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Living Through a Set Back

September 28, 2013

When a runner can’t run what does a runner do? A runner still lives. I know it seems crazy but nothing stops. The world still turns. Work still needs to be done and other runners still get to run. No one stops running because you can’t. Whether you would like them to or not. The world doesn’t stop.

At times it feels unfair. I had to boycott going onto Twitter, partly because it’s literally bad for my health, but also bad for my emotional state. Especially on a saturday or a sunday and read the “oh my god had an amazing 20 miler today #race #marathon #runnershigh” but this is life, and you still have to life through it all. As painful as it is at times and unfair it seems.

To say I am having a hard time not able to run is an understatement. Honestly, it isn’t so much not being able to run but it is the not able to do ANYTHING. Due to having post concussion syndrome it is fairly serious and imperative for me to get lots of rest and to not do much at all. Reading, writing, walking, running, lifting weights, watching TV, drinking alcohol, driving a car, shopping, texting etc. etc. etc, basically all that is good and fun and makes the days go by, are on the ‘do not do’ list.

Have I broken a few? Yes. I am writing this post, aren’t I? However, when I do break a few coupled with a few more and a few more, my symptoms come back and with a vengeance. As much as nausea, dizziness, headaches and outright confusion is fun in theory, it is downright scary when you forget who you are and you fall over just standing still.

I know having a concussion, and then it turning into PCS is not life threatening, but it is life debilitating. I do not fully feel like myself and haven’t felt like me since late August. I know others have it much worse and I shouldn’t complain about the hand that I was dealt for right now, but, it is hard to think things can get worse when you are in a low place mentally and physically.

Alan, being the amazing husband and supportive partner that he is, tried to cheer me up and found a Ted Talk about a woman, Jane McGonigal who had PCS. I started watching the 19 min talk and after about ten minutes into it I had a severe anxiety attack and emotional breakdown. Not because anything that she was saying was overly emotional but my emotional state is not great. Anxiety is horrible and I am overly emotional. Plus, what she was saying was that she was depressed and couldn’t do anything for almost a year. That hit so hard. I am over a month into this and cannot imagine going for 11 more months of the way that I am feeling. After I got over my breakdown, the next day, in a more emotional stable state I googled Jane McGonigal and found this Runners World article. Which caused a second emotional/anxiety attack. 9.5 months of no running? NO. THANK. YOU.

I know I am being smart and trying to heal as fast as possible. Do I think that I will have these symptoms and this condition for a year? Maybe, but realistically I am trying really hard to do everything right so that I wont. I am trying to listen to books on tape, I am trying to not text or read/watch/write etc. I am trying. I am trying cause I want to get better. I want to run, and I want to do everything else that this life has to offer. If anything, I will have learned through all of this, to not take the little things that I can do for granted. I will never regret a run that I will get to go on or be upset that it wasn’t as fast or as long as I would have liked. The sheer fact that I got to run will be something that I will be happy about and remember the time that I couldn’t run and all the people that are in the world that can’t run and wont be able to run. I will run for them and for my past self.

Head Case

September 19, 2013

Not sure if I mentioned this on here or not and am too lazy to really look, but a few weeks ago I got a concussion. It factored into dropping from the full to the half for the fact that for about a week I couldn’t run due to the head injury. Well, I guess I pushed it too much by working too long of hours last week, not resting enough and trying to run the little bit that I have cause I was at the doctors two days ago. They told me to take some serious brain rest.

I knew during and after the 1/2 on Saturday I pushed it too much. Not necessarily the pace but I could just tell that I wasn’t ‘fine’. I got dizzy while running and then afterwards that day and the next couple of days I was off. Dizzy, confused and just all around not in a right state. Hence, going to the doctors on Tuesday.

Since Tuesday I had to take the rest of the week off from work, cannot run for about a week, and literally just have to stay in bed and not do anything. Writing this post is probably considered over-exerting my brain. oops.

It is really hard to do nothing. It sounds great in theory but when you are doing it, it is, well, boring. No TV, cannot read, cannot write/type, nothing. I downloaded an audio book and just cannot get into it. I am not an audible learner. I need to read and touch and do to learn and understand. I feel like I am hearing the book but couldn’t tell you really what it is about or what is going on. Really hoping that today is my last day of complete brain rest and hoping that i can incorporate more activities tomorrow. Like maybe watch something on the tv. I am not holding my breath though. Alan heard everything that the doctor said and he is really holding me to the doctors orders. I guess that is a good sign of a loving husband but right now it is such a pain!

Please pray for my sanity these next few days!

Week 13 – Smuttynose 1/2

September 16, 2013

Notice the new weekly title. It’s official. In case you missed it here.  So needless to say I am not really following the marathon plan too well. Which is good considering this week at work was INSANE. Like 11 hours straight, not lunch break, not even a pee break kind of day! Not too much running happened at all until Thursday so we’ll skip right to that day!

Thursday 9.12 – 1 mile walk and then a 4 mile run with Sirius in the rain. Felt great to be out running again after a solid week of not running. Felt great to get my legs going and to turn them over at a quick cadence every so often. I didn’t wear my garmin. I knew exactly the loop I was going to do and how long it is and just wanted a stress free, fun run with my dog! Success!

Friday 9.13 – rest – Getting really good at resting

Saturday 9.14 – 13.1 miles. I did the Charlotte Covered bridge half today. 2:12:10 is my Garmin time. Not sure what the official time is for the race.

Sunday 9.15 – 4 mile shakeout with Chris. Nice, easy, Garminless run

Total for 22 miles this week. Not a stellar week but not the worst either. I think I am still having a lot of residual effects from my concussion from several weeks ago and hoping that the dizziness and confusion go away soon!

Charlotte Covered Bridge 1/2

September 14, 2013

Tomorrow is the Charlotte Covered Bridge 1/2 and I am weirdly apathetic towards this race. I signed up initially as I thought it would be a great indicator of where I was at 3 weeks before a marathon. Now that I have dropped to the 1/2 it just seems like it is another 1/2 under my belt.

I am not planning on racing this 1/2 as it is too close to the Smuttynose race. Which I have determined will be my ‘goal race’ to try to get a new PR for the 1/2. I never planned on ‘racing’ this race though. Even as an indicator for the marathon / long training run I was going to take it easy. I told my friend Mandi I’d even run the whole thing with her as she was nervous about doing it given her lack of training this summer. My mentality this race eve is very “meh”. Or even borderline, “i don’t want to get up and out of bed early tomorrow after a long week of work”.

I need to realize though that it will still be a great training run as I have been lacking in the running department lately since I made the decision to drop down. If I want Smuttynose to be my goal race then I have three weeks to keep pushing the pace and really pay attention to the tempo runs and intervals that I have left on my training plan.

ETA I guess I never published this post. OOPS! Anyways, The race was great. Mandi ended up opting not to run this race so I didn’t get to run with her. Instead I ran with Danielle and Kim the whole time.

Danielle is a rockstar, today was her 20 mile run so she used this race as 13 of her 20 and did 4 before the race and 3 afterwards. That, my friends, is dedication at its finest! She has a full time job, two kids, a husband and has successful trained for a full marathon. I am so proud of her!  I love my running sisters. Our unofficial time according to my Garmin is 2:12.

Here are a couple of photos from the race taken from our phones.

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Danielle, Julia, Me, Chris and Kim

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Kim, me and Julia

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Kim and I #flystyle with our Oiselle digs.

Kim is wearing the orange stripey and black game day shorts and I am rocking the flyte long sleeve and the stride shorts!

Dropping – not like it’s hot

September 10, 2013

Dropping from the full to the half marathon for the Smuttynose marathon is not an easy choice or one that I made quickly or lightly. I had 9 phenomenal weeks of training for this race. I had a great base built before marathon training started. I was doing everything right.

Everything right turned into everything wrong when I did the 100 on 100. I raced too hard and was very fatigued afterwards. I gave my body some rest prior to the race that was not apart of training and then afterwards I took a whole week off due to not being able to run. After that my training went down really fast.

I bailed on a lot of runs that were critical for the plan. I altered a lot of other runs that I should have been doing. I attempted to run 20 miles, a typical distance that I should be able to do in marathon training and ended up having to stop after 13 miles. I know it was an off day and not every run will be a great run but this was a very telling sign that I was not where i should be and with very little time left, not sure I would make to where I needed to be before toeing the start line.

I had a  few morale boosting runs this past week, a 6 miler and a 11 tempo that both went well. However, that was the bulk of my mileage this past week and I didn’t do many other runs that again were scheduled to be done. With a month left, I don’t want to push my body and get injured. I also have fifth year wedding anniversary festivities planned the weekend after the race and I want to be able to enjoy myself and not be hobbling around Boston and DC.

Last marathon, and my only marathon I have run, I got burnt out on running and it took a while for me to get back to loving to run again. I am very much in love with running and don’t want to push too much too fast and get injured and be back to where I was and hate running again.

There will be many other marathons that I can train for and run, if I choose to. However, I don’t enjoy marathon training, the strictness that it is, which it has to be, the time it takes – 4 months is a long time to train for something, and to run for over four hours is a lot for your body to handle. I love the 1/2 and would love to get a PR in the half at smutty. So that is my new plan. To race the crap out of it, get a pr and be happy that I get to stop at 13.1 instead of having 13.1 more to do!

Week 12 – Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon Training

September 8, 2013

Monday 9.2 – I was supposed to do an easy 5. This got scrapped due to still just being in the dumps and indecisive with what I am going to do in regards to the marathon. After Yesterdays failed run and dropping from 20 miles to 13 which were rough I am not sure I am cut out to do the full in a few short weeks.

Tuesday 9.3 – Interval (2x3miles) got scrapped for an easy run with Danielle. We did 6 miles at a good pace and went exploring around our ‘hood – Danielle just recently moved closer to wear I live. Her new ‘hood is semi connected to my ‘hood. Which is pretty amazing for two people that like to run and spend time together! ANYWAYS. There is a private road/compound that her and I have both been dying to see what it is. A personal residence, an insane asylum, a drug rehab facility? The possibilities were endless. Today was the day we would sneak in and assume the ‘joggers out for a jog and got lost’ routine. We made it a whole .15 miles onto the property before the security cameras caught us and we were kicked off the property for trespassing. However, we explored other private roads, because we don’t learn our lesson, and had a blast. Definitely a great run and a great time to get my head back into the running game and see if I still have time and desire to put in to the last few weeks of marathon training.

Wednesday 9.4 – rest

Thursday 9.5 – 1 mile warm up 9 miles at tempo (9:09) and 1 mile cool down. total of 11 miles
This was the best run I have had in a while. This run, plus Tuesdays’s run with Danielle is totally rebuilding my confidence that I am not too far off where I need to be. The weather was perfect, the route I mapped out was amazing. The stars were all aligned to make this the perfect day for a perfect run for me. Hope I have a lot more of these in the near future and hopefully on October 6th as well.

Friday 9.6 – I wasn’t feeling great today. Had a horrible day at work and then got home and just felt off. A little dizzy, not quite ‘normal’. Opted to take an unscheduled day off. Question: is anything going to be according to schedule? I feel like the only schedule I have been following lately is not following my schedule. Oh well. It is, what it is.

Saturday 9.7 – Rest day number 2. Felt worse today than I did last night. SUPER light headed, dizzy etc. Alan thinks it is a concussion I got a few weeks ago rearing its ugly head. I think it’s a bug that is going around. I hope I am right. Not for the sake of being right but because I want to get back to running and training!

Sunday 9.8 – Rest, again. Well, I didn’t really rest, I painted all day but I doubt that counts. I did take the dog on a 2 mile walk. I know, this marathon training schedule that I am on is out of control. I am so sure I will be so prepared for the marathon. Which  brings me to a revelation that I had. Well, not really. I had it last week after my disaster of a run. I am not prepared to run 26.2 miles. I had a great first 12 weeks of my training program and then the 100 on 100 happened, injuries, fatigue, life, and summer all happened as well. To be honest, I don’t really want to run for 4.5+ hours either. I am sad that I am not going to be running the marathon with Danielle but honestly, her training has been spot on and she would have left me in the dust any ways so it isn’t like I would have been able to run with her anyways. I haven’t officially dropped form the full to the half. I have until 9.15 to do that officially with the race director but it is 90% that I will be dropping it down. I am slightly bummed but not really. I will talk more about my thoughts on why I am planning on dropping down in another blog post.

This week I closed out the week with 19 miles. This is a clear indicator that I am not marathon ready….

Week 11 – Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon Training

September 1, 2013

This week was make or break my plans of following through and running the Smuttynose Marathon on October 6th.

Monday 8.26 – Easy 7 miles – I was so incredibly nervous all morning leading up to heading out for the run. Scared that it would go horrible and solidify my plans on dropping from the full to the 1/2. Nervous that it would go well and I wouldn’t drop from the full to the half and then bonk later on in my marathon training and regret having this successful run today. Nervous that I would make it out 3.5 miles and be in so much pain and be forced to still have to run another 3.5 miles to get home. Nervous that I would get rained on, excited that it would rain during my run. Nervous that I would be tired and I would take it too fast and nervous that I would take the run too slow. Basically anything that I could be nervous, excited, scared, happy or sad about I felt leading up to this run. It manifested itself to be so much bigger than it was. I had race day nerves for a Monday afternoon lunch run. What the heck? That is just where my mind and confidence has been though lately.

However, after I DOMINATED this run and had 7 pain free miles I was on such a runners high it was unbelievable. Runs like this are the runs that push you and propel you through the hard, painful and discouraging runs. I am hoping and praying that I stay injury free for the next 5 weeks and can compete and COMPLETE the Smuttynose marathon!

Tuesday 8.27 – 3×2 miles @ 18:00min with 800m recovery jogs in between. 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down = 9.5 miles

I waited too late in the day and did this after work, or should I say attempted this after work. I did the warm up mile with Sirius and planned on doing the first 2 miles and then the 1/2 mile jog with him as well. After 1/2 of mile of him stopping every .1 mile I figured I would drop him off at the house after the first mile, do the workout alone and then i could always pick him up for the cool down mile. Well, after dropping him and doing the first 2 miles I felt ridiculous. I was sweating so bad. Salty sweat streaming into my eyes, I could barely keep them open it was so painful. I did the .5 mile jog and called it a day. Could I have pushed through and done it? Maybe. It was easier mentally to stop 1/3 of the way into the workout due to heat, after rocking the first interval, then to keep going and not be able to finish. I ended it on a high note instead of getting defeated. I am just praying the heat and humidity go away so that I don’t have to make these types of decisions every day. So I ended this workout after 3.5 miles. Not HORRIBLE but definitely NOT what I was supposed to do.

Wednesday 8.28 – Rest

Thursday 8.29 – 9 mile temp with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down = 11 miles
Nailed it! I opted to run on the treadmill for this run today so that I could zone out, listen to music in a sunless/humidless environment. The treadmill has built in fans and so I had that blasting while I cranked out 11 miles. This was exactly what I needed to start feeling a little more confident that I can handle the mileage of a marathon in 4.5 weeks!

Friday 8.30 – Easy 6
This got dropped down to a HUMID 2 miles. I have no excuses except it was hot and humid and I stopped earlier than 6 miles.

Saturday 8.31 – Easy 6
This was another humid run but at least it wasn’t too hot out. I was able to get all 6 miles done which, lately has seemed quite the impossible feat. I am a little nervous for tomorrow’s run which is scheduled for 16 but I’m upping it to 20. That is what Danielle has on tap and I am running it with her. I am really hoping that tomorrows run goes well. It truly will be the make or break of if I am going to run a fall marathon or not.

Sunday 9.1 – 16 miles
So I was planning on doing 20 with Danielle to help get me more mentally in the training game and to feel prepared and on schedule with my training. That plan backfired in a major way. I struggled with every step. At mile 13 I bailed out on the run and drove home in tears. Today has been a lot of reflecting on my training, reflecting on WHY I am where I am, wondering if I can get back on schedule and stay injury free to toe the line to run the full or if I should drop down to the half. My head, heart and body are all in very different places and I am trying to sync it all up and as quickly as possible to make my decision.

After my 13 mile run, a lot of tears and a lot of sole searching I went out and did a 3 mile walk to reflect on everything. I am still not in a great place and have yet to make a concrete decision but I’ll get to where I need to be and a place that I am ok with.

For a total of 45.5 miles. This is 10 miles shy of where I was supposed to be but that has been where I’ve been lately. Shy of meeting all my goals. We’ll see how the next few days go…

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