I’m of the mindset your body will tell you what it’s needing. My body said ice cream. Specifically pecan pralines and cream.
Fitrwomen is what I’ve been searching for. For years, I’ve known and understood women’s bodies …well, my own…reacts differently to exercise depending on where in my cycle I am. It is not enough to state some days are more difficult than others. When I say difficult what I really mean is I run the gamut of weak, dizzy, and/or unmotivated to emotional and anxious. Fitrwomen is a free app for women to track their cycles while also receiving insight into how their body will react during various types and levels of exercise. This is huge! Future post forthcoming on my review of the app.
And then this happened. Grumble, grumble. I had reached approximately 428 days. It wasn’t even my fault! Not entirely. I had already collected my reward for the day. But as I was playing the 5th Anniversary Birthday World Tour special city, I noticed it wasn’t allowing me to collect a different reward upon level completion. So I logged in and out. I’ll save you my tears and make this brief: this is why I don’t log out of things! Because I get screwed over! Insert pouting.
But also there was running. Many miles were conquered. I feel like a different person with the future of more mileage under my soles. Even broke out the new shoes! I figure I’ll wear my “older” Brooks on day 1, then switch to the barely broken in pair on day 2. I’m an advocate of giving shoes a chance to breathe between run days.
I ask you –
Highlights of your weekend? Photos?
Have you tried Gummy Drop yet? …you’re missing out!
This morning while pounding the pavement and by pavement I mean treadmill I realized I was feeling frustrated because there simply was so much to do today I wouldn’t be able to get in the miles I needed. Instantly, being the fixer I am, I changed my plan to run for time rather than distance. This should solve the time issue, correct?
But the more I ran, the more upset I became. At myself. For not prioritizing my training. For not having enough hours in the day. For not, for not, for not. I could’ve been living in the mile I was in. Instead I was beating myself up for things I have no control over. Kel, you thought you were somehow responsible for creating the 24 hours we equally have all received?!
Time. That’s the biggest barrier to fitness. I hear this one word so many times (haha jokes) a day it’s become a broken record. I don’t have enough time. To make your health the forefront of your life? To live? To prolong your years? Wow. What a twisted world we live in when we can’t make time for ourselves. Even as I remind everyone Anytime Fitness is a 24/7 access facility, I always find time is a barrier. If there were 50 hours in a day, we would still fill those hours with everything that needs to be done, forever putting ourselves on the lowest ranking of the list.
The day before as I was absentmindedly scrolling through radio stations on “the drive” I stopped on a morning talk show to listen to a guest host state her thoughts on celebrating the small successes in one’s life. It really made me pause to consider what I thought I was successful at.
I have a strong-willed daughter. No, I don’t think that’s what she meant by success. I am a successful business woman. Hmmm, there’s more to me than that. I’m strong and funny and I care about others. We’re on the right track. Oooooh, I know, I know! I get it now! I strive to push through the pain and frustration to seek accomplishments. Internal clapping! Yes, that’s it!
To be honest, I doubt I do this often enough. Do you? Do you celebrate your successes or do you focus on what’s not done, what isn’t flowing smoothly, what more you could be doing? Human nature has made us our own worst enemies in this way. Society certainly hasn’t helped. We force in which we push ourselves to accomplish more and more is so strong. Gazing back at what we HAVE done is seen as selfish, vain, lazy. I excitedly disagree. Because how will you get where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
I ask you –
What successes have you experienced lately?
When was the last time you felt frustrated with your time or lack of time?
DNF might be the toughest words for any runner to bear. When you pour your heart and soul into a training cycle: modify nutrition, beg your family to understand why you must run 10 miles on the weekend, and then get up at the ass crack of dawn for the event, it can be a huge letdown when the race doesn’t go as planned.
Heat exhaustion is defined as “…a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.” Complications of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and muscle weakness. Or you could just pass the f*** out. I’ll take option E for $500, Alex!Better yet, I’d like to double my money and add the first 4 to it, as well!
Allow me to paint a pretty picture for you. There I was, valiantly running along when all of a sudden I was struck with muscle cramps, passed out, and came to in a medical tent. Not exactly. The warning signs had been with me since mile 1 of the 13.1 mile race. Running in the humid environment of Virginia Beach, VA on Labor Day weekend already had its challenges but I had trained for the heat and humidity. Really. I had! Alas, it wasn’t my day.
Mile 1 included “side stitches” aka muscle cramps. Honestly, probably every runner has experienced these during training so it wasn’t a big deal to me. When I had to walk at Mile 2, I knew something was off but I told myself it was just nerves. I had run this event at VA Beach the year prior so I knew the course, but I get nervous about nothing sometimes. I continued to drink Gatorade and water at each water stop (approx every 1.5 miles). The cramps weren’t dissipating but I would run until it became unbearable then walk until the cramps subsided. Mile 3 began an incredible headache. Literally. My head felt like it was exploding with every step. I remembered at this time that my dad had experienced a heatstroke many years ago and he kept mentioning how his head hurt so bad. So what did I do? Shrug it off and keep going.
Miles 4-8 are a blur. I can’t recall much of them except stopping to get a drink and soaking wet towels to wrap around my neck. It felt incredible – the cold water dripping down my back. My clothes were a wet mess, but I realized I wasn’t sweating at all. Hello, dangerous! I was vaguely aware at this moment that something was very wrong but I told myself once I reached the finish line I would seek medical attention. But the finish line never arrived. There’s a photo of me walking extremely slowly between Mile 11 and Mile 12. It’s an overhead shot where runners are about to enter the VA Beach Boardwalk. I have no recollection of this part of the race. At approximately Mile 12, I remember sitting down on the boardwalk and a woman approaching me to ask if I needed help. I suppose I said yes, maybe I didn’t answer at all, but I came to with a nice medical support officer leaning over me and asking if I could stand. I realized I was laying on the bricks of the boardwalk, confused and shivering. The paramedics picked me up, laid me on the gurney, and put me in an ambulance.
I’d never ridden in an ambulance before. Quite possibly I’d never even seen inside an ambulance. You could say I’m fortunate. During the ride to the medical pavilion, the paramedic asked me a bunch of questions I don’t remember answering and he attempted, unsuccessfully, to start an IV. I recall apologizing profusely for shaking so badly I was trying to grasp his leg in an effort to hold my arm still for the IV insertion. The joke is I’d be a terrible drug user, but maybe it won’t be received well – so I’m sorry. Some hours later, after being pumped full of fluids, both via IV and drinking 2 huge bottles of Gatorade, the decision was made to release me with instructions to follow up with my own doctor ASAP.
In all this, I have beaten myself up for allowing the heat to get the best of me, both emotionally and physically. Statistically, those who have suffered from heat exhaustion and heatstroke are at a much higher risk of experiencing these events again. With my own history of health issues, it’s agreed I no longer run in the heat. Over 80 degrees outside? No thank you, I’ll pass. Obviously humidity plays a large role in the real feel temperature so that’s accounted for when making a decision to train outdoors. I lost about 8 lbs of fluid that day; insane, right? Recovery was an uphill battle.
Even crazier, I had scheduled VA Beach as the first half marathon in my line of 3 subsequent halfs: Sep – VA Beach; Oct – Crawlin’ Crab; and Nov – Norfolk Harbor Half. I knew I had only a few weeks between VA Beach and the next race. Emotionally, the race in October was a test. I was figuratively running scared; afraid the heat (still hot but had cooled down some) would force me to cancel or not finish the race. I hadn’t trained much since VA Beach because I needed to focus on re-gaining the weight I had lost and maintain hydration. Crawlin’ Crab went well and in November I hit the PR I had been working so hard to attain. Did it all end well? Yes. But it was certainly a rocky road getting there!
Moral of the story: keep pushing unless it’s a battle of your health and your ability to finish an event. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and get help early. Please don’t wait until it’s too late…and you never know when late is too late. I knew all the markers, but kept pushing and stubbornness is not always a virtue. I’m thankful to the lady whom I’ve never met who recognized my silent distress, as well as the medical personnel for their efforts. We pay a lot of money to run races – some of it goes to the emergency warriors who help those of us in need. In my opinion, they deserve more because you just don’t know when you’ll be in need of their expertise.
The 44th annual Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) will be held on October 27, 2019 in Arlington, VA. As I’m sure many of my readers had no idea, this might possibly be the largest and most inspiring marathon one ever runs. I have plans to run the MCM; don’t rush me! MCM is the largest marathon in the world that doesn’t offer prize money, instead celebrating the honor, courage, and commitment of all finishers. NavyShout-Out: Honor, Courage, Commitment.
Now meet Cheryl. Cheryl has been running for many years. The 44th MCM will be her first marathon in quite some time. As I watch her diligently train on the treadmill several times a week, I’m reminded it’s time to get my own rear in gear and commit to my next race. It’s called a race no matter if you’re racing as an elite competitor or against yourself. To be clear, I’m the latter. Oh you thought I was elite? Why thank you! Cheryl is a hero of mine. From afar, I admire her persistence and dedication. Not being able to run outside in this dangerous Texas heat can be a huge deterrent to runners. Waving my own hand around. And dreadmill running can suck at times. But the show…errr, run…must go on! Cheryl and many other incredible men and women I know personally will be leading the way at the MCM in quests for their own PR (personal record) and sense of accomplishment. There’s nothing crazy about chasing your aspirations as long as you feel your heart explode with thankfulness at the finish line. I’m so proud of you all – training in this brutal heat, making plans to attend as a first time MCM participant, and proving your strength can be uplifting for others.
Since I enjoy committing myself to outlandish things on this blog (ahem, the tattoo is still happening, people), what better way to prove to myself and the whopping 3 people who read this (am I right?) that I’m ready to begin training is to make this announcement:
I HAVE FOUND MY NEXT RACE!
The Texas Double is hosted in Dallas, TX on 12/21 and 12/22 at 7am. Combined, it’s the marathon distance (26.2 miles); each race is a half marathon (13.1 miles for the mathematically challenged). So, no, I’m not running a marathon. Yet. However, the distance I will cover is a marathon’s worth. Do I get extra points for this?Why not?!
Shortly I will begin training. I’ll probably be a little grumpy for awhile. I’m sorry everyone. Do you know what it takes to get up at 4am and run?! Do you?! But we do it because we love it and because we’re stronger mentally when we run. We. The collective of runners and all people who put one foot in front of the other each day. Unsurprisingly, it was difficult to locate a training plan incorporating long runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Most often, long runs are planned for a weekend day (singular) because normal people only run one half or full marathon a weekend. Therefore, training plans are designed with this in mind. I had to do some serious modifications to the plan for the Texas Double to train for a half each day. There goes my weekend plans for 17 weeks.
I’m looking forward to running again. My extended break is over and although I won’t be pounding the pavement until it cools off outdoors, I know my trusty treadmill will encourage me in the way only she knows – by not stopping. There will be days when I ask myself why I’m doing this, as well as days when I forget to “trust the plan”. Please feel free to provide encouragement and cookies. Mainly the cookies. I also enjoy your stories!
I ask you this –
What’s next on your adventure journey? Humor me!
Do you have any music suggestions?
Leave a comment with supportive remarks for Cheryl!
I think running gets an unfairly bad rap. My good friends at Brooks Sports aka Brooks Running say running can significantly improve physical and mental health.
They aren’t wrong. As someone who battles anxiety, specifically postpartum anxiety and depression (post forthcoming on the subject), running has changed the way I think, move, and breathe. Because breathing is pretty important, right?
Naysayers will purport running is bad for your knees. “You’ll burn out your joints, kid!” Tell me this: if it’s so bad, then why do we encourage children to do it? Sure, some people should not be out there running. For some, it can exacerbate issues they already have. But as a whole – running is good. Cardio is good for the body and heart. With a propensity for our population to be facing heart and health issues, perhaps running could alleviate some of our weight control problems. Just a thought.
20-25 minutes. That’s the magic number for runners to begin feeling euphoria. On average, I run 45-60 mins/day. I should be so euphoric you have to pull me down from the clouds!
Alas, it’s not that easy.
Aside from the above photo, in which I ran a PR (personal record) of 13.1 miles in 2:28 (that’s 2 hours and 28 minutes), running can be tough! One training cycle after another really burns you out after an extended period of time. Recovery is just as important as training. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, euphoria!
A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that even five to 10 minutes a day of low-intensity running is enough to extend life by several years, compared with not running at all. It shows that the minimal healthy “dose” of exercise is smaller than many people might assume.
Did you read that correctly?! Several years! At 5-10 mins per day?! It takes me that long to make a cup of coffee (threenagerhood makes everything take infinitely longer). Do you have to run a half marathon or 10k to benefit? Absolutely not.
But if you want to run a half marathon and need a coach, training cycle planner, or race manager, I’m your girl!
I’ll leave you with one last item. See those smiles in the photo below? That’s a half marathon smile. Are you ready to run with me? I promise I’m slow. And I walk sometimes. And I have trouble maintaining a solid nutrition plan. But I get out there and run because I can. Some people never have this opportunity.
I ask you –
Have you run a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon? Share your stories with us!
Which distance do you find the most challenging? Why?