fighting illness, bubblegum on my shoes, yoga studio app

I’ve really been struggling to kick the final symptoms of pinkeye this week. My medicine took care of the worst of the eye symptoms – other than some mild discharge when I wake up in the morning, my eye is in good shape. Unfortunately I’ve had some accompanying cold-like symptoms, too, which have been bothersome. My nose is overactive, my throat is swollen and sore, my voice is raspy, my joints are sore, I have just a hint of a headache, and I have a really annoying cough! To be honest, it probably sounds worse than it really is. Though I have all those symptoms, all of the symptoms are also very mild, just bad enough to be annoying. The worst part of the day is when I wake up in the morning, and body just absolutely does not want to get out of bed!

On Monday of this week, I went for a run. It was pretty standard for me, about 3.6 miles, except that I still haven’t fixed the music issue so I ran without music! I know that there are many runners who run without music all the time, but for me, this was a BIG DEAL. It’s empowering. It felt like a huge breakthrough. Even more surprisingly, my pace was outstanding – 13:53/mile. Not my racing pace, but for an easy training run, that’s mind-blowing awesome.

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On Tuesday, I did a 30-minute yoga routine with the Yoga Studio app. It wasn’t bad, though I can’t say I was blown away either. I selected a “beginner balance” routine, and was really disappointed by the lack of sun salutations and warrior poses. That may have just been the routine I chose, though.

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Prior to Wednesday’s run, I dealt with a major nuisance that I’d discovered after my Monday run. Apparently I stepped in a reasonably fresh pile of gum. The stickiness of the gum attracted sand, stones, and grass, plus the clump of gum created an uncomfortable knot beneath my arch. I spent a good 30-45 minutes getting the gum off my (still reasonably new) shoes. If you’ve ever thrown a used piece of gum onto the shoulder of the road because you were too lazy to throw it in a trash can, I’m pretty sure I don’t like you.

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Finally, I did for another run on Wednesday, also 3.6 miles, also without music. It wasn’t quite as much fun as Monday’s run, but I’m still pretty pleased with it. I’m really proud that I’ve gotten myself running at least a few miles without any music.

I didn’t do an “official” workout on Thursday. I helped a friend with her garden, though I honestly don’t feel like I worked that hard. Today (Friday), I also didn’t work out – again, I was helping a friend. I don’t feel bad at all, since I know I’m trying to kick whatever-this-sickness-is. Even with this illness, I’m feeling stronger than I ever have in my life. That’s pretty awesome.

swimming, Firecracker Flight 5k, and Freezonis

This summer has been stressful, for sure, but I’ve had such a good week that I don’t care.

Admittedly I haven’t been able to run a whole lot during this week, but at least twice I’ve had the opportunity to go swimming with my best friend Theresa’s three daughters in their backyard pool. Swimming with three little girls (ages 6 and 3-1/2) is a surprisingly outstanding workout! I greatly enjoyed using their diving board to practice diving, and several times I even attempted to do a (forward) flip. I’m still working on that – I didn’t quite pull my body all the way around before my back hit the water, which stung and even left a few bruises. I’m working on finding the nerve to get a really good amount of height off the diving board, maybe a double bounce. Totally worth all the bumps and bruises. So much fun!

On Thursday and Friday, I babysat those same three girls so that their parents could make a quick trip to Chicago. It was a busy time, and it reminds me again why I have great respect for parents. Even with these outstanding girls, it wasn’t easy. I had a great time, though, and I’m incredibly thankful that I was able give their parents a chance to get away.

Also on Thursday morning, I woke up feeling like my right eye was slightly swollen. I didn’t think much of it, but within a couple of hours I could tell that something was definitely wrong. My eye was discharging quite a bit of fluid, and overall it just felt unpleasant. I diagnosed myself with conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye. Since I was babysitting, I couldn’t easily get out to get medicine for myself, and it proved to be a challenge to deal with my eye issues as well as the kids. (Plus of course I was washing my hands every chance I got in an effort to prevent it from spreading.) I was honestly a tiny bit worried that I would have to spend the night at an urgent care center (or worse yet, the ER) to get medicine for my eye. Thankfully I was able to get my hands on an old bottle of Neomycin/Polymycin (prescription) eyedrops around 10:00 that night, and my eye quickly began to improve. The skin around my eye is still quite raw due to the moisture from the discharge, but my eye was largely recovered within 24 hours.

Two or three months ago, before we’d planned their trip, Theresa and I had signed up for the Firecracker Flight 5k on June 27. Trip or no trip, we’d paid for the race and we still wanted to run. Since Theresa and Hubby didn’t return until after 10pm on Friday night, I slept in their guest bedroom overnight. At 6:45 on Saturday morning, we sneaked out of their house and got dressed in another bathroom on their property, where we wouldn’t wake the girls.

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parking lot selfie

Incidentally, this wound up being my first race without my parents (aka my support team). I love my parents, but… I had so much fun at this race without them! Maybe I’ll have to add a few more parent-less races into the mix…

After we parked, Theresa and I collected our bibs and tank tops, then posed for a pre-race photo:

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About two minutes before the race began, I discovered that I had maxed out the data on my phone for the month (meaning no streaming music), plus when I upgraded my OS last week, I’d removed all the music from my phone. That meant no music on my run. It really couldn’t have worked out any better, because I didn’t have the time to panic or get upset about it. All I could do was roll up my earbuds and do the best I could.

The weather was beautiful. I think the temperature was around 70F, with a light wind and partial cloud cover. Couldn’t have been more perfect. The race was relatively small – I’m guessing around 600 people – which meant the course wasn’t too crowded. I’ve never been a fan of listening to my breathing, but without any music, I just did my best to tune it out.

I cheered myself on quite a bit during this race, telling myself I was doing great, to take it easy or to dig a little deeper, that I’m strong and can push on. I had an interesting chorus of trivia running through my head, various factoids I’ve researched lately. Since I had no music, and since I hadn’t trained quite as well as I might have, I reminded myself regularly that I didn’t need to have any expectations on my time – just run the best I could and enjoy it.

I was honestly a little surprised. I knew it would be hard to run without music, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared. There were a handful of hills, but those didn’t really bother me. I ran the first mile a bit faster than I’d hoped, but not bad, and I reined myself in nicely on the second mile. In the third mile, I really let loose, and I was able to finish the race strong, which felt fantastic. My chip time was 41:17, an outstanding time considering the hills and the other adjustments from this run.

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As we crossed the finish line, volunteers draped celebratory medals around our necks. This is the first-ever 5k race that has included a medal. It’s like the cherry on top of a great race with a great friend!

After the race, I pulled the car into a QuikTrip to buy us drinks. We were both hot and pleasantly tired, so it seemed appropriate. Inside, Theresa quickly zeroed in on the Freezoni machine, where we could get a nice big icee. It was a brilliant idea.

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us in the car with our Freezonis

Wowee, that Freezoni tasted good… too good, probably! I was just sucking it down throughout our drive home, and even telling Theresa how good it tasted. Unfortunately, the sugar plus the large amount of hydration was too much for my stomach. Back at Theresa’s house, I threw up the drink into a sink. I was so embarrassed!! Lesson learned: don’t drink Freezonis so quickly!

All in all, though, this was still a fantastic morning. I’m thankful that I have a running friend – she makes the races even more fun. And I’m thankful for Freezoni drinks, even if I did make myself sick. It really tasted incredible!

Running through another hot summer

And so I continue running…

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It’s been a great week. In addition to a couple of runs, I got to go swimming at a friend’s house with her daughters. Her kids are young, and I’m definitely not swimming laps, but it’s still a fantastic workout and lots of fun. (No photos of that, I’m afraid. I haven’t exactly rushed to get out my camera when I’m in the pool, for reasons that I hope are obvious…)

I dug out a couple of resistance bands this week, and I’m now committing to do a (short) upper body workout after I run. It’s not much, but I’ve been thinking for a long time that I need to tone my upper body.  I can definitely feel the effects – I’ve had lots of soreness in my upper (and lower!) body as a result.

The weather prediction for tomorrow (Saturday) and next week is HOT – mid-90s (Fahrenheit) and humid. I’m not yet sure how that will affect my running. I know I want to go on a 6-mile run tomorrow, but if it’s 95 and humid, it may not be a wise choice. We shall see…

weekly wrap-up, 9-21-14

This has been another good week. Not easy, but for the most part, I’ve accomplished my goals.

Monday morning was overcast, rainy, and just overall dreary. I was determined to run, and I didn’t really want to leave my phone at home again, so I wrapped it in a plastic sandwich bag to protect it from the rain. Worked like a charm – kept the phone dry, but I still got lots of feedback from my Nike+ app. I ran 3.61 very easy miles.

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plastic bags also make instant photo softeners

Monday proved to be a sign of the week to come. I woke up Tuesday morning to the sound of rain pounding on the side of my house, and I spent at least ten minutes lying in bed and thinking of all the reasons why this would be a good day to skip my workout. But skip I did not – I cross-trained for 30 minutes with the Sworkit app.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, we had a big thunderstorm roll through – what my father would call “a real gullywasher”. I was awakened at about 4am by (loud!) thunder and lightning, and I never really got back to sleep. My shoulder was sore, probably a combination of yesterday’s cross training plus sleeping on it funny, and I really wanted to take an ibuprofen (but I refuse take pain meds before I run). So when I went for my run Wednesday, I was extra tired and extra grumpy. My “plan” called for intervals. I wasn’t feeling very strong, but I tried to push myself and, to my surprise, I was largely successful. I rana 2.55 miles with a sub-15:00 pace and felt very strong by the time I was done. My shoulder was still sore but felt much better.

Thursday was… weird. That’s the only way I can describe it. I overslept – no surprise since I’d slept so poorly the night before. Between that and some late morning plans that I couldn’t change, I had less time than usual, and instead of running 40-50 minutes, I knew I would have to aim closer to 30. Since I was running shorter, I decided to push myself a little more, and… I guess I ran a really good tempo run. I’ve said before that I’m terrible at pacing, and I’ve NEVER understood how to find your tempo run pace, but I ran 2.62 miles at a 13:51 pace. At a CONSISTENT 13:51 pace – not speeding up and slowing down, but consistently at a pace between 12:00 and 14:00 (which for me, is pretty consistent). Suffice it to say I was pretty flabbergasted. My legs never stop surprising me.

On Friday, I cross-trained for 30 minutes with the Sworkit app.

Now. If you have a weak stomach, or if you are a guy who is grossed out by girl stuff, stop reading now.

After my Friday workout, I started my period. I am one of the lucky ones who gets brutal cramps, and it just sucks all the energy out of me. I’m not exactly training “for” anything – I mean, I’m training to get back in shape, and I’m committed to do this one-hour run in October, but I’m not really training for a particular race.

So I gave myself a day off. If I was really pushing myself to train for a half marathon or marathon, I probably would’ve tried to do something, but truth be told I don’t think my body would have held up for 6 miles. I would’ve been lucky to finish 3.

However, it does seem like this is not the first time that my cycle has been preceded by a really awesome run.  How strange! I’ve been researching the effect of women’s menstrual cycles on running, and the only conclusion I can find is that there are no conclusions. Everyone is affected differently!

Tomorrow I should be able to resume my training schedule. The run on October 4 is basically a fun run. You have to run for one hour, and their gimmick is that people will be participating all over the world, and they will add together all the miles/kilometers run. If it’s 40,000km, that is the circumference of the earth, so we will have run around the world, yay. For me, four miles (6.4km) should be easy. 4.5 miles (7.2km) will be challenging. 5 miles (8k) would be awesome but is probably just out of reach for me right now!

weekend wrap-up, 9-14-14

This week has been (somewhat surprisingly) great.

This is my first “official” week in the workout plan that I put together for September. I know I need to get into the best shape possible before R4TW on October 4, and I knew that the only way this could happen would be if I moved my workouts to the morning.

I am not, by nature, a morning person. By extension, I’m not a morning exerciser. For most of my running career, I’ve been a midday runner, and since I already work odd hours, it worked for me. But right now, just with everything else going on in my life, I knew I would have to get over myself, roll out of bed, and exercise.

photo (15)Monday began well. I rolled out of bed, dressed, forced a bit of cheerfulness, and headed out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo (16)On that day, I ran through a park adjacent to an elementary school near my house. I was greeted by Chocolate the Beanie Baby Moose sitting on the sidewalk…

 

 

 

photo (17)…and a souvenir Barry Bonds baseball in the grass. I took both items to the front office of the elementary school and gave them to a secretary to put in the lost and found. I’m sure someone is missing them.

I ran 3.1 miles in 48:54. Pretty slow, but a nice way to work out my legs.

 

On Tuesday, I cross-trained for 30 minutes. I used an app called Sworkit, which led me through several body-weight strengthening moves. I’m currently working on a full review of this app, but suffice it to say, I am very pleased with it.

On Wednesday, when I first opened the door, it was COLD! Not frigid, but the temperature had very suddenly dropped down into the upper 40s and 50s, and I was definitely surprised. There was enough drizzle and rain that I decided to leave my iPhone at home, and I ran without any music. I’m guessing I ran about two miles.

photo (18)On Thursday, the rain had left but it was still pretty chilly. I was extra-grumpy when I rolled out of bed, and really did NOT feel like running! I seriously considered staying home. I got dressed and forced myself out the door for a run – and I’m glad I did! Yes, it was cool and overcast, but I ran 3.6 miles at a 14:48 pace, which was pleasantly surprising!

 

On Friday, I cross-trained for 30 min with the Sworkit app. Again, I was very pleased with it. It’s not running, but I worked up a good sweat and stretched my muscles.

photo (20)Saturday is the one day of the week that I can manage an afternoon run. After a light lunch, I ran 6.3 miles. This run was really quite glorious. The sun was shining. There was very little breeze. The temperature had warmed up, just a bit, to 60 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect running weather!

 

 

 

 

photo (19)I saw this woolly bear caterpillar while I was out, crawling along a decorative retaining wall. He’s thick and dark-colored. According to the old wives’ tale, this means a bad winter. Boo.

 

 

 

 

 

As I always do when I’m running long, I tried to hold myself back in the first few miles. I didn’t want to run too fast and burn out. Around the halfway point, I realized that my pace was a bit faster than I anticipated, and the thought occurred to me that I just might be able to push my pace a little bit on the last half of this run. Still, I didn’t want to push too hard and burn out. I was one mile from home when I realized I could reach a sub-15:30 pace if I pushed this last mile. I was exhausted, but I did it anyway, and I am SO SO pleased that I clocked in at 15:23!

Finally, today is Sunday, and that means REST DAY! I’m writing, relaxing, and getting myself ready for what I hope will be another great week. What about you?

@24hourfitness and a very confusing spring!

Today is the first day of spring. This morning, I woke up early for a morning BodyPump class and had to scrape the ice off my car. What’s wrong with this picture.

In other news, my 24 Hour Fitness membership expires next week, and I’m almost certain that I will not be renewing it. I’ve attempted to discuss my renewal options with them several times, and they seemed far pushier than in years past. Before, when I’d renew, they’d present me my options and allow me to decide what was right for me. Now, they seem to be trying to push me into higher-cost memberships that I don’t want or need. I’ve also attempted to contact them via social networking, multiple times, and I’ve been ignored every time. Plus their website is broken. It’s just too many red flags for me right now.

I am a little bummed, as I’ve gotten into a good routine with their classes, but it’s certainly a luxury. Time for a new chapter, which I expect will include more running/cardio and less lifting (although I still may get a membership at a nearby community center so I can lift occasionally!).

core pain, part iii: when it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning

This morning, when I woke up, it was hard to get out of bed. But not for the usual “hard to get out of bed” reasons – the bed is warm and comfortable, etc. No, this morning, it was hard to get out of bed because my back/shoulders hurt!

I felt the same way yesterday morning when I woke up. I think that somehow, laying on my back or on my side is aggravating the injury. It doesn’t feel too bad when I’ve been sitting up for awhile, but right when I’m getting out of bed – ouch!

Tomorrow morning, I have an early BodyPump class, and I’m honestly a bit worried. It’s never easy to get up for these early classes, and it doesn’t help that it’s cold outside. I’m afraid that when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will struggle to get out of bed even more than usual!

core pain, part ii: injury?

Yesterday I posted about dealing with some soreness in my upper back (likely my trapezius muscles). Today, I have to confess, I am a little worried.

I woke up this morning with my back still hurting. It took me a little while to get out of bed, because every time I tried to sit up, it HURT! I did get up after a few minutes and went about my day, but my back still hurt.

Pretty early in the day, I made a troubling discovery. It is a little difficult for me to take a deep breath. When I try to breath deeply, that muscle in my back acts up. I have to sort of lean forward and stretch out my back to be able to breath deeply without being in pain.

Now I want to clarify, I am NOT short of breath. The problem is NOT my lungs. It is the muscle in my back (that happens to be near my lungs). When I was in college (ironically right around St. Patrick’s Day), I had bronchitis. That was scary. When I breathed, my lungs hurt. I went from being just a little bit sick to being pretty seriously sick in just a couple of days.

So I’m emphasizing, this is NOT like that. This is a muscle problem, NOT a lung problem. I’m a little bit concerned just because it’s a pretty troublesome injury, but NOT frightened.

However, I didn’t run today. It’s just troublesome enough that I decided it wasn’t worth it. I am a little disappointed because I was really looking forward to today’s run. Hopefully it will be healed in time for Monday’s BodyPump class!!

Core pain

Something I’ve learned from exercising is that, no matter how familiar I think I am with my body, there’s always a ‘new’ muscle somewhere.

By ‘new’, I’m referring to the post-workout soreness that appears in unusual and not-often-sore places. I find this is especially common with core muscles. Usually they’re the silent workhorses – they do what they’re supposed to do without complaints. But once in awhile, a workout leaves those muscles sore. When the core muscles are sore, the pain is felt in just about every possible motion!

This morning I went to PiYo, and tonight I’m dealing with soreness in my upper back, between my shoulder blades. It’s remarkably painful. An ibuprofen has taken the edge off the pain, and it helps to lie down.

I am confident that this soreness will pass within a day or two, and I’m thankful for that – I am blessed to have a strong body. Nonetheless this is a pain that I can only describe as odd!!

snow, treadmills, injuries

car and snowWe are still digging out from a ridiculous amount of snow, which has limited my runs to the treadmill for the past couple of weeks! We have had a TON of snow that is only starting to melt, which has left the sidewalks nearly impassable and the roads uncomfortably narrow due to all the snow piled on the shoulder. (That’s me with my car, AFTER I got rid of the vast majority of snow on it!)

We have a “functional” treadmill in our basement that I’ve used instead of going to the gym. The belt still works perfectly, but the screens are all broken, so I can’t tell how fast I’m going or how far I’ve run. It’s not perfect by far, but in a way it’s freeing. Without the numbers, I can focus on running. I can go a little faster or a little slower, depending on how I feel. I have a clock in the same room, so I have a general idea of how long I’ve run, and I can estimate my distances and paces, but it’s kind of nice to not worry about meeting a specific number.

I’ve also used my ipad on the treadmill to read a book. Even if I’m running, I can make the text larger and it’s alright.

In other news… last week, I injured my right middle finger. I was opening a package and accidentally cut my finger with the scissors. It’s a reasonably deep cut, but thankfully not deep enough to be severe, and it will (eventually) heal just fine.

IMG_0363Yesterday I went to a BodyPump class. I knew I’d be grabbing weights, and though the weights at the gym are not “dirty”, they also aren’t sanitized between users, so I wrapped up my finger really well to protect it from germs. The side effect of wrapping my finger was that I was unable to bend my finger very much. Since it was my middle finger, I’m afraid that meant that I was giving everyone “the” finger yesterday!