Thursday, May 14, 2015

And the hits keep coming...

I mentioned in my last blog post that I learned through a blood test that I was vitamin D deficient.  That leads to weakened immunity and lack of energy...which was me basically from Feb on.  I went to my PCP because after many visits at urgent care for various things- flu, colds, cough, sore throat, weakness, ear pain, etc and not getting better...I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.   I finally had to break down and get a sub to go see my PCP...doctors hours and teacher hours don't line up well!  

While at my PCP I mentioned the symptom of hoarseness of voice that was happening mostly in the evenings for about 3 months (the entire sickness ordeal).  That raised a red flag and she said you should not have that for so long....i want you to see an ENT.  Once again, getting a sub to go to the appointment so I didn't actually go for about two weeks.  I knew I had to because the hoarseness was really affecting my life...evening hoarseness, tiredness and throat pain was causing me to get a sub more often than not for my mid-week evening spin class I teach.  

I finally saw the ENT this week and stuck a crazy tubular camera up through my nose and down the back of my throat.  It was nuts.  While in there he said...yup you've got nodules.  Think of them as callouses on your voice box and prescribed me a steroid.  

I'm instructed to come back after I take the medicine if I don't feel better.  I'm thinking I will...tonight's pain is bad.  I definitely experience the body fatigue as well.  Combined with my vitamin D deficiency lack of energy, I'm really winning right now.  

So in the short term, I may try and rest my voice this weekend.  Unfortunately I talk all day for a living.  But it says not talk or whisper AT ALL for a few days....I guess I have an exciting weekend of carrying around a notepad to communicate.  Ugh.  And I'm thinking I should take a big ole DNS for the Columbia Triathlon and Warrior Dash this weekend.  

Maybe I could still do the Tri silent?  I won't be able to yell, "on your left!".  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I had a really rough winter...and I finally know why.

It's been no secret this winter was horrible for me health wise.  Cold after cold, the flu, lack of energy, and daily headaches.  My training suffered terribly.  I would participate in the races I had already signed up for but complete only about 1/3 of my training miles and workouts.  I got subs for the spin class I teach.  I am still signed up for a full marathon next weekend, but will be dropping to the half.  

After not feeling good, or like myself since January, I finally went to the Dr.  Doing a search of my symptoms I was assuming that I'd be told I had an iron deficiency.  Lyme disease also ran through my mind as my daughter has suffered from it.  I had blood tests done last week.  My results came back this week and everything came back good except for vitamin D.  I was deficient.  

Deficiency causes muscle weakness and decreased immunity especially to respiratory infections which was spot on for me.  

I am now taking a vitamin D supplement and trying to spend as much time in the sun as possible.  I'm starting to feel a little better, but still weak and will need to build back up to full racing speed and stamina.  I'm so happy winter is finally over!  
Maybe it's time to move back to California?  ��

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Race Recap: BAA 5k

The BAA 5k was an overall great experience and I'm really happy I did it!  The race started and finish at the Boston Common and our hotel, The Park Plaza was steps away.   I love the Boston Common!
I didn't do gear check since I had my husband.  There were plenty of porta potties, but they had run out of toilet paper.  
I found the 7:00 minute corral and hopped in.  It was definitely a crowded race.  There were 10,000 runners and it was self seeding, so the first mile was very crowded and full of many different paces.  This made it very difficulties maintain an even solid pace.  I felt like a Ping pong ball bouncing back and forth looking for openings.  I was getting really stressed out but then decide to just relax, back off the pace and enjoy the sights.  

It was a beautiful course and so neat to run along the same path that the marathon would run on Monday.   So many businesses had signs out supporting the was amazing!  
As we made the left onto Boylston with the slight downhill and the Boston Marathon finish line ahead, I envisioned how that would feel for Mondays runners (my hubby included).   
I finished without a PR but still happy.  I ran without a phone so I had a hard time finding my people at the end, but luckily we all did.  Was so great to see my friends Laura and Christine who live in the area.  Great race ladies!  

I also ran into fellow blogger, Pavement Runner!  Thanks to him for the pic!  
The course was redesigned this year to be faster and American 5k records were broken that morning.  Molly Huddle pulled ahead to take the record and Ben True took the men's.  Both ran the fastest 5ks on American soil....ever!  My husband was spectating and said the cheers for Molly and Ben were deafening... Avery was covering her ears!  Way to go Ben and Molly!  

I couldn't stay in the finish area too long, as I had a 10am group run with Team Nuun.  So I ran the mile or so down Newbury Street to meet up with them.  
We met at the Tracksmith pop up shop and took a 3 mile loop out to the water and back.  Thanks to Jody from CrossMyHeartFitness for the photo.  
After the run, I headed back to the finish line to eat lunch with the family at SweetGreen and look who I ran into there?  I was in heaven!  

What a fun time!  I will be back next year!  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Exciting Announcements!

So many exciting things going on in Live Free And Run land!

First, as a member of Team Nuun....I am being given the opportunity to run the Ragnar Wasatch Back in Utah.  Go #TeamNuun

I am runner 9 in Van #2.  My legs:
7.60 miles | Very Hard       9.00 miles | Very Hard      4.10 miles | Moderate    Total Miles:20.7 miles

Very excited and nervous!  I have a pretty long leg and very difficult elevation profile.  I am hoping that this will make Marine Corps Marathon seem easy!  Have you done a Ragnar before?  Any tips to share with this Ragnar Virgin?  

I was chosen as an ambassador for The North Face #TNFlocal.  They are sponsoring November Project style workouts right here in DC!  Come join us!  

I was also chosen again as a Women's Health Action Hero for 2015.  I am excited to run the Run 10 Feed 10 again and support this amazing cause.  

I am will the at the RRCA Run Coach Training all weekend and will come back as a certified running coach.  Wahoo!  

In 8 days we head up to Boston for the Boston Marathon!  I will be running the 5k and the hubby the full!  We will both get to cross this very special finish line!  

As a celebration of the exciting things....I am giving away a FEED foundation bag and lots of goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Life Lately.....

So I got the flu (real full blown Type A flu) AGAIN this year in mid Feb.  Yeah you have got to be kidding me.  I got it last year AND this year....what are the chances?  and yes I did get my flu shot....both this year and last.  (Thinking there should be kindergarten teacher hazard pay... but I love my little munchkins!). 
To say that the flu has affected my training would be an has KILLED my training.  It took over a month to normal again.  The flu than most have turned into secondary infections with a lingering low grade fever, chest congestion, viral pink eye, sore throat and mild ear infection that just wouldn't quit.  Was finally prescribed a z-pack at urgent care last weekend because I just couldn't take it anymore.    I did not teach spin for the past six weeks. I did not work out or run unless it was a race I had already signed up for (with a few exceptions).  I am feeling pretty down in the dumps and trying to get back into it.  I was nervous to teach spin this Weds because it had been so long and I was feeling so out of shape.  I am nervous to run again for the same reason.  But I need to get over that fear of feeling like a failure and now I can get back to where I will just take a few hard weeks of motivation and discipline.  And realizing that every little bit helps.  So when I was early for spin class?  Jump Jacks!  Every little bit will help.  Did walking lunges too. Now as I sit here writing this on Friday...sore.  Just goes to show how far I have to go!  
I need to get back into shape and quick.  I have the BAA 5k, the End Homelessness 5k, Pike's Peak 10k that I was hoping would be my new 10k PR, I have a full marathon at the Coastal DE  (that will be scaled back to the half because of this) and the Columbia Triathlon all coming down the pipeline in the next SIX WEEKS!  So super scary with where I am at right now. 

Have you ever had a break from training due to illness?  How did you deal?  How did you motivate and push yourself to get back into it without the feelings of discouragement?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Guest Review Of The 1775K

The 1775k is a race put on the United States Marine Corps to honor the year 1775, when the Corps was founded.  The distance of 17.75k is equal to 11.03 miles.  The big draw for this race is that all finishers get an access code to enter the Maine Corp Marathon and avoid the lottery entry system they use! (The Marine Corps Marathon, or MCM, is the third largest marathon in the country that takes place in and around downtown Washington, DC. It's one of the best marathons around so the concept of a guaranteed entry to avoid the lottery is what draws a lot of people to the 1775k race and this race itself always sells out in a few minutes).

Course setting:
The setting is an a National Park: Prince William Forest Park.  It is a rural hilly park located in Virginia just past the outer fringes of Suburban DC.  The course is mostly a loop in the park that mixes off-road trails, pavement, and very few flat stretches!

Packet Pickup:
The packet pickup is at a local Virginia running store about a half hour south of DC.  It's not real convenient to get to, and because the race is on a Saturday, the packet pickup on Thursday and Friday until 6:30pm means you have to fight rush hour traffic leaving the city to get out there.  However, a bonus tip if you run the race: the website doesn't say there is a race-day pickup, but it also doesn't say that you have to pick up your packet on Thursday or Friday. I found out on race morning that they do have a packet pickup at the start line. So if you can't get out of work in time to fight traffic down to get your packet, no worries because you can pick up your packet at the start. (I think they don't mention this on the website to encourage as many people as possible to get it ahead of time.)

Getting to the start line:
The start line for the race is in a random church parking lot off of a major parkway near the park entrance. Because of this, there is absolutely no parking at the start for runners or spectators. You have to go to one of three remote parking lots and ride shuttles to the start. The race starts at 7am, and I would advise getting to the parking lots by 6:00am. Because there are LONG lines for the shuttle buses!
Long lines for the shuttle buses to the start

Starting line:
At the start area, there is a bag drop that featured a very long line. I think the line was longer than normal because the race morning was the coldest day in a few weeks, and more people than normal were dropping off changes of clothes for after the race.  However, I was lucky enough to get there with enough time to drop the bag and use the port a potties.  Here I am at the start, ready to go!

Start line selfie

The temperature was abnormally low for late March, around 34F that morning with strong winds. And yes, there was someone running with their shirt off, there is always someone like that right? :)

The race:
I had a plan for this race to run it hard, but not all out. It was a hilly course and I had a 20-miler planned later in the weekend for my final 20-miler before Boston.  So I just tried to run what I call "comfortably-hard."  After about 1/4 mile along the parkway, you quickly turn into the park and hit a slight uphill and the pavement ends. For the first 3 miles of the race, you are running on a mix of dirt and rocky roads.  The footing was pretty good on the compacted dirt

Compacted surface for first mile
but there were definitely areas of mud, puddles, and loose rocks after the first mile that slowed down the pace a bit. But overall, the first few miles of up and downs warmed me up quickly, and there breeze wasn't that noticeable in the forest, so I warmed up fast.  I had started with two shirts and a running vest, a hat, and gloves. The hat and gloves came off as the sun popped up right after the start, and then I was regretting pinning my bib over the vest as I couldn't shed any layers.

We hit the pavement at around mile 3, and I was feeling good enough to take a mid-race selfie and text my wife to say where I was on the course:
Nothing looks worse then a selfie at race pace!
I was taking the first few miles of up and downs fairly ease since you can see on the profile map above that mile 4 has a big steep hill. Here was the first time it came into view:
It never looks steep in a picture right? :)
The steep hill was about a half mile long and I slowed from a 6:50 pace to a 12:00 pace. It was that steep. Then at the top there was about 2 more miles of gradual uphill. So it was worth saving that early energy for this part.

The last two miles feature some up and downs that we ran on the first 2 miles, but they seemed steeper by this point! You can see on the profile the jagged up and downs and they sure felt like it. This was the area of somewhat loose rocks, here is a picture I took going up one of the hills:
Once again, it always feels steeper than the picture makes it look right? :)
The downhill stretches were fun though, here we are cruising down a hill again:
Nice downhill stretch

By now you may be sensing a theme, there is no crowd support at all during this race! Only at the water stations, and a few select spots where a Marine or two was shouting encouragement (and it was VERY appreciated!!!), you were all alone. And running in the top 25 means the course is spread out without many other runners either.  It was hard at times to remember this was actually a race and not a training run.

Finally I came up on the mile 10 marker and knew I had one mile left to go:
Mile 10, just one mile to go!
There was a nice sign that said "1775 feet to go!" and it was a great distraction as I tried to do the math on that one (about a third of a mile said my mind). You were still in the forest so it was good to know you were close!  You finally turn on the parkway and boom, there is the finish line with the "Access Granted!" banner (access granted to MCM was the theme of course as mentioned above).  You get a decent medal (the first year for the medals at this race) and your card which has a code on the back to enter MCM.
Holding the access card, the real draw for this race!
I actually don't know my time for this race, and it didn't really matter. My watch didn't start right, and when I looked up the results on the phone the mobile version on Safari would only tell me the placement (I was 25th out of about 2700, I think).  It was an odd distance, and I wasn't trying for any time goal, just a hard, but not all out, effort.

Pros and Cons:
The pros for this race are of course the guaranteed entry into MCM. But also, it was a chance to run a unique distance and course for me, since I'm used to purely road races on pavement.  The biggest cons are that there is no real finish area party, after you get your access card and snacks you pretty much get on the shuttle back to the lots. It is also not a spectator-friendly course for your friends and family. There is no way to get back into the course to root for the runners, so your friends and family can only really see you at the start/finish line.  It also means no course cheering from spectators.

I'd give it a grade B overall, a unique race experience that was well-run but not a type of race I'd like to do very often.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Race Review: Clearwater Halfathon

A quick long weekend getaway to Florida is ALWAYS a good idea coming from a cold D.C. winter.  When we realized there were fairly decent flights to Tampa over MLK weekend, we decided to jump on them.  Being the racing fanatics that we are, we also had to look to see if there were any races being held in the area.  Lo and behold, I found the Clearwater Halfathon and I am so happy I stumbled upon this gem of a race!

We have vacationed in Clearwater a few times and we really like it.  When we looked at the course map online, we knew we had to register...we knew the views would be amazing but we also knew it wouldn't be an easy course.


Price:  We paid $85 each which really isn't that bad for a half marathon. 

Expo/Packet Pick Up:  This was held the day before in the same park that would lend itself to the start and finish.  It was small, but it got done what it needed!  I wasn't a fan of the shirts though.  They did give a choice at packet pick up of a long sleeve cotton tee or a short sleeve tech tee.  I took the long sleeve because the tech was gender neutral and very boxy.  I don't often wear shirts from any race though.

Course:  The course stayed pretty close to the beach for the entire 13.1 miles.  We crossed a pretty steep bridge right away and headed to the beach. 

As we approached this hotel, I thought these were spectators!  Whoops!
Then another bridge brings us over more water and through Sand Key State Park and then into a more residential area for the middle portion of the race.  This was the section with the least amount of views and I just tried to settle in and focus on pace and breath.  After the turn around, I ran with another runner about my pace during this section to keep myself in the game.  Then we hit the bridge again I took off on the uphill and decided to pick up my pace.  We were staying at a hotel right along the course so on the return portion I was able to see my mom and my daughter wave to me on the way past the hotel.  I loved that!  Everything was going well and I was happy about my pace....then I hit the final bridge.  Heading up legs just felt so heavy and I felt so tired.  Final mile though!  Once I reached the top, I tried to open the stride and maximize the downhill but we come off the bridge in a really neat spiral shaped pedestrian bridge, which was really neat but not the best for speed!  Once I reached flat ground I raced the final .2 to the finish line with a smile.  I really enjoyed this race!

Finish Party:  Unlimited Light Beer, Pasta and snacks.  The guy who was the MC for the awards after party was great.  He definitely was some type of radio personality and very lively and funny!  There was nothing like sitting in the warm sun, enjoying a beer after running a hard 13 miles.  I got to meet up with a friend from DC who was in town running too!  So great to see my run bud Melissa who blogs at Eat on the Run.  Her recap of the race here
My husband ended up getting 3rd in his AG.  So proud of him! 

I would definitely do this race again and the hubby and I have already talked about trying to make this an annual MLK weekend escape!