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?

This or That

If you now us, you know we love a good survey. So, when I saw this survey on Paige’s and Katie’s blogs, I swiftly dropped it in my favorites to remember to do it on just a lazy Sunday evening such as this one. Here we go!

1. Run/workout in the heat and humidity or freezing cold temps and snow?

Amy: Freezing cold for sure. My first half marathon was about 45 degrees and rainy. My second was mid 80s and full sun. While I bested my time the second time around, the first was very enjoyable…here is photographic proof. 🙂

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Ashley:   I would also have to vote freezing cold!  I started running in the summer so really all I know is running in the heat and I’m not sure I can say I really LIKE it.

2. Washboard abs or flat abs?

Amy: Flat. I feel like washboard can look weird sometimes.

Ashley:  Flat!

3. Dr. Oz or The Doctors?

Amy: Well, I’ve only ever seen Dr. Oz, so I guess he has to be the winner here.

Ashley:  Is it bad that I have never seen either one?

4. Cardio or strength?

Amy: Well, I like to switch it up, so I enjoy both. I’ll probably go with cardio, though, just because the time flies by while I’m doing it.

Ashley:  I’ve only been doing Cardio but talked to Amy this morning about the fact that maybe I have to start adding more than just running to my work out routines.

5. Cravings: Protein or carbs?

Amy: Carbs, carbs, and more carbs. If I wouldn’t feel horrendously guilty, I could make a meal out of bread.

Ashley:  Carbs… I struggle to find a good source of Protein that I really like.

6. Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper?

Amy: Bob. I just love him. 🙂

Ashley:  I don’t know who Bob Harper is… I better find out.  Jillian Michaels is intimidating but she does her job well.

7. Frozen yogurt or ice cream?

Amy: Fro yo. For some reason I feel like ice cream is too sweet.

Ashley: Fro Yo!

8. To train: upper body or lower body?

Amy: Probably upper body. I’m a wuss and lower body workouts make me sore for days, haha.

Ashley:  Lower body

9. Protein powder or food with protein?

Amy: Food with protein. I was on a protein powder kick or awhile, but I’m kind of in a stage right now where it grosses me out. Peanut butter is the better way to go. 🙂

Ashley:  Food with protein…I feel weird adding powder things to my food or drinks.

10. Squats or lunges?

Amy: Squats. I especially love sumo squats. 🙂

Ashley:  lunges

11. Sweet or salty?

Amy: I have an insatiable sweet tooth.

Ashley: Salty!

12. Workout attire: cute or comfy?

Amy: A mix of both. I like to find cute things, but if they aren’t comfortable, I won’t wear them.

Ashley:  comfy..there is usually NOTHING cute about my workout clothes.

13. Body Pump or heavy lifting?

Amy: Can’t really choose, as I’ve never done Body Pump, but it seems like something I might like.

Ashley:  I don’t really know many details about either of those…

14. Yoga or Pilates?

Amy: Yoga. Although the only Pilates I’ve done is a rather lame video.

Ashley:  I haven’t tried either one but i’d love to try yoga.

15. Nike or Adidas?

Amy: No preference here.

Ashley:  I don’t prefer one to the other.

16. Running: On the treadmill or outside?

Amy: No question here: outside it is. I can’t stand the treadmill.

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Ashley:  Love outside.. I have yet to try running on a treadmil but i’m not a fan of walking on it.

17. Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?

Amy: I’ve never been to Whole Foods, so I guess TJ’s wins this battle.

Ashley:  I enjoy Trader Joe’s.  I’ve never shopped at Whole Foods but I have tried food purchased from there and it was good too.

18. Summer or Winter Olympics!

Amy: Summer! Pretty sure I have never watched so much TV in my life as I have in the past two weeks. I even watched speed walking…

Ashley:  Summer!  I’m watching the closing ceremony right now and it is kind of sad to see it end.

19. Exercise classes or exercise videos?

Amy: I love working out with others, so classes it is. I just wish there was a more convenient option for my time, budget, and schedule.

Ashley:  I’ve been a “loner” with my workouts lately so I might have to vote videos.

20. Steamed veggies or roasted veggies?

Amy: Well, I like them either way, as I am a bit of a rabbit and love me some veggies. Roasted would probably be my preference though.

Ashley:  Steamed, yum!

We would love to hear from you! Pick one of the choices and answer in the comments!

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?

What Made the St. Jude Run So Awesome

Ok…so I have posted multiple times about the St. Jude run in the past week. This post will be the last one, and then I’ll move on to other things, haha.

As you can tell if you’ve read our previous posts (found here and here), we had an amazing time at the St. Jude Peoria Run last weekend. We’ve given you a recap, but I wanted to take a moment to explain why it was such an awesome experience.

1. The people were awesome.
I will admit that I get nervous in situations where I don’t know people well. My friend Amanda was going to have to leave early, which made me nervous. However, I quickly discovered in the morning that there was nothing for me to worry about. St. Jude runners and volunteers are some of the nicest people I have met. One of my strongest memories from the day is when I was struggling a little on my last leg. The group noticed and all held up a little to help me out. It made me feel like a member of the team, not a slow-sky. 🙂

2. The heat doesn’t matter.
In most cases, I hate running in the heat. Typically, though, I will do it anyway. On this day, however, the heat did not matter to me. In fact, I barely noticed it! Yeah, I was hot and sweaty, but the cool stuff of the day made it feel…well, not cool, but not as hot.

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3. It gave me an opportunity to run with a bunch of people and not have to worry about beating them.
Races are super fun, but one of my favorite things about them is being among a big community of runners. This run gave me that without having to worry about splits or time.

4. Motorcyclists are cool.
Typically on the road, people will wave or honk. We spent some time next to a breast cancer motorcycle charity ride, and it was so cool to see nearly all of them wave as we supported each other.

5. It reminded me to appreciate all the great things I have.
Running all day to help sick children will really make all of your problems seem small. I am a lucky girl.

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6. Last, but not least, it was a reminder of how much good there is in the world.
In this day and age, it is easy to get bogged down in the horrible things that can happen that we always see in the news. This day was a true testament of how many good people there are in the world who are willing to sacrifice their time and money to help others. Very, very cool.

Pick one of the six above and tell us a story of how you have learned it.

The End of the Run was the Awesomest

Yes, I am an English teacher. No, awesomest is not a word. Yes, I used it anyway.

If you read Monday’s post, you heard all about the St. Jude run on Saturday. However, I stopped before I got to what was probably the best part of the day.

The running portion of the day ended (well…almost ended) at around 5:30 when we stopped at a gas station just outside of Peoria to get our yearly St. Jude Run t-shirts. This year’s were red, white, and blue in honor the of upcoming Olympic Games.

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Then came the true coolness. All of the runners got together and this point and took the road into Peoria together. We ran a little less than a mile, and, as we approached the Peoria Civic Center, the streets were lined with members of the community to cheer us on. The final stretch was down the street that was lined with all of the other teams from other cities, including St. Louis and Chicago, to cheer us on to the finish. It was so, so cool.

Soon after, the Memphis group, who had been running for about THREE DAYS rolled into town. We cheered and cheered, and then it was time to line up for the parade.

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Ashley joined in at this point and was ready to rock and roll.

This portion was a short run into the final celebration, and each team took turns running in together.

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Here we are just before our turn to run in. Yes, I know I look pretty rough. At this point, it totally didn’t matter. 🙂

This short run was lined with kids and St. Jude families. We high-fived them as we entered, and there are truly no words to describe just how cool it was. Some of the images from this portion of the day will never leave my memory.

Finally, it was time to celebrate. All the groups were together in the convention center while the telethon proceeded in the center. I have had spaghetti, bread, salad, and cookies on many occasions, but I don’t think they have ever tasted as good as they did on this night. Too bad I didn’t get a picture!

We had a great time catching our breath, chatting with other runners and volunteers, and shopping for St. Jude gear, and, before we knew it, it was time to go home. Before getting in the car, I spotted what had to have been my favorite St. Jude vehicle of the day:

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Can’t decide if it reminds me more of Blues Brothers or Ghost Busters…is that weird? : )

Has an amazing day ever made a seemingly ordinary meal kind of extraordinary for you? I will probably never see spaghetti without thinking of this day, haha.

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?