One Step at a Time

Since my last post things have been uneventful, yet productive.  It took me about a week or so to finally come to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run any of my spring races this year, including the Salisbury Marathon.  Knowing this, I have been able to clear my head and focus on the road to recovery.

After running the 5K at the Tim Kennard River Run and waking to a re-aggravated achilles tendon the following day, I fessed up to my Physical Therapist and vowed to not run again period until she says I can.  Not one mile, not one minute, not one step!  Since then there have been a few times at work or at home where I’d be in a hurry to do something, making an attempt to get from one location to another as speedily as possible on foot.  Whether it would be from one exam room to another or from my car to a building in the rain, I would have to stop myself from running.  I was determined to keep my “no run” promise!

My physical therapy seems to be going well.  I am making progress every day.  I am being super-diligent about getting my prescribed exercises done each day, even if it means I have to get them done at 11:00 PM.  I had an assessment early last week and it was determined that I need to continue Physical Therapy.  I am making progress, yes, but as my achilles improves and heals, more problems are coming to light.  One of them being a problem I’ve been aware of for a few years now as it was pointed out by my previous Physical Therapist…my hips!  They are weak and lax on one side and super tight on the other which is throwing my form off and, likely, is why I keep having these nagging injuries.  Having me watch myself in a mirror while I performed some prescribed work at a recent session really brought it to light.  Now, when I do my exercises at home I do them in front of a mirror and it is making a difference.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 was the 7th annual Run for the Animals.  For those of you who have been following my pathetic blog, you know that this is my “heart” run!  I have participated in the event every year!  This year was the first year that I had to walk the entire thing.  I only did the 5K, but I am happy to report that C.J. and I completed it and I still feel great!  I haven’t had any problems with my achilles at all.

Today I had another Physical Therapy session.  I was able to run for 5 minutes on the treadmill.  I hate a treadmill, but for PT purposes I will do it!  It was a super-slow pace and I was extremely mindful and cautious throughout every millisecond of movement.  I am feeling good as of writing this post.  We will have to wait to see what tomorrow morning brings.

It’s a process, that’s for certain.  This time I’m going to do it the proper way and hope that I come out stronger (and maybe even faster!) than ever before!  I’m going to take it one step at a time, patiently yet persistently.

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Time to get back on track!

This recent bout of illness, whatever it was, has really thrown a wrench in my marathon training. I am a week off and my lung capacity is diminished some because they still contain crud. Also, my energy level and motivation level are both in need of help.

Today I did a slow, short bout of running followed by strength and balance training. I’m glad it was nice enough for me to run outdoors because once I got moving, the coughing started. I would hate to be in the gym hacking on everyone around me! I’m hoping that all the coughing got rid of a bunch of that lung crud so that I can go a little further tomorrow. Then further yet on Monday.

Part of my training has been to learn how to fuel my body most efficiently. I thought I had it figured out for my first marathon, but I obviously did not because I totally hit the wall at about mile 19! I know what I need to do, but want to be able to test it before race day. However, again with the illness, my diet got thrown way out of whack over the past week too. I am sure that has a lot to do with my energy level slump.

When you prepare your training for an endurance event, you prepare as though everything will be hunky-dory throughout the training period. When you are forced to halt your training for whatever reason, you have to spend time revamping your training schedule. I should probably go do that now!

I’ll let you all know how I fare in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have any recommendations or would like to share your experiences with training for an endurance event, please do so! How do you fuel your body in preparation of the event? What do you do to maintain your energy level during the event? Have you ever had a hiccup in your training plan; and, if so, what did you do to get back on track?

Off to edit my training schedule for the coming weeks…

Blogging for Accountability

Good evening everybody, and happy October!  The best month of the year in my book, and not just because it’s my birthday month.  I just wanted to write a quick note to put out there some goals that I hope to accomplish during the month of October.  I find that if I make such goals public I’m more likely to reach them due to the accountability factor.  

Goal #1:  Run/walk a total of 120 miles for the month.  I’m off to a decent start this first day having run 6.2 miles and walked 4 miles.  110 more miles to go!  Goal #2:  Grow my business!  The more proactive I am getting the word out about it, the greater my chances of adding new customers and, maybe, business partners too. Goal #3:  Get back to the grind and pick up where I left off on my quest to obtaining my AFAA certification.  I put it on the backburner several months ago because I just got so busy!  I’m still busy, but I am learning to budget my time a little better.  I have got to make sure I am carving out time in my schedule to work on this.  The sooner I get it completed, the sooner I can move on to the next step of this journey.There you have it.  It’s out there and my hope is that all of you reading this will help keep me accountable!  

Do you have any goals you’re aiming for, either in the short term or long term?  Feel free to share them with me and I will help you in whatever way I can. Buddy systems are the best!  Have a great October everyone…

Summer is a time for Relaxation, but yet is always so busy…

Thankfully, not just with “work,” but also with much devoted “family time.” This is my excuse for the lack of blogging for the past couple of months. I keep thinking I’ll have more time to sit down and “think” and write, but the fact is, I have much LESS time to do so. The weather is too beautiful to be indoors so we spend the majority of our at-home time enjoying the outdoors. As it should be.

I’ve also been testing 2 products over the past few weeks that I promise to post reviews about! Both have been proving to be quite successful. The only hints I will give you are 1) one product is made by a dog product company that I already adore and will make your dog able to join you during outdoor activity more frequently, and 2) one is proving to be a savior for a dog showing thunderstorm phobia. So be on the lookout for those reviews in the next 4-6 weeks. I want to test them a bit more and I should have time to actually sit down and think at some point during that time frame.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue to enjoy this beautiful Eastern Shore of Virginia weather we’ve been having with my family.

I hope you are all having a fun-filled, relaxing and enjoyable summer.

~AnimalWhiz >^..^<

THE Rugged Maniac…Part 1 of however long it takes me to finish this post…The Beginning

Saturday May 2nd, I along with several friends and acquaintances took part in the Rugged Maniac at the Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg. Speaking for myself, but certain that all of my team participants would agree, it was AWESOME! What a blast and what a great group of people (both my team members and all of the others who attended).

Ever since I did my first mud run in 2012 at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, MD, I couldn’t wait to do another. It all started with the no-longer-in-existence Run For Your Lives, a 5K Obstacle Course Race where you had to escape zombies. It was an awesome time. Even though we had to swim across a freezing cold river in late October, I’d have still chosen to do it all over again. And there were zombies.  Fun!  What an awesome feeling of accomplishment it was to make it through all of the obstacles that I never thought I’d ever be able to do! Like crossing a freezing river in October. Had I known that was one of the obstacles beforehand, I probably would have never signed up to take part in the event. Smart move there race directors at Reed Street Productions.

Since that first experience, I did another Run For Your Lives in Illinois in September of 2013 at Byron Motorsports Park. It also was a blast, but not nearly as fun as the first one. The obstacles weren’t quite as good, most likely due to the location of the event. There were no rivers. Plenty of mud and plenty of zombies, but it was lacking something. Like a freezing cold river. I didn’t feel quite as accomplished after that one. I didn’t feel like I overcame anything, if that makes any sense. None of the obstacles were “OMG!”

Not because of my disappointment with the 2nd RFYL, I didn’t do any more mud runs until last weekend. There just weren’t any convenient ones for me that I could get time off for; at least none that made me go “I have to do this.” Then the Rugged Maniac ads started to fill my email and social media feeds. I can do that. It’s relatively nearby, and I had plenty of notice to ensure I would be available that weekend! So I put some feelers out to see if anyone else was interested in joining me, because a mud run is SO MUCH more fun with a group than solo. The fish started biting almost immediately. So we signed up. Over the course of a couple of months our team grew to a total of 11. I knew this was going to be one hell of a fun weekend! And I was right.

The majority of the team drove to a nearby town the night before.  A few of them carpooled with me.  We made a weekend out of the event; why not?  By doing this we didn’t have to worry about traffic, especially at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, which could have delayed us if we left the day of the event.  That HRBT is a bear sometimes.  Not a soft, cuddly teddy bear; a grumpy, nasty, mean Grizzly Bear.  Sometimes traffic moves like a hibernating bear.

We arrived at our hotel unscathed and went out to dinner at a mediocre sushi restaurant.  At least the Nigori Sake was good (a little too good as I may have had a bit too much of it).     After dinner we returned to the hotel rooms and had fun playing Cards Against Humanity (we are horrible people!) and drinking beer.  I don’t really remember exactly how the night ended, I just woke up the next morning bright and early and ready to get muddy!

Sushi Dinner2

Sushi the night before

 

Our wave time was 12:15PM, so we headed over to the event site around 9:45AM as it was a 20 minute drive from the hotel.  We arrived just in time to see some parachuters landing.  That was pretty cool.  After checking in and getting our race gear we perused the event grounds to see what was happening!  There was a mechanical bull that we just HAD to try.  So we did.  That was fun.

Mechanical Bull BC01

My first Mechanical Bull Ride

 

There was a beer tent (yay!) and several food vendors that were serving anything from greek sandwiches to funnel cakes.  I steered clear of all of that stuff.  If I’m going to have something that’s going to make my guts sour, I’ll stick to the beer.  They have bananas and other fruits post race, and I snuck a bagel and a banana from the continental breakfast offered at the hotel before we left.  Always thinking ahead (or at least TRYING to be prepared!).  There were some other gym/fitness tents but, unfortunately for us ESVA folks, they’re not anywhere local enough for us.  But I did chat with a few of them to see what they offered, to encourage them to bring POUND to their gyms (because it’s awesome), and to try to talk them into coming to the shore!  We’ll see how much influence I had on them.  I’m sure it wasn’t much.

There was this one awesome group there called OCR Unleashed.  They had a mini obstacle course set up that consisted of crawling, leaping, lifting huge tires and box jumping.  After talking to the gal at the tent I convinced my team to “warm up” here.  It was GREAT FUN!  It reminded me of CrossFit, which doesn’t exist on the shore but I really wish it did.  If there were a place convenient for me to get trained, I’d do it and bring it here.  But there’s not.  So I’ll continue to dream.  Back to OCR Unleashed…the mini obstacle course was a blast and I learned that they have an Obstacle Course facility in Great Falls, VA that I WILL visit one day in the near future.  The folks involved with the group are just totally cool, even the ones I haven’t met are cool.  Trust me, I know people.  Check them out and if you are in the area, visit the facility!  Just don’t rub it in about how awesome it is because that will make me feel sad.  Not really, it will encourage me to get out there that much quicker actually, so tell me all about it!!!

OCR01

Crawling Under

OCR07

Leaping Over

OCR16

Lift and flip over a heavy tire two times

OCR35

5 box jumps

 

After our warm-up we took a group shot of all of us girls!

PreRaceGirls01

Rugged and Powerful Girls!

 

Then we headed to the start line because our wave was next!  Just to start they make you jump over a wall.  Awesome.  I love this event already.  And it hasn’t even really started for me yet…

IMG_5948

It’s about to go down! Getting fired up at the start line

I’m ready to get muddy now!  Let’s go!…

…to be continued…

 

Half Crazy for the benefit of the Animals

Yesterday was the 4th annual Run for the Animals Half Marathon and 10K on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The weather was beautiful, the crowd was huge, and the bling was fabulous. I have trophies from every year prior and I really wanted one from this year to add to my collection! This year’s trophy was a cool cat design.  But if I didn’t win a trophy it wouldn’t be the end of my world, just being able to finish my first Half Marathon would be enough for me.

My training over the course of the past 2 weeks was lax because of traveling and a nagging pain in my left hip.  I was hoping/expecting to finish with a time somewhere around 2:10:– judging by my training pace.  After breakfast I downed 800mg ibuprofen to, hopefully, keep any hip or other pain at bay to make the run bearable.

I arrived to the event later than I had hoped, since I had some fundraising stuff to set up.  I managed to get the majority of the items in order before my “helper” arrived, but I had to bolt on him and hit the potty before the race began!  Thankfully some seasoned volunteers of mine were nearby to help out with the fundraising table while I was out getting my run on.

There were just over 150 total participants this year (10K and Half Marathon combined).  By the start of the race, the weather was at a comfortable temperature in the upper 40s/lower 50s with just the slightest breeze.  Perfect running weather!  I’d have run in shorts if it wasn’t for the fact that I had just gotten the coolest pair of running tights ever…just in time for this run!  So I had to wear them.

I’ve only ever run the 10K portion of this race in the past, so I’d bolt out of the starting gate and push as fast and as hard as I could for as long as I could.  This time I had to remind myself to take it easy!  When the start airhorn sounded I just took off at a gentle, comfortable pace, a little faster than my average training run.  I felt great!  Made it to the 3.1 mile mark (the 10K turnaround) and kicked it up a bit.  Just a tad.  After 2 more miles I slowed it up a bit for a mile or so.  By mile 7, I started to get a hint of side stitches.  I hate those!  So I slowed down a wee bit at that point and started some breathing exercises.  After another mile the pain went away.  So I picked up the pace just a bit.

At mile 10, I was ON FIRE!  My legs felt great and I was able to speed it up and pass a couple of people on my way down the home stretch!  Damn!  I can do this!  That’s what was going through my head.  Then I hit mile 12.5.  My legs started to give in.  I’d try to do the “mind over matter” thing and convince my legs to keep moving, but they needed a break.  So I stopped and walked for about a minute.  Then MIND won as I told myself “the finish line is right there and then you can rest all you want!”  So I started running again, not super fast, but fast enough to finish with a time of 1:54:15!

I DID IT!  Finished my first Half Marathon!  Woot!

I DID IT! Finished my first Half Marathon! Woot!

Holy crap!  I just finished my first Half Marathon in LESS THAN 2 hours!!!  I could hardly believe it!  And I actually felt pretty good afterward, as long as I kept moving.  I was welcomed by my friends, dogs and other awesome folks at the finish line!  I DID IT!  FINALLY!  Another milestone reached!

My running buddy, trainer and coach!

My running buddy, trainer and coach!

 

Today I’m a bit stiff, my left hip is nagging me, hamstrings are a little tight, and my knees are not quite up to par.  But I still feel great.  After a few weeks of rest, I’ll be back at it.  This time in shorts and a tank top.

The Final Results:

  • I finished 17th overall out of 65 Half Marathon participants
  • I finished 1st in my age group for women 40-44
  • I earned 3rd place fundraiser, raising $751.00
  • I FINISHED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON at a venue that I hold very near and dear to me!

I did get a couple more trophies to add to my collection of Run for the Animals bling.

My Trophies for this year for top female finisher in my age group, and for 3rd place fundraiser!

My Trophies for this year for top female finisher in my age group, and for 3rd place fundraiser!

Now to work on improving my pace for next year so I continue to collect trophies from each year!  🙂  Thanks for all you do Andrea D. putting this awesome event on every year!  Can’t wait to hear what the final fundraising tally was (it was EPIC this year!)!  Love what you do, and I’ll see you again next year…

Me and my post-race bling :)

Me and my post-race bling 🙂 wearing some awesome tights!

5 weeks to my first half marathon

Only 5 weeks left until my first Half Marathon (finally)! Today I ran 12+ miles, of which my running buddy CJ was able to finish the last 5 miles with me. He is almost 9, so I only allow him to run with me for up to 10Km. More than that is just too much. And when the weather gets warmer, unfortunate for him, his distance gets much shorter. Today he joined me at mile 7 and we ran for 5 and walked the last half mile.

Not only am I preparing for my first half marathon, but two weeks from today is when I go to get my POUND certification! I’m really excited about this because I really enjoy Pound, and I am looking forward to sharing the fitness phenom with others.

I’ve been asked to teach Pound at my local fitness facility during the month of April. It’s so soon! There’s no way I’m going to be ready to teach a class by April! But I have been working on songs and routines and think I might just be able to come up with something in a month. Playlist is set, now I just need to get the routine set…in my brain…so set that my nerves won’t F*%k it all up when class time rolls around! So I agreed to do it.

Why do I do this to myself? I’ve got a half marathon I’m training for, I’ve got tons of fundraising to accomplish for the Run for the Animals between now and my half marathon, and now I have to learn a Pound routine and have it ready to go by April! And there’s a trip to visit some friends in PA smack-dab in the middle of all of this. Oh, yeah, and I have a full-time job. I do this to myself because it helps to motivate me to get stuff done! Yes, sometimes I get stressed out, but nothing so serious that a beer or three can’t take care of.

Oh, yeah, and I’m still taking classes for my AFAA certification too. But I have until November to get that finished…

We are given this one life. I am trying to make the most of it. For myself and for others. That’s what makes me go. If I don’t get all of it accomplished on my schedule, I hope that I am given enough time to accomplish whatever it is that I am here to do!