Volunteering and injuries

I want to talk about something today that crossed my mind when thinking about past injuries. I’ve signed up for races I’ve been unable to do because I was burned out or injured to the point of not wanting to run.

That sucks. If you’ve been there, you know. As a person who hold running closely, not being able to run for any length of time is challenging both mentally and physically. I thank the Lord I am not dealing with that right now, especially as the weather gets nicer.

When I have been injured, logically I have been told and think to myself “oh, instead of running the race, I can just volunteer instead.” As if that is somehow a replacement to feeling and being fit to race.

Don’t get me wrong, volunteering is really fun and totally necessary for our sport, however it is not a substitute for running the race, especially if it was something I had been training for. To be honest, volunteering at said race puts me in a worse spiral emotionally than I had already been in, because it reminds me of what I lost, what I don’t have, and how much better other people are than I.

Sure, I could work really hard to be positive, but in my raw emotional state, it ain’t happening and faking it as a volunteer at the race makes things worse.

This is why I do not volunteer at races I had signed up to run. My good friend and teammate summed it up quite nicely this morning for me when I asked if she was still traveling to Europe even when she is unable to run. She said “No. I do not want to spend the extra money when I am not racing. Not to mention the depression it will put me into.”

Jesus that’s so real. She still does what she can and volunteers with other events and organizations, like I do when I’m injured. However I support her and also do not want to volunteer to help at events we should be and trained to be racing. It’s actually a hindrance to our emotional recovery, and subsequently our physical recovery.

Breakfast: PB&J on sourdough

Running: 60 minutes

Bouncy houses and happy birthday Mama Bear!

This time of year always seems to fly by for me. I was just looking at my race calendar and my next one is only a month away! I feel like we just got back from Texas and I felt like I had such a long time till my next event. I’m getting ready though, so I don’t feel like I don’t have enough time to train.

Last weekend I went up to my sister’s house for her boyfriend’s son Lucas’ 6th birthday party. It was really fun! They rented a bouncy house in the shape of a bulldozer. It’s been years since I’d been in one of those, and Lucas requested we each take turns being the gorilla who comes after them inside the house. I don’t think he expected me to pick him up and throw him against the side of it, but that’s what happened. He also tried to get me to show my feet to all his friends. Apparently my feet are a running joke in their house. Oh what my life has become.

I spent the night there and then went running at Green Lakes state park the next morning. It poured the whole time, but my new gear (Altra Lone Peak shoes and Nathan small pack) worked really well and kept my cell phone dry even without a baggie. I do think my head phone might have died today though…I can’t get them to charge 🙁

After a couple hours in the park, I knew I needed to get on the road to work at noon. The deal I made with my boss was that I could have regular weekends off if I worked graduation and when she’s on vacation. Not a bad trade so I took it. On the way home, I stopped at Strong Hearts for breakfast. It was their 10 year anniversary this weekend, so their daily muffin was a birthday cake themed muffin. It was quite good. I also satisfied a vegan craving for an egg-trick muffin with bacon. Delicious.

The beginning of the week has passed in good time. My mom turned 62 on Monday. I can’t believe how good she still looks. I’m happy to get those genes if you know what I mean. I also realized that she become an entrepreneur at age 58. Isn’t that INSANE?! Way to go Mama Bear!

I have been enjoying runs with my friend Bailey the past two weeks. It’s just fun to talk with someone for 13 miles sometimes. Yesterday I got in a strength session (still hoping for 2 per week) and today I did speed. 8×800 meters on the track all by myself. Sometimes it’s hard to do things like that alone. I’d always used the treadmill before, and last week I had Bailey. Today was a test. My coach says I passed.

The rest of the week is more of the same, but a good more of the same. I’m happy.

Breakfast: a bowl of granola and soy milk

Running: 10 miles

Waking up later is the best, and so are workout buddies

Waking up later is the best. I guess after waking up so early for so long, I forget how lovely it is to hear the birds when I open my eyes, to be able to see without a light, to see other people while I run.

I am adjusting to the closing shift this week, and my favorite part is waking up a few hours later. I am sleeping better, even though I think I am sleeping less. I used to try and get 9 hours, but the quality was…not that great. Now I get about 8, but I fall asleep pretty quick and stay asleep. This is a good thing.

My days look like this:

Run

Eat

Gym time

Agava stuff

CTB till close

Dinner

Bed

It is really relaxing actually. Sure, the shift is a bit harder because I am alone for the end and we get rushes, but I love my fellow closer and we get things done.

This morning I met my friend Bailey for a workout. 12×400 meters at the fastest pace I could sustain for them all without slowing down. We did them in about 80 seconds, which is a good starting point for this training cycle. This was my first workout on the track in over a year! I did all my workouts this winter on the treadmill.

I realized that I did have some reservations about meeting people for workouts, outside of the fact that I had to do them so early. The few women I knew to meet up with are FAST. And they were training for Boston, like peak fitness. I felt like I had a different fitness, and therefore my self esteem kept me from pursuing a workout buddy.

After Texas, I decided I was being a baby. I had been given the opportunity to wake up later and have training partners. Ladies who would make me faster. Who I could potentially enjoy workouts with. Who cares if they left me in the dust? That means I will always have someone to make me faster. And that is the goal.

Just show up. That’s all I have to do. I get left in the dust, it hurts, but having someone there, someone kind and who knows what you’re going through, it’s just a better workout. A better run. They make me better.

Running: 83 minutes

Breakfast: peaches and cream oatmeal with raspberries, trail mix and peanut butter

Back to the grind, how do you use Blue Cheese?!

A bit of a cold spell yesterday and this morning caused me to turn on my Mr. Buddy during breakfast. Oh well, back to 70s tomorrow and hopefully I can put it away underneath my bed for the summer.

This week has flown by! We got back from TX on Tuesday, I slept for a bit, did some laundry and then went to Treman State Park to scout out some trails for this next segment. It was a beautiful day and I treated myself to one of the new non-dairy Halo Top ice creams. I tried the candy bar flavor and TBH it’s not as good as the salted caramel. Good thing it was on sale. I also think that maybe I’m not an ice cream person. I enjoy it I guess, but I don’t crave it like most people, or even get super excited for it. I think I should feel that way (especially after a hot marathon) but I got it and was like meh, it’s fine but whatever. Maybe it just needed sprinkles.

The rest of the week I spent getting back into my groove with work and catching up on such things for Agava. We’ve got a whole new menu that I need to get online, and photos to take to promote it. The new stuff is pretty bomb if I don’t say so myself. Chef really did a great job.

Yesterday was my day off from CTB in which I work at the gym in the morning, and usually hit Agava for photos later that night. In between I took myself out for lunch at Greenstar. I got Spicy Garlic Tofu and Pad Thai. Both were tasty! I enjoy the different ways tofu can be incorporated into things and the versatility of it. Makes me wish I had a kitchen to cook it for myself.

I also got the new Daiya Blue Cheese dressing to try. It is very reminiscent of blue cheese, but besides buffalo sauce stuff, I have no idea what to use it for. Considering I don’t have buffalo tofu or hot sauce very often, I need some ideas or ways to use it. Help a sister out!

After that I went to my parent’s house to visit (haha they weren’t home) and pick up my mail. I had a bill from the gynecologist that I knew I needed to pay, but also came home to a lovely package from Emily containing peanut butter from Naturally Nutty. What a kind gift! I cannot wait to try it.

Then I went to Agava, caught up on work there and took photos. I ended the night with dinner and a crossword in my van. Oh, and I tried to get 10 hours of sleep. It was wonderful.

Breakfast: peaches and cream (yup, from the box) oatmeal with raspberries, nuts and almond butter

Running: 78 minutes

#MilesToMagnolia

This vacation was about spending time with my sister and her boyfriend and watching her cross the finish line of her first marathon. I would have gone regardless had we done a race. I needed a break from my day-to-day and honestly it was fun looking forward to this as the winter seemed to not want to leave Ithaca.

Driving down was relaxing and I enjoyed the few miles I ran each morning. Running is my favorite thing, but I don’t need a certain number or distance to feel like it mattered or was enough. I just like getting out there. Sometimes during training, I fall into the trap of “enough”. Was this enough miles for the day? Did I train enough? Did it further my goals?

Well, on vacation, and this mindset is one I will continue to pursue, I completely let go of training. I let go of whatever running mindset I had and just made a point to relax. I used running to rejuvenate my mind and body, not to train. It was wonderful.

So, back to race weekend. We woke up Saturday and I got in a few miles watching the Texas sun rise. When I got back, my sister suggested trying to go to Joanna’s restaurant, Magnolia Table, that morning instead of Monday like we planned. I thought that was a good idea, so we tried…but the wait was over 4 hours…and so we decided to try again Monday and went to a place called Tesla’s Cafe instead (named after the inventor). It was really tasty, I got a bean and cheese breakfast burrito and coffee. The cafe is actually more of a coffee bar for people who know good coffee. They had many different roasts for different regions in the world. They didn’t have decaf…so I got the house blend. Connor tried some sort from Ethiopia I think. We like our coffee, but aren’t super versed in this kind of tasting. It was good.

After breakfast we made our way to packet pick-up which was moved inside due to rain. It didn’t rain the whole weekend fortunately. After getting our bibs, we went to walk around Magnolia Market, which is the Gaines Family business.

A bit of background, the Silo District Marathon is put on by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. They also run the Magnolia District and now Magnolia Table in Waco, TX. They held this marathon to raise money for a charity associated with elite runner Gabe Grunewald (sp?). In total, the race raised $250,000 for the charity and it was Chip’s first marathon. My sister’s low key goal was to beat Chip. Spoiler: she did.

The market was buzzing with people, so we walked around, picked out some souvenirs for Connor to get for us the next day while he waited for us as we ran. It was too packed to stand in line on Saturday, so we just looked. We also hit up the Waco Running Company, which was kind of like my local running store FLRTC (except not as cool of course). I got some stuff from their sale rack mostly for next winter. Can’t beat gloves and a long sleeve technical shirt for 75% off right?

After walking around for a while, we headed back to our AirBnB and hung out for the afternoon. We sat outside and I did exactly what I said I would do when it was snowing before we left…I soaked up the sun and exclaimed BURN ME TEXAS! It was wonderful until the next night…but I’m ahead of myself.

That afternoon we went to Mammoth National Park just to get out of the house. We didn’t go on the tour, but it was a beautiful place.

We watched the Hunger Games and I fell asleep.

Race morning we got up around 5:15AM and ate while talking and getting ready. My sister braided my hair and I felt really relaxed. I felt no pressure, but let myself go to the pain cave if I felt it was right. We got to the starting line with plenty of time.

The race started a bit late and it was strange because their was an elite wave…that no one knew about except the 12 or so runners. Maybe I should have gone with them, as they started 5 minutes before us…but it wasn’t too big a deal and actually took even more pressure off. I knew I wouldn’t catch them, so I didn’t worry about running any other race than my own.

When our gun went off I felt good and relaxed. I was between 6:15 and 6:25 for the first few miles before I realized I should slow down because there wasn’t Gatorade or Gu on the course…and that wasn’t good. I didn’t bring any nutrition with me as the website said it would have nutrition. At Buffalo I did the same thing, just drank Gatorade at aid stations, and it worked really well. I ended up not getting nutrition until mile 11…so I could feel a bit of shit show start. I did my best at eating a bunch of Gu and Gatorade, but it was starting to get hot. I kept trying to maintain my pace until about mile 18 when I seriously bonked. It was pretty rough. After then it was about damage control. I slowed down and tried to maintain the same effort. It was pretty nasty and I had a low 8 miles. A low, humbling 8 miles. However, getting to mile 18 at a good pace was a lot better than I thought I would do, so I tried to think of the 8 miles as a cool down.

It still sucked in that heat. I caught up to the half marathoners and started passing them and it looked to tempting to just slow down even more and run with them. I just did my best.

I crossed the finish line in 3:04:08. I’m happy with it as it is reflective of my marathon fitness and 2 week training plan. (Not 2 weeks from nothing, but 2 weeks with a marathon effort built in. Difference)

I found Connor and we went to the finish line to wait for my sister. I went through a lot of weird shit in the 2 hours waiting for her. Definitely heat exhaustion and dehydration, maybe some skin melting. I knew how to handle it though and did my best. Keep drinking and eat salty food (I love Corn Nuts) and the nausea will come and go. Eventually by the time she finished I was feeling good enough to care for her.

My sister did brilliantly! She crushed her goal, finished the race even though she definitely was suffering (we ended up in the med tent with her hooked to IVs). We waited for her to get rehydrated, after which she was pretty chipper for being out running in 85 degrees for so long. I am so proud of her! More than that, she is proud of herself and that she finished. That was the best part.

She says she might stick to half marathons for a while now.

We rested and relaxed for the rest of the day and drove home (all 25 hours) the next day. We’re home, we’re relaxed and happy. It was a wonderful vacation. I can’t wait until the next one.