Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Sad Second Anniversary

"Grief never ends, but it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love."

I will always be haunted by the date of March 4th. It is a very sad, dark day in my life. The world as I knew it came crashing down around me as I lived through every wife's worst nightmare as I lost my husband without being able to say goodbye or one last I love you on March 4th, 2012. It's been two years since the darkest day of my life. I survived the storm and I'm not the same person who walked into the storm. But not a day goes by where I don't think of Rod.

Two years. Some days it feels like a lifetime ago. I dream of him sometimes. Odd dreams. Like those bad Lifetime movies where he faked his own death and comes back to me alive. Those are crazy dreams.

I believe he pushes me through some of the toughest times. He's my cheerleader during long runs telling me I can do it and he believes in me. I can feel he's proud of me and is keeping an eye out for me up in heaven.

Some days I just want to see him; to hug him so incredibly tight. Honestly, don't you just wish heaven had visiting hours? He was an amazing hugger and all I need right now is a big hug.

I know that God has a plan for me as a widow. And that I'm surviving and thriving on my own. In some ways, I think God wanted me to learn I could survive on my own. Love myself in a way that I never did. He's helping me find strength, independence and my passions. I became this amazingly strong person who is chasing her dreams and standing on her own.

Eventually, in His own time, God will lead me to someone new. I do believe that; I have to believe that I get more than one love. It's going to happen. I have faith (most days). But the love I had for Rod will never go away. His death left a hole in my heart that will never be filled; a heartache no one can heal. 

On this sad second anniversary, I ask that if you knew Rod, to remember him today. Honor his memory. Remember his laugh, his joy for life or even how obsessed he was about NASCAR. He was an amazing person and deserves to be honored and remembered on this day. I also ask that you hug those you love tightly, tell them that you love them because you never know when that will be the last time.

In memory of Rod: my love, my husband, my best friend. I miss you every day.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Marathon Training Recap, 2/23 to 3/1

Marathon training is in full swing! Last week was week two of my NEW training plan, although I've been training for awhile now, but I switched plans last week. So far this new plan is working out much better! My legs aren't nearly as tired nor am I suffering from Achilles or knee issues. Thinking this new plan from Runner's World is a good choice for me.

Weekly Wrap Up:

Total Miles: 38.9 

Although I got all my miles in, this week was rough for me. I started feeling a cold coming on starting on Monday night. I had a tight feeling, pressure in my chest. I skipped my planned Pilates to rest my body. Tuesday I woke up feeling more pressure and a scratchy throat. I went to the gym and told myself to at least try to run and see how I felt. I managed to finish each run, but everything after was a struggle. All I wanted to do the rest of those days is sleep! I'm amazed I did as much as I did in my workouts. 

Saturday = long run day. I woke up feeling okay. The pressure in my chest was gone and I had a scratchy throat and a cough, but was okay otherwise. Due to Polar Vortex 3.0, I was stuck doing another long run on the treadmill. Sadly, my second home gym is closed due to a remodel so I had to hit up a different gym. My first hour flew by; however, at about mile 11, I could really feel that cold. It didn't help that it felt like a sauna in this gym and they didn't have any fans. I slowed down my pace, drank lots of water, took in some fuel and pushed through it. Not every mile was a struggle. I managed to focus in on the joy of the run for awhile until a cough attack would come and I would have to slow down. The last two miles were a test of mental toughness for sure! Repeating this is definitely what got me through: 

In the end, I'm proud I pushed through to my longest run. Even with a cold. My second half marathon is two weeks out and I didn't want to miss a training run unless I had to, and I felt okay when I started out. It was tough, but I'm tougher! I will admit that I need to work on fueling properly. I need to purchase some Nuun or some form of electrolytes because I did end up feeling sick in the afternoon. I'm guessing with the sauna heat (as you can tell by my sweat soaked shirt!), my body needed more than the Honey Stingers chews gave it. And, this is definitely new, my whole pinky toe is covered in a blister. Ouchie!!!

The weather looks like it should be improving by the end of this week (keeping my fingers and toes crossed!) so hopefully I can get outside for my planned runs later in the week including my 18 miler on Saturday! With the half marathon in two Saturdays, we definitely need some warmer weather to melt the snow off the roads for a clear trail. Plus, I'm hoping for at least 30 degrees on race day with low wind! Pretty please Mother Nature?!! 

Until next time~

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Embracing the Treadmill

This winter has been brutal, hasn't it? I believe here in Minnesota, they're saying this is the hardest winter we've had in 33 years. Which would be the hardest winter since I've been alive. This morning it was 35 below zero with the windchill. Our average temperature is supposed to be 26 right now. Brrr is an understatement.

I have often thought many times through this winter, who signs up for an early March half marathon and a full marathon in June with such a tough winter? Oh yeah, this girl did. So what does that mean? It means LOTS of treadmill time! 

I have ran outside as much as possible, and I've enjoyed those runs so much!! Sadly, we've had like five days with warm temps (and not snowing), but I've taken advantage of them.

The rest of the time I've been stuck at the gym on the treadmill. I even did my longest run of 14 miles on the treadmill and with a forecasted high of 1 above on Saturday, my planned 16 miles will be on the treadmill as well. Sucky. But, I'm learning to embrace and get the most of those treadmill runs. Because what other option do I really have??

I'm not one to watch TV when I run on the treadmill. Partly because where the TVs are located, I have to crane my neck to watch and my posture gets screwed up. Secondly, I don't watch them because the TVs are usually on SportsCenter, Golf Network or the news. That gets old! So what do I do???

Honestly, I do whatever I can to zone out. I have a running playlist on Spotify that I listen to with songs to keep me going and I do a LOT of thinking! I people watch in the mirror sometimes, but mostly just zone out. My thoughts can get pretty random, but these are some of my most thought thoughts ....

I think about how I wish I were running outside. I think about how much I miss my family. I think about this blog and write snippets of posts that I forget as soon as I get home. I think about how tan most of the girls are compared to my super pale skin.  Seriously. Why are so many of the girls tan at my gym? Is this a normal thing?? I think about my running stride and form. I think about how awesome it's going to feel to cross the finish line at my first marathon and that running on the dreadmill is WORTH IT! I think about food. I think about Rod and if I would be doing this if he were still alive, and about how much my life has changed. I think about how much I want my life to continue to change. I think "I've only gone three miles??" or "is that person going to kick me off my treadmill?". I think one of these days I'm going to sing this Britney song out loud accidentally. I think about how I wish I were running outside. ;)

I haven't really found a better way for me to deal with hours on the treadmill than good music, zoning out and getting lost in my thoughts. I try to block others out and focus on the run. It's what works for me, but I can NOT wait until I get back to running outside again on a regular basis!

How do you survive treadmill runs? 

Until next time~

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Lost My Voice

I know, I know .... I haven't posted in a very long time. Since I ended my running streak back in January. Ouch. 

I've just felt lost lately. Haven't known what to post or if anyone really cares. I started to feel as if I was annoying everyone with my running obsession. Especially those people on Facebook. So I just started to shut down, not knowing what to say anymore.

I lost my blogging voice. 

But, I haven't lost my passion to run. Through this tough, incredibly cold, long winter, running is keeping me sane. It's helping me feel alive and happy through these darker days.

I am in training for my first marathon that will be on June 1st. It still amazes me to say that I'm going to run a marathon! I ran my longest run EVER this weekend and it felt great! I was intimated to run 14 miles because, well, I never ran that long, but it went so much better than I thought. I, of course, got tired, but not so tired I wanted to quit. Just where I needed to stretch my legs a little bit as they were feeling tight toward the end and I fueled along the way trying to figure out what works best for me. And the miles will only go up from here! Honestly, I'm very excited about that. Yes, seeing 20 miles on my training plan excites me!!

Cold Stone = yum!!

I did switch training plans this past weekend. I was using the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 plan, but it was wearing me out. I would run 6 miles on Saturday, then a longer run of 10+ miles on Sunday, and cross training Monday, then back back to running Tuesday through Thursday. That was just too many long runs in a row for this newbie. I kept feeling tired, pains in my Achilles and knee, and dreaded those long runs not knowing how I would get through them. I knew something had to change. 

I switched to the Runner's World plan for first time marathoners. I now will rest on Friday, long run on Saturday and a shorter, easy run on Sunday. I think that's much better for me! I will still follow the same schedule of cross training Monday, run Tuesday through Thursday, but I shouldn't dread those long runs anymore! And since I love long runs, I don't want to be too tired to enjoy them!

Coming up soon is my second half marathon in just a few weeks! I'll be running the Get Lucky Half Marathon on March 15th. Exciting!! I would love to run it in under two hours, but that's shaving off seven minutes off my last half, in the winter and cold, and I'm not sure if that's a realistic goal. I'll set a Goal A and a Goal B for this race like I did for my first, but haven't figured them out yet.

So that's where I've been. Mostly at the gym running! I'm going to try to get back into writing and finding my voice again. I enjoy reading other running blogs and find them inspirational, and I'm hoping a few people will find mine inspirational as well. I want to share what I'm learning, my pains, my growth and just my general love for running. 

And of course puppy pictures!!

No leash needed when you have a snow fence!

Until next time~ 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The End of the Streak

After 52 days and 238 miles, my running streak has come to an end. I'm incredibly amazed and proud that I made it 52 days, but sad to end it. 

On Sunday, my knee started to hurt while I was on my run. I wanted to run 13 miles, but only made it 5.3. It was the first time ever on a run where I worried about not making it back home. For the rest of the day, I took Advil and kept ice on my knee. Monday I did a short one mile run to test it out and it started to hurt toward the end of the mile. I switched to the elliptical after and it was fine on that. Yesterday, I ran 4.5 miles and my knee was fine until the end of the run. However, later that day I paid for that run. My knee hurt walking, sitting, bending, going down stairs was brutal (incredibly awesome that I live in a townhome with lots of stairs!). More ice, Advil and even tried some heat through the afternoon to lessen the pain.

This morning I woke up feeling awful. Everything hurt - my head, my back, my sides and definitely my knee. I felt as if my body was screaming at me to rest. So I am, and therefore ending my 52 day running streak.

I know that resting my body is important. I have pushed myself so much these last 52 days, barely even taking one mile "rest days." One mile days just seemed like I was failing somehow. I didn't want to put on my workout clothes, go to the gym for just a quick mile. I usually would do at least two, plus cross training and weights. Yeah, that's not a rest day!

I have felt so exhausted lately. I'm ready for bed by 9:30pm and feel like I could continue to sleep for hours even after my usual 8 or 9 hours of sleep. I look in the mirror and just see someone who looks tired and pale. Which isn't surprising since that's kind of how I feel. I miss that healthy glow running was giving me over the summer and fall.

Also, I'm not someone who likes to rely on pain killers. I think most pains are a sign that something is wrong; your body is trying to tell you something. Since Sunday, I've taken way more Advil than I like. And I need to realize that my body IS telling me something - slow down, rest, give the body time to heal.

Next week I officially start my marathon training and I want to be ready for it. That means feeling energized, excited, happy and healthy. Ending my running streak and taking a full rest day (or two!) is how I plan to get there. I'm so looking forward to being able to run a marathon, and I need my body to stay healthy and injury free to get there. I want to be able to run as long as possible, and that is more important to me than continuing on with this running streak. 

I will admit, that it's hard not seeing the high mileage on my training log this week and missing my planned runs. However, rest days are important; they're part of the program. I need to get back to focusing on the quality of my runs, not the quantity. I've really enjoyed the Runner's World Run Streak, and will definitely join in again next holiday season. But for now, I'm going to enjoy putting rest days back into my schedule and having a day off during the week to let my body rest and become stronger! 

Until next time~

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Would You Rather - Running Style Survey

One of my favorite bloggers, Cori over at Olive to Run (check out her amazing blog!!), has these fun surveys every once in awhile based on the game Would You Rather?

All of her questions are running related and I decided to join in on the fun. She's done seven surveys so far, and I'm starting with survey number one ....

Would you rather run a 5k or a marathon?
Right now, a marathon.
That seems so strange to say, but that's what first came to mind. I haven't even been running a year OR even ran my first marathon, but somehow I just know I'm going to love them. I really enjoy running long distances. Not that I'm going to stop doing 5k's because they are a lot of fun!!

Would your rather run in the heat of the summer or the icy winter?
Heat of the summer.
I don't like being cold. I don't like the ice. Give me sunshine, humidity and heat; I'll take it. I'm doing whatever I can to survive running this winter while counting down the days to spring.

Would you rather have new running shoes or a new running outfit?
Running shoes.
I'm learning the importance of a good running shoe and can't wait to try more brands and styles out. I have my eyes on these for my next pair ....

Would you rather run alone or in a group?
I really enjoy my runs with my running buddy, Lisa, but most of the time I hit the pavement alone. I like the solitude of my runs, just me and nature. Although I would like to find another running buddy just to help with motivation and to break up some of those runs where I start to feel lonely. 

Would you rather run next to someone in a race who tries to talk to you constantly or someone who breathes heavy and grunts?
The talker.
Especially if they have something interesting to say; it might help pass some of the time. I'd probably run away from the heavy breather and grunter!  

Would you rather run a race because of the convenience (location, price, travel) or the swag?
Convenience for sure.
I like picking races that are close to me/ easy to get to, and that aren't super expensive. Those are huge factors to me. I don't think I even look at the swag until after I register.

Would you rather run a race with a group of friends or by yourself?
By myself.
Since I run most of the time by myself, I think it would be difficult to race with a group. I can imagine it would be hard to figure out pacing and even staying together. I just like to put on my music and get lost in the crowd, and meet up with everyone at the finish line.

Would you rather run a PR but result in an injury or finish strong and miss a PR?
Finish strong.
I don't want to get injured or push myself so much to run for a PR that I would get injured. Having a good, enjoyable race is what's most important.

Would you rather eat a big meal the night before or a big meal after a race?
Hmmm, after I guess. But way after!
I have a very picky stomach so I don't like to eat anything different the night before I race. However, I'm not usually hungry after I run. I usually have to force myself to eat after long runs! But having a big dinner later that day would probably be my choice.

Would you rather be chased by a swarm of bees or a pack of dogs?
Dogs. Bees scare me. And especially if the dogs look like this!

This was fun! Hope you enjoyed it!
Until next time~

Monday, January 6, 2014

MIMM: Running Things

Happy Monday! Today is definitely a Monday - alarm went off SUPER early for me at 5:15am, peeled myself out of bed, made coffee, showered and got ready, and was just about ready to leave for a work trip when I found out it was called off. Which I'm incredibly grateful for because it's scary cold out today! Wind chill was at 50 below zero when I woke up. This is beyond cold!!

Last week marked the end of the Runner's World Holiday Streak. So how did I do? Well, I'm actually still streaking! I have ran 43 days in a row - crazy!! I never imagined myself making it through this and, on top of it, keeping it going! I added up my miles and here is where we are right now: 200.16 miles!!

I've learned a few things during this streak. One, I actually like running every day. I think I just like moving every day. Rest days used to give me anxiety, and now that it's winter, I can't go out for long walks on them so running has helped with that. Second, I can run even when I'm tired or my legs are sore. Once I got going, my legs would loosen up and I would feel a little more awake. Third, my body still needs rest. I had a couple of weeks where I didn't take a one mile "rest day." I pushed myself to more miles AND would do some sort of cross training after like weights or the bike. My body would get so exhausted I'd feel sick and all my runs would suffer. So although I like moving every day, I can't push it too much!

I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep the streak up because I signed up for my first marathon!!! Woot woot!! 

The Minneapolis Marathon on June 1st will be my first marathon. I'm so excited!! I think all the miles I logged during the running streak will definitely help me with training; I know my body can handle 35+ miles weekly. I researched training plans and reached out to my Sweat Pink sisters for advice, and finally decided to go with the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 plan. I have to modify it slightly to allow an extra week due to when my half marathon will be, but I think the plan is a good fit for me since it allows me six days of workouts, which is my ideal amount. I'm also hoping to find a running club or at least a buddy to help with those long runs.

I chose this marathon because I wanted to challenge myself right away in the spring. Also, if I love running marathons, I can find another in the fall to run! This marathon was also featured in the January issue of Runner's World so that's kinda cool. The organization that puts it on is Team Ortho and I have ran two of their events including my first half marathon and the Polar Dash I just ran on New Year's day. I like them and their organization is awesome. I'm also running my next half marathon with a race their doing so we can safely assume I'm a fan!

Has anyone ran with a running group? 
Any advice on my first marathon or training?

I hope everyone has a good Monday! Stay safe with all the crazy winter weather out there. Linking up here for Marvelous in My Monday!

Until next time~

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014: A Year To Be....

Happy 2014!
My year started off with a super chilly 10k run at the Polar Dash in Minneapolis! This was actually my first 10k and for how cold it was, I'm super happy with my results. I finished in 58:10, keeping my goal pace of 9:22/ minute. I will admit that this was a very painful race at first with frozen feet, but once my feet thawed, I had a fun run. The course was great with hills for the first three miles, then mostly downhill for the last three. I should have just kept going for the 14 mile race; maybe then I wouldn't have gotten so cold afterwards waiting for my friend to run the 5k! But oh well, a race is in the books for the year already. A race is a great way to start out 2014!!

Now I'm not one to make resolutions on New Year's. I probably did last year, but I couldn't tell you what they were without looking. Resolutions are things that are forgotten by February usually and I choose to set goals throughout the year instead.

This year, I do have quite a few running goals. Surprise, surprise! 

First, I signed up for the Run This Year Challenge. You choose to run either 2,014 miles or kilometers throughout the year. (You can also set your own running goal.) I signed up for the kilometers, which is 1,251.4 miles and averages to 24 miles per week. Totally doable for me since I've been averaging 32 to 35 miles currently. I might still go for the miles in the end, but we'll see!

Second, my goal is to run 14 races in 2014. I would need to find a race a month, plus two months run two races. I'm going to start planning out my race calendar this weekend! And I already have one done!!

Third, I want to run three half marathons and my first full marathon in 2014. I think I already have all these races picked out - I'll do half marathons in March, July and October and my full marathon in June.

Other than those goals (with plans and deadlines going in place!) I have no resolutions. However, I did see this that intrigued me ...

“My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond [the resolutions] cycle. 
The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead 
pick ONE WORD.

This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. 
Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.

So what's my one word that will shape 2014?

Why fearless?
Well, in part it's because I know I need to not be afraid of running my first marathon. I need to tackle those training runs and that big race without fear. I can't back out because I get afraid of the daunting mileage. I need to be fearless.

Also, I think I'm afraid of many things in life. Things I don't usually talk about on here....
I'm afraid of dating and how that would change my life. I will admit, I'm afraid of letting someone into my world again.
I'm afraid to speak up often with my work. To speak up for what I want.
I'm afraid to do things on my own like going to see a play, get dinner, etc. because of what people might say about me. I'm getting better, but I still spend most nights at home and am stuck in a rut.
I need to approach these things with a different attitude and be fearless.

So that's what I'm going to focus on more this year. Running, of course! :) And take more chances, step out of my comfort zone more and just be fearless.

Do you make resolutions? Or have any running goals like me? What would your "one word" be?

Until next time~