A REAL Pain in the Neck!

I have been living with/whining about a sore neck for the past couple of months.  At first I just took it as one of those things that comes and goes, except it never went.  Then I started to hear scary little noises coming from my neck.  Pops, or pings, or snaps, or …thunks…I don’t know how to describe them other than they got me to my doctor.  He did a thorough exam and asked a ton of questions.  I left his office with the following;

  • Use moist heat…..no problem.
  • Take the anti-inflammatory prescribed……you got it.
  • See the physical therapist recommended for two weeks and report back…..on it.
  • Get an x-ray…..done.
  • No running or Gym until the therapist okay’s it…..NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This seems to be a pattern with me.  I get on a good roll and then something happens to shut me down and make me start over.  Pity Party at my place!  On the plus side, this setback waited until AFTER I ran my first 10K, so YAY!  I only have one race scheduled right now and it is one that I have run more than once which means if I miss it, no big deal.  Six months ago I was training to run a Sprint Triathlon….can you believe it?  After struggling with burning and hurting eyes in the pool (yes, wearing goggles) I decided to scrap that idea and refocus on my running.  I am glad that decision was made long ago and that I am not facing a huge race injured!  All in all, this little setback came at an okay time.  Pity party over, moving on!

Not being able to work out after work left a big chunk of time open to catch up with these awesome women!

The lovely Jenn and Melinda
The lovely Jenn and Melinda
The beautiful Dawn
The beautiful Dawn

We met for dinner at PF Changs on Thursday evening and totally blew my diet out of the water!  (Lori HELP!!)  It is always great to get together with these ladies, the conversation flows easily and we ended the night with so many ideas for future get together’s. I cannot wait to see them again!

Saturday morning I had to begrudgingly skip the running clinic that I enjoy so much.  Fortunately that freed me up to join the Saturday morning walking group that I have been a part of for 10 or more years now.  We saw a bunch of wildlife including some deer and this heron.

Do you see the Heron?
Do you see the Heron?

There are always Canadian Geese there, they are such goobers.

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I feel fortunate that I have so many options to employ the advice offered by my “life is Good” hat.

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  • Favorite Saturday morning activity?
  • What is the most exotic/strangest animal you have ever seen in the wild? I saw a wild Monkey type thing in Cozumel, Mexico.
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The Wall

We all struggle with making or breaking personal goals.  Sometimes it is as simple as getting out of bed in the morning.  You might be facing a difficult day, maybe it is raining or snowing out, or maybe you are just plain tired and comfy.  Some goals are much more daunting.  Perhaps you told all your friends that you are going to swim the English Channel and today’s the day!  Good luck to you!!  Sometimes goals are old that need to be hurdled again.  This is what I am dealing with right now (Nope, not taking on the hurdles, no desire to EVER do that).

Hurdle

I have recently been coming up against a wall at mile 1.5.  Now I know I can run much farther than 1.5 miles, I have done it time and time again.  Lately however I lose steam and want to stop at 1.5.  I have a theory.  When I started running a few years ago I found that two miles was a comfortable distance for me.  I had a two mile course that was all sidewalk so it made sense to stick to it.  Sidewalks are few and far between in my neighborhood.  Some of the sidewalks run alongside heavily wooded areas where black bears live.  I avoid those during the quiet hours before people start making noise.  Bears suck at sharing.  But I digress.  I have run the two mile route a LOT!  When I turn back onto my street which happens to be at 1.5 miles I know that I only have half a mile to go but also that it is all uphill.  I believe this is my problem.  I associate 1.5 miles with the start of the uphill schlog.  At the end of a run, even the slightest incline feels like a mountain!

Hill

On longer runs when I hit the 1.5 mile wall I am able to talk myself through it.  I am kind of like supergirl that way.  It is the shorter, after work or class, just need to bang out a couple of miles, miles that get me.  This past Saturday I took myself for a 5 miler.  I crushed the 1.5 barrier only because I was focusing on climbing a hill I had never attempted before.  I beat the hill!  On Sunday I needed a couple of miles but avoided my usual route partly from boredom and partly because it was hot and I wanted to stick to the shade.  As it turns out it was MUCH warmer and just plain Muggier than I anticipated.  I decided to take a break at the end of the trail before heading home.  In hindsight I realized where I stopped was….yup, you guessed it….1.5 miles!  Arrghhh!  

Lucy

We have a special guest Bunny of the Week this week!

This little guy has been bouncing all over the back yard.  He is very speedy.  Since I took this picture we have discovered that there are in fact TWO little guys!  There is an adult out there too who we are assuming is either Mom or Dad.

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  • Currently struggling with any goals/barriers?  How do you get through?
  • Do you live with wildlife?  Any bunnies?

Shoe Love

 

Girls (and some guys) love shoes right? I have a closet full of shoes and these are by far my favorites.

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Everyone has their own favorite running shoe/brand. Some runners will wear nothing but Brooks, others swear by Nike or Hoka, I am a New Balance girl.  I am fortunate to have a Fleet Feet store not far from my house.  The staff is so well trained to fit you properly and comfortably.  Be prepared to hop on the treadmill because if you want a good fit you have to move your feet.  I had always been an “off the rack” sneaker shopper until I got serious about running.  Upon my first visit to Fleet Feet I discovered that I had been wearing the wrong size! Still in shock. We also learned that I need just a tad extra support in my arch.  I used to suffer shin splints but the extra support put a stop to that! YAY!!  The good folks at Fleet Feet put me in a bunch of different brands and styles until we landed on the New Balance 870’s and I never looked back.

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When it came time to replace my beloved 870’s I was disappointed to discover that they have been remodeled and are no longer comfortable for me…..sigh.  Fleet Feet took the imposters back without hassle and started the fitting process all over again.  I now sport the Brooks Ravena’s, aren’t they pretty?

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Now if I had never worn the New Balance I would probably be singing the praises of the Brooks.  They fit really well and are pretty comfortable.  They also offer good support where I need it.  However I HAVE been wearing the 870’s for about a year and the Ravena’s are slightly heavier.  I wear them for training but I still revert to my beloved New Balance for races.

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Last weekend I took off on a longish run.  I was still flying high from my stellar 10K performance.  I had my runkeeper app going and quickly realized that my pace was much slower than I intended (10:54 vs. 10:31….that’s huge!).  After some initial confusion I finally concluded that it was the heavy Ravena’s slowing me down.  Couldn’t have been ME right?! 😉  This may be part of the reason I had such a great 10K race.  I had been training in the heavy Ravena’s but on race day tied on my light as air 870’s.

I will continue to wear the Brooks to train and the New Balance to race.  It seems to be working so far.  I only hope that next year’s 870’s model will work for me!

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This week’s Bunny of the week is:

OTTER!

Otter

She has been working really hard on her social skills this week!  She even let me pet her!

Phil gave me some new shades, aren’t they swanky?

Shades

I cannot find a style that actually looks flattering on me so I just wear different ones all the time…it’s fun….try it!

Pile of Shades

Fun Everywhere….

This has been a relaxing, fun weekend.

We hung out with Felix on Friday evening. He can be quite the cut up!

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I have been taking part in a running clinic at my gym. The clinic is being conducted by one of our local elite runners “Jen”. She took us over to the highschool track and had us practice a drill called “Centipede”. We lined up and took off. The person in front sets the pace. Thankfully we all run at about the same pace (except Jen of course but she’s cool). The first person passes a baton, or wooden spoon, whatever ya got, to the person behind them who passes it back to the next person and so on. When the baton reaches the end of the line that person sprints to the front and the passing begins again. This drill was so much fun I didn’t even notice how far we had run. Anyone who happened to be watching us run in formation HAD to be impressed.

On the run back to the gym the shaker ball in Sue’s water bottle was banging out our pace. Between that and not being able to catch the group ahead of us because every time we sped up so did they, Sue and I were cracking up!

Sue and her Water Bottle
Sue and her Water Bottle

I really enjoy running with others, I wish I could do it more often.

When I got home I still had a little steam left so I climbed on my bike and took to the trails. Only 4 miles but worth it! There were so many people out enjoying the morning.

I had a couple of errands to run and was surprised to see all sorts of festivities happening in town. The hardware store was having a Grand Opening celebration. They had balloons all over and a woodpecker walking around.

Do you see the woodpecker?
Do you see the woodpecker?

Across the street the hot tub place was having their annual blow out sale. They had a GINORMOUS duckling sitting out by the road. It was bigger than the building! I would love to see the size of the hot tub that he floats in!

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I treated myself to a lazy morning on Sunday but did manage to squeak out a 3.5 miler.  After taking care of some chores it was time for lunch with my good buddy Jenn! YAY!

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We went to one of our favorite spots, The “Cruisin Café” at the Collinsville Antiques shop.

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These are my favorite types of weekends, easy and FUN!

Phil and I also watched the final episode of “Younger”, have you seen it?

Younger

*What did you do this weekend? Was it fun?

*Have you seen “Younger? Do you like it?”

Recovery Week

Recovery Week

I spent most of Sunday afternoon and Monday loafing on the sofa reading and watching movies. I rewarded myself with a day off on Monday for just this purpose, I was not disappointed.

Netflix

“St. Vincent” with Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy was entertaining as were the sappy Hallmark channel movies.  I had planned to get back to my training on Tuesday by going over to the gym and taking Sue’s boxing class.  By Tuesday evening however it was stormy with a chance of hail.  I decided to just go for a short run instead but with the storm had to stick to the treadmill (snore).

TM

I ran fartleks for 30 minutes.  “Fartlek” is german for speedplay.  I would walk for 90 seconds at 3.4 and then sprint for 45 seconds at 7.3.  This took me two and a half miles without ever leaving my porch.

Wednesday I got myself back to the gym for Sue’s “Mix-fit” class.

Just Results

I love mix-fit, it is a mix of cardio and weights, you never know what you are going to get!  To that end the hour goes by REALLY quickly. Some days we are outside, some days we are flipping tires and pushing sleds, some days we are boxing, and usually it is all of the above. On Wednesday Sue had us create our own circuit. We did not know that was the plan when we started, she tricked us! Meanie. 😉

I think every other person that I spoke with on Thursday said something like “you aren’t running today are you?”. It was hot and humid on Thursday. Never knowing what the conditions will be for my next race I have to run in all types of weather. I tied on my sneakers and hit the pavement. It sucked! Did I mention it was HOT and HUMID? Hot is one thing and humid is one thing, but combined…C’MON!!

Sunrise

Tomorrow is a new day!  I get to run with one of our local elite runners!  “Jen” is giving a running clinic through my gym.  I will talk more about that later.

Thanks for stopping by and Enjoy your day!

  • Do you take fitness classes?  What is your favorite?
  • Would you rather run in Heat, Cold, Rain, or Snow?  What is your least favorite running (workout) weather?
  • Have you seen any good movies lately?

Amica Ironhorse 10K recap

My very first 10K road race was amazing!  Here is how it went down.

I started the morning by fueling like a champ.

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I really don’t care for oatmeal but my awesome nutritionist Lori insists on it before a race.  Lori has never steered me wrong so I choke it down.

Then I strapped on my gear.

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For short runs I use a smaller mp3 player instead of my gigantic phone.  I use the phone on longer runs because the runkeeper app keeps me on track.  I set up my Pandora to “shuffle” and que’d up run keeper…..wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Phil drove us over to the venue, it was a perfect morning!

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We wandered around a little bit and then it was time to get serious.

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NOW is when I set up Pandora to SHUFFLE and que’d up runkeeper.  As I was standing in the corral waiting to start, my runkeeper changed screens.  I couldn’t see the screen very well without standing on my head so I just backed it up and started over.  This will be significant in a couple of minutes….are you getting curious?

The race official gave us the start and we were off.  I hit runkeeper and shuffled my way through the starting line.  Only those at the front of the pack get to start the race at a run, the rest of us have to wait for the crowd to spread out enough before we can start moving.  There were over 500 runners in this particular race.  Let’s get back to Pandora now.  Remember how I set it to shuffle?  Well when I restarted Runkeeper I must have messed up Pandora because I ended up listening to Nickleback for the entire race!  I like Nickleback a little at a time but not an hour straight!  Shoulda stood on my head, live and learn.

At about mile two this handsome gentleman pulled up next to me.

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He was running in FULL gear complete with helmet on his head and air tank on his back.  He also had a good sized American Flag on his back that was flying out behind him.  The name on his coat read “DeForest”.  I was able to keep right up with him for a good two miles!  So what if it was a decline slope, this guy is super fit and I was able the hang in there!  He got ahead of me as we started heading up an incline but once the coarse leveled out again I was never too far behind him.  Just a personal little achievement for me 🙂

I had decided long before the race ever began, we are talking days, maybe weeks, was to walk through the water stations.  After getting water up my nose (classy right?) a couple of years ago while trying to run through a water station I decided to take a lesson from the Pro’s who I read about and walk it.  Hydration is important.  Not getting your fuel could slow you down a lot more than a few slow paces while sipping water or Gatorade.

I reached mile 5.3 and was able to picture the last mile!  At home I know what a mile is, I run it all the time, easy peasy.  So that is what I focused on. There is a small hill (bridge) that we had to climb right before the final half mile straightaway.  I have run this part of the course a number of times and this bridge can be daunting. (daunting, there’s that word again, told you.)  I was feeling great and flew over it!  Then I was on the straightaway.  The end was in sight, I knew I was about to finish my very first 10K!  I had been feeling strong for the entire race and I planned to finish strong too!  I kicked into high gear and sprinted for the finish.

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Poor Phil, he tries so hard to get a good picture of me finishing but rarely does.  With three races going on at once he ended up on the wrong side of the road.  Love you Phil but you make a terrible paparazzi.

I crossed the Finish line, collected my water and my Medal and made history in my own story.

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My goal was to finish in 75 minutes with a stretch goal of 70 minutes.  My official time was 66:58!  YAY ME!

  • Have you run a 5K, 10K, Half  or Full marathon?
  • What is your favorite distance?
  • Do you have a favorite course? Least favorite?
  • What do you eat before a race?

We have to start somewhere…..

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for me.  I will be running in my very first 10K road race!  I have run a number of 5K’s over the past few years and honestly I was starting to feel complacent about them. To that end I noticed my time/pace was getting progressively slower. I decided I needed to challenge myself with a longer distance so I took the plunge and signed up for the “Amica Iron Horse 10K”.

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This is how I started running, by signing up for a 5K then telling everyone I knew so that I would remain accountable. It worked! I used the ‘Couch to 5K’ plan which I highly recommend if you are just getting started. http://www.c25k.com/

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For the 10K I figured I had a good base and designed a training plan myself. I did not account for coming down with what I can only describe as a cold with a side of flu last month. Getting sick totally derailed me. I thought I would be going into Sunday’s race having one or two 6 mile runs under my belt. Instead, the longest distance I have covered to date is 5.2 miles. Yikes!!

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Last week I increased my distance from 4.3 to 5.2 miles and felt great. I now know that I can make the one mile increase to reach 6.2 but doing it under race conditions is daunting. (Daunting is one of my favorite words, get used to it.)

Running Snoopy

My goal is to finish. If I come in under 75 minutes I will be happy, under 70 minutes I will be thrilled! No matter what, this being my first official 10K race, as long as I cross the finish line it will be a personal record (PR). I will be sure to tell you all about it!

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Wish me luck 🙂