You can’t expect not to have an injury, illness, or life event during an 18 week training program. Well, you can…but prepare to be fooled. So at week 6, I got a little ahead of myself and prematurely began patting myself on the back for a job well done. Then it happened. Karma. She’s so sweet.
After a night of illness that carried over into the following 2 days, I was forced to re-evaluate what training and nutrition looked like. A diet of crackers and 7-Up isn’t enough for any kind of strenuous exercise. Though it may not sound like a big deal, training is very strategic and we don’t want to miss much because this is how we help our body adapt to the weight we’re placing on it. It’s like a second job! A second job that eats away at our time and forces us to pay for it. But, look, a banana and a medal! Score!
Nevertheless, the show must go on. More importantly than keeping to a schedule is the ability to let go of the schedule for a short amount of time to focus on recovery. Rest is best! If this is where you say “but rest doesn’t cross the finish line” – I happily disagree. Rest is a rather large building block of performance. Without it, you got nothin’, friend.
Rest is almost considered indulgent nowadays. Who has time for rest? Today, we go, go, go without a second thought to what rest looks and feels like. The guilt of allowing ourselves the luxury to rest is real. How dare we take care of ourselves as if someone else will do it for us? Pshhh. You said it, Kel. No one else will. And when you don’t, many times, it ends in injury to mind or body. Unfortunately there will be times preventing an injury is out of your control. You could have the best plans and have your nutrition completely on par, but still suffer from illness. The body can’t fight everything all the time. So what do you do then?
Rest. Be gentle on yourself. Say it louder, Kel; the ones who just closed their browser at this ridiculous advice didn’t hear you. Be kind to yourself. Let a few sessions go. Eat crackers. Hold out for the day when you’ll feel better and ready to return. Granted, this isn’t permission to say screw the plan and go rogue. Ummmm no. In focusing more on living for today (post forthcoming), I’m not losing sight of my goals and dreams. I’m just re-adjusting to a temporary norm. Very temporary.
But don’t be mistaken. That 12 miler is still calling my name.
I ask you –
What was the last injury you experienced?
Is rest really best or do you have some other great advice?
How many crackers can you eat without going completely insane? (package 3 and counting)
The goal in my house is whoever scares Mommy the most wins. Ugh. I hate this game. You see, I’m not really a likes-to-be-scared type of girl. But my Munchkin takes this game very seriously so I play along. Unwillingly.
Who can deny cooler weather and boots and leggings and pumpkin spice everything is awesome?! Basic. Get off me. From a fitness perspective, this is the time people start making their winter goals and trying not to let the holidays impact them too much. For me, it means PRs and an extra cup of coffee to warm up!
I love the change in gym dynamic during this time of year. There’s fun colors and a more relaxed feel, but also some heavy hitters in the weight training area. It’s not lost on me most people use the colder months to lift heavier and do a little less cardio. Even I was trained this way. However, if you want to PR your runs in the spring, it’s important not to neglect the cardio portion of your workout. Insert functional training!
I find functional training combines all my favorite activities: strength building + elevated heart rate. It saves time, too, since I’m not doing 2 separate workouts. Mainly, it holds my interest and keeps me engaged. Pounding away on the dreadmill has all the appeal of going head to head with a mountain lion. No thanks, I’ll pass. I don’t run fast enough for that crisis.
Now I realize I’ve digressed from cooler Fall to colder than snowflakes Winter, but somehow, each year, the transition is less than gradual. You wake up one day to the beautiful leaves changing. Next thing you know it’s an ice warning. What the….
Typically I end up forgoing a training plan after my final fall race, but I know how important it is to keep up the work and maintain a mileage base for the first glimpses of Spring. So I challenge you each to create a goal for the fall/winter and stick with it. But make sure it’s actually challenging! Try something new: hike in the snow, walking lunges indoors with your kids, try a yoga session! Or come by here and see me and we’ll do a group training session together!
Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself and get through the cold(er) months with your sanity and hoodie intact. If you need some ideas, I’m always listening and will be updating you along the way with the new adventures I partake in!
I ask you –
Is Halloween your thing or no? Definitely not mine, but as a parent, things change.
Something new you’d like to try when it’s cold out?
According to my post schedule, it’s not Friday. But Friday is usually a happy day for people, so allow me to pretend. Just let me have this one thing.
Recently I received some reader questions about my favorite things. Since the questions weren’t specific and I could go many ways with this, I chose to do a whole post on faves! I’m preparing my Christmas list as we speak…errr…write. I even included price points so you all can rest assured I’m a cheap date.
On my face/body:
Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara $25
Softlips Lip Balm in Vanilla (pack of 2) $3
ULTA complete eye palette $12
Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower Body Lotion $11
Same as above in Body Wash $7
Acqua di Gioia Perfume $75
Saucony Endorphin 2″ Split Short $40
Brooks Greenlight Essential Tight $60
Fitbit Ionic $250
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 $118
Sports Bra: anything in the Champion line from Target (whoohoo small-chested girls!) price varies
Perhaps I was wrong. This list is extensive and, combined, quite pricey. Now I definitely didn’t accumulate all this in one swoop so I should get brownie points for that. Or at least brownies. Did I mention I’ve been on a no-shopping sabbatical since April? Technically, it’s not “no shopping”, but it is no purchasing. I’ve not bought one new article of clothing in 5 months. And I’m using all the cosmetic products I own before buying any more. No impulse buying! My bank account and closet are enjoying the reprieve.
Always the question – what does this have to do with fitness, Kel? So happy you asked!
I imagine I’ve saved at least $200, most likely more, since April because I haven’t bought any new clothing. Also, I don’t wear relatively expensive items anyway. So there’s further cost savings. With this money, I can afford a gym membership or at least use the money to focus on my health: food, vitamins, etc. The list of favorites doesn’t have to cost a lot to be worth more than face value. Are certain items costly? Yes. But they also last a long time and are worth the money (to me). You may have other ideas and that’s fine, too!
There was a short radio clip the other day on the drive that mentioned downsizing Maria-what’s-her-face style as a key element to focusing on what really makes you happy. Cleaning out the clutter makes me happy! I took it to mean that by shedding excess weight, literally and figuratively, I can find peace in less material things. Working out makes me happy and keeps my mind and body strong.
I ask you –
What items do you spend the most on? Personal items?
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!