Thankful Thursday

Today I’m thankful to be a Happy Runner again!

I ran a 10K Trail Race a few weekends ago, and you know what….it felt pretty great! Now, that’s not to say it was easy, because it’s not an easy race, but it is one of my favorites, and I was doing it with some of my favorite people. Seriously if you are local to the Tacoma area check out Evergreen Trail Runs  specifically the Dash Point March & Sep races. One of my favorite courses ever!

Barbie arms! Thanks for the pic Michelle!

For a while now (like the last few years…yikes) running has been stressful between dealing with lingering car accident issues, and dealing with a knee injury/surgery from HS. I was starting to feel like running was going to be over for me. The car accident stuff is what it is and I can deal with it, but my knee that’s another story, and the two issues combined…forget about it. The constant pain was really starting to get to me, and it was keeping me from running the way I’d like.

Michelle, Ella, Elya and Me…thanks again for the pic Michelle.

Enter a visit to an Ortho Surgeon…who after an x-ray and exam recommend PT. Now, I will admit I had a cruddy attitude about PT. It’s not what I wanted to do, I really just wanted an MRI to assure I wasn’t doing damage, but turns out Ortho Surgeons are pretty smart, and sending me to PT was exactly what I needed. I have learned so much about how my knee and body are (or aren’t) working, what to change to make every day, non-running, life knee-pain free, and what to do while running to limit the wear, tear, and pain in my knee. I still don’t love the time or money commitment to PT, but every visit I’m so happy with how things are going, and the things I’m learning to assure I’m treating my knee (and body) the best I can to keep everything functioning for years to come.

And finished! Felt good!

My first visit to PT I was asked what my goal was and my #1 goal was/is to be able to run pain free, and sign up for any race I want to without having to consider if my knee can handle it or not. And, I’m getting there! Most runs are pain free now, and if the knee does start to hurt it’s because I’ve gotten lazy and let the form/muscle control go. A quick re-focus and reactivation of certain muscles and the pain is instantly gone! It feels so good to run and not be worried the entire time.

Sisters who run together…have a really good time!

Even though running is going so much better I’m still sticking to trail running only. Long term I just feel like it’s a better option for my body, plus I’d much rather run through the trees than past cars on the road. Trail runner at heart over here!


Best Race Ever!

Guys, it has been so long since I’ve been able to say this…I had the most amazing race over the weekend!


Elya and I ran the Point Defiance Ultra – the 15K (10 mile) distance. It was so perfect!!! It rained, like the hardest downpour I’ve ever run in, there was mud…lot’s and lot’s of mud, it was slippery and splashy, and so much fun!

We left puddles in my car seats, and I had mud in places I didn’t think could get muddy running. It was crazy, and so much fun!

The final downhill to the finish is crazy! Like hand over hand on the ropes to stay on your feet steep. With all the mud we pretty much slid down hand over hand. Sorry for the blurry pic…my phone was foggy and wet.

I was stressing out about this one big time. Training on Whole30 has sucked pretty much, so I was anticipating struggling to get through to the finish line. But, my race day breakfast and fuel plan came together perfectly and I felt amazing. I didn’t feel tired or worn out until the last mile, which is exactly what I want in a race!

Laughing my way through a race with Elya really is the best thing ever. There wasn’t a single step in that race that we didn’t have huge grins on our faces. Rainy trail runs are the adult version of kids puddle jumping in the rain…so much fun!

The last 3 to 4 races I’ve done have been pretty rough. I have struggled to finish them, pushed harder than I probably should have, and felt like death for days after. Mentally it had gotten to me, I was not loving running, not excited about races, down right terrified of double digit miles, and thinking it may be time to think about being done with it.

I think my shirt was so wet it stretched to be about 2 inches longer than it really is!

This race was just what I needed to get my running game back. It’s the first race I’ve finished in a long time that made me think “hey I really want to do this again…whens the next one?!”, and it’s the first one I’ve finished with a smile on my face.

So cool running into Kember (Fleet Feet) and Elite PT at the finish line.

Trail running has always been where my true running heart is, and I let myself drift away from it. So, my goal for next year is more trail running, lot’s more…I may not even do a road race next year at all. I’m happy in the woods (hello we camp all the time!), and my body is happier running on trails. I feel less pressure on trails to. It’s ok, heck it’s expected, to be slower on trails, and the views….they can’t be beat.

12068935_10153634049709933_4972434302720256949_oI mean really….that sunrise….great start line view!

I know one race I’ll be doing for sure…Point D Ultra October 2016! Who want’s to run it with me?!

No Bake Energy Bites

I haven’t talked about running much lately mostly because I’ve been a little at odds with it. I’ve been running, and been enjoying the run’s I’m doing, but. There’s always seems to be a but. But, I still hadn’t made peace with how I felt during and after my last half.

Mentally it just really messed with me, and I’ve been frustrated with the things I need to figure out to make 10+ miles more pleasant (as pleasant as they can be anyway), and my complete lack of desire to train for anything really. I’ve been stuck in casual runner rut for months.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I missed having the desire to push and do more.

One of my biggest issues has been fuel. Everything I’ve tried has been a gut disaster, and that is no good when running. I decided until I figured out an option that works I wouldn’t look at any longer distances.

Thankfully I stumbled across this No Bake Energy Bite recipe over on Jen Chooses Joy (different Jen) and I like it!

Click on over to her blog for the recipe. Mine ended up being a bit bigger than her’s, but other than that I followed the recipe 100%.

What I like about them is they freeze well. I froze them in 4’s in freezer bags and pull out a new bag as needed. They taste great even after being frozen, The other thing I really like about them is how evened out my energy and blood sugar feel when I eat them before running. Most importantly they don’t upset my stomach, which is huge!

I eat one about an hour before running, and still feel like I have enough energy by the end of a run. Granted my longest run has been 6 miles, so not a true test, but miles are ramping up getting ready for my 15K trail run, so I’ll hit double digits here soon and have a better idea about how they will work for half’s. I just have to figure out how to flatten them out a bit, and fit them in a zipper pocket for refueling during longer runs, without making a mess. 🙂

I’m working on testing out home-made energy drinks as well, although with these energy bites I may be able to just drink water which would be nice. I really don’t like running with a handheld, so have been resisting the home-made drink option.

The nice thing is I’m starting to feel excited about running again, and running longer distances. Looking at two half marathons next year that I’m excited about. It feels good to want to be running and training again!

Running Shoes – One Way to Save Money

You know how you hear how inexpensive running is? Well the jokes on us runners right?! The only people who think it isn’t expensive are those that don’t run.

I’m not complaining really, because it’s worth it to me, and I sort of believe that if you track the cost of gym membership over the years vs. running gear and entry fees that maybe those who run (and don’t have a gym membership) are indeed saving money. I sort of believe that. 😉

Anyway, I think it’s safe to say one of, if not the, biggest cost is running shoes. Again, not complaining, because when you find the right pair that work perfectly for you, it’s worth almost any price tag right?!

I kind of miss those shoes and the bright color! 

I’ve been very lucky to have a relationship with Fleet Feet Tacoma, and a Dad who supports my endeavors, so I rarely have to pay for my shoes. It’s one of the reasons I have been able to keep running after losing my job and being a stay at home mom. Our single income would not support buying running shoes as often as I need them. 
But, there is a new site that is going to help everyone save money on running shoes! It’s called ShoeKicker and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the service! 
I had the opportunity to test it out before it went live yesterday, and it was easy to use, and accurate! Check them out, fill out three fields, hit “Show Me The Best Price” and viola you have a list of options to purchase your go to running shoe at the best price possible! So easy, and even if you only save a few $$ every little bit helps. 
Of course this only works if you have been fitted and know what shoe to shop for in the first place. So, don’t forget your local running store! Go get fitted, test run shoes if they let you, and check out the return policy. Most stores will let you wear them for a few days, some of them give you 30 days, to run in them and make sure they really work for you. 
I highly recommend buying your first pair of running shoes, or first pair of a new to you brand, at a local store. Returning them if needed is easier, they will be there hands on to direct you to a shoe that will work better for you if you do return a pair, and can offer advice on inserts or lacing that can make all the difference. 
But once you do that, and for sure know what works for you ShoeKicker is a great option for you, or for that person that gifts you your shoes, to help save money! 
I guess it’s easy to see that adidas is my shoe for life! No discounts on them, but I don’t care…they work so it’s worth it! 
Run on, and save some money! 

Running In Your Head

Anyone who’s ever run, even just a little bit, knows that running starts and stops in your head. From the very basics of how the human body/brain works to the emotional and mental strength to press on long after your legs and body send signals saying they are done.

Thankfully, or not depending one how you look at it, I know for myself what being “done”, and being “really done” is and the difference between the two. “Done” means I’m tired, I want it to be over, I could stop and who would care, lets just call it a day right now. “Really Done” means it’s not healthy or safe to continue, I’m risking injury or serious illness if I don’t stop right this second. “Really Done” has only happened during training runs thankfully.

It takes the same determination and strength to listen to both types of Done and proceed accordingly. I know, I know, how hard is it to just stop and take care of yourself right?! While I haven’t had to DNF (did not finish) a race yet, I have had to drop from a half to a 10K, and have skipped a race entirely, and that was hard. I know for myself it would be extremely difficult to call a race once I’ve started. All the training, travel, race fees, planning, goal setting down the drain, and the disappointment in self that I’m sure would follow would make it darn near impossible for me to not finish at almost all cost. Almost….I’d like to think I’d stop if I was truly sick or risking serious injury.

I am all too familiar with the other kind of Done though. I believe that we, or at least I, race to the distance. So, even if I’m “only” running a 5K I still have thoughts about half way through of just wanting to stop, and be done, and why oh why am I doing this.

Making running life decisions during a race, especially a longer one, when having issues is probably not the best time to be making them. Sort of like shopping while hungry. But, I had done just that. By mile 9 or so I was dealing with stomach acid burning it’s way up my esophagus, feeling the life drain out of my legs, knowing I had not trained properly at all (zero hill training…mostly because of car accident treatment plan), being beyond frustrated that yet another fueling experiment had not worked, and yet again running in warmer temps than my body likes…hello sweaty chills and uncontrollable shaking. I was so frustrated with everything, but mostly with my state of mind. I was starting to think I couldn’t finish, that I had no business even being there trying to run. Those last miles I was fighting my body and my mind to keep going.

The result…after crossing the finish line I decided I was going to be done with half’s for sure, maybe even running for a good long time. It just felt like everything fell apart, and the last few races have been that way.

Per usual I sent a text to my Dad letting him know I finished, that it was hard & I had once again been sick during the race, but still managed my 2nd best time. His reply was along the lines of (I forget the exact wording) that’s because you are determined and you pushed through. Those few words changed my entire thinking.

I’ve been striving for the perfect, strong mental game. Nothing but positive I can do it thinking with zero room for doubt or thoughts of I can’t. I don’t like self doubt, in life, or running. But, really the mental strength comes from having those thoughts and not giving up. Somehow finding the strength to run to the next fence post, now get to that tree up there, ok water stop in 1 mile you can make it, keep your legs moving, even slowly, only 2 miles to go…your short training runs are longer than that. That’s a strong mental game right there, digging deep to overcome the negative thoughts, and tired body to keep going.

Sky and I at the Bannister Mile

I could take lessons from Sky for sure. It was so interesting running that mile with her and listening to her thought process. 3 year old’s think verbally, so every thought that crossed her mind crossed her lips. She was tired, and hot, and talking about how hard it was. But, she was also talking about everything that was distracting her like the practice going on in the field next to the track, the other runners that were lapping us & cheering for them, telling me she was going to run slower, ok now faster, switching lanes, holding my hand, then not. 
At 3 she already has that strong mental game in place using all sorts of tactics to distract her from being tired. Not finishing that mile never crossed her mind. I gave her the option every lap to call it and be happy with what she’d already done. Every single time she said “No mommy, let’s keep going, I’ll finish”. I’m putting that on a loop in my mind next time I start struggling “No Sky, I’m going to keep going, I’ll finish”. 
I’m still taking a half marathon break, because I have got to figure out how to fuel (or not, maybe it’s time to try only taking water and nothing else) without making myself sick. I have a list of options I’ve researched, and will be spending some time on my own, running the way I need to to figure it all out. At least I have made peace with the mental side of it though.