Goodbye Fat Pants!

You know the ones I am talking about. The bigger pair that sits in the back of the closet in case you’re feeling a little bloated or just want some extra wiggle room. The pants you keep around in case you go out of town and let vacation get the best of you. Those pants.

Well, yesterday morning as I was getting dressed for work I looked through my closet. I’ve been feeling unhappy with my clothes for various reasons lately, but I think its just because I need to go shopping. (Really, you can only wear the same outfit so many times before it gets old.) I picked through my stuff, glancing over my typical fat pants and went for the pants that once upon a time ago fit. The pants I haven’t been able to wear for six months because of wedding stress followed by newlywed bliss coupled with a lack of regular exercise made me gain a few pounds.

I picked them up and looked at them.

It was going to be close. Like I could put them on, but I couldn’t button them. Then I considered laying on the bed to put them on because that works with just about anything (especially when you ignore the accompanying muffin top). If I sucked in would it make them fit better? Would I have to suck in all day?

No, I would not have to suck in all day. Because when I put them on the button clasped without force and I was able to exhale freely.

Success!

This feeling, this blissful feeling, is something I don’t want to lose. My next goal is to fit into the next size down from where I am now. To be completely honest, I’ve never been the next size down from where I am now. And that is slightly intimidating.

Though, for once in my life I feel like I am actually in the right frame of mind to reach that goal. My eating habits are getting a makeover. Training is coming along despite injury. And I finally understand that to change my body it is going to take time and dedication.

Quick Fitness Recap: The last week (and so far this week!) has been spectacular on the exercise front. To keep my mileage up for training I’ve started taking really long walks. My hope is that when I am able to run again it won’t be a huge shock to my system again. Also, if I am able to get faster in my walking then hopefully my running speed will improve as well. For example, on Saturday (my usual long run day) I went for an 8.25 mile walk. It took a little over two hours to complete but no complaints and no blisters. I took the day off on Sunday. Monday I did a quick 3.5 mile workout on the elliptical followed by my favorite pump class. Tuesday I went to yoga. And yoga is becoming a thing for me because it feels great.

Tell me about your workouts last week and this week. Are you shaking things up a bit? 

Saturday.

Some days you should really just say home and play with your kitten. Unfortunately, being the dedicated marathon trainee that I am decided to go out for my long run. Saturday was supposed to be a ten-twelve mile run depending on how I felt.

I started off feeling amazing. I ran two 10:30 minute miles and then apparently my legs decided that they were just going to go faster. And I was so caught up in the music that I wasn’t really paying attention. Miles three through six were 9 minute miles. I wasn’t hurting, my body wasn’t aching. I felt good, I had fabulous weather.

And then it happened.

I was on a downhill. All of sudden the outside of my left knee was in excruciating pain. I slowed to walk which turned into a limp. After a few minutes of walking, the pain subsided so I thought I could run again. I ran just short of a quarter of a mile before deciding that running today was no longer an option. But since walking still felt fine, I figured I’d just to walk back to my apartment. I turned my app off at 9.03 miles. I had been walking for two and a half at this point. I still had another half a mile to go.

I live on the four floor of an apartment building with no elevators. I couldn’t even bend my knee to walk up the stairs without crying out in pain.

Chris saw my face when I hobbled through the door and knew something was seriously wrong.

My knee was slightly swollen. It looked like there was a bruise under the kneecap close to where I said it hurt.

After icing it and hanging out for a little while we headed out the Redskins pre-season game.

The walk to the car was slow and painful. Bending my knee no longer was an option.

Luckily at the stadium I managed to score Chris and I a ride on a golf cart with one of the stadium attendants. From there it was an elevator ride and a short walk to the suite so we could rejoice in witnessing RGIII’s first play ever at Fedex Field.

Thankfully the Redskins won.With that win I declared this is the season we head to the Super Bowl.

The walk back to the car was slow and painful. Walking up the stairs back into the apartment was painful.

This morning when I woke up? No pain. Granted, I haven’t tried to walk down the stairs or anything, but its an improvement.

My biggest concern is that this pain will prohibit me from participating in the half marathon next weekend. This is a tapering week so my runs will be short and sweet. Two four mile runs is all I’ve got planned.

If I have to, I will walk the half marathon.

At what point should I visit the doctor? Have you ever had random knee pain occur on a run? What did you do for treatment? How did this pain affect future runs? Any trips or tricks to help avoid knee pain? Do those compression knee sleeves actually work? Any help is greatly appreciated. Let’s discuss!

Stop Beating Yourself Up. You’re Amazing!

After talking with quite a few people following my race recap post, the main comment I received was ‘stop beating yourself up, you are amazing!’

And you know what? I am.

There are millions of people who live in and around Washington, D.C. Many who probably claim to be runners. But, how many people signed up for the Leesburg 20K? A little over six hundred.

And I was one of them. And I finished.

I finished a race most people wouldn’t have even put on their radar. I finished a race that most people ask me ‘why do you even want to run that far?’

Because its special. It makes me feel special.

Not a lot of people tackle races longer than a 10K. Those who do usually reach for a ten miler, maybe a half marathon when they think they are ready.

And even then the amount of people who attempt and finish those races is a significantly smaller pool than the masses who do 5K and 10K.

If running long distances was easy, everyone would do it. It is hard. It takes a lot of time to train and prepare for this. It’s taxing on your body and your emotions and even your relationships. This takes time and effort (unless you have Forrest Gump abilities).

So instead of beating myself up over being on the slower side of the curve, I want to celebrate the fact that I am doing this. I am running distances I never imagined were possible for me and I am finishing races.

Slow and steady isn’t something for me to be ashamed of, it is something for me to celebrate.

I feel like in my race recap I came off a little snarky with my finishers medal graphic.

So, instead of hating on myself for not being a faster, more seasoned runner. I think its necessary for me to celebrate the fact that I finished that race in a respectable pace. I was slow and steady, like the tortoise, but I finished and am proud of that.

When you start to feel down about how you performed in a race or a training run, remember that you stuck with it. You are special because you’re doing something that not a lot of others consider doing. You may be slow and steady but you’re winning the race.

And you deserve an award.

So, stop beating yourself up. You’re amazing!

Race Recap: Leesburg 20K

Start Line

Yesterday morning, Kristen and I ran the Leesburg 20K.

The goal? Finish the race. Just keep moving and finish. I will worry about time for the half marathon, but this was a training run. I was going to do twelve miles this weekend anyway so I might as well add a little extra and get a free t-shirt. However, this race felt more like a dead sprint for seasoned runners. And I was definitely out of place.

The course was beautiful. Loads of trees, shade, and wildlife. We ran the majority of it through the W&OD trail which prevented spectators from collecting along the sides and cheering like you would see in a road race. The lack of crowd support forced me to get inside my head and convince myself that I could finish.

Somewhere on the Internet, there was mention that this was a particularly hilly course. Totally not the case at all. I expected a major incline, not a few small rolling hills.

The stations were spaced out perfectly (less than every two miles!) and equipped with gatorade and water. One of the stations also offered Gu but only in the fruit flavors and we know how I feel about fruit. There was also whisperings that there would be a bathroom stop around mile 9, unfortunately this was a lie unless they meant nature.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to make any pit stops along the way. Maybe my subconscious knew that the possibility of a bathroom stop was a lie…

I moved slowly from mile to mile. Like a tortoise. I might’ve been shuffling at one point.

At mile six, I made use of my Nuun hydration tablet. A small boost of energy flowed through me and I was on my way. At mile nine, I opened my Clif shot gel. I managed to only get through half of it before a bee flew toward my face and I chucked it. The sugary sweetness from the gel reminded me of frosting and I remember thinking that I wish I had a cupcake instead.

“Just keep moving,” became my mantra.

Running

During mile 9, I turned to Kristen and told her I wanted to die (I’m dramatic). At this point, my arms were chaffed so bad and the bottoms of my feet were on fire. I’ve never had an issue with chaffing until today and wow did it hurt. The pain in my feet is a rubbing issue I thought I was used to but I was wrong. Annoying.

Just keep moving.

I crossed the finish line at 2:46:21. Pace was 13:25.

I walked more than I should’ve, but I finished. I finished the 20k. I was second to last for my age group, but I finished.

An award I definitely earned today.

Unfortunately, they did not give out finishers medals. I know there was an awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group, but the ceremony was over before I crossed the finish line.

I feel like the last person in each of those age groups deserves recognition as well, so I made the medal above as a consolation prize even though I was runner-up for last.

As I was trying to cross the finish line, this man who had completed the 5K ran up to me with this giant American flag that he proceeded to thrust into my hands in order to pump me up. I appreciated the patriotism but at that point I felt like all of my limbs were going to fall off. The flag was heavy and weird and ugh.

Talk about awkward.

All participants were invited to a post-race brunch hosted by one of the sponsors. The post-race party was severely picked over at this point. Apples, bananas and water were all that remained. I’m sure had I finished sooner I could’ve enjoyed more of it, but I didn’t care.

I planned in advance and made reservations at my favorite restaurant for brunch.

Amazing.

Totally worth every ache and pain I felt in my body at that moment. I almost ordered the croissant french toast as well, but refrained.

After brunch, I returned home where I proceeded to put my compression socks on and make myself comfortable on the couch. Many naps and a lazy afternoon followed.

It felt like my calves were being hugged. A glorious feeling.

Now that I’ve finished this race, I am pumped for the Virginia Beach half marathon. My time goal for that has always been to finish in under three hours. Now, I want to finish in under 2:45. If I can just pick up my pace a little between now and then, I am confident that I should be able to finish with time to spare.

I suppose I will just have to keep reminding myself to “just keep moving.”

Have you ever competed in a 20k? How did it go for you? Do you stress about meeting time based goals or do you just aim to finish? Any tips for me on how to improve within the next two weeks?

Two Week Countdown

In two weeks I will be competing in my first half marathon. Wow did these last two months fly by. I feel like just yesterday I was writing this entry, all nervous to put myself out there and afraid of what everyone else would think. It’s really crazy to think of how far I’ve come in running from reading over my entries. There have been loads of mistakes, missteps, and quite a few personal victories.

And dare I say that I actually sometimes enjoy running now. Goodness.

And I now sort of kind of consider myself a runner. Eep.

So weird.

Kristen peer-pressured me to sign up for a local race I had been eyeing for a little while now. So, last night, I took the plunge and just signed up for it. This Sunday I will be competing in the Leesburg 20K. Or how I marketed it to myself, a little over a half mile shorter than a half marathon! From what I’ve read, the course is hilly and while that intimidates me a little it ultimately wasn’t enough to deter me. Also, I figure I am going to be out running twelve miles this weekend, so I might as well get a shirt from it. Clearly, my reasons for doing this have not changed.

Honestly, even the half marathon is a training run for me as well. The goal at the end of this is to run the Richmond Marathon, which I officially signed up for recently as well. The goal is to be a marathoner. To reserve the right to say, “Yeah, I did it. Jealous?” And to get a medal and put stickers on my car.

I can’t wait!