Ankle down, keeping my head up

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I am finally easing back to my running schedule after I noticed an annoying pain on my right ankle and hamstring after my 12 miler two weeks ago. Stairs were the death of me. I had to wait a week and a half just to see the foot doctor and it was painful just not being able to run or not being sure if it was okay to run. Especially when it was my peak week and was going to accomplish my first 13 miles before I taper for my race this coming Sunday.

During this down time, the support of my family and friends and personal reflection, I found a silver lining. Maybe I’m being a whining drama queen about not being able to run, but running really has become a huge part of my life since I began training. And not being able to look forward to a run is real frustrating. The reassurance from my best friend helps me be more positive about this situation and to not push myself. I probably annoyed her with my ankle problems, but she has been encouraging me the entire time.

What was the silver lining? After being able to run 12 miles I am more confident that I have built enough strength and endurance to be able to run 13 soon. It’s all in my head, and I won’t let my mind tell me I can’t do it. I am also glad that this happened at the time it did because it gave the opportunity to kick back a bit and fix the rookie mistakes I’ve made. Since I hurt my ankle, I reevaluated how I’ve been running and realized how I haven’t been taking care of my feet and haven’t allowed for enough recovery. I’ve been able to “fix” this before my race, and I am thankful for that. Plus, I think the satisfaction of running my first 13 miles on my first race will be more rewarding than during my training. I love surprises.

My hamstring pain went away after a few days of relaxing, but the ankle pain remained a bit. The issue? My damn flat feet. I made the rookie mistake of not getting proper running shoes that were for long distances and flat feet. I love my Nike Air Max, as they are comfortable and colorful, but now I hate them. Macklemore said that air bubble was gonna make me fly. Lies.

Hearing the foot and ankle doctor tell me I can run was music to my ears and was just so good to hear. Before I could run, I needed to get some stability shoes. So I ventured away from Nike and went with a pair from Asics. Not as cool looking, but I’m going to functionality, not looks anymore. Learned that lesson the heard way.

Fast forward to last night, and I ran my first long run after two weeks. I nice 8-miler. I made sure to stop a few times to walk and not push it. That made a difference. I also changed my Nike Running app settings to only tell me when I am at the halfway point. I figured hearing statistics is disturbing and makes me think about the time, ultimately making me run even slower. Overall, my run was great. I needed that release and satisfaction that I can do it. My ankle feels a bit strained, but it’s OK.

All in all, lessons were learned, my spirit to run didn’t fade, and I am more excited and nervous to run this race than before. Maybe this was the push I needed to get me more motivated.

 

When you think you can’t: do it anyways

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My training is a couple weeks past the halfway point and I’m less than a month away from race day. Where has the time gone!? These last ten weeks have truly been a fun ride and is helping me see and understand myself more. It’s a mixture of the running (of course), stretching, a bit of cross training, carbin’ it up, and simply feeling more connected with my surroundings.

Anyways, I learned a crucial lesson this week which I’ve always heard but didn’t really feel it until this week. The lesson is that the more I stopped the more tired I feel. Not this is a special lesson or anything, but learning this is helping me tell myself to keep going and not try to stop, especially when it comes to those damn stoplights.

I realized this phenomenon during a four mile run I was seriously not looking forward to and almost didn’t do. I really didn’t have any excuses and I definitely did not want to look back at the end of the week and see that I skipped out on a workout so recklessly. So I thought those four miles were going to be slow, awful, and dreadful because I was in a stressful and bad mood. But my run was the exact opposite. I didn’t have to stop at all on my route around Capitol Hill and I felt energized throughout it all. I think that was my fastest four miles outside by a couple minutes. I think a big part of it was also from the PB&J I ate before my run. Now I can justify eating PB&J! Love them.

This lesson hit home during my 11 miles with my running partner. We had to stop multiple times, and I felt as though my energy level was really lacking as the run went on. I still felt great after the run, of course, as you can’t really regret a workout. I am not upset or anything that we had to stop, far from it. We still got those 11 miles in. And I am proud of us. How can I complain about accomplishing 11 miles, even if it included some walking? That sounds ridiculous.

Slowly, but those 10 miles were still conquered

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Here’s a snap shot of my run to Lake Union. Despite the clouds, it’s was a rainless and comfortable run. No complaints what so ever. When I woke up this Saturday morning at 5:55am I couldn’t even think of an excuse of why I couldn’t run that morning. I wanted to accomplish my first ten mile run this morning and I wasn’t going to let my mind tell me otherwise.

Overall, the run was great. I didn’t hit any particular wall that I can recall and I finished feeling happy and ready to take on the day. My legs are sore, but it’s a good soreness? I also tried FRS chews before and during my run for the first time, compliments from my gym. I’m not sure if it made much of an effect. I’ll try my next run without them and use my traditional gummies and maybe dried fruit.

What made this run unique was not only that it tested my ability to push out a longer distance, but I felt as though I was being tested to emotionally to get through it. I have been constantly told throughout my life that although I’m doing “OK” it looks like I’m not pushing myself enough and that I can do more. I notice that during my runs and I keep making the excuse that I’m just trying to get the distance in and not push myself too hard. I know it’s a lame excuse, and that’s something I will work on going into the new week.

Side note- I’m starting to realize more how much I enjoy feeling so connected to everything around me. During school and studying I feel so secluded into sitting at a desk, studying accounting. And then I get that release during my runs to feel my connection to the world. I’m not meant to be locked away in the office. I want to be connected with life and the people around me.

Running for me

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This week I learned something something important and vital – that I am doing all of this for me. It’s an accomplishment for myself and not for others. It’s hard for me not to compare myself to others, but that may be exactly what could be withholding me from reaching my potential.

When I run that half marathon or any run, I don’t want to think about how much faster or longer other people can run. I am running for myself and to feel good overall. Just another thought on my mind lately.

Finished the week strong!

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This week started out pretty crappy and was a struggle to feel motivated to do my runs, even my two barre workouts seemed to be a bit annoying. But throughout this week I told myself that it just must be a minor wall I just hit right smack in the middle of my training. But you know what, I still got my milage in. Although I may have “had” to stop during my runs, angry and frustrated at myself, I still got it done.

When it was time to run four miles on Friday, I wasn’t expecting much. But hey, it actually turned out to be a pretty awesome run. I started out on the treadmill, then went out in the sunshine to volunteer park to take that photo above. How can you not like a run when there’s sun, blue skies, a light breeze, and a beautiful view!? Although I did get passed by an old guy, and that’s actually pretty hilarious.

At the end of each workout I was happy with myself for at least getting it done. You really can’t regret a workout, only one that didn’t happen. Why should I beat myself up for not doing as great as I hoped? I am really seeing that all this training is not just about getting in the milage and going home. Running is becoming a passion for me – and if I’m not enjoying myself then something is wrong. I am learning to accept that not all runs are amazing. There’s going to be some times when it just isn’t your day. It just so happens that was my motto this entire week. Oh well.

After accomplishing my longest run this morning of 9.25 miles, I feel great and more than glad to have my excitement back for running. Sadly, I did not have my running partner with me and was seriously nervous and afraid for this long run on my own. She was running with me in spirit and I felt her support.

As I reflect on my run, I am trying to note what may have made it such a good run. 7 hours of sleep is definitely a good factor. I ate tons of food and carbs all week, not even sorry about that. I stopped eating meat on Monday, which has been a fairly easy change. I ate some gummy bears during my run. And I started 1.5 miles on the treadmill. Plus, the nike running app is pretty awesome for updates, instead of running blindly.

Also, I don’t recall really hitting a wall during my run, making me want to stop. This particularly happens during mile three when running up hill from downtown. But this time I was running uphill during mile five and six.

Progress was definitely made this week! I was afraid I was falling backwards in my training, but that dumb wall I hit maybe was necessary and not so dumb as it made me stronger. I think it’s time to try and pick up my pace. What what.

Spreading running cheer

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It doesn’t have to be the holidays in order to spread running cheer all year long!

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Believe it or not, the highlight of my day was during my doctors visit to get my left back ankle checked out. But the main point isn’t related necessarily to my ankle, it’s the unexpected and wonderful conversations I had with the two women helping me, a nurse and the women taking my X-rays (maybe she’s a nurse, as well? I have no idea).

My first conversation was with the nurse and we got on the topic of my running to prepare for a half marathon. We shared the same appreciation that these runs typically go towards a good cause. She also mentioned that she’s noticing more runners out here. Runners, we basically a big movement!

My next conversation with the woman taking my X-rays. We talked about how I got into training for a half marathon from the push from my friends, and that I didn’t use to be a runner until now. She then told me that she can’t run more than six blocks, or only runs when she has to, such as to make her flight. She reminded me of when I started to try running and couldn’t go one longer than a lap. It was frustrating and disappointing.

I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe, she needs a similar type of push of motivation to consider it. So I then told her my story of how I started to run by participating in the color run. Turns out she never heard of it before. And that’s when I saw my chance to work my magic. She was very intrigued by the thought of going through all the colors and having fun with her friends. She mentioned that some of her friends are runners and are now addicted to the runner’s high. Lastly, I gave her advice to think about doing a couch to 5k plan. She was so excited and said she would look into it. By the end of my visit, she was so happy and thrilled than when she first called my name in the waiting room.

I felt so uplifted from my doctors visit, and it made me think of how I can impact others, particularly positively. I hope I inspired her as much as she inspired me to make a positive impact on others through my everyday interactions. It also reaffirmed to me how easy it is to simply be happy and have a more positive outlook in my life. If you feel great, it will show through on the outside.

On another note –
I have great, low blood pressure. She told me that’s from my diet and exercise. And for the first time ever the nurse told me I’m setting a good example for my little sister by being so healthy! So I must be doing something right. I then thought about how I am eating better, and that it feel great overall. Despite my love for comfort food and regular “fat” days, I notice a difference in the way I look at food. I won’t give up my enjoyment of food, but I fuel my body better with more nutrients.

All this running really is changing my life for the better. I feel more connected to myself, my friends, and family. I feel more enthusiastic and curious for what lies ahead of me. It’s an empowering feeling.