Crack, crack goes my neck

Holy crack… I mean crap… I just went to get my hips adjusted only to find out that my entire spine was out of place, from those things that don’t lie all the way up to my neck. I am more sore than leg day, more sore than after a marathon and more sore than food regret on Thanksgiving. I’m pretty good at knowing when I need to go to the chiropractor but thought this time around my body was handling things a little better and I waited a while in between visits. Next time, I’ll listen to the four to six week recommendation.

Oh hey there. Sorry that I (yet again) went absent for a while. Last we left off, I was training for the Reno 10 Miler. Well, that went phenomenally and it was the first (and only) time I ran double digits since my 2016 marathon. What a feeling. The sun was shining, the course was hilly and the all-you-can-drink beer afterwards was absolutely worth it all.

I’ve spent the time since then focusing more on strength training than anything, but with the colder weather outside and my work schedule slowing down a bit, I’m working on ramping that mileage back up. In addition to the 10 Miler, I completed my fastest 5K in three or four years, coming in at 30 minutes flat, as well as two consecutive Sundays of 10Ks. The first of which, the Dirty Wookie 10K, is where this post’s featured image comes from. (Side note, I wasn’t going to post this image because I don’t find it to be very flattering, but running isn’t supposed to be pretty). The second of which, Girls on the Run, was six minutes faster than the first and was the final in a series, so I dual-medaled! Getting a series medal is now off the running bucket list.

23331485_10101512283868038_7639121445123841923_oOh, and on an unrelated-to-running note, I also was honored as the 2017 Chapter Member of the Year for the Public Relations Society of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter for which I got to do a pretty sweet photoshoot with my dog.

Now that I’m done with races for the year, my goal is to keep up with 5-6 mile runs on the weekends until I can pick another half or full marathon that I want to do in 2018. Perhaps something early on in the year so I can slack off for the final 75% of the year and just claim I was an early to bed, early to rise goal achiever. Just kidding.

I’ve also been following along with the Tone It Up 21 Day Challenge in which I’m doing 21 reps of five different exercises for three rounds, four to five days a week. Every once in a while, I’ll join a blacklight spin class that may or may not be becoming my new obsession. Perhaps one day I’ll get used to the soreness in my unmentionable space from the bike seat. And through it all, I still have 10,000-steps-on-my-Fitbit OCD. Moral of the story, I’m doing my best to stay active, even if its not running!

You’ll see that I’m doing more posts on my Instagram (hence why I felt it was due time for a blog update). Please follow along as I do enjoy connecting with everyone.

What have you been up to? What races are you training for?

Until next time, which is hopefully not six months from now.

(PS; my new-found love for the “My Favorite Murder” podcast wants me to end this by saying, “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered.”)

Sacramento Dessert Bar & the Week-Long Migraine

So on July 28, I woke up at the usual 5:15 a.m. and made my way to the gym to work on my upper body. Felt great, kicked butt, yadda yadda. As I’m getting ready for work, my vision started to blur a little. I realized I hadn’t eaten yet so I went and grabbed a quick protein shake and chugged some water. Vision still blurry and head now pounding, I could tell something wasn’t right. As I headed into work, I got nauseous, my mouth and fingers went numb and I was sweating profusely. WTF was going on? Within the first ten minutes of the work day, I was in the bathroom three times throwing up. I was trying to tough it out as I was already taking a half day to drive to Sacramento for my cousin’s wedding, but I couldn’t take any more. I headed for the door and made it home just in time to puke five more times. I did everything I could to toughen up as it was an important weekend and I was so looking forward to spending time with family. Luckily Scott was coming with me and he was able to drive on my behalf but we weren’t even sure I could do a two-hour drive in my condition. Thankfully we did make it to where we needed to be, but the rest of the day, I was constantly sweating and could not shake my headache. That was the absolute worst migraine I’d ever had. And it didn’t go away. For seven days. SEVEN DAYS OF HEADACHES. None as bad as that day, but the lingering pounding sensation meant there was little to no desire to be active.

I did pack running gear, per usual, and really wanted to run along the Sacramento River, but instead I opted for a 1,000 calorie Oreo Cheesecake at Rick’s Dessert Diner with my family and a Punch Bowl at Coin-Op. All the sugar probably made my heart beat just as fast as working out anyway…no? I’d get back to working out Monday anyway, right? Wrong. Whatever, that cheesecake and the other desserts my peeps got was the shit. Despite multiple nights of nine hours of sleep, I did not make it to the gym once. It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally put on my  Mizunos and ran a 5-mile taper run, and last long run, before Sunday’s Reno 10 Miler. Lucky ducky Pawko got to join me for the first mile (sadly, we haven’t been able to get outside much because of said migraine, the heat, and smoke from nearby looming fires). Surprisingly, I felt pretty ok. A little hip pain here and there, but I paced under 12 mins per mile and was even able to sprint to the end and finished in 58 minutes. My quads are paying for it today. Every time I find myself sitting at my desk for more than ten minutes, I instantly regret the moment I have to stand up. I’ll probably squeeze in one more 5K sometime this week and other than that, it’ll be all strength training, foam rolling and active rest days.

I started this morning with some upper body and core work. I had a last minute opportunity to go back to Burning Man at the end of the month, which is one of the only times you’ll ever see me in crop top (if you should be so lucky), so now I feel pressure to work on my core. Realistically, I know not much can be done in three-ish weeks, but hey, it’ll make me feel better at the end of the Playa. Planks, crunches and hip dips for days. And on the note of preparing for Burning Man, as I started to pull out all of my costumes and supplies, I discovered I literally have a tutu for every color of the rainbow. This makes my heart so, so, SO happy.

B. Robb and the 8th Mile

If you’re just tuning in, I’m training for the Reno 10 Miler. My last true race was May 1, 2016 when I completed my first marathon. Since then, I went through fitness struggle after fitness struggle, finding no true motivation and perhaps even losing my lack of love for running. Don’t worry, I read that happens to a lot of runners, I just never thought it’d be me. Signing up for this race, seems to have been just what I needed. However, I’ve been worried about whether or not my body would let me even properly train for it as right hip likes to come at me in all-out war similar to the end of last night’s Game of Thrones episode (spoiler alert, only not really).

I’ve been a week ahead of my training schedule as one day I just kept running so on the new schedule for this past weekend, I was scheduled to run eight miles. When I began training, I said that as long as I can get up to an 8-miler, I should be fine. So in essence, this was a make-or-break weekend. I started off broken thanks to some vodka tonics Friday night, which not only derailed my training plans, but also derailed my plans to not drink for a while (see: Portland trip). However, as punishment, I ended up at the gym after a homemade hangover breakfast and treated myself to kettle bell swings, hip thrusters, plie squats and other various booty breakers.

After that bit of torture (just kidding, it was actually a GREAT workout), I was determined to prep myself to run tomorrow. Also, the fact that I was neck-and-neck with someone in a Fitbit Weekend Warrior Challenge, really irked my competitiveness so I was determined to kick some cement ass the next day. Just like the old marathon training days, we went out for sushi later that night so I could get SOME carbs in me (still working on that “giving up” thing) and at 10 p.m., I hit the sack. Man, what a wild Saturday night. I normally don’t feel the need to wake up early to run unless it’s a work day, so to set my alarm to 5:15 a.m. on a Sunday was a pretty mean accomplishment. Not the waking up the next morning part, the actual setting the alarm part. I did almost hit snooze, but the thought of running eight miles in 100 degree heat had me on a hop, skip and jump outta bed.

When I realized I hadn’t charged my headphones the night before, I prayed to the running Gods that they would survive at least half way otherwise I’d be miserable without them. Luckily, they survived until I was a half mile away from being done and from there I just blasted New Found Glory at an appropriate “blasting music at 7 a.m.” volume. Hey man, I may be selfish, but I ain’t rude!

Anywho, I felt GREAT on this run. Very minimal hip pain, great stamina, great hydration and high energy levels. Not once did I feel like quitting. Not once did I try to walk… well, not once till the last quarter mile… but, why quit then? When I finished, I let out a big sigh of relief as I not only beat the triple digit weather, but I powered through in a mind-over-matter mentality and conquered my goals for the weekend… and then some.

The 10 Miler isn’t until August 13 so I may try for another eight when I’m in Sacramento next weekend – I do love me some lower altitude running. But we’ll see. I don’t want to push it for fear I WILL injure myself. But, as I sit here writing this, I’m really realizing that my passion is back. I’m focused, determined and ready to rock.

PS; I also won that Fitbit challenge… I apparently even intimidated someone enough to quit before it was really over. Whoops.

A girl has no toe nail 

Title is in honor of Game of Thrones returning and in lieu of my post run scenario. 

Well, I did it. It sure as shit was not easy. I debated holding off until tomorrow but my other half insisted that I should stick to my plan otherwise it won’t get done. Thanks boo. I woke up earlier than planned and did my usual Vaseline in the crack and everywhere else routine. I didn’t have much in the way of fuel so I settled with a Lara Bar (unpreparedness #50). I had to procrastinate till my headphones finished charging but once they did, off I went. I started out slow because I could feel every ounce of beer and donut swish around in my belly. Or that could have been the cookies and kambucha from last night (don’t look at me like that, healthy food routine starts over Monday). After about a mile and a half, I was feeling pretty good and felt time was going by fast even though I was pacing a minute slower than normal.  Once I got to the three mile loop, I had to start really distracting myself. It was getting warmer and my hip and IT were starting to burn. So I present to you my random running thoughts episode … 16. Sounds right. 

  • I prefer running a start to finish vs out and back. I can so just turn around now and still get 5 miles in. No, go. Just to. Stick with the plan.
  • Mind over matter.
  • This is a walking / running trail, not a bike trail. Take your speedy contraption to the streets!! (Seriously, there are signs that say no biking).
  • I should add more *NSYNC to this playlist 
  • Where can we get pancakes later? Wait, dammit. Carbs. No carbs.
  • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 

As you can see, the further along I got, the more delirious I became. It was hot. I was lethargic. I did a little bit of waking. More than I would have liked to. My hips hurts. My toe is black and blue. My IT band needs a foam roller. And I tried new energy gels that came with my Runner Box that gave me no boost and left my hands a sticky mess. I’d tell you the brand but the wrapper is still in my running pack and I’m far too lazy to walk across the house to get it. Through all this, I can finish the weekend with a sense of accomplishment. I did it. Seven miles. Half way to a half marathon. In a few weeks, I’ll only have to run three more after that. I’ll be sure to have a lot less donuts and beer when that time comes. 

What goals are you setting this weekend? 

Shut the Carb Up.

For years I’ve had this agonizing stomach pain that was just as annoying from the pain perspective as was from the brain. It just makes its way into my body whenever it feels like with no true way to relieve it. None of my doctors seemed to have an answer for it, despite multiple tests taken and thousands of dollars spent. I’ve been to the ER for it, I’ve had to quit or put-off working out because of it and I’ve had to spend many nights hurled over in bed from the pain. I finally went to a Gastroenterologist, who seems to think my body doesn’t process carbs, garlic, tomatoes or anything acidic at a normal pace. So, the chubbarita (thanks Emily) in me instantly died a little inside when he told me I needed to give these up (or at least restrict them… basically the same thing to anyone who loves food, amiright?!). But actually, the first whine out of my mouth was, “BUT I’M A RUNNER!!” Despite the fact that many of my reactions are, this is not an exaggerated claim.

This was about a month and a half ago – I’ve gone about 75% carb-free and still get the stomach pain, but not nearly as often as I used to. Now that I plan to up my running mileage though, I predict another obstacle to add alongside insult and injury. What am I going to do when I need to run in the double digits and I can’t have my wheat toast with peanut butter and bananas (also another item he added to the ‘give up’ list… I know, I … I KNOW). The doctor’s response was to focus on protein intake, but I still find myself very lethargic when working out. What’s most upsetting is that it puts a dent in all of my nailed down race/training routines. But I guess it’s good to throw complacency out the window… or something.

I thought I’d put a call out to all my readers for their advice on this one. Does carb-intake affect your running routine? What do you do in lieu of? This blog was meant to make people feel like they are not alone, myself included, so lemme hear ya!

(PS; also on the list of can’t-haves: hot lemon water, ibuprofen/advil, gum or mints. So, sorry in advance if my skin isn’t glowing, I’m in a lot of uncontrollable pain and my breath smells.)

F@$% Running

I had the absolute worst run on Monday. EVERYTHING went wrong and it sure was a lesson against procrastinating. I ran out of time (and motivation) to do my 8-miler this weekend so I thought heck, it’s only eight miles – surely I can do it after work. Wrong. From the beginning, my calf cramped for two miles while my running pack kept falling off for four. I didn’t have any Advil left, my water was leaking all over my hip, I didn’t think I’d need an energy gel but alas when I wanted one, there wasn’t one. My knee cramped. My hip cramped. I got a new phone over the weekend that wouldn’t connect to my headphones for a good ten minutes and even worse, I have none of my music on there yet. Last but not least, I could only find it in me to walk/run seven miles.

I’m NINE days away from my marathon. NINE, PEOPLE. I know everyone has their moments, but really? This close to the race?

I’ve been trying to put it behind me since it happened, but I can’t seem to shake it as it terrifies me that all those things will happen come race day.

Race ready, blog not-so-steady

Hey you! Remember me? I’m the girl who wanted to blog about her marathon training and have alas made it this far, only to fail. But I guess its better to fail at the writing than the running.

There are fifteen days until my first marathon. I’m already starting to feel a post-race depression kick in. I feel it every time I work out. I feel it while I taper. What do you mean I only have to run EIGHT miles this weekend?! Ooh-wee, I’m leaving the vaseline and the GU at home, papa.

Two weeks ago, I finally hit the point where I knew I was ready. I ran 20 miles – the only thing that scared me more than the actual run. That day was phenomenal. The sun was out. My Honey Badger pre-workout did it’s justice and turned me into an unusual 6 a.m. chatterbox. (Seriously… do NOT try and talk to me in the morning). I had my traditional night-before sushi coma that was more delicious than ever. I slept well. My body felt great with no injury in sight. Everything went just as it was supposed to.

When training started, I vowed that each long run would be met with a new product test. This time, we worked really hard at the whole eating thing. I have never craved nor savored a bagel more than I did at mile nine (and I’m a Jew, so that says something). I was let in on a *spudworthy* secret at mile 12 and at the end, I devoured a hamburger, fries, three beers and two shots of whisky that numbed any cramp or pain that came my way. So, when a runner tells you they “run to eat,” it seriously is so very true.

After a two mile incline in the super hot sun, my running gal pal told me I should give myself a “whoop whoop” at the top. What came out of my mouth and what she actually heard resulted in my new mating call, my new holler and what you should yell at me any chance you get (like from the cheering sections on race day): “Jew Whoop!” While that’s not what I said, it’s fitting and Ann had every right to think I would come up with something so clever.

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As I sprint around some of the memories from that day, the one that keeps crossing my mind the most is the thought of being ready and how I felt it most in the last three miles. Truly, it’s because of the people I had with me that day. The ones who texted me every few miles to check-in, the ones who surprised me with a group Facebook follow, the ones who pulled over in the middle of the street to honk at me, and most importantly, the ones who ran with me. I have never felt luckier in life than I have since training began.

But also knowing that I’ve worked my ass off these last six months has left me with such a feeling of completion, even though I haven’t officially ran the race yet. I’ve remained committed. I haven’t quit. I’ve dedicated early mornings, late nights and weekends to accomplishing something I never dreamed I would do. Something I told everyone I would NEVER do. Something I am, now, GOING to do.

Fifteen days separates me. Each day I get a little more nervous, but each day I recall that feeling of being ready because I AM ready.

I’m here….

…and I’m alive with so many training updates to make. But alas, I’m a failure at life… or just blogging… with no time to spare. If you’re really invested in my journey, (and why wouldn’t you be?) I update more frequently on my Facebook page: Sara and Her Soles.

Sarcasm and funny author voice aside, I’ve really loved sharing this venture with you. With 17 days to go, I’ve got a lot on my plate but not a single day goes by where I don’t think about updating you all. Xo.

One month and counting.

I have been training nonstop since November 1. I’m not sure what the other side of this is going to look like, but I am imagining there will be some sort of culture shock thing happening. Part of me wishes that shock was because I was traveling to Europe or somewhere exotic, but alas, it’s because I signed up to run 26.2 miles. Yeah, I volunteered to do that.

This weekend will be my last distance run before I taper. Twenty freaking miles. As you’ve all read before, there’s always a million things going through my head. Some of them practical, like don’t forget to eat your carbs, others a sign of delirium – like what if I don’t put enough Vaseline on my thighs and I can’t run all 20 miles because I’ll be so busy trying to escape the chafe and then I’ll have to quit, ask for someone to pick me up and sulk in embarrassment before having to warm myself up to do it again. Or my whole training plan gets ruined and I have to quit trying to run a marathon less than 30 days out all because I didn’t wear enough stinkin’ Vaseline. Yeah…

Anyway. There’s a street here in Reno named McCarran and it makes one big loop around the city for about 23 miles.  In the local running scene, to run the whole street is known as the “McLoop.” I’ve always wanted to be a part of the groups that do this run a few times a year. A lot of people will only run parts of it and get picked up along the way. Others use it for a training run. It’s hilly. There’s lots of places to stop along the way. I’ve ran parts of it on my own courses. Mostly because of prior commitments, I haven’t been able to participate before. But now, it’s finally my turn to McLoop! Or … at least mostly McLoop.  Technically I only need 20 miles, not 23. But I have this awful quality that forces me to finish everything I start – like puzzles, books (even if they take a year), the ten sushi rolls I ordered at once.

Back to that training nonstop since November thing. This is it. This is the final hurdle for me. The point where as long as I can do it, I know I’ll be good on May 1. I know it’s going to be tough. I know I’m going to hate life, want to hurl over on the side of the road and die, but at the end, I’ll be so incredibly pumped and proud. Frankly, when I wrote my training plan last fall before even agreeing to sign up, it was these long runs – the in between – that almost stopped me from registering. It’s a huge time commitment and I just wanted to skip from A to Z. But I’m here. I’ve made it. Tapering cannot come soon enough. And on the flipside, that 15-miler now doesn’t seem all that bad with a looming 20 ahead.

(PS; I know it often sounds like I hate running and you’re probz like “why the Hell did she even sign up?” But I promise you, I love it. I love the accomplishment. I love the battle wounds. I love the medals. I love the journey. I love running.)

PPS – If any of you Renoites would like to join us on the McLoop – for even just a couple of miles, we’re starting at  7 a.m. and welcome any and all company!

The 18-mile slump ender

Alright, it happened. Four and a half months into training, I hit my wall. My point of exhaustion. My point of disinterest. My point of wanting to quit. I’ve had to force myself to the gym, force myself to run, force myself to be cautious of my diet and more. I skipped a few runs. I strayed from my training schedule. I went on vacation, drank wine and fruity little drinks, ate everything in sight (including cake for breakfast… Hey, it was my birthday) and avoided my Saucony shoes at all costs. Sure, it helped me regain focus – but man was it rough to return from a “do what I want” mindset back to “goddamnit I’m running a marathon in less than two months, I probably shouldn’t eat this whole box of Girl Scout cookies.” And what better way to get past a wall than to run 18 grueling miles?

But alas, Friday night I ate a healthy serving of spaghetti and meatballs, went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and woke up Saturday earlier than I even do for work. I went through the usual preparations: hydration tab, coffee, bathroom break, toast with peanut butter and banana, bathroom break, put away the dishes, cleaned up trash, vaselined my who-ha, played Candy Crush, bathroom break, pre-workout, packed my fanny, bathroom break and whatever else I could find to procrastinate. At 6:58 a.m., I was gone.

I mapped out my route the night before – from home, down my usual South Meadows and Longely turf, to some new pavement with plenty to stare at as I ran by. I took my first break at mile six, a lovely, strangely crowded-at-an-early-hour Starbucks and was pretty confident in how I felt. I caught wind of some foot pain in the first few miles so those passed rather quickly complete with begging them to get me through *just* sixteen more miles.

As I neared my halfway point, I noticed a familiar sight – bright orange cones, mile markers, an aid station and some cheerful volunteers – I was crashing a race! Party on, Wayne! I had forgotten about the Biggest Little City Half Marathon that was debuting that day, but more so,  I had no idea it was crossing my path. As it was on a public course around Virginia Lake, I kept doing the damn thing (with proper race etiquette of course). The coolest part? I recognized some of the local elite runners so I knew I was running alongside the fastest. Regardless, they all treated me like I was one of them. Every runner I crossed paths with, thought I was one of them. They cheered me on, gave me the thumbs-up and a few even said, “only six more miles to go!” Ha! You funny people. I’m flattered, but these legs have to go another NINE MILES )(@*$(*@#.

I took a decent break at the halfway mark to refuel, stretch and snap a selfie. I felt good. Hell, I felt great. A week ago, I had a real tough time running ten miles. How was it that just a few days and a few skipped workouts later, I was feeling stronger than ever? Actually… who cares? I’m a bad ass.

Annnd.. that all changed quickly. I felt myself losing the gusto. An emotional switch instantly turned on. I got overwhelmed with the thought of May 1. I got teary-eyed thinking about my journey. I was a mess and hobbling my way through it. Then suddenly I hear “three miles to go” trigger from my Nike app. I matched my furthest distance. Only a 5K was left. Just three miles. You made it this far. Go.

Though the last bit was met with speed walking, backward walking and of course, painful strides, I did it. Three hours and forty-five minutes later – I did it. Where the hell was my doughnut and beer? (Answer: across the street. When I was done, I b-lined for the nearest grocery store and raided the bakery. I was glad to have those tasty, well-deserved calories burn right through my runner’s body.

Lookout world, I’m an almost-marathoner.