The Turkey Trot

11/26/2012

I thought I’d provide a quick update on the Turkey Trot this year, cause that’s just what I do….race, and update. ¬†ūüôā

If you read last years¬†Thanksgiving post, it was the first year I’ve missed Charlotte’s Turkey Trot since 2002 due to my parents ailing dog who had just had a stroke of sorts. ¬†Most¬†importantly¬†and actually pretty¬†miraculously,¬†Parker is STILL with us one full year later! ¬†He’s at least 14/15 years old now but hanging on, “smiling”, and going on walks, albeit very slow, but we are ¬†just so thankful to still have him though, even though we realize it won’t be forever.

So needless to say, I was excited to be here in town this weekend to get out and do my favorite run! ¬†Dawn planned to run the 8k also and my parents were on board to walk the 5k. ¬†I was instructed to run this as a test set to get some good, threshold, stand-alone running paces/data. ¬†Test sets always provide a small amount of angst, even if the only person you’re competing against is yourself. ¬†I also had a bit of uneasiness about how my heel, and some (short-lived) adductor pain I’d been feeling would hold up during the race.

We got there with plenty of time and I headed out to do my pre-race warm up. ¬†My adductor was causing me to limp and my heel felt like it had needles in it. ¬†I ran about a mile before turning around and was so annoyed to say the least. I had gone to masters swimming bright and early that morning thinking it would help loosed things up, but apparently no go. ¬†I continued to warm up slowly and on the way to the start line I contemplated for a good 10 seconds about not running and risking further injuring something. ¬†Then I thought about the apple cobbler I made and my mom’s stuffing and decided to do the race. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I figured I could always walk if it hurt.

The gun went off and 6,000 Turkey Trotters were off. ¬†I was about 25 rows from the front, and in hindsight, just need to line up further to the front. ¬†People in front of me took off at a blistering, oh, 10 min pace, which is by far the most annoying thing to deal with. ¬†I don’t understand why people prefer to be trampled?

There isn’t much to say about this race other than I ran smooth and hard and really didn’t feel either my heel or my adductor much at all! ¬†The tugging in my adductor forced me to keep my form tight and not over-stride, which I have a¬†tendency¬†to do. ¬†I could feel it every time I did so it served as a “nice” reminder to keep my cadence high and hips in good alignment. ¬†For the most part, it was all good!

Given the undulation of the course, my mile splits were a little up and down, but it seemed most people’s varied at least a little. ¬†They ranged from 6:37 – 7:00 which I was happy to hit these paces given no rest on my legs the day before and having swam masters before the race. ¬†My chip time was 34:14 (6:53 pace), but the website has me listed at 31 something for some reason. ¬†I can’t take credit for running quite that fast. ¬†ūüôā Not yet at least

This week is recovery for me and I’m kinda excited. ¬†Short speed stuff and a few days of rest! ¬†Wooo hooo!!


Feeling Good Feels Good.

11/18/2012

Getting back from my trip, my body felt absolutely awful, I was somewhat¬†disappointed¬†with the results at Worlds (but also not in some ways), I was so sleepy tired that I was feeling¬†off in my workouts, and I admit, I had a bit of angst / regret / stress about having registered for an Ironman in March. ¬†I had exactly 21 weeks from when I got back to get ready, which is plenty of time for someone with my base fitness, but a taking a winter break was crossing my mind more often than I wanted it to….likely fueled most by the aches and pains I was feeling.

My coach was awesome, understanding and¬†accommodating¬†of my two weeks of not hitting my all of workouts like I normally try to do and she also allowed me to do as much yoga as my little heart desired. ¬†Yoga is so restorative to my body and more importantly, my mind…it’s hard as all get out, I get so hot I see spots sometimes, I drip sweat more than your average girl, and I smell like crap when I leave, but I have never once left the studio not feeling better than I did when I went in – both physically and mentally!

Fast forward to this weekend where I had Thunder Road and a ~3 hour ride planned. ¬†As¬†I stated in my last post, I was instructed to use the race as a training run. ¬†I had very specific paces that I was to stick to and I planned to do just that. ¬†Well, I have proved to myself once again, that I am not capable of toeing the line to a race with a chip on my foot and following my coaches orders. ¬†Must keep working on that! ūüôā

My instructions were to run the first 6 miles no faster than 8:15 pace, and even slower was ok. ¬†Then I had some tempo miles with some¬†threshold¬†work towards the end. ¬†Well, when the first mile ticked off at 7:45, with my heart rate not even to my official zone 1 yet, I thought long and hard about my workout and what I was going to do for the next 12 – either slow the heck down or continue to run based on feel. ¬†I decided on the later. ¬†I told myself not to let my HR go above 168 (zone 2), which correlated to a ~7:25-7:50 pace. ¬†Obviously to keep your HR under zone 3 on a hill requires to you run it REALLY easy. ¬†After the half way point though, everything still felt really good so I picked up the pace just a bit. ¬†By mile 11, I was hitting low 7:20’s and mile 12-13.25 averaged 6:59 with a HR never higher than 178!

My official race time was 1:40 and change, but I’m protesting that because my watch said 13.22 miles despite running the tangents pretty dang tight. ¬†ūüôā 1:39/1:40 is irrelevant to the matter – it wasn’t a PR and it wasn’t supposed to be. ¬†What IS relevant is how great I felt and with such relative “ease” that I ran it. ¬†It was by far the most enjoyable half marathon I’ve ever run. ¬†I checked my log from running this race 2 years ago and my average HR was almost 16 bpm higher average and I only ran it ~2 minutes faster overall. ¬†I realize I’m not breaking any ground speed records and I probably never will, but I am still very happy with making progress. ūüôā

Given I’d had 16 miles on my legs from yesterday (3 additional miles with a client who was finishing up the full), I was somewhat skeptical with how today’s ride would go. ¬†Happy to report that I felt absolutely perfect and was able to hit all power numbers as prescribed. ¬†And what beautiful fall day for a ride.

It feels good to feel good!

What does not feel good though is my heel. ¬†Grrrr. ¬†It felt great during the run yesterday – I don’t recall ever feeling any pain at all. ¬†I was really hoping I was in the clear! ¬†However, stupid heel has reminded me who is boss. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†I’ve iced, rolled, stretched and slept in my boot and it feels a bit better after the ride today. ¬†APR session #2 and a visit to Dr. G is in the plans for hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday.

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and I hope you’re feeling as good as I am!


Recent Happenings…

11/16/2012

Howdy friends and family! ¬†I thought I’d check in today with some recent happenings in my world since I’ve gotten back from my trip and settled back into normal life.

I will say, it took forever to get back into the swing of things.  I was, still am actually, shocked at how long and how much I was affected by the jetlag from the trip.  I truly always thought that was a bit of a myth and that I was a good enough sleeper to not have it phase me.  Boy, was I wrong.  It took 7-8 full days to get back to feeling tired at the time I was supposed to feel tired, to fall asleep when I felt tired, not wake up in the middle of the night, and be able to sleep past about 4:30 am.  Going back to work helped a ton, though it took a few days even still.  Glad to have that behind me!

I posted this picture on FB a week or so ago which left lots of people wondering what happened.

Well, as I figured while I was away, I have a little case of Plantar Fasciitis in my heel. ¬†It started hurting sometime back in September if I remember correctly and I had some treatment on it then, but the pain was¬†manageable¬†unless I ran really hard and it never actually hurt during my runs, just after. ¬†So why quit running, right? ¬†(I have a terrible habit of ignoring pain or¬†convincing¬†myself its nothing!) ¬†Knowing the best thing for PF is rest, massage and stretching, I figured I’d just press on through Worlds, and then take some easy time off while traveling after the race.

Well, that whole “rest” plan backfired. ¬† As I have said, the scenery and weather in Sydney were just so amazing that all I wanted to do was run. ¬†Eating out every single meal also contributed to my lack of desire to not exercise at all. ¬†I never ran¬†particularly¬†hard, but I did do some 7-8 mile runs, which were probably fine, but it was a bad combo with allllll the walking that we did during the day! ¬†It was painful to the touch and bordering¬†excruciatingly¬†painful by the time I got home.

I immediately¬†made an appointment for a massage, to see Dr. Greenapple, and for an ARP treatment when I got back. ¬†I also ordered the boot to wear at night and heel cups to help pad my everyday shoes to alleviate the pain. ¬†I also told ¬†my coach that I’d definitely need to take at least a few days off from running.

I’m pleased to report that, about 2 weeks later, my heel feels about 95% better! ¬†All of the treatments were so helpful,¬†particularly¬†the ARP. ¬†Since the minute I left Melissa’s office (Body Electric in Cornelius), ¬†I haven’t really felt a hint of pain in my heel. ¬†Long story short, ARP treats the source of pain, which is almost never where we think it is. ¬†Most doctors will treat the plantar fascia if you have plantar fasciitis (wow, crazy¬†phenomenon)¬†but in reality, the source of the pain in my heal was extreme tightness and inflammation in my calf. ¬†After the ARP treatment, my calf was extremely sore and painful, but has since recovered and feels great. ¬†I ran over 10 ¬†miles last weekend and had no issues, other than the lingering sore calf!

That said, tomorrow I will tackle the Thunder Road 1/2 marathon. ¬†I am just starting to ramp up my longer distance miles, so I decided to use the race as a supported training run where I won’t need to worry about access to water. ¬†And it is right in our back yard! ¬†Though standalone running races aren’t my “strength”, it is still hard to put a timing chip on your foot and not have the urge to “race”. ¬†It’s just in my DNA to want to go out and do the best, fastest, hardest race I can, but I’m going to work on my discipline as an athlete tomorrow and follow my coaches pace orders. ¬†ūüôā ¬†At least that’s the plan!

Otherwise, Ironman training is just beginning and I’m feeling excited! ¬†Now that my heel seems to be almost back to 100% and my body has recovered from hours, hours and hours of walking (that might sound crazy, but I was in rough shape when I got back from Sydney) I’m anxious to get deeper into training. ¬†I think the most exciting thing about this Ironman is to be training for it with a coach who is so detailed, understanding, and wise! ¬†And one that I truly adore! ¬†I have been¬†severely¬†over-trained for my previous 2 Ironman races, so I’m thrilled about the¬†possibilities¬†ahead.

That’s about all I have to report on for now. ¬†I’m looking forward to the holidays here in Charlotte with my family, and the Turkey Trot and the wonderful food that follows! ¬† My mom is such a great cook that thanksgiving dinner never disappoints. ¬†I have volunteered to make apple cobbler for dessert so I’m taking recipe suggestions if you have them!

I’ll end with this video cause it’s just cute. ¬†This is little Justice’s standard treat routine. ¬†Such a silly boy.


The Aftermath and My Favorite Things!

11/04/2012

So I survived the LONG trip home. Barely. I have been home now three full days and I still don’t feel back to my normal self. The craziest thing about the trip home was leaving Sydney mid-day on Thursday, flying for a bazillion hours, but getting in to Charlotte just a few hours later than we left Sydney that same day. The whole “international date line” still kinda hurts my brain. Most all of our travel went according to plan other than one small snafu on our flight from LAX to Charlotte, which we got worked out just in the nick of time. Thankfully, is all I can say. I might have had a nervous breakdown if I had to sit in LAX, a pretty dingy, gross place, for 12 hours after sitting on a plane already for 1/2 of a day.

I can’t seem to get back on a regular sleep schedule however. I can’t fall asleep till after 10 or 11, I’ve been waking up about 1/2 am and can’t seem to fall back to sleep till after 5 or 6. By about 1 in the afternoon I’m utterly exhausted and have succumb to taking naps, which have ended up being way too long to get any decent sleep that night. Going back to work tomorrow (gulp) will force me back into a routine and I’m just gonna have to suck up a few days of being tired during the day with no nap, in order to get back on schedule. Dawn hasn’t seemed to have the same problem I have, for some reason.

As a result of the unusual sleep schedule, my workouts have been off this weekend, needless to day. I was able to get a great yoga class in yesterday and a swim later in the day which I was supposed to do at masters yesterday morning, but I just still feel a little off. I had a hard bike set to do on Friday which I had zero gas in the tank to complete. I couldn’t even get to my target power #, nonetheless hold it for 30 minutes!? That was frustrating. I was also really looking to getting back on my bike for a long ride today with a group of friends, but I ended up sleeping through my alarm, and oddly enough, through the entire duration of the ride…and then some. Can’t say that’s ever happened before or the last time I’ve been in bed till after 12:30 on a Sunday – talk about feel like a piece of crap.

So it’s back to work tomorrow for the first time in 3 weeks. I had my Blackberry turned on while I was down under and there is quite a bit of work that awaits me – we’ve had some clients who’ve been pretty quiet the last few months come out of the wood work in full effect. One day at a time though – I’m only one person and I can only do so much. ūüôā I hope my bosses agree.

As a whole, looking back on my trip, my favorite experiences included:

1. The finishing chute of the race. Hands down one of the coolest race finishes I’ll ever do – right up there with Ironman. Still gives me chills to think about.

Really cool to wave the flag that the Team USA coach handed to us.

2. My solo day exploring in Sydney. It was the first day there, we’d been bundled in North Face, scarves and boots while in NZ just a few hours earlier, I was able to run at my own leisure on a beautiful 70 degree day in a tank top and shorts, seeing all of the new, famous sites – a really great memory.

The two most famous sites in Sydney – the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, which we later climbed (much to my dismay)

3. Hiking Mt. Cook on the South Island. It was a super hard hike which gave us all a great sense of accomplishment with magnificent scenery, and a great workout. All things I certainly loved. 4. The Sky Swing and Luge in Rotorua, NZ. The view from the top of the gondola ride was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen to date with the lake in the distance. The swing and luge made me feel like a kid for a day! The video below is of the swing – the quality isn’t good but you can get an idea. INSANE, but at least it was over quick.

Hard to capture the view in just one picture.

5. Waiheke Island – the day trip we took was so perfect. The “art gallery” we toured with the sculptures followed by the amazing glass of wine we enjoyed at the Vineyard was the perfect way to chill out a few days before the race.

Dawn, myself and Sandy atop one of the more gorgeous views of the trip – privately owned by a couple whose sculptures and property we toured. Not too shabby!

6. Bondi Beach – duh. It’s a beautiful beach. How can you not love it!

No caption needed!

7. Making a new friend who I will always remember sharing this trip with. It was so fun getting to know Sandy – she and her husband Paul made my time in Auckland all that much better! They are awesome, good people and I thank them for the memories and the laughs – particularly checking our bikes in during a torrential downpour. ūüôā

Trying to avoid being blown into the water with my new pal Sandy ūüôā

8. Last but certainly not least – time with my sissy! This was the biggest trip we’ve ever taken and I’m so happy I got to share it with her! There’s no telling where our lives will go from here or if we will ever have this opportunity again, and I’m so glad we took advantage of this chance while we had it! I couldn’t have a better sister, friend and #1 cheerleader if I hand-selected one myself.

Watching the men’s ITU Pro race in our “uniforms”. Seems like we lived in these white vests!

I have a million more pictures that I will be sending out and putting on FB for those who would like to see. There are over 700 so I need to sort through and pick my favorites which will be tough!

Off to try to catch some shut eye before my 4:45 am alarm – back to work…someone has an Ironman in 19 weeks! No rest for the weary!