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.

Beach Day

Sleeping in has never felt so great! The last few days of sleeping past 8 AM after going to bed at a reasonable hour has been so incredibly rejuvenating. I made the conscious decision not to run today. My legs are feeling heavy and tired from the standing and walking from our time at the parks, and tomorrow will provide to be equally as long.

Jesi seemed when surprised when I said no to running because we are going to the beach. As a New Englander, her experience with beach waves is pretty limited. The Cape never sees the huge swells that are common in southern beaches. I knew that our time at the beach and in the water would be spent body surfing and fighting the waves as they came rolling in.

We both spent significant time spewing salty water out of lips and and equal amount standing back up after being knocked down. Particularly humorous was when Jesi for some reason decided to punch the wave in frustration and was then promptly knocked on her butt by the wave that came from her left. In my defense, she was laughing before I was.

I’m finding the time away from running is making me equal parts anxious and relieved. Anxious because the marathon is mere weeks away and I need to get the miles in. My body needs the miles and the practice and consistency. But at the same time there is a bit of relief because I am so focused and concentrated on the goal. It’s ironic that the thing that makes me anxious is the same thing that I find relieving, two sides of the same coin for lack of a better term.

I am finding that even when I am not running I am thinking about. The time spent relaxing, I was reading and watching videos and learning new things. There is always comfort in my geekyness. It helps to settle my nerves. I’m also relieved because even though I have taken a slight step back during a crucial time, I recognize that this time off is important on some levels.

I have a tendency to become addicted to things rather easily whether they be good, bad or in between. For me to be able to take a step back for just a brief time and recenter myself and re-balance myself with the rest of my life is a huge help. My addictive tendency drives me for both good and bad reasons. Taking a little time off and refocusing my attention on my wife and just reconnecting has been an even bigger help than the miles that I am missing.

Setting aside the philosophical, I knew that to do ten miles and then go battle the waves after walking some distance on the sand would only end up shredding my legs; potentially injuring myself. In the end my greatest fear is that I will get injured during such an amazingly productive training time. History has proven that I am prone to tendinitis as well as issues with my knees and hips. Part of my acceptance of my rest is an overall fear that I will be injured if I continue forward in such a no-holds bar focused manner. The goal for me is to actually get to the start line and then make it to the finish.

All in all, it was a great day. Super fun day at the beach that is heralded as the Shark Bite capital of the world. Thankfully I neither spotted sharks or was bitten by one so I would say that the day was a win-win. Besides I got some cross training in and spent time with the family.

Happy Running!

 

 

When You Don’t Know What To Do….The Best Thing To Do Is Nothing

My foot was feeling a bit better last night when I left the office. On a scale of 1-horrifically painful 10, my foot was about a 1-ish; perhaps a .75. There was a slight twinge but nothing unbearable. However I wasn’t 100% about running. I was nervous that the moderately decent feeling would fade if I ran.

It was an internal battle of should I or shouldn’t I. There was the part of me knows that I NEED to get my miles in and was willing to throw caution to the wind. Then there was the part of me that knows I need the miles BUT I have such a short amount of time to train that an injury at this point would be disastrous.

I debated the entire car ride home…up the front walk…into the kitchen where I put my lunch box. The entire time vacillating back and forth and trying to figure out the best course of action. My poor wife must have suffered severe whip lash from the back and forth of my battle.

It wasn’t until I took my shoes off to climb the stairs and felt a twinge measure about a 3 on the twinge-o-meter scale that I decided that I would not run.

My mom has always said when you don’t know what to do the best thing to do is nothing. I used that philosophy when making my decision. It’s horrible and I hate not running, but the truth was after I made the decision I was more relaxed.

I spent the evening working on some Achilles stretches. I actually wore my Aircast for awhile, which seemed to help quite a bit. Whether it’s a placebo effect or an actual effect is  yet to be determined, but it brought some relief to my foot. As much as I dread taking three days off from training, taking a few days now will ensure that I can cover the important mileage in the weeks to come; or at least that’s what I keep telling myself as I put the zero mileage into my spreadsheet.

Truth be told there isn’t that much difference between where I am and where I should be mileage wise. And if I tap into the miles I walk at lunch during the week, I really am on point. Tonight! I will lace up my moonshoes and embark on a gentle run to get my body back into training. And then we will go from there.

Gotta stay positive. Gotta keep running.

Happy Running!

 

 

Sunday Cross-Training In The Woods and Installing Gates

According to my training plan, Sunday a day devoted to 60 minutes of cross training. This is meant to help your body recover from the previous days long run through active recovery. It also helps build endurance and promotes muscle health through the use of non-running muscles.

The list of cross training options is pretty extensive: walking, hiking, biking, swimming and rowing; just to name a few. For me this Sunday was dedicated to hiking through the woods at my West Virginia cabin tagging the property line. While not cross training, but just as important and exciting we reinstalled/repaired the driveway gate that had been damaged by the tree removal company. IMG_7064

I had a bit of a challenge with the lower portion of the property line since nothing in the entire state of West Virginia is level. I  was angled at a 90 degree slope the entire hike. A task made even more difficult by watching the ground so as not to step on any thing one should not step on, i.e. scat, large holes, downed tree branches/trees or tangle of large snakes. (The last one being a valid fear for a multitude of reasons including the fact that I had seen a ring neck snake not two hours prior). Of course while looking down you are presented with the challenging of not walking into a still upright tree or a low hanging branch that is at eye level.

My wife, bless her14086419_10154559307509175_895156666728329858_o heart, was concerned that I would be shot if I stepped on the wrong side of the property line while marking. In her defense, it is a valid concern in the deep woods of West Virginia. Sadly the only vibrantly colored clothing we have are the neon orange fleece hoodies that are worn during hunting season. I should say again FLEECE HOODIE! It is August, even though we are in the mountains it is still AUGUST and therefore 90+ degrees. Also, Jesi was worried if I tripped and fell over one of the many things listed above she would be able to find me more easily. Not wanting to worry her anymore than she already was about me striking out into the deep woods, I dressed up a neon orange FLEECE.

All but one portion of the property was marked in neon orange spray paint, because of the age of many of the trees and the horrific wind storms that have hammered the mountain, many of my usually marked trees were down so I struggled to properly mark the one border. Hopefully when the leaves come down in the fall I will have better luck spotting the last remaining border.

More exciting than the cross training the hiking  provided, I was thrilled to repair the fence that the local electric company in conjunction with the tree pruning company damaged. The logistics of replacing a seven foot long gate when the property is literally six miles up the side of the mountain on a sparsely graveled road and your only vehicle is a VW GTi, causes a bit of consternation. On top of the frustration was the fact that we hadn’t been notified of the damage and did not receive any communication from the company despite my attempts to get in touch with them.

On a lark I once again looked at the gate, something I have been doing for the two years since the mishap and finally realized that I just needed to reset the hinges and we should be good to go. I also realized that there wasn’t anything I could do the fence to further damage it or destroy it.

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The gate had been install roughly 20 years ago and was truly a family affair…it took all three of to get the large gate lined up properly hung while someone else pushed in the pins. Thankfully Jesi and I managed it just the two of us with patience and a lot of movement in tiny increments. We were both surprised that it really only took about 10 minutes to get the gate rehung. We were even more excited that the gate seems to swing even better than it did before. Although, the process added to our frustration that the tree company not only crushed the gate, but it’s obvious that they had taken the gate out of the brackets, rather then adjust the hinges back to the proper height. But the task is done and we are super proud of ourselves that we fixed it!

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Sunday was a funday mixed with cross training and productivity. Though I think that I need to invest in some neon gear that is more summer appropriate, I think I sweated out at least three pounds.

What kinds of things do you like to do on your cross training days?

Happy Running!

They see me rolling…and my hip flexors hate it

Mid terms and a crazy work schedule have stalled out my training a bit. I’m finding that juggling work, classes, training and being an adult seems much harder as a 30-something than it did when I was in my 20’s. However, I refuse to accept defeat!

I have set the goal of doing something everyday that betters my fitness level. I set aside 10 minutes every evening to roll and stretch; focusing predominately on my hip flexors. For 10 minutes you can find me rolling, grunting and occasionally swearing as I focus on my insanely tight hip flexors.

For those that may be unfamiliar, the hip flexors are a group of muscles dehipflexorep inside of the thigh that are responsible for flexing you at the waist line and also for bringing your femur bone up inside of the pelvis. Because many of us spend hours a day sitting in the same position at our desks, the hip flexors are often short and tight which results in some impingement in our movement as runners.

Tight hip flexors have personally caused issues and discomfort with not only my hips, but my lower back and in some cases my knees. Because they impact ones mobility, they can be the cause of a host of seemingly unrelated pains. Disclaimer: Please note, that I am not a medical professional, this statement was based on my personal experience. If you are experiencing unfamiliar pains, please seek medical help.

There are a myriad of solutions to hip flexor issues, but for me I have found that rolling is an easy solution that can be done while watching television or whenever you have a few moments. This weekend I was rolling while completing a project for my accounting course, though I did learn that writing and rolling isn’t really the best combination…hey I was trying to time manage and multi-task.

The rolling technique that I learned from my trainer starts with getting in a plank position and position the roller just above my knee, my second leg is bent at a 45 degree angle and parallel to the end of the foam roller. The goal is to keep the weight on the foam roller and not on your other leg.

I roll in short bursts, back and forth a couple inches at a time,  and then stopping. After each burst, bend my knee for five bends, doing my best to keep a consistent pace and ensuring that my toes face forward. I then move up a little bit more and repeat the process until the roller is at my hip space.

Then I slowly roll in a continuous motion back to my knee, I do this about 3 times. I repeat the process on my other leg. When I find a particularly painful spot, I will allow my body to settle into the roller and in a gentle sideways motion work out the knot.  It’s not really an exact science and some days the pain is unbearable, but I know that in the end the increased mobility will pay off by improving my stride and movement.

After I work on my hip flexors, I make sure to work on the opposing muscle group by rolling my hammies. I start at my “knee pit” and slowly move up to my glute and back down. I go at a moderate speed, I don’t usually have too many knots or kinks in my hamstrings so I don’t have to stop too frequently for kinks. I then sit on the roller and work on my glute area as well.

I always make sure to work opposing muscles so the entire muscle is equally rolled. Rolling is never really a fun process, though I do notice an almost immediate relief afterward. I have found that through consistent work on my trouble spots that I am seeing improvement not only in my stride but also there is a decrease in pain post run.

If you have issues with your hip flexors, please leave a comment below on what strategies you have found that help you!

As always, thanks for reading!
JJ