The Bee’s Knees

Yesterday I finally, finally, finally got to do a double digit run.

Yes I spent some time flirting with a bunch of 9′s, but I haven’t hit it off with a 10+ since last November.

back-bay

Dear Back Bay, I love you *THIS* much. Love, Me

Take that legs.

Actually, it seemed my body and nature were doing everything they could to rain on my parade (okay not literal rain, this is SoCal I’m not quite sure I know what that rain stuff actually is), but I pushed through.

Saturday night food allergy reaction kept me up a bulk as it felt like I had swallowed 1,000 angry kittens who were working their way through my GI tract.  My gut left me with a late start meaning I got to run in peak SoCal “spring” heat.  While I love the 80′s when it comes to music, it’s just not overly awesome to run in.

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Rocks tried to trip me (no seriously rolled off a face plant in front of a bunch of people, Mary Lou Retton would have been proud) and a giant swarm of thousands of bees tried to keep me from finishing, but alas my legs won.

Post-run cool down/cross training with some paddle boarding and then…. well…as all good things do end – carbs, pink sauce & red wine.

IMG_6084What are your challenges to getting miles in lately?

Have you ever seen an angry swarm of thousands of bees?
It’s seriously frightening…like low blood sugar 2 year old before nap time terrifying.

Personal Space

About 3 months ago I came home to find that the gardeners had completely and totally pruned back my rose still flowering rose bushes.

<sad face>

It was around that same time that I really started scaling back my running and trying to get my SI joint in place, get my hammy shaped up, etc.  I felt like a loser on the Bachelor because I wasn’t getting in any good, long runs nor the final rose.

But alas, the other day hope started springing anew.

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Ironically I found this on my way home from my first “long for me” run in a while.

Can't find a better place to long run...

Can’t find a better place to long run…the bottom of that hill gives you about 2 miles of flat sandy shore

My goal:  10 slow miles

Given that I’m still recovering I chose, a nice flat (only 265 feet of incline over 10 miles) and soft surfaced place to run.  I did a majority of the running on packed sand which meant a lot of laps up and down the beach (about 4 loops) hugging the full moon induced exceptionally high tide while dodging the leisurely beach strollers.

Hammy pain – nil
Exhaustion – nil

Despite feeling like I could run for 14 miles, after 8.5 miles I just started feeling a little tight in the legs, so I decided to call it a day and not push it too far

The Results:  9 miles with a nice leisurely 2 mile stroll on the beach- 1 mile in the icy cold Pacific whirlpool to recover.

IMG_5848In the ol’ recovery log, the speed at short distances had been picking up nicely (not 100% recovered, but about 80%) and to get a long run in under my belt made me feel pretty relieved, and quite frankly, a little more human.  I’ve had my eye on getting a half in the last weekend in March, so we shall see how that progresses.

Does it feel like spring is 6 weeks or 6 months away for you?

What’s your favorite place to run these days?

Hips Don’t Lie

Today is day 9 of not running.

Actually, it’s been 7 days since I’ve figured out how to do any cardio pain free…so stretching, rolling, and PT exercises are about all I can do.

Despite getting my endorphins on being a huge stress release and being completely devoid of it lately…I’d say I am handling everything really well.

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So what’s the scoop on the hiatus from running?   My knee was kind of poppy a few weeks back and I kept running on it because it felt fine running.  But eventually it didn’t feel fine running.  In fact, it eventually didn’t feel fine any time.

To be completely honest everything has been OFF the last year since April 2012′s marathon training cycle.  I haven’t been able to put my finger on it all, but things just don’t feel right.  I’ve tried to be cautious and not really push it, but it just feels like one little thing after another.  I went to the doc who sent me to my fave Physical Therapy group and I’m finally, FINALLY, FINALLY working on the root cause of all of this.

My hips.

originalOver the last year there’s been a lot of wiggles and niggles and I’ve always “spot treated” each one but never taking the time to really correct the root of it all – my crooked hips.

Why?  Because it takes a lot of time and effort and requires some time off running which I really didn’t want to do.  But it’s time.

I’m trying to have a positive attitude about it and realize that by taking the time to get this right will be good for the future.  I mean really good.  Like, really start taking the time to train.  Like really start putting together a real training plan.  Like really start doing speed work instead of fearing it.  Like you know, set an actual goal and achieve it, which honestly I have not really done since like….errr…uhhh….umm….18 months ago with my BQ.  I’ve hit some smaller goals (like PR’ing) but not setting a really stretch-worthy goal and shooting for it.

And while this is very exciting and inspiring, the truth is, on a lot of days I mostly feel like this.

A lot of rhythmic rage here...

A lot of rhythmic rage here…

So I’m doing my best to put on my happy face and enjoy this for what it is – time to heal.  I find myself grateful I wasn’t in any crazy good shape or anything so it’s not like I’m losing spectacular fitness, just some mediocre, fear-laiden efforts.

True Confession Thursday: Getting Funky

30 minutes elliptical, 1 mile jog
Funky Strides

New tires!

New tires!

On Saturday morning I had a fantastic run.  I got myself some new kicks, headed out for my first 5+ mile run since Boston and after 8 miles I felt like I could have easily gone for 5+ more, except my legs were just super tight.

So I ended it there because I was also responsible for getting the fixins for a soccer party ready.  Way to kill my endorphin buzz parental responsibilities.

The tightness has been lingering since Boston.  Like I said, my body is just not recovering well.  Yes, it’s been 3 weeks, but I’m not back to normal.  Yes, it makes me feel lame – especially when I hang out with a lot of people who run marathons like I eat cheerios for breakfast.

But it’s my reality – I carry a pretty heavy “life” load, so I don’t get to train when and how I want, recover like I should, and my life is a little more unpredictable than the average bear’s.

Perfect example:  snapshot from Tuesday evening.

IMG_3527Running hat:  check
Running shorts:  check
Running shirt:  check
Time in the day to actually get the running done:  uncheck

I literally stayed in my running clothes all day long hoping to squeeze in a few miles and the day just slipped by without any sweaty strides in sight.  I actually think that’s the reason I was sleep walking last night – trying to get my wiggles in somehow!

That said, I’m waiting for the funk to pass and my body and brain to just align.  I have a race on the deck for Memorial Day weekend, but it will very likely just be a fun run more than a race (the course is literally a mile from my house).

How do you get past your funky place?
I’ve been mixing it up a bit – bike, elliptical, weight training, Body Pump classes, etc.  Plus I think a little more clock time and a lot of kid time should do the trick.

It Ain’t Pretty, But It Sure Was Nice

It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 weeks since Boston.

Recovery has been rough…and quite honestly, while there was pain, I actually heeded Josie’s advice, just a little too well.

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Yes, I was hurt, but I was also just emotionally, physically and mentally spent, so I’ve kind of been a bum for two weeks….

But over the weekend I started getting twitchy toes.  The bike riding and cross training at the gym wasn’t exactly cutting it.  My hatred for the gym was in full effect and if my family thought the taper tantrums were bad, watching me not run at all was starting to wreak havoc on those around me.

After enough ibuprofen, rolling and a few days of feeling good, I tied up the (new) laces and hit the road.  You might have seen me out there….

I’m pretty sure this is how I looked.  Pounding and prancing for about 4 miles on the streets  with a goofy grin on my face.  Actually I started out all panicked and tense and realized it wasn’t going to help anything, so I let go and watched over a minute slip off my pace as I pounded out the last few miles.

I don’t have any major looming goals ahead of me, and it’s kind of nice.  I have my 12 in 12 challenge that’s ongoing, but running a half marathon once a month doesn’t seem to be too problematic.  I had originally toyed with the idea of pushing myself on the Laguna Hills Half at the end of May to make up for last year’s epic failure, but I don’t want to get injured or tick my knee off again, so it seems a fun run is in order.

So for now, I’ll run for the sake of running, race when I want to, and evaluate what I’m doing next.

The last year has taught me a few things about my running:

-I love the challenge of full marathon training, but I like hanging out with my family more.  The truth is these little buttheads really like hanging around with me now.  In about 4 years, they’re going to want to be with their friends and that’s going to come so freaking fast.  I want to eat up every moment I can with them like it’s a molten lava cake.

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-I’m a middle distance, moderately fast kinda gal.  Too short and too fast and I’m too hurt.  Too long and too slow and I’m hurt.  I’ll go with the halfsie and a moderately quick pace and see where that leads me.  That said, it will likely lead me to the beer tent to celebrate my accomplishment while I wait for my uber ambitious friends to finish their additional 13 miles. Pshhh….

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Sarah and I celebrating a new PR in October – first tapped keg #winning

What big goals do you have coming up?

What’s your most favoritest run recently?

True Confession Thursday: Short Shorts & Magic Mike

Today’s story is a sad one of janky legs, tweaky toes and my longing for some air on my legs.

In all the chaos about Boston – the excitement leading up to the race and the tragedy after, I never really mentioned my Friday morning before the race.

FADE INTO FIND GIRL SITTING IN AIRPORT SOBBING INTO CELL PHONE.  Passengers walk by giving strange looks.

GIRL:  But mom, [sobbing hysterically] you don’t understand I can’t even walk on it.  My ankle’s so swollen and it’s been 4 days.  I’ve spent so much time getting ready for this and now…I’m just…[wiping snot from nose]…I’m just going to have to quit.  [Resume dramatic crying]

End Scene.

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Oh and there was a lot of this….lacrosse ball rolling in the airport

Yep, that was me in the airport carrying on like a 5 year old who just found out that my mom put the dollar under my pillow instead of the tooth fairy the night before.  Long story short, I twisted my ankle on a rogue roller blade that was laying at the base of the stairs (perfect place for it) and spent Tuesday-Saturday with it swollen, burning and hard to even walk on.

IMG_3273I then rested all my hope on one man….Magic Mike Michael Melander.  Located right off of Boylston across from Copley Park, I begged pleaded cried desperately emailed him asking if he and his Active Release Tecnnique could do something to help my poor leg.

Bless him for rearranging his Red Sox game plans to accommodate seeing me.

Honestly, I don’t know what was wrong.  It was painful and Mike worked his magic for over an hour…and I ran a few miles after to keep it loose.

By Monday – the last thing on my mind as I toed the line was my ankle.

Thank you Magic Mike for getting my ankle in pecking order in order to tackle the 26.2 (or 26.almost6).  The unfortunate part is that at some point in the race my pes anserine bursa is a little pissed of….So bye bye short shorts and hello bike shorts.

2013-04-25While I miss the breeze on my knees and my hatred for the gym and spinning on a bike like a hamster has been rekindled, I know I just need to give it a few more days and I should be good to go.

Until then, I’ll just jealously stare at my Rogas and excessively mileaged out shoes.

What’s your favorite non-running cross-training?

Have you ever tried Active Release?
It’s my fave…I could not recommend it highly enough :)

How Do You Run So Long?

Sunday – 7 miles

On Sunday I had a first…I set out for a run and at 7 miles I was 2 miles from home with super tight calves knowing pushing it would be silly.  It was time to call in the Weenie Wagon.

Sadness.

While it wasn’t exactly a long run, it got me thinking to the conversation I tend to have with my family on a regular basis “How do you run so long?”.  Honestly, compared to a lot of runners, a 2 hour run is nothing, but for a lot of my family and friends they just can’t wrap their minds around this.

Let me preface what I’m about to say by reminding you that I think I have the raddest kids in the world and love being their mom more than ANYTHING…

It’s impossible to not want to eat these little butt heads up every, single, day…

BUT…..

People, let me tell you about my post-run Sunday afternoon.  Within an 8-hour window the following happened.

  • Kids broke a doorhandle
  • A soccer ball kicked into the garage which jacked up the garage door opener
  • Fixed said garage door and doorhandle
  • Plucked a corn kernel out of a child’s ear
  • Dished out at least 4 timeouts
  • Dug my car keys out of the garbage can thank you Vanilla…
  • Cooked 2 meals
  • Reffed about 3,528 fights between my kids.

And crazily enough, this was with someone helping me….So for you non-runners, there is no need to ask how I run so long, instead, you instead you should probably ask, “Why don’t you run longer?”

What’s your favorite distance to run?
I like 11-16 milers

What is the most random thing you did this weekend?
Nothing from my weekend beats pulling a popcorn kernel out of a child’s ear in the random category.  Well, maybe the conversation after the “procedure” in which I explained that it is not ever funny to put random objects in any hole in your body to make people laugh.  That’s some advice you can take to the bank ;)

The Turkey Trot – Minus the Trot

Family Football Fun
9 Miles
Super Slow Strides

Not sure how your turkey day rounded out…but mine was a big feast of football, cooking, more football and hives.

Let me recap – my big Turkey Day run - cancelled.

My family wanted me on fresh legs for the Schofurkey Bowl – my family’s Thanksgiving tradition – a 2-hour football game.  I don’t have a pic, but this is last year’s Christmas game…add about 8 more 20-something males and you have the idea.

A family that Eye Blacks together, stays together.

Let me just say that the event starts with a climb over a 10-foot chain link fence to get to the field and usually ends with muscle soreness for several days.  My family is a little uber competitive and I think only 3 pairs of shorts were ripped, as well as half a dozen egos.

On one play I ended up scratching up my legs from a little meeting with the grass, which slowly turned to hives, which eventually turned into a full blown allergy attack to end my Thanksgiving.  Since my fam shuddered in fear every time I walked into the room, I opted to pop two Benadryl and call it a day around 9pm.

Since I was hopped up on Benny and working in the kitchen most of the evening, I didn’t get any pics from the festivities, but luckily my family Instagrammed the chaos.

Luckily the next morning I needed to shake off the antihistamines and was able to crank out 9 miles on some still very stiff legs – recovery from the Griffith Park Half Marathon & 10K is definitely taking a bit longer than I anticipated.  Any time I went faster than 9 minute miles, my calves tightened up like my kids’ mouths around brussel sprouts.  So slow and steady I went and got my post-Turkey day miles in.

How was your Turkey Day?
Did you get any good workouts in?
Do you have a family tradition?

Happy Thanksgiving

After a few days of uber soreness from my races  I’m finally ready to tie up the laces and get my recovery runs going starting today…

As far as some holiday everyone keeps talking about tomorrow….

Thank you #runger for keeping me hungry all week!

My plans:
-Wednesday Evening Cooking & Wining:  Pre-T-Day cooking and wine with the fam
-Thursday Morning Run
-Thursday Morning Football
-Eat, Cook, Eat, Repeat
-Football

Lest you think that this holiday is all about getting in a good workout and eating, read up on the history of Thanksgiving here.  It’s pretty cool stuff – not the pilgrims and Native Americans we always associate with it.

The boys and I did a little “thankfulness” project yesterday.  We’ll have each family member write something in on the leaves tomorrow before dinner.

What are you thankful for this year?
Too much to count!  Family & friends mostly….I couldn’t get through the days without my little community of peeps.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
I have to admit I love, love, love wining and cooking with the family for any holiday.  It always comes with lots of laughs and good snacking!

Adopting a New Attitude

Have you seen my mojo?

Yesterday’s run was so hard.  I wasn’t surprised.  After a big race I always seem to lose my mojo.

I didn’t want to go.  It was about 83 degrees.  There was a big headwind.  I was tired.

I made it 1.5 miles of a moderate run and did about 1.5 mile of 400 meter sprints with 400 meter jogs.  I meant to go up to 5 miles with the sprints, but suddenly my body started screaming at me and I was mentally halted by the word “RECOVERY” running through my mind.

Precious card from Chocolate!

I’m pretty Type A…and learning to let go and slow down is hard difficult near impossible for me.  As I finished my run I was thinking of the other times  when I’ve had to learn to let go.  My mind wandered to a card Chocolate gave me for my birthday.

Inside it read:
Before I knew anything else, I knew how it felt to be loved.  Thanks, Mom

It reminded me of arguably one of the other hard times when I lost my mojo.  You see, I had brought two new babies home from the hospital before him.  I remembered the sleepless nights, the cracked (not chaffed!) nipples, the c-section recovery, stitches, pain, etc.  New parenthood is not for the weak of heart.

But let me tell you…bringing home an adopted child is like nothing else.  That innate need to be needed that my previous two children had wasn’t there.  I stared into the beautiful, broken eyes of a 2-year old boy who didn’t know how to need yet.  He didn’t know how to trust yet.

Whereas the card he gave me said the first thing he knew was to be loved, he doesn’t remember that the first things he knew were pain, brokenness, hunger, abandonment and a host of other really awful things.  And it was my job to introduce him to this big scary world and show it him that I was safe.

He would do this thing where he would zone out.  He’d get lost.  I’m sure it was his brain being overwhelmed.  At first, it happened every 20-30 minutes, then slowly morphed to once an hour, then once a day, then every few days.  Hugs went from zombi-esque to soft and natural.  I could tickle my little boy.  Forced giggles turned to lit up eyes.

One of our first pictures together

Getting from point A to point B took everything out of me.  I always had high standards for my first two boys, but this was different.  Patience, grace, and unrelenting abundant love had to flow out of me even when I was rejected, hurt and my tank was totally empty.

Sure, I might have been sleeping more per night than with my other two, but the constant need for me to change my standards, clear my expectations grated at me most minutes of most days.  Sometimes I had to learn to dig down deep to persevere and other days, realize my mojo was on vacation.

What does this have to do with running you ask?

This.

Sticking since February.

You see in February I wrote these two goals down.  Finish the Illinois Marathon (I amended it to BQ, but it wasn’t a hard set goal, just a pipe dream) and then to place in the Laguna Hills Half.

This was ambitious.  I was going to likely have to shave about 3 minutes off my half PR (doable I figured from my marathon training) and was pushing the recovery boundaries with the races just 4 weeks apart.

So here I am…trying to figure out how I find my recovery, assessing when to dig down deep and when to just adjust my expectations.   The former of which I typically do and the latter, notsowell.  All the while, my mojo seems to be a month ahead of schedule on the vacation I have planned for June.

What do you do when you lose your mojo?