Monday, August 26, 2013

Oh NO! Not Again!

I fell while running last night.


Fortunately, this time I didn't break any bones.  In fact, this was nothing like my last fall.  This was one of those falls where you think a million miles an hour in the split second it takes to fall.  This is what I remember thinking in that micro-second:

"I'm falling!"
"Save the hand!"
"Don't catch yourself with your wrists!"
"This is gonna hurt!"
"Hand up, Hand up!"
"I can't believe this is happening again!"

It really did feel like everything was happening in slow motion.  When I hit the sidewalk it felt like I was skidding as if I was on a Slip 'N Slide - when in reality it was probably only a couple of inches.   Wikipedia explains it like this:

During high-stress situations, such as an accident, the brain receives massive amounts of data to process which alters the brain's perception of time. This is believed to be an evolutionary mechanism adapted by the brain to increase human survival rates. Therefore, during an accident a person can react quickly and make a decision in a short period of time.
 Of course, I believer this is just another wonderful gift from the Creator!

I jumped right back up and started running - blood dripping down my leg and arm.  My husband had been following behind me, and asked if I was OK.

"I'm perfectly FINE!" I quipped.

Of course, my knee and elbow were burning like they were on fire, but I was so embarrassed to have fallen yet again that I was propelled by my own pride!

I ran a couple of more miles on pure stubbornness and then came home, cleaned up, and bandaged my scrapes.  If I had been a good blogger, I would have had someone take a picture of my wounded and bloodied self - but I was too intent on erasing this event from my life!

I woke up this morning, a little sore but not injured beyond the scrapes.  I am grateful that the fall wasn't any worse, but now I'm not sure what kind of lesson I should draw from this.

On the one hand it is sort of encouraging to realize that I can fall without requiring a year of therapy afterward.

On the other hand I wonder if I am just a hopeless klutz who should never run after dusk... even with all the lights I have strapped on.

Changing the subject entirely, after much worry, research and backtracking I finally discovered that it was a Chrome add-on that was causing my slow down.  It was some sort of spell checker that I found on "Intense Debate" and  now that I have disabled it both on Intense Debate and my browser my problems seemed fixed!  Yay!!

So, have you ever fallen on a run?
And I guess this is what I'm going to do as well!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Big Dreams...

I'm still tweaking that training plan!

And planning my fall/winter races.  Yesterday, I realized that I had tentatively planned 4 half marathons in 4 consecutive months.  So I thought, "Why not go for 6 halfs in 6 months?"

Crazy, right?

I've only completed ONE half marathon, and the last 5 miles of that were miserable because I had been unable to run for 3 weeks before the race.


So, I don't even know if I like half-marathons.   But now I am planning to run 6 of them!  Here are the races I am considering:
  • October 12th - Under the Oaks 1/2 Marathon
  • November 28th - Subaru Distance Classic 1/2 Marathon
  • December 14th - Starlight 1/2 Marathon
  • January 26, 2014 - Town of Celebration 1/2 Marathon
  • February 23, 2014 - 26.2 With Donna 1/2 Marathon
  • March 30, 2014 - Tour De Pain 1/2 Marathon
The only definite race on this list is the Town of Celebration Half, which we have already paid for.  It is also the only race which involves an overnight stay.  The Starlight Half is around 100 miles away, but it is an evening race, so no getting up at 2AM!  All the other races would be considered "local".

I feel a little reckless.
What if I get injured?  Most of these need to be paid for by the end of October, so I could end up wasting a lot of money.  And then there is my husband.  He much prefers the 10K distance, so I could be dragging him around to a bunch of races he will hate.

But I also feel very excited!  I could qualify for the URANUS level in the Half-Fanatics club!  Plus, I just LOVE goals, and this is a pretty big one!

Do you belong to Half Fanatics?  What do you think of this club?

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Didn't Know I Could Do That!

As I noted in my last post, I'm in full-on-pre-fall-training mode.  I have 10 tabs open in Chrome with titles like "Your Fastest Half Marathon Ever!" and "Improve Your Half Marathon Time in 3 Easy Steps!".  I have my Excel calender spreadsheet open with all my training runs filled in  from September to December and have been tweaking, re-tweaking and then tweaking again!

As I have been obsessing planning my upcoming runs, it occurred to me that it has been almost 9 months since I have run without taking walk breaks.

 I'm a big proponent of what some refer to as "Gallowalking" - planned walking intervals as part of my training.  I've found that for me, regular breaks help deter injuries and actually make me faster.

During my long runs I usually run .45 miles and then walk .05 miles - this is about 75 seconds of walking per mile.  When running tempo intervals or speed runs of 2 miles or less, I don't take walk breaks since the break is built in (although I do usually walk during the "jog" portion.)

However, during longer tempo runs (3-5 miles) I will watch my pace and take breaks that I "earn" with a higher speed.  For example: If I am to run 5 miles at a 10 minute pace and I get to the end of the first mile with a 9:45 average, I will walk until my average pace creeps back up to 10:00 and then continue running until I "earn" another break.   This is also how I practice and run my longer races.

However, I also like to include some "Steady State" runs in my training that have no walking breaks at all, and this week I realized that I had completely neglected this particular aspect since my return to running in March (following an injury in January.)

So tonight, I decided to test just how far I could run without any breaks.  It was a sweltering 80 degrees out with 95% humidity!!  I started out hoping I could make it 3 miles, but by the 3 mile mark I was was on cloud nine!   I was running a nice easy 11:30 pace.... but I wasn't even breathing hard.  Just gliding along easy as pie.  And for the first time in my short but sweet running career, I realized what everyone meant by LSD - long slow distance.  I felt like I could have kept going forever!  It was like running nirvana!

Five and a half miles came too soon, and I was back at my house.  My husband asked me how I felt, and I just grinned and said: "I didn't know I could do that!"

Do you include walk breaks in your running?

Plea to other bloggers:  I am having an issue where Blogger slows to the point of almost being unusable as I am writing a post.  When I close Blogger and then reopen the post to edit, everything is back to normal for a couple of sentences and then the slowdown begins again.  If anyone out there has an idea what may be causing this I would really appreciate your imput!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Favorites:Running Books!

I am so excited!

September 1st is the "official" start of half-marathon training season!

However, I have to say that (quite unexpectedly) I'm going to miss the Easy Summer Runs.

When Summer first began, and I realized that I was going to have to give up all time goals and just run easy, it was a hard idea to adjust to.  Since I started running, I have always been on a plan... At first I used Galloway's plan and then quickly switched to the FIRST "Run Less, Run Faster" plan.   I loved this training plan so much that I have both the paperback and the Kindle edition!   This plan fit me very well.  I am a "numbers" person, and every. single. run. had a time goal.  Plus, there were only 3 runs per week, which was very helpful at a time when I seemed to be battling one injury after another.  However, there was never an easy run.  Never a time when I could run without constantly checking my Garmin.  And never a run slow enough that I could actually talk while running.
So when the summer heat hit and I realized that my main objective was just to survive (ha!), all time goals had to be thrown out the window.  And I got used to running easy.  Got used to running without pain.  Got used to running without any mental turmoil.

In the meantime, I read another book that I fell in love with - "You, Only Faster" by Greg McMillan.  This is probably the best book I have ever read for explaining how to customize training plans to fit the "mere mortal" runner.  I have learned WHY I need each of the four different training runs (endurance, stamina, speed and sprint) and how best to incorporate them in a way that fits my running style (I'm an "Endurance Monster")  Plus, McMillan has an excellent training pace calculator on his site which, while pretty much lining up with the FIRST goal paces, gives a target range instead of a fixed number.  This allows for those days when you just aren't feeling it as well as the days when you are killing it!

  McMillan's book does include a training plan, but since I am more familiar with and comfortable with the FIRST plan, I am sticking with that.  However, I've added an extra day of running (instead of Xtraining) and am working on customizing the entire plan to fit the way I run.  This is easier since I am already familiar with what worked and didn't work for me before.

I don't think I would have appreciated McMillan's book last year.  It draws too heavily on a runner's previous experiences (and I had none!)  In that same vein, I think this book will be even more valuable to me in the future.  In fact, since I first read the book in the spring until my rereading this week, I've learned so much more about myself as a runner and this slightly altered my original plan for this fall's training.

In the meantime, I've started including a few goal-paced miles in my running.  And today, I am sore!  Well, no one said it was going to be easy!!

Just curious: What training plan do you use? 
 Any favorite running books?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Holy Snakes, Batman!

This is a running blog - but it is also about me - and I do a lot more than run!

This weekend, for instance, we celebrated my youngest son's 8th birthday!  It is hard to believe that it has been 8 years and 8 months since I lay in bed on a cold Christmas morning, trembling from head to toe as I stared at a + sign on a pregnancy test!

It had been 10 years since I had birthed my last baby, and both my husband and I were well aware of what we were getting ourselves into - basically giving up all independence for the next decade!

A decision that neither of us have regretted for even a moment!

Levi has brought such joy to my life!  Right now, his greatest passion is SNAKES! - so we had a snake birthday party!  It was impossible to find snake party supplies (imagine that!) but the "Dollar Tree" has snakes galore!
Oh, and my youngest daughter thought it would be hilarious if everyone had to wear a mustache!  We had a blast!
My oldest daughter and her husband.

Yeah... they look thrilled!

My husband looked scary!

I looked scarier!

My grandson was not happy with this mustache thing AT All!

And he is now convinced that his Daddy is crazy!

Oldest son, Joshua (the original snake lover) gave Levi a snake for his birthday!

Thanks to a wonderful post that my friend, Mindy, over at Road Runner Girl wrote, we ended up getting my son tickets to LegoLand!  He loves Legos, so this was perfect!  And, of course, Levi got a real snake for his birthday (a baby Red Tail Boa) to add to our snake menagerie.

 I know that most of you reading this would not dream of having a snake as a pet.  I used to feel the same way.  In fact, I could not even look at a picture of a snake- let alone allow one to LIVE in the house!  However, 20 years ago my oldest son Joshua was absolutely in love with snakes.  He talked about them day and night - and since I was trying to teach him phonics - I started buying books about snakes to encourage him to read.

Eventually he began begging me to let him have one.

"No!  Absolutely not!  God Himself will have to come down and tell me to before I will let you have a snake in the house!"

Those were my exact words.  Joshua was undaunted.  "Well then, I'm just going to pray!"

A few days later,  I walked outside and saw a tiny snake curled up on the sidewalk.  Now previously my instinct would have been to grab a hoe and hack that creature to bits before it attacked my babies.  I know this because that is what I had done the last time I encountered one. 

But on this occasion I clearly lost my mind - because I went running into the house and said: "Josh- come look!"

He was deliriously happy and I allowed him to put the snake in a mason jar and keep it on the porch.
Then the "God came down" part happened.  You see, this was in the days before cell phones, and I was unable to talk to my husband at work.  So imagine my utter shock and surprise when that very same day he came home with an entire terrarium set-up!  Someone had brought it to work to give away, and my husband has never been one to turn down "free"!

Clearly God was on Joshua's side!

That was the beginning of our family snake love, and now not only my son, but my two youngest daughters have snakes.

And my oldest son still believes in the power of prayer!!!

Would you ever consider a snake as a pet?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

1,000 Miles in 2013: Halfway There!

At the beginning of this year, I made a resolution to run 1,000 miles in 2013 - and then promptly fell flat on my face!  You can read all about it HERE.

Go ahead.  I'll wait......

Good!  That saves me a lot of typing!

At the end of July I finally went over 500 miles for the year!

My year has looked something like this:
  • January - 48 miles (about half of those were from that 1st fateful run and the 1/2 marathon!)
  • February - 10 miles  (foot injury)
  • March - 56 miles (trying to get back up to speed)
  • April - 95 miles
  • May - 100 miles
  • June - 100 miles
  • July - 95 miles
With 5 months left in 2013, that means I need to avg. 100 miles per month from here on out.
Very doable - as long as I don't have an..... "I"-word (I'm not even going to type it) !!

Yes!  I'm giving myself a big 'ol pat on the back!

It would have been so easy to give up during all the January drama.  Who would have blamed me??  And I cannot even count the times that I have forced myself out into the heat and humidity to get in my 23 miles a week - when it would have been so much easier - and totally justifiable -  to just take it easy.  But it seems that the more life throws at me: injury, surgery, heat wave, another surgery, gaining 4 pounds (ha!) - the more determined I am to see this through!

Can I do it??  Will I be a triumphant 1,000 mile runner come December 31st?

To be continued.....

Do you have something you'd like to pat yourself on the back for?  Let's hear it!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

My August (and July) Stridebox is Here!

Today my mailman had an extra spring in his step!  That's because he got to deliver my August Stridebox.  I really am glad I signed up for this monthly subscription.  So far, none of the boxes have let me down.

Click here for a peek at my June Stridebox
Click here for a peek at my May Stridebox

First, I have to do a quick July Stridebox recap.  I took pics when it arrived, but never got around to sharing it on the blog:

July Stridebox:

This one contained a water bottle with several drink mixes inside (I've taken them out for you to see) as well as couple of energy bars, a Body Glove gel, and a package of spider tech tape.  I do find the water bottle handy for mixing my drinks for my runs - although the 2  drink mixes I have tried have been pretty awful! (Nuun electrolyte tab, and Vega electrolyte hydrator mix)  I think I'll be sticking with Mio Fit for my electrolyte replacement!

Ok, now on to my August Stridebox:

This Month's Stridebox contained my favorite - a Kind Bar!  I absolutely love these things!  It also includes a couple of energy chews, a drink mix, a couple of gels, another energy bar - and the non-food item this month was a cooling towel.  I already have a couple of these, but loved the size of this one.  Just perfect for looping through the belt on my waist pack (26"X8")

Here is a rundown of the items in the box and their value:

Now, I just need to figure out how to keep from eating my Kind bar before tomorrow's run!!

Do you have a favorite "energy" or post-run bar? (you already know my favorite is Kind Bar - any flavor!)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Favorites: Four Things I'm Lovin'!

It has been a while since I did a "Favorites" post.... on my blog.  I write them in my head all the time!  To bad my brain doesn't share a wireless connection with my computer.

Hey! - I bet we will have that ability one day.

Everyone walking around - just thinking facebook and twitter updates.

Scary thought, huh?

Anyway, here are several things that I am loving lately:

1)  Borax!

Yes, regular, old-fashioned Borax!  A while back I tackled my stinky laundry problem using a combination of borax and Sport-Wash.  Well, after a lot of experimentation, I've discovered that the real solution is two-fold.

First - allow the sweaty garment to air dry (see my #2 below)

Second - a Borax prewash.  The Borax prewash works so well that I have started using it with every load (not just my workout clothes) to keep that chronic-dank HE washer smell away.  It leaves my clothes fresh-smelling and works better than any of the MANY expensive fragrance options I had tried previously. (YES!, I'm talking to you Downy unStopables!)

2) Wall-Mount Accordion Clothes Dryer!

I needed someplace to drip-dry our sweaty running clothes.  And here in South Georgia, by "sweaty" I mean "you could wring them out and then water your plants!"  I was looking for an alternative to hanging clothes on the shower door, when I came across this gadget ($20 on Amazon).  It's not the prettiest wall decor, but it makes use of our little-used tub, and doesn't require any floor space.

3) My Hand Therapist, Sandy!

This woman drove 40 miles - on her day off - to work on my hand!  I mean, the Rehab office isn't even open on Saturday!

 Thanks to her I have gone from this fist:

to this:

I still have a long road ahead - but at least now I have hope of being able to use the last two fingers again!

4) This Song!

My husband sent me a link to this song with the instructions to "turn it up loud!"
It is a perfect song to run to!

So there you have it!  A few of my favorite things this week!

 What is your favorite new product??