day, but sometimes you just have to be sad and that is okay too.

Workout Low: 
Today's Vienna "Run for Fun" 5k was anything but. I ran it on legs that were still feeling yesterday's hilly 10 miles. It just wasn't my morning but I knew showing up and running, no matter what, was the right thing to do. I was less than stoked about this before I registered, but did so because a friend really wanted to do it as a post-vacation kick in the butt. I knew I had a long run the day before but...I have trouble saying no and this is a friend that I have a hard time standing up to. Three days before the race she decides, from half-way around the world, to extend her vacation and bail on the race. So I was on my own for something I never wanted to do in the first place. But I made a commitment and paid my $25, so damn it I was going to go. The only good thing I can say is that in the long run it was a good exercise in running on tired legs. Something that I will need to get used to.  Otherwise, I was really unhappy. I started out too fast, sub-9, when I just wanted to crank out easy 10's like a wuss. The course was an out and back, but hilly-ish and my hamstrings were having none of it. I got progressively slower as the race went on, and I even broke my own rule of not walking. I finished in 28:29 and I'm pretty disappointed. I'm still waiting for that one good run to feel like I'm capable. The half is next Sunday and confidence is just plain low.  

Now, I brought you all down with those two lows, and I don't want to end this post like that. I'm already thinking ahead to my week, wondering where my new highs will come from. I get to see family and friends at home next weekend, which always makes me smile. As of this afternoon there are also no last minute trips to NYC on the docket either, which is a relief. I love getting out of the office, but the up and back in one day makes me really tired.

The Yanks just won, so I'm smiling. Time to make some dinner and perhaps treat myself to some froyo. I hope you all had a great weekend, looking forward to reading those race reports!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Random Friday...ahforgetaboutit

Sorry kids, my brain does not currently have the capacity to come up with random facts. This week feels like it has gone on forever and I don't even work a full 5 days anymore. I blame the anticipation of a potentially unpleasant experience for why the week has dragged. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced time-slowing during periods of dread or anxiety. What is that about?  All we ever want is for it to be over with as soon as possible, not this drawn-out gut-wrenching anxiety-filled waiting period. Rude.

At any rate, I survived said experience and the sun rose this morning. Life goes on. I've got 10 miles planned for tomorrow and I'm almost excited. Not so much for the running part but because I'm meeting a new running friend! We're both on the same team and she responded enthusiastically to my Facebook plea for company on Saturday. Sucker. I haven't decided on the route yet, but I'm leaning towards the Custis trail. Not so much because I want a hilly workout but because I know where I can refill my water bottles if I run out.

Sunday is supposed to be a 5k race day. I say supposed because my friend convinced me to sign up with her. She planned on running it two days after her return from a European vacation as a good kick in the butt.  What she didn't tell me was that there was a chance she'd extend her vacation by a few days and back out on me at the last minute. Had I known that was a possibility, I would have waited and risked paying the extra race-day registration fee. Now I'm either out the money or I run alone on tired legs. Neither sounds particularly appealing at the moment. I am going to pick up my packet tonight and try to grab hers at well.  Not so much because I'm that nice but because I'm clinging to the slim hope that someone will step in and run with me.

On a lighter note, it looks like all the big logistical details are coming together for my week in the Bahamas. I am excited but nervous. I always get nervous before I travel, especially if I'm going with other people. I feel somewhat responsible for their good time. It is my vacation, at the end of the day, and I want to make the most of it. But I want my company to be glad they came too. Now I just need to find the money to pay for everything I charged on my credit card. And it wouldn't hurt if August got here sooner rather than later. I might just start a daily countdown in my planner. I'm that desperate for something good to happen in my life. And I know I'll be two months into marathon training at that point, aka ready to run away and never come back.

If you're racing this weekend, best of luck!  Can you relate at all to any of the above? It is nice to hear now and again that I'm slightly less crazy than I thought.  Sending you all warm beachy thoughts.....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

In 3.5 months, I'll be here. This is what is getting me through today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Two Things Tuesday

1. I thought the odds of me making it to the track this morning were pretty darn good, actually. I went to bed at a decent hour and I felt comfortable with the workout that was planned. It was all fine and good until my alarm went off this morning and self-doubt came storming in. "You'll be running alone. Getting lapped. As usual." "Your hamstring is still sore from Saturday, you'll probably end up stomping off the track after the first interval." And so on. I am not a reasonable person capable of rational thought at 5:30 in the morning, so self-doubt won out again and I just laid in bed beating myself up until it was time to get up for work. I'm not going to get any better if I don't try, but I'm too scared to try, so I stay the same. Do what you always do and get what you always got.

2. Losing weight while training is a tough thing to do. Losing weight in general is hard enough. But I think as athletes we have a more difficult time doing so. We are constantly walking a fine line between fueling up enough to perform and cutting back enough to lose. One wrong meal decision can tank an entire workout. Eating properly but not logging enough miles gets you nowhere fast. Right now, in addition to taking a ridiculous amount of supplements, my focus is on making sure I get enough protein. Carbs are a non-issue, considering how much and how easily I seem to consume them. I'm keeping a watchful eye on that while upping my protein and trying to see if I notice a difference on the road and on the scale. Has anyone else encountered this problem? I can do the weight loss thing, albeit inappropriately, and I can do the training thing, albeit eating like a fiend. I just can't seem to get the two to work together.

Yeah, I know that the theme is usually three things for a Tuesday or Thursday, but I couldn't come up with a third that I wanted to post here and the word two pairs well with Tuesday. So there.

Monday, April 23, 2012

High Low

I haven't done a high-low post in a while, so this is overdue.  I know it isn't exactly the end of a week but I'll still review the last 7 days as best I can.

Workout High: Knocking out 12 miles with a new friend on Saturday morning. It wasn't the best long run ever, or even that good in general. It was more about knowing I can still complete that distance. I know I wouldn't have been about to do it on my own and I'm super grateful to my fellow GOTR coach Jessica for joining me.  We knocked out another 4 miles this morning and I think it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Emotional High: Getting an amazing card from my mother in the mail. I won't post what she wrote, it was really personal, but it was something that I needed to hear very badly and I will be reading it often. I'll never take her, or my father, for granted. I'm very blessed.

Workout Low: Bikram yoga was just not in the cards for me yesterday. I went and made it through all of the standing postures but for some reason I was dangerously nauseous as soon as we hit the floor. There was only a half hour left in the 90 minute class but I had to step out. I've opted out of postures before but I've never had to step out of the room. I stayed out about 5 minutes, caught my breath and refilled my water. The break did make all the difference, and I was able to finish out the rest of the class without incident. Still, it was frustrating to not be able to hang the entire time.

Emotional Low: In stark contrast to my emotional high, I had a fight with my parents. Again, I won't get into the details, but it was very hurtful. I didn't speak to them for a few days, which is very out of the ordinary for us. Fences are mended now but it really knocked me for a loop.

There have been more lows than highs lately, both in workouts and in my daily life, but I'm trying to keep putting one foot in front of another. I don't know where I'm headed but I know that staying in place is not an option and only perpetuates any pain I'm experiencing.  This week will be as busy as the rest tend to be, for better or worse. I hope to squeeze in a few runs as well but I never can tell how my week is going to shake out.

Less than 2 weeks until my next half. At this point I plan on making it a training run. I have another half the first weekend of June and I hope I'll be in better shape by then. If not, there are always other races.  I'm racking up PWs this year left and right, so what is one more? I might not always remain positive, but at least I still have some sense of humor.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Random Friday Facts

1. I have to run 12 miles tomorrow and...I'm nervous. The last two 10 milers haven't gone so smoothly so I'm not exactly looking forward to adding on two more.

2. I reduced my work schedule from 5 days a week to 4 and the change has made a big difference in my quality of life. Too bad the quality of my paycheck suffers.

3. Financial aid is a pain in the butt in the best of times. In the worst of times they charge your credit card twice for a deposit and then send you letters saying you aren't accepted into a program and therefore your application is invalid.

4. GOTR coaching hasn't been what I had hoped.

5. I've been averaging 10 hrs of sleep a night lately and it still isn't enough. Sensing a problem...

6. I now take more pills than...well...a lot of people. I hope they start doing something soon.

7. My Friday night is going to involve a washing a load of dirty running clothes and going to bed before nine o'clock. I know, I need to calm down.

8. Have I mentioned that I heart ART? Because I do. It works, people.

9. Cutting down to one cup of coffee per day has been brutal.

10. I just got my vacation time for August approved. Bahamas here I come!

11. Yes, you are welcome to come with me!

12.  I'm thinking of moving when my lease is up in August.

13. I need more close friends. Living in VA has been a pretty lonely experience.

14. I've had Indian food three times this week. It is just too good.

15. I'm trying to be more honest and open with people while building a solid wall to keep myself safe. It is exactly as complicated as it sounds.

16. My goal race for a half PR is no longer June. I'm really bummed, but I just haven't logged the miles and I don't want to set myself up for disappointment.

17. Running and I tread lightly around each other these days, but I think we're moving towards a more positive relationship. It will just take more time than I anticipated.

18. Life coaches rock. Everyone should have one.

19. I don't post nearly enough pictures on here. I never carry a camera on my runs, phone or otherwise, and I think posting what you eat can be a little weird. Although, if you want cat pictures...

20.  Never underestimate the loving capacity of your mom. Ever.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The slow runner

Happy Monday, everyone.  Bah humbug, I say. Just in one of those moods I suppose.  And if you know me, you know they are pretty common. Was up and out the door for a short four miles around 8 this morning and it was a struggle.  Mind you, I threw down a decent 8 miles just two days beforehand. You would think that four would come easy, but it didn't.

My calves, I am happy to report, are doing better. Thank you, Dr Bills. My shins, however, are still barking. My legs cannot seem to get their shit together. If it isn't one thing, it is another. I didn't warm up or stretch at all this morning, just straight into the run, but that isn't unusual. I just couldn't get into a groove and soon enough my running partner was pulling away.

This is becoming more and more common on my runs and it does not make me feel good at all. I tried to tell myself that this was my run, at my pace, but it didn't help. I'm just out of shape and my running friends are not. What bothers me more is that when I wasn't the slow runner, I didn't leave my partner behind when we hit a trail together. I just didn't. It didn't seem right and there were always going to be other runs where I could push the pace. For me, half of running with someone is the company and conversation.

I understand that we are all training for something, I do. And I'll be the first one to admit that when I'm on the track, I'll take off. But to me those seem like different cases. Maybe I'm wrong. I suppose this is something that I need to get used to and my ego needs to take a back seat. Selfishly, I do miss being the faster partner. If I keep working on it, I might get back to where I was. In the meantime I need to get comfortable where I am, bringing up the rear.

Tomorrow is another day, and the chance for a better run. I'll be at the track at 6:15 tomorrow morning, jitters and all. The sooner I can string a few good runs together, the better.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Looking forward

I ran. I walked. I cried. I finished.

That sums up my experience at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile yesterday. And I honestly don't want to expand upon it further.  My body and I are not speaking to each other right now and while some ART this morning helped, I'm not sure when I plan to run again. The track beckons me tomorrow morning, and with a half marathon just 5 weeks away I can't afford to be missing workouts. Classic impasse.

Having a series of painful runs in a row makes me nervous to put one foot in front of the other. Right now the advice I've been given involves ice and stretching. More ART on Saturday. No specific mention of rest. I wish I had more to say but I'm still in a bit of a funk, running and otherwise.

On a happier note, my sister and brother-in-law both ran Cherry Blossom as well and rocked it! They are also running the same half marathon in May. Even though we don't stick together on race courses, it is good to know that you've got family with you. I definitely think that it has brought us closer and I look forward to more races together.

A big thank you to my Tough Chik team for the words of understanding and encouragement in relation to my race experience. It helps to know I'm not the only one who has had a bad race and that it is possible to learn from it and bounce back even better. I hope to have a happier post for you soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me. 

Lastly, congrats to all all my CAR teammates for their great performances and PRs yesterday!