3

Long Time No Post!

Sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry! New York City has taken my nice little quaint Connecticut life and turned it on its head. For the most part, in a very good way. But in terms of having enough time to run/work/eat/sleep/lift/commute/run/work/eat/sleep I have put writing a post for my blog on the very back burner. Hopefully that will change soon! Quick life recaps in 3 sentences or less per category:

Running Updates:
Somehow, I have managed to still train for the most part. I have not been nearly as strict about my running schedule as I have been in the past, but I do what I can and it has been working out for the most part. I am still tentatively running the California International Marathon in December and then officially running Boston 2015!

Living Situation Updates:
Doug will be joining me here in NYC starting in December! He doesn’t finish his MBA at UConn until next May but he front-loaded his classes so that he only has to take 1 or 2 next semester, meaning we can live in NYC and HE can commute instead of me! It will be so nice to have my family back together all in one place – I miss Doug and Lupe more than I ever thought was possible.

Work Updates:
I. Love. My. Job. Love it! It is busy and crazy and challenging and so different from anywhere I have ever worked in the past. I work 9+ hour days but they fly by. I have met so many interesting people and the vibe of life here is just amazing. People truly love what they do here and it is incredibly contagious!

Picture Updates:

Jessi's bachelorette party that involved a mobile home, a pole dancing class, and clubbing!

Jessi’s bachelorette party that involved a mobile home, a pole dancing class, and clubbing!

Our view at dinner in Boston with our good friend Vicki and EJ.

Our view at dinner in Boston with our good friend Vicki and EJ.

Jessi and Paul's wedding on August 2! Such a fun day. Megan's church hat = priceless

Jessi and Paul’s wedding on August 2! Such a fun day. Megan’s church hat = priceless

Views from my run over the Brooklyn Bridge in the morning last week. B-e-a-utiful.

Views from my run over the Brooklyn Bridge in the morning last week. B-e-a-utiful.

FALL ALERT. This is a tree we saw in Vermont last weekend while visiting a good friend, Mike!

FALL ALERT. This is a tree we saw in Vermont last weekend while visiting a good friend, Mike!

Mike's Vermont condo. Mount Snow + a fireplace + a cozy couch = Paradise

Mike’s Vermont condo. Mount Snow + a fireplace + a cozy couch = Paradise

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And the “Outgoing” Award Goes to…

I made some more running friends in Wallingford! They are four men. Slightly on the nerdy side.

This past week I have been getting my runs done for the most part on the Choate Academy track which is about a half mile from where I live. I am still being veryyyy careful with my foot – even though I haven’t felt pain for a while now! Flat, soft surfaces are the way to go to keep injuries away.

So yesterday, it was an incredibly nice day. The track was packed with walkers, joggers, kids playing on the high jumping mats, and a few doing speed workouts. I was in my normal “zoning out” mode and running in the outside lane. I noticed that there was a group of runners ahead of me, going the same direction, and I was catching them fairly quickly. Ugh. This is going to be awkward when I pass them on the outside lane. And they’re men. They will probably stare me down. That was my thought. Was it a normal thought to have? Probably not. But I hate passing people when it’s not a race. Especially real runners.

Surprisingly, as I passed them, they gave me a nod of approval and a “nice job!” They looked like they were all 50-somethings and maybe a few 60-somethings. A few were wearing reflective vests, which made me laugh a little because the sun was shining and we were on a track… Cute.

So as I ran lap after lap after lap I continued to pass by them. With just a few laps to go, one of the men yelled out as I passed by, “Hey! You should join us for our post-run beer that we have over there after you’re done with your run!”

If this were any other day, I would probably have said thanks but no thanks. But today, I just had this urge to be social. I’m leaving for my honeymoon in a few days and I’m changing my life and career once we get back. You could say my mood was much better than usual, which may have increased my level of outgoing-ness.

So, I joined them for a beer! They had a Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale six pack waiting to be consumed, and that was a good sign already – good taste. They asked me why I was running so fast, what I was training for, what I do for work, and so on. I learned that they all live in Wallingford. Some work as engineers, one was an orthodontist, and a few of them have kids going off to college next year. I would say that the number of things I have in common with them was not a lot, but running is a big one to have in common and can create at least a little bit of conversation! They were nice and it was interesting hearing about their lives. They are ALL training for the Hartford Marathon which is this October. That is amazing. Running is the best sport in the world because you can literally run any pace at any age as long as your legs and body hold up. The fact that they are all training for the same marathon is incredible. For some of them, it is going to be their very first marathon ever. For others, it is going to be their 20-something marathon. So. Cool.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I will be moving in a few weeks to New York City. I think that would have confused them greatly because I had a hard enough time explaining that I grew up in Missouri, went to high school in New Hampshire, went to college in Tennessee and Connecticut, lived in Austin for a year recently, and now just moved to Wallingford not long ago. I also had a hard time explaining what I do for work – and how it has changed a lot over the past few years. Adding the fact that I JUST accepted ANOTHER new job in the big city… well I will just leave that for the next Tuesday meet-up with them at the track for our run and post-beer social hour.

Hope everyone has a nice, outgoing day!

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Let’s Do This, Boston!!!

MRI complete. (Ummm never knew how scary that machine was. Why does it sound like a construction site? And it takes 40 minutes?! Didn’t realize this.)

Results in.

GREAT NEWS: I do NOT have a stress fracture! Therefore, I will be running Boston. Hallelujah!!!

Stress Fracture-Negative Happy Face Selfie!!!

Stress Fracture-Negative Happy Face Selfie!!!


Iffy News: I have a mild case of “Peroneal Tendonitis”. Basically, I will be spending the next 72 hours resting, icing, massaging, and booting up my foot. The hope is that the pain will not happen at all during the 26.2 mile race on Monday. And if it does, I will stop, stretch, massage, and keep going if I can. If the pain becomes unbearable, I will have to stop so that I don’t do more damage to my tendon. But let’s not think about that. That won’t happen.

The great news is that I WILL BE ON THE STARTING LINE OF BOSTON and I will hopefully be at the finish line as well!

No stress fracture. Stress fracture-negative. Free of a stress fracture. Stress fracture-less. I can’t stop saying it. πŸ™‚

Good luck to all those who are running Boston. I appreciate the support you readers have shown me from my last few sad posts. This has been a long, amazing 8 months of training and I can’t wait to see what everyone does out there. Woohoo!

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Foot Connections

Foot Update: Not great but not terrible. Still a lot unknown.

THE DREADED BOOT

THE DREADED BOOT


Good News: I was able to run a few runs last week in the 8-9 mile range without pain! If it did start to hurt, the pain after the run was nowhere near as bad as it was post-run when the pain first started. So, in general, it seems to be getting better overall.

Bad News: I attempted my last “long run” before Boston this past Saturday. I was pain free for 9 miles. The pain started at mile 9, and by mile 9.5 it was excruciating. I pushed through it to test it out and see just how bad it would really get (so I would know going into Boston what the pain was like). Well, it was not good. It was the most pain I had ever experienced in my life. It was so painful that my ARMS were sore after the run because I was clenching every muscle in my body so hard upon foot impact. I had to stop 0.4 miles from the end of our loop and take the T back to my friend’s apartment. I couldn’t even get through the last 0.4 miles! So that is really not good.

I saw my friend’s sister who is a physical therapist and she said she thought it was peroneal tendonitis. Then, I went to see my husband’s (husband! teehee) uncle who is an orthopedic surgeon and he took an x-ray and said I should get an MRI taken as soon as possible to make sure it isn’t a stress fracture which he thinks it is.

So here I am – I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow (my birthday). It would be the BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER if that MRI came out stress fracture-negative.

Poor Doug has witnessed me randomly cry at least 3 times in the last few weeks. The thought of not being able to run Boston at this point flat out depresses me.

However, if it is a stress fracture, then I think it is a much smarter idea to not run Boston and risk breaking it. It’s not worth 6+ months recovery time. Especially when I have large long-term goals to get that marathon time down by 2016.

I will keep you posted with the MRI results. I am currently walking around everywhere in one of those big boots just in case it is a stress fracture or peroneal tendonitis. Let’s just say I look ridiculous AND a large object on my foot does not decrease my clumsiness. I bang into things left and right and the squeaky noise the boot makes when I walk around my quiet office is quite the attention getter.

Also, today marks one year after the Boston bombings. It’s unbelievable how fast time flies. I remember last year like it was yesterday – it was the day after Doug proposed at the finish line of the 10 mile race we both ran in Austin. I went from an incredible high to an even more incredible shock. I had already planned on running Boston 2014 at that point, but this made me want that even more. I will be there this year hopefully running, and if not, absolutely supporting my friends and all the runners who devoted this past year training for such a remarkable event. It will truly be an emotional day and I cannot wait to be part of it.

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Foot Pain Blues

After 7 months of amazing training, I have hit a point now of total frustration. The other day, I ran in my fairly new shoes and noticed that the arch of the shoe was hitting me in a weird spot on the outside of my foot. I only had an easy 9-miler, and it didn’t bother me too much, so I decided to just push through and then not wear those shoes for a while – or ever again.

Once I got home and stretched for a while, that spot on my foot hurt much worse. Oh no. What did I do? Next thing I knew, I couldn’t put any weight on it and it felt swollen. How on earth does that happen? Just like that?

I hobbled around all night, massaged it, panic-texted my coach a few times, iced it, and went to bed. The next morning, it still hurt. I hobbled to work. I panic-texted my coach again. But as the day went on, the pain eased. By the afternoon, I could put weight on it and almost walk without a limp.

So of course, that afternoon, I ran on it. I was supposed to do a speed workout that would total about 12 miles, but I just ran an easy 5 instead. Miles 1-3 felt great! No pain. Phew! I thought to myself. That was a close one. Then, mile 4 came and the pain came back. I ran back home and stretched, jumped in the shower, and by the time I was getting ready to head out for our weekend in Newport, I was a hobbling mess again. And this time it felt worse.

Fast forward 3 days. I have not run on my foot since Friday. I still feel the pain as I walk around, but like last time, it eased over time. I have iced it every night. I have no idea what it is. I am praying that it isn’t a stress fracture. I am hoping it’s just a “bruise”. But, at this point, I just have no idea. All I know is I am frustrated. And sad. And trying to keep my hopes up – but how on earth is it possible that I have had 7 incredible months of training and all of a sudden, out of the blue, 2.5 weeks away from the Boston Marathon, this pain creeps up and keeps me from running?

Sorry for the downer of a post. Hoping for it to go away so I can get back to potentially kicking the Boston Marathon’s ass in a few weeks. Stay tuned.

1

The Wave Tempo

I decided to write a post based solely on one of my new favorite workouts. My coach, Coach Mark Hadley, introduced me to this “wave tempo” workout and for me, it was love at first attempt.

In the simplest of terms, it’s a workout where you alternate between “slightly uncomfortably slow” and “slightly uncomfortably fast” for a long time. I have completed two variations of this workout. The first one was a 30 minute wave tempo that alternated between paces every three minutes (for me, at the time, 6:45 and 6:15 paces). The second variation was longer – double, to be exact – and alternated every six minutes between 6:35-6:40 pace and 6:00-6:11 pace.

If that little summary was confusing, this is a break down of an example wave tempo I ran last night:

6 minutes @ 6:40 pace
6 minutes @ 6:15 pace
6 minutes @ 6:40 pace
6 minutes @ 6:11 pace
6 minutes @ 6:40 pace
6 minutes @ 6:07 pace
6 minutes @ 6:37 pace
6 minutes @ 6:07 pace
6 minutes @ 6:35 pace
6 minutes @ 6:01 pace
Total: 60 minutes @ average 6:23 pace

Although this workout totaled one hour, it felt like it went by so incredibly fast. It helped that my mind was always focused on something.

The beauty of this workout is not only that it goes by fast, but the benefits that you can get from it! It’s designed, as my coach explained to me once, to improve your “AT pace”, or aerobic threshold pace – AKA the max pace you can run for a long, long time, like your “marathon pace”. It tricks the body into thinking that 6:40 pace is “recovery” pace.

Another wonderful thing about this workout is that it doesn’t feel high stress. Both paces are “slightly uncomfortable” but not strenuous. I would much rather run this workout than sub-6:00 repeats of whatever length.

All in all, this workout covers a lot of key training:
Mental toughness
Focus
Speed when fatigued
Endurance

19 days til’ Boston! Happy training and happy spring, everyone!

Ps. Here’s another awesome teaser I got from the wedding photographer:
Wedding_Courtney_1

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Final Prep for Boston

It’s hard for me to believe, but the Boston Marathon is just three weeks away. That’s 21 days. Also known as 504 hours. Or 30,240 minutes. Not that I am counting or anything…

The thought of running my 2nd ever marathon undoubtedly scares the shit out of me. However, compared to the first marathon I ran in October 2012, I am at least 5 times more excited for this one. I am by no means a marathon expert, but I feel much more confident going into this one than the first one.

This time around, there is no “unknown” when it comes to the marathon distance. I know what I’m getting myself into. I know that the race will most likely feel like a piece of cake until mile 17. I know that I will have to force myself to “hold back” in those first 17 miles so that I have enough gas left in the tank to conquer, ahem, heartbreak hill. I know that I will need a shot of Gu at mile 13 and again at mile 17 and again at mile 22. I know that I will get emotional on the start line. I know that I will get emotional again when I pass by my family and friends who are there to cheer me on in various spots on the course. I know that if everything goes to plan, I will get a PR, and will more importantly complete my life long goal of running the Boston Marathon.

What I don’t know is if or when I will “hit the wall”. Last marathon, I hit it at mile 22. My last 4 miles felt like death. But this time around, I am coming into this marathon in what seems like much better shape. I am still not good at hills, but there is only one hill. I am good at downhills, and there seems to be a good amount of downhill. I just don’t know what to expect. The marathon is not an easy race. Obviously. And it intimidates me, for good reason. I just don’t know how to race it. I’m hoping I figure that out once the gun goes off.

Training leading up to today has been nearly perfect. I have gotten so much faster in the last 6 months. When I started training, my long tempo pace was at 6:45. It is now at 6:23. 6:23 pace feels easy for the first time in my life. Yesterday, I ran 23 miles. I ran it with a friend (shout out to Mary!) and we smashed mile after mile like it was nothing. My legs got tired at the end, but I still managed to glide through 6:50 mile pace in the last few miles. It didn’t feel hard. It felt amazing!

All of this is great news leading into marathon day. And I have never been more excited for a race. I hope that this time I cross the finish line with a huge smile and a few tears not only because I just completed a life long goal, but because I raced for Boston along with 37,000 other brave, strong, inspiring runners.