Burn Out

I needed a break.  I needed a change.  I needed something different.  And I’ve had time for all of that and now I’m on my way back.  Completing the marathon this year was a huge accomplishment and something that I worked towards for 2 years.  Then it was as if my body and my mind gave out.  Once I became tired of feeling out of shape and unmotivated things had to change.

Oddly enough I didn’t stop running completely, but I did give up on a consistent schedule.  The only consistency was showing up to the WOB runs every Monday and even then I didn’t go every week.  I also didn’t stop racing.  The Gate River Run was about 3 weeks after the marathon and while it wasn’t a PR, it was one of the most fun races I’ve ever had.  I also ran  a few 5k’s and succeeded in finally running one in under 30 minutes.  I haven’t done that since 2010 before my first injury.  One thing that I think contributes to the recent speed up is weight training.  I made the decision not to go back to Crossfit this year but I did join LA Fitness and started working one-on-one with a personal trainer.  It has been just over 5 months now and I’m seeing some good results so far.  I still have a long way to go though as I continue to try to decrease my body fat percentage.

Since I wasn’t interested in high miles on Saturdays, I volunteered for the 26.2 with Donna Galloway Getting Started Program.  I’m so glad I did and it was a very rewarding experience.  I was burnt out from being a group leader from the training year but this was so refreshing.  Everyone there was eager to learn new things and wanted your opinion and advice about various topics like running shoes, nutrition, intervals, etc.  I was happy to share my knowledge and help out some of these runners.  The program is only training for a 5k so the runs were low mileage and easy paced.  It was a great way for me to get in an additional run each week.

In the midst of my running/training burn out I also gave up on blogging.  I really was just not motivated to sit down and write.  Lack of inspiration perhaps but honestly it just wasn’t a priority.  Now that I’ve had some time off, I’m ready to get back at it.  I haven’t decided which races I want to train for but I’m ready to be back on a schedule.  I have plans to start speed training and slowly increase my mileage each week  I’ve been working on changing my running form and it continues to get easier and feel more natural.  I’m signed up for an upcoming form class through JRC to make sure I’m on the right track and not teaching my feet the wrong thing.

Check back soon.  More posts on the way!

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26.2

I don’t even know where to begin.  This goal has been 2 years in the making and it has finally been achieved.  I really didn’t blog much about my training this year, partly due to not wanting to over share and jinx anything and partly due to burnout.  That being said I am so excited to be able to just run for fun for a while and not have to be responsible for training runs every week.  However, since this has been such an important goal, I want to take some time to recap the day!

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The day started around 4:00am when I got up to get ready… oatmeal for breakfast, put on my running clothes, Vaseline on my toes, compression socks, etc.  Mom and I left the house around 5:00am to go pick up Val.  Mom dropped us off at the start of the race and we had plenty of time to use the bathrooms, take pictures and get ready for the big moment.

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The gun went off shortly after 7:30am and I’d say it took about 15 minutes for our coral to get to the starting line.  I ended up hanging back to run with one of my group members Martha and little did I know she would be the one getting me to the finish line.  The first few miles flew by.  The next thing I know we are arriving at Mile 4 where I remember the pain starting last year.  This year, no problems (yet!).  Mile 6 put us at the entrance to the beach with the next 2.5 miles on the sand.  It wasn’t as flat as I remembered from last year so the tide must have been in a little closer.  We exited the beach and I was still feeling good. We had been keeping a good pace and were still going strong.

We felt good running through the beginning of Atlantic Beach.  There were tons of spectators out and lots of good music along the way.  We wound through the neighborhoods of Atlantic Beach and I was starting to lose some steam around Mile 11.  I managed to keep it going though and we got to the half way point still strong.  After that, I was really starting to not feel well.  It was warm and humid and I think I was losing more salt than I was aware because by Mile 15 I felt like I could pass out.  I was grabbing every cold sponge that they were passing out and squeezing them over my head and we stopped for a bathroom break.  Martha offered up some salt pills she had on her and what a life saver those were.

The next 3 miles went much better and we gained some energy and momentum.  We thought about changing up our run/walk ratio at Mile 18 but decided to wait until Mile 20.  By then my legs were starting to cramp pretty bad so we stopped briefly so I could put some BioFreeze on my calves and shins.  That felt great and it also started to rain a little bit which felt very refreshing at first.  We decided to try a 1:1 run/walk ratio but that was not helping me.  It was too much start and stop and was making me cramp worse.  So we switched to a 2:30/1 ratio which got us to the ramp to get on JTB.  We were exhausted and not caring much about our finish time and at this point it was raining harder so we walked up the ramp.

Once we got up the hill we went back to the run/walk and made it to Mile 24.  Here I stopped to use the bathroom and Martha stopped by first aid for some last minute pain reliever spray.  We ran again until we got to the hill going up the bridge and then walked up.  It was really raining at this point, windy, cold, thundering and lightning and I heard something on someone’s radio about calling the race but no one stopped us.  A little ways up the hill we saw school buses coming in the opposite direction and wondered if they were going to pick people up.  As we approached the top of the hill I told Martha to run ahead since we were close to the finish and I would be right behind her.  I was still cramping pretty bad but was shuffling along as best I could.

When I got to the straightaway to the finish, I looked down and saw my shoe was untied.  So I knelt down to tie it and it felt like my whole leg seized up.  But as I was trying to get up, I looked up and saw my parents standing under the overpass.  As soon as I saw them, they saw me too and started cheering for me as I hobbled toward them and gave them hugs.  I then shuffled into the finish line where Martha was waiting for me and gave me a hug.  I was almost in tears, both from pain and emotion but somehow held it in.  I was so incredibly happy to have made it to the finish line.   Martha and I hobbled into the Runner’s Village, stopping for a quick photo, and picked up our medals.  My parents met us at the entrance to Mayo Clinic where they had moved everyone inside due to the weather.

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We sat in a crowded hallway for a while so I could rest and try to warm up.  I had a dry shirt in a bag my mom had been carrying so I changed and they covered me with their coats as blankets.  I saw others in hospital gowns and nurses passing out blankets to those who really needed them.  Friends Barbara and Ted, who had also been standing in the rain waiting for me to finish, found us at the hospital to say hi.  I am so blessed to have friends and family that brave the weather to support me!  It turns out that the race was called and several hundred people were unable to finish.  Along with the thunder and lightning, there were apparently also tornado warnings.  I had made it past the cut-off point in the nick of time.  Eventually we headed back out into the rain to walk back to the car and headed home.  What a day!

In all the hard moments, I just kept repeating to myself “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”  Despite the leg cramping and exhausted body, I never once felt the pain I had felt the year before with actual injury and I never once thought I wouldn’t finish.  By the time I hit Mile 20, I knew for sure I was almost there and would make it.  I wish the second half had gone a little smoother but in the long run it didn’t matter.  All I wanted to do was finish and that’s exactly what I did.  And while I don’t plan on running another full marathon for a while, I don’t think it’s my last.  There will be plenty of time to improve on my time if I ever get that desire.  Otherwise I look at the marathon as an accomplishment in and of itself, no matter my finishing time.  And I am so incredibly thankful for Martha.  She stuck by my side, she kept me going, and she made sure I was going to make it to the end.  By the grace of God and her support (and the support of everyone along the way) I finally achieved this goal.  And I’ve never been prouder of myself!

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Traveling with Zeus II

This is the second post I’ve done about traveling with a Vizsla and it has gotten much easier!  He has been doing a lot of traveling lately and he seems to be adjusting to new surroundings better than he used to.

Zeus has had several sleep overs with his buddies Penny and Jasmine.  P&J’s parents offered to watch Zeus for me a few times this fall/winter which helped me out tremendously the days I had long runs.  Zeus and Penny run around in the yard with each other all day and by the time I would pick him up Saturday afternoon he would be exhausted which allowed me to relax at home (which is all you want to do after a 20 mile run).  He was also able to be left alone there with P&J when we all went out to eat without causing any problems.  We came back to the house: nothing had been chewed up, no messes on the floor and there were 3 pups happy to see us!

Zeus also spent 2 weeks down and my parents’ house visiting his Grammy and Grampy!  He loves visiting them and did even better once they started letting him sleep wherever he wanted (although still not allowed in bed with them).  In the morning, Mom said there was always evidence he had been on one of the guest beds or out on the couch – often multiple sleeping spots in one night.  He and Grammy did a lot of walking and he spent a lot of time snuggling with them on the couch.

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After spending time in Tampa, Zeus traveled with me and my parents up to New Jersey.  We did the drive up all in one night trying to beat a storm moving east.  It was a tough drive but it went well and Zeus slept most of the way.  He did great at my brother and sister-in-law’s house.  It was really cold up there and he eventually go used to the jacket we bought for him.  We went on a few walks and hiked at a near by park which was a lot of fun.  My mom bought him another large elephant and brought along a few of his toys so he was always easily entertained.  And as usual he did a lot of snuggling!

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We went back down to my parents’ house for Christmas and I’m always so pleased at how well he travels in the car.  He doesn’t whine or cry; he will sit and look out the window or lay down on the seat to take a nap or watch the view out the front windshield.

Post-Christmas, we headed up to North Carolina, first to Maggie Valley and then to Durham.  In Maggie Valley, we stayed with Penny and Jasmine and their parents – what a beautiful mountain home they have with a gorgeous view!  I was a little worried about  letting Zeus roam off leash because he has been known to take off; however, when we took a walk up the mountain, all 3 dogs were off leash and Zeus stayed right within view the whole time.  He didn’t seem interested in running too far ahead.

By the time we got to Durham, Zeus was pretty much a pro at chilling in the back seat.  He sat up most of the way and watched our drive through the mountains.  He was good about leaving Josie, his beagle friend, alone (Josie puts up with him hogging the couch).  This was our first time visiting Durham without bringing his crate.  I wasn’t too worried because he’s been really good at home now that I leave him out but I was definitely relieved when we came home from leaving him alone with Josie and the house was unscathed!  Zeus also got to meet his first baby! He was gentle around the baby and gave him a few kisses and in general wasn’t too impressed with it.   Until I picked him up and held him.  Then Mr. Jealous did everything he could to parade around by my side to remind me he was still there.  He finally was content to share my lap and we all enjoyed some snuggle time on the couch!

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Overall, it was a busy holiday season with lots of travel and lots of change, but Zeus did great!  He is really starting to adapt better to change and new locations.  He’s such a good boy and I couldn’t have picked out a better pup!

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