Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ups and Downs

Summer Vacation.

Most (I think) people see this as a relaxing time to laze around with little to do.  Not me!  Summer is my time to get things done and not have a whole lot of time for staying in and sitting in front of this screen.  So, as usual, I will apologize for not posting in, what - 2 weeks or so?  But I've had my reasons.

We've been spending a lot of time at Sandcastle.  It has proven to be mostly a good thing.

Our "new" van, the one that we just replaced the one that got totaled with, is on the fritz.  It seems the fuel system just said screw you all.  And, just our luck, that's not a cheap fix.  Great.  We were planning on road trips to both DC and the beach, but that has been put on the back burner now until we're certain the van won't blow up on the beltway...

We've had conferences with Vincent's school regarding a new program they want to start next year.  They're starting a Leadership Academy with a positive behavior plan and wanted our input.  I think it is mostly a good idea, but we'll see how it goes once all the wrinkles are ironed out and it gets implemented.

Garrett has been coughing a lot lately.  We took him to get checked out and so far they're thinking he may have allergies and this is a response to whatever he's allergic to.  So, it looks like we're headed for allergy testing.

During the summer is also when I like to get everyone's doctors appointments, dentists appointments, etc out of the way.  I'm not a fan of pulling kids out of school unless absolutely necessary.  (Yes, I'm also a supporter of year round education)

I've got family drama out the wazoo and don't want to get into too much detail here, but let's just say its there.

Confession:  during all this summer chaos, I haven't been 100% clean on my eating, either.  I say this as I have a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (ala Pioneer Woman) in my fridge next to the chicken salad.  I can feel the difference between eating well and not.  I've been tired, easily fatigued and bitchy.  I must get better about this.

Running.  Fitness.  Oy.

I've been running - right around 30ish miles per week.  These miles have mostly been great, aside from the damned humidity and heat.  I'm not a real big fan of running in the blazing sun or when the air is so thick I can eat it.  I've been getting up at sunrise on running days and getting out before it heats up too much.  Unfortunately sometimes it's already 75+ degrees and sunny at 6 AM.  Gross.  On these particular days I'm usually substantially slower and my heart rate monitor harps at me to stay in range.  I mostly obey it.  I'm starting to be able to pick up the pace a little bit and stay within my range, so I'm taking that as a good sign.  I've had a few runs more recently where I've even had negative splits.  No, I'm not officially "heart rate training" by the book - I'm really just utilizing my HRM to keep me from killing myself in this summer heat.  I'm a terrible pacer... this is a known issue.  Left on my own, I'd race through anything.

Not last Sunday, but the Sunday before that (wow, it has been a while, huh?  lol)  I ran another half marathon!  It wasn't a race, but I had 12 miles on my schedule and just had the urge to go that extra distance - just to prove to myself that I could.  This was one of the greatest long runs ever.  I ran downtown and around the Point, up the river and then back over to the North Shore onto the trail.  When I got to the trail, I found myself caught up in the Father's Day 10K that was going on!  haha!  I had a little trouble staying slow and easy in the midst of all that race energy around me, but I did my best.  Then it started pouring rain.  This was around the 10 mile point for me and I contemplated throwing in the towel and heading home.  Well, I caught myself and said "wtf is another 5K after all this?" and on I went.  I finished by 3rd half marathon ever. It was my slowest by a long shot (2:12), but it was a long run and not a race.  I was still pretty proud of myself.  I felt pretty good too.  Went home, stretched, got some food, put on my compression socks and generally felt normal.  Funny how after you've run a distance a few times it doesn't affect you as much.

I've been hitting the gym once a week and getting my weights in.  I've added some more to my routine - both in weight and activity.  I always dread the gym but feel great after I've lifted a while.

Well, that was the good.  Now let me be upfront about the bad.  The main reason(s) I have time to sit here and blog today is 1) Tori and Garrett are with Nick at the dentist while Vince is home sick (102 fever!  Poor kid) and 2) I'm injured.

Yep, I said it.  I'm hurt.  I don't know exactly what's wrong.  I have some ideas/suspicions.  Literally 2 weeks ago today on a run I had a twinge pop up in my inner left lower leg a bit above the ankle.  It came and went, wasn't too bad and I didn't notice it when the run was over.  I attributed it to breaking in new shoes.  I also read that while doing heart rate training, since you're running slowly you're using different muscle groups and running differently so some soreness does happen.  During the runs since then, this twinge has been there or it hasn't.  I've had (most) runs where I haven't felt anything at all.  That half marathon?  Didn't feel a thing.  Other times it would pop up during my warmup or midway through.  It could come and go.  But, I didn't feel any problems when I was done with my run or any other time.  And I do have to say that it wasn't (and still isn't) true pain.  It's more like a pulling, maybe sometimes pinching sensation.  I can run with it and through it, but it doesn't seem smart.  Anyway, on my 2 most recent runs - Sundays long (8 miles) run and yesterday's 5 miler - the pain has been more noticeable and now I'm feeling it not only after the run, but randomly through the rest of the day.  I just felt it when I walked up the stairs to the bathroom, for example.  So, I'm taking the day off of running today (was planning on 6 miles).  I did a little 15 minute circuit workout - crunches, planking etc, and maybe I'll get a walk in and some yoga later.  I'm going to try to do my easy run tomorrow, but if I have any pain I WILL cut it short.  If I can't get tomorrow's run done comfortably, I'm going to take the rest of the week off from running and try again Monday.  If Monday's run sucks.... well, I'll just have to come up with another plan.

I'm ticked off, yeah, but I'd rather play it safe and rest now than wait until I'm in so much pain I'm dying and then can't run my fall races (my biggest focus is on the Great Race 10K).  I do find it slightly amusing that I started doing the heart rate monitoring with the intention of keeping things easy and "injury free" and then end up hurting.  The funnier thing?  This injury/twinge/whatever actually feels better when I run faster.  Odd.  Looking through my exercise log, I do see some (maybe a lot) of mistakes I've made.  I ran a half in March.  Didn't take any time off - just jumped into training for the next in May.  Ran a half in May - again, no time off - just kept running at the same general mileage I had been.  I probably should have taken at least a cutback "recovery week" after the Pittsburgh Half.  But I felt really great, so I didn't give it a thought.  I specifically said I wasn't going to do speedwork until I'd built my mileage up again.  I did speedwork - once a week.  And I did all this on new shoes, new trail surface, new schedule, new time of day, and with a new weight routine.  Um, too much "new"?  And not to mention eating like shit?  I feel really dumb for not realizing this sooner.  I was just so gung ho and feeling good until just now.

But, that's life.  You play the cards you're dealt and come up with new strategies.  Something I never wanted was for running to become my only "thing".  I've always been about overall health and fitness since my journey of losing 100+ pounds (and I'm still ON that journey, and will be for life - health & fitness never ends until you do).  If I have to take a few weeks off of running I won't pull my hair out and cry until it floods the rivers.  I have many other ways to keep my fitness going and the weight off.  I will get back to running full time even if I have to reevaluate my training plans and goals.  However, I will be diligent in all aspects of my wellbeing - this includes my nutrition and spirituality.

That's my book for the day.  I hope it won't be another 2 weeks before I write again, but I can't make promises.  Hope you're having a great Summer so far!

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