10 updates for my 100th Post

I can’t believe this is my 100th post!! When I started this blog in Feb 2015 I didn’t know how long it would last, what exactly I would write about, where it would go and whether I would connect to people. I just knew I enjoyed writing, and I wanted to share my story.

So in honor of this monumental post I have decided to share 10 things (in no particular order) that have been going on in my life since my last update. No one topic in particular, but since its been a few weeks since I have written anything, I wanted to share a couple of things that have been going on with me and some that have really made me think the last few weeks.

  1. As I mentioned in my resolution update, I was accepted into a local Leadership Development program. It will be 6 months long, and a few days ago was the all day (8:30a-7pm) retreat to kick things off.

There are 20 participants in the program, and we started with some team builders (which are soooo much better than ice breakers!). As a group we actually impressed the facilitators on our quick problem solving, and set a record time in one of the activities. So we were setting ourselves up as high achievers haha. It made me excited to spend the next 6 months with this group of people.

After the morning team builders, we went out into the woods for some ropes course activities and challenges. All challenges were by choice, but I went up on a 30 ft catwalk, and honestly the hardest part was transitioning from climbing up the tree to the log that I would walk across. I am not afraid of heights, but I tried not to look down because I knew it would make me nervous.

The next station was a 40 foot rock climbing wall. I had never done a rock climbing wall before, and after watching 5 guys only get about halfway up, I didn’t expect to make it very far. I slowly worked my way up, and even though I had to stop a few times to rest because my legs were shaking, I tried to keep going. I got frustrated a few times because I couldn’t reach the next pegs or figure out where to go, and I felt like I wouldn’t get any closer than 6 feet from the top. I thought strongly about stopping, but seeing how close I was, I didn’t want to regret not going further. I received some encouragement from those watching below, and I was able to turn a peg that was loose to get a boast for my foot and after 15+ minutes on the way, I got to the top. Something only 2 other people did that day did. I was so proud of myself for not giving up.

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough”

Rocking Climbing

Overall, by the end of the day, I felt like I was able to be myself (a leader) which I sometimes don’t always feel, as I feel like I have to hold back. It was also interesting because all day we only could share our first names and we couldn’t talk about where we worked so we had to get to know each other as people vs titles. It was a little awkward at times, but it forced us to ask other questions to get to know each other. At dinner we shared our jobs, and fun facts about ourselves and for some their jobs and facts didn’t seem to fit their personalities that was seen throughout the day, which is the point.

2. On Sept 7th I started a new workout program, PiYo, to complement my running. As you can see from this picture, I have pretty poor flexibility, so I am hoping for some good results. If you are interested in learning more about PiYo, let me know!

As a result of this new program and trying to manage other commitments in my life, I have been waking up early to get the 25-30 minute workouts in so I don’t get off track on the plan and miss a day. This is something I did last fall, and I liked getting my exercise out-of-the-way for the day, even though I like my sleep. So I’ll see how long this continues.

3. Today (Sept 18th) was the day I was supposed to run my first marathon. But as most of you know, I had a hip flexor injury that derailed my training in August so I wasn’t able to adequately complete my training. I made the decision to not run the race. Although I don’t regret my decision it didn’t stop me from thinking about how different the last month of weekends, and the last few weeks would have been like. I would have had long runs to complete, and I would’ve been tapering for the last 2 weeks and carbo loading the last few days.

But everything happens for a reason and by the end of the morning, I was glad this race didn’t end up being my first marathon for several reasons with the top reasons being. A) I felt like the finishing stretch was unsafe as the runners had to cross a busy intersection and since the course wasn’t closed the police patrolling traffic didn’t always see the runners and several runners almost got hit by cars as they were sprinting to the finish line. B) There was a total of 400 runners that completed the half, relay marathon and marathon, which means that it would’ve been very lonely out on the course and hardly any spectators.  I really wanted to like and support this race, but unless something changes, I don’t plan to run this race in the future.

4. I was happy to volunteer for this race, even though the communication on what my actual shift needed to be was not good. I volunteered to hand out race medals, figuring I wouldn’t need to get up as early as those who were doing water stations or race marshals, but it backfired on me when I was told I needed to be there at 6:30 to unwrap medals. Go figure, but within 5 minutes of me arriving the medals were all unwrapped because there were 10 other people there working on them. So I had to kill time until 8:30 when the 5K runners started finishing. It was frustrating, and I know I should’ve taken it all in stride but I didn’t because I was tired and grumpy for having to get up before I really need to.  I did think about offering to help with volunteer organizing next year so others wouldn’t feel the way I did (if they do the race again because they weren’t even sure they would break even this year)

When it was finally time to hand out medals, I did enjoy doing that, and it made me even more determined to try again for a marathon next year.

5. Over the last few weeks I have been able to get 2-3 runs in each week, my hip flexor feels pretty good. I tried doing some intervals on Thursday (.5 miles x 3) and didn’t focus on time, but rather my feel and form. My legs felt heavy, and my stride felt off, and I didn’t know how my hip flexor would feel. Thankfully as tough as the intervals were while I was doing them, once I finished my run I felt good for getting my run done. But it was clear that I have a long way to go to get back to where I was. I know I can get there, but I have to keep running a priority.

6. I mentioned in last months resolution update that I decided to try being a fitness coach. The first 10 days or so of that was very overwhelming because I was trying to find the time to learn everything, and the more I learned I wondered if I made the right decision, and whether I would be successful. My goal is to help others see the value of fitness in their lives. I know what it has done for me and my confidence, and that’s all I want for others. Thankfully, the overwhelming feeling has settled down, and I am starting to find my groove with it. I am planning on hosting a Health/Fitness Challenge group (if anyone is interested check out the Event Invite  for more details) and I am trying not to worry about how I will be able to coordinate everything. I will just have to take everything a day at a time, and do what I can while staying true to myself.

7. It has not been as much a priority for me to not only write for myself (daily/ weekly journaling) but my blog has also slipped a little. I really like journaling because it helps me process my thoughts, and I need to make it a priority again. As for my blog, without a current running goal I wasn’t feeling like I had anything worthwhile to share. But you can expect some thoughts on PiYo in the future.

To me, I really just need to look at all of the things I am involved in and really evaluate what brings value to my life and do more of that regardless of what I feel I “should” be doing.

8. The swim team that I coach for has started back up again and I don’t have a set schedule with it because I am in charge of scheduling and if no one else can work I have to cover. Which is just messing up my workout routines. I hope within the next 2 weeks or so this will settle down, but if it doesn’t I will need to say no to certain nights of that, in order to say yes to myself.

9. If you aren’t already, please follow my Facebook Page: Sarah Chasing Life or Instagram: Sarah Chasing Life, to keep up to date on my latest running updates and information related to me being a fitness coach

10. Although this isn’t really an update, I will wrap this up by saying a HUGE heartfelt THANK YOU to all my readers, especially my loyal followers that have been with me since the beginning, your support means a lot to me. I wouldn’t still be writing it if weren’t for you.

Time for me to head to bed though, so have a great week!

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Marathon Training: Update & a Decision

I know I missed sending out an update last weekend but I was out of town with limited internet service, so I just planned to combine Week 10 & 11 of my marathon training into 1 posts.

Over the last 2 weeks a lot has been going through my mind. In my last update I shared that I was having some issues with my hip flexor, had doctors orders not to run and started seeing a physical therapist.  Since then I have seen a PT 3 times a week over the last 2 weeks. My hip feels A LOT better from 2 1/2 weeks ago, but it’s not back to 100% yet.

I have continued to workout- swimming 2-3 days a week, and working upper body. After a couple sessions with PT, I had hoped to get the clear to run but my PT said at least another week. I was so anxious to get back to running that wasn’t being honest with myself/my body to realize just because I was walking around without limping it didn’t mean that I should start running. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear (or admit), but I was reminded by many people in my life that it is better to properly heal than to rush back into running and end up hurt again.

As the date of my marathon has gotten closer and closer, I was trying to figure out whether I could still train well enough to feel comfortable to complete 26.2 miles in 1 day. I hoped to get the clear to run on 8/19, especially since on 8/17 I went all day without discomfort/pain in the hip and that was without anti-inflammatory meds so I’d that things were looking up. But the next day I could feel some inflammation return, my PT session helped some but it didn’t last all day. On the 19th, my PT massaged my hip flexors really well and it helped TREMENDOUSLY and then had a very honest conversation with them about how much longer I should anticipate my recovery especially with the periodic inflammation. I was told that I could continue to exercise and could ‘push my limits’ but still no running. 8/19 marked 30 days until my marathon and I knew I needed to make a decision. Best case scenario I could start running 3 weeks out from the marathon, but even if that were to happen, there was still the risk that my hip flexor wouldn’t be able to handle that level of use.

Since I started seeing a PT I’ve had a hard time accepting that my marathon training plans were getting derailed (runners are a stubborn bunch!). A marathon has been something I have been thinking about for a few years and planning toward since the beginning of this year (as one of my resolutions) and it was difficult to admit that I wouldn’t be able to complete the race. But I also knew that a marathon is not something to take lightly and I knew my body would have to take me most of the way and my will and determination would get me to the end. But without my body cooperating, I knew it wouldn’t be smart to try.

It has taken me these last 2 weeks to be able to accept and now share with others that I will not be completing a marathon on 9/18 as planned. I’m disappointed in myself, but know that I will be stronger because of this in the long run. I still have plans to complete a marathon someday, maybe later this year if I can find ‘the right race’, or there is always next year to try again, and I know I will follow through.

I have read countless quotes and heard enough runners stories to know that running a marathon, something 1% of the population has done, will change your live and many lessons will be learned. Even though I will not be completing this race my lesson right now is that I can’t control everything in life, and listening to my body is more valuable and important than my stubbornness.

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck” -Dalai Lama

Have you ever registered for a race any not completed it? How did you feel about it?

Good luck to anyone who is training for a fall marathon!

Marathon Training: Week 9 7/31-8/6/16

I am writing this update as I watch the Olympics. I love watching the Olympics, and become close to obsessed with it and watching coverage every day. I look forward to the swimming, beach volleyball, women’s gymnastics and this year will have more interest in the Track events since my interest in running has grown since 2012. What events do you look forward to watching?

As much as I could go on about the Olympics, I will write a quick update on my training week.

I left off Week 8 with my hip feeling better and I hoped I was on the road to recovery. Unfortunately when I went for my run on Monday 8/1, what was supposed to be an easy 5 mile run, was anything but that.

When I started running, it was slow, I was limping and I know my form was terrible. I had hoped that after the first mile I would get in the groove like it did on Saturday 7/30, but I was running so slow I felt like I would’ve gone faster if I was speed walking. So at 1/2 mile I was getting frustrated and had to stop and stretch my hip out. After a couple of minutes of that I started back up again, and it felt a little better, but at 16 minutes I had to stop again. I STRONGLY thought about quitting, chalking it up to “at least I tried”, I finally succumbed to realizing that after 3 weeks of this pain/discomfort I should probably really go and see a doctor. After the stretch session I continued my run trying to at least finish 3 miles and hoping it would eventually get better. Which it did, and I was able to finish the 5 miles. Not anywhere close to the times I am used but I finished. During that run I was listening to a “Running on Om” podcast interview with Zach Miller, it was good timing because one quote from him was “Some training days are for physical gains and others are largely about mental gains”, and that was how I felt this run was.

Tuesday 8/2- I took the afternoon off from work in order to get myself to a doctor, not that my pain was any worse but I had the time so I stopped making excuses and just went to see if they could tell what was causing the issues. I was being so stubborn to see a doctor because I didn’t want them to tell me no running. That was exactly what I was told: stop running until I see a physical therapist for muscle issues 😦 That day I also had an X-ray done, because even though I didn’t fall and knew that my hip was broken, I wanted to make sure I had covered all bases so I could have more than enough information. So with that news, the only workout I did for that day was some upper body and core work for 30 minutes.

Wednesday 8/3- I replaced my interval running day with 45 minutes (2100 yards) of swimming. Even though this was non impact, I still could feel discomfort when I twisted my body a certain way or did a flip turn and was pushing off the walls. So I had to use a pull buoy aimg_7628 lot, and just do open turns. It felt good to be swimming again, and I was especially grateful that I work at a place with many different fitness and wellness facilities to utilize.

 

 

Thursday 8/4- It was a first Physical Therapy appointment, and it turns out that part of my discomfort is coming from a maligned Sacroiliac (SI) joint. So my therapist worked to fix that. Since the pain started I told friends that it just felt like I needed to stretch my hip and pop it back into place, and it turns out that I was right. This PT session was more an evaluation to see where the pain was stemming from and then coming up with a plan to fix it so I could get back to running ASAP.

Even though that appointment was in the morning, I still worked out after work completing some new circuits of upper body and core (battle ropes, curl to press, pull ups, rows, lateral shoulder raises, push to plank, planks) and I also made time for some hip flexor stretches.

Friday 8/5- Even within 1 day of PT and taking some anti-inflammatory, my hip was feeling MUCH better, not 100% yet, but I am able to walk normally for more than a few minutes. I have been having this discomfort for so long it weird to remember that I can walk without having pain!

After work I swam again- 2500 yards in 52 minutes. It felt better than Wednesday, but I still didn’t do a lot of flip turns.

This pool will be my sanctuary until I can run
Saturday 8/6- It was felt sooo weird to be able to sleep in today and not go for a long run, which was supposed to be 16 miles. Instead I went to see my PT. They administered some heat therapy, massage, realigned my SI joint again and I did a handful of exercises to help strengthen my hips. Each day I am feeling better and better so I hope by next Saturday, at the latest, I will be able to run again. I want to do it even more because doctors have told me not too! It’s been hard to follow orders because I don’t want to get behind on my training, but at the same time I know if I don’t complete commit to taking care of my body, I could develop chronic pain that would stop me from running indefinitely. I have a little wiggle room in my training, and I figure if I could get a 3 hour run in 2 weeks before my marathon then I will be able to run the race. Otherwise I will have to alter my plan.

With only 6 weeks to go until Race day, stay tuned to see what happens!

Recommended Read: 3 ways to make up for a missed long run

 

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Marathon Training: Week 8 7/24-7/30/16

I am officially through the halfway point of my training… just under 50 days to go… eek!

I started off this week still feeling stiff/sore in my right hip/hamstring/groin… it has been difficult to pinpoint exactly what the issue was because it seemed to change throughout the day depending on what I had stretched or how I was sitting.

Monday 7/25- In order to avoid ~90+ degree weather by running after work, I had the motivation to get up early to get my run done before work. As had been the case the previous 2 weeks, I hobbled through the first few steps and my legs felt heavy, but I just took it one step at a time and I made it through.

Tuesday 7/26- I continued with upper body exercises (dumbbell bench press, assisted pull-ups, rows, shoulder press, etc) to give my legs some rest. Even though I am not strengthening my legs, I feel like spending some time on my upper body will be beneficial to keep good form as my miles get longer. So in a sense this injury is a good thing so I am forced to strengthen different muscles.

I also spent about 15 minutes doing some foam rolling and taking a softball to my hamstring. I wished I had used a softball sooner, it helped soooo much and I felt like I finally worked the kink out and one issue was solved.

Wednesday 7/27- I woke up early enough to get an early morning run in, but when it was time to get out the door I had a big mental battle of whether I should push my legs to do an interval day and re-aggravate whatever other hip issues I had going on, or go to the wellness clinic and ride a bike instead. I opted for the bike, and ended up DRIPPING SWEAT, it was so warm in the clinic. I completed 11 miles on a spin bike, and did mix in some interval sessions throughout but it was harder than I anticipated! I may be in shape for running, but I have lots of room for growth on a bike.

Thursday 7/28- It was a lunch time workout today- upper body and core. I thought yesterdays ride would have helped my legs recover some, but it flared up my hip flexors, so I was stiff and limped around all day :-/.

Friday 7/29- Rest Day

Saturday 7/30- I was out-of-town for the weekend, and explored a new path.

I had 12 miles on the schedule for today and thankfully it was a little cooler out (lower 60s) than it has been when I started my run.

Despite being distracted by the new views, my first 3 miles were really ROUGH, the worst it has been in the last couple weeks. My stride was short, my feet were practically dragging and my pace was nowhere near my usual long run pace. I didn’t know whether I would be able to keep it up for the whole 12 miles, and whether it would be worth it since my form was terrible.

It wasn’t until around the 3 mile mark when I stopped briefly for a picture, and stretched a little bit, that I was starting to feel slightly better. I felt well enough to make it to the turnaround point and at least start to head back to my car.

Around mile 6 I got some company as my Dad rode his bike alongside me for a little while. I still wasn’t going the pace I would’ve liked, but I tried to keep up with him!

At mile 7, I stopped at my car for some Gatorade, stretched for a minute, and then took off like a bullet. I had no idea where it came from but I felt great, completing my 8th mile in 9:20 where my previous 7 miles were averaging 9:55. The last few miles I kept feeling better and better, and my stride finally came back within the last 2 miles and I finished my last mile in 8:45 (that’s more like it!). Between the 2 hours of running, I started off barely able to run to getting a runner’s high and feeling like I could’ve ran more miles. One lesson of running is that it may start off really hard, but if you keep going your body may just surprise you with what it is capable of and you will be glad you didn’t give up during the hard part.

As I cooled down, I tried to stretch out my hips/hip flexors really good, and hoped that my next run will start off where that one left off- with no hobble and a smooth run.

A few hours after my run I was stiff and was limping around, so I had to stretch more throughout the day.  I couldn’t figure out what the next step is for dealing with these issues 1) Go see a doctor, just to have them refer me to someone else and have it take weeks to get appointments to figure out the issue 2) Take a break from running to give my body a chance to recover 3) Keep running because after a few miles my body actually feels better.

Thankfully as I write this, a full 3 weeks since the issues started I am finally starting to feel a WHOLE lot better. I’m no longer limping and I am hoping that I will continue to get better each day and it will be smooth(er) sailing until race day.

Total Miles for the week: Running 17.05, Bike 11

Total July Miles: Running 87.80 (new record) 

Have a great week and thanks for reading!

Marathon Training: Week 6 & 7, 7/11-7/23/16

It’s been 2 weeks since my last update, and that’s because I was away on vacation to visit some friends and I really just tried to relax and enjoy my time away from “real life” including my blog.

I last left off with my Boilermaker 15K Recap. A race that I gave my all, and have spent the last 2 weeks recovering from it…

Mon 7/11- The day after the Boilermaker was a rest day for me, I had the day off from work so I was able to sleep in until 8:30 and be a little lazy in the morning.

Tues 7/12- I was up around 7 in order to get a run in before my flight to head off to the beach! The run started off a little rough as I hobbled through my first steps due to some pain/tightness in my right hip flexors. I did loosen up some but I took it nice and easy.

 

I made it to my Florida destination with no problem, but when I woke up Wednesday my muscles were tighter than the day before. I tried to stretch it out some, but it wasn’t really helping. After lounging around a pool pretty much all day, I did fit a little workout in. My equipment was limited- just a couple of hand weights- so I just made up the workout as I went, and broke a good sweat thanks to working out in a “Florida Room” it was like a sauna!

Thurs 7/14- I spent the morning relaxing on a BEAUTIFUL beach!

Then that night I braved the temperatures and humidity to try to get an interval workout in. The good thing was there was a gravel track at a small park as well as a cemetery near my friend’s house, which were perfect for doing laps. Unfortunately that run didn’t go that great… I was still sore/stiff so again the first steps were rough. I did 1 mile warm up than 4x.50, with .25 walk/jog rest. My 1/2 mile splits were nowhere near my usual speed, I averaged 3:46, which was nowhere near my best, but it was better than skipping the workout all together.  The nice thing was that after I finished my run, I was able to jump into a pool and cool off!

Fri 7/15- My friend and I went out on Stand-up Paddle Boarding for an hour. It was her first time doing it, so we just took our time and enjoy the scenery.

Sat 7/16- I had a 12 mile run on my training schedule, but with my hip still being sore, and with the warm temperatures/humidity I didn’t want to end up pushing too much that I wouldn’t be able to run for a week or more. Plus I didn’t want to end up dehydrated like I was at the Boilermaker. So I told myself I would break it up into 2×6 miles, that way I would stop back at my friend’s house for water. I also brought some Gatorade gel blocks with me to test those out. I was out the door around 7:45a, which was a little later than I planned but I had a hard time getting out of bed. But I reminded myself that once I got going I would feel better I got it done and out-of-the-way for the day.

When I started running, I again wasn’t moving very fast (11+ min mile pace for the first 1/2 mile or so), but by mile 3 I was getting into my groove a little more, and had a gel which went well. As i got closer to mile 6 I was feeling ok, but I was definitely ready for some water. So when I got back to my friend’s house I practically chugged 24 oz of Propel infused water, and I also jumped in the pool to cool off. It felt nice to cool off, and my hip had loosened up so I decided to go back out for more, and did 3 more miles and told myself if my hip felt ok I would do 3 more later in the day to get to my 12.  Of course that night we went out to dinner and out for artistic ice so the additional run didn’t happen, but 9/12 was pretty good considering the fact that I was hobbling around when I walked.

Sun 7/17- Was a very special day as my friend’s daughter had her baptism and I was the Godmother, so the day was filled with those events and no workout.

Mon 7/18 Was a 4 mile easy run day. I was out the door at 7:40 because we had a beach day planned for my last full day of vacation. My hip was still sore, but better than a few days ago. The first quarter-mile was slow again, but by mile 4 I was feeling pretty good so I went a little longer to make up for the shorter miles on Saturday.

After my run, I enjoyed this beautiful beach…..

And later that night this even prettier sunset!!!

Tues 7/19- Was my last day on vacation. I spent my last few hours in Florida at the beach, and then it was time to head back home

Until next time Florida

Wed 7/20-I thankfully had a ‘vacation recovery’ day from work, so I could sleep in some after getting home around 1 am. My hip was feeling the best it had felt since the Boilermaker, not 100% but I could at least walk without hobbling, and only limping a little. I had intervals on my schedule but I didn’t have a lot of expectations.

I did 1 mile warmup, then did 5x.50 with .25 walk/jog rest. I ran on my high school alma mater’s track and there was a lacrosse game going on, but there were other people running so I figured I was ok to be on the track too. These distractions help my miles go quickly. My splits were MUCH better than last week and I averaged 3:26 (3:23.6,3:19.8, 3:28.4, 3:32.8, 3:27.7). When I finished up I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had achieved a new mile personal best… 7:38!! Someday I hope to be able to run that regularly!

Thurs 7/21- Was back to reality (work and responsibilities). I went to the wellness clinic and talked with some of the student workers (exercise science majors) just to get some thoughts on what I could do to make my hip feel better. They suggested a variety of stretches, so I did that for about 15 minutes and that seemed to help. I also gave my legs a break and just did a 20 minute upper body day.

Fri 7/22- Fridays are usually my rest day, but after not working out as I should have while on vacation. I get out at 3p on Fridays during the summer and told myself I would use the extra 2 hours for myself, and going to the wellness clinic was something I enjoyed doing. I got a really good stretching and foam rolling session in, then did an upper body/core workout for about a 1/2 hour before heading home.

Sat 7/23- I had 14 miles on my training schedule. It was a lot of mental preparation in order to get through it since I had never run that distance before. I decided to run on the local ‘rail trail’ which has a 2 mile section (4 miles out and back) and 1.5 mile (3 miles), so I parked in the middle so I would never be too far away from water. My plan was to think of the run as 2×7 mile runs. I also brought 2 big water bottles- 1 with Propel infused water and the other with Gatorade, plus I brought 3 gel blocks with me.

I started this monumental run bright and early to beat the heat (6:45a, which is early for me! As I had to wake up at 5:30 to get some food in my body). I took it nice and easy, so as to not overheat plus my hip flexors were still a little sore. Throughout the run, I stopped regularly for fueling (maybe too much?), and a couple of times I just stopped for a minute (stopping my watch of course!) in the shade to cool down. Breaking the run up into this 1.5-2 mile increments for the last 7 miles really helped me get through the miles.

I was very consistent through all these miles. My first 7 miles pace were all within 6 seconds of each other (9:43-9:50). After the halfway mark I tried to pick it up a little bit and paced between 9:36-9:45. It made me wonder whether my marathon goal pace of 9 minute miles may be too ambitious. However with the weather and the fact that long runs are supposed to be slow, I am not going to get too hung up on determining a realistic time goal, when really I just want to be able to finish the race.

Goal achieved!

Once I finished my run I felt good knowing I had gotten all my miles in before 9:15am and I could get on with my day. It was as much a mental win for me today as it was a physical achievement. Only 8 more weeks to go.

Week 6 Totals (including the Boilermaker miles): 27.54 miles

Week 7 Totals: 24.76 miles

 

This post is long enough (thanks for reading), so I just want to leave one recommended article from Runner’s World about enjoying the little natural moments that can happen on a run.

Until next time!

Marathon Training: Week 5 7/3-7/9/16

Week 5/15: Total Miles 9.44

My mileage was a little lower this week because my long run will be tomorrow 7/10- the Utica Boilermaker 15k. 

Let’s go back to Sunday 7/3, I was good this week and did about a half hour circuit of body weight training. I even challenged myself to see how many unassisted  chin-ups I could do. The result was 3 sets of 5. Someday I would like to be able to complete 15 straight, based on a goal I randomly made 6 years ago, but it still seems like a good goal so I need to keep up the practice. 

Monday was the 4th of July, so I had the day off from work and was able to sleep in a little. After much debate of where I wanted to run (I know I overthink this kind of thing, haha) I decided to try the same hilly route I ran on Memorial Day to see how much I had improved. 

It was a 4.5 route, and unlike the 1st time I didn’t have to walk at all through the 360 foot climb spanning 1.5 miles. So it was a big mental win! The other nice thing about this run was my dad was out on a bike ride and was able to get some pictures of me running.  He even commented that I am looking more like a runner, which a big compliment to me since I don’t feel like I have a “runners body”(tall, slender legs). It made me feel like my dedication is paying off and it meant a lot to hear that. 

Since I was feeling much better in this run than the first time I ran it I rounded out my miles to 5. 


Tuesday was my cross training/strength training day. I continue to try to increase the weights I use and just hope that it will pay off. 

Wednesday it was really hot and humid out, and at the recommendation of my unofficial coach (my dad) I took it easier and ran indoors, which just gave me an excuse to continue my binge watching of my current obsession- Nashville! 

I didnt set my watch to the interval settings so I had to pay attention to either my watch or the treadmill counter, so I wasn’t  exact on splits because I was distracted by the show! I did 1 mile warmup, then 4x.5 miles (speed 8.2-8.5), 1 minute walk, 1:45 jog (6.2-6.4) then finished up with .75 cool down. (You’ll see I stopped my watch before the treadmill). 

I really didn’t enjoy this run because I feel like a treadmill restricts me when I try to sprint so I wasn’t going as fast as I would outside. I guess part of it is the fear of falling off the treadmill if I crank it up too fast. I just hope I won’t have to resort to treadmill running during the next 10 weeks of training. 

Thursday was a weight training day. Nothing much to report there. 

Friday and Saturday were both rest days as I wanted well rested legs for the Boilermaker. 

Stay tuned for a race recap post within the next few days! 

Marathon Training: Week 4 6/26-7/2/16

Training week 4/15… Total weekly miles: 20.02

Let’s kick it off with Sunday, it turned into an unplanned rest day. I know I should’ve done something, even if it was just a walk, but I relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful day in my family’s pool.

Monday was back to running. It was another warm day, and even though I continued with running some hills, I changed my route a little bit to try to run in the shade as much as I could. I also stopped for water around mile 3.5 so that I didn’t overheat.

Tuesday was a lunch hour cross training workout day. See last week for my exercises.

Wednesday was intervals day and it was another beautiful day! My hamstrings were really tight all day, so after my mile warmup I did some extra stretching before starting my intervals, it didn’t help much but I hoped they would loosen up along the way. This week I bumped it up to 5x800s, with 1 minute walk 1:45 jog. My splits weren’t as great as last week: 3:27.6, 3:27.7, 3:23.5, 3:31.9 & 3:44.7. Average 3:31. The interesting thing that I realized is that a few weeks ago I would have been completely satisfied with these splits, but last week my average was 3:23.8, and after knowing what my body is capable of I feel like I expect it more often and I am hard on myself when it doesn’t happen.

The view from the track I run on!

Thursday was another strength training day. Since I have been following these specific strength training plans for about 8 weeks now and can notice my legs and core getting more defined. I like it, I haven’t been in this great shape since I completed p90x 3 1/2 years ago. I am looking forward to what the next 11 weeks of training will bring.

Since Thursday was the 30th, a lot of runners I follow on Instagram (follow me @sarahchasinglife) were sharing their monthly totals, so I was inspired to share mine. I was surprised to realize that I had reached 80 miles, which is my highest monthly total since I first really started running about 5 1/2 years ago. My previous high was about 65 miles. What is crazy to think is that the elite runners run 80-100 miles in 1 week!

Friday was a rest day.

Saturday was my long run day. 9 miles was listed on my training plan and instead of running around my neighborhood like I have been, I went to a nearby rail trail = nice and flat! With these longer runs, I realize they go by a lot faster when I have others around me to focus on. It was such a PERFECT day to run (mid 60s with a slight breeze), so there were many people out running or walking. This picture doesn’t show it but there were others around!

My mile splits on this run were very consistent (all within 5 seconds of each other for the first 7), but the last 2 miles I picked up the pace and my last 1/2 mile I ran at a 8:20 pace.  During this run I thought a lot about the upcoming Boilermaker 15k (on July 10th), and hope that next week I will be able to get my legs moving til reach my goal of a sub 80 minute finishing time, an 8:35 average pace, which would be the longest distance I have ever ran at that pace. Last year I surprised myself, so I am hoping the same will happen. Wish me luck!

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading!

Recommended article of the week: Why some Runs Just Suck

Quote of the week (one of my favorites): I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought- Arthur Blank

Marathon Training: Week 3 6/19-6/25/16

Training Week 3/15…. Total Miles 17.67

Read previous weeks recaps: Week 1, Week 2

Since I ran a 20K at the end of last week (6/18) and it was my longest run since my half marathon on 5/1, it took a few days for my legs to recover. I had some tendonitis flare up in my lower left leg that I haven’t felt in 2 months.  So as much as I thought a “shake out” run might help,  I took it easy on Sunday 6/19 and went for 30 min walk instead. The walk helped to just stretch out my hip flexers, and I didn’t feel like I had another rest day, since that is usually Fridays.

Monday was a running day for me. But it was pretty warm out (mid 80’s & humid) and it turned out to be a slow run. I didn’t try to overexert my body after Saturday and push my limits in the heat, it just wasn’t worth it. I still did a hilly course, but I just got the miles in. A run is a run, no matter the pace.

Tuesday was a cross training day, and I had a new round of exercises. I was excited to start, and challenge myself with the new moves, but unfortunately I didn’t get through all of them as I had to squeeze the workout in during my lunch hour. (*Disclaimer- this workout was designed for my fitness ability. I share it to give others ideas of what I do, but it is not meant as a personalized plan for you.)


Tuesday evening I was feeling sore from the runs the previous few days, and the new workout. So on Wednesday when I was warming up for my interval workout, I accepted that day’s workout wouldn’t go great.

But I was WRONG! I did 1 mile warmup, 4 x800s w 1 min walk 1:45 jog in between, 1 mile cool down. My warmup was slow (as it should be), but when it came to my 800’s my splits were 3:25.6, 3:19.7 (!), 3:23.3, 3:26.8 for an average of 3:23.8. Not only was that my best average but also my most consistent!! This unexpected performance is what makes bad runs worth it, because I never know when the next run could be a great one. Isn’t that why we all stick with sports, to have those good moments?

Thursday I was up early to work out before work to get Day 2 of new cross training complete. Again, I didn’t get through the whole workout because the new warm up took longer than expected, so I picked the exercises that I thought would get me the “most bang for my buck” so that I wasn’t late getting to my office.

Friday was a rest day, and as I was leaving work I was thinking about how despite the aches and pains I had earlier in the week, I was feel much better. The pain never lasts long and when it’s gone I almost forget the soreness ever happened. Pain really is only temporary.

Saturday was a long run day, my training schedule had 8 miles, so I did just that. It wasn’t as fast as other longer runs paces have been, but its summer so the warmer weather really affects my pace. The run was uneventful, but I did think a lot about the upcoming Utica Boilermaker, and I just hope that I will be able to achieve my goal of running a sub-80 15K since I haven’t been able to really get my legs moving on a long run over the last few weeks. But I got my mind off it by listening to the newest “Ask Lauren Fleshman” interview on the podcast Running on Om, and the topics were Overcoming Mental Barriers and Finding your role models. I recommend all Lauren Fleshman episodes.

In case the 8 miles wasn’t enough, within about 45 minutes of the run, I went on a 2 mile hike with some of my family. It was a busy, but good Saturday.

Quote for the week “Everything you’ve ever wanted is a step outside your comfort zone”

How was your week? What are some reasons you stick with running or working out through the tough days?

Marathon Training: Week 2

Week 2: June 12-June 18th, 2016

Exactly 3 months from today (June 18th) I will run my first marathon!!

Week 1 of Training

Sunday I didn’t get my strength training/cross training workout in until later in the day vs the morning because I treated myself to homemade blueberry Belgian waffles instead! Yum! My workout takes about a 1/2 hour and I do 2 rounds of weighted reverse lunges, goblet squats, side lunges, single leg glute bridges. Then I do some upper body- push ups, assisted chin ups, planks and mountain climbers. It’s a low key workout that I think I will replace with some form of cardio – a short run or bike ride over the coming weeks.

Monday was another cross training day, it’s usually a running day but I had to rearrange my workouts due to commitments after work.  It was the last week of my “Day 1” exercises, so I am excited to start a new and more challenging round next week.  (See the workout here)

Tuesday was a hill running day. I had debated whether to do my intervals today instead of on Thursday because I had a hilly 20K on Saturday, but thanks to a consult with my unofficial coach (my dad) I went with the hills. I thought about running a totally new route around work to see if I could do it, but it was 6 miles and I didn’t want to over do it, so I stuck with 5. The sun was shining, my legs felt good and my cadence was improving, it was the best part of my day.

Wednesday was a strength training again, which I completed before work.  (see the workout here) I will also get a new batch of workouts for this day next week.

Thursday was Interval Running. I decided on a slightly harder set than last week but didn’t want to push it too much with race day in 2 days. So I decided on 1 mile WU, 4x800s with 2:45 min rest (a mix of run/walk), then .6 mile cool down. My 800 splits were 3:37, 3:43, 3:27 and 3:29 (3:34 avg). It was in the mid-80s out and my legs felt heavy for the 1st two, but I figured slower 800s were better than not doing them at all, so I pushed through and made sure I drank water during my rests.

Friday was a rest day, but I did get a walk in at work, like I usually do during my lunch hours.

Saturday morning I ran my first 20K, the Vestal XX. It is the oldest race in my area- this year was it’s 46th year, and is infamous for the number of hills throughout the course. There are 12 hills, and as I was waiting to start the race I overheard someone describe the race as “torture” and I wondered what I had gotten myself into and I got a little nervous! My plan/goal was to not walk, keep a steady pace and finish in under 2 hours.  The first 5K was a lot of rolling hills, then it got a little flatter. But at the 10K mark I hit “the face”. It’s called this because the hill is so steep it hits you in the face, haha. A lot of people were walking up it, which I could have easily done and it probably would have saved me some energy, but I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could do it. Thankfully the hill was short and what followed was 2 miles of flat. I could’ve picked up some speed there, but since I had no idea what the terrain for the rest of the course looked like I didn’t want to kill my legs. I had also been warned that there was a 1/2 mile hill toward the end, so I had that ahead. I just took it a step at a time and ran as if it were a training run vs a race. But once I crested the last mile I was also aware it would be all down hill so I finished strong running an average 8:42 pace for the last mile and half and I finished in just under 2 hours.

Even though only about 150 runners ran the race, I would be willing to complete it again, especially now that I know the course.  It’s also nice to realize that the longer miles don’t feel as hard now, which helps mentally since my training runs will continue to get longer as the summer progresses.   My next race the Utica Boilermaker 15K in 3 weeks, which I hope to run a lot faster than the pace I ran today.

Quote of the week: “Running is a mental sport…we’re all insane.”

How did your week go? Are you training for anything?

I also just want to add that I appreciate everyone who reads this and continues to follow my journey. If this is your first view of my blog, thanks for reading, I hope you find my writing honest and interesting. For those who have been reading since the beginning your support means the world to me.

 

So it Begins: Marathon Training Week 1

26.2 is more than a distance, it’s dedication, desire and determination. June 5th marked 15 weeks out until my first marathon, which means I am officially on a training plan!

It’s late on Saturday night as I write this, and I’ve had a long day so I am going to try to make this short and sweet.

This week I did 3 runs, and 3 days of strength training.

I started off on Sunday with strength training, but it differed from last week as I chose to add some weights (vs just completing body weight exercises) in order to make it more challenging. After starting off well with a new personalized strength training plan a few weeks ago I haven’t really seen any changes, so I thought adding another day of weights would cause better results not only in my running but in muscle definition.

On Monday, I did another day of strength training. Normally Mondays are running days, but I had to rearrange my schedule because of some commitments after work. Nothing really to report other than I got it done, and am still trying to figure out the best weights for the exercises.

Tuesday, it was back to running. Thunderstorms were in the area, and it had been raining on and off all day, so when I headed out for a run around campus, I didn’t wonder too far away from buildings in case I had to get inside quickly. About 10 minutes into my run it started lightly sprinkling on me, but I kept going because race day conditions are not always ideal. I ran rolling hills, and even after 2 weeks of doing this regularly, I feel better about hills and when I came across a new hill I didn’t avoid it, instead I thought, “Let’s try this one and see how hard it is”, I am now seeking out hills, again for the challenge. My training plan had 4 easy miles, but I was feeling good especially since the sun came out so I actually continued to 5 miles, and with the strong base from half marathon training, I feel I need to edit the marathon plan, at least for the first few weeks.

Wednesday, I woke up earlier than usual to get complete my strength training workout before work. It was nice to get the workout done and out of the way, but I did have to rush it a little because I had a hard time getting myself out of bed.

Thursday was a running day. The training plan had 1 mile warm up, 1/2 mile sprint, 1/2 mile easy, 1/2 mile sprint, 1 mile cooldown. But after last weeks 5×800 with 2 minute rest, I felt that wouldn’t be challenging enough (are you sensing a theme this week?). So after 5 minutes of contemplation, I planned on 1 mile warmup, 4x800s with 1/4 mile easy, 1 mile cooldown. Despite it being a windy day, my 800 times were 3:33,3:28,3:40 & 3:21. When I reflected on the day, I liked completing higher miles, but by the end I felt like I could have done 1 more interval, so now I know better for next week.

Friday was a rest day. Saturday, I ran 8 miles, but my legs felt heavy for the first 5 miles, (which was probably due to less than ideal sleep), but after I stopped briefly at my apartment for water, I felt like I found my stride and tried to increase my speed and finish strong the last 3 miles. The time on the road felt comfortable, and I thought a lot about how a hilly 20K I am running next week will go. Even though I am feeling better about hills, I have never run this course before, so I don’t know what to expect.

 

Couple other thoughts that have been on my mind this week:

I’ve been getting feelings of wanting to run more, part of me is afraid to because I don’t want to push too much and wind up injured, but part of me knows that the only way to get better and faster at running is to run more. So I have been thinking about replacing one of my cross training weight training days (sunday) with a nice easy 2-3 mile run.  Any advice?

“I dare you to training for a marathon and not have it change your life”- This quote makes me wonder what I will learn about myself over the next 14 weeks until race day.

Recommended read- The Truth behind successfully making huge life changes, an interview with Nicole Antoinette (one of my favorite bloggers and podcast hosts) published in Women’s Running

Time to wrap this up…..For anyone who has ran a marathon, what is something you wish someone told you?