September 15, 2011

I need more tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmeeee!

It's finally here. The day I've been preparing for for half a year now. The St. George Marathon. It wasn't supposed to sneak up this quickly, but it did. WOW. In less than three weeks, I am going to be (hopefully) be running 26.2 miles.

I feel ready in a lot of ways. I mean, I've been training and preparing like crazy, so I feel I've done my part. I wish I had taken my training more seriously in the beginning, but I got caught up to my schedule and I've logged some serious hours and miles, so I guess that's all I can do.

However, does one EVER feel prepared to run a marathon? I mean, the farthest I've ever run is 21 miles, and I've done it once. Once! The marathon is 5 miles longer than that. It seems crazy to think that my body will just understand how to do that. But I feel assured that it will, so I am powering forward. I have never been so excited, overwhelmed, anxious, sickened, empowered, confident, and terrified. Simultaneously.

I have no goals for this race, other than crossing the finish line. I am hoping I can do it under the 6 hour max requirement they have, but we'll see. I don't care if it takes me 10 hours and I'm crawling across the finish line. I just want to finish. On my own, without being driven across in an emergency vehicle. I think that's a fair and attainable goal.

October 1st is the day! Wish me luck!!!!!!!!

The ol' training plan

Training has been going really well. I have been pleased lately to learn just what I am capable of. What my body and my mind are both capable of. We are amazing creatures. I AM an amazing creature. I think we rarely give ourselves enough credit. I know I don't. I am quick to cut myself down, and slow to recognize my acomplishments. I've been really working on that lately because that's not who I am. It's not who I want to be. I want to be strong, confident, humble, and loving. And I can't love others truly until I love myself. This is another way runnning has helped me, and another way in which it's intensely spiritual to me. It is helping me love myself. Forgive myself. See myself as a strong, capable woman who needs to be more patient and kind. To HERSELF. And I have been. The harder my training gets, the more I'm able to let go of my expectations and just BE. It's invigorating. Empowering even. I think even after my race is done, I'm going to continue to run. I'm hooked.

Anway, on to how my training has gone. I have been running 5-8 miles a day, 4 days a week (M-Th). I rest Friday and run a long run on Saturday. Sunday is my recovery day where I go on a long walk. For about a month there I had been running a consistent 8 minute mile. Some days were a little slower, some (amazingly) were a little faster. But on average, about an 8 minute mile. And I could maintain that speed over an entire 8 mile run. It was the peak of my physical prowess. I felt amazing. Then I ran my 18 mile run. Keep in mind, it was my 18 mile run last year that ended up taking me out of the marathon due to stress fractures on my tibia. So I entered the run with a bit of trepidation. But I felt much more prepared this year than last, so I held my head high and went out on my long run. It was exhausting. At mile 13 I felt amazing. So so great, and I felt like I could really do it! By mile 14 I was ready to die. It's crazy how just 1 mile takes it out of you, but it happens and it happens fast! I was spent. I slowed my pace drastically to prevent an overtraining injury. I still felt like I was going to pass out. My slow pace kept me from returning before the sun came up so it started getting hot. Really hot. Arizona hot. It made the run much harder, and again I slowed my pace. By about mile 16 I thought I might pass out or vomit (or both), and my pace slowed to a walk. I walked the last 2 miles. I finally arrived home, hot, sore, miserable, sick, and painfully depressed that it took me 6 hours to run / walk 18 miles. I knew then that I would never be able to run the marathon. Not with the few short weeks I had left. I was depressed.

Fast forward 2 days to when my foot was still hurting from the run. Not just sore, but excruciating, where I couldn't even walk on it. A trip to the dr and an xray later revealed that it wasn't stress fractures, but I had torn ligaments in my foot. It wouldn't keep me from running, just make it extremely painful to do so. I took a week off to let it heal and then started back with low miles. That 8 minute mile I was running? Yeah, it got flushed down the drain. It's now a 10 minute mile. I'm actually quite okay with that because even a 10 minute mile means I'm still running! It could have been much worse.

Fast forward 2 more weeks and I had my 21 mile run. I was very anxious because the 18 mile run was such a bust. But I knew it had to be done, even if I walked half of it. This time I put bananas and powerbars every 5 miles because I felt that maybe my lightheadedness from the 18 miler was due to improper nutrition. It made all the difference. I was able to run the entire 21 miles, and do it in under 4 hours. I just needed some fuel! I was beaming when I got home. I've never felt so fantastic. Even Sam kept saying "I can't believe you just did that." Well, I did. And I own that. That feels good to say.

I should come clean and say that I *did* walk once. During the sweet guitar solo in "Sweet Child of Mine". So, about a tenth of a mile. Enough to recharge, not enough for me to feel like I didn't run the whole thing. I've since been able to cut my time down to a 9 minute mile, but not consistently. I don't mind. I just want to keep running, however long it takes.

August 25, 2011

Stats Week 2

Here are the new stats for week 2. I started drinking a ton of water, which I think might have made a difference. I was already drinking so much before that now I'm drinking absurd amounts. Like wake up 4 times at night to pee amounts. Anywho, here's round 2.

calf: 14"

thigh (mid): 19 1/4"

thigh (thickest): 22

Hips: 38"

Waist: 28 1/4"

Bust: 34" (yes, you are reading that right. Everyone send subliminal messages to Sam that it's okay for me to get implants)

Bicep: 10"

Weight: 131.5

So I lost about 1/4" all around (except in my bust, but we are not going to talk about that). Maybe I'm coming off the bloated, eat everything you can high that I was on. Fingers crossed!!!

There's also a new post below, so don't skip it (if you're at all interested)!

Mental Block

I have had such a hard time running lately. I feel like I just don't have it in me anymore. I'm having a hard time staying motivated. Don't get me wrong, I love running, but when I have to wake up at 4am to do it, it kinda takes the fun out of it for me.

I think I've mentioned before but running to me is about 80% mental and only 20% physical. So when I hit these little mental blocks, my running really suffers.

I've been worried this whole last week about whether or not I had stress fractures on my tibia again. After a week of resting it and taking it easy on the treadmill, I am VERY happy to say that it is officially NOT stress fractures, and just really bad shin splints. YIPEEEEEEEE!!!!!! I ran outside today for the first time in a week, and while my shins were pretty frikkin sore, by about mile 4 they were pain free. Now that's what's up!!!!!!!!

I was a little bummed starting out my run this morning because I forgot to start my tracker so I had a whole mile unrecorded, but that's okay. I'll just have to remember that I really did 8 this morning, not 7. It was also a little hard (and strange) because it's just so dark. Honestly, it's dark outside at 4:30am. And because Tucson has an awesome observatory and an amazing sky, there are no streetlamps. So you are running in pitch. black. Kinda scary. I had my phone out for the first 15 minutes shining my flashlight on the trail so I wouldn't step on a rattlesnake. I was really praying I wasn't going to be attacked. By a person or an animal. About 2 miles in I was ready to turn around and go back. But then the trail made a bend out of obscurity, and I saw the amazing Tucson sky - filled with stars shining brilliantly against the smooth midnight blue sky. I stopped. Right there in the middle of my run. I just stopped and stared. It was astounding. I said a prayer of gratitude and continued on my run. Over the next 6 miles, I was able to run through the most vibrant sunset of bright orange and shocking pink, and the strangest shade of pale lavender. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen. The way it rolled off the clouds and broke through the darkness was a thing of wonder. And it all unfurled behind the silhouette of the gorgeous peaks of Mt. Lemon. Honestly, the whole thing was just breathtaking, and I admittedly teared up a few times along the way as I watched it in wonder and amazement. The words to one of my favorite hymns popped into my head, and I turned off my iPod so I could hear the heartfelt words in my head and feel them resonate within me: "Oh Lord, my God, when I, in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder. Thy power throughout the universe displayed." It played over and over in my head as I, truly in awesome wonder, considered all the wonderful creations of my Father in Heaven. The beauty of the whole Earth, and my body - as weak as it sometimes is - that somehow is so resilient time and time again. In that moment, I realized I had overcome my mental block. I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, and immensely grateful. This is one of the reasons I love running so much. It's very spiritual for me. I have my most heartfelt talks with my Father during some of my long runs, and I feel His might and power so deeply as I allow myself to connect with the quietness and calmness of the run. It may sound strange or cheesy, but that's just the truth of it.

I feel grateful today. I feel capable. I feel strengthened.

Just under 8 miles today in just under an hour. Not too shabby.

August 17, 2011

No pain, no gain

I went running again today. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great. I feel like I can't run without it hurting somewhere. I solve one problem and I hurt somewhere else, so I try to fix that and something else happens. My body is putting up a good fight trying to get me to stop, but I swear I'm going to win if it kills me.

Every time my shin hurts I get terrified that I've just given myself another round of stress fractures. So far it hasn't been anything I can't run through, so I figure I'll just keep going till I can't go any further.

In a way I actually like the pain aspect of it. I feel more triumphant at the end of a run that I know wasn't easy. I enjoy testing my physical limitations and pushing myself, so tiny bits of pain that just make it tough but not impossible are enjoyable to me. Is that strange?

Today I ran 5.17 miles in 41.5 minutes. That's an 8 minute mile. Not as good as yesterday, but I was in a bit of pain today so I'm just glad I finished.

August 16, 2011

Shannon, exposed

Okay, I've been debating whether or not to post this since it's not at all where I want to be, but I figured it would be good motivation for me in getting some of the inches off. Who's with me? Anyone else willing to post theirs?

I'm doing more detailed measurements this go round because I'm realizing there are a lot of places on my body that are changing. Here we go:

Calf: 14.25"

Thigh (mid): 19.5"

Thigh (thickest part): 22"

Hips: 38.25"

Waist: 29"

Bust: 35"

Bicep: 10"

Weight: 135 lbs

So there they are. It's depressing to look back on old posts and stats and realize I'm bigger in every area now. But you've gotta start somewhere, so this is the start of my journey. I'm going to stop gaining weight today! And maybe soon I can start whittling off a bit of the extra everything I don't want.

Still going, still growing

It's been a while since I've been on here. We were without a computer for quite some time.

I have been running still, though. I haven't transferred all of my pictures over yet, so I don't have any of the race I just ran but I'll post them later.

I just finished running the half marathon I've been training for. My time was 2:06. I was pretty thrilled about that. My last half marathon took me 2:18, so I was excited about how much faster I did this year. Maybe next year I'll do it in under 2 hours! Wishful thinking, I know. But that would be awesome!!

I've been running since. 4-5 miles a day (except Friday and Sunday), and then long runs on Saturday. I did 15 last Saturday and wasn't too sore afterwards so I feel pretty good about it. I am having crazy knee pain though, and I've been icing them like crazy. But so far nothing that's going to keep me from being able to continue running. It feels good to run and push my body. I really enjoy it.

The thing that's getting me kind of depressed lately is that I'm gaining weight like crazy. I am up to 135 right now and there is just nothing I can do to drop it. I feel like my legs and arms are looking really muscular and toned, but my tummy is just flabby and gross. I never started running as a means to lose weight, but I never expected that I'd be able to gain so rapidly while training so vigorously. The worst part is, I'm eating healthier than I ever have in my life. I don't hardly eat any fats at all anymore because they were making me so nauseous when I'd run, so I've been eating mostly lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and healthy carbs. How do you gain weight when you're eating well and exercising every day?!?! I am baffled. Truly. Baffled.

Anyway, that's where I am now. Just running running running. And lifting weights when I feel so inclined. I ran today. 4.8 miles in 34 minutes. That's less than a 7 1/2 minute mile. Now that makes me feel good!!!!!!

June 4, 2011

Arizona Heat

It's hot here. Really really hot. I'd forgotten how hot it gets, and how early it turns that way. I've been needing to start my run earlier and earlier as the weeks pass, but it turns out now I need to start at 5am if I don't want to puke. Oh well, every run has an end, so you only have to deal with the heat for a short period of time.

Today was a long run day, 10 miles. I wanted Sam to come with me, so I had him ride his bike alongside me. He was a champ and agreed to do it. We woke up at 6, but had to set up our water stations and adjust his bike seat, so we didn't get started on our run until almost 7. It was already so so so so hot. But it was good. It was a good run and it was so much fun to run with Sam right there with me. I really enjoyed it. He made me laugh and he kept telling me I was a "warrior" which was silly, but kept me motivated. The route I had picked was a hard one. Really really tough. But it was good. It was a mile downhill, 8 miles up, and a mile down. It was rough on the joints, but it was fun. One of the hills in the middle of the run was a steep two mile stretch. We were halfway up, and Sam looks at me and said, "So..........your plan is just to bang out all these hills? Do we ever get to go down?" It made me laugh. He told me I should have thought my route out a little more. Ha ha ha. That's where the nickname "warrior" first started.

I came home hot, sticky, sore, underarms chaffed (I forgot to wear any glide.......Dang it!) and blisters on my heels the size on Montana, but it was my favorite run to date. It was really fun to be out doing something like that with Samby. He's a pretty good guy.

June 1, 2011

Lord of the Run - plus my random ramblings

I'm in the groove now. I am finally being consistent with my running and it's getting a lot easier. Here's my drill:

I run 4 miles every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Saturday I have a long run, anywhere between 6 - 10 miles. Sunday is a recovery day - the point of these being that you give your body enough rest after doing a long run that it can recuperate, but give it enough exercise that your muscles don't build up a ton of lactic acid and get stiff. On these days I just walk home from church.

The four mile route I do is becoming second nature to me. It's an out and back, which I like because it makes it just feel like a 2 mile route. I run 2 miles to the post office and two miles back home. When I get to the one mile mark, I tell myself I'm halfway there (even though I still have to come back). By the time I reach the post office, I feel I've reached the end, and the rest of the run is just going back home. It's a nice psychological trick that really works for me, so I stick with it.

My six mile route is my very favorite. Sometimes I do that one instead of my four miler just because I like it. It's 5 miles uphill, and then one mile down. That last mile feels amazing!

My shin splints are raging, but I've discovered if you just run through them, by about the half mile mark, you are numb to the pain. I just ice ice ice ice ice after every run and every night before I go to bed. It's been working well.

I ran in the pool the other day. It was really hard. I did 3 miles but it was much harder than even my longest run so far. The resistance of the water really adds something extra! I think I could train that way if my shins start getting too sore to run with impact. So I've got some contingency plans in the works.

I have a 10 mile run this Saturday - I'm nervous. It's a really hard route. I mean REALLY hard. I've never done anything like it. But I like to push myself, so I am going to try it and see how it goes.

I usually run to upbeat music, but lately I've been running to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. I don't know what it is about that music, but it is so inspiring. It's no secret that LOTR is my absolute favorite movie, trilogy, series of movies, what have you. I've seen each one (extended version) more times than I can count. The soundtrack is absolutely magical. I can tell you what is happening in the movie for each song. So running to the soundtrack puts me right in the middle of the magic of Middle Earth, all its creatures, the fight against good and evil, and the perseverance of an unlikely underdog fighting against something much bigger than himself. As nerdy as I know it is, it's truly inspirational to me and I've enjoyed getting wrapped up in the fantasy and pushing myself to defy the odds and emerge victorious!!!!! Ha ha ha. Yes, I can laugh at myself. I'm a huge nerd. Anyway, that's all that's been going on in my world of fitness. More to come, I'm sure.

May 17, 2011

In love

I had completely forgotten how much I love running. It has been such a pain this year that I thought I was done with it for good. But then everything just suddenly clicked and, like Forest Gump, I. Was. Run-ning. It's weird and beautiful when that happens. It's like a hurdle you just have to get over and then once you do, running is fun again!

I've been running 4 miles every day. I haven't had to use my inhaler at all which is quite a feat for me. I don't think I've run without an inhaler in, well, ever. Not ever in my entire life. In fact, I remember one time in high school I was running the track for our strength and conditioning training during cheer practice, and I had such a bad asthma attack I threw up all over the track in front of the entire Varsity Football team. I wanted to die. And I figured that my asthma would always hold me back and cause me massive embarrassment. That has been true many times over in my life. I think it was this latest move from Heber to Tucson that did it for me. I'm not allergic to anything here, and my asthma is highly allergy induced. That's my theory anyway.

Saturday I ran 7 miles and it was my best run yet. It just felt good. Every last mile felt good. I wasn't really ready to stop at the end, and that rarely happens to me. I've been able to keep my shin splints under control and I feel like this is becoming a little more natural again. I'm not super fast yet. I know I'm at a 10 minute mile. I'm completely okay with that.

I feel like my rapid weight gain is finally under control and I'm not eating everything in sight. My pants are fitting me again. I don't have constant muffin top. I'm still heavier than I'd like to be, but I'm happy with where I am now. The weather here is beautiful. Every day there is a cool breeze and I just sit on the patio and watch my boys run around the backyard for about an hour after I come home from running. Life is good. And my motivation is running high!

May 12, 2011

Bryce Canyon, Revisited

Anyone catch the reference in the title? Hint: it's a movie title.

Anyone (besides Jenna) see that movie in all its homoerotic glory? No? Okay then, moving on.

I have signed up to do the Bryce Canyon half marathon again. We'll see if it happens this year. I mean, I'm planning on it, but my body doesn't seem as capable this year as it was last year. I feel like I'm one bad hill run away from another round of stress fractures, and it's making me a little frustrated. But it's pointless to dwell on things beyond my control, so let's talk about what I've been up to.

Today I ran 4 miles. It's hard in Tucson to find any routes that aren't FULL of very steep hills the entire way. I found a running trail I actually really like, but it makes me really nervous to run it by myself because the last time I ran it, I was not alone. No it wasn't the snakes and lizards that bothered me, but the bobcat. I won't be doing that trail again until I've got some pepper spray I can take along with me.

So I've found a route that's exactly four miles and it's right next to the house. It's what I've been running more often than not. Sometimes I run it just fine, and other times I walk at least a mile of it (I've noticed it has everything to do with heat). Today I was able to run the entire thing, but I did need to stop and stretch my calves a couple times. I also forgot a water bottle so the last mile and a half were pretty brutal. But it made me happy that I didn't have to walk at all. I'll choose to focus on that.

The thing that has me the most down is my shin pain. It's not stress fractures, but it's pretty bad shin splints. I don't mind them, and I don't care about running through the pain. I'm just so nervous I'm going to re injure myself because of what happened last year. That was a pretty big blow. That fear keeps me from really pushing myself. In a way that's good, but in a lot of ways it is keeping me from reaching my running goals.

The Bryce race is in July, so I've got the next two months to train and I'm sure I'll get there. Wish me luck!

*I have no idea how long I took, so I have no stats. But now that I'm back to blogging, I'll start taking note of distance and time. Also, I've gained about 12 pounds since the musical I was in ended, so maybe I'll even track my weight and measurements like I did last year. We'll see...........

New Year, New Race, New Blog Post

I haven't written anything on either of my blogs for a very long time. Truth be told, I'm just not interested. Don't get me wrong, I like reading other people's blogs, but writing my own is simply not interesting to me. At all. In fact, I kind of abhor it.

I did however have a conversation the other day with my girlfriend that lives overseas and she brought up some very good points about the blog being a great way to keep others apprised of your goings on that they wouldn't otherwise be privy to. And she's right. I vowed I would muster up some form of motivation to post something. While the family blog is still sitting, lonely and abandoned, this one is receiving a little love and attention (although I think the family blog might get some attention again soon).

The thing I love about this blog is that it is a great tracker. I like going back and reading my entries about my training last year so I can see how I've grown and what I was and wasn't capable of. Now that I've reached a point in my training that is frustrating and disappointing, I figured I would start documenting again so when I'm still frustrated in a few weeks I can look on here and see how far I've (hopefully) come.

So here it goes: running season number two - who's with me?!?!?!?!