Saturday, June 30, 2012

I'm back!

I have essentially taken a 4 month break. Not intentionally, it just happened. After my half marathon in February, I had a few small races: a few 5Ks and a marathon relay, but I wasn’t into it anymore. Lack of race reports probably shows that. I also joined Foodie Pen Pals and slacked off in that department too. I owe 2 blogs about packages I’ve received and I also need to try to remember those race reports and re-create them. Just because. It’ll happen one day. Hopefully soon. I need to get back into this.

Last year I was gung ho about everything and was borderline obsessed. I think the disappointment of not completing the half marathon took a lot of the wind out of my sails and I slowly began to put my energy and focus into other things in my life. I pretty much cut training and exercise out of my life. I did a few things here and there, but it was completely half assed and if I missed a day or two or three or a week, I didn’t care.

Last year on dailymile my June’s total mileage for everything I had done was 89 miles. This year, my total mileage for June was 12 miles. That includes today’s 9.6 mile bike ride.

I have a 5K color race in 2 weeks, a duathlon in 4 weeks and a triathlon (yes, I am doing it again...) in 10 weeks.  This time last year, I had 6 months of training under my belt, I had already finished my triathlon training and I was just trying to maintain my level of fitness until the triathlon, and maybe push myself to go faster and harder. This year, I feel like I’m starting from scratch.

Before today’s bike ride, I hadn’t worked out at all. Nothing but a 2 mile walk around a lake over a 6 week period of time.

A week ago, I created a training plan. It was a 12 week triathlon plan, and I figured I’d start in week 2 because I only had 11 weeks to go.  I created it, put it in my calendar and then didn’t do it. An entire week went by and I didn’t do it. My excuse? I was busy. Life got in the way and I didn’t make it a priority. I wanted to do it, but I didn’t want to do it.

Instead of following that plan I put in my calendar and promised myself I’d do, I’ve decided on something different.  Since the duathlon is in 4 weeks, I really need to focus on those 2 sports for now. Running and swimming. One is my friend and the other can go kick rocks. In case you’re new, it’s running. Running can go kick rocks. I still hate it. That hasn’t changed.  So if you love to hear me bitch about running, stick around. I’ve got some plans for us!

I plan on running 3 times and week and swimming at least 2 (maybe 3) and biking one. After the duathlon at the end of July, I will start to add in more biking. And hopefully I’ll have the stamina and dedication to add in biking in the form of biking to and from work every day. That in combo with 3x a week running and 2x a week swimming, I should be fairly ready for the triathlon the 2nd week of September. I hope.

I need to make time for this and stop putting it off. I need to make my training a priority. I need to be happy with making this a priority and stop dreading it. The fact is, I know I’ll feel better and stronger and healthier if I can get back on the wagon, so to speak, and move forward again.

Since April, when I stopped training and exercising regularly, I’ve started eating less healthy, I’ve gained 10 pounds, and I’ve lost strength, endurance, health and confidence.

It’s time to get that back!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My First Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day

April's Foodie Pen Pal

I’ve been a little MIA lately. No race reports, no updates on training (am I even training?) no lists of upcoming races, etc. I’ve just been focused on other areas of my life and this blog has been neglected because of it. I plan on eventually writing the missing race reports and getting them up here sometime soon. Don’t fret.

The reason for this post, however, is to talk about food swapping. No, seriously. My friend, Alyson, got a box full snacky-goodness a few months ago and sent out a similar box to someone else. She told me about the Foodie Pen Pal program orchestrated by Lindsey over at The Lean Green Bean. Then she let me try one of the oatmeal packets that she had gotten. It was amazing!! I wanted in!

I forgot to check it out online the next month, but when Alyson told me about the second box she got, I decided to go for it.

I was assigned to Jamie at Farm Fabulosity. Head over to her blog to check out what I sent her!

I received my package from Erika who has a blog about her daughter Arianna and their adventures!

Erika took to heart that I am trying to balance working out with healthier eating and fun snacks and included some fun things for me to try!

1.) Organic Sweet Moose Hot Chocolate mix. She said she uses it in her coffee and I definitely plan to try that one of these mornings that I just need a little bit extra to get me going

2.) Almond Crunch. I love almonds. I use them on my salads in place of croutons because sometimes I just need that little crunch! They are also great as a pre-workout snack!

3.) Bare-Fruit Mangoes. Usually I do not like dried fruit. But I decided to be open to trying something new, so I made myself open this before I opened anything else in the box. I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed them!

4. + 5.) Whole Berry Blast + Fruition Peach. I definitely use bars for pre work out snacks, or even sometimes for afterwards if I don’t have any other options for a refueling, but I was a little shocked at how high in calorie these bars were! I think I’ll save them for a longer race if I need some fuel. I can’t see myself scarfing down 400+ calories before a workout. It’s a little high for my liking. If I want 400 calories, I’d eat a bag of Doritos. I love Doritos. Ok, moving on.

6.) Chocolate Cashew Bar. I live chocolate. I love cashews. No problem right? Wrong. I’m scared of this one. It’s a raw organic live food bar. First, of all, what? And second, I’m envisioning my cashews walking around on the chocolate bar. Eventually I will try this bar for 2 reasons: I love chocolate. I love cashews. But I need to work up the nerve to test it out!

A big thanks to Erika for helping me step out of my comfort zone and try new foods that I wouldn’t otherwise!

I have already signed up for the Foodie Pen Pal project for May and I can’t wait to go shopping again for my new foodie pal!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012 Race Report

The big day has come. And gone. Uneventfully.

Disney Princess Half Marathon: February 26, 2012, 6:27am
Yesterday was the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Before you I get you invested and excited, I didn’t finish. We got to mile 5 and got swept for being 8 seconds behind the required pace.  Let me explain...

I had a toe injury for about 3 weeks before the race. I did some swimming and biking, but no running. On race day, it felt fine. There were no toe issues. But in those 3 weeks, I really lost a lot of conditioning and strength. I could have easily worked back up to where I had been if I had a few more weeks, but I just ran out of time.

My 2-mile run a few days ago left my legs sore for a day or two. I thought I was prepared, but I really should have prepared better.

I think what started my downward spiral, toe injury not included, was participating in the 30for60 challenge in December and January. It was a mental struggle for me, as I was more concerned with getting something in each day, that I didn’t focus fully on each running workout and didn’t give it my full attention. Not to mention, it was around the holidays and I started my own business, which I put 110% into and my workouts slacked because of it.

I’m glad I did the 30for60 challenge, though. I learned a lot about myself and I needed it to push me through the holidays. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably still do it, I’d just be more structured about it and go into it with a better plan. I just played everything by ear and tried to fit things in wherever I could. I should have been more prepared.

I’m not at all using these things as excuses, just lessons to learn for my future endeavors. I knew there was a 16-minute mile and I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with that pace. But I tried. The 5 miles that we did seemed to go by pretty fast. It definitely didn’t feel like 5 miles. Maybe more like 3. Of course now, my legs tell me it feels like 10 miles. I had a good time. Good people, great entertainment and a positive atmosphere.

I planned this race early last year with two friends Gabbie and Amanda. They both live in Florida. We kept in touch as we trained throughout the year and were each other’s cheering squad during good times and motivation during hard times. I wish we lived closer because the training runs would have been a lot more fun as a group since we are all about the same pace.

We all went to the expo together on Friday morning and got some fun race stuff and listened to Jeff Galloway speak. I actually asked him during a Q&A how much conditioning one could lose with 3 weeks off. He told me I shouldn't do the half marathon and do the Royal Family 5K instead. Not an option. Then he said I should just walk the half marathon and jog when I saw the sweepers. Ha. I'd have been swept at mile 1! I appreciated his answer though, because he also stressed the run/walk method which is what we planned to follow.

Expo entrance
Jeff Galloway speaking
I finally got the Spibelt I’ve been wanting. As well as a t-shirt that says, “I did it” with the race course on the back. A little premature, yes, but I had high hopes. I plan to get a patch or decal to put over the word “did” that says “tried”, so it reads, “I tried it”. Then I plan to circle mile #5 on the race course picture and add another decal or lettering that says, “There’s always next year”. Or something to that effect. It was the experience that matters most to me, and it certainly was an experience, that’s for sure.

We all met up at my hotel at around 3 in the morning to board the bus over to Epcot.

Excited at 3am, even on little sleep.
When we got to the race area, we checked out the amenities and got the lay of the land. After checking a bag, we started our walk to the start/corral area. My friends were gracious enough to hop back a corral into H with me since they were all in G and I was in H. I appreciate that more than they realize. It wouldn’t have been as much fun by myself and I’m glad they were willing to stick with me, even if it meant that they got swept in the race because of it.

We used the bathroom about 3 times each – I could not stop peeing! The port-o-potties weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be. We hung out in our corral for about 45 minutes before the race started. As the first corral took off, they counted down and shot off fireworks! Gabbie wasn’t a fan of them and tried to hide under my tutu.

Protecting Gabbie from the fireworks. My tutu was good for lots of things!
As each corral took off, we got to move up closer to the start line. Finally, it was our turn! It was very exciting.

The beginning of the end.
Each mile ticked by really quickly. By mile 2, we saw the lead runner on her way back towards the finish. Wow. She was quick!! I knew my mom was waiting to view us at mile 4.2 so I was constantly texting her letting her know where we were. I also had other friends texting

Hi Mom!!
Right after we passed her we noticed a bathroom with no line. At this point in the race we were one minute ahead of pace and we figured that it would be the best opportunity we’d have to go to the bathroom with little to no line. All of the other port-o-potties that we passed had crazy long lines and I was getting to the point where I couldn’t hold it any longer. So we stopped. By the time we finished, the dreaded balloon ladies marking the back of the pace pack had passed us and we were now a minute behind pace. A 2-minute bathroom break was our downfall.

There were people on bikes riding near us letting us know that we had 5 minutes to get to the next mile marker or we’d be picked up. I appreciated their warnings because I knew how much I needed to pick up the pace to get to where we needed to be. But we just couldn’t do it. We went from one minute behind pace to 8 seconds behind pace by the time we got picked up. If we had just a little bit more distance, we’d have been able to catch up.

We were RIGHT outside the gate entrance to Magic Kingdom, missing our chance to run through the castle by a half mile. Sad. I’m grateful that my mom at least got to see us once on the course. She had originally been planning to wait outside the entrance of Magic Kingdom to see us enter the park, then go back to the finish to wait for us. Instead she decided to go to the spectator view point at mile 4.2, and then walk a 10 min path to see us again at mile 7 near the Polynesian Resort. I’m glad she decided to see us before the park!!

We got onto a bus where they took our names and bib numbers so they could keep track of us and drove us back to the finish area. They gave us our medals and we took a few “non-finisher” pictures.

Nice try.
I didn’t put my medal on. I just carried it around. I don’t feel right wearing it. I may have registered, trained for and started the race, but I didn’t finish it. They gave us finisher medals. I didn’t finish, and I certainly didn’t earn a medal. I’m grateful they still gave us a medal because it’s going on my wall at home as a reminder to keep trying so I can earn that medal another year. It’s hard to see other people walking around the resort wearing their medals, knowing that I got one too, but I can’t wear it because I didn’t finish. Hopefully the disappointment will turn into more motivation for my future races and challenges.

Better luck next time!
Throughout this entire half-marathon experience, I have discovered that I really appreciate the sport of triathlon – sprint triathlon, that is. My sprint triathlon last year was a total of 13.63 miles. Just over the distance of a half marathon, yet there are 3 sports to break it up instead of constant running, which for the record, I still hate. I haven’t yet signed up for the Title 9 Sprint triathlon again for 2012, but I think I will now. I was turned off by all of the horrid hills on the bike ride, but I think if I continue to train and work on more strength training, I can do better than last year!

As far as the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I don’t doubt that I’ll do it again. I didn’t reach my goal – to finish. So I have to keep trying until I finish. I won’t lie; it was disappointing not to finish. I would have loved to cross that finish line. I would have loved to even get to Magic Kingdom and run through Cinderella’s castle. But this time, it just didn’t workout. I don’t know if I’ll do it next year or not, but eventually, I will. I want to make sure I can be under the time limit and know confidently that I will finish the race, not just hope for the best.

Despite the disappointment of being swept on the course, I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for having the guts to try it. I’m proud that I kept up with my training plan the entire time (minus the 3 week injury period), I’m proud of myself for not quitting. I’m proud of myself for thinking those 5 miles that I did complete, were easy. I’m proud of myself for doing my best. And I’m so lucky to have so much support in my friends, family, and those who read my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you and thank you so much for cheering me on throughout my journeys. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

13 days

13 days.

That’s how far away my half marathon is.

Am I ready? Maybe. I’ve been a bit MIA lately. A few people have asked me where I’ve been and how my training has been going. And it’s been going pretty well. It was.

I have been so preoccupied with other things going on in my life that I haven’t kept up with my weekly training updates. But I’ve still been doing it. I completed 30for60, kinda. I missed the last 2 days of it, but considering there were 62 days in December & January combined, I still feel that I completed 60 days. I win.

So I was still on plan with my running schedule. Check dailymile. It’ll vouch for me.

Until 2 weeks ago.

I got a blister on my toe and figured it would go away in a day or two. But it didn’t it turned out to be an abscess with an ingrown toenail sticking into it. Or the other way around. Either way, it hurt. I dug out the nail. It got slightly better, but then started hurting again. I had a podiatrist dig it out for me. I was told there would be numbing involved. There wasn’t. Liars. And they gave me instructions on how to care for it.

I haven’t been able to put a sneaker on at all. That’s a lie. During the 2 day period when it was feeling better, I put a sneaker on to hopefully do elliptical at the gym, but I could barely stand, let alone walk or try to be elliptic. I did the bike instead. It was less painful, but no picnic. The winner in all this has been the pool. I’ve been swimming, though thinking back now, maybe all that chlorine hasn’t been helpful.

My point is: I haven’t run in 2 weeks. My race is in 13 days. My longest run was 11 miles on January 15th. My 12-mile run ended at 6 miles a few weeks later. That’s when I noticed the “blister”.

Am I screwed? Or just very, very rested. I guess we will see. I’m not backing out of this. It will get done. Even if I can’t wear sneakers, I’ll figure something out.

I’ll run in flip-flops if I have to. There’s no way I’m missing my vacation in Florida for a toe. Eff toes.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Week Thirteen: Disney Princess Half Marathon Training

Week Thirteen

Monday – yoga stretching

I got a yoga bolster pillow for Christmas so I used it to do some lower back and leg stretching. It felt great!

30 min

Tuesday – butt workout

After a long day, I had along drive home, so I used the time wisely to do butt clenches in the car on the way home! Multi tasking!

30 mins

Wednesday – walk/jog with the dog

Took the dog for a walk/jog around the neighborhood. It was too cold to run. It was windy, and horrid. My dog was scared of the wind. Every time it blew, he got skittish and tried to burst away from me. Needless to say, it made the jogging part difficult. I also used this as an opportunity to do the crazy walk with him. So not sure how accurate the mileage/gps is. There were lots of twists and turns and circles and stops and sits.

30 mins – 1.42 miles (21:17/mi pace)

Thursday – wii sports

I planned on 30 minutes of wii tennis, but I got bored with it after about 15 minutes so I moved on to baseball and bowling. Both bored me more than the tennis. So I went back to the tennis for the last 10 minutes or so. I need to bust out the other wii workout “games” that we got for Christmas and see how those fare.

30 mins

Friday – run

5 min warm up walk
2.103 in 30 mins running speed intervals - from 4.5 to 6.5 with 3.0 walk intervals (14:15/mi pace)
5 min cool down walk
A few pains in my left hip/knee area. First run in a while where I didn't wear my compression socks and it felt okay. Looking forward to wearing my new Tommie Copper calf sleeves for the rest of the afternoon!!

30 mins

Saturday – arm workout

Arm workout with wood instead of weights. Yes wood. I'm in the back woods of New Hampshire and I used some firewood instead of hand weights to do an arm workout.

30 mins

Sunday – long run – 9.5 miles

I was dreading this one all weekend. The gym was closed for New Years and I knew I was going to have to do it outside. I went out on the Cotton Valley Trail that I usually bike on and as expected, it was covered in ice.

Luckily it wasn’t too much, just sections here and there where I could walk off to the side before I got onto solid ground again. But it was enough to make me cautious and slow down when I needed to.

The trail is about 3 miles long, so I planned to go out 2 or 2.5, come back, refill my water bottle, then go back out for another 2 or 2.5 then head back again. I figured it would break it up nicely. Instead I went out 3 miles, then turned around and only had to go back out for 1.75 miles then back again to finish off the last 3.5 miles. My iPod died at mile 2 so I had a lot of time to think and talk to God and make up my own songs and appreciate the scenery for the last 7.5 miles.

Partially frozen lake
Not gonna lie, I spent a large part of those last 7.5 miles praying. I kept telling myself that if God brought me to it, He’d bring me through it. It made my run a little more peaceful. The last 3.5 miles were tough. I was exhausted and in pain physically and I had to rely on myself mentally to finish it. There was mostly walking, but I did it. 

When I got home, I took another ice bath. But I didn’t videotape it this time! You’re welcome.

Total: 9.5 miles – 3:00:40 (19:00/mi pace)

I feel like I’ve fallen off the running wagon so to speak. Through the holidays I found that I lacked motivation to run. I did other things, but running was the toughest. And yes, I completed 9.5 miles this week, but the pace was SO slow! I could never complete the half marathon at that pace without them sweeping me off the course. I’m pretty sure if I had walked the entire thing and not run any of it, I could have had a faster pace. My pace at certain points was a 14 min mile pace and a few times I hit 10 min mile paces – briefly. But the when I started hurting, my walking became so ragged & slow that it pulled my pace way down. It’s discouraging and doesn’t make me like running any more either. I still hold firm to be belief that running isn’t for me. I can do 2-3 miles and survive it and not hate it, but this long distance stuff just isn’t for me. After this half, I’m done.

Dec 26, '11 - Jan 1, '12
55 days until the Disney Princess Half Marathon!
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