Sometimes you need to sleep

I got up! I was going to run. I truly was. But I ended up deciding that running three this morning and four tomorrow and then 10+ on Sunday might not be the best use of training time. I hemmed and hawed. Fighting with myself for almost ten minutes while standing at the end of the bed.

I checked the weather. I sought every reason I could think of not to run this morning. I tried to come up with a reason that was more than the fact that I was merely tired. Not just kind of tired, I felt exhausted. I had genuine concerns about my level of fatigue and striking out to run, so I made the decision to crawl back into bed.

A decision I realized when I woke up an hour later after a hard, sound sleep was the best decision that I could have made. I woke up feeling rested and refreshed. Something I hadn’t felt when I initially woke up at 4:30, granted who in the world feels refreshed at 4:30 am?

As frustrated as I am that I have missed my training the last couple mornings, I do recognize that sometimes you just need sleep. And I am one that needs a little more sleep and rest than the average runner. My years of battling various auto immune disorders has left my body a bit more prone to exhaustion than most. My need for sleep and rest sometimes appears out of proportion to the cause.

I realized this morning that I am now at the half way point in training. Typically by this time I am feeling utterly tired and run down. Though in comparison to past years I am less tired, for that I am grateful. I believe it is a factor in why I am enjoying this year so much compared to previous years.

Before I fell back to sleep I made a plan-I am going to run the seven miles that I missed Saturday and complete my Saturday long run of 10 miles on Sunday with Regina. I am excited that we are going to tackle the course for the trail run I signed up for plus do some additional miles.

While I am frustrated to miss miles, I have missed fewer miles this year than last. I have found that unlike in previous years where I would just beat myself up for missing the miles, I make a conscious plan to either make up or adjust for miles missed.

In addition to my plan for this weekend, I also make plans for the remaining half of training. This weekend I am going to sit down with a calendar and spend some time focusing on how exactly I am going to spend the last half of training. I am going to focus on dialing in my nutrition (I have put on the typical marathon training weight). Also, I want to work on making a better more precise plan for training so that I will be dialed in these last few weeks. To some it may not seem like a lot of fun to be so regimented, but a mantra I have tried to focus on during training is that by getting to hardwork and unfun stuff out of the way, race day will be much more enjoyable.

How is your training going?

Happy Running!


Rest day and a party

I had thought about making up the miles I missed. I thought of getting up moderately early and heading out to do some make up miles. I didn’t have too many to make up this week, just four, so I figured it would be an easy run around the neighborhood with minimal time spent. But it turned out that the party prep work started pretty early. As the sun came up we realized that there was more to be done than we realized. Thankfully the expected rain held off so it made set up a bit easier. Not only did the set up take precedence but added to that is the fact that we stayed at Megan and Chris’s apartment last night; so I would have had to discover yet another new route to train on.

It ended up being a fun, albeit chaotic day that ended in a fun party. There was laughter and food and balloons. Because we have to get up at 4 am on Sunday for our return trip, we didn’t stay incredibly late. Our departure occurred before the beer pong and flip cup tournaments.

I realized by mid-day that the stress of traveling nearly a thousand miles in a short span of time combined with running in an unfamiliar training locale made for a stressful weekend. If I have learned anything through the  years its that my training is less successful when I am stressed. I had to realize that I did the best I could with what I had, and not beat myself up for not doing more. The truth of the matter is, I would have been completely absent from the vast majority of the family events had I spent the weekend training.

While training is important, the time with Jesi and her family and taking part in this important event far outweighs the loss of a few miles training. I made sure that I kept my food intake inline with what I would normally eat, I abstained from alcohol consumption and I tried my best to take all the external steps necessary to keep my training up while still enjoying my downtime.

My take away for the weekend is that I can still be training focused but balanced. Something that I hope to hone and continue to grow as the training process moves forward.

Happy Running!


Well That Didn’t Go As Planned

It wasn’t the food, I swear. Or the adult beverage. Or the adorable cats and visiting. I woke up Saturday ready to tackle my 12 miles, possibly more. However when I got up I felt kind of nauseous and light headed. I felt like my stomach was rebelling against me in all means possible. Despite feeling crappy I decided to get up and move around a little bit thinking I would be ok in a minute. I assumed that whatever it was would of course be cured in one minute.

I made my pre-run oatmeal but the more that I moved around the more fuzzy and sick I felt. What was one minute turned into ten and the feeling wasn’t getting any better. I ended up curling back up in bed after eating what I thought would be a magically restorative bowl of oatmeal, but when I woke again to strike out for a run I realized that it wasn’t at all a good idea.

I honestly couldn’t tell if sudden movement was going to make me vomit or the other end. Sorry for the TMI!! Deciding that I didn’t want to strike out and possibly shat my pantaloons or yak in front of traffic, I thought postponing until Sunday would be a better option.

It was a very strange feeling, I was nauseous and gassy and my head felt kind of heavy. I’m not sure if there was too much sodium in my meal or if there was some ingredient in my meal that hadn’t been there before that was interacting oddly with my system. My whiskey sour wasn’t particularly potent and I spent a couple hours nursing it between sips of water. But whatever the reason I ended up spending the day under the covers in my pajamas.

Jesi was kind enough to make me soup and for some strange reason, by the evening I was craving pizza. We ordered Pizza Hut and it was the most delicious pizza I have ever eaten. Jesi was excited because she had never, in her recollection, ever had delivery pizza. Again, I’m not sure why I was craving it or why it was so delicious.

As frustrated as I was that I was unable to run, I did some time thinking of my training route for Sunday. I thought about the best route to tackle for the training that wouldn’t be able to commence until the afternoon; between choir responsibilities and our church’s O&A task force meeting afterward I knew that I wouldn’t be starting until mid afternoon. I tried to think of how I wanted to frame my training. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have as many hills as I have in previous weeks. I began to visualize the route that I would take and how I was going to feel. I visualized how that route would correspond with the actual marathon course. I tried to figure out how to incorporate the new route that Becky and I had discovered on Thursday. I really analyzed my options all while trying to keep the world from spinning.

As we get closer to the race, I notice that I visual the course more and more. While there were some changes made to the course there are still aspects of the course that have remained unchanged through my 5 years running. It is those unchanged portions that I often find myself struggling with. I try to emulate those sections, whether it be in elevation (why I typically plan for a steep hill by mile one) or a particularly mentally challenging part (the Blue Mile on Haines point leads me to make sure I have a portion of my run that is isolated and flat with nothing to visually distract me).

For the next few weeks I am going to select my routes with a little more focus and care, ensuring that I hit all the points that I struggle with so that my body and brain are use to them and can easily push through them.

I still wish I knew what exactly it was that invaded my stomach but I guess I will never know. On the upside I got pizza AND a well planned out training route.

Happy Running!


Tax Law And Sore Quads

I got a B on my Tax Law exam, I’m irritated because I missed an A by 1 point…and I would have earned those points if I had more careful read the final question and realized I needed to include the deduction for the fictional persons work mileage. Oh well, on the upside I have an A in the class overall.

My quads are still a little sore from my Monday night late run that was so quickly after Sunday night’s training. I was relieved for the rest day. I spent some time rolling my legs, focusing not only on my quads but also on my ankles.

Thankfully the pain in my foot has dissipated as I have taken to rolling regularly.  Not only is there improvement in the pain but I also have found there to be an improvement in my running. It’s not 100% pain free but rolling has definitely reduced the issue. Also, as much as I love wearing flip flops I have all but eliminated wearing them except for short distances.

How has rolling impacted your running? Have you found an improvement in pain and form? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Running!


Wait, 5 miles?!

I always look forward to Thursday runs with Regina and Becky. While I enjoy the solitude of my solo runs, it is nice to run with friends. We always manage to talk endlessly about everything from the mundane to the life altering. I think all three of us have found at various times that our chats have helped solve some internal issue that until Thursday can’t be resolved.

Typically on Thursday we do 4 miles. Becky, unlike Regina and I, is a solid 4 miler. She doesn’t care to go any further than 4. She feels there is no need to go any further than that. I totally respect that! However a couple weeks ago, Regina suggested making our runs 5 miles. Something that neither Becky nor I remembered. Normally I would have been ok with adding an extra mile but luck would have it that I decided to run two miles BEFORE running the supposed four miles. I needed to make up my miles from Wednesday so thought running to the Y and having Jesi pick me up after we run would be the perfect solution.

I ran a conservative two miles, I still managed to get there in slightly under 20 minutes, but I didn’t want to push too hard. Also, my legs were feeling heavy from Wednesday. My right quad was a little more sore than I would like but knowing that it was a muscle “thing”I decided that being mindful in my running wouldn’t result in any injuries.

Due to the muscle soreness, I would rate it about 3ish on the discomfort scale, I decided to to do a thorough rolling on my legs. In the long run I’m sure it will help but in those moments its was incredibly painful. But I stuck with it and in a few spots really sunk into the roller and bared down on a few sore spots.

Initially when I realized we were going to run an extra mile I was a little frustrated because my legs were already tired and I had so carefully planned things out. But then I realized that running with tired and heavy legs might be a good thing. Once I re-framed my perception, the run was really successful. It wasn’t incredibly fast, we were slightly over an hour for five miles. But I maintained a steady pace with just a couple walk breaks which came more of the heat then anything.

During the run we laughed and talked and enjoyed the camaraderie that we haven’t had in a couple weeks. I’m not sure how Becky felt about the five miles, she definitely grumbled a bit near the end; I know I grumbled but overall it was a good run with good friends.

Have you unexpectedly ended up for a little more mileage than you wanted? How did you frame the change in your mind to help you get through it? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Happy Running!

Tax Law Tuesday

No running for me yesterday since I had my tax law class. It was probably a good thing since my legs were still feeling heavy and a bit store from Monday’s run.

Class was so-so, we had an open book exam that I managed to fly through rather quickly. Though seeing the rest of the class take almost the entire exam period makes me nervous that I over estimated my knowledge of the material. However unlike my classmates I had pages flagged and I spent less time searching. That could have either been a good thing or a bad thing. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of open book exams. Perhaps it’s because my undergraduate professors had a tendency of making the open book/take home exams incredibly and unnecessarily difficult; I ended up having to study as if it was a regular closed book exam. Time will tell next week when I get the exam back.

In terms of training, I didn’t do anything incredibly interesting. I did my walk at lunch and got a good brisk mile in. I also rolled my quads before class since my quads were sore to the touch in a couple spots.

It was as soon as my quads have been in quite a while so I spent a lot of time slowly going over the couple hot spots I had. I have a friend that foam rolled the other day but said she didn’t want to put too much weight down, so it was more like a massage. Internally I was thinking why bother than. I know that foam rolling can be incredibly painful, especially when done right after working out/running which is something I am working on being more consistent with; but if you take the easy way it won’t be nearly as effective.

I do not like the theory of “no pain, no gain” however in regards to foam rolling I feel that pain is the best way to make gains in muscle healing which will by extension lead to gains.

To round out my rest day, Jesi and I hit up Joann’s to get supplies for her costume. This weekend is the town’s Heritage Day Festival. Yep, it is just like those small town festivals you see on Hallmark movies. Her child care center has a Wizard of Oz themed float, Jesi is dressing as Glinda. I will be one of the Lollipop Kids complete with large (Styrofoam) lollipop.  We shall see what 20 yards of pink tulle and some fabric glue with get us.

Not the most exciting day, but my body was definitely relieved to have a rest day focused on recovery and taxes.

Happy Running!

Leaving On A Jet Plane

It’s always bittersweet to head home after vacation. There’s always the the sadness of leaving such a relaxing time but then there is the excitement of going home. Returning to routine, in case you haven’t figured it out I’m a very routinized person. I am content to do the same things day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong I like to have adventure and I like to try new things, but more than anything I like to be at home with my wife doing our old married couple routine.

There was talk of going to the pool in the morning before we left, but we were worried that we wouldn’t have time to enjoy the dip in the pool because we would be so focused on what time we needed to leave. Plus I really didn’t want to travel with a wet bathing suit in my bag. We instead just took a relaxing more and visited for the last few hours we were there.

We made it safely through security, complete with magic wands and turkey sandwiches and settled in to wait for our flight. The weather the entire week had been perfect! We had a few passing showers that resulted in MAYBE a dozen drops of rain before passing buy. It seemed ironic that our last day of vacation it rained the entire way to the airport. It stopped long enough for us to board the plane and back away from the terminal, only to return again with a vengeance. We sat on the runway waiting patiently for about an hour before we were cleared for take off.

The delay resulted in me experiencing an airplane bathroom as an adult. I must admit they seem far smaller than I remember. I was worried that my elbows would inadvertently hit something and I would eject myself, bare assed, onto the runway. I now wonder how Casey Neistat is so easily able to change into his pajamas when he initially boards the flight. He is either smaller than I realized or he has far greater flexibility than any human outside of Cirque de Soleil should have.

The delay allowed Jesi and I get some serious headway into our respective books. She is currently on the fourth book in the Harry Potter series while I am making my way through Give Me The Ballot; a fascinating read on the Voting Rights Act in America.

Since I typically make Tuesday my rest day, and knowing that I will hit the ground running (literally and figuratively) once we return I savored the last day of vacation know that my last few weeks will be strict adherence to the training plan.

The week was an amazingly wonderful respite that truly rejuvenated me and Jesi. We had fun and laughter and great adventure. But as always its wonderful to return home to Casa Bellfrey.