Archive | September, 2011

It’s Always Something

29 Sep

Days to Race: 3

Scheduled: Yoga

Actual: Yoga, 1 hr

Days to vacation: 8

Tattoo: Still has hives which are turning into dark spots/scars around it, but healed save for 2 small scabs that may need touch-up

Knee: Not Good

Ice packs: Being used at work and at home

Frustration level: Cranked to 11

Motivation: Lagging

So, after resting the knee for 2 weeks solid and babying it and keeping a brace on it and giving it 2 days completely off after an easy ass kicking 3 on Monday, I went for my last long run last Thursday. I did not make the 11 miler I wanted. I decided to stick to the taper start of 6-8 that was on the schedule. I also decided to do it on the indoor track at the gym in case anything started feeling off so I didn’t have to walk home. Let me tell you how awesome AC while running is. It’s wonderful, especially after getting somewhat used to running in what is essentially a huge steam room for the last 2-3 months.

Where I live right now.

For the first 3 miles I felt awesome. Kept a comfortable pace, listened to my music, eyeballed the guys running on the treadmills and lifting and counted off the laps. Somewhere around mile 4, the knee got that stressed feeling. I slowed down. At 5 miles I was forced to stop, stretch and walk. I walked a half mile to rest it and then tried starting up again. I didn’t make it far. I quit at 6 miles when my knee and quad were both voicing their displeasure with the situation. I cursed, grumbled and limp-stomped my way out of the gym feeling defeated and disappointed.

I rested all weekend. Only riding and even that was light. I swam rather than ran on Monday. The schedule said 4-5 mile easy run, so I swam 2 miles. Side note, I need a new swimsuit. My new bottoms are too big now and the top is rubbing holes in my skin. After about 1-1.5 miles, my knee started hurting while IN THE POOL. This is NOT good. The week of the race and the stupid thing is hurting in the no impact exercise?!?! Fuck off.

Tuesday the schedule said 3 mile easy run. I decided I would go to the indoor track and walk, maybe do a little jogging if it felt good. I walked half a mile, slowly jogged half a mile (I think about a 10:15-10:30 pace judging by the timer on the wall). Let me tell you how much I wanted to keep going and to go faster. But I told Self to STOPIT!, err on the side of caution, and I walked again for another half mile before tentatively picking up another jog set. I made it .3 miles before the knee hurt. I immediately walked. I’m not playing around now. It still hurt while walking. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT!!! MOTHERFUCKER!!! NOOOOO!!!!

I am beyond upset and disappointed. I am in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in my life, I’ve trained so hard and so diligently and now when it’s too late to take time off and heal, my knee goes. I cannot have this happen. I have worked too fucking hard to get to and finish this race. It has also taken on more meaning and a life of its own. This was my overcoming the shit happening all around me and kicking ass no matter what. Telling those divorce papers sitting on the table that I’m not scared and will survive this. To have my body give out on me and not let me run is devastating.

I am going to the race. I am going to start. I just don’t know if I’ll finish.

After all the 19 weeks of hard training and how ready the rest of my body feels right now, to have to say that hurts. I wanted SO badly to kick this race’s ass and party like a rockstar afterward and show myself that I’m still strong and I can still accomplish some amazing things. I did not envision myself jogging at a snails pace only to wind up limping brokenly off the sidelines halfway through and catching a shuttle to the finish. It can’t happen. I can walk faster than the required pace assuming I’m not limping, but I also did not envision myself WALKING a half marathon. I did not train and sweat and push and grind through mile after countless mile of burning lungs and legs to WALK. I trained to RUN this damned thing.

I am on rest until the race. I am icing the knee a lot. I have a brace on it all the time, I have it up at my desk at work. I have a massage scheduled for Friday morning. I am concerned however, that part of me has already given up and accepted this as a lost cause. I can’t lose the last bit of fight I have in me. It’s stupid, but I’m ready to cry over this. If I was religious, this is the part where I’d be asking the imaginary man for some favors. I’ve already had my own words from this blog fed back to me by 3 people today trying to remind me of how determined I was starting this thing. I’m feeling sort of like a fraud at the moment.

I should be getting excited and eating all the pasta I can hold about now. I should be packing my gear bag and stretching and feeling good. Instead I’m getting depressed because I can feel this goal slipping out of my grasp at the last minute. I’m sitting here trying to decide if it’s worth blowing out my knee to just run through it and finish this race like I wanted to. All I can do is go and give it my best shot. Self is winning. She’s breaking me down. My confidence is shaky. But I have to try.

I’ll write again this weekend with updates on how the race goes or doesn’t go. I need a damn miracle about now. Something’s gotta give.

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There’s a New Me in Town, and She’s All Business

20 Sep

Days to Race: 12 (For last night)

Scheduled: 6 mile easy

Actual: 3.3 miles, 28:21, Avg 8:34/mile

Knee brace: Effective

Swimming and spinning: Are the shit and I will be doing them more

Major Mood Shift: Achieved

Hours spent in tattoo chair: 7

BADASS ARM ART: ACQUIRED

Times I cried this week: 0

Weeks since my last run: 2

Music: My Body (If this is not in your workout mix, it should be), The New Flesh, You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar but I Feel Like a Millionaire (This NEEDS to be in your workout mix. If you can sit still while it’s playing you’re not human.), Make Yourself, Propane Nightmares

My sweet ass brand new tattoo right after it was finished. I'll get better pics when it's healed and her face has faded out to where it should be instead of black eyes. NEW ME FTW.

So I really am not sure what caused it exactly, but I had a major mood shift late last week. I am done crying. I have spent more than a month and a half in a pathetic state crying and stressing over someone who has made it abundantly clear that he obviously does not care about me any more and has moved on and I’m done. I’m ready to be mad and make it hurt. I started doing some of the things I’ve wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t because we didn’t have the money or whatever, the biggest of which was I went in and got my first BIG tattoo. I’ve always wished I had the guts to start a sleeve and this piece lent itself perfectly to the space so, I did. Amazing what I can make decisions on and work into my budget when someone else isn’t irresponsibly wasting the money. It took 7 hours of sitting in the chair and it was like a transitional marker for the old pathetic life ending and my new awesome life starting. This is going to sound crazy, but I was almost disappointed it didn’t hurt. Aside from about 10-15 minutes where it registered as uncomfortable, I could have taken a nap almost the whole time. My pain tolerance is pretty high. Maybe this is also why I can work out as hard as I do. Hmmmmm.

The artwork is a piece by Audrey Kawasaki that was one of those I found while stumbling months ago that just made me stop and stare for a long while. It hit home for me then and now it’s all the more meaningful. I’m not going to go into all of what it means for me here. It’s not important and is for me to know and feel. What IS important is that the tattoo artist (Leif McHatton at Studio XIII in Cocoa Beach) did a beyond amazing job and I’m so excited and happy with it. He freehanded in the fall leaves and those may be my favorite part. I may go back for more. 🙂

Right before I went for the tattoo, I went and got a massage and had all my muscles unknotted. Lisa said my knee issue was likely coming from my sartorius (?) muscle being so tight (that’s the one that connects lateral hip to medial knee. YAY medical terminology), but I was totally twisted up head to foot on the right side. I have been swimming and spinning and foam rolling like a nutter to keep the fitness level up and the joint stress down. Have also been doing lots of lunges and one legged squats to build up all those stabilizers and hammering on my core to get that 6 pack out in the open (almost there). Since it’s now do or die time and I have to stay out of the pool until the tattoo heals, I rested the knee and foam rolled twice a day over the weekend and went out for a test run last night. I’m supposed to be starting my taper now, but this week is going to be the last week of training and I’ll just do an easy rest-ish sort of week next week to get ready.

Just planned on an easy 2-3 miles last night just to get back into the groove of feet on pavement and see how everything felt before trying that last 11-12 mile long run on Thursday. I was TIRED all day. Like randomly waking up faceplanted in a puddle of drool on my desk kind of tired (not that that…uh…happened…what?). So I decided to take a quick nap since caffeine was failing me because I was not skipping workouts. I woke up 2 hours later at 9:30. Ah, well. Drag myself up out of bed and out the door.

I was guardedly optimistic. The knee felt pretty good. I put on my knee brace and tunes and stretched really well. Started running and immediately noticed how much more stable and strong I felt. The swimming was GOOOOD. This is DEFINITELY becoming part of the routine at least once or twice a week once my arm skin is back to functional again. I made myself slow down for the first mile and then just stopped worrying and started cruising at whatever felt comfortable which happened to be an 8:00-8:30 pace. I didn’t even bring my Garmin so I didn’t worry about pacing. I just ran. And it felt great. There was a nice cool(ish) breeze blowing and it was quiet outside. I just got to enjoy the run. Felt my right quad trying to get unhappy towards the end, but I foam rolled the crap out of it when I got home. Not taking no for an answer, legs.

My knee is bothering me a little again today, but I’m hoping it’s just some stiffness. I’ll go for a walk later and put some heat on it and see if it helps. While I know even if I just do shorter runs between now and the race I can finish, I want to do that last long one. I want to KNOW I can finish this race and finish it strong.

While I’m certainly not going to say I’m OK now, I’m done crying over people and things that don’t consider me important and I’m done letting things slide. It’s time to cut the anchors, make me the most badass, name-taking me I can be and then, maybe look for someone who can keep up, encourage and challenge me instead of holding me back and feeding the self doubt. It’s scary since I don’t remember who I am outside of the relationship, but also kind of freeing. It means I can be whoever I want to be. I can make myself whoever and whatever it is I have aspirations of being and not worry about if it’s “me” or not. If it feels right, then yes, it’s me, and it ONLY has to feel right to ME. Maybe scary isn’t the right word. It’s scary in the way I imagine taking that step out of the plane to skydive is scary. Once you’re out in the air it’s awesome and exhilerating, but it’s that sitting in the plane on the climb up that makes your stomach twist.

I’m even semi-seriously planning on entering another half marathon for a time goal in November, 8 weeks after this race. Only hitch is it’s in the morning. If I can start getting up pre-dawn for runs, I’ll make it happen and I’ll bust the 2 hour time mark. Bet on it.

Fucking ONWARD. Bitches.

Against the Current

13 Sep

Days to Race: 20

Scheduled: 7 mile tempo

Actual: 1.5 mile swim, apx 1 hr.

Knee: on the edge of stable

Sanity: Also on the edge of stable

I apologize to all 2 of you who read this for the lack of updates. It has literally been all I can do to drag myself out of bed and eat and work out, so updating this just did not make it on the list of things to do.  In the last week or so I have been using endorphins like a drug to keep myself somewhere in the vicinity of stable and prevent me blowing up or melting down in an epic capacity. Any time I feel like I’m about to cry, I go work out. Last weekend this meant I was working out 2 or 3 times a day in addition to dog walks and pacing/cleaning the house and riding. It seems like the only time I’m able to not stress or worry and think about things I shouldn’t is when I work out so hard and/or long that there is no possible way for my brain to think about ANYTHING but what my body is doing at that moment and counting out the rhythm of my breathing. It’s a respite from the storm of crazy that is going on inside my head the rest of the time. I think this desperate, manic exercise effort also contributed to my knee getting stressed out.

On my 5 miler last Tuesday, about a quarter mile from the finish I started getting a little pain in the back of my right knee and on the side of my kneecap. I was so close to the end, I decided to just slow down and keep going, but about a tenth of a mile later, it was obvious if I didn’t stop, I was going to do damage and be sidelined, so I gave up at 4.83 miles and walked the rest of the way home.

I swam the rest of the week and iced it every night. By the weekend it felt better, so I went to spinning class on Saturday morning. Side note, I have gone to 2 spinning classes now and I am definitely going to make it a regular thing. It is very cathartic. The lights are low, the music is loud, I can snag a bike in a back corner, crank the resistance like a crazy and nobody notices if I cry a little. Just letting myself get lost in the music and the rhythm and effort keeps me from thinking too much and pauses the destructive spiral for a little bit. Given, this week I did have to stop a little early because my knee started hurting again and then that led to me slowing down and the crazy thoughts coming back. Cut to me locking myself in the bathroom for a bit until the waterworks shut off.

It’s odd how despite everything going on and all the upheaval and dischord and uncertainty, I never once thought about quitting on this race. That was the one constant I knew I had to do, the one thing I could latch onto and throw myself into. So when my knee started acting up and the possibility that I could be sidelined due to injury surfaced, it threw me into a bit of a panic. The last thing I KNEW I could do was slipping from my grasp. My sanity is on very thin ice. This is not good. I’m trying very hard to do everything in my power to get this knee back to 100% working order before race day because I CANNOT be sidelined. Not less than 3 weeks from race day when I have trained so hard and am practically there. I WILL finish this fucking race, godammit.

That and various stress filled moments managed to cause the first 2 full blown panic attacks I’ve ever had in my life this week/weekend. It is not fun. At all. It was the absolute desperate fight of myself against myself being in denial of the situation at hand and grasping at the last shreds of the life I had and still want. My chest was constricted so I couldn’t breathe, all my muscles were tensed and ready for action, I was nauseous and dizzy and literally all I could do was curl up in a ball on the floor and hyperventilate. I was completely overwhelmed and paralyzed by a tidal wave of fear and depression and hopelessness and after a solid hour of being in 100% fight or flight mode and every muscle in my body being tensed as much as it could while some really dark thoughts went through my head, I managed to fight through enough of it to type out some garbled messages on google chat to the person who I can only describe as my hero, who then called me on the phone, ignored what I’m positive were some strange choking sounds coming from my end and managed to get me focused and breathing again. If it hadn’t been for that, I have a feeling it could have been much much worse and I am incredibly grateful that I have friends like that. I have no idea what I did to deserve it, but I won in the friend department, nonetheless. The day after these I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Everything hurt. Not an ideal workout.

Since my knee is back to iffy status, I have decided that I am only swimming this week and my last long run before D day will be put off until next Monday. That way I get my workouts in and don’t lose the cardiovascular capacity and muscle, but there is no stress on the knee. The only major complaint I have with swimming is the lack of music. All I have to listen to is my own breathing  and splashing, which, if I don’t push  myself hard enough, is a recipe for those thoughts to creep back in. Let me tell you, starting to cry while swimming is a recipe for choking. Don’t do that. It IS a great full body workout though (swimming, not crying) and for the most part makes me focus on my body alignment, tracking and breathing. Perhaps I will attempt a triathlon when this race is over since I’m already swimming and spinning. We shall see.

I have scheduled myself to be insanely busy in the coming days in an attempt to survive the next 2 weeks until I can start focusing on true race preparations and then vacation preparations. I hope my mind makes it to the finish line with my body.

LEGIT, BITCHES!

3 Sep

Days to Race: 29 (AHHHHH!!!!! WHAT?!)

Scheduled: 10 mile long run

Actual: 10.01 miles, 1h:38m:37s, Avg 9:51/m

Stops: 0

Pace for last 1/4 mile: 7:30/m

2nd Gu: taken WHILE RUNNING

Camelback: MUUUUUCH better with small adjustments

Phone battery: Can’t last as long as I can

Sunrise yoga: Difficult after a 10 mile run that ends at 11pm

Seeee?!?!?! Garmin tracked the whole thing!!

Last night I broke through a milestone and completed the unofficial rite of passage that means I can legit, for real, no bullshit call myself a runner no matter who I’m talking to. I did my first 10 mile continuous run and finished feeling good enough to wail down the last quarter mile homestretch all engines ahead full and feel good afterwards. I actually started picking up the pace a little after the 8 mile mark cause my power songs came on and I felt good. Unfortunately this is also conveniently when my cellphone battery got too low to keep GPS tracking me, so the accurate feedback stopped. My mom can vouch, though. She was following me on her bike the whole way. I think mom may have outdone me in the badassery department on this workout since earlier in the week she had a shelf fall on her head and got 3 STAPLES put into her scalp. Did that stop her?? Hell no. 10 mile bike ride? Bring that bitch on. Role models, I has them.

We had awesome luck with crosswalks the few times we needed them and were waiting 10 seconds or less on all of them. Most of the time I’d pause Endomondo, only to have to start it right back up again and barely took a step of walk. I was purposely keeping it slow since it was really humid out and kept my splits really damn consistent at right under 10:00/m. My knees started to feel slightly stressed around the halfway point so I shortened my stride and went for more turnover rather than longer strides to make up the pace. It worked pretty well and they felt better after another mile. Since I was still feeling pretty comfortable at the 5 mile mark when it was time for the prescribed Gu break and I had it stored in a convenient little pocket right on the shoulder strap of my camelback, I decided to not stop to take it. I managed to open it with my teeth and take it a little at a time with sips from my camelback, all WHILE RUNNING. I DIDN’T STOP. It’s these stupid little things that make you feel SUPER legit. Running in the rain, drinking weird concoctions, foam rolling, whatever. Took a Gu while running?? FUCK YEA. I’m serious now. Know what else is serious? The amount of sweat I produced on this run. I quite literally wrung out my shorts in the driveway and was still dripping all over the house on the way to the shower. G.R.O.S.S.

I know I should have been coasting on the afterglow of this run all day today, but it was a bad day emotionally and I couldn’t shake the funk. Not for lack of trying, either. I got up before the sun and went to yoga class at 7 in the fucking morning with a friend. PS, my legs thought this was a funny joke and kept making me almost tip over in the warrior series. I played video games and ran errands. I saw a movie. I took the dog to the park and the store. I impulse purchased stilleto heels for craps sakes!! I DON’T DO THAT!! GIRLS DO THAT!! WTF?!?!  WHO AM I?!?!?!

I was depressed, insecure and on the brink of tears all day and it just sucked the victory right out of me. I should have been walking around all day today telling everyone and anyone that had the misfortune of saying “hi” in my general direction that I kicked 10 miles in the face with my energy legs last night and exalting in the fact that even if I just repeat that performance and walk the rest of the race I will still finish in less than 2:30:00 which was my tentative goal. I was just lost, failing miserably at the instructions given to me by the counselor and thinking about the one person I’m not supposed to. How can I NOT, though, when literally every facet of my life was woven in with him and everything funny, interesting, meaningful or even infuriating, I instantly want to tell him about or think of how he would react. Even this major goalpost got the wind sucked out of it because he wasn’t here to share it with and to tell me he’s proud of me. I feel pathetic for that and hate myself for being so dependent on another person for my happiness, but then that only multiplies the depression. It’s a vicious, perpetual motion machine of mental anguish.

I know it was supposed to be a rest day today, but I did the yoga this morning and I took the dog for an hour long walk tonight. I have managed to forge enough positive mental associations with being outside, on my feet and moving at night that while I was out I felt better and my mood lifted a little. Once my body stops moving, that’s when the brain shifts into overdrive and the spiral continues. I can’t just go forever, so I have to find some way to quiet my brain while my body rests at least a little. As I say this I’m looking at the clock thinking I need to try to sleep because I’m getting up for spinning in the morning.

I’m wondering if my mind or my body will give first and hoping that I’m back on an emotional upswing tomorrow.