Sunday, February 26, 2012

Historic Half Training Week 1

Last week my husband and I decided we were definitely doing the Marine Corps Historic Half in May, so I put together a training plan. It was based on the ones I have used in the past. I then proceeded to have the worst running week I have had in a long time. It has been a bit disheartening to say the least.

One run was cut short by knee pain and today I ran into breathing issues because of the cold. I don’t really know what is wrong with me, but I feel like I am bring choked when I try running when it is cold and dry. I have been to several doctors and the best explanation I have gotten is that “some people are more sensitive to cold.” I knew today was on the temperature boarder of what would be comfortable, but I really wanted to get outside. That plan didn’t work very well. 

To have a chance at my time goal, my runs need to get better. I also need to really increase both my cross training and strength training. I did some cross training when I was preparing for the marathon, but spent most of my time running. My goal is to have one strength and one cross training workout a week. I revised my training program tonight and the first few weeks are below. I just need to remember that tomorrow is another day and another chance to run. 

Does anyone else have breathing issues when it is cold? Any advice for a bad couple of runs? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Focus for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. This is a season for reflection and sacrifice. It is also a time of preparation as we get ready for the death and resurrection of Jesus. I am Catholic and Lent is a special time for me to get more in touch with my faith. 

I normally give something up for lent. Often it is things like sweets or coffee or other things that I really don’t need anyway. The thing about what I have been doing for the past few years is that it has been more an inconvenience or annoyance than a real sacrifice. Additionally, if I am truly honest with myself, there have often been other motives associated with what I was giving up and that really defeats the whole point of the practice. So this year I am approaching Lent with a different perspective. 

Instead of just focusing on what I am going to give up, I am going to focus on building my faith and giving back to those in my community. There are two key things that I am going to do this lent. The first is to carve out time each day to read and reflect on the day’s scripture and pray. This is definitely one area of my faith where I have been slacking. 

The other thing that I want to do is to spend time volunteering to help out those who are less fortunate than me. I have been really blessed and I want to take the time to share these blessings with others. I am still working out the details on exactly what I am going to do. 

I know that God has a plan for me and I need to have faith in that plan. This is often uncomfortable for me because it means I sometimes need to give up control. This Lenten season I am going to work on building my faith and putting trust in his plans.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Much Needed Motivation

Since I have been up North January, February and March are always really hard months for me. The weather is cold, the days are short, and there is often snow. I pretty much hate all things winter, and with the holidays over, there is not much to look forward to. It is the time of year when I am both climbing the walls and feel like I will never be warm again. I would give just about anything to have a warm, sunny day, but that is not happening anytime soon.

It is really hard to stay motivated during these months. There is a part of me that would love to stay in bed, under the covers, until the weather warms up. This year has been especially hard. Winter in Virginia is colder and longer than I was expecting and I have been feeling a bit lost since finishing the marathon. I was so focused on the event that I didn’t put much thought into what I was going to do after. Oops. 

I needed something to keep me going and I have been looking for a spring marathon that was both late enough in the spring to not be freezing and close to home so I didn’t have to pay for travel. Of course, both races that fit the criteria are on the same weekend. There is Run for the Dream in Williamsburg, VA and the Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg, VA. Both races looked like a lot of fun, but it looked like we were going to be out of town the weekend of the races. 

Well, plans have changed and we are going to be in town that weekend. After looking at both races, I decided to run the Marine Corps Historic Half this year. My goal for this race is to finish in under 2:30. This is 10 minutes under my current half marathon PR. I am super excited about this race and am working on finishing up my training plan and have 13 weeks to kick up my speed. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

All about the Eyes

My eyes. That is what my week has been about. It is because last weekend I had Lasik, and in the matter of about 20 minutes I went from not being able to read something just a few inches from my face to having vision that is better than 20/20. I still keep forgetting that I can actually see and didn’t just forget to take out my contacts. 

I have worn glasses since I was about 9 and contacts since I was about 13. Contacts have always worked well for me, so for the past 15 years or so I have worn them almost exclusively. I pretty much never wore my glasses, so my eyes had a really difficult time adjusting when I did have to wear them. This coupled with the fact that I couldn’t make out much of anything that was not in the middle of the lens meant that I had a really difficult time seeing with glasses. This was reinforced during the 2 weeks before surgery when I couldn't wear my contacts.

I have thought about Lasik for a while, but the idea of someone shooting my eye with a laser was a little intimidating. There was also the cost factor since it is an elective procedure that I had to think about. However, the idea of being able to see without assistance was very appealing, especially as we think about having kids. So I began researching doctors and the surgery itself in October, had a couple of consultations in November and December, and then finally had the surgery last Saturday. 

Overall, it was relatively painless. The surgery itself didn’t hurt, but my eyes did sting for a few hours after. My eyes were a little scratchy for the next couple of days, but by about Wednesday they felt pretty much normal. This week I had to use 3 different kinds of eye drops at various intervals throughout the day, but after tomorrow I just have to use one kind to keep my eyes moist. Honestly, the hardest part has been that I couldn’t do anything that where I might perspire for the past week. I am really looking forward to getting back to running on Sunday. 

So far, I have had a great experience with my new eyes, but I know it is not for everyone. Also, it is really important to find a good doctor. I did a ton of research before making the decision to have this done. It really is like seeing the world with new eyes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Celebrate the Love!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I am not one for spending a lot of time or money on this marketer created holiday, but it is a good excuse to celebrate the people I love. 

First and foremost, I have a wonderful husband who has showed me how magnificent love can be. He is the love of my life and my best friend. He is my biggest supporter and always surprises me when I need it. The little things, like getting up to make me coffee when I have to be out of the house super early or making me feel better about having to wear my silly sleeping goggles. 

 I also have an amazingly loving family. They have been there through all the craziness of life. My parents are a great example of love and what love should be. They have been happily married for the past 37 years. I also married into a great family that is filled with love. 

My goddaughter has taught me about unconditional love. I have loved that little girl since she was just an itty bitty baby. It is amazing how precious children are, and how much she grows and changes every time I see her. 

I am very blessed to have so much love in my life. Remember to celebrate all the love you have in your life today!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Race Bucket List

Marathon training was hard and there were times when I thought I wouldn’t want to run another distance event, but I am really itching to run another race. It seems like the more races I run, the more races I want to do. It is almost like a vicious circle, but at least it is one that is good for me. The hard thing is that I want to do all these races now. Unfortunately, even if I had unlimited time and funds, that is not possible. So for now I will come up with my list of must do races. Here is my race bucket list. 

I know that I don’t have Chicago or New York on this list. As much as I hate to admit it, I am not really interested in those races. They are late in the year, especially New York, and I don’t want to deal with the cold. That is also why there are a number of warm place races on my list. 

I love reading race recaps and as I read more I am sure this list will grow. What races are on your bucket list?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Heels…My Love-Hate Relationship

I have to admit, I am one of the few women who really truly loves heels. I love the way they look, I love the way they make my legs look, I love the polish they give to an outfit and honestly I love the way they feel. Except on rare occasions, I can spend a day in them and my feet don’t bother me. The only exception was when I was training for the marathon. 

Image Source: Fashionolog
It was not my feet or my ankles that complained about wearing heels, but my knee (yes…just one). About half-way through marathon training my left knee started to bother me. My knee felt loose and like the knee cap was slipping a bit. (To give a little background, this is the knee I have struggled with on and off for years. I dislocated the kneecap the first time in my early teens and it has never really been the same.) It took me a bit, but I realized that my knee didn’t bother me as much if I didn’t wear heals, so I gave them up for a few months. 

Now, I know that heels are not the best thing for me to wear every day, but recently I have read a few articles that really highlight how bad they are, especially for runners. An article in The Washington Post discusses several issues caused by heels, especially the increased pressure on knees. Additionally, some recent research suggests that heels actually change how you walk. It is pretty bad stuff. I really love running, so it is probably best to reduce or eliminate wearing heels. 

The real problem is that I have only been able to find one pair of flats that both look professional and don’t destroy my feet. I am not talking about aches and pains, but pretty much turning my feet into complete hamburger by the end of the day. It is not uncommon for me to have blisters or cuts on my toes, heals and sides of my feet when trying to wear flats. This makes putting on my running shoes lots of fun. 

The one pair of shoes I have been wearing throughout most of the fall is starting to look pretty beat. I am not ready to give up and start wearing old lady shoes, but I really need some suggestions on cute, comfortable professional flats. What do other runners wear when they have to look professional for work?