Today is an Opportunity

A month ago I was working out at Rise and the trainer was giving the usual spiel about form and then she switched gears and said that each day is an opportunity. Okay. Sure. We’ve all heard that before.

Then she said this opportunity that you’re taking right now? You’ll never have it again. *mike drop*

I was floored. She was 100% right.

Which is why I am struggling to rest and recover my knee. I have all of these big goals, for now, and for the year in general. The current one is 200 miles during the Fall. Then my mid term goal is a Spring half marathon, and the longer term one is a Fall marathon.

I’m trying to remind myself that absolutely none of that will be possible if I don’t recover first. I can not begin to tell you how hard that has been. I ‘rested’ for 2 weeks and now I’m slooooowly getting back to it. And maybe taking ibuprofen every day so I don’t walk like Frankenstein’s Monster.

But you won’t tell my coach, right?!?

Recovery

Recovery is going very slowly. I’m trying to not run, and it’s really getting to me. I have been sleeping 10 or 12 hours a day instead of my usual 8 and my anxiety has been through the roof.

Nate and I went to a different grocery store than we typically do. Same chain, but a different location with slightly better produce and cheese selection. Initially he had wanted to eat at a restaurant nearby, but realized he wasn’t familiar with how clean they are. (Turns out this can be scary during a pandemic.)

We skipped the restaurant and went to the grocery store, it was 4:00 and there were people everywhere. This store has one way aisles to prevent crowding and promote social distancing. It seemed like every aisle had someone going the wrong way, someone dragging 4 kids, an old trophy wife in giant stilettos in the middle of the aisle, or a combination of all the above. Plus throw in the occasional hurried businessman or completely lost patron.

Nate was annoyed, and I was on edge by the time we got through a few aisles. We didn’t need much, but we’re not familiar with the layout so we’re going everywhere. I’m getting anxious and he’s getting annoyed, declaring people won’t push him through the aisles. By the time we get to the cheese I’m 15 seconds from totally melting down and leaving my cart.

Sometimes I forget how much running helps and not working out for a week is getting to me. I’m not addicted in a fitorexia sort of way (I weigh twice my ideal body weight) but it’s become such a stress reliever that I question if my anti anxiety medications are doing anything at all.

The first time I tried to run I decided to do a 5 minute waking warmup then 30 second runs and 1 minute walks. I managed to get one 30 second hobble in before my leg cramp set it. 2 mile walk it was.

Back to massage, foam rolling, hot baths, and biofreeze.

Oops

I’m guessing everyone other than myself saw this one coming….

Doing two a days after just starting to get consistent was a bad idea. It’s good to support friends, but my body was 100% not ready for it.

I woke up Thursday and still had a lot of muscle stiffness. I tried to massage it out, went to the gym, did a bunch of warmup moves, and immediately started hobbling on the treadmill.

The instructor asked if I was limping and I sheepishly had to say yes.

She listened to me explain how it felt, gave me a foam roller, and told me walking. Maybe add some incline to increase my heart rate, but no running.

She said it sounded like a muscle problem and that I need to listen to my body and take it easy. That running 10,000 steps on a cramping leg will in no way help it.

I can not even begin to tell you how bad I am at listening to my body.

If I knew how to listen to my body I would a. Not be as fat as I am and b. Would not have injured myself.

I can not begin to tell you how frustrating it is to hear the instructor call out different intervals and be stuck walking because your leg is rolling with a cramp.

So instead of working on that 200 mile challenge or running every day, I’m resting and grumbling. And feel like I’m not supporting M in her goals.

Covid Struggle

The Covid pandemic has been a really weird dream like concept for me. I haven’t known what to believe or how likely I am to get it, how long it lives on different surfaces, etc because we just don’t know enough facts yet.

I have friends who have only left their house twice a month to have groceries deposited into their trunk and I’ve had friends who went from Cedar Point to New York to Disney and back home with no quarantine in between.

I personally have been going to the grocery store once a week, wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, cart wipes, not touching stuff I don’t intend to buy. And going to the fitness boutique gym that props open doors, has you sanitize as soon as you come in, wear a mask to your treadmill which is 6 feet from the next, and wipe it all down and carry your weights back to the rack while wearing your mask.

Point being, I don’t know what precautions make sense these days.

Last week I thought my heart stopped when I received an email saying I had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 from a person I had run with. It seems like everything is a symptom so Nate and I started playing the Russian roulette of is it Covid or allergies?

I learned about the possible exposure 72 hours after the fact, and started looking up testing times. Another 2 days to schedule an appointment and 3-5 days for results that may or may not be accurate? (Fun fact, if you have diarrhea like I did, you’re more likely to have a false negative from the nasal swab. It would require a stool sample which we do not do here in the US.)

It has been a week. I have not had the energy to work out, and am quarantining until I feel better (plus a couple days) I don’t want to chance infecting someone.

I can not begin to tell you how depressed I am from sitting at home, not working out. I’m barely functioning.

Capital City Half Marathon

I’ve signed up for the Cap City 3 times and came up with an excuse to not follow through twice. Actually, I made excuses the third time as well. As mentioned in a previous blog post, I came very close to switching to the 1/4 marathon- only sheer cheapness kept me from doing it.

I didn’t sleep well Friday night, but who ever does before a big event?

I got up early, ate some breakfast, drank some water, got dressed and hit the road. I immediately got stuck in traffic and decided the first available parking lot I saw was perfectly fine. It turned out to be a ten minute walk, so not bad at all.

I was really pleased with the number of porta potties and ease of gear check, and was quickly into the corral I’d been assigned to. The local news was covering it so they were trying to pump up the crowd and also hit specific timing cues, that was a bit awkward. Speaking of awkward- I realized I was about ten feet away from the coach who had called me out on needing a new sports bra in front of about two dozen people prompting me to drop out of the local running club three weeks into it even though I’d paid for a year.

The race kicked off on time, and my corral was released about 25 minutes later. (I’m always paranoid about whether course close time is based on first person or last person over the start line- it can make a huge difference in whether I’m swept and stuck on the sidewalk behind a street sweeper after roads are reopened on me.)

The first few miles were easy, I got a huge kick out of a guy in lederhosen singing you turn me right round. Miles 3-6 were fine. I saw a couple in matching unicorn onsies dancing and having the time of their life. Miles 6-9, I felt pretty warm and a bit light headed butI laughed about a guy with a sign saying “Run faster! There’s bears behind you!”

Mile 10, I started to feel waves in my inner calf muscles as they were twitching, and my Achilles tendons were aching. I’m trying to slow down, stretch, change my intervals, drink water, fuck, anything but they shift from rolling waves to full on Charlie horses.

My niece texts me to wish me luck and cheer me on which brightened my day.

I’m still trying to get my body to cooperate and try a sip of Gatorade from a water station. I immediately realize why they say nothing new on race day. My stomach is rolling along with my muscles. I’m so close to hurling I almost hope I do just to feel better.

I’m texting Nate telling him I’m struggling. He tells me I’ve got this and asking what I need. Every time I try to pick up the pace my calves full on cramp. I’m slogging up ANOTHER FUCKING HILL and am flat out walking. I am near tears because I really wanted to break 3 hours and it’s slipping away from me. At mile 11.2 I know I can turn right and walk 0.5 miles home and get an uber or I can gimp another 2 miles to the finish line. 10 minutes versus another 40.

I see Nate hustling across the intersection. He gives me a kiss, calls me a bad ass, and tells me I’ve got this. He jokes and says I’m still beating all the fools behind me.

So I keep lumping. At one point, I hunch over because I don’t think my leg is going to hold me. A couple stop and ask me if I’m okay. I promise them I am and keep slowly hustling. Every time I try to speed walk, my muscles cramp. I see the finish line in the distance and try to run. I can’t. So I try to not grimace as I cross the finish line at 3 hours 27 minutes.

The volunteer puts my medal over my head and congratulates me. I keep walking through the chute and another athlete gives me a high five.

This was my most challenging race ever. I had moments I would have went to a medic if I’d seen one, but I completed it. I have any number of things I’d like to improve on, but I have to say I am very fortunate. I have a very supportive family, and the running community is awesome. Random strangers checking to make sure I’m okay or giving me a high five made a really hard day a little bit better.

So thank you random strangers. 🙂

Some Days Are Just Going To Suck

Last weekend I was slated to run 11 miles, but my training has been hit or miss the past month so I opted for a 10 mile run (longer than my most recent long run, but shorter than my plan called for.) I got dressed, threw on my cap, filled my water bottle and got at it. I was amazed at the number of people on the trail. It seemed like 60 degrees brought everyone and their brother and their dog out.

About two miles into my run, I felt really light headed and dizzy. I took off my cap because I thought it was holding in some of my body heat. I took a few moments to recover, drank some water and got back at it.

ROTC cadets were training on the trail too, doing lunges with sandbags or doing the fireman carry of another student. After about ten minutes, they’re behind me running with heavy packs and sandbags. I’m 80lbs overweight myself so I feel their pain to some degree.

I’m also not able to speed up to get away from them. We’re in accidental lockstep and there’s no place to go. Their squad leader is blasting rock music, so that’s a plus but I feel very in the way, and overheated. (It turns out the downside to training in 30-40 degree weather over the winter is 60 will kick your ass.) Eventually they get around me after I step off the trail to ‘look at my phone.’

I’m barely 4 miles from my house and I’m flat out of water and feel like death. I try the outbuilding at the park. No dice. I text Nate to give him a heads up that I’ll turn and do 4 miles home, and another 2 in the neighborhood once I grab water.

Long story short, I can’t make myself run after 6 or 7 miles. I text Nate and walk a shortcut home, incredibly frustrated. I whine to my friends, I tell myself I’m pathetic, and I start the process of dropping from the half marathon to the 10K because I’m such a giant loser. And I realize it’s another $30 on a very expensive race that I’ve deferred on twice already to change to the 10K.

Nate being the voice of reason suggests I not dwell on this for an entire week, not to let it stop me from running a race I’ve trained all winter for. That its just a bad run. I protest it’s a bad month of runs, that I’ve messed up my training. That I’m a loser and there’s no way I can do this half much less a full.

Sunday comes, I eat a quick breakfast, put extra money in my pack so I can buy more water if I need to, and I crush it. Seriously. My legs are tired, I’ve never run this much in two days, but I do it. I run my 10 miles the day after I conked out at 8.

My pace was pretty good (for me.) And this really lifted my spirits.

If I can run 18 miles in two days a half will be a piece of cake. I’m a bad ass and I shouldn’t change events.

Moral of the story, bad runs happen. Learn from them and move on.