Life as we know it

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My shoes

So I think I did mention at one point that the Asics GT-2130 ended up being THE shoe. Or at least I think so. See something happened this week that may change my mind. My TOES poked a hole in the inner layer of my shoe! Upon talking to others about it and my thinking, I have decided that the likely cause is a combination of too-long toenails (gross, I know) and flexing my toes while I run!

I was never aware I did this, but after my long run today I am definitely aware. My tendons that move the big toe (sorry, don’t know the scientific term) are sore from this flexing. I’m not sure how to stop myself from doing this. I ran 14 miles today and my toes are sore. How will they feel after I run 26?

Anyway, something else I noticed today was that the soles of my shoes are getting deep creases, something that usually indicates a shoe has worn out or is in the process. This stresses me out because I’m pretty sure I’ve only had these shoes for a month, or not even a month. I have probably run about 100 miles in them total. And if I take back a pair of worn out shoes, even if they wore out prematurely from not being the right shoe after all, I would bet the store will tell me its time to pay for a new pair. So yeah, 100 miles to wear out a shoe. Even if I take into account that I bought the original pair around Feb. 10, thats still only two months. Seems my shoes have usually lasted at least four to five months, if not more, in the past. Those were the CHEAP shoes. I am getting closer to just going back to the New Balance 401’s.

I’m not sure what I’ll do about this. I need to take some time to figure it out. If I do need to pay for a new pair, I’m likely back at square one as far as finding the right pair. Becase if it took only a month for them to wear out, they’re likely not the right pair 😦 Not to mention I don’t have the MONEY to buy ANOTHER new pair of shoes!

But anyway, on to my long run report: It was great, actually! It wasn’t too uncomfortable until about the last two and a half miles. I think my body was just telling me “whoa, we didn’t do this last week”! But thats why I’m not just running 26 miles right off the bat… my body needs to get used to all this torture. So I was able to get through it to get all my miles in.

I ran the “arb loop” today, and it is so pretty! Its a bike route through the UW arboretum, a section of Monroe Street, behind Edgewood College and Vilas Park. I can’t wait to see it when its warmer and there are leaves on the trees and birds. Its a 6-mile loop that I ran twice and then I ran one more mile out and back to my car. I did it this way so I could stop at my car to refuel.

It seems so silly to say that, but thats what it is, refueling. I had a pack of sports beans and a gel to try. They both worked with my stomach. The gel was faster, although I squeezed it too fast and it got all over my hands. Sport beans are jelly beans (I didn’t know that at first either) and mine today were jelly belly fruit punch flavor. They tasted good but took longer to eat. So different things to consider, I guess.

I’ve been refueling for the rest of the day too. I always get really hungry after my long runs. But I burn a lot of calories too… I think something like 125 per mile? Thats more than 1,700 calories, so I need to get at least some of those back to function.

When I did my 10-mile long run outside two weeks ago I got VERY sore from all the hills and just the surface I was running on. I got to skip the soreness last week since my long run was inside on a track. But I fully expect to be sore to the point of having a hard time moving around. I’ll take a rest day from exercise tomorrow, but I’ll still have to move around as Doug and I are spring cleaning tomorrow.

My achilles right now seems OK. But right now my entire ankle area has kind of a dull aching feeling. So who knows which part will hurt tomorrow. I forgot to stretch my achilles before I started, but I stopped a few times at the beginning to try and stretch. I had also decided I was going to start slower to have more of a warm up, but that didn’t exactly happen either.

As I write this, my ankle area on up my leg is starting to make itself more known. The soreness is starting to set in.

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More and more miles…

So I ran on the treadmill today and I started slow and stretched beforehand and the achilles doesn’t hurt, right now at least. So I guess I just need to take it easy on the training and make sure to continue the stretches that I’ve found for the achilles. I’ve been saying it and writing it so much it just sounds funny… achilles, achilles, achilles.

I’ve got my long run tomorrow, 12 to 14 miles, and of course I’m hoping for 14. I’m going to run a 6-mile loop through the arboretum, finally. I keep hearing about how great it is to run through the arboretum. I’ve only been there once and it wasn’t to run, but it is a beautiful place. And I think its absent of hills so that will help my achilles.

I’m running 14 miles on the 6-mile loop so that I can stop at my car to get some fuel and water every six miles, since I don’t have a way to carry my water with me yet. Its all just an experiment at this point. I have a gel and a pack of sports beans to try. You’re supposed to experiment with this kind of stuff on training runs and then make sure you don’t alter it at all during the event. I guess different runners have different reactions to all the refueling products out there.

Weather is supposed to be pretty nice tomorrow, with a high of 44. But it will still be a little chilly when I’m starting my run. Since it will likely take three hours I am hoping to get an early start, hopefully around 9:30. At that time it will be around 35 but feeling like 27. Its probably on the lowest end of the temps I can run outside in. I’ll wear an extra shirt and then get rid of it on a break.

So this is my longest run to date and I’m trying not to be nervous. It hopefully won’t be as exhausting as some of my other long outdoor runs (at least not until later in the run) because its not as hilly.

After this week the long runs will drop back to 10 miles every other week. Next week I’m running with my teammates in a 10-mile race. Then the following week the calendar says 14 to 16 miles. Then it will be another 10 mile. That kind of makes it a little less intimidating, I guess.

I’ll come back with an update on how everything goes! Wish me luck!

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Aches and pains

I had a great run today. So why am I achy?

My lower back is sore and my left ankle, the one I’ve sprained several times, is also sore. I have scar tissue from all the injuries and every time I up my exercise intensity it gets sore. And I’m getting increasingly concerned about my achilles tendon on my right foot, but maybe on my left too. Its not hurting too badly, and not constantly. Now is the time to make sure it doesn’t get worse. Too bad I’m inexperienced and I don’t really know how to keep it from getting worse.

I’m sure the culprit is increasing my mileage too much. The rule of thumb is 10 percent each week. Last week I ran 28 miles, which was 4 over what I did two weeks before that. I wasn’t counting the week in between because I was sick and only ran 17 miles. But maybe I should have counted that week? Either way, increasing 4 miles was too much I guess. I felt good last week and I got overexcited. I’m only increasing two miles this week. And I’m going to do some new exercises that are supposed to strenghten my lower legs.

I also read that running more hills can aggrivate the achilles. Well, I’ve started running outside in recent weeks so that would explain it. I’ve been alternating between outside and the treadmill, so I guess I should keep doing that.

I really hope I don’t become injured. I don’t think I am injured at this point, but if I don’t start actively trying to prevent it from becoming worse, I’m sure it will get worse! Wish me luck!

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Training for a marathon is a very inspirational experience, I’m finding. Its inspirational in the cause I am raising money for, and in the changes I’m seeing in my body, and what my body can do!

I had another one of those moments today where I realized I’m truly loving my body
for probably the first time ever. Its tough to spend your entire life hating your body. I’m only realizing now how tough it was. Knowing that is keeping me focused on continuing to lose the weight and train for the marathon.

I guess I’m also inspiring to other people. I have a coworker who said I’ve inspired him to run more and get in better shape. It makes me feel good to know I’m having this influence on people! Everyone is so interested in hearing about my progress.

Though I am inspired through my training experience, I do still have those days where I’d rather sleep or be doing something else other than running. Or the times when I’d like to eat those cookies or that ice cream. But then I remember what I’m doing, where I’ve been and where I’m headed. And I remember all the people who are rooting for me. My biggest fear is disappointing them.

Even though I’ve been married since September, I still maintain a profile on the community. The reason why is the women I have come to know on a thread started over a year ago for women to unite and help each other in our quests to reach our weight loss/general health goals. We call it our overweight but inspired thread. In there we help each other and we share our triumphs and our disappointments. We inspire each other daily!

I can honestly say these women are my friends. I have never met any of them face to face. I’m not even sure I’ve seen pictures of all of them. Yet several of them have donated to my Team in Training effort. A few others have said they will. There are a few who have talked about meeting me at the marathon finish line.

At the very beginning of this journey, when I was trying to decide if I should do it or not, the inspired thread women were the ones who really helped me make my decision. I am constantly encouraged by them. Before people really started talking to me about my quest, sometimes it seemed like they were the only ones who cared.

I’m not going to lie. I thought about quitting TNT. I was, and still am, very nervous about raising the money. But not only would I disappoint myself, I would disappoint those who have already donated to this wonderful cause, and I would disappoint my inspired women!

So this is my official shoutout to my inspired women, and all my coworkers and family members who care about my journey. You say I’m inspiring you. Well, you are all inspiring me too! THANK YOU for that. It means a lot. Keep talking to me about my goal and keep me inspired. I can’t do it alone.

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12 miles! Increasing mileage and upcoming races

So because of our 7-inch spring snowfall, our TNT clinic and group run were moved to the Princeton Club, a health club with an indoor track. So I got to run with my group today after all!

The track is 1/9 of a mile. I decided pretty quickly I wasn’t going to count every lap. 12 miles on a 1/9-mile track is 108 laps! So I went by time instead. I set my garmin to my usual intervals, but it didn’t keep track of speed or distance since I was indoors. I thought I was on a 14-minute/mile pace. But toward the end I timed a mile by counting the laps and it was 11 minutes. And that was at the end, so maybe I ran faster before? My theory is that I was faster since I was on a flat, indoor track. It definitely helps that there were no hills. I’m hoping I won’t be too sore tomorrow because of this.

So my run was 147 minutes total and doing the math I ran between 11.3 and 12.25 miles based on 12-minute to 13-minute miles. So I’m just saying I ran 12 miles because it sounds better!

I really think having the two-minute walk breaks actually makes me a little faster!

I’m doing something bad tonight. There is Easter candy in the newsroom. And I’m eating way too much of it. I’m rationalizing that I can do this because I ran 12 miles. But it would be good for me to eat at least some of my healthy dinner I brought tonight.

Hopefully tomorrow I can run outside since I’ve been eating so poorly tonight and it will continue tomorrow. Next week I’m going to add another run day by doing a short run after spin class on Tuesdays. I’m looking forward to even nicer weather starting this week to get outside more!

If I get outside tomorrow, I’ll log 28 miles for the week. With adding an extra run day next week, my mileage should be around 34-36.

My next race is a 10-miler in two weeks. Then I’m going to run a 20K on May 3. Its around Lake Monona, which is one of the prettiest areas around here (everything is pretty, but especially here). I’m hoping to go run this route at least once before the race too. 20K is a little over 12 miles, and the race is timed up to three hours. If I continue on my current pace I should make it. After that I’m hoping to do the 10K race during the Madison Marathon and the week after will be MY marathon!

I’m actually getting really excited. My confidence is going up, especially after my long run today. The fact that I ran 12 miles and the soreness didn’t really set in until I was done is a good sign. I’m thinking this means my body is getting used to the longer runs. And increasing the mileage is a good thing too. I’m really getting excited for the marathon. I just really hope my fundraising picks up in the coming weeks.

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First day of spring

After a long hard winter, spring is here! I won’t be running outside though because today was cross training day. I will, however, walk our dog today for the first time since last fall! I’m sure Monk will enjoy it.

Its just cruel though that even though spring starts today, we have 4-7 inches of snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. I’ll be running inside tomorrow, but I really hope the snow doesn’t affect my long run on Saturday. Its a team clinic and run and I was really looking forward to actually running with the group. I’ll just have to wait and see what things look like Saturday morning.

Yesterday I ran nearly 7 miles outside. I had planned a 6-mile route, but the sidewalks didn’t go through one road, so I had to take a detour. It all worked out though and I got an extra mile in!

This has been a good training week so far. Last week I only ran 17 miles because I was sick, but this week I’m on pace to hit 26 or 27. I’ll run 4 or so miles on the treadmill tomorrow and then we have 8-10 for the group run Saturday. I’ve been trying to increase by a few miles each week.

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Shamrock Shuffle

I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 5K race on Sunday. It was my first race of any kind in two years. I ran a couple 5Ks when I lived in Carbondale, when I was just starting to run. I don’t remember my time from the second one. In my first one, which was the first Ethnic Festival 5K, I ran in 38:34. I wasn’t sure what kind of time I’d get this time. I thought it would be in the 38-minute mark.

But I crossed the finish line in 35 minutes! There was a 10K that started 5 minutes before the 5K. When I crossed the starting line, the clock said 6-something. And when I crossed the finish, it said 41:15. So I surprised myself by running the 5K in around 35 minutes.

Later in the day I checked my official time on the Shamrock Shuffle Web site, and imagine my surprise when it said 34 minutes and 56 seconds! I thought I was around 35, but I didn’t think I’d be under, even if it was only 4 seconds.

My time reflected an 11:15 per mile pace. Thats very fast for me. I usually run between 12:30 and 13:30. With my walking intervals, its closer to 14 minutes. So 11:15 is astonishing.

After the race Doug and I had lunch at the Great Dane, our favorite restaurant, with two other TNT girls and their significant others. We all had a beer in honor of St. Patty’s day, and got to know one another. It was so much fun! One of the reasons I joined TNT was to make some friends, and I’m happy that is finally happening.

Hopefully this weekend I can run outside with the group and get to know some more of my teammates!

One more sidenote: I don’t think I actually reported this here, but my fourth pair of running shoes was the charm! I’m surprised I didn’t mention it since I’ve spent a lot of time writing about my shoe drama. I was giving them time to prove themselves, and they did! I’ve done two long runs in them and one race. So now my training can really take off!

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Long run Friday

I ran 10.3 miles today, and boy was it long! It took two hours and 24 minutes. But I’ll be on that marathon course for six hours! The amount of time is starting to intimidate me a little. I’m not too sure how to combat that.

I used my new Garmin Forerunner 205 gps watch and that thing is awesome. But it didn’t seem to want to talk to my computer. So I wasn’t able to download my planned run route onto it and I actually got a little lost during the run! I took a printed map with me and it didn’t help much. The real problem was that I had to change my route when I lost the sidewalk on a fairly busy road. So really, having the route on the gps wouldn’t have helped.

My running pace, surprisingly, was between 12- and 13-minute miles the whole way. I set my intervals to five minutes running with two minutes walking. All combined my mile time was about 14 minutes.

Running outside, especially 10 miles, is much more enjoyable than the treadmill. But its most certainly different. Overall not too bad. I’m sore, but not much worse than a treadmill run. I don’t know what kind of workout I’ll do tomorrow. I would like to do something short on the treadmill and then some strength training. I’m starting to see the results from that. I may skip the treadmill and just do strength. I’ll have to see how I feel when I get there.

But I am absolutely exhausted. I wrote last night about how tired I was … so I slept a little too late this morning. I awoke refreshed, but that was wiped out after my long run. I don’t know if I’ll get to a point where I don’t get this tired on my long runs.

I’m afraid I’ll sleep for two days after the marathon! We’re staying in San Diego for four days and I’ll spend two of them sleeping! I sure hope this gets better.

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So tired!

Thoughts of TNT are keeping me up at night again. This happened when it was starting too, when I was really excited and making my plans. Well after an off week, I’m excited again and my plans are keeping me awake! Planning for outdoor runs and my reminder letters I hope to mail tomorrow and fundraisers… plenty to think about. In the past I’ve been able to turn my brain off fairly easily and drift to sleep, but I’m just too excited about TNT.

I think the nice weather and getting outside and being sick earlier this week is making me more tired right now too! So I’ve got two things going against me… nice weather/getting outside making me sleepy, but thoughts of TNT keeping me awake!

The weather tomorrow (or I guess today) is supposed to be a bit warmer than Saturday. Right now I’m planning on changing my long run to tomorrow and then a shorter treadmill run Saturday, which I’m thinking will help me in the 5K Sunday. I’ll probably go out around 10 or 11 a.m., when the temp should hopefully be about the same as it was during my run Wednesday.

I have used a few times to put together some runs. My next run will be 10 or 11 miles, and mapping 10 miles was challenging! I could have mapped a 5-mile loop to run twice, but I don’t want to give up after one loop and go home. I need to scout out trails and where sidewalks are and are not and stuff like that. I’m not going to run on the side of the road. There are two major trails near my house to explore and a bunch of parks. I’d like to run around the Arboretum and Lake Monona! The possiblities are endless.

I sound like such a nerd. Who knew planning a run would excite me this much?

Got my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch today, but not in time to play with it! I need to do a crash course on charging it up tonight and maybe loading my run map on it. If I don’t I may just get lost. That certainly wouldn’t help my cause.

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I was very excited to make it outside today. I didn’t have quite enough time to do the 5 miles I wanted, but I did 3.75 miles instead and I was very satisfied with them! Since I don’t have my garmin GPS watch yet to keep track of my intervals (should come tomorrow though!) I decided to just run until I felt like I needed to stop. I ran the whole way! Thats well over my outdoor running distance of last summer and fall. The longest I ran outside was 2.5 last year…. so 3.75!! I’m amazed. But I’ll admit… kinda bummed I didn’t have enough time to squeeze in one more quarter mile!

I felt good afterwards, though a little dizzy and really tired. I get that way after long runs too. Maybe today it was just the fresh air that tired me out, or the fact I got up pretty early. My legs (thighs specifically) were a little tender and rubbery, but not sore like they are after I get off the treadmill. I’d like to get outside today or Friday again, but I’ll do a treadmill run to gradually get used to outside. I read that was a good idea. I guess I’ll find out if it is! I’ll have spin class today, treadmill Friday and hopefully long run, outside, Saturday.

Then I’ll have the Shamrock Shuffle 5K Sunday morning!

Its so funny, my asthma forced me to take two days off this week and I was seriously UPSET at not being able to run or exercise! When I started getting more serious about exercise again just over a year ago I didn’t think I’d get this into it, especially about running! Funny how things change.

I’m really excited about my 5K race this weekend and I’m looking for other races to run aside from our group races, to prepare for the marathon. What little race experience I have is very far in the past. I’d actually like to do the 10K at the Madison marathon the week before mine, but that might be too much, since I’m supposed to cut back on running a couple weeks before, or so I hear. If I don’t run the 10K at that marathon, I will volunteer. I think that would be a lot of fun and shed some light on what I’ll be participating in a week later.

I’m really getting into this. I’m also thinking about a 20K and another 5K, and our team races will be on 10 mile and a 20 mile. I’ll be running a lot.

This was supposed to be a short, quick entry, as I got done working a half an hour ago and I want to go home and sleep, but there’s so much to say! I’m just so excited tonight.

Quick update on my fundraising: I passed $1,300 today! I made it with a donation from my sister… if you’re reading this, thanks Johanna! I’m now sitting at $1,305, for 34 percent of my goal raised. Only $2,500 to go! Thats still plenty, but its not seeming nearly as intimidating as it once did.

Everything is really coming together! I can’t wait to see what comes next. Stay tuned.