10 miles and finding my long lost friend … in Living and Running in LaLa Land

Today I ran my first 10-miler since November. And it was ugly.

I had a great running “season” in 2015. I PRed my half marathon distance. That felt amazing! I qualified for the USA Half Marathon. Twice! And I got to run the Twin Cities Marathon with my dear friends and running mentors. EPIC!

But it was a rough year too. I broke my foot and struggled with pain and the fear of re-injury from June through November. And as excited as I was to have qualified for it at mile 9 at the USA Half Marathon in November, I realized something. I was DONE. Perhaps it was because I forgot my hat and sunglasses in my hotel room and had just turned into the blazing sun, but I could think of about a BAZILLION things I would have rather been doing at that very moment. And none of them involved running.

With Sid and Reese’s health issues at the end of the year and trailing into the first part of 2016 I decided that it was time for a break. No distance running for me for a while. No races. Just running for the love of it. I knew that when the time was right to “work” my miles again I would know it. It would happen naturally, like finding a long lost friend.

And it did.

I can’t even remember when my running became training again. I have so many training schedules swimming around in my head now that I find that I do them without much thought. But regardless of when, I started to “work” my miles again. Slowly. Climbing gradually. And not making any of it easy. I took to the hills. This time a route that changed up multiple times within one mile. And I repeated it. Over. And over. And over again. Talk about muscle confusion! I did one hilly run after another. Week after week my miles climbed. And the struggle was REAL.

For me running 10 miles is THAT distance. The one that personally makes me feel like a distance runner. Ever since I started running distance I have felt that if I don’t run at least 10 miles on my long run, I should probably just not even get out of bed. I’m weird. This is a ME thing. It’s the place I’ve found where I fit best in my own skin and in my own mind. It means something to me. As athletes we all have that ONE physical threshold. The weights we lift. The calories we burn. The miles we run. The seemingly meaningless pressures we put on ourselves for reasons outsiders never quite understand. They are, perhaps, the amor we wear to better fight our demons, to deal with our struggles … and the things that others can’t see. Our reasons WHY may only make sense to us. And that’s OK with me.

As difficult as it was I will count today as a victory. I found my long lost friend. The miles of solitude, self reflection, pain, tears and utter joy. I plan on hanging with these miles for a while. With time I will run them better and they will ultimately make me stronger. Which is good … because I have some pretty lofty dreams to chase.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you run YOUR 10 miles!!!

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Jell-o legs …

Watch them wiggle. See them jiggle. “Them” being my wobbly legs after another morning running hills.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t turn your lower half into jell-o!!!

Me and my germs …

I often judge a good training run by how awful I feel running it. No joke. Am I hot, sweaty and miserable? Do my lungs feel like they are going to explode? Do my legs feel like they are being pushed to the limit? And … do I want to throw up? Yep, I mean barfing. To clarify, actual barfing is bad, but feeling like I want to barf is a good thing. At least for me. It’s a gauge to know that I have really pushed myself as hard as I could. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t recommend doing this. I know my body and what my limits are. I adhere to the rule of “safety first”. I know what it feels like to push myself and I know what it feel like to almost black out while running because I pushed too far. Sadly, I’ve gotten there and it is SCARY.

Anyway, on my run Saturday I was pretty darn happy with myself. I was doing some hill training and was quite miserable … AND … I wanted to throw up. I knew when I was done, I could do no more. I carried on with my day as usual then later in the afternoon I felt queasy again. I chalked it up to dehydration and drank a lot of water. Minor dehydration is not uncommon for runners especially when the heat comes into play. We have been having some warm days lately so my dehydration didn’t come as a surprise to me. To put it in perspective, it was 93 degrees here today. Some winter!

Yesterday I woke feeling good and headed out with my family for a lovely Valentine’s Day at the Getty Villa, dinner at Philippe’s and dessert at Donut Man. It was a great day! I do admit, however, that there were a few times yesterday when I felt a moment of nausea creep in. Again, I just drank more water and felt fine. Well, sadly I was nauseous again today too, only this time it was WAY worse. I felt terrible! And my poor Reese is not feeling good either. She has had almost no appetite. I am no doctor but I am pretty darn sure that she didn’t catch my dehydration. So now, I realize one thing. I have not been dehydrated, I have been sick! Ugh.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you weren’t out spreading around all your germs!!!

Steel undies …

Boy oh boy. What. A. Day. I did everything I normally do and then some. Plus I took it all up a notch. I hill trained, I social work-ed and I supermom-ed the heck out of this day! And ya know what? I am POOPED.

Today also … KICKED … My … Butt.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you wished you wore steel undies!!!

I think they may fall off … 

I love running in San Francisco and I love running hills, so I’m in runner heaven when I am here. However, since breaking my foot I haven’t run up one hill. Not. One. Until today.

I decided last night that I wanted to make my training run today one I wouldn’t soon forget. I wanted to climb to the highest point in San Francisco that I could get to that still stuck within my scheduled training miles.

And I think I found it.

I ran all over the city before I started my trek up California Street. The highest point would cross at Jones Street.

All I can say is that I climbed and climbed. And at one point I’m not so sure I was, what you would call, running. And did I mention the sweat? Good lord. I was dripping.

So I admit I was pretty proud of myself with what I pulled off today. BUT. I kinda forgot how this might all feel later. Um. Yeah. I forgot that.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you didn’t think your legs were going to fall off!!!

Going nowhere FAST …

I am at that part of my training where I am supposed to be running 5 days a week, per my new training schedule. If you know me, you know that this has NEVER worked out well for me. It took me several injuries to realize that I cross train too much for 5 days of running to benefit to me in any way.

Last year when I hurt my quad/hamstring during the LA Marathon, my orthopedist suggested I cycle at least one day a week instead of run. I gotta admit. I thought he was trying to enlist me in his legionnaire of Ironman recruits. I wanted no part of it. But he assured me that I would get the training my legs needed without the abuse that running hands me. I was reluctant. But when he cleared me to start training again, I decided to give it a whirl. 

Although I probably wouldn’t want to admit it to him, he was right. In the past year I have spent many miles on the stationary bike at the gym that I feel have benefited my running greatly. Not just sparing my legs the pounding, but helping me with knee strength. Stronger knees have ultimately lead to a faster pace, especially on the downhill. I believe it’s because my knees feel like they can handle it now, so I have the confidence to push harder. And THAT is always a good thing.

But … and this is a BIG BUT … it is the most boring thing on earth to me. Ever.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel like you are going nowhere fast!!!

Exactly where I want to be … 

A few months ago I set several goals for myself regarding my training for the Twin Cities Marathon I will be running in October. Actually they were goals I wanted to attain prior to when my actual training began. A pre-training of sorts. I coined it, “Getting ready to get ready.”

I gave myself two months to accomplish all the goals, which seemed a little lofty but I went for it anyway. I wanted to lose a few pounds. I wanted to be able to run over 13.1 miles without walking or stopping. I wanted to have an easy run pace CONSISTENTLY at 9:30/mile and a moderate run pace of 9:15/mile. A quarter mile interval pace under 8:00/mile. And for my long runs to include at least 5 miles of hill training.

All that … just to get ready to start training.

Well … I DID IT!

Next Monday will technically begin my 20-week training for Twin Cities. I am already running more miles than the training outlines. So I will modify my schedule until my mileage ability coincides with the training, which will be some time in August.

Thankfully I feel like all of this just gives me more time to get … BETTER … STRONGER … FASTER … and more capable of making my dreams come true. And THAT makes me a very HAPPY runner girl!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you find yourself exactly where I want to be!!!