so many changes

Now that I’ve been running for over a month or so, I finally see some changes. Some are good, some are bad – well, not bad, but rather, challenging. For example, I LOVE dying my hair and changing it constantly. In fact, it’s kinda my thing. My guess is that I go through at least 10 to 15 hair color changes every year. One of the things I like to do with changing my hair is to have crazy colors or vivid or different colors. Except here’s the challenge (and a hair color lesson for you): bright, vivid color fades very quickly. Especially red – which is the color I most recently had. The less you wash your hair, the longer it lasts. But even if it gets wet, without shampooing, it still fades out.

So, when you run every day and then start adding in more workouts or runs in the same day, you take a lot of showers. In the last two weeks, my hair faded out at least 6 shades and that’s with me redoing it while at my mom’s last week. Ugh. So frustrating. But I’m in love with running and how I feel from it so I did what any responsible rockstar unicorn would do, I dyed it somewhat close to my natural hair color and now it’s all normal. Boo. I think in a couple of weeks I’ll add in highlights or something, but for now, it’s just brown – but at least it’s not running down my shower drain anymore. πŸ™‚

So what are the good changes? Well, because I’ve completely changed my eating lifestyle and now exercise and run a lot, I’ve lost weight and my clothes don’t fit anymore. Again, awesome, but challenging. Sadly, “go out and buy all new clothes” is not in my current budget and plus, at this rate, I wouldn’t be wearing them for very long before they, too, would not fit. And it’s not just a weight issue – I see physical changes too – if you would’ve been in my colleagues’ office this morning, you would’ve witnessed me showing off my newly sculpted calf muscles. LOL

The reason I’ve been running so much more is twofold: one, adding in my son’s training schedule for the 5K he and I are doing next month is causing me to work out in the evenings and in the morning (when I run with Dave). Two, you know, I gotta admit – I’m a little addicted to running. And the feeling it gives me. So even when I tell myself I’m going to take a day off, by 5pm, I’m antsy and twitchy and just want to get outside and run and so, I do. It’s crazy and I love it.

That’s it for today – time for me to go do something to control the antsy urge to go run – I ran this morning but still want to go tonight; however, I’m a smart cookie who knows better than to run in a 112 degree heat index when I’m already wore out. πŸ™‚

Another Week of Learning and Adjusting

Two weeks from today I will be running in a 10K. Weird, right?

This past week has been interesting as far as training goes. Tuesday and Wednesday morning runs were good – both a little over 3 miles. And it’s crazy warm here for March so there wasn’t a jacket involved, which was nice, but I sure didn’t expect how hot I would be and how quickly I would get hot. I wear a bandana tied around my head when I run because I have some crazy ass hair that is just too much deal with when running – but that bandana really felt weird after awhile because my head was darn hot. Seriously – it was like my head was an oven. Luckily for me, my mom rocks and she bought/sent me a Buff that I had on a wish list and it arrived today! Oh, you don’t know what a Buff is? It’s awesome – here’s a video that shows all the different things it can do.

Friday morning’s run both sucked and scared me. I only did a mile because my kneecap kept slipping. I don’t know how else to explain that – but that’s what it felt like. With every stride, it moved from left to right and felt messed up. I didn’t have excruciating pain – but I knew with my past knee problems that I better stop and get it checked out. It’s similar to my knee pain last year, but this time I can stop it and support it better before it gets all jacked up and turns into patella femoral again. I need to baby it more on non-run days. And, when running…hello, knee brace.

The thing about a knee brace or sleeve or whatever they’re called is that they’re either “one size fits all” or only go up to large. And as I may have mentioned before, I’m neither just a large or a one size fits all. I think between Dave and I, we own 15 different knee things, none of which I can wear because my thigh is too damn big. But, we set out again to search for one that maybe, just maybe, would work. After a lot of silliness at the store that involved both he and I trying on different styles and jogging around in circles in the store, we found a winner.

This morning then was a run with the darn thing on my knee. I don’t love it – it feels a little too bulky for me – but I’ll get used to it. If wearing the darn thing means I can continue running, then so be it. I’ll be happy though when my legs are smaller and I can just do the thinner sleeves.

Oh, and this morning? I finally figured out that I cannot just roll out of bed and go run. I need to warmup more than what I’m doing. That first mile is such a killer and awkward and weird but once I get going, I’m good. We did just over 5 miles today which is awesome. I am going to need to make sure I get completely warmed up for that 10K so I can do the 6 miles in good form and not waste time hobbling the first mile.

This evening I spent time showing off my new leg muscles to Dave. Yes, we’re dorks, what can I say? But I do have some cool leg muscles. πŸ™‚

This coming week the run days are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday (shorter 3-4 miles) and the long run on Saturday (doing 5 miles again). This weekend is a laid-back weekend – I’m making sure to rest after running this morning and will do the same tomorrow. Dave and I are probably going to have breakfast tomorrow as our celebration. That would be our celebration of our 1 year anniversary which is technically the 19th (Monday) but it’s also kinda this weekend so we’re celebrating now. No gifts – all of our money goes toward our trip in April, what we’re calling our honeymoon since we didn’t go on one last year – just a meal together and getting up and running before work on Monday. Very romantic. LOL

On a clothes-related note, this week I learned the joy of not wearing cotton when running. Wow, I cannot believe the difference it makes!! I never want to go back to cotton t-shirts or shorts again. Though I need a shirt or two – the only two dri-wick shirts we have is one of Dave’s that’s too big for me and caused ouch chafing on my arms and another that is too small and it’s tight and uncomfortable. So I’m hoping at some point to save my money for a shirt that fits. But honestly, I’d rather wear the two that don’t fit than a cotton shirt – especially in this heat!

13 miles this week. 5 miles today. I’m starting to wonder who this person is – can it really be me? I’m feeling pretty awesome though – gotta be honest. πŸ™‚

Struggling and Learning

It’s hard to keep a blog that is primarily about running and training for a half-marathon next year when you’re not running. In fact, it’s darn impossible.

The past couple weeks have been both frustrating and enlightening at the same time. You may remember that I started seeing a physical therapist. She has been amazing and while at first I thought she was just going to continue to cause me pain at each visit, turns out she knew what she was doing the whole time. No worries, I said the same thing to her last week – and we laughed together. She is really cool and I like her a lot.Β  After much work and getting my knee pain to calm down, she discovered the root cause of my pain. Turns out that my adductors are basically inflamed. There are a couple of different adductor muscle groups and the set that go all the way to your inner knee are what is on fire for me. You can read about it here (apologies for crappy website – I’m too tired to dig for a better site without ads). But here’s a pic (courtesy of sportsinjuryclinic.net):

Adductor Magnus Muscle

How does that happen? Well, when you’re really tall, and have been since you were 12 (when you were horribly ashamed of it), you stop walking correctly. In fact, you don’t even bother to learn that there is a right way. For over 20 years now, I have taken very short steps, short stride, when I walk. And it’s worse when I run. After years and years of not using anything but a small amount of muscles in my legs, I now have horrible pain and inflammation. It’s so bad and I’ve now continued to work on how to walk, how to run, how to do squats, how to sit down (and get up), etc. Because I have never worked on using other muscles in my legs, it’s REALLY frustrating. I do a lot of stretches and exercises.

So…I now go out and run rarely, and when I do, it’s for very short distances. I walk a lot and ride my bike a lot to build up muscles and do other types of cross-training. But it’s frustrating because I feel like I’m starting over. Probably because I am. But I have made good progress – I noticed the other day that I walk now with longer strides without consciously telling myself to do so. So that’s good. I will try running again soon and hopefully be able to do that as well. That’s what’s been going on the last couple of weeks – learning and practicing and exercising. Whoo hoo. πŸ™‚

Support System

I’ve always loved the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. And lately I’m thinking that it takes a village to support an obese runner. LOL.

Seriously, with all the struggles I’ve had this week (though as my mom has pointed out in a comment, my problems might be small and minuscule to some), I have learned that I have the best friends and people in my life. Hearing from close friends and David that they believe in me and that they are proud of me means so much…so much that it gets me off the couch. I’m guessing everyone struggles with doubt and lack of self-motivation at times and it means a lot to me that I have a cheering section in my corner.

I think part of it is that the people in my life are also changing and thinking about health, nutrition, positive changes, etc. Whether it’s a friend considering vegetarianism/veganism, or one who has started walking/running, or one who has made the decision to quit smoking, or a couple of friends exercising and cutting out processed foods, we’re all in it together. We feel that it’s time and understand the importance of us being healthy and living longer, healthier lives.

I’ve always said that my friends are family, and the past couple of weeks have really shown that to me. So, thanks all for being there for me. I hope that I can/will/already am do/ing the same for you.

What Not to Do When Training…

Okay, so maybe “training” is a bit of a stretch. Maybe it should be “what not to do when LEARNING” or something like that. I’m learning to run while training for a race that is coming. But I digress.

I didn’t think about having long days of work and how that would affect my running. The other day I wrote about how I really feel that the early am is the time for me to be beating the path. And today, I thoroughly proved that to myself. I didn’t want to get up early and run this morning because I needed to be at work early and I haven’t quite figured that one out yet – the whole get up, go jog/run, shower, get dressed, cool down enough to put on makeup, and get to work on time thing. Ugh. So I waited until tonight. What a bad experience that was!

First, I was stressed. But I really actually wanted to run. I told David that all I wanted to do was change clothes and go running. It was weird – I felt this urge to run! So, we went out and I decided that I no longer needed to follow any routine or anything anymore. I just started jogging and went for it. No long warm-up walk. No planning for small recovery walk breaks. Just started. At the end of the stretch of trail we were on, I was at 9 min 44 sec. I walked for awhile and then started again.

Sounds good, right? Wrong. Suddenly my left knee hurt. Badly. And then the back of my right leg was cramping. And I hurt. I made it 2 more minutes and that was it. I had to walk the rest of the way.

So, I’m thinking that there must be something to the running programs they have beginners do. Probably there’s a reason that they have you do stretches of running with breaks of walking…stretches of running that build up to large amounts of time. As in, don’t just suddenly decide to run for 11 minutes right away.

Lesson for the day: Um, listen to the experts…I think they know what they’re talking about.Β  And also to listen to your body. I debated back and forth about going out because I was exhausted and worried how that would affect my run. I know that you should make yourself go out – even when you’re tired – so I went. But maybe, there are times you should not. Obviously, when facing exhaustion, you should not go (or if you do, follow the rules!).

Friday is rest/workout at the gym day so I will wait until Saturday to go out again – this time, listening. πŸ™‚

Lesson for the Morning

Picture of Cleo, my dog.

This morning I learned an important lesson – do not take the puppy dog for a run at 5am. Normally we take everywhere we go and David has her on the leash. But he wasn’t all that excited about getting up at 5a and going for a walk/run with me so I went alone. Well, alone + the puppy dog (who is 17 months and a black lab). My young 80lb friend LOVES to go for walks with us but this morning was too much because she was just so excited.

Not that being an excited puppy dog is a bad thing – it’s quite cute. But it’s hard to jog when your puppy dog is trying to stop and eat/catch every cricket, locust, and other bug that is out at 5a at a park. Very hard to keep pace. She also “used the bathroom” four different times – one of them right when I was hitting the 2 minute mark on a jog and then BAM, my left arm is jerked back because she has stopped. Again. I was worried I was going to not have enough plastic poop bags with me!

So. Now what? I really enjoyed getting up this morning. Well, that’s not true. It sucked making myself do it. But I’m really enjoying how I feel now that I’ve done that and showered. I do love that part. So I want to continue getting up and going to the park but without D, I don’t thinkΒ  the puppy dog can go with me. Which is going to be so hard to do in the morning.

I think I will also try to work harder on training her more to walk properly so she can go with. She normally does so well but this is the first time she’s been out at 5a with all those tasty bugs running around. πŸ™‚