Back out of the saddle again!

This morning I ran for the first time since November 12th.
It was a short run – 30 minutes.
It was a ‘light’ run pacewise – 4.2 mph or 14:14 min/mile.
And at the end of the run I had 2.13 miles in 30 minutes.
I did have to slow down to a walk (3.6 mph) for about thirty seconds a little more than halfway through because my groin muscle was twinging a bit. Otherwise everything went well in that “Dang! I can tell I haven’t really done this in three weeks!” kinda way.

I will be honest: When my alarm went off at 4 am and I felt that tiny bit of tightness pulling at the top, inside of my right thigh there was a part of me – and not a small one – saying “You know, anybody would understand if you waited just one more day before hitting the treadmill again. After all, groin injuries are notorious for coming back at you if you’re not fully rehabbed.” She spoke on behalf of over forty years of being perfectly happy, and in generally good health, as a sedentary person who didn’t have to respond to an alarm tone at 4 am.  And she was convincing!  I was seriously entertaining resetting that alarm and blowing off this whole crazy “I’m A Runner!” facade and hearkening back to my fat, happy, middle-aged roots.  You know what they say about not fixin’ what ain’t broke…

Then there was this other little, teeny, tiny voice who didn’t so much speak, as she ran a home movie-esque reel of messages I’ve received in recent weeks from four or five different middle-aged friends – people I almost never really interact with virtually or actually – each of whom, in asking for the link to the training program I used last summer also said “You have really inspired me with your running.” Which was really very dirty pool if you ask me. I mean how’m I gonna go and just Stop Running when there are people I have inspired for cripes’ sakes?!

To be honest, there was a part of me – she of the “just one more day off” – that was beginning to lean towards just quitting running.
And I don’t know why.
Some of it, I am certain, was the comfort factor of staying under my nice, warm, duvet for another 90 minutes every morning instead of going in and out of the cold (and wet today) weather getting to and from the gym.
But there was something more at play.
The half-marathon training bit has me a tad on the . . . ummm . . . overwhelmed side.
A HALF-marathon?! 13.1 miles?! Running?! At once?! ME?!?! I don’t need to run 13.1 miles. That’s why God made cars!

But then my little inner Martin Scorcese started rolling tape again, and saw all those Facebook messages. And I heard myself telling Marian Castroverde the Head Coach of the Beginning Runners group I took part in last summer “I’ve already decided I want to come back next summer as a Volunteer Coach!” and her excited reaction. And all her encouragement during the ten weeks that not only was I doing great, but what a great Coach I was going to be next year.

And then there’s my best friend Jenny! I didn’t even want to consider having to explain to Jenny – who isn’t able to run due to some physical issues and runs vicariously through me – that ‘our’ running days were behind us after only four months and three 5Ks.

So I rolled out from under the warmth of the duvet and my husband’s leg draped across mine before the (second) snooze alarm went off and got about the business of my early morning, pre-run routine and ritual. I even stooped to nagging my husband to get him out from under that warm duvet since he’s a runner too, and there we were side-by-side on treadmills at 5 am getting back into our respective grooves of running.

I’m glad I didn’t quit.

Timeline – Sidelined

Saturday, November 5th: Ran a 5K. Set a PR

Sunday, November 6th: Succumbed to a stomach bug. Due to this and other scheduling issues, unable to run all week.
Saturday, November 12th: Ran two miles on treadmill in hotel fitness center. That was ugly.

Sunday, November 13th: Beginning of a week where it seemed like everything that could happen to keep me from running would happen to keep me from running.
Saturday, November 19th: I manage to pull/strain the groin muscle in my right leg by being stubborn and impatient and not asking for help.  Because of this I am sidelined from running for an indeterminate period of time. And I am not happy about this little turn of events.

I’ve done enough research online to know this needs rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Although I do have to giggle a bit at the thought of keeping my right thigh “elevated” at work. I digress . . .

What bothers me more than anything is that I’m currently sidelined from running not because of running or even training for a run – but something completely stupid and careless.

This puts me out of running commission for the upcoming St. Jude 5K. I will likely be contacting the local Runners Club we belong to and volunteering my services wherever they need me that morning.

And yes, I’m still going to the Expo and getting my shirt and race number. I just won’t have a PR to record on this one when I hang it on the wall behind my desk at home.

With any luck I’ll be fully recuperated and ready to start my serious half-marathon training come January.

Off Topic: PSA: The truth about supporting our troops during the holidays

Once again posts are making their way around the internet encouraging people to send cards to “A Recovering American Soldier” c/o Walter Reed National Medical Center. As much as I am a HUGE supporter of showing love, appreciation, and support for those brave men and women who have made such sacrifices in service to our country this is NOT the most effective means of accomplishing this noble intention.

Due to security considerations Walter Reed Army Hospital does not accept cards addressed to “A Recovering American Soldier”. This has been the case since 2007 when Walter Reed issued the following statement:

“Walter Reed cannot accept these packages in support of the decision by then Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy in 2001. This decision was made to ensure the safety and well being of patients and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense.”

The decision applies to packages, letters, Christmas cards, or any other mail not addressed to a soldier by name.

Additionally the U.S. Postal Service has stopped delivering any mail that is addressed to “A Recovering American Soldier” or “Any Wounded Soldier,” which are the most common recommendations in the eRumors that circulate about sending messages to soldiers at Walter Reed.

Instead, Water Reed suggests making a donation to www.americasupportsyou.mil which is a site representing more than 300 organizations helping the troops in various ways.”

Another outlet for sending cards, letters, etc. to men and women in uniform is the Holiday Mail for Heroes program through The American Red Cross. Information is available at: http://redcrosschat.org/2011/11/03/holiday-mail-for-heroes-2011/

When putting together care packages for deployed troops, please be aware that there are certain restrictions based on where they are stationed. Go to http://www.oconus.com/ZipCodes.asp and type in the zip code of the APO or FPO Zip Code to make certain you aren’t sending a well-intentioned gift that is going to cause more harm than good.

Many of these restrictions are in place out of respect for the culture of the country in which our troops are deployed and are as much for the protection of our troops as anything else.

PLEASE feel free to “Share” this information!

As the daughter and wife of retired soldiers I can tell you that support from total strangers sometimes means as much as, if not more than, that from family and friends simply because strangers don’t “have to” make these efforts.

Thank you!

Quick Update on The State of The Run

My Officially Official Time for last Saturday’s Race was 34:35.  YAY!

Rich’s Officially Official Diagnosis is a SPRAINED – not ruptured or torn – Achilles Tendon.  YAY!

He’s off running for two weeks (per the Orthopedic Specialist he saw yesterday) but he can stay in shape using a recumbent bike or elliptical machine.

And for the record: Even if he had been told “Not only will you never play the bassoon again, your running days are over.” I was not going to stop running!  In fact, we had already discussed getting him a bike.  I run for me.  The fact that it’s something we can share and do together is just a bonus!  The sprinkles on top of the cherry on top of the whipped cream on the sundae.

Having made the above “As God is my witness I shall not give up running!” decree, I haven’t run since Saturday because Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I was waylaid by a particularly hard-and-fast hitting stomach bug that’s making its way through Dixie.  Today is the first time I’ve felt completely human (Read: rested, not aching, no railroad spike rammed through my skull, and fully trusting of my stomach’s structural integrity) since Saturday night when we went to bed.

We’re going out of town tomorrow through Sunday however we selected our hotels based on the availability of workout facilities and will be utilizing them!

I have Jeff Galloway’s “Half-Marathon You Can Do It” for us to utilize in training for next year’s Air Force Half-Marathon.

The Dream Is Alive!!

Today’s Race: The RDCV*

*RDCV meaning Reader’s Digest© Condensed Version

My Stated Goal was to finish the race in 35:00 or less.
I finally have the Official Results and my time was 34:35.

I was amazed by that!

This was a challenging course by any standards.  There were a lot of hills!

I actually slowed down to a walking pace twice during the course because of unbearable side-stitches.  Even with all that I finished under my stated goal time!

*SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*

Now, the downside of today’s race.
We ended up heading to the ER because my husband sustained a fairly significant injury.

Roughly fifty yards from the finish line he felt something *pop* in his left leg.

The preliminary diagnosis is a possible rupture of his Achilles Tendon. 
He’s wearing a boot and is on crutches pending a consultation with an Orthopedic Specialist.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers that this is a minor injury and he will be back in training soon.

I knew something was wrong when he wasn’t on the perimeter of the finish line to cheer me on.  It was so hard wanting to celebrate my accomplishment while he was in such pain and not knowing exactly what had happened.

I’m sure he’ll be ‘out of commission’ for a few weeks as far as running is concerned.  He needs to heal.
I am also equally certain that it won’t be long until we are back running side-by-side on our respective treadmills and training for our Stated Goal of a half-marathon next September. 

I’m a Real Runner Now!

Tomorrow I am running in my third 5K as a runner.

It’s my first chipped race.

And I am so geeked out about that I can’t see straight!

I’m also thrilled that this race offered tech shirts rather than 100% cotton t-shirts.  In fact, after our last race I said that I would pay an additional $10 at registration for the option of a tech shirt instead of a cotton t-shirt.

I’ve been thinking about my strategy for this race – and meeting my goal of a 35 minute (or under) finishing time – since I finished yesterday morning’s workout run.

I’ve been watching the weather forecast hoping it’s going to be cool enough to merit wearing my brand new, full-length, wicking running pants and long-sleeved wicking shirt.

In my practice runs I’ve worked on only taking small sips of water at the one and two mile marks so I can leave my hydration belt at home and be less encumbered  while I run.  (For my non-runner readers, they have water stations at the one and two mile marks along 5K race routes.)  I’ll most likely wear it doing longer runs, but for a 5K it’s really only necessary in extreme heat.

I think I even dreamed about tomorrow’s race last night.

And now, it’s time to log off and start winding my brain down so I can get to sleep plenty early.

I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

Ah HA!

Thanks entirely to My Husband the Math Minor (and longtime runner) I now have the formula for figuring out the speed I need to set the treadmill to for training to run my races within a particular time goal!

And this morning I ran my (treadmill) 5K in 34:30!

I also decided that for this Saturday’s race my strategy is to line up towards the front of the pack of runners rather than placing myself near the back.  I’m doing this for two reasons: 1) To put myself in a position where I am surrounded by people I have to push to ‘keep up with’; and 2) To eliminate the temptation to ‘fall back’ into the walkers which has me slacking off but still feeling like “Hey! I’m ahead of That Guy” which really isn’t fulfilling what I can actually do pace-wise.

As I said on Facebook, I’m certain there’s a life lesson in there somewhere.  And there is.

Running has done far more for me than enhancing fitness.  It has impacted my attitude about most things I do in life as well as making me realize just how far short I have sold myself in the effort I put forth in life in general.  I am generally not a person to live a fear based life, but I also don’t always push myself as far as I could in every area of my life.  I don’t shy away from things, but I also often default to doing just enough of a thing to say “See?  I did it anyway!” then stop with having done it.

Four months ago, when I started the running training program that turned me into A Runner I did it despite every ounce of conventional wisdom on the planet that screamed “This is an idea of epicly bad proportions Julianne!”  I mean I’m middle-aged, overweight, out of shape, and this thing started in the hottest part of one of the hottest summers in recent memory.  I was destined to fail.  Or die.  Or die failing.  But I didn’t.  I pushed myself and accomplished something I have never done before.  Which led to wanting to do that thing I’d never done before a little bit better the next time.

And that desire, that drive, has begun to extend itself into every area of my life.
Some things you can compartmentalize.
Apparently desire, drive, and determination are not some of those things.

I suppose they call it SELF improvement for a reason, huh?