Half marathon

Life as a Whirlwind

“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.

We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

-Frederick Douglass

Image

Holy Chaos!  It has been a SUPER busy week over here!  I thought it was about time to update you on all the exciting things this very busy Chik has been up to!  FYI: You may want to grab a snack before you start reading.  This is going to be a looong post… but don’t worry, I added lots of pictures to keep you entertained.  You’re welcome!

I figured last week would be EPIC given that I ended the previous one with an Ultra, and it started with the Boston Marathon!  I also expected it to be busy, but I never could have guessed how much I’d get accomplished.

For starters, I only worked two shifts because I have been working like a slave helping my parents move.  My brother and I loaded and unloaded THREE moving trucks of furniture, boxes, tools, and household items.  It took a full two days (of working almost 18 hours a day) to get the trucks filled and unloaded.  Then another whole day to get the house unpacked enough to be livable… Plus, that’s not even mentioning how many car loads I have brought over and by car I actually mean my Subaru Crosstrek and my husband’s truck.  Why yes, I do have other siblings.  Um no, they didn’t help.  My younger sister is a teenager, so her idea of helping consisted of inviting a friend over and throwing her stuff all over her new room… mostly on the floor.  My older sister is contending with my niece who just learned to walk… and by walk I mean run (her daughter takes after me more than her… she is in sooo much trouble…)  So it was basically my brother and I with some help from the hubs when he wasn’t working.

iloveyou

That being said, my mom is super thrilled with their new place, and that is all that matters!

So obviously given that I had just done a 50K and spent three days hauling boxes and moving furniture, it seemed like a really good idea to sign up for a half marathon.  Okay, it actually seemed like a really bad idea, even to me, but I have run the Cheshire Half it’s first two years.  I really love that race!  I want to be one of those 80 year old ladies who they announce has run it every year since it started.  Besides, I figured if I didn’t run it, I would just be super cranky when all my friends were posting pictures about what a great day they had.  So really, I did it for the hubs so he wouldn’t have a crabby wife.  I’m selfless like that.

I went into the race not really expecting much of myself.  I knew I had logged some serious mileage at the Ultra and my IT bands were still wound up tight.  Plus, it was super windy, so I expected that to really slow me down.  Much to my pleasure, I found my friend Lu, who had also ducked inside to escape the cold, before the start. We both considered this a stroke of luck given the number of runners and took it as a positive sign for the day.  We chatted a bit, mostly about running- big surprise there!  He said his goal was a sub 1:50, and I told him I would be happy to break 2 hours.  We both agreed that given the conditions, we didn’t have high expectations.  Like me, though, Lu loves the Cheshire Half and didn’t want to miss it.  Also like me, Lu runs for the joy of running.  He’s not out there to compete with anyone but himself.  He is really just a kind soul and a joy to be around.

Not long after running into each other, we found the rest of the boot camp crew.  Seeing all of them made me seriously consider rejoining!  They are such a great bunch of people.  They were also super excited about the Half, and many of them were doing it for the first time.  I felt very blessed to have found all my friends before the race!  It was a definite boost because they are all so positive and inspiring.

In another stroke of luck, the sun came out and warmed us up a little at the start.  The weather actually turned out to be PERFECT.  It was overcast, cool, and there was a nice breeze instead of the strong winds when we arrived.  Lu and I began together after losing the rest of the group walking to the start, and he left me in the dust in no time!  My first few miles were a little rocky.  I mentally prepared myself for a grueling 2 hours.  However, after the first 5K I started settling in and felt okay.  By mile 6, I was even feeling strong!  Strangely, the longer the race went on, the better I felt.

The course, for the most part, is a flat one; and most of it runs through a tree lined bike path (part of the reason I like it, I am all about the trees).  For the first several miles of the race I had to fight the urge to push myself harder as everyone passed me.  Instead, I spent the entire race focusing on my form and zoning out with my ipod.  The hubs had picked and loaded all the music for my first Ultra, so it made me smile to listen to his selections.  He even put our wedding song on it!  Who knew he could be so romantic?

Conserving my energy paid off because the few hills on the course came up between miles 8 and 10.  All those people who passed me on the flats started to drop behind me when we hit them.  My legs were tired, but they still felt good.  I figured my pace was steady because the miles were still going by quickly, and I was passing people instead of getting passed.  I also knew where the worst hill on the course was, and once I was over it I told myself I was in the home stretch.  I was excited because I knew I would have a strong finish.  I had also been running at a good pace the whole way and felt so good that I thought I might PR.

I hadn’t looked at my watch once.  I didn’t want to psych myself out or get over confident.  Instead I wanted to focus on running at a comfortable pace.  I didn’t want to push my body to the point of feeling sick.  I also didn’t want to push too hard after having just done an ultra.  Mostly, I was just in awe of how strong I felt after what I had put my body through last weekend.  I silently thanked my body and reveled in how far it exceeded my wildest expectations.

I ran those last few miles hard because I knew I could.  I felt great!  Yes I was tired, but I also knew deep down that this was the best I had ever done running a Half Marathon.  I wasn’t sick or hurting or hating life.  I enjoyed almost the entire thing!  When I hit mile 12, the clock read 1:45!!!  My first thought was that if I was at this time at mile 12, then Lu must be finished.  He absolutely must have met his goal!  I did a little happy dance for him in my head.  Then I realized “HOLY $HIT! I AM GOING TO PR!”  I knew there was a possibility that the clock was wrong, but I just felt too good for that to be the case.

Despite the fact that it was still cold out, I stripped off my long sleeve shirt, so I could sport my Team Tough Chik jersey that last mile. I wanted to represent my fellow Toughies out there!  They are all so inspiring, and I am beyond proud (and BLESSED!) to be one of them.  I wanted to have that shirt visible when I crossed the line.  It was a magical moment.  I almost cried.  The clock read 1:55.  It was the fastest Half Marathon I have ever run, and I did it one week after running an Ultra (and two weeks after my first #1 in my age group).  Holy-Freaking-Epic!   I still can’t believe it!

photo-21

The funny thing is, my last PR for a half was at the Hartford Half Marathon 2 weeks after my DNF at the Ultra Beast.  Apparently Ultras agree with me.  Perhaps I should do one before every half…

Oh and as if that were not enough #EPIC news, I also got this email:

Image-3

That’s right!  I am now an official Sweat Pink Ambassador!!!!  Take that Fitfuential!  At least someone appreciates my awesomeness.  Just wait until I’m famous and the AWESOME-train has left the station without you.  lol

photo-20

 

But wait!  There’s more!  I also had a CT-ALIVE board meeting, and our program director Susan Omilian (the woman who changed my life after the abuse)  has asked me whether I would be willing to become co-vice president of the board.  Pretty exciting stuff!  Either she appreciates all my enthusiasm, or she has not actually read this blog and doesn’t realize what a raving lunatic I am.

Anyway, I was telling her about my mad graphic designing skillz (that is an intentional typo btw, because I’m all ghetto with my mad skillzzzz) now that I have discovered picmonkey.com.  She was so impressed that she gave me my first job as a graphic designer… minus the getting paid and it actually being a job part.  Actually, I’m just doing her a favor and making uber cool graphics with some of her quotes.  I already sent her a bunch, and she was pretty pleased.  I consider this high praise because Susan is an even bigger perfectionist than I am.  Here is one of my favorites:

 

livingwell

If you are interested at all in the concept of thriving, you should totally check out her website.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful and helpful her workshops were!   Plus, if you don’t live in the area, she has a Thriver Workbook that you can do on your own at home.  I know it sounds a little cheesy to do a self help workbook as an adult, but I have bought one for my mom, and she loves it.  In fact, I have actually bought a few for other women as well, because I really believe not only in her book, but in empowering other women to live happy, fulfilling lives.

That is all for now my lovelies!  I hope you are all off to a great week!  What did you all accomplish this weekend?  I would love to hear about it!

Fairfield Half Recap- Take 2!

“The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill…

If there were no difficulties there would be no success;

if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.”
-Samuel Smiles

Image

This past Sunday I took on the Fairfield Half Marathon for the second timebecause I didn’t learn my lesson the first time!  I am probably the only person who was wishing for rainy weather that day.  Last year it was a scorcher, so hot my nail polish melted!  

All the hills and sun made for such a brutal experience.  I can honestly say that there wasn’t any part of the course that was flat or shaded.  Thus, I was almost relieved when the race organizers announced that they had eliminated many of the hills and changed the course to make it more amenable to first time runners.  (In reality, I think it may have had to do with all the runners that dropped and crazy ambulance traffic.)  

I say ALMOST because I found it very difficult to believe they could make the course much easier given how hilly the area was.  I was right to be doubtful!  The announcer on race day claimed there were only two hills on the course… I’m still curious which two exactly he was counting.  I’m thinking it’s the ones we doubled back on!  For the record, I didn’t believe him for one hot second!

Anyway, the race itself was indeed as awful as last year in every respect.  It was hotter, more humid, and STILL HILLY!  Granted most of the hills were less steep, but the course was NO WHERE close to flat!!! They did, at least, add some more coastal views- which was greatly lacking the first time around.  Of course, the main reason I did the race remained the same, and that is the finish AT THE BEACH.

The entire time I ran this year, I was running to that water.  It was all I could think about… aside from how miserable I was….I did also think about how badly I wanted to quit...frequently! Of course, then I would just remind myself that if I didn’t feel like dying or quitting then I probably wasn’t running hard enough.  lol  Once I did finish, it was SO REFRESHING to FINALLY wade in that the water.  Conveniently, it worked as icing as well.  Despite the heat and hills (which I ate for breakfast btw!), I finished to course in under 2:05, which was several minutes faster than last year.  Mostly, though, I was happy just not to have gotten sick… or died of heat stroke.

I think the best part about this race- aside from the beach– was the fact that I went on my own.  Being there by myself gave me the opportunity to meet new people and make some awesome new friends.  In fact, shortly after I arrived, I bonded with some people parked next to me who happened to all be friends and belong to a running club.  Since the racers are basically required to come hours before the start (or risk not finding parking!), we had lots of time to chat.

Image

Not a bad place to finish!

So I spent my free time before and after chatting with Lee (a triathlete from Philly), Beth (from NY and training for her first marathon), George (CT local and ringer leader), and Lindsey (super mom and total running beast)… all very nice people by my standards!  To be honest, I NEVER would have spent the better part of my afternoon on the beach after the race if I hadn’t met these people.  It was such a great relaxing experience to chill out with them and just enjoy the moment.  We had all conquered this torturous run, and now we were reaping the reward- soaking up the sun AND BREEZE on the beach 🙂

I think I was even more excited about making all these new friends and my time on the beach than my finisher medal… and you know that’s saying something!  Spending the day with them reminded me of so many reasons why I love the running community. There was no show boating or one up-ing.  Everyone was just happy to be there and genuinely supportive of each other.  That is what running is all about… in my opinion anyway. 🙂

 

PR-ing Despite Injury and Having a “WOOHOOO” Moment

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” 
– Steve Prefontaine

Having a "WOOHOO!!!!" moment

I signed up for the Cheshire Half Marathon before my shoulder “injury” and without much expectation.  I figured I would use it as a training run to keep myself on track with running.  With this in mind, I hardly did any training (a couple short runs and a hilly, 10 mile trail run last weekend).  I also didn’t taper my exercise and blasted out of ton of mileage on the bike this week.  To top things off I worked three long shifts in a row at the end of the week and got stuck working late 2 of the 3.  I know… recipe for disaster! lol  The one thing I did do was HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!  I also took it super easy yesterday and tried to rest as much as possible.

All that being said, I was not surprised that my legs felt like hell.  I was more feeling fatigued and tight than anything else.  My calves were STILL sore from my trail run, but I was hoping that it would ease up throughout the run.  I wasn’t feeling awesome, but I didn’t feel as terrible as some other previous races either.  I was hoping to get under 2 hrs and tried to maintain pace in the 9-9:30 range.  The course was flat and there were plenty of aid stations.  I made sure to ask ahead of time and had brought my hydration pack just in case (luckily I didn’t need it).  I was definitely pushing, but wanted to keep my pace light enough that I wasn’t getting winded.  Whenever I found myself really feeling sore or tired I tried to relax and focus on my form until the feeling passed.

Luckily it worked pretty well. 🙂 By the time I got through the whole race though, I was definitely shot.  The finish could not come fast enough!  There were a couple times when I honestly thought I might not make it, but instead  I not only managed to finish, but also PR’d!!!!!  My time crossing the line was 2:00:40.  It wasn’t under 2, but it was still several minutes faster than my previous PR; AND with all the issues I’ve had with training and injuries recently it felt like a MAJOR victory!  In reality, Adam and I started WAAAAYYYYY in the back of the pack and the official finish times did not reflect the actual start times (slight bummer, but I’ll still take it!).   Adam said the start clock was at 1:30 when we started and I definitely made it under 2 hrs, but I’ll save that “official” victory for another day.  I was just happy to have done my best- with what I had, in that moment.

I celebrated my victory with some homemade ice cream at a local farm, and it was worth every drop of sweat!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!!!!!

From Humble Beginnings…

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
Napoleon Hill

And even then, sometimes life will surprise you beyond what you can imagine...

When I started this blog less than a year ago, my purpose was to provide hope and help for other victims of domestic abuse.  I started writing about what I had been through, the symptoms of PTSD I was still struggling with, and how I had started to regain my identity and sense of self through running.  At the time, I fully identified myself more as a survivor of abuse, than a thriver- despite my best efforts.  In spite of the fact that the abuse was in past, I couldn’t keep it from affecting my everyday life.

Then somewhere along the way I stopped being a survivor of abuse and became myselfa thriver with a passion for life and fitness.  I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but with the change in myself, this blog changed too (you may have noticed it’s been through a bit of an overhaul).  Instead of blogging my doubts about running and myself – or things I struggled with in life, I started blogging about fears I conquered and goals I achieved.  Over time,  this blog has became more about fitness and health than overcoming abuse.  Why? Because that’s why I’m passionate about!  Plus, once I overcame my past abuse, I didn’t feel like I needed to write about it anymore.  It’s not who I am; rather it’s just something incidental that happened to me in the past. Ultimately this blog became about aspiring to be the strongest and healthiest version of myself possible and hopefully inspiring some others in the process.

I went from struggling with a 10K and 15 K to finishing a half and full marathon and a Tough Mudderat altitude.  I grew from struggling with a single pushup to handstand pushups.  I became a boot camp and weight lifting junkie and found my happy self. Throughout all of it- I never expected much from this blog.  What happened instead exceeded more than I could ever have imagined: I became part of a community- a wonderful little network of amazing people who inspire me on a daily basis and blow me away with their kindness and encouragement.  This blog have grown so much in the past several months that I can hardly keep up with all the comments! (I still read every one!)  Even more amazing, are all the award nominations I’ve been receiving!

Just recently I have nominated for the Versatile blogger Award (Thank you Coach Crystal’s Padawan!!!), Kreativ blogger Award (Thank you Living Beautifully!!!), The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, and The Sunshine Award (Thank you PositiveBoomer!!!).

The rules for for these awards are all pretty much the same:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog (check)

2) List some random things about yourself that other people may find interesting

3) Nominate some worthy blogs and let them know

Since I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award a few times already, I thought I’d share the list of awesome bloggers I’ve nominated in the past.

  • Tina Running For Freedom:  This blog is bran-spanking-new.  It belongs to a close personal friend of mine, and fellow CT-ALIVE board member.  She is a survivor of domestic abuse, thriver, and hosts a network TV show called Beyond Violenceto raise awareness about abuse.  She is currently running in an effort to lose weight and raise money for victims of abuse.  Today she is participating in her first 5 K!  I am SO PROUD of her!
  • The Healthy Push: I would recommend this blog (and Facebook feed) to anyone interested in working out.  They have great images, recipes, exercise tips, motivational quotes, etc.   Conveniently, there post today is tips on how to avoid over stuffing (bad pun intended) yourself on Thanksgiving.
  • Heikewrites:  Heike is a talented writer, an optimist, and also a survivor of childhood abuse.  She is very open about her own struggles and always has something interesting posted and I definitely recommend checking her out!
  • The Everyday Warrior:  Well, she is just that- an everyday warrior (better known as a super woman ;) ) She is a wife, mother, and runner who happens to be training for a half marathon and Tough Mudder.  She is also tirelessly working to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and could use our support !:)
  • Cerridwen’s Cauldron: “Wit, Wisdom, Humor, Nonsense, Rants and Raves, Brewed With a Pinch of Individuality Since 2009″- that pretty much sums it up!  I especially appreciate the wit. :)   She’s already been nominated, but I’d like to recommend visiting her blog anyway.
  • Remember the H:  A fellow marathoner with an awesome blog to get you motivated off the couch. (or maybe I’m the only one you wants to run a marathon after reading someone else did it- either way it’s worth the read!)
  • Thetortoiseruns: This blog seriously cracks me up- on a regular basis. Love it!
  • Soles of a Mom: “shoe addict, workout queen, wife & mom celebrates motherhood one shoes at a time!”- my kind of gal. Plus she’s a runner!
  • Conchsaladesque – Thank you for making me laugh and inspiring me!
  • Lean Girl’s Club– Great motivation for women who love to run or just want to stay fit
  • Fit and Feminist– Not only because we have so much in common, but because it’s something every girl should read
  • Tikk Tok– A fellow barefoot runner documenting her journey
  • Undeterrable– Love to read about another goal setter!
  • The Skinny Pink Ninja– Way to prove the doctors wrong girl! Can’t wait to follow in your footsteps (fingers crossed)
  • My Pink Ribbon Journey– Talk about survivor- this super woman just completed a triathlon after taking on breast cancer!
  • The Thinks I Can Think– Besides being generous, she is also incredibly funny!
  • Eat:Watch:Run– This blog cracks me up (and the bunny is adorable)!
  • Running on Empty– Love that this couple is training for a marathon together- and he documented his proposal in the blog!  Lots of luck to you both!!!!
  • Love and Running Shoes– Another CT local. Ashley, you rock! Good luck with your running and future triathlons :)
  • Motion and Rest– Love to read about another runner’s progress- especially when that runner is a fabulous woman with a sense of humor!
  • Breathless Runner– I totally relate to this blog!
  • Slow Happy Runner– Because Lori, you are an inspiration, and I love reading about your journey.
  • Fat Girl in a Skinny World– A great blog about living healthy :)
Also- just in case you missed it- here are the amazing folks I nominated recently for the Kreativ Blogger Award:
  • Soles of a Mom– I find this blog to be full of positive energy and always find something inspiring to read.
  • The Everyday Warrior– Why? Because she’s AWESOME!!!! and someone I can totally relate to.  She is also running a Tough Mudder and raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, so head over there and show her some support!
  • Fabulous 50′s– Because she truly is FABULOUS and so is her blog.  I especially love her travel photos!!!!
  • Feminist Figure Girl- What can I say? I’m a feminist at heart.  This blog is totally worth reading.
  • Conchsaladesque- This lady has been through some recent heartache, but continues to face each day with strength and gratitude.  Her posts are always thoughtful and insightful.
  • Manbicep– All I can say is you have to read it.
  • Run. Dog. Cat. Me.- If for no other reason (and there are others) then because this post totally cracked me up.

In my opinion, ALL these bloggers of the Very Inspiring Blogger and Sunshine Awards. 🙂 However, in the interest of sharing the wealth I’d also like to add the following blogs to the list:

  • Coach Doug Bowers: love his blog and ever-encouraging comments on my page.  Be sure to check out his recent post on love handles and see what I mean. 😉
  • Mojo’s Movement: a fabulous fellow fitness junkie… like makes us practically soul mates right?
  • My Struggle- Losing 400 Pounds: 100 pounds down already! Sounds pretty inspiring to me, don’t you think?
  • Once and Future Runner: A fellow runner battling injuries with optimism and enthusiasm.
  • Coach Crystal’s Padawan: Fellow fitness enthusiast suffering through P90x while I sweat it out with Shaun T.

Hmmm and as for the random things…

I have developed an adulthood love of avocados and guacamole.

I love paisley and have it all over my house- not just on this blog. 😉

I can cook but stink at baking… not sure that’s a bad thing though!

I haven’t cut or colored my hair in over a year- changing that today!

If I could summarize this blog with one picture- and it's not just applicable to working out!

My Body, It’s a Changing

“Ask yourself ‘can I give more?’ The answer is usually ‘Yes'” 
-Paul Tergat 

Usually, but not always.  Today is the last day of February, and the pull-up bar is still winning.  However, it was NOT because I didn’t give it my all.  I did.  I gave my all this whole month, and not just in pull-up training.  I did a month of Insanity, ran a brutal half marathon, started self-defense training, learned how to properly throw a punch, and hit the climbing gym hard.  Am I guilty of overtraining? Possibly… But getting an endurance junkie/fitness fanatic to admit to overdoing it is like getting an alcoholic to admit he/she has a problem.

In endurance training, we frequently won’t rest until our bodies force us too. Why? Because we cling to a delusion that our super human power of mind-over-matter can conquer anything.  We train through pain, fatigue, emotional breakdowns, and injuries until the only thing keeping us going is pure will power.  When our bodies can’t push any longer and our muscles are shaking and numb, we conquer with our hearts.  There is no “can’t”.  There is no “too much”.  There is no “take a break”.  There is only indomitable will.  Good luck trying to reason “overtraining” with that!  Especially when most of the time we get away with it.  We work out 2 or 3 times a day and we aren’t tired.  In fact, we feel great– accomplished even.

After all, just because a person works out more than you might be able to right now, that doesn’t necessarily make it unhealthy.  While it may be true that sometimes I push a little too hard and my body makes me pay, it is also true that most of the time I feel great.  I also get sick significantly less frequently than my friends and coworkers, and when I do it usually for a shorter length of time.  However when I do get sick everyone is so quick to point to overtraining as the culprit, as if that is the only reason an athlete ever gets sick.  (Of course, when you’re sick I don’t point my finger at you and say “see that’s because you DON”T work out.  I told you being sedentary wasn’t good for you!”)

Yup, that's how I roll. No I'm not going to change.

When I do have issues, it’s not generally because I’m doing more than usual.  Instead, it’s me trying to do my typical amount when I’m sick or sleep deprived.  Getting three good workouts in on a day off does not usually send me into a tail-spin.  However add in a stomach bug and some serious dehydration the day before, and yeah it probably wasn’t the greatest idea.  Lesson learned.  No it doesn’t mean I need to work out less.  It means I need to train smarter.

While I may be pretty frustrated with not being able to push hard at the moment, I am trying not to let it detract from what I have accomplished in the past month.  Not making the pull-up deadline has made me feel like I haven’t been improving at times, however then I do something simple like try to put on my skinny jeans and realize that I can’t pull them over my calves or quads!  I tried on a size 2 pair of jeans in the store and they were baggy.  Walking past the mirror I realized I now have definition in both my calf muscles, as in the are two distinct muscle groups (something I hadn’t even achieved running in vibrams). I am stronger and I can feel it.  I am jumping higher, my endurance is better, and my body is changing.  It’s an ongoing process, and as long as I continue to put the work in I know I’ll continue to have results.

Remember the Time…

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” 
– Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner

(maybe I should have been a wimp…)

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!

When I ran a really hilly, windy half marathon with a stomach bug and got dehydrated… and likely gave myself ischemic colitis?  Yeah, that totally sucked.  (Not the running, the getting sick part…just to clarify) It sucks even more now because yesterday I felt fine.  In fact, I felt great.  I felt so great I did two Insanity workouts and then spent a couple hours at the climbing gym where I was either climbing or belaying pretty much the entire time…

I did drink lots of water, but apparently not enough cause last last I woke up in pain… again.  It wasn’t as intense as Saturday, but it was enough to keep me up all night.  When I dragged myself in to work this morning, they pretty much turned me around and sent me home where I have been drinking fluids, fluids, and more fluids ever since.  

They were very kind to offer me some IV fluid before I left, but I told them I could manage to drink on my own.  So, now I’m home “sick”- except I feel more exhausted and frustrated than sick.  I did take a nap, which helped with the sleep deprivation, but I am super annoyed about not being able to work out. 😦  I am also not happy about missing work... but more the working out.  I have been having some sharp, crampy abdominal pain on and off…mostly after eating, so I have been pretty much trying to avoid food and just drink liquids instead.

Initially, I had hoped to use some vacation time at work today to get out in time for boot camp, but instead I will be home all day with no exercise allowed. Total bummer!

Boo!

I guess I should have listened better to my body on Saturday, but I honestly didn’t feel that bad.  I’ve been either getting or getting over something all winter, so I didn’t think much of the symptoms.  When I had all that pain while I was running, I really wasn’t sure what it was from.  I thought maybe all the uphill running was making my abs hurt and the nausea is not that unusual for me when I’m pushing hard.  When I finished and got really sick, I figured I was probably dehydrated and may have developed some ischemia.  However, I NEVER would have imagined I’d still be having issues 2 days later.

The only thing I can do now and take it easy and wait it out… and be smarter next time!  In the future I will definitely be doing a better job of hydrating myself before race days (instead of drinking caffeine all day to stay awake at work…).  Also, I think I’ll seriously consider bringing my hydration pack on any future half with only 3 water stations.  Aside from the Tough Mudder, I can’t ever remember being that thirsty on a run!  I would rather carry a little extra weight than run this risk of getting dehydrated again.

The good news is being home sick has given me a chance to catch up on my blogging, and blog reading!  Plus, I know know I’ll be back to kicking butt (my own that is) in no time.  I have a whole list of goals now and I am ready to get at them- body permitting.

I totally need to make one of these!!!

Colchester Half Recap

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” 
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

Yesterday I ran my second “official” half marathon in Colchester.  I have run the distance several times now, but this race was special because it was a first half for a kick ass, amazing friend of mine.  The course was absolutely BRUTAL. It was hills, hills, and more hills.  Steep hills, gradual hills, never-ending hills…  Plus, the wind gusts were up to 50 mph, which is super fun when you’re running up hill into it.  I felt a little guilty for recommending she try it after realizing how tough it was, but she is a boot camper so I knew she could handle it- no matter how tough.

"You train to look good. We train to kick ass."

Our morning started with an uplifting visit from one of our fellow boot campers (Superwoman Kelly) with PRESENTS!  Who doesn’t like surprise presents? Especially when they are awesome “We train to kick ass” t-shirts from your trainer!  I think that definitely helped to get us pumped!  All the support from our boot camp peeps was almost overwhelming.

Despite the less than stellar conditions and brutal hills, we all managed to survive- a HUGE achievement in my book!  I had been feeling pretty crummy the day before and continued to have stomach issues the morning of, but I figured it was just nerves.  However, as the race progressed I realized my stomach pain and nausea were actually getting worse and not better. I literally ran as fast as I could without vomiting.  I had NEVER experienced pain like that on a run before.  I tried to convince myself I was not sick pretty much the entire time, but once the race was over and we got home, I spent a good part of the afternoon curled up in the bathroom or doubled over in pain.  I think it was probably a combination of factors including: GI bug circulating at work, dehydration due to stomach bug and exercise, and running a little harder than I probably should have.  

As of this morning I was still having pain anytime I ate, but it seems to finally be resolving. I did still manage to get through two Insanity workouts this morning and then hit the climbing gym this afternoon with Adam and one of his friends.  I thought the climbing might be a little rough after being sick.. and the half, and the two morning workouts… but it actually felt pretty good and turned out to be a lot of fun.  Plus, I figured it would be good pull-up training!

While we were at the climbing gym, Adam accomplished his February boot camp goal of doing a handstand pushup.  I found this particularly impressive since we had already done quite a bit of climbing.  I figured it was worth a try but only managed to get down about an inch.  For the record though, my handstand totally beat his- and I got into it all by myself. 😉  Anyway, it’s definitely something I’ll be adding to my to do list! – along with the pull-ups, a one handed pushup, and jumping on the tall box with the small box on it.  The fact that Adam made it up on his second try and I’ve been diligently slaving at my goal for weeks makes me feel like maybe he didn’t pick something hard enough- that and his friend totally ratted him out that he used to do them “all the time” in the Marine Corps.  jk- I’m totally proud of him.

 Overall, it was an awesome weekend.  I spent time with a lot of great people and got a lot of tough working out in too!  Adam and I even got to go out for some Hibachi after the half with some of our friends from boot camp which was a real treat!

Also, Adam’s friend gave me a lot of great tips on building the muscle groups for my pull-up and I am super psyched to try them out.  I am still a little frustrated that I haven’t been able to do one, and, consequently, haven’t met my February goal.  However, I have helped several other people conquer their goals and that is equally rewarding.  I’m sure I will get my chance too, but until then I will keep busting my tail to get it done!

In the meantime, I can celebrate the victories of my boot camp buddies, including my friend Melissa who annihilated her February goal and rocked out the half yesterday in 2:14. (Her lofty time goal was 2:15- not too shabby!)  I finished only a couple minutes ahead of her and Adam (not surprisingly) smoked us both.  Our friend Jamie also ran with us and KILLED IT despite not feeling great while running.  It was such a great experience to race with all of them!!!

I hope everyone had an excellent weekend!!!