2015: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Initially, I wasn’t going to write the obligatory end of the year summary.  As the year winds to a close, however, I naturally started thinking about where the year had taken me, and I wanted to document it – if only just for me.  It’s been A year!  I have had some heart-stopping, stellar moments.  I’ve also had some heart-stopping, heartbreaking moments.

2015 Word of the Year

Last year, I chose a word of the year: Balance.  I felt everything in my life was OUT of balance and I desperately needed to get control of things.  My running was clearly out of control – I was prone to over-training and terrible at supplementing my fitness with cross-training and strength.  I was over-scheduled in almost every area of my life – there were some things over which I had control of scheduling and many things that I did not.  I’m not going to lie….I still struggle with balancing all of life’s demands.  But, I am better at the balancing act now than I was 365 days ago.  Truth be told, this is an ongoing challenge, but I’m up for it!

The Bad and The Ugly

I’m lumping “The Bad” and “The Ugly” together because I simply want to be DONE with all this negativity! LOL

  • Started the year with an ITB injury that stole the first 4 weeks of the year from me.  I was finally able to s-l-o-w-l-y return to running the last week of January.
  • Battled another injury – stress fracture in my heel – in July.  This hiccup took another month of running away from me and in the setback I wondered if I would be fit enough to run the full at Dallas.IMG_4598
  • The entire year felt like a battle.  I was battling to beat my ITB.  Then I was battling to recover from my heel.  Recovering from injury takes a lot of time, patience that I don’t have, and mental fortitude.
  • My biggest battle was in my mind.  It isn’t a secret (or at least I don’t think it is a secret) that I don’t have a lot of faith in my abilities – unless you count my ability to injure myself, in which case I have full faith in that!  Spending basically an entire year injured caused me to doubt myself.  I didn’t believe that my body could recover enough to ever run long distances again.  I didn’t believe that I could run smart enough to stay uninjured.  I just didn’t believe in me at all.  This was, hands down, the biggest tragedy of the year.

The Transformation

When I looked back at some of my earlier blog posts, I realize how much I had to learn….and how much I have learned!  I can’t believe how much I have matured as a runner.  I know there are still many lessons to be learned, but I have been able to find a peace with running that I never had before.  Some things I learned on my own.  Some lessons were taught to me by John, my partner for part of the year until he moved, and others I learned from my current coach, Brent.

  • I started the year with the intent to train by heart rate, but that change didn’t happen fully until I started working with my current coach in October.  The beauty of this is that all things prepare us for what will happen in the future.  Since I had been monitoring my heart rate all year, I knew how my heart would react in certain situations. Since my training with Brent is set up almost exclusively by heart rate, I was ahead of the curve, in a sense, because I already “knew” my heart.  This type of training has been very good for my running!
  • My partner, John, taught me the importance of running slower (which, ties right into the heart rate training).  With his guidance, I learned how to pace myself (which is something that I COULD NOT do before running with him).  Developing this discipline in my running certainly laid the groundwork for great things to come and made it much more easy for me to execute workouts properly.
  • I finally learned to listen to my body, even though I didn’t always act upon it.  I hope that will come as I continue maturing as a runner.  The fact that I now notice those little things is a huge victory.
  • I gave up running with music.  BEST.  DECISION.  EVER.  Taking away the distraction of the music opened up so many amazing things.  First, I can listen to my footsteps to see if there are any imbalances.  I am more aware of my breathing.  I don’t get lost in songs and beats, which formerly meant I would end up running too fast.  In addition, during those tough spots in a run, I had to rely on myself to get through it rather than finding a song to distract me though it.  BIG difference.  I think that helped my confidence A LOT.
  • The most beautiful thing happened when I started believing in myself.  By the time Dallas rolled around, I began to have a quiet confidence and somehow learned to have peace with what would come – good or bad.  I honestly didn’t fret over that race, which, if you know me, is a MIRACLE.  I am carrying that peace and confidence with me into 2016!

Cycling helped me through the rough patches

I love to bike….outdoors.  I dislike riding on the trainer, but I did a lot of that early in the year because I knew how much the cross-training would help my recovery.  Cycling also saved me during my heel fracture, because I was given the green light to ride as much as I wanted as long as I didn’t suffer discomfort.  I biked A LOT in July!

This year, I transitioned from a hybrid to a road bike, and with that came clip-ins.  Most people know how clumsy I am, and so you can imagine the number of falls I had because I would forget to twist my foot out….all of them happened in my drive-way!  I still laugh about it.

I do love any time that I get on the bike, however, and who knows – there may be a tri in my future.

The Good, Running-wise

Despite the setbacks, I had lots of victories on the roads this year.

  • Ran Skyline HM in May, even though it might have been too close to rehab and recovery.  I was 8 minutes off my PR, but the important thing is that I was able to run a fairly strong race, and it felt like a HUGE victory.Medal
  • I ran Rock the Block 10k at the end of May because I wanted to focus on some shorter distances to help bring down my HM time.  I was able to PR this race by about a minute @ 57:46.

    Start line selfie with my favorite oldest daughter :)
    Start line selfie with my favorite oldest daughter 🙂
  • Even though Plano Balloon HM was the WORST race of the year for me, it was a victory.  I ran this race after being back from my heel injury only 7 weeks.  I realize (now) that I was being to aggressive, but thankfully it all worked out in the end.

    Maybe my favorite race sign ever :)
    Maybe my favorite race sign ever 🙂
  • I joined Renegade Endurance and love having the support of the athletes in the club.  It is so much fun to hear about their successes and lift them up, and racing is much more fun when your teammates are there racing as well!

    My RE team members are the BEST!
    My RE team members are the BEST!
  • Rock n Roll St. Louis was one of the highlights of my year.  I went into this race just wanting to finish strong, plus the main reason I went was to socialize with my group of Twitter friends.  At this point, I had run Plano Balloon just a month earlier and missed an entire week of workouts afterward because my body wasn’t ready to run that race.  I had just started working with Brent and the main goal was Dallas Marathon.  I was completely shocked and surprised when I ended up with a PR 2:13:17 (by 43 seconds! LOL).
    Pood paced me to an awesome finish!
    Pood paced me to an awesome finish!

    My Sole Sister Jenn
    My Sole Sister Jenn
  • Believe 10k was the first 10k I ever ran.  Every year, I want to get down to McKinney to run it again but it never seems to work out.  When I asked my coach if I could run it instead of the 8 mile training run, he gave the green light and I immediately signed up.  But then, the monsoons of Thanksgiving  nearly washed away my hopes of running the race.  The race went on as scheduled, and I went, prepared for a wet, cold race.  I ended up with another PR 56:15 (1:30 better than May) and first in my age group!
  • I knew that I would have to run a TERRIBLE race to not PR at Dallas Marathon this year.  2014 was the race of the bum ITB and it took me wayyyyyyy too long.  This race was to be the highlight of my year, plus I felt I had something to prove on that course.  I was somehow able to run the most perfect race ever…for me anyway…and ended up with 4:15:12, considerably faster than the 2014 bum ITB marathon. Plus, I beat my time goal by 15 minutes!  My biggest fear is that I have now peaked.  Even so, I’ll take it, because so many runners never have a race experience as good as the one I had!  This is the race that made me feel like a real runner; like a real marathoner.

Here are just a few of the well wishes I got from my friends, near and far during and after Dallas:img_6754


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This one had to call me at the finish line ;)
This one had to call me at the finish line 😉

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The Non-Running Stories

So many non-running things happened in 2015.  As I look back, it probably seems that I am going through a mid-life crisis, but I think I decided that I am too old to care what anyone thinks, plus I’m running out of time to do all the fun stuff!

  • I lost my tattoo virginity.  By the end of the year, I had already gotten my second tattoo!  Be looking for a 3rd after Ragnar….I’m forcing myself to wait until then!BraceletIMG_6173
  • I jumped out of a plane.  SO.  MUCH.  FUN.  I will go again in 2016, to take Logan when he turns 18 years old!Jennifer_Kirkpatrick 034
  • Taylor went to Thailand, lost her passport in Tokyo and lived to tell the tale.
  • Taylor graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Woman’s University.147
  • Alli’s team, Madfrog 10 National, was the highest placing American team at AAU Nationals, placing 7th in the nation.  The top 6 teams were Puerto Rican.rainforest
  • While in Orlando for AAUs, I rode in a helicopter!Takeoff
  • Logan made a 34 on his ACT, which was supposed to be “just a practice”.

Looking back, 2015 was a very good year!  I look forward to continuing this progress in 2016!

Happy 2016!!

Jen

 

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Let’s talk about Dallas

Before we talk about Dallas, let’s talk training…and racing.

Believe 10K

This past weekend, my training called for 8 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday.  However, there is a local 10K (which happens to be the first 10K that I ever ran) that I really wanted to run.  I got coach approval, registered and all was set……until the monsoons began on Thanksgiving day.

It was COLD and it was WET…….I HATE to be cold!  But race or no race, I had to run some miles and running a race – even in wet, cold rain –  was certain to be more fun than a regular training run.  Luckily, the rain stopped just as the race started….for the entirety of the race!

My body felt really good during the race.  I was supposed to keep my heart rate in Zone 2 for the first 4 miles, but I struggled with that because there were SO MANY HILLS.  After some reflection I feel that I could have pushed a little harder on the last couple miles, but I was being a bit cautious…..because of the HILLS.  I was afraid that if I pushed too hard, too early, that I would lose steam and slow down at the end.  I’m still trying to find that magical race exertion balance.  In the end, it worked out, because I PR’d by 1:30 (my last PR was in the Spring) and I won my age group!!  Miracles never cease to happen! Let this be a lesson to all of you to always run in cruddy weather because a lot of people don’t show up!  I didn’t stay for the awards, because I NEVER expected to win my age group.  It was so cold plus the announcing of the winners was so slow that I opted for Starbucks after the overall winners were announced for the 5K.

My Major Award
My Major Award

Another cool thing about this race was that I finally got to wear my race shirt from my run club, Renegade Endurance.  The jerseys came in the week after I got back from St. Louis and I haven’t raced since then, so it was fun to break it in with a PR and an age group win!  (I was too cold to have any pics made at the race site and barely remembered to take the pic when I got home.)  #ADHDprobsIMG_6239

Last Long Run

Because the monsoons over Thanksgiving break caused some flooding in my area, I had to run my last long run on the treadmill. <sad violin music>

Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it.  My longest run on the treadmill prior to Sunday was 5 miles.  I dreaded this run on several levels.  This run was my last chance to work on fueling and hydration before the race.  The conditions on a treadmill are just no match for being outside.  I did tweak my fueling a bit and I won’t truly know if it will work until race day.  Terrain was my another issue.  There is no preparation for a road race like running on a road!  Finally, and I suspect this was highly influenced by terrain (or lack thereof), my heart rate was SO LOW.  I try to keep my heart rate low on long runs, but my heart rate was about 15 beats per minute below where it usually is.  (If you’re confused – it’s just one more way that my treadmill run differed from a road run.)   I could have sped up to increase my heart rate, but then it wouldn’t have been a long SLOW run.  During the run, I focused on the fact that, at the most basic level, long runs are about time spent on your feet.

Mentally, I battled boredom.  I watched movies, but I am convinced that was not a good thing.  As I got into the movie, I paid less attention to what I was doing on the run.  This is the precise reason that I stopped running with music – I do not need any additional distractions!

In the end, a run is a run and when I was done, I felt VERY accomplished!IMG_62539 Days and Counting

Soooooooo, Dallas is 9 days and counting.  This time last year, I was a nervous wreck.  I knew that the race was going to be hard and terrible and painful, but I tried to hold on to that hope that my ITB would behave.  It didn’t.  I’m still shaking my head over it.

This taper is different.  Even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time recovering from injuries in 2015, I’ve also gained an unbelievable amount of fitness and strength over the past two months.  The difference is that I have been working with a new coach since the beginning of October.  In the words of one of my running buddies, “He attacked my weaknesses” and, as a result, I am running stronger and faster than ever.  In the beginning, he told me he would get me to Dallas injury-free and strong.  I didn’t believe him because at that point, I was still injured – mentally and physically.  I had spent SO much time on injury that it was becoming hard to believe that I would ever get over that hump.  I honestly didn’t believe that I could be strong enough to run the full at Dallas.  But guess what?  My coach delivered.

I am more than strong enough to run Dallas.  More importantly, I have transitioned mentally from seeing myself as weak and injured to strong and healthy.  Instead of a taper filled with anxiety and apprehension, I am filled with energy and excitement because I can’t wait to run this race!!

Happy Friday!

Jen

 

Sometimes “keep moving forward” requires standing still

Many of you know about my tattoo, “Keep Moving Forward“, which I had placed on my left wrist.  It has ties to my marathon and running, my best friend, Allison, and the way I want to live my life, in general.  It’s taken on a new meaning of late, as I have been sidelined with *sigh* another injury.  In the days since the injury, I’ve been thinking about my tattoo – a lot.  My tattoo is speaking to me again, but in a slightly different way.IMG_4398

The Backstory

On Friday, July 3rd, I went out for a short 3-miler.  In hindsight, I wish I had stayed home.  The weather was crappy and I felt crappy.  I DID NOT want to go run.  I felt exhausted.  I honestly believe my body was screaming at me to stay put.  Smart Jen has been more present lately than not, but Crazy Jen took the wheel that day, and, well…..I ended up hurt. That run was tough from the beginning.  My calves were screaming at me the entire time.  I figured they would shake out as normal and I was expecting to get in a rhythm that would never come.  At the 2.5 mile mark, something drastically changed and I could not run through my stride on my right side.  I was running with a very pronounced limp.  I considered stopping to walk, but knew that would be just as painful (but walking takes longer) so I opted to finish it out.

The Further-Back Story

I had been suffering from tight calves for about 4 weeks.  I avoided foam rolling my calves because – it hurt!  I stretched some, but not enough.  I knew the slacking was going to come back and bite me in the arse.  While I was on vacation, I only ran twice toward the end of the week, so I considered it a rest week.  However, the calves were still not-so-happy.

The In-between Story

In the 10 days since “the injury”, I have stretched, foam rolled, iced, used essential oils, compression socks, Ibuprofen (which I later discontinued bc it made me feel TOO good!), Epsom salt baths and two visits to my myofascia guy.  My calves were better, but the “ankle” wasn’t getting any better.  I finally decided on Sunday that I needed to go to an orthopedic to see if I could get some answers.  I knew in my gut that this was more than a simple strain.  I went in thinking that the bursa behind my Achilles might be irritated, but the words “stress fracture” had started creeping into my thoughts….A LOT.

The Current Story

On Monday, I was lucky enough to get in to see Alli’s orthopedic.  I.  LOVE.  HIM.  (I did not expect to feel this way when I walked into the exam room.  I was very apprehensive.)  (Side note: yes I liked him for Alli, but I want a doctor that understands runners and running, which, for me has been hard to find.)  The first thing he said to me was, “My job is to get you the most out of your athletic life.”  He followed that up with a very intelligent discussion about foot strike and how incredibly high my arches are and lots of running stuff in general.  When we were discussing the cons of running on concrete versus cross training, he told me he couldn’t give me a magic number of days to run on pavement and a magic number of days for cross training – because each runner has to work out that balance for themselves. I totally agree!!  Every runner is different.  The balance is so hard – I’m still working on finding the right balance for me.  And I think I just found my medical soulmate.

He thoroughly examined from my calves down to my toes, discussing my symptoms and how they were presenting.  Along the way, he used the phrase “as we age” more times than I would like to count, but always tempered it with “but I’m not saying that is you.” LOL!!! He shared that while it is too soon for a stress fracture to show on X-Ray, he felt very strongly that it is indeed a stress fracture and all the reasons he felt pulled in the direction of that diagnosis.  However, my calves are still tight, and he feels that contributed to the injury and, at the very least, is now hindering my recovery.  As a result, I am in a boot 24/7 for a week and after that will continue the boot at night (yay…not really).  Plus, I have the green light to swim and bike, as long as the activity doesn’t cause pain during or discomfort in the hours following.  How awesome is that??

How does this relate to my tattoo?

Since I’ve gotten used to having my tattoo on my wrist, I don’t always notice it.  But I’ve been noticing it a lot this past week.  I’ve let some negative thoughts creep in like, “It’s hard to keep moving forward if you are sitting still because you are injured.”  It dawned on me today that sitting still is a part of moving forward.  In this case, trying to move forward with training will only cause me to backtrack.  Today I realized that giving my body the time it needs to heal will propel me forward in ways that I cannot yet know.  I’m committed to doing what I need to do right now in order to get back out there as fast as is possible – as healthy as possible!

The Silver Lining(s)

There are many pros to this situation, if only one looks for them:

  • Alli and I are Boot Twinkies. (OK…this may not be a pro)  IMG_4598
  • All this required rest has given me time to finally start watching Game of Thrones. (May I say that I was hooked after the first 15 minutes?!?)
  • Being on my feet too long causes my ankle to swell.  So maybe the floor shouldn’t be swept after all.
  • Extra time can be used for hair straightening.  IMG_4567
  • Alli and I can experiment with new cupcake flavors (and decorations….I stink at the decorating!).IMG_4559
  • I can still cross train on the bike and in the pool (Hip, hip, hooray!).
  • Laying out by the pool.
  • Laying out by the pool.
  • Laying out by the pool.

The Not-So-Silver Lining

It’s not all unicorns and rainbows.  Sleeping is…..a challenge.  I have some sensory issues and can’t even sleep in socks.  A boot is throwing my nervous system into overload.  I did sleep in 2 hour increments last night (the foot needed a few minutes to “breathe”) and am hopeful that will improve.  The most obvious drawback is the hit that my training is going to take.  I am really concerned about the fall races that are planned.  I didn’t mind sitting out the 15k on Sunday, but my cornerstone race was to be Plano Balloon Half Marathon in late September.  It is now 9 weeks and 5 days away and I feel that one has already slipped through my fingers.  Even if I recover fast enough to train for that distance again, I know that the PR I was chasing will be out the window.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t mourning that a bit.

I want to thank EVERYONE who has voiced their support and concern.  I love the running community (and my non-running friends 🙂 !!!

It’s Tuesday – Eat some tacos!

Jen

Using my kids’ sports to keep me sane!

It’s been 3 weeks since my marathon.  My ITB is not much better, but it isn’t any worse either.  We (my ITB and me) seem to be having a stand-off as to who is going to cave first.  I don’t really know if that is the way to describe it, since technically I’ve already “caved” and have been babying it in a way that I’m sure no one who knows me can believe, even now….three weeks in.  It became clear to me this past week that running after 4 weeks is NOT going to happen, so I decided to adjust to a 6-week recovery program.

Last week I purchased a book which has recovery plans for injuries.  However, the main reason I bought it is because it has a detailed stretching regime, strength and cross-training guidelines, nutrition and, of course, training program for runners.  I want to use this time off to form a solid framework for balanced training going forward, so I’m doing my research!  (Although I’m currently spending A LOT of time in the rehab section.)  I don’t have pain with my ITB (ONLY because I’m not running right now), but I am still so tight and knotty all over, especially my ITB and especially after I sit for periods of time.  The book suggests a 6-week no-run program for the level of pain I was experiencing post-marathon (lucky, for me, I had already decided on a 6-week recovery program).  However, in one section, the author suggests that a rule-of-thumb would be 2 days rest for every day that was run in pain.  For me, that equates to 10 weeks of no-running.

Added pic of new book so that the post isn't completely void of photos.
Added pic of new book so that the post isn’t completely void of photos.

I realize that the old Jen would have begun hyperventilating at the mere suggestion of a 10-week no-run period.  But this is really-hurt Jen and the Jen that wants nothing more than to completely heal this big ‘ole band of fascia so she can run healthy from here on out.  Another thing is…..I don’t even have a desire to run right now.  (I did have difficulty admitting that out loud.)  To me, that screams that my body just isn’t ready and it’s telling me so.  I don’t think mentally I am ready, either.  But, I WAS ready for this, and so excited when it finally arrived last week!

Now, if Alli would stop rearranging the medals, which simultaneously activates my OCD because she never puts them back in the right order!!!
Now, if Alli would stop rearranging the medals, which simultaneously activates my OCD because she never puts them back in the right order!!!

I made another purchase last week…..I bought a Garmin!  I have been wanting to play with heart rate training for quite some time.  My family even purchased a heart rate monitor to pair with my Nike watch for my birthday (last June!!!) but I could never get it to work properly, so I returned it.  Still couldn’t shake the urge to use a watch and ditch the phone app, so I gave my Nike watch to Taylor and got the Garmin (compliments of my friend who offered to use the employee discount at their place of employment.  No names or genders are being divulged to protect the identities of those involved! LOL)!  My plan is to use the data gathered to see what my heart rate ranges are in different types of runs, then gradually use it to plan my training.  I know that I have been running my long runs TOO FAST and my speed work has basically been running hills.  Not sure I want to change that, but I can always feel my heart rate spiking on them and always wonder if I’m too much in the red zone!  I’m looking forward to being able to set a heart zone or pace and have something else (other than the voice in my head – which I NEVER listen to) telling me to slow down!  Now all that needs to happen is my successful rehab and return to running!

Logan, my middle child and only son, plays soccer for his high school.  Last year was the first year of the program and we had NO home games because artificial turf was being installed on the field.  In addition, last year we were 3A classification in UIL, but the only soccer divisions were 4A and 5A.  This meant we were placed in a district with 4A teams (except for one other 3A team that was well established).  We did not win any games.  Not one.  However, watching the growth and development throughout the season was nothing short of inspirational.  The team that ended the season was not the team that started the season in any sense of the word.  We have a top-notch coach, but we also had amazing kids out there working their tails to the bone!!

So soccer started up again this past Friday.  I did not go to the out-of-town scrimmage held in pouring rain with temps in the 30s.   (I am a fair weather fan!  I only brave those conditions if I’m running!)  But I would not have missed the Saturday morning scrimmage for anything!  The game was held in OUR stadium!  This was the first time our boys were able to wear their home jerseys and the first soccer competition ever held on our field!  They lost the first match 0-1, but came back in the second game with a 3-0 win.  And even though it was a scrimmage and it didn’t count, it was a WIN!!!  Logan has been playing defense and midfield….this momma sure does love to watch her boy in the midfield!

Penalty kick.  Logan is on the right - white jersey #2.  I swell with pride when he pushes other players!
Penalty kick. Logan is on the right – white jersey #2. I swell with pride when he pushes other players!

Taylor and I were killing time in Academy while Alli practiced on Friday and I noticed that they had a jumbo pack of hand warmers.  I kept thinking there should be some way in which I could put them to use, but could never think of it.  Well, I thought of it Saturday while I was sitting out in the freezing weather watching the soccer game!  On the way to Alli’s tournament Saturday afternoon, I stopped again to buy not one, but two, packages of hand warmers for soccer! Then I got on Amazon and ordered some mittens with hand warmer pockets sewn in.  WHY did this not occur to me last season?  I sat in the stands and literally thought my toes were going to fall off.  Not this year!!!

Alli’s played in her club volleyball opening tournament this weekend.  She plays for Madfrog Volleyball on their 10 National team.  Generally speaking there are only a handful of 10s teams and not many more 11s teams in our region, although the age group is growing quickly.  This means, though, that in most tournaments we play against 12s, because the tournament directors almost always combine 11 & 12 divisions.  This weekend, though, we played in the 11s division.  The team went in as the 2nd seed in our pool and 4th seed overall.  Our team went 3-0 for the day, ending up 1st in our pool with a spot in the Gold bracket on Sunday morning!

Alli is the setter (#2), near the net on the right side.  I loved finding this picture because the technique is almost perfect!  We have worked so hard to get her to step forward with that right foot!
Alli is the setter (#2), near the net on the right side. I loved finding this picture because the technique is almost perfect! We have worked so hard to get her to step forward with that right foot!

Sunday morning we were back at the facility bright and early with hopes of making the championship match. We easily beat the first team we faced and secured our spot in the finals.  The girls struggled in the beginning and fell behind a few points.  Personally, I think they were intimidated by the girls on the other side of the net, because they knew this was the top 11s team from another club.  Our girls never gave up, though, and kept chipping away at the deficit in the score.  When the score was 21-24, Alli re-entered the match to serve.  I would be understating my emotion if I said I was a nervous wreck.  Alli’s serves were inconsistent on Saturday, and she had netted every serve on Sunday morning, up to that point.  She didn’t let the pressure get to her and served 5 points, giving us the 26-24 win.  I expected the other team to rally in the 2nd set, and they did.  We found ourselves in a 6-16 deficit.  I figured we were doomed to go to a deciding 3rd set, but our girls kept chipping away, one point at a time, until we got on a run toward the end.  I remember that we were 18-22 and kept serving away and winning points.  When the score was at 24-22, we lost serve, making the score 24-23.  The server for the other team served the ball into the net, and effectively handed us 1st place!  It was SO EXCITING!

Our girls, Champions of the 11s division!
Our girls, Champions of the 11s division and went 5-0 for the weekend!

I’m so glad that soccer and volleyball seasons have started, because now I have something to do other than think about all the running I’m NOT doing!

Happy Monday, all!

Ridiculously ignorant running crimes I have committed

The funny thing about English is that many words have several meanings.  Take the word “crazy”, for example.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists definitions for “crazy” as an adjective, a noun and an adverb.  It’s a very functional word.

Definition of crazy (paraphrased, only using the adjective definitions, because listing all the definitions would take up this entire post): Unsound; mad or insane; impractical or erratic; out of the ordinary, unusual; distracted with desire or excitement; absurdly fond or infatuated; passionately preoccupied or obsessed.

I’m reasonably certain I’ve been associated, through running, with all those definitions of crazy.  After I list the ridiculous things that I’ve done in the name of RUN, you will probably associate me with all of them as well.

  • Ignoring my body.  Let’s face it – I could (and should) list this as the reason for each and every running setback that I’ve experienced.  This one, in particular, dates back to my marathon training last year for the marathon that would never be run. (I promise, I’ll explain that soon!) About mid-way through training last Fall, I began to have a numbness in my foot.  At first it would just tingle and would last no longer than a mile during the run.  But it progressively got worse, to the point that my foot would be completely numb for 3-4 miles. I did what every runner in denial does, I tried to find answers on the internet and rehab myself. (Go ahead – ask me how that worked out)
  • Refusing to rest.  There.  I said it and it wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected.  I would like to believe that my bad decision-making in this case was caused by injury-induced stupor, but most likely was caused by my stubbornness.  Giving the body proper rest and recovery time is important to a healthy runner, but even more so when injury is involved.  I *think* I have learned to take breaks in training when necessary.
  • Treating training runs like a race.  OK, I NEVER intend to run my training runs like a race, but, in half marathon distance especially, my PR is always in the back of my head.  So when my running app rattles off current time and distance, I really can’t help myself by trying to beat my time.  This is OK every once in a while, when one isn’t coming off injury or, training for a marathon, for example.
  • Speed work coming off an injury.  This crime is probably obvious to all the sane runners out there, but not to me.  My hamstrings were REALLY angry with me, and my brain didn’t get the hint until the 3rd or 4th interval session! Hamstrings didn’t like the shoes I got for speed work either.
  • Running through pain. I’m still learning my lesson on this one as I ran with my ITB screaming at me this past weekend to the point that I could barely bend my knee after.  This may be the biggest crime I’ve committed to date and I am hoping and praying that my myofascia release guy can undo the damage I did.  I am additionally ashamed to admit that I NEVER considered cutting the run short.  Once again, I’m the Queen of Stupid Sh*t.

There is hope for even the most stubborn among us, as evidenced by my progress.  Even though I routinely make bad decisions regarding my training, I am increasingly making better choices.  Thankfully, I have a community of running friends who try their best to hold me accountable during the times that my brain fails me!