Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A little of this, a little of that

Yahoo, it’s taper time! Here’s a quickie summary of my workouts since my last post:

Friday, 10/21 – Swim
Just a quick 1,200 yd swim. At this point, nothing I do on Friday is going to help my swim on Sunday, but I did want to get in the pool one more time anyway.

Saturday, 10/22 – Run, 10 miles
Okay, so I only had 8 on the schedule for Saturday, but because I missed last week’s 14-miler, I felt the need for one more double digit run. I ran 2 miles before meeting up with WF for their 8 miler. We took this one at an easy pace (10:58) and just decided to enjoy the lower mileage.

Sunday, 10/23 – Oktoberfest Tri (relay – swim leg) & Ab Ripper X
As I mentioned a few days ago, I decided to do the swim leg of a triathlon relay – not because I love to swim or because I rock the swim, but because I suck at the swim and need the practice. Once again, this was a humbling experience. I decided at the last minute to wear my wetsuit, since I didn’t have to worry about my transition time (in a relay, you only have to exit the water, run to transition and pass the timing chip to the person biking). I’ll do a race report later, but let me just day that I did not have the experience that I had at Bridgeland! I also managed to fit in Ab Ripper X later in the day. It felt great to work the core again!

Monday, 10/25 – Run, 3 miles 2 miles
I don’t know what was wrong with me on Monday, but I felt tired and run down. Even my muscles were sore – legs, abs, even my arms and I had a sore throat. Maybe just a case of the Mondays? Or maybe I was feeling run down…since I’ve had the back and neck issues, I have had a hard time getting comfy at night and I am not sleeping as well as usual. I dunno, but I cut the run short and took an Emergen-C, just in case.

Tuesday, 10/25 – Rest
Well, except for Ab Ripper X. :-)

In other news...
Last week was a bit wilder than usual – and I am not just talking about losing our family pet and the ongoing visits to the chiropractor. I don’t usually blog about work, but this news was pretty huge and took us all by surprise - the company I work for announced last week that it was being sold. And, the portion of the company that I work for is going to be sold to a 3rd party so that the buyer can pay off debt from purchasing the company. So, the future is uncertain and things will be interesting to say the least!

On another note, this is my 3rd week of my attempt at getting back to clean(er) eating and things are going great! I am really working on eating less sugar and processed foods, and I am actually down 7 lbs! I will blog more about that later….

Less than 2 weeks until NYC!!! My sister-in-law and I are nailing down our agenda for the trip…if we left it up to the guys, we might end up sitting in our apartment watching TV the entire time we’re there. Or, in a bar watching sports. :-) More on what’s in the works coming soon!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oh The Places You'll Go....

One of my favorite Dr. Suess Books out there. I often give it as a graduation present (along with $$$, of course)...

I love to travel! And while I'd love to see some exciting, exotic places, my job only requires me to go to the occasional college campus. So, here's where I've been over the past month...

Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX
Lubbock isn't exactly the most exciting place, but the Tech campus is pretty. I did manage to get in a good 5-miler around the campus and there is an excellent steakhouse on the outskirts of town.

Texas A&M
College Station, TX

Well, this is my alma matter, so I am a bit partial to this campus. WHOOP! I'll admit, there isn't much to do in College Station either, but I thoroughly enjoyed my 6-miler around the campus! The Spirit of Aggieland is alive and well - while running through campus, I passed many groups from the Corps of Cadets who gave me an enthusiastic "Howdy" as our paths crossed. I also enjoyed seeing how much the campus has changed since my days there, but was happy to see some of my favorite places were still there!

(not to be confused with CO school of Mimes)
Golden, CO

Okay, I have to admit - I LOVE Colorado! I want to move there. Really, I do. I had been to Denver multiple times for work, but had never been to Golden. It's a quaint, cute town with awesome mountain views everywhere. My hotel overlooked Clear Creek, which was just gorgeous. The college is excellent if you want a technical degree, but don't want to attend a huge school like A&M or t.u. I would be willing to go to campus recruiting events here anytime. And, I had a great 4-miler, but the hills and altitude were killer! We also went to dinner at a great steakhouse (owned by Landry's, go figure) with an amazing view of Denver!

I wish I could say the views from my last week at home were this pretty. However, my views have been mostly of the inside of a chiropractor's office and of this:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This week so far...

First of all, I just want to say thanks for all the kind words regarding our loss of Jake. I appreciate it!

Here's what's been going on in my world this week:

Monday, 10/17 – 6 miles & a swim
Still warm and muggy, but not as bad as summer, so no complaints from me. This is my 1st run since last Monday, thanks to the neck/shoulder issues. I was really determined to run my scheduled 14 on Saturday, but was persuaded to follow doctor’s orders and not run until Monday. I’d rather miss a long run to recover from this mess, than make it worse and be out another week. Technically, I think the doctor wanted me to wait until after my appointment to run. Details, details. It was much cooler in the morning, so that’s when I headed out for my run. Sorry, doc! I managed to get in 6 miles (10:30 pace), because I was taking a vacation day – yay me!

Also, for some unknown reason, I signed up to do the swim portion of a tri relay on Saturday. (STUPID!) Because of this, I thought it might be a good idea to get back in the pool (DUH!). I had every intention of getting into the pool last week, but the neck/shoulder thing prevented me from this (because it does help to be able to move your arms and head while swimming). Actually, I know why I volunteered for this…it’s because I hate the swim. And, because a certain coach once told me that the only way to overcome my swim issues is to get back out there and race. So, I didn’t want to risk falling off my bike or tweaking an ankle during a 5k race, so I decided to follow the coach’s advice and get more experience racing the swim via this relay. Lord help me!

Tuesday, 10/18 – rest day
“Rest from what?”, you might be asking. I was asking myself the same thing after not running for an entire week. But, I knew I’d rather run on Wednesday and Thursday when the weather was supposed to be much cooler, so Tuesday was my rest day.

Wednesday, 10/19 – 5 miles and swim
Okay, so Wednesday is normally my mid-week-short-long-run day. That was true until 4 weeks ago when I began traveling for work. Then last week, well, it was the freaking neck/shoulder thing. So this has been where I’ve cut my mileage during the week– I usually run 5-6 in the morning and then 2-4 (depending on the schedule) in the evening. I know this is not ideal, but seriously people, who has time to do 7 – 10 miles midweek and work and have quality time with their family? Once again, for the 5th week in a row, I ended up only doing the morning portion of my runs do to other priorities...I have this pesky swim coming up and for that I needed some more practice. My morning run was done at a 10:15 pace, my after work swim – 1200 yds

Thursday, 10/20 – 3 miles
Okay, okay this was supposed to be 4 miles, but the darn snooze button got the best of me! And, since I had overslept, I had to haul booty – 9:32 pace thankyouverymuch cool weather!

I am a bit bummed that, due to the shoulder/neck issues, I have not been able to do my usual strength training. No P90X (i.e. push ups, chin ups, weights, abs, etc.). I am hoping that at the very least, I will be back to at least doing Ab Ripper X between now and the marathon.

Now I need to decide what to do this weekend. I feel guilty about missing my 14-miler on Saturday, but I think I will stick to my planned 10 this week and 8 next week. Only 16 days 'til NYC!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RIP Jakey Boy


1997 - 2011

A year ago, we had a scare - the Hubby came home from work to find Jake barely able to greet him. Jake had vomited several times and was trying his best to make it to the front door, but had to lean on the wall for support. After taking him to a vet (who I would not recommend), we knew nothing - it could be early kidney failure, it could be cancer, it could even be doggie vertigo. The vet's reasoning - why test Jake for anything? He was 13 years old after all.

Fortunately, he improved. However, it was a wake-up call to us that our precious family member was growing old and would not be with us forever. Of course we knew this, but it was not something we wanted to think about. Jake was never quite the same after that episode, he still followed us around the house and chased the kids around the yard. He still greeted us at the door every evening (when he heard us, that is). But it was obvious that he did have some mobility issues. Over the past two months, he stopped going up and down the stairs. I know this was a tough decision for Jake, because he loved to be where we were. But, going down the stairs was not an easy task anymore.

This weekend was a tough one. It sucked. On Saturday evening, it was obvious that something was terribly wrong with our Jakey boy. We went outside to watch the kids play and act like heathens. Jake was outside laying in the yard and was unable to get up. His breathing was shallow. We debated about taking him to the emergency vet clinic near our house, but the Hubby thought we should wait and see. Jake passed away in the night.

Jake was a wonderful pet. He was more than a pet to us - he was often referred to (and treated as) our first child. A month after the Hubby and I were married, we found him at the SPCA. For me, it was love at first sight - I knew immediately that he was the right puppy for us! The Hubby will deny it and tell you that he was the one who chose Jake, but it was really me.

Jake made me feel safe all the years the Hubby worked nights (and we were living in a sketchy neighborhood). The Hubby and I often commented on how lucky we were to have such a great, easygoing dog - he was easy to potty train, he never dug up the yard, never barked too much or jumped on guests. He did go through a chewing phase, but it was short. He was my walking, then running companion for years. When the Kiddo came along, he adapted remarkably well...even thought we made him stop sitting on the furniture and stop sleeping in our bed. He adapted well to the Munchkin, even though he was now outnumbered. Even in recent months, he'd act like a spry pup and chase the kids around the backyard.

I recently read the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, about a dog who learned through watching National Geographic that in Mongolia dogs are believed to be reincarnated as men. In the book, the dog could comprehend what his owner was telling him. I figured if there was any truth to that, I wanted Jake to know exactly how special he was to us. While Jake laid there in the yard, I told him how lucky we were to have him and thanked him for being such an awesome dog. And then I told him that he could go if he was ready and that we'd see him again one day. According to the book Heaven is for Real, there are indeed dogs in heaven. I don't know if this is really true, but I'd like to be naive and think that it is.

And while we'd eventually like to get another dog, it might be awhile. Jake will be a tough act to follow.

Thank you Jake for 14 awesome years. You will not be forgotten.

Friday, October 14, 2011


definition - Something, such as a situation or condition, that prevents further progress toward an accomplishment.
Yep, this training season has been quite interesting. Lots of roadblocks this year. Let me recap for you:

  • Mid-May - I broke my toe, causing me to postpone marathon training for 6 weeks and miss two triathlons on my race schedule.

  • Mid-June - Found out I had strep throat...caused me to miss a few workouts - even with the broken toe, I was doing strength training (i.e. P90X), riding my bike and swimming. But, I should have rested longer, because a month later....
  • Mid-July - Just when I get to start running again, I manage to get Strep once again. And until June of this year, I had never had strep. Ever. This time, just to make sure I was 100% better, I took a week off from workouts of any kind.

This brings me to this week....
  • Mid October - Things had been going extremely well with my training for the past couple of months. However, remember that crazy "crick" in my neck before the 18-miler? It came back on Monday with a vengeance!

This is so odd, because it's the 3rd time this has happened since late August. I woke up feeling a little stiff in the neck, but nothing too terrible. I got dressed and headed out for an easy, peasy 3-miler. I came home and started getting ready for work and there I was, in the shower, when the pain hit. The same muscle cramping in my shoulders as before, but this time it was much worse.

I continued to get dressed, got the kiddos dressed and dropped them off at school. I rode the bus into downtown to work (big mistake!) and by the time I made it up to my office (lugging my laptop), I was in terrible pain. So much so, that I was on the verge of tears. I could not lift my arms to answer my phone or type on my keyboard. I needed to leave to go to the doctor, but because I rode the bus, I was stranded. My bus stops running after a certain point in the morning and doesn't run again until the afternoon. I finally got brave enough to pick up the phone (which hurt like hell) and call my doctor. He could fit me in that day, so then I had to ask my Dad to pick me up. Thank God for retired parents who live nearby!

Anyway, I went to my general practitioner who basically told me that I must have slept wrong and to take Advil. Gee, thanks (there goes $65 I will never get back into my HSA)! I did what he said and I felt better the next day, so I went to work. Unfortunately, I think I may have overdone it by working 12 hours, because on Wednesday my neck and shoulders hurt even more. Soooo, I asked some of my running peeps for a referral and that led me to my very 1st visit with a chiropractor.

I will refer to this doctor as DR. AWESOME. I didn't feel this way immediately after my 1st visit, because to be honest he didn't have any miracle cure. And, he did not prescribe any medication to mask the pain - which at that time I really wanted - pain killers and muscle relaxers - I guess wine would have to do. But, what he did do is take a x-ray, followed by some adjusting in my back and neck, electronic stimulation of my muscles, and some painful deep tissue massage.

There were no immediate results. Yes people, I expect miracles in this day in age!!! But, that evening, I noticed a difference! I really did!

I noticed a better range of motion with my head and arms. There was still quite a bit of pain, but it wasn't quite a severe as earlier that day. The next day I went back again and had more good results - last night I could lay down without almost crying and this morning I could actually reach up and turn off my alarm clock without crying out in pain! Thank you DR. AWESOME! While I'm not 100% better, the improvement is awesome! I am going back on Monday, which will hopefully be my last visit to DR. AWESOME.

The problem - I am not supposed to run until Monday for a few days. DR. AWESOME is worried that I might tense up my shoulders during the run, which might aggravate the area. I am pretty determined to run the 14 miles on my schedule for Saturday, but I may not. The problem is that I really don't have time to run that kind of mileage after my check-up on Monday. I'll let you know what I decide...

In the meantime, I am more than a little bummed. My training has not been where it needs to be for the past 3 weeks due to travel for work. While I have been running on the days I'm supposed to, I haven't been running the mileage I should be running - kinda hard to do when you're working 8 am - 5 pm, then taking college students to dinner until 8 or 9 pm, then going back to a hotel room to catch up on e-mails in the evening. Not that I don't enjoy it, but it does kinda make training difficult. I had vowed to get right on track for these final 4 weeks of training and then the stupid shoulder/neck/back thing had to happen. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!

So, I will end on these two quotes and will try to remember them when I encounter any future roadblocks:

If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. ~Michael Jordan

For every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. ~Mary Kay Ash

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Long Run Update

Well, I survived my 18 and 20 miler. Both were runs that I wasn’t sure would even happen…why, you ask? Allow me to explain….

I woke up the morning of my 18-miler feeling good. I went to the kitchen to put my pop tarts in the toaster and made a pit-stop in the bathroom. TMI, I know, but as I was sitting there I started to notice what my Grandma would call a “crick” in my neck. Then, a few seconds later, the muscles in my shoulders began to tighten and the pain I felt was excruciating. Seriously, I wasn’t sure if I could get up. After a minute or two, the tightening began to subside, but my neck and shoulders were still sore. I could barely get dressed and turning my head from side to side was near impossible. But, being the busy runner mom that I am, I went ahead and met up with some friends for a 6 mile “pre-run” before meeting with Woodlands Fit for 12 more miles. I knew if I didn’t fit the run in then, I might never find another time. Somehow, someway, I made it through all 18-miles without any back or neck pain. In fact, after making it home, I told the Hubby that the run almost seemed too easy. I felt great!!! (Well, other than the neck issues.)

My 20-miler was actually supposed to be 2 weeks after the 18-miler, followed by a 12 miler and then followed by a 22-miler. But, I have some running peeps who decided to delay their 20-miler by one week and run 10 miles before running the local “10 for Texas” 10-mile race. The idea was that running the last 10 miles with the crowds, the cheering and water stops would be more fun than running 20-miles on our own. The thought of changing up my training schedule made me nervous…I really wanted a 2nd 20+mile run. If nothing else, having two 20-milers would be a good confidence builder. But, I decided to run with my friends.

Wouldn’t you know it, on the date of my originally planned 20-miler, we had amazing 58-degree temps and zero humidity. However, on the date of the 10 for Texas, the temps were in the 70s and humid as heck! Figures.

The reason this run almost didn’t happen? Tummy issues. (TMI again) Seriously, I spent more time in the bathroom before the run than I did getting dressed. I debated taking Imodium, but decided against it since I’ve never used it before a run before. Fortunately, by the time I made it to our designated meeting place and made one more stop in the Market Street bathroom, I felt better. Not 100%, but better. The 1st 10-miles felt pretty good. My stomach felt off, but it didn’t get any worse with my Bee Stingers or Gatorade. Then, we had just enough time to freshen up a bit – change shirts, cool off with icy cold wash cloths, etc. – before we headed to the start of the 10 for Texas.

The race went well, although I was definitely not racing. I have PRed two years in a row, so that did make it a little hard to not want to go faster…not that I could at that point! I’ll admit, the warm temps really got to me and at mile 16 or 16.5-ish, I really started to feel it. Instead of walking for a minute at each mile, I began to take a quick walk break every ½ mile. I did this until a little after mile 18, when I got my 2nd wind and could run more. I even charged up the bridge at mile 19. Honestly, I think I was just happy to be almost done! I finished at a pace of 11:24…not fast by any means, but actually 1 second faster than my goal pace. Given the conditions that morning, I will take it! And, the best part is that my legs felt great afterwards! I know I could have run another 6.2, but of course I didn’t want to. J

So compared to the training for my last marathon 5 years ago, I feel stronger both physically and mentally. The me 5 years ago would have been a pansy and walked the bridge at the end of the race or beaten myself up about those few extra walk breaks. This year, I feel like my recovery is faster as well. It’s a great feeling!