T minus 2 months until MY FIRST MARATHON!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to dedicate consistent time to this blog.  This summer has been rewarding and busy.  My family even had the chance of a lifetime to visit Rome and embark on a Mediterranean Cruise.  We came back just in time to prepare to go back to school this week.  However, despite the busy-ness, I have been maintaining my training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon. 

Today marks exactly TWO MONTHS until I #RunWithTheMarines! I am so excited and scared at the same time. Over the past few months, I’ve been dealing with a weird pain in my shin area.  It turns out that I have an anterior shin splint.  I’ve been evaluated by an Orthopedist and so far I can still run.  We are working on a plan to keep me running without serious injury.  One good thing is that I already use the Galloway Run/Walk method and was using his training plan as well.  In the plan, after a high mileage long run (18+ miles) the following two long runs are shorter distances (6-8 miles max).  So your body gets time to recover before you increase the mileage again.  I’m already up to 20 miles which is where some training plans max out.  I won’t be attempting 22 for a few weeks.

Here I am after I completed 20 miles on the NCR trail. I turned around at the 10 mile mark for an out and back.

Here I am after I completed 20 miles on the NCR trail. I turned around at the 10 mile mark for an out and back.

I am looking forward to being able to call myself a Marathon Mama in 2 months!  Crosstraining and listening to my body will allow me to do that.

How has your training gone this summer? Have you been able to maintain your fitness? Did you get some vacation time?

Post Surgery Progress Timeline

This past weekend I was talking to someone who had recently had a hysterectomy.  She was determined to start exercising immediately and excited to get her body back.  She is 6 weeks post-op and started full force with Shaun T and T25. It was a bit much for her even with the modifications.

I realized that it seems to some people that I went straight from post-op to running long distances.  Nothing could be farther than the truth.  So I decided to share my timeline back to fitness after my total abdominal hysterectomy.

Weeks 1-2: RECOVERY – I couldn’t do much more than get out of be, especially in the first 2 weeks.  I listened to the the doctor as far as how to slowly resume normal activities.  NO exercise whatsoever.

Week 3-5: WALKING – I walked short distances to get moving.  Around the block. To the Lake. I didn’t do more than a mile or so at a time the first time.  I also started upper body strength training during my 4th week using exercises designed for women who had just had hysterectomies or pelvic floor surgeries.  You can read about my progress at that point here.

Week 6: RUNNING – I had my first run exactly 6 weeks post-op. It wasn’t my best run but it felt great to be out there.  I still was following doctor’s orders.  I could only do 1-2 miles at a time for a while but I stuck with it.

What I’m trying to say is that you should listen to your body as you get back into the swing of things.  It has been more than a year since my surgery and I still have issues with my lower abs and core.  I work on it and remind myself that I am making progress each day.  You will too.

How long was it before you started exercising post-surgery?  Did you have any setbacks that caused you to have to build back up your fitness levels?

September Races #10 & #11

After not racing all summer and focusing more on training and fitness as a part of my scale-free summer, I have run two races so far this month — NFL Back to Football 5K Run on September 4th and Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon on September 15th!  Running both of these races has definitely shown me that my speed is improving daily.

Race #10 – NFL Back to Football 5K Race – September 4, 2013

For those of you who don’t know, I am a crazy football mama and a member of the Ravens Nation!!!  This means that when I found out that there would be an NFL Back to Football Race which ended on the 50 yard line of M & T Stadium I knew I had to be there.  I was very excited when the Black Girls Run! Baltimore crew created a team for the race.  What’s better than running a race affiliated with football?  Running that race with 100+ of your running buddies!

The stadium is walking distance from my job so I was able to change at the office and walk down with plenty of time to hang out before the race.  It was like tailgating with a run thrown in.  Besides my BGR crew, I also ran into one of my twitter buddies – Meghan.

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This race was loads of fun! Even though I stopped a couple of times along the course to take pictures of the stadium, it was still a PR at 40:40!2013-09-04 19.49.00

Race #11 – Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon – September 15, 2013

I have been looking forward to this race all summer.  Although my speed work &  training plan is focused on the Baltimore Running Festival in October, I was hoping that I would be fast enough by this “flat & fast” race course to PR.  This was also my first girls’ weekend race ever.  I got up early Saturday morning to take the bus to Philadelphia.  I was staying with my sorority sister and fellow runner for the weekend.  When she picked me up, we headed straight for the Expo at the Convention Center.

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I managed to stay within budget.  I scored some really cool earphones from Auria which hang on the ear and allow you to still hear ambient sounds.  I will be trying them out over my next few runs and reporting back to you on them.

When we left the Expo, we got mani-pedis and then headed back to the house for naps and hydrating.  I finally was able to do the least amount of running around the day before a long race.  A perfect pre-race day.

The next morning we were up early of course and rode along with another sorority sister to the race start.  After a quick stop in the Starbucks bathroom, we headed to the starting line.  I was assigned to corral 22 but in order to not be too far behind each other we all started in corral 14.  It was the first time I ever moved up from an assigned corral and will probably be my last.  I was overwhelmed by the faster runners when we took off.

I ran for about the first quarter mile then started my timer to do my 1:1 ratio of running and walking.  My Map My Run app clocked my first mile at 10 minutes which is really fast for me so I started to slow down.  Halfway through the race, my music turned on by itself and the app had me 2 miles ahead of what the mile actually was.  It turns out I had sweated into my phone case – oops! Because I didn’t realize that the app was malfunctioning until later in the race, I took a few extra walk breaks in the beginning to slow my pace down.  However, it turns out my pace was right and the app was wrong.

Good – The course through Philadelphia was beautiful.  It really was as advertised – “flat and fast.” The RnR team had inspirational signs throughout the course. There were bands and music.  There were also cheer leaders along the course encouraging us which was really cool.

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Bad – Some of the water stops were out of water and breaking down by the time we got there.  From what I heard from my BGR sisters who were in corrals further back, it was even worse for them.  The music was not spaced out well.  There was a lot in the downtown area but very spread out on the Eakin Loop.  Kudos to the lone drummer on the far side of the loop!

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Although I didn’t PR, I am proud of my time – 3:08 as it is definitely faster than my time at the Frederick Half Marathon in May.  After the race, we headed to 7-11 for coffee and took the train back to the house.  After a shower and change, we were all smiles as we picked up a well deserved chicken cheesesteak for the bus ride back to Baltimore.

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Have you run any races lately?  Drop me a line in the comments about your most recent run or race experience.

New Goals–What’s Beautiful?

Thanks to Mother Nature, I barely ran this past week.  Tuesday evening was stormy – thunder, lightning…so Twilight Tuesday was cancelled.  However, I found a TV exercise game online.  I did the exercises during Dancing with the Stars The Results show. 

I did get to Bikram Yoga on my lunch time on Wednesday.  I followed that up with a 2 mile run on Thursday morning before work.  All in all, not bad for someone who completed 2 half marathons in 8 days.  I probably needed the rest more than I realized.

Next week, I will be building back up my miles and beginning speedwork in preparation for my next challenge. Thanks to the encouragement of the wonderful Dr Shauna Harrison, I have signed up for the Under Armour What’s Beautiful competition.  If you don’t know, Under Armour Women “are redefining the female athlete by setting epic goals and pushing past where we’ve ever been and where we thought we could go.”  As a part of the challenge, you set goals for yourself with the hopes of crushing them.

I had already set a challenge for myself for 2013.  I planned to run 13 races in 2013, including my first half marathon.  Well, in the past few months, I have blown through more than half of my goals.  At this point,month 5, I have already run 6 races including 2 half marathons!!!  So for my challenge, I have upped the ante so to speak.  I am aiming for a sub-three hour half marathon! Yes, that means I will be running at least one more this year!  My specific goal is:

I Will run 13 races in 2013 including a sub-3 hour half marathon and rebuild my core.

I’m still working on my Summer/Fall race schedule.  However, I’m thinking Rock N Roll Philly and/or the Baltimore Running Festival will probably be on it.  One of those two will be my goal race.  This will mean running and training strong this summer to be ready to blow through this next goal. 

Classes are done for this school year so I get my Thursday evenings back.  That means 3-4 runs and 2-3 crosstraining sessions are back in the schedule.  Woohoo!  This week’s schedule looks like this:

Monday – Bikram Yoga

Tuesday – Twilight Tuesday Tempo Run 3-4 miles

Wednesday – ?

Thursday – Speedwork

Friday – Bikram Yoga

Saturday – Long Run 6-8 miles

Let’s see how I do this week!

What are your goals for this week?  Are any of you doing the Under Armour What’s Beautiful challenge?  Is anyone else sick of this crazy weather?

My Medical Progress & Monthly Goals

I haven’t written official monthly goals in a few months.  But, it’s May, the month for mothers, especially mother runners Smile! So I ‘m writing them down.

I still have some twinges of pain in my incision from time to time, especially with extra exertion, like in a race.  In fact, after I was finished with the Iron Girl, it throbbed for a while to a beat which felt like my run pace.  I spoke to my Gynecologist at my follow-up appointment last week about this.  He said that I should expect to feel throbbing for up to a year.  He said it would be ok if I worked on abdominal work, though.  I had been trying it intermittently, with the exception of Bikram Yoga, because it hurts.  The night before my surgery I did 175 different types of crunches because I could.  Now I can barely do 10.  However, I have no adhesions and have healed well so I can focus on building back up my abs. Woohoo!

I had my follow-up general practitioner doctor appointment on Monday, the day after the Iron Girl.  I wore my medal to the appointment, of course.  My BP is down to 120/80!!! We were both very excited to see those numbers.  I still need to stay on the single medication for now but we will be reassessing in 4 months.  My task until then is to take my pressure before and after a few runs as well as to do a few test days without medication and take my pressure on each of them.  The research scientist in me is looking forward to collecting this data. LOL!!!

Now that I have a clean bill of health, here are my goals for this month.

Running – Frederick Half Marathon on May 5th ~ Race 6 of #13in2013 then to maintain my distance and do some speedwork to be prepared for the Baltimore Ten Miler in June.

Abdominal Work – I’ll be adding 15-30 minutes of ab exercises to our post-Twilight Tuesday runs starting in May.  Looking forward to working with my sole sisters of BGR on a common goal.

Bikram Yoga – Get in at least 3 sessions this month.  I love Bikram.  It helps me to be more flexible and I always feel centered after these sweat pink sessions Winking smile!

Strength Training – Help! I need to figure something out that is consistent.  This is my weakest link!  My goal this month is to figure out how to be strong.

Do you set fitness goals?  Have you dealt with coming back from illness?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Faith & Fitness Friday – January 4, 2013

For many, this is the month for making plans – exercise more, spend time with family, get rich.  No matter what you plan, remember…

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Resolution Run 2013 Recap

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My first race of 2013 was cool! In order to prepare, I joined a training group specific to this race with a great group of people.  The group started in November about 2 weeks after I was cleared to run following my hysterectomy.  I felt that I needed the support in starting to actively train again.  My Twilight Tuesday runs with BGR were used as a part of this training.  There were a lot of BGR ladies running yesterday as well, many as their first race.  I am proud of everyone that I ran with as it was New Year’s Day.  My time was slow (50:22) which is fine being that I was tired after the New Year’s Eve festivities. Basically – Fried food, 4-inch heels, and fruity drinks -> Fun time was had by all!

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For this race, I was more focused on finishing and not losing the mini in the crowd of runners.  I abandoned my regular race pace and ran when he felt like running and walked when he stopped to walk.  At one point, he took a break to climb the rocks.  I jogged in place until he was ready to catch up.  Here’s a pic of the two of us at the Finish line.

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The Resolution Run was a great way to kick off 2013! It helped me to meet many of my goals early on – spend time with family, focus on my fitness, and help others by donating to a good cause!

2013 Race Goals

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In the spirit of looking back and forward, I am presenting my goals for the New Year.  These are what I aim to do with the hope of continuing to improve on myself.  After my health scares in 2012, I am blessed to be alive.  Every day that I am able to wake up, spend time with my family, and run is precious to me.  With that being said, I am grateful for the experiences that I had in 2012 and am looking forward to new experiences in 2013. 

12 months year of you

I will be aiming to run 13 races in 2013.  My cardiovascular strength and endurance has been building since my return to running post-hysterectomy.  I am up to ~15 miles a week.  I actually exceeded my 10 mile/week goal for December!  With this base, I am well poised to reach my race distance goals for 2013.  I have set up my races for the first half of the year to gradually build up to a half-marathon.  One year ago, I just wanted to run a 5K.  Now, I’m looking forward to becoming a Titanium Girl/Half Fanatic!!! Here are my January – June Race Goals.

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January 1 ~ Resolution Run 5K

January 19 ~ Winter Runnerland: Moms Run This Town Virtual 10K

 

 

 

February 24 ~ RRCA Club Challenge Ten Miler

March – ?

April 7 ~ Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 20121116203347

Isn’t this a cute pic of Amanda of the awesome blog www.runningonwaffles.com and I at the Cherry Blossom Kickoff?  Amanda is one of the social runners for the race.

 

 

 

 

April 28 ~ Athleta Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon

This will be my first half marathon!!!! WOOHOO!!!

May 5 ~ Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon

2 races, 7 days, 3 medals = ONE TITANIUM GIRL!

 

June ~ Decisions, decisions, decisions…

There are 4 races that I want to run in June!!! I’ve already registered for the previous races which puts me at 5.  I can do 1 or 2 races in June and still be on pace for 2013.  But, I am not sure if I should race 4 times.  That being said, here are the ones I am considering.

June 1 – Zooma Annapolis ~ This is a Black Girls Run goal race for 2013 which means lots of my sole sisters will be running this one.  I’m trying to decide if to push for a third half marathon or the 10K.

June 15 – Baltimore Ten Miler ~ I volunteered at a water stop for this one last year.  I need to decide if to volunteer again or run it.

June 16 – Road Runners Club GPS 5K ~ It would be nice to do another RRCA race and it’s around the corner from my house!

June 23 – Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K ~ This is more than likely a definite.  The BWC was my first race in 2012.  I’m thinking of coaching newbies like I was last year.

Regardless of which races I choose in June, for 2013 I will be a …

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December Goals Check-in

I’ve had a hard time composing today’s post. Like everyone else, the tragedy in Newtown has had an  effect on me. I both used to teach K-2 and have a son who happens to be autistic. All of the discussions in the past few days leave me with a heavy heart. I pray for all of the families who lost someone and the community of Newtown as a whole. I also pray for those affected by gun violence everywhere – in Oregon, in Chicago, in Baltimore. As I mentioned in a tweet on Friday, I hope this serves as a FINAL wake up call for gun control & violence prevention. We need to stop hitting the snooze button on this discussion.

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Image thanks to The Larson Lingo blog.

That being said, I’m going to try to update you all briefly on my progress so far this month.

Running – Although I ended my RunStreak, I’ve still exceeded my 10 miles a week goal. Week 1- 15.7 miles, Week 2- 15.4 miles

Upper Body – Fail thus far.  But, I downloaded an upper arms app for my phone and will be doing a circuit tonight.

Elf4Health – I was just assigned a new elf.  I look forward to getting to know her this week. (Hi Kaleigh!)

Race Goals – I’ve been accepted into the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in DC in April. My next blog post will share my races for 2013.

No Hysterrunstreak for Me!

Last night, I made a decision to end my runstreak after 18 days.  I have run or walked at least a mile daily since Thanksgiving.  I intended to keep this streak up until Christmas – a total of 40 days.  Last week Wednesday, I barely made it.  I got the mile in through my 1/2 mile back and forth to my car.  My body was feeling rundown so I didn’t make it to Water Aerobics that day and I LOVE Water Aerobics.  I kept up with it through this weekend.  I got 8 miles in between Friday – Sunday! Great for my training goals; bad for my recovery.  I exceeded my monthly goal to hit at least 10 miles a week for December at the expense of my health. Freezing

Every runner knows that it is essential to build rest breaks into your training schedule.  Your body needs to rest and recover between workouts so that you don’t risk injury.  (For more information about rest from training and why you need it, click here.) 

rest day

I’m still recovering from major abdominal surgery.  I not only need time to rest because of my training but also because of my hysterectomy.  Only a few weeks ago, I needed to nap after conquering the stairs between my first and second floors or walking to the corner.  I may be able to run 3-4 miles at a time again but I am not fully healed.  So that being said, I will not be running today.  I will be going back to my 3 day a week running schedule plus one cross-training day.  This gives me 3 days of nothing but normal activity – family, work, friends, etc.  This will still net me more than 10 miles a week and help me reach my training goals.

For my other goals, I am still doing ok.  Today’s Elf for Health challenge is to drink your weight in ounces of water.  I’m aiming for half of my weight as drinking my full weight in water is not healthy for my kidneys.  I have noticed that a lot of people tend to not drink enough water during the day.  So I would encourage you to drink at least the recommended 8 glasses of water today and every day. 

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!