Injury update and rant

I’m back! I have missed writing training updates so I thought I’d start the new year documenting my progress. My hamstring continues to nag me periodically, so I’m hoping that keeping a contemporaneous log can help me get to the bottom of what causes the pain.

An update: I finished PT right before Thanksgiving (my insurance ran out). My PT gave me a new routine designed to strengthen my hammy, glutes, hips and core. I also started running again!

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Dan and I hit the Harvard track on November 15. I started off VERY slowly. I walked a lap, did a dynamic warmup, then ran two laps, walked a lap, and ran two more laps After that I switched to a one lap walk/run. I ended up running 1.5 miles total. I was ecstatic. My leg bothered me at first but seemed to improve as I went.

Since the track, I have run around the neighborhood, progressing VERY slowly. The first time out I did a warm up, walked for 2 minutes, jogged 5 minutes, walked 2 minutes. jogged 4 minutes, etc. I have increased the jogging time by 1-2 minutes each time and only gone out about 2 times per week. I figured out that running the day AFTER PT/leg day is no bueno, but running the day before is fine. Doing this, I felt that I made progress and didn’t have to much hammy pain to speak of, until recently.

Meanwhile, my doctors started running tests. I had an MRI on my thigh, which was negative. My doctor did blood work, which showed that my inflammatory marker was elevated (not attributed to my UC). My GI doctor ran the test again a couple weeks later and the marker was much improved. I was told that normally this sort of injury could be treated easily with ibuprofen, but I cannot take ibuprofen on account of my UC.

Sigh.

Two weeks ago I felt like I was recovering, but now I’m back to being discouraged. My PT told me that I might be focusing on my symptoms too much and to try to work through the discomfort as long as it was not worse. And no, the pain hasn’t become worse than when I started, but when it comes back like it is now, I am so frustrated because I don’t know why.

I don’t have a real diagnosis, and I don’t really have a plan apart from continuing my PT exercises. I’m thinking of asking for a referral to a sports medicine doctor or physiatrist. At this point I would pay out of pocket for a trainer or someone to guide me through what I’m doing, as long as it would get results. I want to FIX. THIS.

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Coach Lucy adding some resistance to my foam rolling.

What’s frustrating is that I’m not in a tremendous amount of pain, by any means. it’s just a slight nagging. I have been identifying it as a 2 out of 10 on the pain scale, which is minor. But it just … doesn’t feel right. And I don’t want to make it worse, or suffer another injury in future training.

I will give it a little more time doing what I’m doing and see if it continues. I’ll also try and track progress to see if I can pinpoint any triggers or problems. I want to continue to progress in both running and strength training, and will do so unless there pain becomes worse than 2/10. If that happens, I’ll scale back.

And I’ll start posting about wine again.

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2015 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Recap (FINALLY)

Brace yourself, it’s a long one.

This post has been hanging over my head for over a month now! I started writing it almost immediately after the race, but I don’t know if I should blame WordPress or my computer or myself but SOMETHING kept failing to save the draft.

Also, I have been a little glum since the race because of an injury I sustained (more below). In the 5 weeks since the half, I have run ONCE. It has bummed me out, which I think has subconsciously turned me away from blogging. My hope is that if I power through, I can go back to a regular schedule of posting. Because, at the very least, WINE!

Anyway, here is the summary of my time in Sonoma for my very first half marathon. It was such an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it! I’m also so happy that  Dan and Mom were with me. It made the trip so much more fun!

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The Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon I ran with Team Challenge was a rewarding experience and also a total blast. I had such a great time before, during, and after the race.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Friday, July 17: I booked a late flight on Friday so I could save vacation days for the actual vacation part! Luckily Virgin America (my FAVORITE) has a 7:00 PM flight that arrives in San Francisco at 10:30 PM, so I could take off after work.

Dan had to wait until the next morning to leave and Mom booked a cheaper, earlier flight, so it was just me! I was stuck in a middle seat but luckily the two others in my row were together, so they gave me the window! SCORE! (I paid forward this courtesy on our flight home from Vegas, letting a taller guy have my aisle seat and taking the middle seat next to Dan).

My flight arrived a little later than scheduled and I had to drive 1.5 hours to my hotel in Santa Rosa. I’m not a great night driver – I get drowsy instantly. I was also extremely paranoid that the GPS on my ancient phone would fail on me at any moment. However, the jolt of adrenaline from driving in a new place kept me alert long enough, and my GPS never failed! I even drove over the Golden Gate bridge!

I arrived at the hotel at 1:00 AM PDT and was greeted by a different Lucy!

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It was nice to have any Lucy greet me at the door, even if it wasn’t my crazy cat (the hotel was in Santa Rosa, home of the Peanuts museum). After I arrived at the hotel, I texted Dan as I was getting to bed. It was 4:00 AM at home and he was just arriving at the airport for his 5:00 AM flight. Yuck.

Saturday, July 18: I met up with Mom early in the AM and we grabbed some coffee before heading BACK to SFO to pick up Dan. We went to Flying Goat, a quintessentially Californian coffee shop. The coffee was free range and the muffins were Level 5 Vegan and there wasn’t a gluten to be seen. It was actually really tasty!

Because I am stupid and also lazy, I sat in the driver’s seat thinking “Should I go back for my phone charger? Nah.” I regretted this after 2 minutes and made my poor Mom shut off her phone so we could save battery power for GPS. Before leaving the east coast, I had printed out directions between the hotel and the airport in case my phone failed me (see? Paranoid). Poor Mom didn’t get to take a picture as we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge though!

Fortunately Dan’s plane was on time (and his phone had juice)! Our next stop was the race expo. I had never been to an expo but I was looking forward to sampling some expensive electrolyte water I’d never buy.

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Dan and I BOTH picked up race bibs. Dan was able to sign up for the GunBun Fun Run 5K at the last minute! It was sold out when he first decided to sign up (like a week before the race), but a few days prior, some spots opened up! He was pumped. Also, how cute are the race numbers? The half marathon bibs had red grapes and the 5K bibs featured green grapes.

At the expo we picked up some souvenirs ($2 water bottles? Unheard of!), but we didn’t stay long because it was REALLY hot. After the expo we got some lunch and provisions at Oliver’s, a Whole Foods-y type market and deli. I needed to buy some combination of carb + banana + nut butter for my pre-race fuel. The carb of choice? Pretzel rolls!

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Pretzels are the source of my powers.

From there I had a team meeting to go over logistics – where to get the buses for the pasta party, what time to meet in the lobby, are there bathrooms on the bus? (Important IBD question). We learned that Team Challenge had over 600 participants for the half marathon! That was nearly 20% of all runners. I could not wait to run in a SEA OF ORANGE!

Between the team meeting and the pasta party we had some time to kill. My teammate Mark asked if we wanted to join him and his lady Shayna for a complimentary wine tasting at Russian River Vineyards. I hesitated – should I really indulge in (free) wine the night before the race?

That indecision lasted for about a half of a second. Onto the winery!

I exercised SOME restraint and only took one or two small sips of each wine before passing the rest to Dan and Mom. I also drank gallons of water to stay hydrated. I forgot to take pictures of the winery and failed to take notes. I remember thinking the Gewurztraminer would be something my sister and bro-in-law would enjoy and discussing the “neutral oak” barrels that aged the lovely Chardonnay.

My mom ended up liking this winery so much, she joined their wine club when she got home! I can’t wait to try some of the bottles she receives.

We had just enough time after the tasting to clean up and change for the pasta party. Each Team Challenge contingent had its own team T-shirts for the pasta party. Bowel puns everywhere!

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Our 8-year-old honoree came up with “Call of Doodie.” Can’t argue with that.

The pasta party was great. They held it outside and the food was available as soon as we sat down. We heard awe-inspiring, gut-wrenching speeches and had some laughs. Our teammate Kennedy was the MC and she was awesome! At one point during all of our honoring of amazing folks, she asked all the participants who are also patients (like me!) to stand up for a round of applause. That was the moment I felt … accomplished? Like, I’m not just running for people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, I’m running IN SPITE OF ulcerative colitis. I’m doing the thing!

When we bused back to the hotel from the pasta party (like at 8:00 PM), it was bed time. We had a 4:15 AM wake up call and needed to hit the hay.  Of course, I was so paranoid about forgetting something that I had to lay out all my gear before “sleeping.”

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Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that night. I probably didn’t fall asleep until about midnight or so. Yikes.

At some point in the night, Team Challenge endurance manager Jenny left a motivational poster on my door!

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Sunday, July 19: RACE DAY!  Lack of sleep be damned, I was a ball of nervous energy at the crack of dawn! Dan and I changed quickly, gobbled up our pretzel bread/almond butter/banana sandwiches (I could only choke down half) and met up with the Team Challenge-rs in the hotel lobby.

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Our hotel was about 45 minutes from the start line. We saw watched the sunrise from the bus.

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While riding to the race, I started to get nervous to the point of panicky. Dan did a good job trying to calm me down, but I was a wreck.

The best part of running with the IBD crowd? While on the bus I got up to use the bathroom and was informed by the person exiting the stall that there was no more toilet paper. No less than three other people on the bus immediately offered up their own personal stash of toilet paper. Love my Crohn-ies!

We got to the starting line with plenty of time to gear check, use the porta potties, and enjoy the view!

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Poor Dan had to manage my nerves and his own concern about finding the bus to the start line of the 5K. I could tell he felt bad leaving me. At least I had Erin, Mark, and a million other orange-singleted teammates.

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We dawdled a little and ended up near the end of the line to start. There were no waved start times or corrals based on speed. It was a bit of a free-for-all, which would matter more if I expected to be fast!

See that teeny, tiny white mark way in the distance? That's the start line.
See that teeny, tiny white mark way in the distance? That’s the start line.

As soon as I started jogging, those paralyzing nerves I felt prior to the race just melted away. I was so happy to be FINALLY running this race!

The biggest hill on the entire course was in the first half-mile. Since the start of the race was so congested, I could barely run up this hill (for better or for worse). It was nice knowing that the course would be primarily downhill after it!

The first couple of miles were a blur. I spent most of the time trying to move up in the crowd without zig-zagging too much. I don’t think I turned my playlist on until about Mile 2 or so.

The course was SO beautiful. You don’t realize how rural wine country is until you’re running through it! As a result, there were not a lot of spectators on the way. The ones that were there were great. I saw a sign that made me laugh out loud so hard that the guy in front of me turned to look. “Worst Parade Ever.”

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Team Challenge set up cheering stations all along the way. I got lots of high fives and Jenny grabbed some funny candids.

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I skipped the first water station and regretted it. It had been overcast at the start of the race but the sun came out to stay after the first couple of miles. I was THIRSTY. I don’t usually drink a lot during long runs but I found myself CRAVING water. At the first couple of water stations, I only grabbed a cup. For each one thereafter, I slowed down, grabbed a cup, drank it, and grabbed a second. I needed every drop.

I remember that at Mile 4, I thought “Oh no, the race is already 1/3 of the way over!” WHO AM I? Some kind of likes-running chick? I also kept looking down at my watch and seeing GREAT paces. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug.

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Then between Mile 6 and 7, my hamstring decided to explode. As you may remember, this has been a recurring problem and caused me to dial back my training runs. I knew that it would hurt during the race. I also knew that I could finish despite it hurting.

Hurt it did. Hurt MORE THAN EVER it did. The pain radiated down behind my knee and into my calf, which was new. I slowed up a little but even when I checked my pace thinking I was going slowly, I was still running between 9 and 10 minute miles. That made me happy.

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Prior to the race, I had forced myself not to set a time goal. I didn’t want to finish my very first ever half marathon and taint such an accomplishment with a shred of disappointment that I didn’t reach some arbitrary time limit. HOWEVER, my brain would not shut up about finishing in less than 2 hours 10 minutes. For some reason I kept fixating on a 2:0x time. Even with my brain barking, I still enjoyed myself along the way, stopping for pictures and making sure I finished my water.

After the mile 8 water and fuel stop (Vanilla Bean Gu FTW), I started having the debate with myself. The same debate I had with every single person I told about the race. I knew at mile 10, there would be wine samples offered on the course.

Wine.

Drink wine while running a half marathon? Half the people thought it was crazy. Half the people thought it was awesome! Can you guess where I landed on this debate?

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Naturally.

The samples were Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer. Even though I was dehydrated and sore, I decided to take the plunge (and mid-race selfie). When will I ever have another opportunity to have wine DURING a race? I drank my little sample and immediately downed two more cups of water.

After the wine stop, I was in the home stretch! Miles 10-12 seemed to take forever. I had definitely slowed down at that point, but was still running faster than 10 minute miles.  I don’t even know how it was possible, especially with hammy trying to ruin EVERYTHING.

After mile 12, I forced myself to go a little faster. A crowd was forming of spectators, finishers, and 5Kers. I scanned the crowd looking for Dan and Mom but didn’t see any of them. I did see the big-ass finish line though!

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As I was approaching the finish, a Team Challenge coach saw me and started running along side me. He was cheering me on and yelling “GO GO GO.” Thank you, Team Challenge Coach whose name I don’t know. You helped me SPRINT across the finish line!

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I didn’t see Mom but she saw me and snapped this pic! As I crossed the line, the announcer called out my name and hometown. Dan told me later that he didn’t see me cross but heard my name.

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As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was handed my medal. It’s a bottle stopper, bottle opener, and corkscrew in one!

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And weighs about 400 lbs.

I limped along to make sure I checked in with my team. My first thought was “WATER.” My second thought was “text Dan and Mom.” As I was reaching for my phone, my Dad texted me from New Hampshire and to congratulate me and tell me the official chip time:

2:08:50

I did it! Less than 2 hours 10 minutes! It didn’t make my hamstring hurt less but it did psych me up for ALL THE WINE NOW PLEASE!

The best part of the race was the wine festival! About 30 wineries set up booths in Sonoma Plaza pouring samples.

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Dan, Mom and I all got souvenir wine glasses.

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I was enjoyed the wine while chugging water and icing my hamstring. For the most part I failed in my usual practice of taking pictures of the wines I enjoyed, but did manage to grab one such shot:

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It was perfect. I only wish the wine festival lasted a little longer so I could try a few more samples (but it’s probably better that I didn’t!).

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Dan, Mom and I hopped on the bus back to the hotel and made plans to do some tasting later that afternoon. After some showers, of course, and a little rest.

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Mom had to leave the next morning, which was sad. The rest of the trip, Dan and I hopped around to wineries, went apeshit at Russian River Brewing Co., had a DELICIOUS meal at The Girl and the Fig, sucked down the best milkshakes EVER at Fremont Diner, and enjoyed the Sonoma Farmer’s Market with Shayna and Mark. We also hopped over to Vegas for a few days! I could NOT walk for the few days after the race but I didn’t let that stop me. Photos below in no particular order. (If you’re wondering, I plan to do a separate post about all the wines we brought home from the vineyards).

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I am so glad I signed up for Team Challenge and chose to run the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon. The race was a wonderful experience and accomplishment. Not only did I finish (in 2:08:50, BOOM), but I raised over $4,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Thank you everyone for your support! I may keep updating this ol’ blog from time to time. There’s still wine to drink!

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Training Week 17 – Training OFFICIALLY OVER!

I am at the airport, finishing this post and looking forward to eating my Cosi sandwich on the plane! I’ve read that you should carbo load TWO days before a race, rather than the night before. Good thing there is a Cosi at the Virgin gate in Logan. Their bread is SO GOOD omg nom nom nom.

Yesterday I ran for the last time for this training session. The next time I run, I’ll have a number pinned to my shirt. It’s surreal!

My hamstring is okay some days and stings others. I’ve found that stretching it right before bed (actually IN bed, using a towel with my leg in the air) seems to help the most. Sometimes foam rolling helps it and sometimes it’s too agonizing. But I know that it will carry me 13.1 miles. It might sting along the way but it can make it.

Emotionally, I’m rotating between total zen and FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Luckily there has been a lot to keep me busy (work, packing, planning all the wineries we want to visit, debating the merits between staying at the Wynn vs. Caesar’s Palace in Vegas) so I haven’t been dwelling on RUNNING 13 MILES too much.

Here’s what my final week of training looked like:

Sunday: Off – I think I went to the gym?

Monday: 3-5 easy miles. I ran 3.66 miles in 36:54.

Tuesday: 3-5 mile tempo. I warmed up with about a half mile, then did 4 miles at tempo (9:01 pace) and a 0.3 mile cool down. 4.89 miles total in 45:44.

By the way, Dan’s parents are taking care of Lucy while we are away, and Dan’s only opportunity to take her down to their house was Tuesday. I have been WITHOUT CAT since Tuesday. I miss this crazy girl!
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Wednesday: off, rest hammy.

Thursday: 3-5 easy miles. I started to overthink this run before I even laced up. “Oh my goodness, last training run, what should I do, where should I go?” (Very Scarlett O’Hara). I had to flee the house before I overthought everything. I guess my feet were drawn to the reservoir, because that’s where I ended up running to on autopilot. I did 4.1 miles in 40:55. It was a gorgeous day. I gave my old New Balance 870 v3s one last spin for posterity. The New Balance 870 v4s are coming with me to California.

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Friday: off.  I took a Flybarre class and went easy on the legs part of it.

Total miles for week 17: 12.65. Whoops, not even a half marathon!  I may have tapered too much, guys.

TOTAL MILES TRAINED: 340.69

Time to board! No turning back now!

Training Week 16

Did anyone notice that I failed to do a Wine Wednesday this week? ::whistles nonchalantly::

This was my penultimate week of training. I’m in this “taper mode” which according to Google results, is the worst thing on the planet. You get bloated and cranky and every little cough and muscle twinge sends you into a doubt spiral. Plus you’re supposed to try to get lots of sleep during this time, and I am a notoriously bad sleeper. Fun times!

Oh, and you’re supposed to eat healthy and cut down on alcohol. Um, about that …

My hamstring is still stinging but it feels a little better this week. I just have to hang on for 8 more days!

Wait seriously? Yikes!

I am typing this after finishing my last “long” run of training. I didn’t have the benefit of a group run because everyone on my team just finished running their half marathon! I’m obsessively checking Facebook for updates and pictures. It looks like the whole team finished! I’m so happy for everyone!

Sunday: off. I’m getting way better at taking off days! It helps to be at the lake and playing cornhole, swimming, and drinking beers. You don’t miss running when you’re singing for your nephew, luring your sister’s puppy into the lake, and eating lobster!

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Owen’s first cornhole game!

Monday: 3-5 easy miles. Just a typical morning loop, babying the hamstring. 3.46 miles in 36:48.

Tuesday (7/7): off. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME!  My birthday present to myself was sleeping in and resting the hammy. I was contemplating going to a barre class, but Dan and I had too many fun activities on the agenda!

First was brunch at one of my FAVORITES: Deep Ellum. They serve brunch every day until 4:00 PM. That is so clutch. Brunch is the best and sometimes I don’t want to wait until Sunday to get it!

Not only does Deep Ellum allow me to satisfy my brunch craving on a random Tuesday, they also have the BEST food and beer. I had a egg and kielbasa breakfast sandwich, a Pretty Things Fringe Pale Ale, and what might be my favorite poutine ever.

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After brunch, we went to the Apple store and picked out my present!

I’m really excited to have my new (SOLID GOLD) iPad – I can Facetime with my family and sing my crazy songs to Owen on the reg! Plus both my laptop and phone are getting old and creaky. Dan has already downloaded the GoPro app for his videos.

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I had originally wanted to go to Assembly Row to go outlet shopping and hit up the Slumbrew beer garden, but by the time we finished at Apple, it was getting late. It was also an incredibly hot, humid day so we hit the pool for a bit.

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For my birthday dinner, Dan made reservations at Alden & Harlow. I also did some research and found a place (Red House) that has an outdoor patio and dollar oysters! Their beer selection was great, but I had to try the Stork Club cocktail made with gin, St. Germain, lemon and Prosecco. They might as well have called that drink “Cindy’s Jam.”

(OH MY GOD. When Dan gets his homebrew empire started, I’m totally brewing a beer called Cindy’s Jam. It will probably be a Belgian IPA, because that shit is my jam. Okay, digression over).

Anyway, go to Red House. The oysters were shucked right in front of our faces and were delicious. I highly recommend this place!

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And of course, Alden & Harlow was amazing. We got the chips and onion dip appetizer, which was awesome. I ordered angel hair and Dan got the chicken fried rabbit. We decided on an Italian wine to go with both, and it worked pretty well!

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Good birthday! Now back to our regularly scheduled training update!

Wednesday: 3-5 mile tempo run. I did 4.17 miles in 40:11 minutes total. Unlike my other tempo runs, I actually did a one mile warm up at a slow speed. I have been reading my Meb for Mortals book and he recommends warming up and cooling down the tempo runs. I don’t know if it helped but I managed to keep the tempo part of the run within my goal (averaged 9:08 minute miles).

Thursday: in the morning, I did a quick full body workout concentrating on core.

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That evening I ran the third (my second) Race Cancer Summer Series 5K! Once again the race was around the reservoir. I ran with Rachel who was still sore from having done 150 squats the day before, yeouch! Even though we took a couple recovery walking breaks, we ran this one faster than the first.

The best part of the Summer Series races is the beer! There’s a different beer sponsor every time and this time it was a personal favorite, Lagunitas! I celebrate their entire catalog. I also love running + beers drinking with my fellow hop-heads, Rachel, Dursin, Keith and Katie.

This is normally where I’d post a group photo but I have no fun photos from the race because I forgot my phone. Whoopsie.

Friday: off/cross-train. I took another Flybarre class (via ClassPass) and it was INSANE. Normally I can get through most of the barre exercises, though sometimes I come out of the posture for a quick recovery. However, there were some elements in this class that I couldn’t even START, let alone finish. We were squeezing a ball between our legs in bridge pose and then had to raise one leg to the ceiling. I swear I couldn’t even get my leg an inch off the ground, it was so hard. I definitely feel it in my glutes today!

Saturday: LAST LONG TRAINING RUN OMG! I didn’t set an alarm and actually slept in to almost 8:30 AM! Who am I? While it’s good for my taper to get lots of sleep, it meant having to start my run a lot later on a very warm day. I didn’t get out the door until 9:40 AM, when the sun was high.

Even though the run was only 6 miles, it was really difficult. I felt little twinges of doubt creep into my brain, but somehow managed to push them away temporarily. I listened to a True Detective podcast which really helped get my mind off of things. My hamstring was stinging but not as bad as it has been, so that’s positive!

I had planned out my route and it was almost exactly 6 miles according to the map, so I knew I was potentially cutting it close. Sure enough, when I reached my door I was not quite at 6.00, so I limped along further down the street and doubled back. I ended up doing a little extra for insurance. I did 6.11 miles in 1:00:57. I was drenched in sweat after this run, and it’s not even a particularly humid day! This is the weather I’m going to be facing in California so it was good practice.

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Sweat. Everywhere.

Those taper doubts are real. As I am typing this, I’m thinking “oh my god, that’s not even half of the race and it was really hard.” SHUT UP BRAIN.

Total miles for week 16 (?!):  16.84. That’s a taper all right!

I’ll probably post next week’s update on Thursday or maybe Friday, while I’m FLYING TO CALIFORNIA!!! Race day is almost here!

Training Week 15

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time to post an update! I want to make sure I capture everything so here is a VERY brief overview of my third-to-last training week!

My hamstring has all but gone on strike. It has been bothering me constantly since the back-to-back 12 miler and 10K. The pain is this stinging sensation that occurs right behind my knee. It seems to subside if I stretch a lot and move around. I’ve taken a few extra rest days as a result. It is driving me crazy!

Sunday: off/cross train. I did a quick home workout. It was a drizzly day and I wasn’t motivated to go to the gym, so I just winged it with some equipment at home.

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Monday: 3-5 easy miles. I did 5.01 miles in 51:59 on Dan’s birthday! I also bought a pair of brand new kicks!

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On the right are my old New Balance 870 v3. On the left is my new New Balance 870 v4! Lucy approves.

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Tuesday: off? I completely forget what I did this day so I will assume I took an off day to rest my hammy.

Wednesday: I did the 3-5 mile tempo run scheduled for Tuesday and ran 4.01 miles in 36:21.

Thursday: 3-5 easy miles. I took a nice, slow early morning jog around the reservoir. 4.11 miles in 45:58.

Friday: I was scheduled to take a Fusion class at BFX Studio. When I arrived, they told me I was the only one signed up for the class! They let me change to the 6:15 AM Burn class instead, which was really challenging!  It was an interval class that featured kettlebells, dumbbells, and bodyweight exercises. I was sweating like a beast!

Saturday: 8 miles at our last group training run! Next Saturday is the Portland race that most of my teammates are running, so I’ll be on my own with my 6 mile taper run. After 15 weeks of running with my teammates, I’m not going to know what to do with myself!

The Portland runners had 6 miles on the agenda and I was the only one who had to run 8. We ran in South Boston along Carson Beach again, and I did two loops instead of one to get in the extra mileage. Coach Lori filled me in on her recent trip to Napa and gave me some excellent tips for my upcoming trip. When we separated so she could find other teammates, I managed to get lost running in a circle, as only I can do. Luckily she found me!

Southie

After the run, Dan and I drove up to the lake and visited with my parents, grandparents, sister, bro-in-law, and baby Owen! It was kind of a rainy 4th but we managed to squeeze in lots of cornhole!

Total miles for Week 15: 21.55 – between beginning to taper and adding more rest for my hammy, I did fewer miles than last week’s 25.32.

Next week, get psyched for tapering!

Training Week 12

I am late getting this training update out, but I have a great excuse. I spent most of my time this weekend hanging with my sister, brother-in-law, and new nephew!
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Normally I write my training recap after my Saturday group training run, after gorging on eggs, stretching, and petting the cat. But this past Saturday I missed the group run and just ran the prescribed mileage myself to save some time (since my sister lives about 2 hours away). I then gorged on eggs, rushed to get ready, and hit the road heading up to Maine!

Anyway, the highlight of Week 12 was Sunday:

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Sunday: the Cambridge 5K Freedom Run! This race is put on by the same folks who do the Craicfest. It was such a great time! And speaking of great times:
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New personal record!

I told myself going into the 5K, “You ran 10 miles for the first time in your life less than 24 hours ago. Be nice to yourself. Run this for fun. Don’t try to go fast.”

Whoops.

Normally I start a race near the back and have fun passing people along the way. This time I started in the middle and as a result, SO MANY people passed me. But I didn’t care because anytime I glanced down at my watch, I saw a great pace. I told myself I could always slow down if I wanted to, but I never wanted to!

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We had perfect weather for the race and especially for the after party! We celebrated with lots of craft beer and hotdogs!

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Monday: REST DAY like crazy. Between Saturday (10 miles) and Sunday (3.1 miles), I actually ran a half marathon!

Tuesday: 4.3 miles in 43:30 on a slightly hilly route. While stretching I sipped on a new favorite recovery drink: 4 oz. cold brew coffee, 6 oz. milk, and a scoop of vanilla protein powder. So good!

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That afternoon Dan and I hit up the CorePower/Beantown Bootcamp class on the Greenway. The rain cut the class short slightly but we definitely got a good workout. For FREE. With swag. Basically they paid us to exercise.image

Wednesday: off/cross train. I finally made it back to November Project! It had been almost two months since I last ran the stadium stairs. I got there at 5:30 AM and made a plan to leave by 6:10 AM so I could get to work in Tewksbury on time. I managed to finish 27 sections! The next day my calves hated me.

Thursday: 6 x 1 mile repeats with 3:00 rests. This was the workout that made me cry! I decided to do it completely differently from last time so as not to dredge up those negative feelings. I went to the Charles and decided to run 3 repeats out and 3 repeats back. I ignored my watch and just ran whatever pace felt good but challenging, then walked for 3:00 in between each repeat. I ended up covering 6.84 miles in 1:11:09.

Honestly, I didn’t really like this workout. I think I would rather just do a 6 mile tempo run than run/walk/run/walk. I definitely like other types of speedwork better (200s!).

Also, I have a lot of complaints about the Polar M400 that I won’t bore you with here. I’m really disappointed in it, but I guess I can’t be mad about how much I ended up paying for it.

Friday: 3.06 easy miles in 32:00 exactly. My legs were so tired from this week, so I really needed just a short little distance.

Saturday: 8.33 miles in 1:25:56 (10:18 average pace). This was my first long run alone! I loaded up a bunch of podcasts on my shuffle and geared up. I found my Spibelt, thank goodness! Here is all my gear for my 8 miler, except for my phone (which is taking the picture, duh) and my mosquito bracelet that I forgot to take off for the picture:

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I had the T pass and $20 for potential emergencies. I carried a small bottle of water with me because it was HUMID CITY. I also experimented with a caffeinated Gu to see if it would give me a boost. It did not.

I started running just at 7:00 AM. My plan was to run to my usual starting spot along the Charles, run to the Mass. Ave bridge, and loop back through Back Bay/Kenmore and past Boston University.  Rain seemed imminent, but it held off. The sun actually peaked out a few times, so I kicked myself for not putting on sunblock. As for the run, I didn’t bother checking my pace at all. I just jogged along, listened to whacked out Game of Thrones theories, and took in the beautiful views.

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At about the 6.25 mile mark (right near BU) I started feeling cranky, but I managed to hang on until the end. I think this was a great workout mentally, because I was alone and didn’t have teammates to rely upon for distraction and support.

Total miles for Week 12: 24.79 (I only counted the 6 running miles from Thursday).

Training Week 11

AKA Donut WEEK.  Amateurs celebrate donuts with a mere DAY.

AKA this is the week I hit double digits, baby!

Sunday: off day. Dan had the morning off and we decided to take a road trip to Saugus for Kane’s Donuts. If you ever have an opportunity, GO TO THERE. They have millions of varieties and every donut was ginormous and delicious. Normally when we go to fancy pants donut shops, Dan and I pick out 3 or 4 to split. We had to get a half dozen at Kane’s. There were too many delicious options!

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Clockwise from top right: Caramel Apple, Maple Bacon, PB&J, Creme Brulee, Red Velvet, and good old Chocolate Frosted

Later that day, fueled by sugar and fat, I did this workout at the gym:image

Monday: 8 x 400m at 5K pace with 2:00 rests (this is how the workout is written on the training plan. My teammate Leslie thought I was crazy and hardcore for using the fancy running terminology but really I’m just parroting the experts!)

We had a monsoon early this week so I took to the treadmill.  Unlike 200s, 400s are easy to figure out on a treadmill that only does imperial units. 400 = 0.25 miles. Bam. I ended up running a quarter mile at a jogging pace (6 mph) and a quarter mile at a faster pace (7.5 mph). I crept up to 8.0-8.5 mph pace for the last two intervals because I had a little left in the tank. Also because someone got on the treadmill right beside me, so I had to go faster. It’s a rule where I come from.

I did not fall off the treadmill (this time).

That bitch face, though.

Monday’s total was 4 miles in 35:45.

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I have not mastered the art of the treadmill shot.

Tuesday: 3-5 mile easy run. It was STILL raining but there was no way I was hitting the dreadmill again. I ran easy and SLOW and covered 4.72 miles in 50:35. Luckily the rain was VERY light and my new visor protected my face well.

Can we talk about how ridiculous it is that on June 2, 2015, I was wearing WOOL SOCKS to go running? Step up, summer.

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Wednesday: Easy 3-5 miles. I woke up at 5:00 AM to exchange this run for a November Project stadium workout, but remember how I didn’t make it? It was because my car was broken into sometime before Wednesday morning!

The passenger side door was ajar (I must have forgotten to lock it) and there were items littered all over the driver’s seat. I freaked out and roused Dan from sleep, poor guy. Our tired brains were able to figure out that NOTHING was taken, not even my sunglasses or an Altoids tin full of change. Thank goodness. I was still freaked out though and by the time we sorted through everything, it was too late to go to NP. But it was still early and I needed to blow off some steam (and it was National Running Day), so I ended up doing an easy run anyway. I covered 4.11 miles in 41:40.

Thursday – I signed up for another Beantown Bootcamp class (via ClassPass) per coach Lori’s recommendation. This one was an Outdoor Ample Running Bootcamp and it was HARDCORE.  We ran to different locations and stopped to do different bootcamp style workouts – high knees, squats, lunges, etc. We did hill repeats in different locations and then ran to the Common for “Indian sprints” and more drills – bear crawls, pushups, etc.

The hardest part was a series consisting of an uphill sprint, 5 burpees, and a slow jog downhill. “Rockstars” repeated this 5 times and I managed to eke out 4 sets. You know, before running to a different location to run stairs, then run and do wall sits and other torture!  This was exhausting, but it was almost fun to do different things and not know what was coming next.

I’m not sure how much mileage we covered, because I didn’t have my watch on a setting that used GPS (I will next time!). But Mr. Polar Bear told me that I burned 574 calories in 55 minutes, yowza! Afterwards, coach Lori mentioned that the trainer said I did a good job! Phew!

Friday: off! It was National Donut Day.  Because I hadn’t gorged myself ENOUGH on donuts earlier in the week, I had to partake in a free donut from Dunks.

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I took a Relax and Restore yoga class (at CSC via ClassPass). This was basically nap time with some stretches. I barely moved throughout the class and I think Polar Bear thought I was dead. In the future I won’t wear my heart rate monitor to a yoga class, because it totally affected my deep breathing.

Saturday: Group 10 mile run! I was so excited for this one for two reasons: 1) it would be my first run in double-digit mileage and 2) it was taking place in my backyard! We met at the Artesani Park parking lot, where I have started a lot of my runs. Before we got hot and sweaty, we tried on some of our racing singlets to ensure we order the right size.image

After our warm up we headed out! I really like running and chatting with my teammates along the way because it makes the time fly by! We were running at a comfortable pace and conditions were just PERFECT: great weather, flat course, lovely scenery. I wish I had my phone on me for pictures, but I could not find my SPIbelt that morning! How did I lose it a week after I bought it?!

Hey, I wonder if I left it in my car and the thief took it!

Anyway, at the last two miles of the run, I was feeling great. I pretended that I was on the last two miles of a typical run which definitely helped propel me to finish. When I got to the parking lot I looked down at my watch and saw 9.92 miles. You know I had to keep going to see that 10!

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10.08 miles in 1:41:59. I felt amazing after this. I was in SUCH a good mood. The runner’s high is real!

I was buzzing for quite awhile so I hung out after and chatted beer with the coaches. Coach Marc keeps a spreadsheet of EVERY beer he has tried. It is REMARKABLE. Here is a snippet featuring a household favorite:

BeerMy coaches are my heroes in so many different ways. 🙂

Total miles for Week 11: 22.91 + whatever miles we covered at Beantown Bootcamp (probably at least 2-3).  The prior week was 25.69 so I’m probably right around that.