Running With 4 Chihuahuas

This is not a weight loss blog.

I repeat…

This is NOT a weight loss blog.


Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I must say that since I began running and taking care of myself in August/September, I am down more than 18 lbs! On my own. With sheer hard work. All my own.

I want to do a little celebratory dance right now.

But I am at work and dancing would probably draw a crowd and some weird looks. So instead, I will  just have a little party in my head. !!!! 🙂 !!!! 🙂 !!

Let’s think for a minute about what this weight loss means. I did a search on the interwebs and found this little nugget:

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So, I’m not quite at 20 lbs. lost, but check that out. Just a few months ago, I was running and working out while essentially toting around a full car tire, or a pug. I ran with a pug, people.

Another way to look at it:

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I ran miles and miles while carrying not one, but FOUR chihuahuas in tow. FOUR little buggy-eyed chihuahuas!

Mind blown.


While this isn’t a weight loss blog, when I began my 100 Days of Running challenge several months ago, I was prepared and very welcome to the idea that running would help me shed weight. It was not necessarily my only goal, but it would be an awesome byproduct. And since beginning, I have slowly lost pounds while also slowly adding mileage to my routine, assuming the added mileage would speed up results. I topped off at 6.6 miles before I had to stop.

But what’s weird is that I have had the most dramatic weight loss since STOPPING running (due to my IT Band problem, for which I have been seeing a physical therapist). Almost 4.5 lbs. lost in just 2 week’s time—part of that time which included an indulgent Thanksgiving day of eating and revelry. To replace my runs, I have supplemented my workouts with yoga, modified cross training, and the recumbent bike. I was certain that my results would slow down because of my lack of running, but after weighing myself this morning, I was so wrong! My body was craving something different.

Running is so great and I will continue to run once I get the green light from the doctor. But I think that even when I do add it back to my routine, I am going to ease up on it. I got a little too intense about it for a while. Maybe run fewer days of the week. Maybe vary my mileage.

Running is not out. But variation is in.

Next workout I want to try: ballet. I am no dancer, but I like the idea of working out and stretching and challenging my body in a new way. And also maybe developing some fun skills in the meantime.

 

What are some unique or different workouts you have tried in order to mix up your routine? Hot yoga? Belly dancing? Zumba? A little Richard Simmons?

IT Band Syndrome

After a weekend of pain—and running only making it worse—I finally decided to go see a doc. In ALL my days, I never ever ever thought I’d see a “Sports Medicine” doctor. I still identify myself as a NARP (non-athletic-regular-person), though The Boy tries to convince me otherwise ;), and Sports Medicine docs are for serious athletes.

Exactly a week ago today, I ran 6.6 miles. Felt good. Felt strong. Felt sore afterwards—as would be expected when your body is not used to such distances, and when it’s the very first time you’ve run such a distance. The day after, I was markedly more sore than usual. But I pushed through.

Thursday–6.6 miles

Friday–3.2 miles

Saturday–3.6 miles

Both Friday’s and Saturday’s runs were not super duper comfortable, but I could still run.

Sunday, as always, was a rest day. I figured the rest would do me the good I needed and I’d be ship-shape by Monday. But my limping wasn’t proving promising.

Monday rolled around and I didn’t see running happening. I even told myself that maybe I’d feel good enough to run in the evening, but that didn’t happen either.

On Tuesday, I decided to pull back on running. It had been over 48 hours since I last ran so I felt good about running only a small amount to ease back into it.

So that morning, after an hour of power yoga, I hit the treadmill for what turned out to be a quite painful 1.1 mile run. I pushed through, so determined to run at least the 1 mile each day, as per the parameters of my 100 Days of Running challenge. I had already missed the previous day and I didn’t/DON’T want to lose momentum. But that 1.1 mile was somewhat discouraging. And I had come to the reality that I might actually have a real running injury.

I scheduled an appointment with a Sports Med doctor and headed in that same afternoon.

Six x-rays and some poking and prodding later, the doctor told me I have Iliotibial (or IT) Band Syndrome, a very common running injury caused by overuse. Luckily, he didn’t seem concerned and so he set me up with a physical therapist.

For now, running is off the table. Hopefully for only a short while. I have worked incredibly hard to build up to where I am and I’d hate to have to start back from zero.

Hopefully this is more like 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

In the meantime, I am on the hunt for other equally effective workouts. So far, power yoga and modified cross training has done me some good. Can’t wait until I can work running back in to my routine! 🙂

 

 

Do I have a running injury?

IMG_6073Last week, I decided to do my long(est) run on a weekday instead of the weekend. So, Thursday I set out to run to the nearby LDS temple. I had run there once before and it was so hard, but I have since built up my stamina. So, I headed out.

It was a beautiful fall morning and I couldn’t help but take a bunch of pictures. When all was said and done, I had run a whopping 6.6 miles! My absolute longest run to date. I didn’t plan on running that long on the outset, but I kept telling myself I could go just that much further. So I did.

By the time I was done, I simply couldn’t believe I had accomplished something like that. I had only once run the 10k distance of 6.2 miles (on the treadmill the weekend before), so I was beyond thrilled that my body could do even more while running outside.

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I knew I’d be sore. After all, this was the longest sustained running that my body had ever endured. I got ready for the day and headed to work fully prepared for the soreness that would follow. I usually don’t mind it, though. It hurts so good. That’s how I know I worked hard.

At work, as I sat in front of my computer and worked hard to meet some crazy upcoming deadlines, I noticed something wasn’t right. The top of my right hip was more tight than usual. I have dealt with tight hip flexors, but this wasn’t the norm. I found myself limping when I’d walk. And soon I found that this limping would continue through the weekend.

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I ALWAYS seem to find banana peels on my outdoor runs. So weird.

I did run again on both Friday (3.2 miles) and Saturday (3.6 miles), mostly hoping that running through the tightness would be good. Silly, I know. I also made sure to foam roll as much as possible.

After a rest day on Sunday, it’s Monday again. I usually would weight lift and run on a Monday morning. I didn’t today, though. I am hoping that the rest day + almost all of Monday will give me some energy and strength to run tonight. I am determined to run for 100 days. It will happen.

Maybe I am in denial, but I don’t want to stop running. As hard as it is, it makes me feel so good. It makes me feel strong and able. And athletic. I need that.

Have any of you strained a hip flexor? How long did it take for you to recover? Am I being delusional to give it only 48 hours before running again?

I want to run!

5k Race Day Reflections

IMG_5985It’s been more than a week since my 5k.

The workflow at my job tends to ebb and flow, and lately it’s been flowing like crazy town. I haven’t had a second to do much of anything except work work work. So, here is my feeble attempt to give you my 5k report.

A couple weeks ago, while everyone under the sun was abuzz with New York Marathon updates and news, I was jittery and nervous for my local 5k. It’s been over 4 years since I ran my last (and also first) race. It was also a 5k back then—I am not at a place yet where I am comfortable running more than 5k in a race setting.

IMG_5986I was crazy nervous when I signed up more than a month ago. Then, as I trained and gained some confidence, the nerves lessened. Well, the day before and the morning of the race, it was as though all of the nerves were in full force again. Times 100!

I woke up early on Saturday to get ready for the race. My hands were shaky due to nerves. This was a Halloween race, so costumes were encouraged. I, however, opted not to wear a costume. I wore my regular running garb. No frills. Just commitment.

After arriving and checking in, The Boy and I did a quick warm up lap around a block or two to get ready.

IMG_5987 IMG_5988 Before I knew it, the race was underway. Off we went! For a while, I was stressed by seeing many people running in front of me and not that many behind me…aka we were probably on the tail end of the crowd. But, with my tempo music in my ears and The Boy by my side, we made a decent pace.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to stop. But my goal was ultimately to run WITHOUT stopping. No speed goals or anything. I just wanted to maintain the run for the entire 3.1 miles. So, I kept going. We passed a few people. A few people passed us. And the costumes and my music kept me distracted.

Every half mile, the Strava app voice prompts would tell me my distance and my pace. I was surprised when at one point I heard the voice tell me, “Previous mile in…11 minutes.” That’s a first! I have never gone faster than around 11:30–11:45 per mile. So, I was pleased as punch about that!

The weather was absolutely perfect. Sun in the sky and a fall chill in the air. And when we reached the finish line, I was so happy to have made it! I ran the whole time! As I collected myself and absorbed the fact that I had just run a 5k (!) I checked in with Strava.

6 PRs met! Say whaaaaa?

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Maybe I’ll run another one soon. 🙂

5k Eve

Ok, so here’s how it all went down the day before the race:

Friday 10/30: 5k Eve.

For some reason (that I seriously regretted later), I decided not to work out in the morning. I was so wicked exhausted that morning and so I told myself I’d run after work. Harmless enough. But this put me in a major funk all day at work. It should’ve been a pretty good day. First of all, it was Friday. I was in my Red Riding Hood costume for a work Halloween party. But all day, all I could think about was how I hadn’t run yet. I was tempted to just leave work and go running. I counted down the minutes until I could leave.

When I got home after work, I still had so much to do. Besides run and weight train, I had to bake like a fiend. The upcoming holiday weekend involved a few different shindigs and I wanted to bring goodies to every one. I LOVE to bake and I LOVE the holidays, so I couldn’t just not bake goodies. After baking and crafting (for a monthly craft group I belong to), I finally got to working out. It was 6:30pm and The Boy was coming over for an 8:15 college football game that we had tickets to. I planned to work out and then shower and be ready when he got there. After lifting weights, I headed to the fitness center in my apartment complex to hit the treadmill. I wasn’t expecting the 1 treadmill to be occupied at 7:00pm on a Friday night, but alas it was. Instead, I hit the streets for a chilly 2.3 mile run before rushing home for a shower.

It was gonna be one of those showers where I didn’t wash my hair, but since I stupidly had left the faucet in shower mode, my head got almost totally doused with cold water when I turned the water on. Great. Even though I was all wet, I still didn’t wash my hair. Sweaty and wet…eek. I rinsed off, got dressed, and The Boy and I headed to the game. I was freezing but just wanted to get there and spend some QT with him in his element.

Thanks to The Boy, I am starting to understand how football works, so I was able to follow along during the game. But if I wasn’t following along, I was burrowing my head into The Boy’s lap to try to stay warm. We stayed until halftime and then left. (The Boy had given me this option since he knew I had pre-race jitters).

So many pre-race nerves!


The Boy is so good to me. I was probably in a mood all night, mostly because I was SO nervous for the next morning’s 5k. He puts up with my moods. I just love that Boy.


Stay tuned for the 5k Race Day reflections!

Control Freak Runner

I am a control freak…at least when it comes to my runs.

1333449449106_9063872I mentioned last week that I recently ran my longest run ever: 5.1 miles. I can’t believe I did it. Then this weekend, The Boy and I ran a 4.1 mile dry run in the area where the 5k will be (it’s 1 week away!).

In light of those long runs, I have come to realize something: I think the reason why races totally freak me out is because races require a predetermined distance.

5k: “YOU WILL RUN 3.1 MILES.”

Ugh. Don’t you tell me how much I will run. I will decide.

Every time I run, my only goal is to run a minimum of 1 mile. Just 1 measly mile. That’s been my goal from the beginning of the 100 Days of Running challenge. Yet every morning without fail, I get to the 1 mile mark and essentially tell myself that I could probably go another half. Then another and another. This process usually continues until I find myself racking up the miles. 2.6, 4.1, 4.8, 5.1. (This is what I meant when I said that I “inadvertently” ran 5.1 miles last week.)

This process is the reason why a predetermined distance is not my favorite: because I am never sure what I am capable of until I actually get running.

The Boy and I never planned to run 4.1 miles. And I had zero intentions of running 5.1 miles last week. If you had woken me up and said, “Ok, time to run 5.1 miles,” I would have laughed in your face and gone back to bed. Or I would’ve begrudgingly did it, and would’ve likely hated every second of it. Instead, I did it because I pushed myself, little by little, piece by piece, 0.5 mile by 0.5 mile. And because I did it like that, I didn’t hate it. I felt proud that I went farther than I planned. And I am much more willing to do it like that again.

It’s so much better to exceed your expectations than to just barely meet them and hate the process getting there. I am not saying that you should set the bar low, but don’t set it so high that you deprive yourself of some satisfaction and pride. You will likely surprise yourself when you exceed what you assumed was your previous capacity.

Maybe my distaste for predetermined race distances is a manifestation of my obstinateness. But when it comes to being pushed to my physical limits, I want to be in control. I am resistant to a fixed race distance becoming an arbitrary measuring stick of my physical capabilities.

Instead, my capability is measured by my ability to keep trying and going, even when I don’t want to.