Giving up the fight, but keeping the streak alive.

Since I ran my second half marathon in October, I have been trying to continue with my training. I had hopes of running my third half in December, my fourth half in January, and my first full marathon in February. Unfortunately my body had other ideas and I have finally given up the fight. Lately, most of my runs have not been the greatest and I have been fighting my way through them. I’ve been unable to go any further than 15 miles without some kind of injury sidelining me. For the last few weeks, every run I have done over 3 miles has resulted in pain and always in a different spot so it doesn’t seem to be a recurring injury. I just think my body is telling me I need a break and I need to scale back my weekly mileage. 

I will conquer you one day marathon!

On a more positive note, I can still run and I am keeping the streak alive. I have managed to run at least one mile for the last 7 days and I do not intend on giving up on that challenge. Here is how the miles have added up so far:

Tuesday: 2 miles

Wednesday: 1 mile

Thursday: 10k fun run

Friday: 1 mile

Saturday: 3 miles

Sunday: 12 miles

Today: 1.5 miles

I left my cousin’s house on Saturday morning to head home and after it warmed up, I went out for my run. I was planning on a long run on Sunday morning so I didn’t want to go too far or hard but I was feeling good so I ran out 1.5 miles and ran the whole way back feeling pretty strong with a pace of 8:51. It was a great run and gave me hope for the long run I had planned for Sunday. So that night I carbo loaded with some delicious pancakes with peanut butter on top.

I got up Sunday morning and knew that I wanted to get the run done first thing because I run better in the mornings. But it was 25 degrees out! So I bundled up in my running capris, compression socks, thermal top, my new pullover from Walmart, gloves, and a headband to keep my ears warm. At mile 3 there was still frost on the ground:

My hands got hot around mile 2, so the gloves came off, but I needed everything else to keep me warm for the rest of the run. Here I am happy for a walk/fuel break at mile 3:

At mile 6 I started feeling some pain in my achilles/calf muscle so I turned around and had another walk/fuel break.

Please excuse the luggage under my eyes, that’s what my allergies do to me.

It is so peaceful and beautiful running out here:

It was a struggle with the pain in my calf continuing to irritate me but I made in back home, 12 miles in 2 hours 1 min. I was pretty sore the rest of the day so I did my best to continually stretch and foam roll. When I woke up this morning I still had some residual pain in my calf so I rested most of the morning before heading to the gym around 10:45.

I decided to take it easy to try to work out the soreness in my legs, 35 slow minutes on the bike and 35 minutes at level 2 on the stair climber. Then I needed to get in my run for the day and it was raining outside, so I reluctantly hopped on the treadmill and did 1.5 miles at an average pace of 10:30. It was boring! But I got it done and the streak continues!


Spartan Run recap

After running in his first mud run back in September, Chris signed up for the Gulf Coast Spartan Run. This was the first time this race took place in Mississippi.

Chris running in the Volkslauf Mud Run

Chris’ start time wasn’t until 11am so we were able to sleep in until 7am and relax for a little bit before we had to leave at 9. It took about an hour to get there and he was supposed to arrive at least an hour before his start time. We decided to take my car instead of Chris’ truck because we weren’t sure how the parking situation would be (mistake #1).

It was a beautiful morning!

We got to the entry point around 9:45, but imagine our surprise when they directed us to keep driving down the road to the parking area. After driving about 2.5 miles down the road we turned off onto a dirt road (and I use that term loosely). It was like a mix of sand, ash, and dirt and the cars caused an extreme amount of dust to be stirred up. We paid our $10 to park (really?) and then had to drive through a very uneven field, which my poor little car could not handle, and parked around 10:00. We got everything together and started our 3 mile hike to the entry point. They did have buses at the end of the dirt road to take you to the race entrance, but there was a long wait for them and I didn’t want to stand around inhaling dust. We got through the entrance fairly easily and thank goodness they weren’t making the spectators pay the $15 entrance fee they normally charge.

My spectator Spartan stamp

Chris got his bib and then had the volunteers write his number on his arms and forehead.

Then we watched the 10:30 group take off and this part really freaked me out!

I put Chris’ bib on his back, he made a quick stop at the port-a-potty, and ate a granola bar. Then it was time for him to head to the starting corral for his 11:00 heat.

Before I knew it, the 11:00 group was off and I was snapping pictures like crazy, hoping I would get a couple of shots of Chris even if I couldn’t find him in the crowd.

Luckily I spotted him and did my best to get some shots of him jumping over the fire and into the mud pit.

After the entire group ran past this obstacle, I had no idea where to go next. I saw some people walking down the path across from me so I headed that way. I arrived down to a large open area with all kinds of tape marking off areas and several obstacles. I wasn’t sure what part of the course this was so I began looking for Chris, wondering if I had already missed him. I asked some of the other spectators what group was currently passing through and I found out that this was the last mile of the 4.2 mile course and most of the people coming through were from the 10 and 10:30 heats. At this point it had only been 10 minutes since Chris had started so I figured I would just wait there for him because I didn’t know of any other spectator spots and I didn’t want to miss him coming through. At around 11:50 I spotted him and started snapping pics, I was so proud of how well he was doing and I knew he was passing several people from the 10:30 heat and was most likely close to the front of his heat.

I was able to follow him for a good ways through all the obstacles and continued taking several pictures.

Apparently the kids run started sometime around noon ( I’m not entirely sure what time it was because I was so busy taking pictures) and their course wound all throughout the obstacle course area, where most of the spectators were standing. This made it hard for me to get some pictures and to even get out of the area, as the only trails going back up to the start/finish area were part of the kids course.

There was finally a break in between the kids heats and I made my way back up to try and catch Chris finishing. I got a few pictures of the final obstacles, including the 30 mandatory burpees they had to do at the end.  There was no real finish line and it was just mass chaos as people were collecting their medals, t-shirts, bananas, and getting their timing chips off their shoes.

After Chris was done we tried to weave our way through all the mud covered people and find the place to hose off. We made our way down to the least crowded area with garden hoses and no sprayers(really?) and Chris got in line.

At this point I had about had it with the whole thing, I was hot, tired, thirsty, and I knew we had a 3 mile hike back to the car. Also my OCD started kicking in and I could not mentally handle the amount of mud covered people surrounding me. I had also been splashed with mud (not a lot but enough to seriously bother my neatness monster) and the bugs were continuously swarming my head.  Chris could tell I had about hit my limit and he didn’t feel like waiting an hour just to hose off, so we started heading back to the car.

After 3 long miles full of pulling dried mud off of Chris’ eye, avoiding illegally parked cars and traffic, sucking in pounds of dust, all while carrying the same book bag that had been on my shoulders the entire day, we finally made it to the car. Chris used some bottled water from the car to rinse off his hands and legs, then stripped out of the muddy clothes and put on some clean ones. I am so glad I keep a beach blanket in my car so he had something to sit on for the hour ride home. I drove us home so he wouldn’t get mud all over my steering wheel and seat and we made it back around 2pm. We took all of the muddy clothes and headed down to the beach so Chris could clean off the majority of mud from his body and clothes.

Chris said he would like to do more races like this one but not another Spartan Race, as we were both very unhappy that they made all the obstacles at the end nothing but mud without providing a quick and convenient way to rinse off. The parking was another big issue with us, as I don’t see the point in making us pay $10 to park in Timbuktu while allowing other people to park closer and for free. Chris said he did really enjoy the race itself despite being sore, beaten up, and covered in mud.

If you stuck through reading this far, then good for you because I am sure reading this was just as exhausting as living it. I was one tired chica, and I didn’t even run the race. Mad props to all you Spartan’s out there, you’ve got more grit than I do!

1st vs. 2nd Half Marathon

Ever since I ran my second half marathon on Sunday I have been thinking about the physical and mental differences I experienced with each one. Here’s a comparison of the two half Marathons (HM).

1. 1st HM- I physically and mentally felt like I had accomplished this big feat and pushed my body to its limit. (I also felt this way after I ran my first 10k)
2nd HM- It was challenging but also felt like just another long run

2. 1st HM- As soon as I crossed the finish line I was in pain and every step hurt like crazy. The day after, I could barely walk and every muscle in my body hurt. 
2nd HM- I felt my legs starting to tighten up when I stopped moving but they were fine after I was able to stretch.

3. 1st HM- After the race I was famished and everything tasted amazing. All day I couldn’t get enough food (lucky for me it was Thanksgiving).
2nd HM- I only ate what I knew I needed to refuel. Even at lunch time I forced myself to eat something simply because I knew I needed it, not because I was hungry. 

4. 1st HM- I rode the high from this race for weeks, but also had no interest in running anymore after I was done. It took me several months to find my love for running again.
2nd HM- The high from this race only lasted for the first day but I still have my love for running and am already planning my next half and possibly a full??

**The only lasting soreness I had from this last HM was in my deltoids and after looking at my pictures, I can see why. I really need to work on my running form and stop punching myself in the face.**

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