Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Run

Well, I was up at 5 am again yesterday to head out to Tufts. I'm getting pretty good at catching the T and then taking the bus out to Medford. I didn't get lost for once, and made it out there by 7:15. At 8 am, runners gathered outside the Cousen gymnasium to begin our long run. The course was 11 miles and then there was an additional 3 mile route we could add on to make 14 miles. This would be the most I had ran yet, and I was determined to complete those 14 miles. I was surprised to find that every three miles the coach had parked his car and had water, gaterade, bananas, jellybeans, or whatever else runners might need along the route. I had never run this hill that started around mile 4, but it was honestly bigger than the one from the Stew Road Race last week. It went straight up at a steep incline, and then a gradual incline for a a good mile or least you can always look forward to running down the hill. I stopped for a quick cup of gaterade after that one.

I didn't know the course, and at one point I saw no one in front of me. I came to a fork in the road and looked behind me to motion to the a girl which way I should head. I followed her instructions and headed down a hill. A few minutes later she caught up with me and said that she had pointed in the wrong direction. She was also new to the course. So we trucked back up the hill together..I guess at that point you can only laugh it off. My body wasn't hurting yet and I soon learned we had only three miles left of the 11 mile route. I talked to this girl as we ran and it went pretty quickly. She is an undergrad at Tufts and this was also her first marathon. Because of her shin splints, she decided not to run the extra three miles after we completed the 11. Fortunately, there was a girl ahead of me with a GPS in her watch so we would know how much more we needed to hit 14 miles.

I got new Mizuno gloves this past week which are supposed to send heat to your hands...ha this is a far cry from the truth. My hands were so frozen I couldn't even put my iPod ears back in when they fell out. This caused further complications when my shoe came untied. When I stopped to tie my shoe, I couldn't do it, so just kept running to keep up with the two other girls. Then, I realized this probably wasn't the best idea and I really should tie my shoe. I told them to go ahead and I would catch up. Well, what should have been a simply hand movement took a good couple of minutes. It was so frustrating! Loop, swoop, should be this difficult! By the time I got it, I lost site of the other two girls. I didn't know where I was, but I knew the general direction I needed to go to get back. I also knew we had only one mile left when I stopped. I ran around a neighborhood for a while, until I saw someone walking their dog who pointed me in the right direction of Tufts. Eventually, I made it back to the main road that led to the gym. I am really good at getting lost EVERY time I come here. It would have been okay, but when I got frustrated and wasn't sure where I was, I slacked on my form and the outside of my knee was in a lot of pain. I should have stopped running, but I was determined to complete the 14 miles. Eventually, I saw the gym and made it back to our starting point where the coach was there with other runners. On a positive note he had heart shaped candy and gave me bananas to take home so they wouldn't go to waste. I was extremely happy to have completed my goal...but in a lot of pain. I iced my knee yesterday and today, but it is going to take a good couple days to recover from this one. I am still walking pretty stiff-legged.

I wanted to run more this weekend because I will not be running in the long run next week. Next Sunday, I am competing in a Miss Massachusetts local, Miss Boston. Some of my family and friends are coming in town for the show..including my mom and grandmother! My roommates and a few of my friends from Boston are also coming to watch. While I didn't anticipate competing this year, I soon realized that I missed performing, could use the scholarship money, and loved the MAO too much to take a year off. I auditioned in January with a five minute interview and my talent and was one of the 19 contestants chosen to compete. Because of limited time and space, I think they felt that 19 contestants would be easier to work with than the original 28. Now, I just need to catch up on my school work and recover my knee from yesterday so I will be ready to go by this weekend...heels and all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gaterade Jellybeans and Race Day Adrenaline

The race on Sunday went really well! The combination of gaterade jellybeans and all the people cheering for us along the route made me much more energized than I expected. I ended up running with a young woman who kept about the same pace as me. We motivated each other and once we hit mile 9, we practically sprinted the last half mile. We both liked to run with music so it worked out well. I know that's not standard for races, but I need my country music and Glee songs! One of my favorite songs to run with is "Mountains" by Lonestar. The lyrics go:
There are times in life when you gotta crawl.. Lose your grip, trip and fall. When you can't lean on noone else..That's when you find yourself. I've been around and I've noticed that-walking is easy when the road is flat. Them danged 'ole hiils will get you every time. Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains, so we could learn how to climb.

It's a great country song and very motivating! Ironically, we were told there would be a "memorable" hill half way through. They really weren't kidding...there were about three hills
that made up one giant hill. The lyrics to this song are great anyway, but had even more meaning while I was running up that giant hill. The race was fun though and I got to meet more people on the Tufts' team. I thought the race would be 11 miles, so I was surprised to learn it was only 9.5. Plus, my running partner gave me a gaterade jellybean every two miles which gave me even more energy. I barely noticed the pain from my plantar fasciitis and I felt good after the race. It was about 20-25 degrees during the run, so at least it was not freezing outside!

Each Sunday I will do one long run, leading up to a 20 mile run on March 7th. I am sore today from sprinting the last part of the race, but overall, feel motivated and excited for the marathon. Now, I just need to stay healthy and not injure myself...and buy some gaterade jellybeans of my own... They are a great incentive while running!

Our President's Marathon Challenge coach, Don Megerle, is absolutely amazing! He is so motivating and takes pictures during every run. Some pictures from the race are below. The first picture was taken as my running partner and I were just about to cross the finish line.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Myofascial Rollling, Tennis Balls, and Ibuprophen

So I am finally starting to get my pain under control. I am not one for pain medications, but I guess that will be changing for now. I was told to take Ibuprophen three times a day which is alot for anyone..especially when I usually avoid the taking pain medication altogether. I am running a 15K tomorrow which is about 11 miles. With the problems I have been having lately, this will be a good amount. I have to be at Tufts at 8 am which means I have to leave by house a little after 6. I was told there was a big hill on mile six..can't wait for that one.

This the Great Stew Chase 15K road race which is the third oldest 15K in the country. I figure this will be good for me to run with the Tufts' team and experience a new route. I have been rolling on noodles for my IT band which causes pain on the outside of my knee. I had no idea how painful rolling would be. To an outsider it looks easy, but oh my goodness! I must have a million knots in my hips. I just started rolling a few days ago and it is still very painful. It is supposed to get easier the more you do it, so hopefully that happens soon. I have to position myself almost in a side plank to roll on my hip. I was told to hold myself on the areas that are most painful and do small sections at a time. Rolling is also great for hamstrings, gluts, back pain, or really any area that gets tight. I am also going to start standing and rolling my feet on tennis balls to alleviate the pain in my heels. My mom shipped me a package with new soles for my running shoes and plantar fasciitis gels which have helped immensely..I forgot how much these little things really make a difference!

So today, I'm not going to run to rest up for tomorrow. I think I'll use this extra time to do some much-need laundry..not a bad idea.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Greatest Challenge Yet

Pain. That is what is going through my body right now. When I signed up for the 114th Boston Marathon with the Tufts President's Marathon Challenge team I had no idea what this would entail. I knew I would be training to run 26.2 miles, but I didn't realize the implications that it would have on my physical and mental well-being. I have always been a good runner and never questioned the limitations of my body. Training for a marathon seemed liked any other challenge I might take on... I train hard, I have a few breakdowns along the way, but eventually I meet my goal. I didn't take into account that marathon training requires nutrition and water regiments, proper stretching and recovery, and running in a different way than I ever have in the past.

I finally hit a wall last week. I had been running every day pushing myself to accomplish my training schedule and not taking time to treat my injuries, let my body recover, drink enough water, or even eat enough carbohydrates to really be able to reach my mileage goal. Now I'm having constant bouts with my knee and plantar fasciitis. It is amazing how a new pain or injury seems to develop every time I run. While running through the pain is certainly a possibility, I also realize that certain injuries will only get worse and could eventually prevent me from running altogether. So last week I traveled for an hour and a half by train and by bus to get to a workshop on injury treatment and prevention. Luckily, it was well worth the trip and I feel much more prepared for the road to come.

While physically I feel more prepared, I still need to journal my thoughts and stay positive. Writing is almost like free therapy for dealing with the challenges I am facing and keeping me on track. While I don't have time to blog every day, my goal is to blog once a week about my progress. I refuse to let negative thoughts creep into my mind any longer. I CAN DO THIS. I know it won't be easy and I am only half-way to my goal...BUT I know I can run 26.2 miles. My feet and knees sometimes disagree with me, but I am in the best physical condition I have ever been in and I refuse to give up.

To ensure that I am running what I need to run and sticking to my training plan, I am holding myself accountable through this blog. I have never been a person that lets someone tell me I can't do something so there is not reason I should start being negative now. On April 19th I will run in the Boston Marathon from the starting line in Hopkington, MA to the finish line in downtown Boston. I am 75 days and 138,336 feet away from reaching my goal. I can and will meet this challenge.

Since I am running as part of the Tufts University team (I am a Emerson-Tufts grad student in the Health Communication program), I must raise $1000 to support nutrition, medical, and fitness programs at Tufts. Tufts is a leader in research on healthy aging, childhood obesity, and in its work to eliminate famine. My personal page is below. Until next time...