Saturday, November 26, 2011

Greensboro Gobbler 5K

Well over the past few weeks my running has not been at the level I want it to be.  After finishing my last race under 30 minutes, I was so excited that I was improving and doing it pretty quickly.  But now I have gone backwards a little.  I think it has been a combination of several elements. First, daylight savings time ended and now it's dark at 5:30.  Basically as soon as I get home.  I did a couple of runs at night in parts of the neighborhood that is well lit, but I just didn't like it.  I tried to stay on the sidewalk but sometimes I would have to run in the road and I felt like I was dodging cars.  Plus the safety factor of running by myself seemed worse at night. 

Another reason is not being able to meet my running buddies for our group runs.  Since most of them are in a program training for a half-marathon, they meet that group on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I could meet them on Saturday mornings but I haven't got that much motivation to give up my Saturday morning sleep in's.  Between that and the colder weather and several rainy days, I was only getting about 2 runs in a week.  There was also a week in there that I just didn't feel good.  I didn't get sick but I just didn't feel 100%.  That's why I didn't run in the Free to Breathe 5K. 

I realized that I lost some of my motivation and was finding it easy to make excuses to not run.  And another race was coming up the Greensboro Gobbler.  The 5K that is held on Thanksgiving morning.  I had to step it up for this race.  The Gobbler is at Country Park which is hilly and not my favorite place to run.  We met there several times during the running school.  So I went out there to run the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  It was a HORRIBLE run!  My left leg has been bothering me.  I think it's my IT band.  I don't think I'm injured, just part of running that sometimes makes your muscles sore.  But it started hurting as soon as I started my run.  I even had to take a few walk breaks.  About a quarter mile left to go, my time was so bad that I just stopped my watch and walked the rest of the way.  After that run, I was not looking forward to the race on Thursday.

On Tuesday, I was able to meet Kathy and Lisa for a 3 mile run on the greenway.  I knew I needed to get another run in even with my leg hurting.  I thought it was getting better, but I think it's just the temporary fix of taking Advil.  Again, as soon as I started running it was hurting.  I managed to run the entire time but I was slower.  This time I was the one falling back behind pace and struggling to keep up.  Even though the run wasn't great, it was helpful because I knew what to expect on Thursday's race.

I was going to run the Gobbler and it would be slow and that would be OK.  I knew it was going to hurt some, but not to the point of injury.  If I felt like the pain was worse or different, I would walk.  The last thing I want to do is get injured and not be able to run at all for weeks or months.  Been there done that! I wanted to do the Gobbler because it's a big race and we were all doing this race as a family.  I wanted to do it for the experience. 

It was pretty chilly Thanksgiving morning but we got to the race site early to get a parking spot.  I wasn't nervous because I knew I could do it, it was just going to be slower.  There was SO many people!  About 1800 finishers to be exact.  I started back at the 10 minute pace which was a mistake.  I thought this was a race for runners to RUN...not for walkers to walk!  I understand many 5K's are run/walks, but this race wasn't a race that supported a specific cause, it was just a Thanksgiving race.  Not to mention 1800 people so of course the trail is going to be crowded.  So once I finally made it to the start line, I had to dodge walkers.  It was very frustrating!  Really it would have been fine if all the walkers would start at the back and stay to the left so runners could go by.  I guess now I know to start closer to the front and just let all the fast runners pass me.

My leg hurt the entire time but I did manage to run without any walk breaks.  My finish time was 34:46.  That was actually better than I thought I would do.  I did it and in a decent time so I was happy with that.  After the race, my leg was hurting pretty bad.  I was actually limping some.  Back to stretching and Advil.  I am also going to give it a rest with running even though I don't want too.  I really wanted to do another race that's in 2 weeks, but I'm not sure if my leg will be ready.  I'm going to keep exercising but just not running until I think it's better.  I don't want to stop running right now, but I don't want to be injured either.  Hopefully with a little rest, it will get better quick!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nightmare on Elm Street 5k

Well I did it!  Another PR on my Halloween themed 5k.  My first finish time UNDER 30 minutes!  Official chip time was 29:38.  And I did it running in a costume!  I was dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood which was the super cute costume I was so excited about.  Not saying I was super cute, but I just loved the costume. 

I really can't believe that I finished under 30 minutes.  After the Freedom Run last week, it seemed like a possibility but I thought it would still take a while.  Honestly when Saturday got here, I wasn't even sure if I was still going to run in this race.  It had been raining Friday and early Saturday morning and it was cold.  My husband had a race that morning so we were up early and out in the yucky weather.  But it stopped raining and the sun even came out for the afternoon.  It was still cold though and windy.  And I knew I had to do it - after all that's why I bought the costume a month ago.

We got to the race site and I signed up.  It was a small race with only about 70 runners.  I'm not sure why because it was actually a pretty cool run downtown and wasn't too hilly.  Plus there was beer and pizza afterwards.  Several runners were dressed up and I had hoped to win the costume contest (I need some new running shoes), but I didn't .  A girl dressed up as Beth from that show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" won the contest and was the first female finisher.  It was a pretty cool costume, she ran in a wig and 2 big balloons!

After I made the last turn to the finish line, I checked my watch and it was around 28 minutes.  I could see the finish line so I thought I would give it all I could to try and finish under 30.  As I was almost at the finish line, I checked my watch and it was around 29 minutes and I realized I was going to do it.  It was such a great feeling!  We stuck around after the race for a little bit as I tried to drink a beer, but it was getting colder.  I am glad I stayed long enough to get my award - an awesome pint glass!  Actually all runners got one, but it was still cool.

Of course now comes some doubts like, was the course really 3.12 miles?  I know it wasn't certified not all courses are anyways.  But that could explain why I finished under 30.  Hopefully, it was the actual true 5k distance.  Each 5k race I have consistently improved my time.  But when is that going to end?  Now I'm worried that my next race I won't do as well.  What if I don't finish under 30 next time?  All courses are different.  Some may be faster while some may have more hills. 

I know it's not realistic to think I will get a PR every time I race and I'm not thinking that.  But of course, it would be nice to finish under 30.  I have another race next Saturday the Free to Breathe.  It's also downtown but not the same course as my last race.  Although it does have a portion of that course in it.  It's a national race so it's probably going to be the biggest race I have ran in so far.  Maybe I will finish under 30, maybe I won't.  I'm not going to let that be my goal.  My goal is to go out there and do the best I can. 

See how windy it was?

You can see the girl dressed up as Beth in the back

The first hill

Hill on Elm St. getting closer to the end

Near the finish I was running as hard as I could!

Monday, October 24, 2011

USMCR Freedom 5k

This past Saturday I ran in my fourth race the USMCR Freedom 5k.  Actually, we (the family) all ran in this race.  The race was organized by the Marines and it benefited the Hope for Warriors.  The race director is the husband of one of my running friends from the running school.  A few of the girls from our running group also ran in this race.  Everybody did GREAT!!  I set a new PR of 31:22!!  I was so surprised (and happy) with my finish time.  I'm starting to think a finish time of under 30 minutes is going to be possible.  Maybe after a few more races.  I also met another goal - I ran the ENTIRE race.  No walk breaks, yay!

It was pretty chilly outside that morning so it gave me a preview of what fall running will be like.  It wasn't that bad once I started running.  The body heats up pretty quick.  I wore a pair of compression capris (which I love now) a long sleeve tech shirt and the tech race shirt.  The race shirt was thin so it was purely for fashion purposes!  Actually about a mile into the race, I wondered if I would get too hot in long sleeves.  I didn't think about the sun being out - when I ran eariler in the week it was still chilly but in the evening and the sun was going down.  But it was all good.  Here are some pics.

I was also very proud of my son since this was his first race and he had a finish time of 26:38!  And proud of my husband who also set a new PR of 20:23 and won first place in his age group!  We are becoming a running family!  Well onto the next race which is this Saturday and it's the Halloween themed race.  Remember that super cute costume I mentioned in an eariler post?  I don't think I will be setting any new PR's running in a costume but it's still going to be fun!

The past few weeks

It's been a few weeks since I have posted because nothing really exciting has been going on in my running world.  I did find a training program for an 8k online by Hal Higdon.  I found his name from another running blog that I read.  It seemed like the level I needed was intermediate because it started with 3 mile runs which is what I have been doing.  But the total weekly mileage was around 16 miles for the first week and I have only been running about 9-10 miles a week.  That seemed like too much of a jump at this point.  The training program also included speed training and a longer slow run once a week.  I would like to do both of those in addition to my weekly runs.  So I didn't really start following the plan but I have continued to run about 10 miles a week.  The 8k that I plan to run is not until March 2012 so I have some time to build up my weekly mileage and then I could start this training plan at a later date.

Am I a runner yet?  Depends on your definition. I read this quote "If you run, you are a runner".  Well, then by that quote I am a runner.  But others may think you need to be able to run fast or run greater distances like marathons.  One day last week I had a realization that I am a runner.  We had to go by a store after work and it was about 6:45 when we got back home and I still needed to get a run in.  It starts getting dark around 7pm.  So I thought I would just go for a quick run around the neighborhood since the street lights would be on.  I ran for about 20 minutes and it even started to rain some, just a little mist.  Running out there in the dark I felt like a runner.

Now fast forward to the next evening's run.  When I got home from work the skies were dark and it looked like it was going to pour down rain.  We checked the radar and it looked okay.  If we went ahead and ran we could probably make it back home before the rain.  We is my hubby (Michael), my son (Ryan) and myself.  Ryan and I are running together since Michael is super fast.  There was a light mist when we started and I hoped it wouldn't start to rain harder.  But it did.  As soon as we hit the trails the rain started to come down harder.  I found some trees to hang out under and decided that was it for me.  Of course the boys continued on to run, not phased by the rain.  It was at that point that I realized...uh...maybe I'm not a runner after all.  I will admit I'm not that dedicated to run in the pouring (or halfway pouring) rain.  And I'm OK with that.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Running school comes to an end

Last night was the celebration picnic for the women's running school (WRS). We met at a park that we have ran a few times.  Of course me and some of my running buddies managed to get in a short 2 mile run before the picnic started! After eating and chatting, we recognized all the coaches who made it possible for us to finish this running school with success. 

The Women's Only 5k was this past Saturday and unfortunately, I was not able to run in it because of work.  I normally don't work on weekends except for twice a year and this year it just happened to be October 1st. But it's okay, there is always next year.  And I am so glad that the girls on the black team all did great!  I wish I could have made in this picture but don't they look great?!

This is a picture from the Women's Only race last year that I again wasn't able to run in, but did volunteer. Also this was the day I made my hip flexor injury much worse (see one of my first posts). That's me being not-so-slim in the front left corner.  To be fair, I did have on two t-shirts, a jacket and that lovely orange vest.  But what a difference I am physically from one year ago. Wow.

I never actually wrote down my goals for the running school (like I was supposed to in my manual) but I had them in my head.  When I finished I wanted to: 1. Run 3 miles at least 3 times a week; 2. Run in 5k races; 3. Improve my 5k race time; 4.  Find a group/new friends to run with.  I'm happy to say that I met ALL of my goals!!  I'm so glad I joined the WRS and as I said in one of my earlier posts, the third time was the charm!  I truly believe I am on my way to becoming an official runner.  What is an official runner?  I guess that all depends on who you ask.  I'll save my thoughts on that topic for a later post.

So now that the school is over what's going to keep me motivated and running?  Well, I have a list of 5k races to get me through December.  Five races if I make it too all of them.  One of them being a Halloween themed race and I actually purchased a costume this past weekend!  This is not me at all - I normally don't get into dressing up and haven't since I was a kid.  I wasn't even looking for a costume, but saw the cutest one and it was pretty cheap (but didn't look cheap as far as costumes go).  I had originally decided not to do the race because Michael (my hubby) has a race that morning and my son has a football game later.  It is already a busy Saturday.  But after I found this costume, the idea popped in my head that I had to get it and run in this race.  So I did!  OMG, it's so cute I can't stand it!

Besides the races, I need to figure out a training plan.  A few of my running buddies plan to join another school.  This one is a 16 week program that trains you for a half-marathon.  They plan to do a half-marathon in March.  I'm not ready to start training for a half-marathon.  I do want to improve my pace and distance.  I think this school will also offer a 10k program if there is enough interest.  Still, I'm not sure that I want to commit to another school right now and spend more money.  These race fees add up!  Plus, there is a bunch of information and training plans online for free.  Running in the fall is going to be new for me.  I'm going to need some warmer running clothes and I'm sure I need a new pair of running shoes!  It will also be getting darker earlier and eventually our group will not be able to run in the evening.  I guess I will be spending more time at the Y on the treadmill.  So I think my plan is to find a training program online that will increase my pace and distance, continue meeting my running group and run in some 5k races!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Retro Run 5k

Another 5k done!  My finish time was 33:37 - officially my new PR!  It was a difficult course with a lot of hills.  I actually walked quite a bit too.  My first mile I went out too fast - 9:54.  The same thing I did in the last race only a little faster this time.  I walked up at least two hills and took a few 15 second walk breaks to catch my breath.  It's funny because I am able to run three miles without stopping to walk during my group runs, but I think this course was just tough, plus I was going faster.

My husband and two girls from my running group also ran in the race.  Everybody did great!  It was an evening race with free beer at the end which was extra nice! Here I am finishing the race. 

Here is me and Kathy enjoying our post race beer!  And me and that lovely orange retro run t-shirt. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Last week at the running school we had a warm up session of Zumba.  I have only been exposed to one class of Zumba at the Y and it was okay.  I didn't really know the moves and struggled to keep up.  I've never been much into dancing...unless I've had a few drinks!  But everybody has been on this Zumba craze; talking about how much fun it is and it's such a great workout.  I've heard you'll be sweating buckets! 

Okay well I guess I'm not doing this Zumba thing right.  After our 20 minute warm up session, I wasn't sweating at all!  And we were outside - probably about 85 degrees.  I was able to keep up better with this instructor, but it just didn't feel like a great workout.  Nothing like running!  I really wanted to like Zumba. I still have a 20 class pass I bought a few months ago and haven't used yet.  Good thing it was only 20 bucks! 

I guess it's okay to not like something even if everybody else does.  I think I will just stick to running. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Update on the new running buddy

Okay without doing any research online about running with dogs, I thought I would give it a try last night.  I mean how hard could it be?  Result = epic fail!  Okay, maybe not that bad but it was a struggle.  In fact after just a few minutes, I gave the lease to my husband who decided to go with me.  Bessie is strong!  And she wanted to stop and sniff everything.  I couldn't keep her to stay on one side as I was running.  This is going to be more of a challenage than I thought.  I went ahead and finished my run which was nice short 2 mile run.

But I'm not giving up just yet.  My husband was able to jog with her for a little while so there is hope I will be able to make it work for me!

My new running buddy

It's been busy these last two weeks and I can't believe the summer is over!  My son started back to school (his first year of middle school!) and his Saturday football games also started.  In addition to the normal work day, laundry, housework, grocery we have homework and trying to get back into a routine.  But it will all work out!

The running school is going great.  I have been meeting my group twice a week for runs, but still struggling to get the third run in own my own (refer to the above paragraph).  Most runs have been around 3 miles and my pace is about 10:30 to 11:30 minutes.  Of course, this still includes a few minutes of walking.  Although the walking is getting much shorter. I've been very pleased with my progress and meeting new running buddies!  I hope we can continue to meet for runs after the school is over. Speaking of new running buddies...

We are now the proud owners of a doggie!  Our first dog!  Her name is Bess (we call her Bessie) and she's a lab mix.  We adopted her from the local shelter.  She loves to run in the backyard and go on walks.  I'm hoping she will be my new running buddy for my solo neighborhood runs.  Maybe she will give my the motivation I need to get that third run in each week!  I haven't officially tried this yet, we just got her this past weekend.  Tuesday it poured down rain.  Which also meant I missed my normal group run.  I had planned to go to the YMCA and do some interval training on the treadmill.  But it was just one of those dreary days that I just wanted to go home and not go back out. 

I'm sure I need to do some research online about running with dogs.  I've actually been doing a lot of research about dogs since I know nothing!  Did I mention we also have 2 cats?  This has been a challenge and will continue to be...but hopefully not for too long.  Here is a our newest member of the family.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kirkwood 5k

Well I did it!  My second official 5k race.  And guess what?  I did SO much better than last year!!  Finish chip time was 33:54...that's 7 1/2 minutes better!  I am happy with my finish time and surprised.  I wasn't sure if I was ready for a 5k since I had only completed 4 weeks of the running school and haven't actually ran 3 miles yet.  But somehow I did it! 

I didn't want to stress about it or over think it.  Just treat it as another run like I run with my group.  At Thursday night's running school we had a speaker talk about nutrition.  She also gave pointers about what to eat before race day and on race day. Drink plenty of water all day, eat a simple dinner like pasta, a salad and some bread.  Don't try anything new and avoid alcohol.  On race day, make sure to eat a light breakfast and drink some water but don't over do it.  So I followed her advice.  I got my race outfit together and made sure to get to bed early. 

I woke up that morning pretty calm but totally changed my mind about my race outfit.  The day before I had bought a new shirt that actually fit (smaller size now yay!) and I had a cute running skirt that I hadn't worn yet.  But while getting ready I kept thinking "don't try anything new".  I know the speaker was talking about food but I started to worry about the running skirt since I hadn't ran in it yet.  And the shirt did fit, but I guess I'm still self conscious since I'm not at my goal weight yet.  So I decided to I wanted to be comfortable and choose a pair of capri's and another shirt...that was two sizes too big! 

I got to the race and registered then had about 45 minutes until the race started.  My husband and son came to cheer me on.  My friend Scott who ran in this race last year, was also running.  Unfortunately, Sarah, who ran with me last year (well she ran past me!) recently moved to CA. 

Race time!  Luckily, it was a nice morning and not too hot.  My first mile I completed in 10:15.  That was probably a little too fast for my pace, but you always run a little faster on race day (so I hear since I've only done two).  My second mile was probably my toughest which is strange since it's been my easiest during our training runs.  About a quarter mile into the second mile I saw my co-worker (and friend) and her daughter cheering me on.  That was so nice!  It's always great having support.  My husband and son kept popping up throughout the course to cheer me on as well.  They used short cuts in the neighborhood.  The second mile has one pretty steep hill - which I did walk up.  I knew I would; but again that's okay.  Halfway through the race I started thinking "I don't think I can do this".  I don't know why those negative thoughts started to creep in.  But I quickly dismissed them going back to thinking "Yes I can.  It's no different than running with your group.  Just a little further". 

The last mile was better.  Although I did find myself wanting to stop and walk for just 15 seconds to catch my breath a few times.  The sun had came out and it was starting to warm up.  The ending of the course was great.  One downhill and then flat until the finish line. When I got close I knew I just have to give it all I had.  And I think I did!  Of course looking back, I wondered if I really needed to stop and walk those few times or if I could have just pushed through it.  Well, I guess you always can look back on anything in life and question if you should have done it differently.

At the end of the day, I was very happy with my results...or success! And you know I'm already looking forward to the next 5k!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The training has begun

Well I'm behind a week in posting due to a mini-vacation to visit a friend in PA.  But after 3 weeks of training in the running school, things are going great!  I've been meeting some of the runner girls in my group on Tuesdays for a run outside of the full group run on Thursdays.  The girls in my group are great.  Some of them are training for a half-marathon!  That's not for me at this point but kudos to them! 

Our training plan is still a run/walk for 30 minutes.  It is mostly running though usually at 8 or 9 minutes with 2 minutes or 1 minute of walking.  The time will increase as the plan continues enough to get us close to 3.12 miles for the 5k race.  Currently my runs are averaging around 2.3 - 2.5 miles. I can tell my running has improved from my prior attempts and I know that is because of the weight loss and exercising.  Not that it's super easy, but definitely much better!  The first 1/2 mile is still the worst for me.  I usually think "why in the world am I doing this - it is just torture!"  But even that is getting easier now.  I am finding that in the last few minutes I start to get tried.  I'm sure as I continue with the training plan my distance will increase. 

Race on Saturday?  The Kirkwood 5k is this Saturday and I am planning on running!  Although, I didn't register for it so I will have to do that on race day.  I knew it was coming up but I think I wanted to make sure I felt like I could do it.  I would love to run the entire race, but it's okay if I have to walk a few minutes.  My goal is to finish under my time from last year.  I think I may just do that...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Here I go again...

Third time's the charm right?  I think, wait I know that it is going to be!  This running school is off to a MUCH better start than before.  I did my assessment run on a Thursday evening which was the hottest day of the summer so far!  Since it was so hot, we only had to run 1/2 mile.  I knew I could run 1/2 mile and it was so hot, I just wanted to get it over with as fast as I could.  So I ran the 1/2 mile in exactly 5 minutes! WHAT?!?  For me, that was a huge improvement!  I was proud that I had improved but also nervous.  I don't run a 10 minute mile.  I was worried that I had ran too fast and I would be placed in a group that ran a much faster pace. 

We met a week later for our first group run and I was still nervous.  But while talking to some of the women in my group, some of them felt the same way.  We set out to run on the same Country Park trail that I had tried to run 2 years ago with GRC.  Our training plan was to run 7 minutes and walk 3 minutes - 3 times.  We finished one loop around Country Park which is about 1.5 miles and still had a couple of minutes to spare.  Again, this time went MUCH better!  I was able to run/walk and stay on pace with my group.  I stayed some where in the middle which was fine with me.

I'm excited this running school is off to a good start and looking forward to running with my group!  Oh yeah, I am officially on the black visor team, woo hoo!!

I walk it out!

In May 2011, my friend Tricia and I walked the annual WW Walk-It 5k challenge.  Both of us are Weight Watchers and had intentions of actually running this 5k.  But neither of us were able to put in the training to be ready for the race.  It was a non-timed event around Hanes Park in Winston-Salem.  That place had many hills!  We did run a little bit.  The reason I wanted to do it was to show my support and appreciation for what the WW plan has done for me.  Plus I got a cool 5k charm to go on my 10% loss key ring!  Little tokens of motivation.  Although, it took me a few weeks later to finally get my key ring! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting fit and healthy...a work in progress

So over the past 6 months I have been committed to eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.  Of course I wanted to lose weight, but more than that I wanted to get in shape and just feel better.  I started Weight Watchers at the beginning of March 2011.  The company I work for offers on site meetings.  My WW group is awesome!  The leader and members are so supportive.  The group has really helped me stay motivated.  The WW plan just works for me too.  I track everything I eat online - which it's really not as daunting as you would think.  The tracking and meetings keeps me accountable.  This was the third time I have joined WW but I knew this time I was really going to make it work.  I lost some weight the other two times, but was never fully committed to stay with it.

I also started taking different kinds of exercise classes.  Some at work and some at the YMCA.  I was trying all kinds of classes - weight lifting (body pump), pilates, yoga, zumba, kettlebell, belly dancing (that was funny!).  I was also getting some running in on the treadmill.  In May, me and a friend tried this outdoor boot camp.  It was great!  Although, I could not believe I liked being outside in the heat and dirt working out (and sweating) very close with other people. I think the reason I liked the boot camp was because it pushes you physically and the group setting was supportive.  You can never have enough support! 

In boot camp we had a biggest loser contest.  The camper with the most weight loss won a free month of boot camp and a few other prizes.  Guess what?...  I won!  That was a complete surprise because I only lost 5 pounds in the one month.  So for June, I was boot camping it again.  And I ended up going in July too.

My hard work is paying off.  I have lost a little over 20 pounds, went down 2 sizes, lost inches all over and I'm getting stronger - building up some muscles!  I still have a ways to go until I reach my goal weight, but having success is keeping me motivated.

Although I have enjoyed the boot camp (TBC rocks!), July is going to be my last month because I need to focus on running.  Boot camp meets 3 nights a week and I've made it a rule to not work out on Friday nights, which then falls into not working out on the weekends either.  So I've got to step it up!  I still going to take body pump and pilates classes at lunch.  I think my rule about not working out on the weekends will have to change.  To focus on running I decided to join another running school.  Well, 3rd time was the charm for WW so I'm hoping 3rd time will be the charm for the running school too.  No injuries please!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The past two years (part 2)

My first 5k was the Kirkwood 5k.  It was a relatively flat course that was out and back with one hill at the turn around point.  My finish time was 41:21 and I placed 225 out of 243.  Not great stats I know, but my goal was to be able to complete a 5k.  I did hope to finish under 40 minutes and run the entire time and unfortunately, neither of those goals happened.  I had to walk up the hill; my thought was I could walk faster than trying to run.  I also had to walk a minute or two during the last mile.  But I did my best and was happy that I had completed my first race. 

Now I was excited that I was on my way to becoming a runner.  Although I knew I still had a long ways to go.  I signed up for my next race to keep the motivation going.  It was the Women's Only 5k in October.  To help keep me on track with running, I decided to sign up for another running school.  This one was with the Janes on the Run, it was the same school my friend Christi joined when she first started running.  The ending race for this school was the Gobbler 5k race on Thanksgiving Day.  I went to the first meeting and learned that Christi was one of the training instructors for my group.  The first group assessment run went fine.  Since I had completed my first race, I had some new found confidence that I could actually do this running thing.  We received our training manual and I immediately read it.  I was excited about this new running group!

In the school you run once a week with the group and the rest of the runs are own your own.  A couple of days after the first meeting I went out for a run in my neighborhood.  I decided to change my normal route a bit and took a different turn.  On this turn the sidewalk ended and I had to run in the grass downhill until I got back onto a neighborhood street.  This is where I got my second injury from running.  It didn't seem that bad at first but I realized later, while running in the grass I hit some uneven ground and pulled a muscle in my upper leg.

I went to the second group meeting with JOTR still hurting but trying to push through it.  As soon as we start to run, here we go again.  I am obviously limping and can barely run.  The coaches ask me about it and tell me you should never try to run on an injury.  So again, I am walking while everyone else is running.  Christi is nice and stays with me even though I tell her to go ahead with the other girls.  But she stays and says this will give us a chance to catch up.  That was very nice of her.  Sound familiar?!?  Once I make it back the owner of JOTR, Liz (super cool lady!) shows me some stretching exercises to do to help with the pulled muscle. 

I didn't run the rest of the week and did the stretching exercises.  I was determined to continue with this running school.  I met the group for the next meeting.  Again, still hurting but thinking I could push through it.  We go for our run and I'm basically just walking but still determined I could at least walk the entire time.  NOT TRUE!  About 1/4 of the way in and I am in pain.  I struggle just to turn around and make it back to my car.  I see Liz again before I reach my car and we talk about what hurts and where it hurts.  She thinks I may need to see a doctor and tells me to call Dr. "Bert" (everybody raves about him).  Unfortunately, Dr. Bert was not available for a few weeks.  So I decide to stop trying to meet the group for runs and instead get rest and continue the stretching exercises.

This is all happening in September and I have already registered for my next 5k which is on October 2.  By this time it's already mid-September and I had to accept the fact I would not be able to run in the Women's Only 5k.  My leg was feeling better and JOTR needed volunteers for the Women's Only race, so I volunteered.  It was race day and we had to be there early.  I get to the event and receive my station location.  Everybody loaded up in two large vans to be dropped off at their stations.  This is when things got worse for me.  At my stop getting out of the van, I landed on my injured leg and literally could feel my strained muscle get pulled even further.  It was painful, but I didn't say anything to anyone about it.  There were 2,000 plus race participants getting ready to come our way and I didn't want to be a concern for others.

I tried to make the best of it because I was still excited about the race. The race started and as I looked down the hill from my station, all I could see was a sea of pink shirts coming my way.  It was pretty cool.  We cheered on the ladies as they passed by us.  Many said thank you.  It felt good that I was able to help, even though I was supposed to run in the race.  After standing for about 4 hours on my injured leg, I went home and hit the Advil and couch.  I tried the RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) the rest of the weekend.  I went to work that following Monday obviously limping and in pain.  That night I realized I was going to have to see a doctor.  This seemed much worse than the pain a few weeks ago. 

The doctor determined I had pulled my hip flexor muscle.  He gave me prescriptions and crutches.  He also said I shouldn't drive for a few days since it was my right leg.  I could agree with that and thought I'm not sure how I drove the day before.  That week I worked from home some and took some time off to rest.  Among all things, again I felt like an idiot.  Leave it to me to get injured at a race that I didn't even run!! 

The next few weeks was pretty much the same with taking meds and trying to stay off my leg.  I tried using the crutches but gave them up quickly.  I went back to the doctor for a follow up and he suggested a cortisone injection.  That was NOT fun.  He also wanted to see me in a few weeks and if things were not substantially improved, he wanted to do an MRI to determine if the muscle was torn.  But that was it for me.  I did not go back.  I didn't see the point.  Whether my muscle was pulled or torn, it just needed time to heal.  There wasn't going to be any surgery or any more of the cortisone injections for me. 

It took several months to heal.  Finally in February 2011, I felt it had healed enough to start an exercise program again.  So now we move on to the last 6 months...(I'm so excited!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The past two years (part 1)

I first decided to start running in the summer of 2009.  I had dinner with a childhood friend after reconnecting on Facebook.  She had started running the year before after she signed up for a running school.  I had saw her running pictures on Facebook and after talking with her was totally inspired to start running.  One minor obstacle...I had never ran before!  In school, I didn't play sports and hated gym.  I have never been an athletic person.  But my friend said that she had never ran before this school either.  I remember her saying that she was always a walker and if she was ever running, it was because she was being chased!  Christi is too funny!

That August I joined the Women's Only running school with the Greensboro Running Club.  The assessment run was to run a mile.  I had never ran a mile.  I was nervous because I didn't want to finish last.  Although, this was not a race just an assessment so the instructors would know what group to put you in.  I did the mile run and my time was a little over 15 minutes.  And I didn't finish last, almost but not the very last.  Thinking back on that now it seems so trivial.  But at that time, old feelings from school started to come up about finishing last and not being good at sports.  So the assessment run was over and school was going to start in a few days.  But after that run, my knees were killing me!!  First, I didn't run in running shoes, they were cross trainers.  Second, I was not in shape and overweight.  I did go out and buy some running shoes.  I also got these strips to go around my knees.  Only one mile and I'm already injured...this is not off to a good start.  The first class was to run/walk with your group around Battleground park which is 1 1/2 miles.  No time limit just go at a pace comfortable for you.  We go to start running and I can't run at all.  Really, my knees hurt so bad it was all I could do to walk.  I didn't want to quit on the very first run, so I walked the trail.  One of my coaches walked with me the last half since I was very far behind in my group.  That was sweet of her to do.  I felt like such a loser.  The first class and I couldn't even run.  I made it to the next class the following week but again couldn't run.  In fact, my knees continued to hurt for over a month.  Needless to say, that was the end of my first running attempt.

Now we are on to my second running attempt.  It goes much better.  I was talking with a friend from work and she told me about a running program she found online called Couch to 5k.  We decided we would do the program together after tax season.  So in May 2010, we started the program together.  It consisted of running 3 days a week alternating running and walking for 30 minutes.  Sarah and I would try to run together one or two days and do the other run own our own.  The program worked really well.  It was also helpful to have each other for support and stay accountable.  I even ran on vacation at the beach! I remember when I first started the program and would have to run non-stop for 5 minutes, I thought I was going to die! As the weeks progressed, I was able to run 20 minutes non-stop.  Now it wasn't a fast run, but I was able to do it. I did the program all summer and registered for my first 5k race in August.