Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Early Morning Run Feels So Good

My alarm went off at 4:30 this morning.  I admit, I did hit the snooze once, but that still got me out of bed by 4:40.  This is rare for me.  I always go to bed with intentions of waking by 5:00 to get in that early run, but that rarely happens.  I can't seem to make myself get out of bed.  Once I'm up, I'm golden, but putting both feet on the ground is quite possibly the hardest part of my day.

This morning was different.  The reason?  One word, or actually one name...Allison.  My wonderful friend, Allison, is solely responsible for getting my lazy rear out of bed this morning.  She asked me last night if I would like to run with her this morning.  Once I agreed, she told me that she would be at my place at 5:00.  That was all I needed...a little bit of accountability.  I knew that I couldn't reset my alarm like I am notorious for doing.  I had to be up and ready because Allison would be waiting for me.  I couldn't let her down.  Not only am I appreciative of her for being the kick in the butt that I needed, but it means a lot that she is willing to slow down her much speedier pace to run with me.

So, I crawled out of bed at 4:39 this morning.  It was so early, Roman had to be coaxed from his bed, too.  Luckily I had the presence of mind to set out my running gear the night before so i didn't have to waste time digging in the drawers trying to find a pair of matching socks.  I got dressed, fed the cats, and took Roman for a quick lap around the block so he could do his business.  Just as I was heading back inside to put Roman back in bed, Allison pulled up.  Perfect timing.

I came back downstairs, turned on the Garmin, and we were off.  There was a light rain for the whole run, but it really felt nice.  It was just warm and humid enough, that the rain was more than welcome.  It was so nice being out there so early.  I don't know when was the last time I ran down Monument Ave and only encountered a handful of cars.  We didn't even see any other runners for the longest time.  We stayed on Monument until we hit the 1.5 mile mark and then turned to head back.  We made a few turns on our way back, so we ended with just over 3 miles.  We did 3.39 miles in 34:42.  I was even pleasantly surprised to see that we managed negative splits.  That doesn't happen too often for me!

I really enjoyed this run.  I hope we can plan to make this happen at least once or twice a week.  If I keep at it, I will surely get used to the early morning wake up, right?  How do you early birds do it?  Any suggestions would be great!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Maymont X-Country Festival 5k

Wow, this was hard!  This race was by far one of the most difficult runs I have ever had.  I know that seems silly with it only being a 5k, but it's true.  There were many contributing factors to making this such a horrible run.  Let's take a look, shall we....

1.  It was 95 degrees and humid!  It was September 24th, the second day of fall.  That just isn't right!  The previous week had me spoiled with highs in the low 80's, and then Mother Nature had to go and ruin it for me!

2.  I have never run a cross country race.  Well, not just a race, I have never run anything cross country style.  I am a loyal road runner, and after this race I think I will keep it that way.  I was naive enough to believe that running in the grass would be great as it would be much easier on my bum hip...that was not the case.  The entire race was uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill.  You get the picture.  And the few sections that were flat were not really flat.  I felt like I was leaning to my left or right the entire race.  This was probably the hardest part on me as it was really tough on my hip.

A glimpse of Maymont
3.  This was my first race after recovering from my injury.  And in all honestly, I don't know if I would go as far as saying that I have recovered.  I'm much better, but I'm still not back to normal.  Something is still just not right.  I probably was not quite ready to race again, and I know for sure that a cross country race was not the best choice for my comeback.

I was far from pleased with my performance, but I'm going to learn from it and move on.  I ended up finishing in 34:54, which is definitely not a time that I'm proud of.  On a more positive note, I'm proud of myself for trying something new.  Now it's time to think ahead and get myself ready for the American Family Fitness 5k/10k in a couple weeks.  I'm still a little up in the air on which race I'll do.  I'm leaning towards the 10k, but I know I have the 5k to fall back on depending on how I'm feeling over these next two weeks.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Things Thursday

Thursday is almost over, but there's still time for my little list.  I'm so glad that Friday is almost here!

1.  Tomorrow is my first race in almost a month, and my first 5k since July.  I'm running in the Maymont X-Country Festival that is being held this weekend in Richmond.  There are races Friday evening, as well as most of the day on Saturday.  It is a really cool event with distances ranging from 1 mile to 8 miles.  This will also be my first time running a cross-country race as opposed to a road race.

2.  I have been quite the lucky girl this week.  On Sunday I learned that I won a Tarma Designs necklace in a giveaway hosted by Momma of 3 on the Run.

Then on Monday I found out that I won a pair of Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves from Thomas at Beyond Fatigue, Pain and ACTN3.  Now, I just need to decide what color I want.  I'm considering the yellow, but then I think I should just stick with black.  The pressure to choose is killing me!

3.  I had already planned to take off early from work tomorrow because of the race.  It is at 6pm, so there would be no way to make it in time if I worked until my normal time.  After getting an e-mail from my salon about their Friday specials, I'm now going to take advantage of my half day and get a cheap haircut too.  I'm in desperate need as I haven't had my hair cut since May.  I'm really bad at putting this off in an attempt to save money, but I'm now at a point where it just needs to be done.  I always have grand ideas of changing it up and doing something new and fun (not as drastic as TMB @ Racing with Babes...she has guts that I don't have!), but in the end I just get the ends trimmed and I'm out the door.

Ok, time to wrap this up and get dinner going.  Hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Very Tired Suzi

Wednesday morning is the the hardest part of my week.  This is all because of the craziness that is Tuesday.  I work from 8:00 to 4:45 at my full time job and then turn right around and work at my part time job from 5:30 to 9:00.  That by itself is exhausting enough.  Then you throw in not going to bed until well after 11:00 on Monday night and getting up at 5:30 the next morning so there is time to walk the pup before getting ready for the day.

Yesterday had a little something extra thrown in as well, as trip to the dentist.  I don't know of anyone who likes going to the dentist...and if you do, shame on you!  I hate going to the dentist, but this may be because I ALWAYS have something wrong EVERY TIME I go!  Luckily I have what appear to be great teeth. (Thanks mom and dad for getting me those braces back in the day.)  Unfortunately they aren't as healthy as they appear.  I apparently inherited very poor enamel from my folks, so I have to work much harder than most people just to keep them healthy.

Yeah, something like that.
Anyway, sorry about that little dentist tangent.  Now back to my little rant....

So, long work day is finally over.  I could have come home and vegged on the couch while waiting for Mike to come home, but no, I was a good girl.  I changed into my best nighttime running gear, grabbed the pup, and headed out for a quick run at 9:30 pm.  We only did 2 miles, but that's all I had in me.  I guess I should just be proud of myself for getting out there at all when all I really wanted to do was lay on the couch and never move again!

And not only did I run, I also put together a quick meal so that Mike would have something to eat after spending all evening in class.  Ok, I admit that it wasn't a whole lot of effort on my part as I did just heat up a can of veggies and the rotisserie chicken that I picked up earlier.  But it's the thought that counts, right?!?  The food is ready when he walks in the door, so we grab our plates and head into the living room to catch up on the latest episode of Weeds.

The show is over, it is now past 11:00 once again, and I'm ready to pass out.  So pass out I did.  I'm pretty sure I was asleep within two minutes of my head hitting the pillow.  Bliss!  Too bad the sound of that damn alarm clock came so soon.  Now where is my caffeine IV....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekend Recap

Friday:  I got up early and went for a short run before work.  This is not something I like to do as I LOVE to sleep, but it had to be done.  I originally planned on running Thursday evening, but that just didn't happen.  I was a bit worn out from my hour long lower body workout PT appt, and by the time I got home my boyfriend was already home asking about dinner.  I decided to pass on the run that evening and take care of it Friday morning.  So that's exactly what I did.

My work day was uneventful, but my evening was a lot of fun.  My boyfriend's mother does a lot of watercolor painting and she had invited me to come over for a lesson.  I was a bit nervous about this since I don't have a creative/artistic bone in my body, but I was interested in giving it a try.  I went over to her place around 7, and after we finished dinner, we moved in to the art room.  She was all prepared and had a great lesson for me.  I didn't paint anything exciting, just a bunch of circles.  Since I had never done anything like this, the first step is to just learn how the paint reacts to the the paper and to other paint.  It was very interesting and a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to my next lesson.

 Saturday:  I got up early on Saturday to head to Mechanicsville to volunteer with the RRRC for the ReeseStrong 5k.  It really is a lot of fun.  I wish I could have been running in the race, but this is the next best thing.  I'm looking forward to volunteering at many more races with the RRRC.

For the rest of the afternoon, I pretty much took it easy.  I may or may not have snuck in a nice nap while my boyfriend, Mike, was doing homework.

Later that night we went over to see a couple that we like to hang out with quite a bit.  We ordered in some food, had a few drinks, talked, and played some RockBand.  It was a fun evening.

Sunday:  Despite a late night, I was a good girl and got up early for a long run.  Now, it wasn't as long as many of you who are right in the middle of marathon training, but it was the longest run I have done since my half marathon the last weekend of August.  I met up with my friend, Crystal, and we set out on a nice 6 mile run.  It went really well.  I had a little hip pain, but not too bad.  Crystal also did a great job.  This was her first outdoor run since May or June; she has been running on a treadmill all summer.  I had already planned on doing a longer run this morning, but I was so happy when she got a hold of me to see if I would like to run with her.  I think we did a good job of motivating each other to keep going.  We decided to go just a bit further and ended at a nice even 10k.

After the run, I didn't do much of anything else for the rest of the day.  I did take Roman on a walk.  I think we ended up getting in just under 2 miles.

And now, I'm finishing up this post and then I'm going to head to bed.  Mike is bartending tonight, so I'm going to take advantage and crash early tonight.

I hope you all had a great weekend as well, and that you will have a great week ahead of you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Things Thursday

I'm new to the blog world, but this seems to be the cool thing to do on Thursday.  So, here goes...

1.  If you haven't noticed all the great giveaways going on right now, you must be blind.  If you do have your sight and you just didn't realize what you were missing, please look along my sidebar and see what's out there.  I do want to point out one in particular though.  This one is a bit different as it is a raffle, so a donation is required to participate.  It's worth it though.  It's for a great cause, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, and there are lots of great prizes.  Head on over to Courtney's blog and get involved!

2.  Fettuccine Alfredo is one of my favorite meals, but I know that it is dreadfully unhealthy.  I was browsing recipes at Runner's World yesterday and I came across a healthier version created by Rocco DiSpirito.  You can find the recipe HERE if you would like to give it a try.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was actually pretty good.  It definitely isn't the real thing, but close enough if it is going to help keep some extra weight off my hips and rear.  I would definitely make it again, but I am trying to think of ways to tweak it a bit.

3.  It has been 2 weeks since my last PT appointment.  I'm heading back this evening to check in on my mysterious condition.  I'll be interested to see how it goes and hear his thoughts.  I feel like I'm getting better.  I'm at least getting out and logging a couple miles at a time, but something is still off.  I just wish we could nail it down and move on.  On a side note, I was lazy this morning and didn't get out of bed in time to go for a morning run.  I'm hoping I'm not too sore after my appointment and I can sneak in a quick run before it's time to make dinner.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Small Steps

I just got back from a 2 mile run.  On one hand, I'm extremely excited to be getting back out there.  On the other, I'm so frustrated that after all my hard work this summer, I feel like I'm starting over...only 2 miles?!

I haven't been able to run in over 2 weeks and this is the first real run I've had.  It went well; not too much pain during the run, but now I'm sitting at home with ice on my hip and leg.  I'm doing this mostly as a preemptive measure against further injury, but at the same time I feel like it's a bad sign that I'm feeling the need to ice after only 2 miles.

Has anyone been in this situation?  Did you find it as frustrating as I do?

Despite the little bits of frustration and negativity that keep creeping in, I try to tell myself to stay positive.  Small steps can lead to something so big.  Besides, it could be so much worse, right?

Weekend Review

I had my first early Saturday morning shift since May at my part time job this weekend.  I'm broke as a joke (working for the state is not as glamorous and high-paying as some would imagine *grin*), so I decided to start working part time in the fitness center of a country club in the winter of 2008.  I don't work a ton of extra hours, as I already have full time job to keep me busy, but enough to see a little extra in my bank account each month.  I got to a point where Saturday mornings were my main shift.  I would go to bed super early on Friday nights, and get up around 4:30 the next morning to get ready and be there to start opening up around 5:30.  I know that sounds horrible, but it wasn't so bad.  My boyfriend is a bartender and works every Friday night, so it isn't like I was missing out on quality time with him.  Anyway...I pretty much worked every Saturday morning up until May when I decided to join a training team to train for my first half marathon.  The group did our long runs on Saturday morning, so I obviously couldn't be in both places.  After a lot of consideration, I decided to take the summer off from my part time job and just focus on running.  And now that the race had passed, I'm back on the job.  I will keep running and training for future races, but now I can do it on my own time.  I now have the confidence to do those long runs without the group.

I was so pumped about my first successful running attempt on Friday; I wanted to give it another go on Saturday.  After a nice afternoon nap to recharge, I headed out with the pup to try it again.  This time around we did 2.5 miles.  We walked a little so I could take a minute or two to assess the situation and make sure that I wasn't hurting anything, but we did run most of it.  Again, there was a little pain afterward, but nothing intense.  I did go home and ice, but all in all I think it was a success.  I'm looking forward to getting back out there this evening after work.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I decided to rest my legs on Sunday.  I was feeling good, but I don't want to rush back into it too soon and then have to take another giant step back.  Instead of running I went out to volunteer for a local race, the Runner Bill's K-9k.  When I heard about this race, I really wanted to run in it because it benefits the Richmond Animal League (RAL) here in Richmond.  This is the shelter where my wonderful pup, Roman, came from.  Unfortunately, my leg wasn't up for this run, so I decided the next best thing was to volunteer.  I was one of the course marshals and I really enjoyed it.  I liked seeing the faster runners hauling down the course...this isn't a sight I'm used to as I'm normally closer to the back of the pack.  The only negative about the race is that the turnout was rather small.  Now that I think about it, I wish I had been up for running this one...I probably would have had an age group finish!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Things are Looking Up...and a Few Other Random Thoughts

Anyone who has taken the time to read my blog up to this point knows that I've been struggling with some hip and leg issues.  Well, tonight I have seen my first real sign of improvement.  As I was walking my pup down Monument Ave, I started thinking about how I often see folks running in the grassy median.  I have always been one to stick to the sidewalk, but at that moment it occurred to me that maybe I could try to run a bit on the softer grass and maybe it wouldn't be quite as much pressure on my leg as is the unforgiving concrete of the sidewalk.  To my delight, that was exactly the case.  I'm not going to say that it was 100% pain free, but it was as close to it as I have come in quite sometime.  I'm not going to hold my breath just yet that I'm completely on the mend, but this has at least given me some hope.

All in all we did 3.34 miles.  A good majority was walking, as that's what we started out doing, but we finished strong once I found the courage to give running a try.  I can say that my pup sure wasn't expecting that workout.  I think that may be the longest walk/run he has had up to this point in his short life...and he is BEAT!


Now on to a few random thoughts...

I won a Twitter contest last month through K-SWISS and Josh Cox.  I won a pair of the new Blade Light Run shoes.  Well, they finally came in the mail yesterday.  I really like them, but I think they are just a little too small.  I had never worn K-SWISS shoes before so I just told them a 10.5 like I have worn in every other running shoe I have had.  I guess these run a little different in size and I need an 11. (Side note--yes, I know, I have huge feet!)  I hope they will let me send them back and exchange sizes!

The Kicks

I had a moment of weakness today.  After reading many blog posts over the past week that have mentioned cupcakes, I have been craving them like crazy!  After work today I stopped by the local cupcake shop, Carytown Cupcakes, and picked up a few.  Now let's see if I can keep from eating all of them!


Ok, well, I guess that's all for now.  I'm off to bed.  4 AM will be here before I know it.  Now if only I was waking up that early for a good long run...but no, this is for my part time job.  Yes, I'm crazy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting Frustrated

I haven't been for a run in over a week now.  I'm starting to lose my mind!  Ever since my race, my right leg has been bothering me like crazy.  I have seen my physical therapist twice since then, but to no avail.  I have been resting, icing, stretching, and doing my PT exercises; nothing seems to be working.  OK, maybe I shouldn't say that it isn't working.  I do feel like it is getting a little better, but it just isn't getting there fast enough.  I'm dying to get out there and run, but I just can't do it yet.  I have been getting in some good long walks in, but that just isn't doing it for me.  Isn't it strange that I can walk without any trouble, but if I try to put any extra pressure on my leg it kills me?!? 

What's really interesting is that as much as this is bothering me, it is bothering my PT just as much.  He just can't seem to figure out what is causing the pain.  We are sure that it all relates to my back issues, but not quite sure how.  My PT has done all kinds of poking and prodding and twisting and turning and nothing seems to jump out as a major cause for concern.

Not only is this frustrating, but I'm starting to get a little worried as well.  I have a few big races coming up, and if I don't get back to training soon, I'm really going to struggle.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some day this week I'll wake up and everything will just feel better.  I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

If anyone is out there....

Here's a chance to win a Garmin for yourself.  Click on the link and follow his simple entry rules.  Doesn't hurt to try...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.  Let me know if you win!  Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's Here!

Today was the longest day ever.  Why?  I couldn't wait to get home to see if my new Garmin Forerunner 305 had been delivered.  And what do you know, the UPS lady showed up at exactly the same time as I did!

I have been dying to get a Garmin ever since I started training for my half marathon back in May.  Now that the race has finally come and gone, I was pretty sure it was high time to get one.  I deserve it, right?  13.1 miles is no small feat!

I'm pretty sure my boyfriend thought I had completely lost my mind when I started doing a little happy dance in the middle of the kitchen upon walking through the door.  Now if only I didn't have to let it charge for 3 hours before taking it for a spin.  Oh well, I wasn't up for a run today as I'm still trying to let my leg heal up a bit from Saturday's race.  Maybe tomorrow????

Physical Therapy

While training for my first half marathon, I started having a lot of issues with my right hip and leg.  I battled through it for a couple of my long runs, but soon decided that something was wrong and I needed to get it checked out.  It seems that my scoliosis (more on this later) has done a number on my hips.  They are so twisted and tilted that it shouldn't be a surprise to find out that all my running was starting to cause some trouble.

I went to see the Sports Medicine doc and he decided to put me into physical therapy.  At this point, I was 3 weeks from the race and my training had already taken a serious hit.  My only hope of making it through the race was to dive into therapy and hope for the best.

When race day came around, I knew that I had made some improvements, but I was still a long way off from being "normal".  (I say this in quotes because I'm pretty sure I will never have a normal, healthy runner's body.)  I made it through the race, but it was definitely painful and I had to take more walking breaks that I would have liked.

I'm still in PT, and I just had my first post-race session last night.  The good news is the race didn't do any major damage, but I'm definitely having some flare-ups because of it.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will keep seeing more and more improvement and I will eventually get to a point where I can run pain free.  Oh, that day will be amazing....