Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Determination or Stubbornness?

Sometimes I wonder how much my determination helps me, and how much it hurts me. I know I have probably pushed myself further than I should, and ignored things my body was trying to tell me. I don't know if I am just in denial, or if I know what I should do but I don't do it.

My marathon training has been plagued with issues. But I am still able to run, for the most part, so I keep going. Due to my ankle I have been forced to incorporate walk breaks into even my shortest runs. I hate to walk, but I know it increases my chances of being able to keep running.

I am now 6 1/2 weeks out from my marathon. I feel like I have 2 choices: a) I can push through, train conservatively, and run the race; or b) I can scrap my training, let my body heal completely, and start over in a few months. Of course I want to choose option a. Not only have I been training for 3 months, but I have wanted to do a marathon for over a year. I would hate to postpone it even longer.

For now I am taking it literally one run at a time. If I get to the point where I can't run due to pain or injury, of course I will stop. But I don't want to quit unless I absolutely have to. If I can make it through the marathon, I will definitely take a break after that. But I am so close at this point, it would break my heart to walk away from it.

Also, I would really miss eating this

and these

Just being honest!

So, I will continue to take it one day at a time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Forced Rest Days

I hate taking rest days in general. I always feel so antsy and like I should be doing something active. I usually take one rest day each week, on Monday. Sometimes though you have to take more rest days than planned. Maybe you are busy, had an unexpected obligation, bad weather out, etc. But the worst reason to take a forced rest day is injury.

Queue my swollen ankle, which has been painful and stiff since I stopped the treadmill after my 15 mile run on Sunday. I tried to brush it off as general soreness from running for 3 hours. I was so excited about my great run that I refused to believe I had hurt myself in the process.

Then this morning I woke up and swung my feet over the side of the bed. My right ankle was mysteriously puffy under the ankle bone. I think icing and resting has decreased the pain and swelling some, but that could just be wishful thinking.

Of course I spent the better part of the day googling "sprained ankle," "broken ankle," and "swollen ankle after running" to see if I could diagnose myself. My best guess at this point is a sprain. I just got the green light from my sports medicine doc after my hamstring follow-up, I have too much pride to go back for a new injury this soon.

So, I will wait it out. Pray the pain and swelling goes away and I am back to running soon. I hope my ankle understands that I have a marathon in 7 1/2 weeks and this is pretty bad timing.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

11 Miles, McD's, and a Protein Bar Cake

I was nervous for today's 10 miler after last week's horrible 13 miler. I tried to do everything I could to prevent bonking again. I slept in late to make sure I got enough sleep, and ate a Power Bar performance energy bar about an hour before starting. Last week I had to wake up early and only ate a banana before hand, which I think was at least part of the problem.

Fortunately, my run went great! I ended up running 11 miles. My training plan gives you a range for long runs, and I have been doing the lowest number to prevent any hamstring flare-ups. My leg has been feeling great lately though, so I went for a little more this week.

After my run I was craving something salty. Particularly, french fries. I rarely eat fast food, but I could not get the idea of a McD's grilled chicken sandwich and fries out of my head. So, I finally gave in. I have not eaten at a McD's since we lived in Virginia, probably a year and half ago or more. But sometimes you just have to give in to your body! And it was salty and delicious. But definitely not an every day thing.

My hubby's birthday is on Thursday but he is working swing shift this week. So, I am giving him his birthday card today. He is not a big cake person, so this is what I gave him in lieu of a cake:

A "cake" made of protein bars!
He loves Clif Builder Bars and Pure Protein bars, but usually forgoes them since they can be more pricey than other brands. Next weekend we are going to celebrate his birthday properly with a 15 mile run, homemade pizza, and a giant chocolate chip cookie. Perfect day in my opinion :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Running for Sherry

I couldn't run today, so I ran last night. 4 miles. I thought about Sherry and her family, and I thought about all the times I had gone running at 6am alone. Never giving it a second thought. Never expecting anything bad to happen. But I'm sure Sherry didn't expect anything to happen either. I prayed that I would never take for granted that I can run. That each day I wake up, is another day I am alive.

Today is also the 5-year anniversary of the death of a good friend. She died suddenly from complications due to Type 1 Diabetes. She was 22. I can still hear my best friend on the phone. Stacey's dead. I think that was the day I officially grew up and realized how precious life is. When Stacey died I promised that I would live life to the fullest, in honor of her. That I wouldn't take life for granted. I have not lived up to that promise. I hope I can do better, for Stacey. For Sherry. And for myself.

Stacey and I at our college graduation, 8 months before she died.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bad Run/Good Run

On Sunday I had an awful 13 mile run. Probably my toughest run in a very long time. I think I was having an off day, I also felt sick to my stomach afterwards which never happens. I tried to brush it off as a fluke thing.

Then today I had a 4 mile run and it was fantastic. I have been keeping the pace slow since I pulled my hamstring, but I am finally starting to speed up and it felt great. I didn't have any aches or pains at all, and my energy level was really good.

So what made me have such a bad run 3 days ago? Long runs are usually my favorite because I can stay slow and steady. But I was struggling so much I was almost in tears. My food, sleep, exercise, etc. leading up to both runs was the same.

I guess I will never know why some days I just don't have it. Luckily those days are few and far between lately.

How do you shake off a bad run?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Plus Side of Winter...

Is that it's cold enough to wear long pants every day so no one has to see that my leg looks like this:

Compliments of my most recent PT/ASTYM session.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Anyone who has struggled with weight knows the emotional and mental toll it can take. It becomes the one thing you focus on, and base your self-worth on. I try not to write too much about my weight or weight loss on my blog because I don't like to focus on it anymore than I already do. I have dealt with weight issues off and on for about 15 years. For most of 2011 I struggled with trying to get past a certain weight. I had weighed 10 lbs less the year before so I was extremely frustrated that I couldn't get back there.

I tried everything; I got a Body Bugg, I did daily doubles, I started strength training, I counted calories, I weighed and measured everything I ate, etc. It got to the point where I wouldn't even weigh myself because I knew what it would say and it would make me feel bad about myself. Despite all of the good things in my life, and all of the great things I am accomplishing, one stupid number would ruin my day.

At the end of the year I started thinking about what I could be doing wrong. In recent years I had success in losing a good amount of weight twice (35 lbs in 9 months in 2008, 25 lbs in 5 months in 2010). So what was different this time?

I realized I was sabotaging myself. The last two times I had lost weight, I was very dedicated and disciplined. I new what my goal was and what it would take to get there. This time, I was giving in to temptations whenever they came up, thinking I'll work it off later. I would have 3-4 good days, and then I would cheat in a big way. So I would spend the next 3-4 days burning off those calories, and then I would do it again. It was a hard cycle to break.

I decided I would give myself 30 days to change my life. Kind of cheesy, I know. But struggling with this issue took up so much of my year, I didn't want it to happen in 2012. I made guidelines I would have to follow strictly (I do well with rules). No cheating, no excuses, no exceptions. The thought of only having to do it for 30 days made it seem easier than having to do it forever. I secretly hoped the changes would stick past 30 days, but at the time I just told myself, get through these 30 days and take it from there.

So for 30 days I did everything I had promised myself I would. The changes in the way I felt and looked were so immediate and drastic, I knew I wouldn't be able to go back to how I was. I have never had such dramatic results on any other diet or exercise plan.

On January 3rd I took my weight and measurements, and would not let myself weigh again until my month was over. Today, February 4th, I weigh exactly 13 lbs less. I lost 1.75" in my waist, 1.25" in my thigh, 1.25" in my upper arm, and .75" in my chest. My weight has not been this low since Halloween 2010. I can't even believe all it took was one month to get back here. After a whole year of futility.

I am angry that I sabotaged myself for so long. But I am happy that I finally realized it and found a way to deal with it. I owe it to myself to eat well and train well and treat my body well, and not give in to things that will just make me feel guilty or bad about myself later. Everyone deserves that!