MInd/Matter

Day 15 – National Blog Posting Month

I haven’t run in a week. After the half-marathon I didn’t take a break, I just kept going. I ran 10 km a week later and my body started tell me to slow down. Of course, I didn’t listen.  The nagging ache in my calves didn’t let up. The nagging ache in my SI joint started nagging me more. The writing was on the wall.  I needed a rest.

So, for the past week I rested.  I laid off the weights and got on the stationary bike once for 35 minutes. Last night, for the first time in 8 days, I did some upper body weights. I plan on a short 3-5 km run this afternoon.  A week off the running may not be enough physically for my body to rest but my mind needs to get back out there.

When I run I think. Sometimes I think about a recent patient and go over the history, physical exam and lab findings and think of other diagnoses that might have eluded me at the time.  Often I just process my day so that I can leave it on the pavement and start fresh tomorrow. More often than not, it’s a chance for me to have quiet time to reflect on everything and nothing. I guess you could say it’s a form of therapy.

Mind over matter.

Thoughts in Ten on Tuesday. 

Day 3 – National Blog Posting Month.

Recovering from a half-marathon is taking longer than I thought.

Why are those last 6-7 lbs so damn elusive?

Daylight savings time is stupid.

Stress leads to the dark side.

It’s flu season. No, the flu shot will not make you sick.

I dream of Halloween chocolate, which likely explains the second thought above.

I forget what it feels like to sleep in. I worry I will never be able to do it again.

Years tick by and I still wonder, what if?

I really need to start reading books again.

It’s spring in November.

October Run Report and Goalification

Day 2 – National Blog Posting Month

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October was a pretty spectacular running month for me. After a summer plagued with injury I was able to make a comeback and completed my first half marathon. It wasn’t fast but I crossed the finish line at 2:37:17 which was three minutes faster than my goal time of 2:40.

Currently I have no plans for my next race. For someone who swore she’d never enter a race, the fact that I have nothing planned honestly feels strange. Never thought I’d ever say that.

My running goals now are to change my long runs to 10:1 intervals – 10 minutes of running then 1 minute of walking. I would also really like to phase out the walking altogether on my regular runs. I’m also going to start running hill repeats once a week provided no new injuries arise. In the past, hills have always led to some sort of injury so I will keep on eye on that.  I have a weight goal as well which is totally silly, but there you have it. It’s the last on my list so it’s not terribly important but I have a number in my head and I would like to reach it. It is likely an unrealistic goal given that I am also doing some weight training and not really being very strict with my diet. One has to live, right?

I can’t wait to see what November brings!

21.1

(or 13.1 for my U.S. Readers)

Race nerves were an all-time high this time around. Earlier in the week I was plagued with migraine headaches and tummy issues and generally I felt like crap. By the weekend I was starting to feel better but couldn’t shake this feeling of a large pit in my stomach. Saturday night I ate turkey with all the fixings – mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and stuffing. My husband surprised me with a present.  He was going to give it to me after the race but thought it would be better if I wore it while running, which I did and I absolutely adore it.

IMG_0429I went to bed around 10pm but had a hard time falling asleep. Eventually I must have because when I opened my eyes is was 6:10am. I kissed hubby and crawled out of bed.

Coffee. Bathroom break. Toast with peanut butter and honey. Glass of water. Yogurt. Dressed. My neighbor offered me a ride as he was racing too, and we headed out at 7:45am.

By the time I made it through the lineup to use the port-a-potties it was time to head to the start line.  I found two friends who were running together and we started together but they quickly pulled away from me which was totally fine. They were doing 10:1s and I had my own plan.

0-5 km – this flew by. I was doing a lot of people watching and enjoying the crisp morning air. I was dressed perfectly. The leg warmers on my calves were a godsend. Nothing hurt. No shin splints, no groin pain, nothing. I stuck to my 1km run, 100m walk intervals and my legs felt good. I forgot to take sips of water but took some Gatorade at the 3km water station. I was wearing gloves and had to take them off by this point. The gravity of what I was doing kinda suddenly hit me. Jesus Christ I was trying to run a half f&#*ing marathon. What is wrong with me?

IMG_04595-10 km. This part of the course was fun. I was in a good groove and kept to my intervals. I took a photo of the downtown skyline as it appeared on my left, just before making the turn to run along the waterfront.  I started feeling a bit sluggish as I approached the 9 km mark, so so I ate a few of my GU electrolyte Chews.  As I made my way along the waterfront and saw all the other runners running back towards downtown I started to feel like a fish out of water. Like a poser, if you will. I was trying to push that thought away when something else caught my attention.

IMG_0460IMG_046110-15 km. Chest pain. What? It wasn’t time to walk but the sharp pain in my left upper chest wasn’t going away. I slowed down and started walking and evaluated. “I’m not going to be that runner who has a f&#*ing heart attack.”It’s just a muscle spasm, a stitch; I drank that water at the last station too fast.” I focused on my breathing and as it settled down I started running again. I had to laugh at myself a bit. Stupid doctor. That’s when I had to start taking more frequent walk breaks. I was losing steam. I ate some more chews and sipped water. Suddenly it was 14 km. Only 7 km more to go. I can do this.

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I felt a little burst of energy around 16 km. My legs suddenly felt light. I kinda felt like I was floating above the ground as I ran. I briefly thought, “this is the moment you pass out.”

17 km. Only 4 more to go.

1 km. WHat the actual f—?! Oh, that was the for the 5 km run. lol! I literally laughed out loud.

I was taking more walk breaks. Probably every 400 m now but only for about 15-30 seconds.

18km. I grabbed my phone and texted my friend who was volunteering for the marathon and who asked me to let her know when I was close.

IMG_046319 km. “What street am I on? Why can’t I see the finish line? Is that my name on that sign?” It was! It was my friend and I ran over to her and gave her a high-five. I wanted to stop right there. I didn’t want to go on. I ran some more, I walked some more. The cheers got louder. I saw a sign that said 500 m to go. Seriously?  Then 400 m. I walked for about 15 seconds but then felt embarrassed. 300 m. “Just start running. Don’t stop“. And I didn’t. 200 m. I want to die. 100 m. Is that the finish? Don’t trip. Watch the ground. Don’t look up. I think I just crossed the finish line. Thank f#&$ing Christ.

IMG_0464I walked. I felt dizzy. I grabbed a solar blanket thing. I got my medal. I was surprised now heavy it felt. I just kept walking. In a daze. I forgot to drink water. I texted my husband. Took a really bad selfie and sent it to him. I went to go find my other friend who was waiting for me with a coffee. (Bad idea, by the way, the coffee).

We found each other. I could barely talk. She hugged me. She looked like she’d been crying. She took a few pictures. I found the food line. I ate my banana. I ate the yogurt. I forgot to drink water.

Home. Nauseated. Stomach hurt. Wanted to puke. Never, ever want to feel that way again. What have I done to my body?

I wrote on my FB running group.  They were really supportive throughout my training.  I wrote how I was feeling.  Several women responded suggesting I was dehydrated and needed to start drinking fluids, electrolytes. I was in such a daze it never occurred to me that I was dehydrated. It was a scary experience. After I drank an electrolyte mix I felt a lot better. I am starting to feel better today and my body hurts in places I didn’t expect. I am exhausted beyond anything I have experience before. I’m not sure I ever want to run again.

Oh, but at the very beginning of the race I realized I turn 42 next August.

42.

Hmm ….

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Ready. 

I think I’m ready for the half marathon in a couple of weeks. 

This was my last long training run. My friend joined me for the first 7 km and I continued on as she turned back. 

I tried a gel for the first time. It was gross. I then tried a gummy energy chew and it was much more palatable.  I’m glad I used this run to figure that out. 

  
I feel like I’m capable of anything. I can’t wait for the race! 

Resilience.

I haven’t written lately about the running. I think this is mostly because I’m afraid of jinxing myself.

While I was off on vacation in cottage country, I did a few short 3-4 km trail runs. The area we were in was pretty hilly so I did walk most of the hills. My endurance sucked but the previous weeks’ rest overall helped the groin injury.

When we returned from vacation I set out for a slow 6 km run to test the legs. And man, was it ever slow!! My groin did ache a little bit right at the end but the pain never persisted. I was very, very cautiously optimistic. I stretched after the run and foam rolled and hoped for the best. I also added back another short run of 3-4 km during the week.  And the groin cooperated.

My next long run was 9 km.  Again, I felt pretty good for most of it but the groin ache kicked in around 8 km.  While it was frustrating to experience that ache again, it was also reassuring that it only happened near the end of the run.  It’s the little things, right?

The following week’s long run was 12 km. No groin pain, just a little bit of lower back stiffness at the very end. Last week, I ran twice during the week; a steady 3.5 km run and then a 5.1 km run.

Yesterday, I set out for 15 km.  My girlfriend had just given me a new running shirt for my birthday and I was excited to wear it.

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I ran all the way downtown and back.  Around 13 km, I started getting real tired and hungry!  Thank goodness for traffic lights. I was able to stretch my legs at the red lights.  In the end I completed 16 km and felt pretty darn good.

Today, not so much.  Today, everything hurts, even my upper body from supporting myself while foam rolling my legs. Oy. I can’t quite tell if it’s the good muscle soreness or the groin injury rearing its ugly head.  I leaning towards the good muscle soreness.

I also realized that I should probably take the next day off work after the half marathon.

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Mid-Year Run Report

Back in January, I accepted a challenge from a fellow doctor mother runner blogger to run 1000 km in 2015.  I can hardly believe that six months have passed.  It’s been a pretty eventful six months, I have to say.  I never thought I’d ever run a race and I have done three this year already.  I am definitely doing one more (have already signed up) and might sign up for another one.  I guess you could say I caught the racing fever.

Here’s a breakdown of my monthly mileage to date:

January – 77.5 km

February – 49.4 km

March – 73.1 km

April – 81.1 km

May – 87.5 km

June – 68.2 km

…. and the six month grand total is 436.8 km.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I feel I have overcome a lot in these past six months – shin splints, SI joint issues, weak glutes, etc.  I’ve done a lot of work on getting stronger by introducing weights and working with my pilates instructor on fine-tuning my strength training.

For the first time I really think I might actually run 1000 km this year.  With my half-marathon training getting underway I am trying to make my weekday runs a little bit longer (5-7 km) than they have been (normally 3-5 km) and aiming for a long run every 7-10 days.  If I can accomplish this without getting hurt then I could very well reach that goal.

Wish me luck!!

Overcoming Yourself.

Boy, is this ever true.  I never believed it until yesterday.

I still can’t quite believe I finished my 15 km race. I have run 15 km twice before; the first was just a 15 km long, slow distance run and the second was during my last long training run of 18 km.

I decided to sign up for this 15 km race right after the 10 km race in May.  Since I finished that race, I started flirting with the idea of earning 4 running medals this year – 5K, 10K, 15K and 21.1K.  Yesterday’s race seemed like the perfect choice.  The race course was along a trail I have run before, it was close to my house and looked like a lot of fun. Challenging, for sure, as it had a few small hills as well.

I got up two hours before the start.  Baby boy was just starting to stir but everyone else was still asleep.  I got a ride with my neighbor who was also running.  It was a beautiful morning, a little cool and overcast with the threat of rain.  Honestly, the conditions were perfect.

The start was tough. Psychologically tough.  There were no corrals.  All the 15k runners started at the same time.  I should have started near the back, but I made my way closer to the front.  I’m not sure why.  Excitement?  Anyway, it was a big mistake.  Runner after runner started passing me.  I tried to move over to the right but it was hard.  They just kept flying by me. By 2km it felt like I was running alone.  I felt suddenly defeated and couldn’t stop thinking I would place last and I really felt like a failure. For a little while I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was out of my league.  But somehow I soldiered on knowing there was no way I was going to DNF (did not finish).Things started to change a few hundred meters after making the turn at 5 km.  I noticed that I wasn’t the last 15k runner and my spirits lifted. As I approached the half way point, my Nike app was telling me that my average pace was improving.  It was around the 8 km point that I realized my hips were starting to ache.  I decided I just had to run through the ache.  It wasn’t pain but they were definitely telling me that they were tired.  I felt this same ache during the last 2 km of my 18 km training run two weeks ago and I’m thankful I did.  I kept telling myself that if I could finish 18 km I couldn’t certainly finish 15 km.

I also started to notice that I passed a few runners who had been ahead of me for most the first half of the race.  Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t going to finish last. Sure, I’d be in the pack of final runners, but I wouldn’t finish last.   I think this is when I got my second wind.

At 10 km I checked my time – my first 15 km run before this race I completed in 1:49:32; during the 18 km training run, I reached 15 km in 1:52:59.  I knew I could finish this run a little faster if I kept up my pace.  I dug real deep and ran full tilt to the finish (even with my scheduled walk breaks!). There were some people who were running in their friends with 150m to go.  They were really motivating and I stole from them to cross the finish line.

I really understand the concept of a “Personal Record” and a “Personal Best” now.   I wasn’t running against anyone but myself and I almost felt like quitting when the little devil on my shoulder told me I was out of my league.  I ignored that voice and persevered.

Yesterday I set my own PR and PB.  And damn if that doesn’t feel good.

Running really is 90% psychological.

On Strength.

I know it’s been a while that I’ve written when I can’t remember what my last post was about. There’s been a lot going on, all of it good for the most part.

Daughter got her cast off and is on the mend. Most days I think she forgets about the elbow injury but she has been careful not to test it on the monkey bars (thanks in large part to the Orthopedic surgeon who told her not to go near them for a few weeks).

I’ve been a slammed at work… again.  My colleague had a family emergency quite suddenly and we’ve had to juggle her practice.  Thankfully there was a replacement doctor coming in for some vacation time so that has eased the burden this week.  I often feel I am asked to cover for my colleagues more than they cover for me and it’s been like that for years.  I work more than they do so it makes sense, I guess.  Still, it’s annoying and not likely to change unless I also reduce my hours, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon.  I nod politely and tell them I’ll do what I can but inside I can’t help but feel resentful. I know this is something that can’t continue because it will eat away at me. I just want things to be equal and I fear it’s never going to be.

Running is going well. I signed up for a 15k race and it’s coming up this weekend.  Of course I am nervous about it; I worry I’ll fall flat on my face and not finish even though I ran 18k two weeks ago, my furthest run to date.  The last 2k were very hard and I walked a lot so I know I was pushing myself but I felt I needed to in order to feel more confident about the upcoming race. I’ve been tapering since then and haven’t run more than 5-7 km and taking more rest days.  I ran 87.5 km during the month of May. My total for the year so far is 381 km.  I am not sure I’ll reach my goal of running 1000 km in 2015 but I do know that I will run a half marathon.

I also started strength training at home on the suggestion of my chiropractor and Pilates coach.  I’ve been doing upper and lower body free weights and have noticed a significant difference in my stamina already after just a month.  During my last run a few days ago, I was able to run up a very large hill without any walking.  That’s not something I could have done a month ago.  What an exhilarating feeling!  I have to say it’s also pretty cool seeing the changes in my muscles.  I already had pretty strong arms thanks to carrying toddlers around for the past 6 years almost non-stop.  My main weakness has been in my glutes so I learned how to do dead lifts and started incorporating those a couple of times a week into my routine.  Core strength is incredibly important as well and planking has helped.  My FB running group has a daily elbow plank challenge going on this month and my time has already increased by almost 25 seconds in just a week.  I’ve also been biking to and from work at least once a week as well.  I have a mountain bike, it’s pretty heavy and not terribly efficient so it’s a good workout, especially when I’m riding along the trail and have to climb the hills.

Fortis ego sum.

I am strong.

In the Zone

Yesterday I set out for a long run. Had planned 10km but with the new shoes (Asics Gel Nimbus) and better eating this week, I felt pretty good and flirted with the idea of pushing my body and going longer. I signed up for a 10km race which is happening in a few weeks so this would likely be that last long run until then. 

I’ve been to two Pilates sessions in the past couple of weeks and got some great tips on how to loosen up my hip joints. I did a lot of dancing as a child and was always taught to “tuck in”. I suppose I never really forgot that because apparently it’s what is causing a lot of my issues. My SI joints are locked up and I am working hard to unlock them.  My instructor also suggested a few minor changes to how I run and I’ve been trying to incorporate those techniques. Overall I have been running with consciously tightening my core which in turns causes me to lock up my hip joints. That has got to change. 

So during the early stages of my run yesterday, between 3-9km, I felt amazing. I felt like I was flying and my hips felt great. I almost felt like I was meditating.  By 10km though, I started getting tired and felt the SI joint acting up. I made a few adjustments and was surprised how it actually did help ease up the discomfort. 

Before I knew it I was home and finished my longest run to date. 

 
I was also able to finally test out my two-bottle water belt. It felt a little awkward initially but I soon got used to it and was so glad to have my hands free.  I’ll definitely be using it for the race. 

  
This morning my legs certainly noticed the subtle differences I incorporated in my run. My quads are sore but in that good way. Nothing a little foam rolling won’t cure. 

Anyone who says running doesn’t work to lose weight or get fit clearly didn’t test their body.