Planning to train for a marathon

I know that training for a marathon will be exhausting. But planning the training makes me want to puke.

A week after registering for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, I slipped on the ice and threw out my back. I finally got permission to start running 1-2 miles a couple times a week and then Friday I slipped on the slushy snow as I was getting into my car and sort of tweaked my left ankle/calf/IT band/leg/etc.

CAN A GIRL CATCH A BREAK?!

Tonight I mapped out my training plan, starting with October 7, and working backwards for 30 weeks. I am merging three different Hal Higdon plans.

I have also realized that I can’t safely train for the Wisconsin Half Marathon in May, as I was planning to do, so I’m pushing back my first half marathon of 2012 to the Summerfest Rock ‘n’ Sole (Plus, the week before, I’ll run the equivalent of a half marathon during Ragnar).

Then, in July it’s the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon… followed by possibly the Madison Mini Marathon in August.

Enter the most hellish month of my life ever:

Followed by a marathon and epic rest week. #dontdie

I can’t be the only person who freaks out and requires insane planning before a race… What do you do to plan for a race?

Ready to dance with dirt

Next weekend, I’m headed to Devil’s Lake for Dances with Dirt. My friends are running the marathon, but I’m doing the 10k. I did my last trail training run on Thursday and am confident I will rock it!

It was wet, muddy, slippery, etc and so forth. But I did 6 miles, faster than I’ve ever done on the trails. Woohoo! I saw countless squirrels and chipmunks and three deer, including an 8pt buck. Only fell once, and took care of that in the first half mile, so I had it over and done with and didn’t need to worry about that anymore.

Oh, and a mosquito flew INTO MY MOUTH. Disgusting.

I really enjoyed myself and was SO happy I brought a change of clothes. Driving home in my water logged shoes and clothes would have been a disaster.

Trying to stay positive in a sea of setbacks

Knee. Ankle. Knee. Foot. Ankle. Foot. Shoulder. Foot. Knee. Foot. Foot. Rib. Foot.

I have had so many setbacks in my training and journey to health. It seems like each time I take one step forward, something sets me two steps back.

I have worked hard to not let this affect me but, to be honest, it tears me up. I’ve tried to put up a strong front. I’ve tried to be nonchalant about it all. I’ve had some moments of public disappointment about my injuries and setbacks. Mostly, I’ve tried to convince myself it was ok.

Truthfully, it’s been blow after blow after blow, both physically and mentally.

It’s draining to stay positive when all you want to do is ask God, “Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I keep having injuries? Why do I have to be so freaking cautious in my training? Why is it easy for everyone else to train without setbacks?”

I’ve tried to be strong. I’ve tried to set a good example for others who say they are inspired by me. I don’t want to let them down. I don’t want to let you down.

But it’s all a lie.

It sucks.

From knee problems and a sprained foot/ankle to plantar fasciitis and a subluxated rib, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it all.

I am sick of being excited about an accomplishment, only to a short time later have to pull back.

I want to run. I want to run far. I want to run fast. I want to be the best. I want to compete. I want to race.

I don’t want to be the last to finish. In fact, I don’t want to be anywhere near the back of the pack.

But that’s where I am.

Why can’t I be happy with where I’m at? Why am I constantly comparing myself to others who’ve been at this so much longer than I have? Why can’t I be happy, knowing that I have completed a half marathon, instead of being disappointed I walked more than 10 miles of it?

Why does it kill me to know — that despite my hopes, my prayers, my careful and smart training post Napa and during training for Vegas — that there’s no way I will be able to run a full 13.1 miles in 11 weeks? That was the plan all along. Just finish the race in Napa. Then run the hell outta Vegas. I’m 11 weeks from the race and the furthest I’ve gone is 3.8 miles, and that was mostly walking. Yesterday I ran for a mile without walking, and while I’m so freaking happy about that, the accomplishment is clouded by the knowledge that I can’t keep that pace going for more than a mile.

I know I need to focus on the positive, but I’m tired of focusing on that. I need to vent. I need to cry.

I’m trying to be smart. I’m trying not to push myself too hard. I’m trying to listen to my body. I’m trying to listen to my trainer. I’m trying to listen to my coaches. I’m trying to be positive.

I’m trying.

Red sauce 60 minutes pre-run = omg hell

Had another great Team Challenge mid-week group run tonight. For the first quarter mile, Jodi and I stuck with Rochelle, Karla and Kevin… but after 5 minutes, we dropped back (they were going between 10:30-12min pace and that was pushing it for me for extended periods of time).

Jodi and I alternated running a quarter mile and walking a quarter mile for the first mile. Our split was 15:20ish. Unfortunately, this is where things went down hill for me.

You see, today I had time to make another batch of homemade tomato sauce with goodies from my garden. I spent more than 2 hours making the amazing sauce (fresh tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, onion, basil, italian sausage… shall I go on?) and couldn’t resist having some for dinner before the group run.

Note to self: NEVER EVER EAT A BIG MEAL BEFORE A RUN, NO MATTER HOW HUNGRY YOU ARE.

During the first mile my stomach started gurgling and its contents sloshed about.

By the 1.25 mi mark I told Jodi to go on without me. I wasn’t gonna be able to keep running. I thought I was going to puke.

About mile 1.6 (just about a tenth of a mile from the Lake Park Bistro stairs), I had a different kind of tummy rumble. You know, the I-don’t-have-to-puke-I-have-to -oh-crap-get-to-a-bathroom tummy rumble. I started running and was honestly worried I would either puke or shit my pants. Or both.

I made it that last tenth of a mile. But then I had the stairs. Those were brutal.

I wanted to scream.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted a toilet, damnit.

I got to the top of the stairs and luckily made it to the bathroom.

Aren’t you glad I shared this story?

Do as I say, not as I do

I’ve been struggling with something for awhile now and I can’t keep it bottled up anymore. I’ve tried to be upbeat and positive about this whole sprained foot fiasco. Oh wait, you don’t know about this do you?

Yeah, that’s right. I never blogged about it. Why? Well, I kept putting it off… and off… and off… until I started getting bitter today about he whole thing. Sure, I tweeted about it and made posts on DailyMile, but I never really blogged about how it made me feel. Here goes.

I was scared.

My left foot pain is getting worse, not better. I’m so scared something is wrong that will knock me out of training for Napa. Please send some healing thoughts/prayers my way. Pretty sure I’ll be going to the doctor today. 🙁

I was relieved.

FOOT UPDATE: It’s a sprain of sorts. I have to take it easy and I should be able to still run/walk the Wine Country Half Marathon. Basically, taper is starting a week early. 🙁

I was sad.

feeling like I won’t get to RUN a 5k… ever. #jth says I can jog or walk SLOWLY on thurs. #fitmke #sadmke

I was bitter.

all of you running the storm the bastille tomorrow can suck it.#bitter #sadface #norunningtilnapa

Last month, I had to “take it easy” for the Great Milwaukee Race. I wasn’t supposed to run. But, I didn’t want to let my teammates down so I ran a bit (this was before I knew the foot was sprained). Then I had my long build-up run/walks for training for the half marathon. I did 8 miles… then almost 9… then just over 10 miles. All on a sprained foot. Yep. I am pretty badass. Or stubborn. One of the two.

Luckily, the diagnosis came a week before my taper was to begin, so instead of doing my last long run/walk of 12 miles… I started taking it easy and tapering back early. On the one hand, awesome. On the other, crap.

I had a “come to Jesus” conversation with my trainer via text message the day I went to the doctor. Here’s how it went:

Me: This sucks.

John: Why? It will be fine!

Me: Because I want to do it all 🙁

John: U will just not this week, u wanna be fit for life, not just a couple of months, right?

Me: Yeah. You’re right. I know I need to listen I just don’t want to. Haven’t had an “easy” week since I began training for the half

John: That could be part of the reason u are hurt at the moment.

Me: Prolly. Guess I’m just afraid of going back to my old routine of nothing. Know what I mean?

John: I will drag ur punk ass out of ur house and make u workout if u do!

Me: Deal.

I have tried to accept the fact that I had to stop running. I have tried to accept the fact that I had to drop out of a 5k two weeks ago. I have tried (and failed) to accept the fact that I can’t run the Storm the Bastille 5k tomorrow. This race is especially hard for me to miss because back when I decided to start this journey, my goal race was to run the Storm the Bastille on July 8. Sure, I am freaking doing a half marathon next week, but I can’t help but feel like a complete failure. My one, measly goal – Run the Storm the Bastille – #amyfail. Yes, my goals have changed. I can do 3.1 miles in my sleep. But I haven’t actually RAN a full 5k yet. This has been a psychological barrier for me and I have been eagerly anticipating the chance to show myself I can RUN a 5k.

Then there’s this whole all-these-people-donated-money-for-charity-because-I-said-I-would-do-a-half-marathon-and-I-went-and-overdid-things-and-may-have-put-the-whole-race-at-risk factor. Yup. I’m doing this whole get healthy journey for me. And I am worried about what my family and friends will think if I fail miserably next weekend. When I started training, my goal was to be at a solid 15 minute mile pace (4mph). I’m quite certain if I was able to run more, I would have no problem maintaining this pace. However, due to all of my training setbacks (including the knee problems a few months ago), I have been logging a solid 16:30-17:30 walking pace. So now, my new time goal is in the 3:30-4:00 range. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others… but I have friends who are in the sub-4:00 MARATHON time range. And I’m just praying I can do a sub-4:00 HALF MARATHON. It’s a kick to the ol’ ego, that’s for sure.

I need to stop putting myself through this, but I can’t help it. There was a time (just months ago), where I couldn’t understand why some of my friends were working out ALL the time. They were running 7-8 miles FOR FUN. My idea of a good time was ordering a pizza, drinking a 6-pack of beer and watching basic cable Law & Order: SVU marathons. My idea of a good time was certainly not training for a HALF MARATHON. SVU Marathons are much more entertaining.  Now, ordering a pizza, drinking beer and watching SVU Marathons is still high on my list of fun times… but the times I’ve been able to run – actually RUN – I can’t describe the feeling as anything short of euphoric. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of. And I know mine is capable of running.

I know I need to listen to my trainer, my coach, my doctors… but I can’t help feeling like I’m a failure. I feel like giving up. I feel like putting on my fat pants. I feel like burying my sorrow in peanut butter M&Ms, fruity cocktails, microbrews, high-carb, high-fat meals… (and trust me, I have done this in recent weeks). But I know that is giving in. I can’t fall back to the old Amy. I can’t let the old fat girl win. The new fat girl is so much more fun. She feels better. She can walk up flights of stairs without losing her breath. She is 10 days away from completing a half marathon (at 250 lbs, none the less). She needs to get over herself, put on her big-girl underwear and stop being such a baby.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t be stupid like I’ve been. Be smart. Accept your setbacks. Grow a pair.

I owned 10 miles

(This was written Sunday afternoon… which should explain all the references to “today”).

I can’t even describe the sense of accomplishment I feel right now. I did 10 miles today. Without stopping. (well, I made a couple of water stops but that is expected – no stops to stretch or rest though!)

My body hurts so much its almost laughable. Seriously. It hurts so bad I can’t help but chuckle. Why do I do this to myself? My feet, my ankles, my calves, my knees (oh lordy my knees), my hips, my core, my neck… everything. hurts.

I would SOOOOOOOOOO go sit in an ice bath if there was enough ice in this house. Unfortunately those two trays won’t be doing much for me.

Today’s run/walk started out horribly. I totally psyched myself out this morning while I was eating oatmeal. I almost threw up I was so nervous. I’ve never done a double-digit workout (well except for biking)… and I know how much I’ve hurt from the shorter distances (6,8)… so I knew today was going to be horrible. Then I realized I didn’t charge my Garmin so it was going to die mid-run. Then I couldn’t find my inhaler. Then I couldn’t find the sunscreen. Life was anti-amy this morning. I got pissed at my Garmin for not being charged and tried to get it off and in the process completely ripped the watch band. So that meant absolutely NO Garmin today. I ended up using an app on my phone I used in the pre-garmin days which kept a decent record (timing at least) and only looked at it twice the whole route today… but of course that’s cuz I got some encouraging text messages and tweets from my family and friends. You guys rock.

I got to practice late, waited for Coach Anne to tell us the route for the day and then I took off without the rest of the team while they were talking. I just wanted to get today over with, and chatting wasn’t going to help anything.

I walked the first half mile or so then ran down the hill for just over half a mile… walked for a bit, then ran another half mile or so… then Stephanie caught up with me. She’s a runner on the team but didn’t have childcare this morning so she was going to walk while pulling her kids in a stroller. We walked together at a good pace for a couple of miles and then the rest of the team caught up with us as we headed out this little point off veterans park. Then we headed back towards the Art Museum where we lost Marge and Dave.

Stephanie, Anne, Kevin and I went through Lake Shore State Park to the red lighthouse and when we turned around we saw Marge. Anne broke away and continued with Marge, Kevin stopped for a bathroom break and Stephanie got held back for a bit with the kids… I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t keep going so I just went. I ran back through the park (half mile or so) and into Discovery World, down the hall to the bubbler to refill my water. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy but I didn’t want to fall behind the group.

I saw Stephanie and Kevin up ahead by the Art Museum and ran until I caught up to them and walked along Lincoln Memorial Drive with them.

At the entrance to Veterans Park, we found Anne, Dave and Marge and kept with them to the bubbler by the tennis courts and then north along Lincoln Memorial. At some point (I think near the Northpoint custard stand), Kevin and I lost the rest of the group and kept going towards Lake Park Bistro. I had already decided that I would do 10 miles and forego the final mile in lieu of the stairs. OH MY GAWD. Climbing up the stairs at Lake Park Bistro AFTER having done 10 miles was brutal. Absolutely brutal. It hurt so bad to lift my legs up the stairs. Kevin and I got halfway and cheered on the rest of the team who was heading up the hill.

I got to Becky and the picnic table and collapsed… stretched… drank water… tried to wrap my head around what I just did. I got into my car and almost sat there crying but I didn’t want anyone to see so I headed home.

Today was magical. Today was horrible. Today was awesome.

I can hardly walk now. But it was worth it.

I owned those 10 miles.

I’m going to own 13.1 in 4 weeks. Scratch that. I’m going to make 13.1 miles my bitch.

Weigh in Wednesday: 20lbs!

It’s official.

I’ve lost 20.2 lbs since starting this journey January 6, 2010. Sure, the weight hasn’t come off as quickly as I had hoped, but I’ve kept the weight off, which is a huge accomplishment. I’ve never stuck to a nutrition and exercise plan for this long in my entire life. I’m working out 6 days a week.

I am 20% of the way there to achieving my goal of losing 100 pounds. I hope the next 20 doesn’t take as long as the first, but if it does, I’ll be ok with it. My life has changed for the better.

23 weeks ago, who’d have thought I would be just a month away from completing a half marathon?

And yet, here I am, preparing for my 10-miler on Sunday, and a 12-miler the following week.

Life is good. God is good. I’m so grateful.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

First it was good. Then it was really good. Then it was ok. Then it was meh. Then it was bad. Then it was really bad. Then it was oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die. Then it was over.

My left foot/ankle bothered me quite a bit yesterday. I’m not sure what happened. I iced it on and off all afternoon and evening, hoping it would feel better.

When I woke up today it was a little bit better, but not great. I did not have high expectations for today’s run/walk. I was completely prepared to do a couple of miles and go home.

Around the first half mile mark, Coach Anne asked if I was going to run down the hill (I like to run down the hill at Lincoln Memorial Drive cuz it makes me feel fast). I told her that I would probably run down the hill and how I felt at the end would determine if I’d run any more today.

Well I started running. And I kept running. Before I knew it, I was by the Northpoint custard stand which is the 2mi mark of the route. And I was running. woah. I walked for the next 3/4 of a mile. Then I started running again. And I kept running. My pace was slowing considerably but I just kept going because I was afraid of what would happen when I stopped. I continued running til I got to Lake Shore State Park and then walked the first half to 3/4 mi of the loop. Then I started running again. I continued running (ok at this point it was more like a shuffle) to Discovery World. Then I realized that the route I thought was 10 miles was actually going to be more like 9 and I got mad and I went up Michigan past Discovery World out onto the pier to add some mileage. It was about half a mile but whatever. It was some additional mileage.

By this point my foot was starting to hurt more, but I kept alternating between walking and running for a bit longer. As I passed the lagoon the pain started getting worse. My pace was slowing. And slowing. And slowing. I ran out of water and bought a bottle from a vendor at the entrance to Veterans Park. I kept going even though the pain was getting worse. I was determined to show the lakefront who’s boss. As I reached McKinley Marina, I knew there was no way I would be running any more. The pain was getting worse. I was glad I had sunglasses on because I’m pretty sure I was crying a bit.

I’ll be honest. There were times during the last couple of miles that all I wanted to do was sit down and cry and call someone to come pick me up. But I didn’t. I kept going, despite the pain.

When I got to the Lake Park Bistro stairs and stared up Lincoln Memorial I knew there was no way I was going to make the last mile of our normal loop. So I cut it short and practically crawled up the stairs. No joke. It was so painful going up those stairs. My knees were aching. My ankle/foot was throbbing. I made it to the top and collapsed near the picnic bench Becky was sitting at. I almost lost it then but managed to keep my shiz together as I talked about what happened.

The rest of the day I was really depressed about what happened today. I focused on the bad so much I forgot that I RAN 1.5 miles today. And then another mile. And then a half mile. And then another mile or so.

I’m going to spend the next couple of days resting my foot and hoping that some RICE action will get it better so I don’t throw off my training. Here’s hoping my workouts at the beginning of the week are more strength-focused than cardio. Cuz the treadmill and eliptical aren’t happening.

SPLITS: 15:51, 15:13, 18:08, 16:17, 18:03, 17:33, 18:10, 19:39

The one where I accidentally run .85 mi without stopping

It started off like any other hot, muggy, late-night run. I walked a .25mi warmup (about 4-5min) and waited for my Garmin to beep at me that it was time to start running. it just wasn’t turning over.

You see, I had set up this great program for myself tonight – a bunch of intervals to work on speedwork on my favorite route from my house to downtown Milwaukee. I created the workout in my Garmin training center program and uploaded it to my Garmin. What I didn’t realize until, oh 15-20 min into the run was that my Garmin never connected to the satellites, so my plan to run a quarter mile, then walk for a min and so on was never going to happen.

Hence the title, the one where I accidentally run .85mi without stopping. You should also know I did this in 9 or 10 minutes. I don’t know what happened. I really don’t.

I started the running portion near Humboldt and Ogden… and it wasn’t until I was at Prospect and Wisconsin (and running out of air – literally) that I realized that the satellite thingamabob wasn’t working. There was nooooooo way I hadn’t gone less than a quarter mile. I’ve done this route before. I just got in the zone and bam. Perhaps it was the sheriff’s deputy who waved at me as I ran past Juneau Park. Perhaps it was the desire to get this run over with ASAP because it’s so freaking humid out. Perhaps it was none of the above. Perhaps, just perhaps, I’m awesome. Your guess is as good as mine.

Regardless, I ran my longest distance ever without stopping to catch my breath or to walk. A non-stop mile is not far away. Hell, running an entire 5k without stopping isn’t far away. Speaking of which, I have one in 2 weeks. 😉

Now I’m off to shower and cuddle with this gal.