Out with the injuries, in with my healthiest running ever!

Disclaimer: This is a kind of 2014 recap/2015 goals post all in one.

In debating the format for this post, I decided to go with “the list”, because goals are a version of a list after all.  And, instead of rehashing all the stupid things Jen has done in 2014 in the name of the run, I won’t be detailing my mistakes here…..only lessons learned.  This is, in part, to avoid sounding like a broken record while simultaneously beating a dead horse.  But, for the most part, this is an attempt to spare the 4 people who read my blog the agony of reading, yet again, about my “lapses in judgement”, as I affectionately refer to them.  Let’s just hope that reading my blog is one of your 2015 goals. 🙂

2014 Accomplishments

  • Suffered my first running-related injury and lived through it!  (It was quite the drama at the time.)  Seriously, it was great experience, looking back.  It only served to make me a more seasoned runner.  And now that I’m going through injury for a second time, I feel I’m growing wiser! (And, boy, could I use some wisdom from the gods of running!)

    No caption needed really, but I've covered the stupid part, now on to the wise!
    No caption needed really, but I’ve COMPLETELY covered the stupid part, now on to the wise!
  • PR’d by over 5 min at Cowtown Half in February, in grueling (for me, anyway) conditions of sticky humid and 60s.  I thank my lucky stars that the sun didn’t come out until mile 10.  I would have melted.

    My (former) running partner and I running through the Ft Worth Stockyards.  LOVE Cowtown route!
    My (former) running partner and I running through the Ft Worth Stockyards. LOVE Cowtown route! We were discussing strategy for THAT hill! 🙂
  • After recovering from my injury, felt stronger as a runner than I ever have!  Seriously, my best running to date.  I love that healthy, strong feeling.  I will run strong again soon.
  • Ran with Taylor, one of Taylor’s former club coaches at Plano Balloon HM (confused yet?).  It was his first HM and he didn’t train the way I told him to, but he finished!  So honored that he asked me to do it with him. (May I just say that advising him on training made me realize how stubborn and frustrating I must have been to my friends that helped me through my injury?!? #twopeasinapod #hardheaded #stubborn #wedontlisten)

    So proud of this guy!  He wasn't as excited about the hills as I was. ;)
    So proud of this guy! But I was sad that he wasn’t as excited about the hills as I was. 😉
  • Finished my first marathon, for which I trained twice! (Humor of Mother Nature is all that can explain that!)  Initially I was disappointed with the result, but a little perspective has made this day one of the sweetest of the year!

    Taylor snapped this beauty of a pic through a fence.  Be jealous of her skills.
    Taylor snapped this beauty of a pic through a fence. Be jealous of her skills.

2014 Lessons Learned

  • Rest days are good and necessary.  In fact, I learned that I am able to go on the no-running/no-workout/anything but walking 2-week DL AND still remember how to run/am still able to run when I’m reactivated.  And those first runs after the forced break were ahhhhhhh-mazing!!
  • Cross train, cross train, cross train.  I added cross training/strength training and biking in after my injury, but life and marathon training took over in the fall and I gradually did less and less.  Paid the price for it, too, during my marathon.  But I promised not to go there, so…..  Suffice to say that I believe this is the part of the puzzle that helped me run so well early on in the Fall.
  • I CAN run by myself.  I have become a better, stronger, faster, more confident, mentally stronger runner on my own.  This isn’t a negative reflection on my former partner, rather, running alone required me to develop those skills in order to be successful.  However, I didn’t spend as much time injured when I had a partner…..coincidence??
  • Just because I have “that feeling” in my gut does not mean that I need to run my long run as fast as I possibly can, or run when I should be resting, or do any other stupid thing just because “the feeling in my gut said so”.  (For me, this leads to injury.  EVERY. TIME.)
  • Just because I CAN run a 1,000 mile year doesn’t mean I SHOULD.  (I joined a 1,000 mile challenge early on in 2014.  Injury caused me to miss the goal by 55 miles.  However, I was so focused on that, at times, that I failed to focus properly on my rehab.  For me, this is a distraction that encourages me to run junk miles.)

2015 Goals

  • STAY HEALTHY!!! I am working on making my ITB as happy, happy, happy as it can be and once I achieve that, I want it to stay that way!!
  • I will not focus on mileage in 2015.  I will, instead, focus on quality runs.  My runs will be intentional and planned.
  • Cross train, cross train, cross train.  Enough said.  I will ensure that I get my cross training in, even if it means I have to skip a run.  (Those of you holding me accountable might want to bookmark this one.)  I would rather skip one or two runs than sit out for a few weeks to rehab a preventable injury.
  • Sub-2 Half Marathon.  I KNOW this is achievable, since I ran a 2:04 HM during a marathon training run.  (Let’s not discuss the stupidity in that…the PB during a training run.  Reference 4th bullet under Lessons Learned.)
  • Cowtown Marathon 2016.  Of course I want to run another marathon!  If my body had been ready, I would have run another the very next weekend.  I felt like running the full at Dallas next year might be too soon for me (because I want to build my base back slowly), and I’ve already mentioned how I LOVE that Cowtown course, so this seems like the perfect next-marathon for me!  I list this in my 2015 goals because I will begin formal training for it before 2015 comes to a close.  I am REALLY excited about this one!!!

I hope your 2014 was at least half as amazing as mine was!  I was blessed in so many ways during the year.

Here’s to an even better 2015!

OF COURSE my wine glass has Texas on it!!  What kind of Texan do you think I am?
OF COURSE my wine glass has Texas on it!! What kind of Texan do you think I am?

Thanks for reading!
Jen

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Patience eludes me once again and a little lesson in dyslexia

Patience has never been my virtue.  Running has helped temper my anxiousness, because it requires a certain kind of patience, but even running is a cause for my anxiety of late.

I actually prayed for patience once.  Maybe I should have been more specific.
I actually prayed for patience once. Maybe I should have been more specific.

At the beginning of 2014, I joined a group of Twitter friends in a goal to run 1,000 miles this year.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, and a very achievable one, since I ran 960 miles in 2013.  (Side note: STILL hanging on to the disappointment that 40 mile deficit, as I realized my shortcomings on December 30 – until that point, I had NO idea I was that close!) So I readily signed up for this challenge, excited about the accomplishment to follow.  Then, life happened.  I had determined that I needed to average around 84 miles/month to stay on track for this goal.  I was under the miles I needed in 4 of the first 5 months of the year.  May was a TERRIBLE month, with a measly 37 miles.  May was a TERRIBLE month altogether, because that was the month that I finally admitted I was injured and needed help which resulted in a trip to the doctor and 2 weeks of no running. <Insert insane runner here.>  When I began running again in June, I was restricted (ok, I can NOW admit this was a good thing, but at the time was furious about it) and so June’s numbers were low as well.  I resigned myself to the reality that I would fall short of this goal.  And even though I had a very good and understandable reason for missing it, this still nagged at me.  Fast forward through Fall marathon training and I have found myself in a place where this goal is within my reach!  But it isn’t a sure thing.  It all depends on how many miles I have actually logged by the end of the day on December 14 (which, if you haven’t heard, is my marathon day!!!), since I’m not sure how long I will take off after the race.   To date, I am at 884.5 miles for the year, and by my best calculations have around 100 miles to left in training to run, including my race.  So surely I can tack 15 miles on somewhere!  I keep telling myself not to think about this; to focus on training smart and running a smart race.  But let’s face it; I’m Jen and this is what I do: focus on insignificant things, lack patience and self-control and end up injured.

Believe it or not, I have tried hard not to talk about my marathon training 24/7 and even feel like I have done a pretty good job up to this point.  Now that the LAST long run is looming on the horizon, I am starting to get excited; REALLY excited and anxious and nervous and a lot of other emotions I am unable to label.  And so I find myself thinking about those 26.2 miles ALL THE TIME!  The suspense is killing me, literally, because I am so ready to run! As a result, I’m probably going to be posting about it a lot.  I can’t help myself!  Have I mentioned – only 24 more days?!?

One of the most meaningful things for me about running the Dallas Marathon is the charity that the race supports, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.  The sad thing is that the race route usually passes the hospital, but doesn’t this year because of road construction in the area. (Honestly, there isn’t one road in all of North Texas that isn’t under some sort of construction right now.) Scottish Rite is well-known for its specialty work in orthopedics and that no child is ever charged for services provided by the hospital.  Scottish Rite has a special place in my heart for another reason – their dyslexia program.  Many schools in Texas use the Scottish Rite program to remediate students diagnosed with dyslexia, including the school district in which I work.  Parents can even take their children to Scottish Rite for diagnosis and treatment, if needed.  And, just in case you aren’t familiar with dyslexia, here are some facts that you need to know: dyslexia affects roughly 10% of the population, dyslexic people have above average IQs, and having dyslexia doesn’t mean a person can not read – they just use a different part of their brain to read, which requires some additional training to achieve fluency.  Can you tell I am a little passionate about this subject?

My oldest, Taylor, was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in 3rd grade.  I had my suspicions up to that point, but she was so smart that she had been able to fool everyone and compensated by memorizing everything.  The reading transition in 3rd grade caused her some struggle, but luckily she had a teacher who was very aware of dyslexia and pushed to have her tested.  She was placed almost immediately in the dyslexia program.  Long story short, Taylor put in a lot of hard work throughout her elementary school years and the Scottish Rite program gave her the tools she needed to be successful.  She graduated 7th in her class and is now a math major maintaining close to 4.0 in college while tutoring in the math lab.  (Just a few more of the reasons that I am proud of her!)  I am so thankful for all of the research and continued commitment to dyslexia at Scottish Rite Hospital, and I am honored that the race I’m about to run will help them continue their work!

Finally, I went for my weekly pre-marathon session with my myofascia guy last evening.  When I told him that I thought I should just move in with him until the marathon was over, he laughed!  It’s important to note that he didn’t say, “No”, so I feel there is still a chance this could happen!  He spent half the time on my gimp calf.  You know, the one I messed up when I refused to stop on that 22-miler. (Oops, I may not have shared that part!)  It was hard for me to admit that I needed some help with my calves.  I’ve NEVER had calf issues and I have taken great pride in it.  In addition, he said 99% of the people he sees have issues on the outside of the calf, while my issue was on the inside.  Just proof that nothing is ever normal with me, as if any of you needed proof in the first place.

I’ll leave you with the obligatory selfie, and the only reason I’m sharing is because I LOVE this shirt!  You can get your own at Texas Humor 🙂

I actually had to explain this shirt to my husband this morning!
I actually had to explain this shirt to my husband this morning!

Happy Hump Day!