Finished!

Hello readers!  Due to a very busy schedule for Amy and me not wanting to keep repeating myself with the same stories about running, we’ve taken a blog break.  So finally here is an update and its a big one because this past weekend I did it, I finally laced up my shoes, started my watch and ran, ran my first 5k, meaning I crossed my first finish line.  I crossed the finish line in my goal time, I placed in the top 10 of my age group and I didn’t come in last!

Here is the story.

Exactly 1 week before the 5k date I went out to do my typical run and I just started going, I wasnt out of breath, my body wasnt tired I was still going…still going… and yes still going… I looked at my mileage and I had gone further than ever before so I let the adrenenline I had from that force me to register for this 5k.  So that was done, now the panic started to set in… that was a Sunday.

On the Wednesday after I registered I went out for my normal run once again and about 1 mile into it I got stabbing pains up my left leg.  I blamed it on my shoe so I stopped and retied my shoe.  I started to walk it off and the pain just kept getting worse, I knew I was going to have to stop and go home, so I did… remember that panic I was talking about?  yes by this time it was full force.  I asked Amy what to do, she told me to ice it, so I did just that.  I sat with ice on my leg for most of the evening and it wasnt doing what I had expected it to do.

The next night I went to the official running store where I got my shoes and I asked them what their opinion on what was going on, by this time I had self-diagnosed, myself with shin splints.  The manager at the running store told me there was nothing that could be done and that it may be a pretty smart choice to sit out the race, I wasnt convinced and I wasnt satisifed with that answer anyway.  So I came home, laced up my shoes, grabbed Matt (I told him he had to come with me incase I fell) and went out.  I got about a mile and a half in this time before the pain kicked in, but I just had to see what I could do.    This was Thursday.

So… I had a big decision to make and that was to run or not to run.  I REALLY couldn’t let myself down but I had this huge fear that the pain was going to kick in and I was going to have to sit out and quit in the middle of the race.  I was full of negitive thoughts and I could not get over it.  I couldn’t get past it but I really had to, I had to figure this out so I did.

Saturday:  I picked up my first race packet and saw my first official bib number was number 386.  I was born in 1986 so the 86 was hopefully going to bring good luck.

Top 3 problems with running the 5k

1.  I wasn’t necessarily “ready” to race. But I was confident that I could run/walk the whole thing

2.  I would start running with the rest of the runners and then all of them would pass me and i’d be struggling alone on the     course.

3.  I’d finish last and be totally humiliated.

Amy assured me 1.  who cares if I had to walk a lot of people do.

2.  If you can’t finish, you cant finish but if I had a little confidence i’d finish just fine

3.  I wasnt going to finish last…

So   I’m at the starting line, the 3-2-1 is said, and we start…

I was in the middle of the “pack” for about a quarter mile and then my fear set in,  I slowed down, people were passing me and I suddenly felt somewhat alone,  did a #1 no-no and looked behind me, about 15 to 20 people out of 135 were still behind me… I said out loud “You got this” and I started going again.. then I met my competition, this girl came running up behind me looked me right in the eye and said “this sucks” (pardon the language) and at that point I wasnt at the “sucks” mind set yet so I knew I was going to be able to keep my eye on her and “race” her and I did.

 

I finally came up to the end and I was getting a little bit sore but my leg was feeling good so I held strong and crossed that finish line.  I knew I could do it but the proof was amazing.

 

 

I may do it again some day and try to set a new goal for myself or I may just settle with what i’ve done and know that I didn’t let myself down.

 

 

* A few other special things about this race *

Amy scored a PR and first place in her age group.  Way to go Amy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Illusion or Injury?

Hello Everyone, Ashley here!

I will start out by saying that I am pretty sure after reading this blog entry most of you are going to say “illusion” was not the right word to use in the title,  given that info it probably is not but here is the explanation.  A few weeks ago a friend and I went for a run, it was more than I had ever gone before- both length of time running during intervals, and distance so I was tired.  I was discouraging myself thinking I was too tired to continue and even though I got over the pain of pushing myself and did eventually catch my breath without passing out, I was made very aware of my leg and foot muscles.  Still to this day I’m being made aware of it and think I may have my first official injury.

About two weeks ago we got word that our town (Amy and I live in the same town) is holding a 5K run in Amy’s neighborhood, and it would be super silly of us to NOT participate, so I ventured over to Amy’s house the weekend after we found out and we decided to run the course of the 5K.   Part way through,  my body started shutting down, everything hurt and I just really couldn’t even force myself to start running again… I realized then that something may be wrong as the arch of my foot was burning causing my whole leg to tighten up and it just kept moving up my body, getting a cramp while breathing and then even making it hurt to have my eyes wide open.   Blaming it on my serious habit of  not drinking enough water before I push my body like that…. Amy provided me with an article about dehydration, and none of the symptoms I had matched that of dehydration…so I guess i’m properly hydrated but WHY is my body still hurting.

Now comes the argument (with myself) is this fact or fiction; its it all in my head do I need to get past this and keep going, or am I really hurt and should I take some time to heal or figure out if I need to see a doctor.  The weather has finally cooled off here making runs much more enjoyable as it doesn’t feel like its only me and the sun out there.  This week I have chosen to go for long walks with no running involved to hopefully adjust my body back to not pushing itself so hard.  My right ankle swells no matter how intense the work out and no matter what I do to try to stop it.  And now favoring the ankle has caused my calf and knee to give me some more  trouble.

All of this being said, I still can’t even tell you if its illusion or injury but I really hope that it’s just illusion and my body is only adjusting to the weather change and different distances while running.

I’ve purchased arch support inserts for my running shoes, as well as the official “runners” socks.  I feel my next step is going to be wrap up my ankle during runs and my knee all of the time but I really don’t want to have to get to that point.

So runners….tell me

What are some good ways to avoid injury and let my body heal while not getting out of the habit of running?

5k reservations

As the date of my first 5k approaches I find myself very worried about it. I just do not feel like I’m ready. My body isn’t moving as fast as I want it to in terms of becoming a runner. I’ve lost some motivation after a few bad runs, and I still struggle to figure out how to have my breathing match my pace. So, as it approaches, I find myself feeling reserved about the 5k for the following reasons.

I, however, (it’s Amy in italics today) think that Ashley can do it for sure! So, I thought it would be nice to take a look at some reservations and give another perspective to them. Hopefully this helps people out there who are thinking about running a 5k as well!

1. Amy and I would like to get a big group of people together for this 5k. Most of these people HAVE run a 5k or are runners by nature and enjoy doing it. Yes, I enjoy it too, but I am still in the mindset that I don’t want to slow a whole group of people down because I’m the slow one.

In my experience, runners who offer to run a 5k with a newbie don’t worry about pace. They race for fun. As a runner, I find it really rewarding to help take part in someone else finding enjoyment in something that brings me so much confidence.

Plus, everyone has to start somewhere! Not so very long ago, I was the one slowing down my running buddy, and she, bless her heart, even let me cross the finish line first!

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2. I really want to cross the finish line. I know I can get there, but not running more than I walk. I don’t want to be “that” girl who signs up for a 5k run just to step off the course and walk in the grass while everyone blows right by me.

This fear is probably one that everyone has. Once you see the number of people who have to walk, you don’t pay it any mind. Plus, the adrenaline makes you walk a lot less than you might expect.

3. I don’t want to struggle so badly that I give up before the finish line.

I won’t lie; you will struggle. However, running is all about strength, and I don’t mean muscles. Your mind can do powerful things to your body, and you have to believe with all your might that you can do it. Enter, Pinterest quotes. 🙂

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(This picture is from tumblr, but I don’t have an account so I can’t link up.)

4. The dreaded cramp I get if I don’t time my breathing to correspond with my pace. I’d also feel awful if i’m the one walking on the side of the road gripping my stomach like once again “that” girl who signed up and can’t do it.

Even if you have to walk across the finish line (which you won’t), you CAN do it.

5. I love my runs, but I’ve disovered lately that I may be best out there on my own, because I only have to answer to myself. Any day it is not too hot, I make sure to go out there and run, so that means that sometimes I go a few days in a row. With a 5k, I’m worried about being a member of the pack and being judged.

All the runners I know do not judge the people who try. People judge those who talk like the can do it but never try. True runners admire those who try, even if all they can do is a mile. Those who run know that, sometimes, that one mile is a bigger success than a marathon ever could be.

I guess those are really my own reservations about running in my first 5k, and I really hope that I can overcome these fears and reservations in the next few weeks before the big race that will lead me to my first finish line!!

These reservations make me think of a post I saw on Tina’s blog today about taking risks. Signing up for my first 5k was a risk of me, as I was terrified of many of these exact same things. Now, I actively seek out the joy that these races give me, especially when I can run with people I care about. Ashley, I know you can do it, but I hope you only choose to do it because it will make you happy. That is all that matters.

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5k newbies, what aresome of your reservations?
5k veterans, how did you overcome your reservations?

St. Jude from Another Perspective

I am finally back up on the Internet and able to blog about how I felt about the St. Jude run from a few weeks ago.

Amy brought up to me that she was thinking about running it this year, and it immediately made me think of a little girl. Her name is Lucy Krull, and her story is here . I have never met little Lucy or her family, but, having a love for children of all ages and her inspirational story of strength, I just knew I HAD to be at this St. Jude run, if not for Lucy then for every other child who needed our help.

I have not been a “runner” enough to run it comfortably, but I have capable hands and feet so I was in for the day to volunteer my time as a support person. I was a little nervous on the day of but was up at 3:30 AM and on the road by 4 AM to meet up with Amy and our friends. We got to the starting point, and I was told I would be working collecting donations from residents of the community. Now let me just let you all in on a not-so-secret… I do NOT enjoy collecting money from people. Moneyis a precious valuable, so I feel bad asking for it from anyone, but on this day I happily grabbed my milk jug and stood in the middle of the road at an intersection in the small town where the runners started. People pulled up in their cars, and my support team would ask different drivers “Would you like to help the children of St. Jude?” Let me tell you, the generosity of people out there is unbelievable. An older lady pulled up, rolled down her window and dropped a rather high-valued bill into my milk jug with the comment “I just took my dog to the vet and the vet didn’t charge me so I will give all of this to you guys.” That put a huge smile on my face, and I responded, “Thank you from the kids!”

A few cars later, a man pulled up with a badge on his sleeve. He said, “Guess where I am headed right now?” His response was “I’m headed to St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. My daughter just got admitted there, so please… please send some up for her. ” Of course I will! I hope his little girl is fighting a winning battle. I think about her often, even though, once again, I do not know her. On and on through the morning hours, people pulled up and dropped money in my jug. We thanked, they honked, they waved, and, most of all, we all smiled!

The strong people running (including Amy) came galloping past us, Amy with a huge smile and an outstretched hand waiting for a high-five. Shortly after I saw her running, I received a text message from her saying “I am having so much fun!” I was too!!

I had heard so much about this day, especially about how the whole team gathers at the end of the day to run the last mile and into a huge reception for all running teams (as Amy has mentioned there was a team of runners that ran to Illinois from Tennessee) and all volunteers and families of St. Jude children. I ran in with Amy and, let me just tell you, the feeling that ran through my body was one of the best I have felt in my whole life. There was a little girl with her hand out yelling “Thank you,” and we smiled and waved at her as we ran by. I saw her again later and got a better look; her purple shirt said, in glittery writing, “I am a St. Jude kid,” and, at that point, my heart was full. I had done enough in that one day to give me a life time of happiness, and I will again next year– hopefully joining the runners out on the road to contribute a few miles to the run.

Even though Amy and I have concentrated on this St. Jude run a lot lately, who can really say they ran 20 miles in 1 day for these children (like Amy did), and who will stand behind them 150% every step of the way like I will?

And Lucy- If you ever get a chance to read this, even though you don’t know meand I have never met you, I will continue to keep up with your story through your mom’s blog. I just want to thank you for helping me want to start running so I can help you and all of your friends get better!

Ashley’s Running Story

If you have come over from Sisters, Spaces and Stuff you may already know some of this information but if you’re new then the information will be new too!  So here is the story about how I chose to start running. 

June 2012 –  A Saturday morning, Amy mentioned to me that she and a friend of ours were going to go for a run down a trail in our area.  I asked if I could come too and go for a walk while they ran- of course!  So Amy and I got there a little early and did a mile at a quick walking pace, then her and our friend set off running.  Their plan was 20 minutes out-20 minutes back… so I made my plan to walk about 15 then turn around and walk 15 back since I knew they would be running much faster than I could walk, I also didn’t want to lose sight of them…about half way down the trail my legs started to seem as if they weren’t going as fast as my mind and body wanted them to, so I revisited a Couch to 5k app from Rundouble that I had downloaded weeks prior and never got into.  I set a destination for myself and started the app…the friendly little voice said “start walking now” to begin my 5 minute warm up walk and let me tell you those 5 minutes took FOREVER!  I just wanted to run… when said friendly voice said “start running now” I was off and that minute felt great.  Next interval was approaching and so was a dreaded hill but when I heard the magic words I took the hill with stride (haha!) and made it to the top…I ended up back at the “meeting place” before Amy and I literally could not wait to tell her I did it!

The next day:   Amy and I had been doing “sister walks” on Sundays at the park by our houses and the day after I knew I wanted to keep running so I asked Amy if she would be willing to let me slow her down a bit and go for a run with her, she was totally for it and off we went.  Matt (my hubby) was with us on this day too and said the first time he saw us take off on a run he smiled he was now part of both mine AND Amy’s cheering squad. 

No longer just the audience, now I want to be part!

They now have 26 miles of running goodness on them!

 Fast-forward…… I decided my old tennis shoes were not doing the trick, they felt very heavy on my feet the days/runs following my starting days.  By the way, the first few weeks after I began running I would be so excited ALL day long to be able to run that night…the excitement has worn of a little bit at this point but I still do really enjoy going out for a run.So… I made these newbies part of my running wardrobe 

Today- I am still running 3 times a week usually every other day but sometimes I go every day.  If the weather is supposed to be really hot to the point of danger i’ll skip a run but those days I always feel like something is missing.  I have good days and bad as all of us do but I enjoy my runs and that’s what matters most!  I have a little glimmer of hope to run my first 5k at the end of August with a bunch of friends. 

I can’t wait to cross my first finish line!

A Plan of my own

Hello!

   As most of you know I’m knee deep in this Couch to 5k program to make myself a better runner.  I am still really enjoying my runs and have felt myself becoming more confident and stronger going longer distances quicker than in runs before.  I’ve told myself now that since I’ve gone 3 miles at a time I will never go LESS than that (if no other circumstances interfere like weather, or time restrictions)  It has been over 100 degrees here lately so my runs kind of got put on the back burner, I didn’t want to hurt myself by making the choice to run in weather when there were advisories popping up everywhere.  As soon as the weather broke though, I was back out there.  As I have run more and more I’ve discovered patterns to my routine.  I always start off with a quick walk to warm my legs up and stretch out a little bit before I go, but i’ve noticed since the beginning of this that I ALWAYS want to go fast at the start in the first few intervals and then by the end I can barely force myself to finish up the last few intervals.  This wasn’t acceptable to me but I just couldn’t slow myself down, Amy and I went out on a few runs together too and even she tried to start off a slow starting pace which was hard for me to follow.  

 This past week I noticed that at the beginning I wanted to run until I couldn’t run anymore but by the end I couldn’t go more than 30 seconds (Also not acceptable to me)  therefore I needed to come up with a plan to stop these issues from dragging me down by the end of a run.   Mid stride I came up with my own 30-60-90 plan and I’m going to try it out tonight!  Its pretty self explanatory as I plan to run for 30 seconds, walk for 30 seconds, then 60 then 90 and back to 30.  I figure I’ll try this becuase if I start at only 30 then I can hopefully slow myself down and when I’m up to a 90 second interval then I know if its difficult from going too fast that a 30 second intervall following will slow me down. 

I hope this works!  If not its back to the drawing board. 

 

So what about you?  Does anyone have any tips for starting off too fast and dragging yourself to finish at the end?