*Weekly mileage*

Mileage for the week of March 23rd – March 29th

Total weekly mileage: 50.25

Total March mileage (to-date): 230

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 683

Run review:

3/23          No run/rest day

3/24         1:02:58 min./7 mi./9:00 pace

3/25         No run

3/26         1:08:11 min./8.25 mi./8:16 pace

34:41 min./4 mi./8:40

3/27         41:42 min./5 mi./8:20 pace

3/28         33:25 min./4 mi./8:21 pace

3/29          3:07:12 min./22 mi./8:30 pace

Last week proved to be rather challenging… spring break travel, a super grumpy hamstring… followed by tweeking my back… made for an interesting week. My mileage ended up a little lower than I had hoped for my peak marathon training week but I’d like to think that I’m better off in the long run by not pushing myself when my body was clearly protesting.

Put a fork in me, I’m DONE!

So I guess I’m officially tapering. My training week culminated with a 22-mile long run on Sunday followed by 24 hours at my happiest place on earth. Not Disneyland, but a retreat to a beloved hot spring in the mountains with Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking. I’m still completely blissed out and feeling grateful for such a relaxing and healing way to celebrate the hardest portion of my training cycle.

21 days to go!

*It’s not all in your head*

There is something very reassuring and validating about the phrase “it’s not all in your head”. Especially when it’s told to you by a health-care professional.

Yay! I’m not crazy!

Well, maybe a little crazy. But I’m grateful to have some solid answers as to what I’ve been dealing with regarding the pain in my ass. Er, the pain in my sacroiliac joint (or SI joint) to be precise.

Earlier this afternoon I went to the chiropractor. Nothing that I was told was a surprise but it was nice to hear it nonetheless. Basically, the normal motion of the SI joint has been impaired causing pain that resides in my low back and buttocks and radiates down into the center of my hamstrings. The SI joint is meant to act as a shock-absorber and either too much movement, or not enough, can lead to issues. The location, and pain itself, is similar to sciatica pain. But I’ve had that too and this is different.

I found it interesting that this ailment is most common in young and middle-aged women. Sucks to be a young woman! ; )

Additionally, my right leg is also shorter than my left by at least a half-inch and my psoas muscles (and IT bands if I’m going there anyway) are super tight. I guess I’m not clear if either of those are a possible culprits or a symptom but since everything is connected, I’m treating those issues with a heel insert to hopefully help balance my pelvis and some strengthening and stretching exercises to help the psoas (and IT band) stuff.

No pity party here though. I’m feeling better already knowing that I’ve got some answers, and solutions, to help fix the broken bits that need some extra love. I’m stepping up the self-care game, pronto!

And then I took a selfie in the sunshine. Have a great Tuesday!

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Soaking up some vitamin D.

*Five week freak out*

Nothing like talking race day logistics to freak a first-time marathoner out. The countdown to my first marathon can now be calculated on one hand. Five weeks from tomorrow I will get to see what I am really made of. Bad-ass Boston qualifying marathoner?  Or… I’m not going to even allow myself to consider the “or”.

Just five short weeks left to fine-tune my training and pre-race preparations. I’m still a few weeks out from tapering so at this point my biggest focus is staying as healthy as I can. We’ve had a lot of sicko’s in the family these past couple of weeks but fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid it and *fingers crossed* will escape the season bug free.

I’m also nursing a little… I don’t know what to call it… injury I guess. The pain that started in the outer backside of my left knee and then moved up the back my leg indicating a pulled hamstring has now settled in the back of my knee. My medical degrees from Google University and WebMD indicate a biceps femoris strain, which is something I’ve dealt with off and on since January. It is that same thing (I believe) that flared up during the Hippie Chick Half-Marathon that had me limping the last 5 miles. I’ve been doing all of the prescribed injury treatments: icing, stretching, taking ibuprofen… trying to take it easy but I haven’t stopped running. I know, I know.

Any advice for staying healthy at this stage in the game?

Or advice on how to keep from FREAKING OUT?

*17 miles ~ BOOM!*

Just after I hit the snooze button for the second time this morning, around 4:54 AM, and I slowly began to gain consciousness, I realized that I was hearing the sound of gushing water outside in the gutter/downspout. UUGGHHH. Pouring rain. The only reason my alarm was set for 4:45 AM, on a Sunday morning, on a holiday weekend no less, could only mean one thing: long run day.

I dreaded the thought of running 17 miles in the rain so I pleaded with the powers that be. By 6:00 AM is was letting up. By the time I left at 6:30 AM it had stopped. I didn’t get rained on. Not a drop! Whew.

Today’s run was challenging for sure. I had to dig deep. Even though I feel like all of my pre-run prep was well executed, I felt that it would be in my best interest to not push myself today. My hamstring is still grumpy and I decided that it wouldn’t be worth the risk of potentially causing more damage.

I was so, so happy to be done when I hit 17 miles. I had about a quarter of a mile to stagger walk home and had I not been in running gear, I’m sure I would have been suspected of public intoxication. It wasn’t pretty. I ran 17 miles in 2:26:06 at an 8:36 pace.

Not only was running 17 miles a first, I had another first today too. My first official ice bath. I thought it might do my achy lower body some good. And honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I hate being cold. Like really HATE it. So I had to make a little effort to ensure that I could tolerate sitting in an icy, cold tub of freezing water. This is how it went down:

*While refueling, I turned the heat up in the bathroom to get it toasty warm.

*I only filled the tub about halfway… just about hip high when seated. I started with lukewarm water so it made it easier to get in. Then I adjusted the temperature of the water until it was just cold water.

*Once I got used to it, I started adding the ice. I didn’t add a lot. The temperature of the water was plenty cold to begin with. Brrr!

*A great tip I read somewhere suggested to wear something warm for the upper body. I dug out an old fleece sweatshirt that I tied up to keep from getting wet. It helped a ton!

*Another tip I read was to drink something warm. I had a cup of coffee and oh my did I enjoy it.

*When I got to the point where the water didn’t *feel* cold, I decided that was enough. I didn’t keep track of time but I estimated that I soaked for about 10 minutes.

*After I got out, I waited another 10-15 minutes to allow my body temperature to return to normal before I took a shower so I wouldn’t freak my body out.

Runner’s World is a good resource for more information on ice baths which you can find here.

I’m feeling pretty good this evening so I think the ice bath was worth the effort. I also made sure that I stayed moving as much as possible the rest of the day. I guess tomorrow will be the best indicator of how well my post-run self-care practices worked.

But YO! I ran 17 miles today!!

*Guess what!*

It’s good news! After all of my bitchin’ and moanin’ yesterday about my race time, not finishing in the top 50, my bum leg/hamstring, etc., a couple of Mother’s Day miracles occurred!

Last night while I was laying around icing my leg, I decided to see check out the race results for giggles. Apparently my complaining worked because lo and behold, I moved up two places. 49th place, baby!!!!

49. Hyla Ridenour St Helens, OR 1664 F 35 1:44:05 7:56 16 / 331 49 /1861 49 /1861 1:44:08 7:57

Miracle #2 came in the form of waking up pain free. The combination of my go-to treatment: RICE (rest – ice – compress – elevate) in conjunction with margarita’s ibuprofen, I rolled out of bed this morning feeling like a million bucks! So good in fact that I ran. My daughter and I did an easy/slow 6 mile run before I consumed a whole bunch of goodies she baked me yesterday in honor of Mother’s Day.

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BELIEVE IT!!

Needless to say, I’m feeling a whole lot better in general. I feel like I learned some valuable lessons from this experience. I’m grateful to move forward with a deeper appreciation for the fact that I am resilient and able to keep working towards my dreams.

*Shaking off disappointment*

The outcome of the Hippie Chick Half Marathon today was not what I had hoped for. I am feeling disappointed and pouty and am consoling myself with margaritas.

Before I share the details of my race, I want to first say that the event itself was FANTASTIC, as I expected. This was my first time running this event and it was well-organized, the staff, volunteers, participants, etc. were wonderful, the route meanders through farm country which is beautiful and I love the comradery, celebrating mothers and friendships.

As a creepy side note, I also was awe-struck by being in the presence of Paula Harkin, founder of Run with Paula Events. She is an inspiration to me and just being near her was an honor. Yes, I’m a total creeper!

Moving on…

Yesterday I was feeling doubtful about whether or not I was going to even be able to run as hard as I wanted to. Without going into detail, lets just say my body threw me a couple of curve balls. For the most part, just the usual “girl” kind of stuff. I spent a lot of time considering that maybe this run wasn’t the one to attempt a PR or push myself. But then when I went to bed last night, all I could think about was how capable I am, how well-trained I am, and how badly I wanted to prove that I can exceed my own expectations. I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of confidence that I could at least PR and hopefully finish within the top 50.

Okay, so here is how my race went down. originally I wanted a 1:40-ish finish, which would be a 7:37 pace, but decided to take a more conservative approach. I set my Garmin to a 7:45 pace and lined up at the start with the 7:45 pace group. I’m horrible at running negative splits but was hopeful that I’d pick up speed later on. (Yeah, I’m asking myself why too!)

The first three miles were AWESOME! Ran all three under 7:30. I started to slow a little during mile four and continued to slow over the next four miles but wasn’t too worried because I usually am pretty good about picking up the pace again the last few miles. Then at around the 8.5 mile mark I got a pain in my left leg that I haven’t felt for months. (I had trouble with this back in January.) I’m not 100% certain that it is my IT band, but the pain started at the outer backside of my knee, and from what I’ve read, is the closest explanation. It quickly got worse and the pain started to shoot up toward my hamstring. I slowed. I limped a little. I fought back tears and started pleading with the powers that be to make it go away. I was determined to run through the pain. I was not giving up!!

After about two miles, the intensity of the pain subsided a little and I held on. I’m so grateful to the sweet gal who I’d been pacing for a while to say to me “lets finish this” and we chatted for a few minutes before we turned silent as we struggled toward the finish line.

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Blown out but captures how happy I am to be nearly done!

As I entered the stadium I saw my daughter. I was so happy and grateful to see her. She joined me for those last few meters and crossed the finish line with me. Very cool! I finished in 1:44:05 and placed 51st, overall, and 16th in my age division.

My splits:

7:29 / 7:27 / 7:29 / 7:40 / 7:35 / 7:49 / 7:55 / 7:53 / 8:04 / 8:29 /8:14 / 8:08 / 8:06

Had I not had the IT band/leg pain flare up, I know I would have finished quicker. I also know that sometimes, no matter how much it is desired or how well-trained I am or whatever, there could potentially be some hitch that derails my attempt. As they say, shit happens.

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Brooks’ Cavalcade of Curiosities was there!

So, I’m shaking off the disappointment, celebrating that I was pretty darn close, and feeling grateful for the experience. The margaritas help too. ; )

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Post run refueling sportin’ my Hippie Chick cap!

Happy Mother’s Day!

*Running essentials*

A quick trip to the store with my husband this afternoon yielded a little stockpile of some of my running essentials. Um, and yes, wine IS an essential!

running essentials

Poor picture quality but you get the idea. Here is what landed in my cart today:

*The April 2013  Runner’s World ~ Weight-Loss Special. Woot Woot! Perfect timing. I’m hoping to drop a few lbs in order to gain more speed and hoping their tips will help.

*KT Tape ~ I’ve been nursing a grumpy hamstring so I broke out the KT Tape today which did seem to help. I am planning for some major hamstring love in coming weeks… stretching, rolling, icing, soaking (see Epsom Salt below), taping… so stocked up.

*Naproxen Sodium ie: generic Aleve ~ for hamstring pain and inflammation. BOO!

*Epsom Salt ~ for hamstring pain and inflammation. Double BOO! But I LOVE baths and soaking after a long or especially hard run. It can make such a huge difference in my recovery.

*Blistex Lip Balm ~ Not just a running essential. I. Must. Have. Lip. Balm. I’m addicted and can’t live without it.

*Wine ~ Ravens Wood Zinfandel is a new fave. A friend turned me on to this wine last summer and I really enjoy it. The fact that it is affordable doesn’t hurt either.

Mmmm… wine…