Monday, June 29, 2015

Run, Rest, Repeat ~ Week Three Review

For the last three weeks I have been running about 6 days a week. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again, this is new to me. My mileage hasn't increased that much, maybe 5-7 miles a week but the quality of my runs has increased 100%!  I feel better, stronger, more fluid, less swelling and less stiffness.  Working with a coach is the most exciting thing to come along in my running since I hit a sub 30 5k.  He's helped me to define goals and visualize myself achieving them. Normally I just hope to hit some goal with poor training and minimal running.

I had a good week of running, which I was surprised because of my race last weekend.  My weight workout on Tuesday was rough but the rest of the week was about what I expected.  I was also battling some sort of stomach bug. My energy was low and early in the week, when I'd eat, I'd get extremely dizzy. I'm glad it only stuck around a couple days. 

I was very pleased with my workout on Wednesday morning. Seems morning is the time I should be running for my best pace.  

Thursday's track run was hard, 79 degrees felt more like 99 degrees.  I wrote my goal times for each 100m on my hands and was able to stay under an 8 minute mile pace. I'll take that!  My Tinkerbell came with me and ran one of my warmup laps, then she spent the rest of the time hiding under the bleachers in the shade or taking pictures of me.  

I felt like something had run over me

My long run of 8 miles was mentally rough for me this week. My hip has been bothering me on and off all week. I don't like to take pain killers. I need to feel the pain so I know what's going on in my body (I did give in and take some after my long run).  Normally I like to do a mile by mile review of my long run about how I was feeling, my thoughts in general, things I saw along the way but not this run. I honestly only remember thinking that I needed to keep moving and that all I wanted to do was stop and call my husband to come get me.  My hip really started to hurt around mile 5 and I had to force myself to just stare ahead and finish the 8 miles.  I was glad I got the miles in but was disappointed in my pace.  Not every run can be good, right?

I was running towards that smoke.
It's from the Frito Lay factory and it's the most disgusting, greasy, nauseating smell. 

One of the things I started doing the last couple weeks was logging my food. It's made a huge difference in my choices. I used to use the My Fitness Pal app but it really didn't help and I'm not interested in counting calories. Seeing my food choices laid out before me each day is really making me think twice when I go for my comfort foods  I've been able to get and stay under a number I've not been able to break for a long time. I log my workouts, how I'm feeling and any aches and pains I'm experiencing. I have some different pace charts in my binder and bunch of running articles I've saved. I also keep a list of my races and goals in this binder. I know there are all sorts of running journals out there but this allows me to have the control over it that I desire.

All in all, it wasn't an exciting week of running, I had some good runs and not so good and I signed up for 3 local 5k's for the summer and another half marathon in the fall. I feel healthy and that's all I really can ask for. All the rest will fall into place with some good training and lots of glorious miles over the next few months. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Vestal XX

Yesterday I ran the Vestal XX race in Vestal, NY.  It is a very hilly 12.4 mile course through rural neighborhoods.  I've run part of this course a few years ago but clearly not the hard hills because I was not expecting those hills.  

This race is about the runners. It's not about the bling. I didn't get the normal medal or t-shirt. I got a sticker.   It not about the crowds. There were none. Spread out here and there were some spectators but very few. It's about the runners and our ability to overcome our minds, our tired bodies and the hills. Oh those hills! 

Finishers Sticker

I had lots of support going into this run.  I vocalized my nervousness about this race last week and someone in my running group hash tagged me #hillsforbreakfast (which is sort of our mantra for the Runner's World Half Marathon) and #embracethesuck.  I added the last one from a blog posting of one of our members. His statement "It’s going to hurt. Hell, it’s going to hurt a lot." about running and goals, really struck home with me.  So I added that to my friends-in-my-phone inspiration.  

Inspiration on my arm. I looked at this a few times. 

Of course my biggest support always comes from my wonderful husband.  He's always at the start line. He's always at the finish line. When he can, he finds a way to be in the middle of the course. Yesterday he made his way to mile 8 to meet me, and it was right when I needed him, right before a hill in Vestal Center. He was there encouraging me and Tink was helping out at a water stop. 

That hill is bigger than it looks in this picture.
A lot of things got into my head on this race. I looked at previous finishing times of this race. This is a race of fast runners.  I knew that I was going to be at the back of the pack but hoped to stay with the group. My husband always says, "Run your race, you're not part of the top 5 or the bottom 5, so just run your race." Well yesterday I was part of the bottom 5. 

Here are some of my random thoughts:

Mile 1: Just a little hill. Darn, I'm going to fast. Faster than Coach and I discussed. I need to slow down but I feel really good.  

Mile 2:  Not a little hill.  Yikes. Two big hills in this mile.  I feel ok though. There is a girl behind me, actually there are two women and two men behind me. That's it. Anyway this one woman is playing her phone without headphones. She passed me and I was grateful because I found it very annoying.  At some point I passed her again and an awesome song was playing and I was happy for the music.  It was hard running this course without headphones. I find when I'm running hard I need music, and I need it loud, to drown out the screaming of my brain. I don't normally play music while running but a song here and there really helps.  

Mile 3: Holy crap!! That had a big hill in it.  I was down to a 12 minute mile for a bit. So not part of the race plan but I also know it's not written in stone. I'm here to run my race, the best I can. Music girl passed me again and I didn't see her again in the race. And there goes the rest of the runners that were behind me. It's an interesting feeling to know you are the very last runner.  I'm determined to just run my race and not worry about it yet.  

Mile 4 : It's a bit more level. Passing a big group of houses. I could hear a cow bell from far away. It's such an encouraging sound. By mile 4.2 I'm ready to cram that cow bell, oh wait, that's an in the head thought. I'll just leave that in there. I'm a bit irritable right now. 

Mile 5: This mile isn't too bad either with a nice down hill and then right back up but then it leveled out.  Still feeling ok. I decided that race directors are sadistic SOB's to create a course like this.

Mile 6: This mile started out fairly level and at about 6.5 there was one hell of a hill.  I actually walked about 10 seconds of it at the very top just trying to get around the turn onto the next road.

Up till this point I was the last one in the race.  At the last hill in this mile, I passed a bunch of people walking. It was really a boost for me but I also knew I wanted to hold onto being in the front of the back of the pack!  

This picture does NOT do this hill justice plus this is just the beginning of it. It felt like it went straight up. 

Mile 7:  This was a nice mile as it was mostly downhill. I was really trying to catch my breath after that last hill and drink a bit of water. My stomach was feeling iffy but nothing like in my 10k. 

Mile 8:  This is pretty much just one big long hill.  Choked down a GU somehow. At this point I HATE the texture of it but I've used chews in the past and I know they are worse for me.  I'm not sure I HOW I forgot how hilly this road is especially since I’ve driven it hundreds of times! I felt strong but ready to be done.

Mile 9: This mile starts downhill. There was a woman who kept leapfrogging me.  She pushed me up the last couple hills. 9.3-10 was all uphill.  It hurt like hell but I still felt like I was giving a consistent effort.  I was grateful for her during this mile. 

Mile 10:  Yes, downhill again but then, I rounded a curve. I totally forgot about this hill. It’s a long one (mile 10.85 to 11.30). This hill is the one that almost won.  I slowed way down.  My legs felt like lead. I was having a hard time breathing. The woman I'd been running with passed me and was gone. I was impressed at how she owned this hill.  I couldn't wait to tell her so at the finish line.  

Mile 11: The same hill that started in mile 10.  Once I topped the hill, it levels off for a bit and then all downhill.  I passed a guy I ran next to in mile 2-3 on this hill. I'm normally very competitive with myself but it's really a boost to pass people on the race course. This is the first race I've done that I've really felt that in. I think it's because I was racing this one, not just out to enjoy the run. That's a shift in thought processes for me. 

Mile 12 : ALL downhill.  But the downhill was just as excessive as some of the uphills.  So I know I was holding back a bit so I wouldn’t hurt myself running all out. 

Mile 12-12.4:  I almost got lost because I couldn’t see the runner ahead of me and the only marking was white arrows on the road. We were back into a residential area and I asked some guy if the runners went by this way. Then I saw her way ahead turing a corner. Phew. That would have sucked to come all this way to get lost at the end! 

Overall I feel good about what I did. I finished in 2:07:58.  This is a race of fast runners so I felt I pretty much held my own out there.  I thought for sure I was going to be dead last during the 1st half but I finished with 6 other people behind me.  I really enjoyed waiting at the finish line to cheer on those I'd run with over the course.  It was great to see everyone finish.  

warming up
No frills or big crowds for this race

Brought my flatties along for inspiration
(they are tucked in my running belt) 

I'll take that time! 

The finishers sticker and my running friends with me

My biggest support and inspiration for all my running! I love you two. 

Time to relax and unwind!!

Elevation map from my Garmin

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week One

My 1st week of marathon training has started.  I'm not actually running a marathon in the fall. I'm running Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival, which is 4 races over three days for a total of 26.2 miles.

A few weeks ago I was so frustrated, with about 5 different marathon plans sitting in front of me. I knew a cookie cutter plan wasn't for me. I knew from previous experience, I wouldn't follow one the way I should. I decided I was going to create my own plan.  I was still lost though because there are so many running workout you can add to a plan; track runs, hills, repeats, long runs, race pace, fartleks, cross training. I was feeling the pressure of putting together a plan that I would actually follow too.  I love to have a schedule but I'm not good on the follow through. I think I can skip a day and make it up later. I slacked off on my half marathon training and even though I had a race I enjoyed, I didn't race that run at all.  I had about 2 months of running with no specific training included.  I want Runner's World to be different.

What to do? I did what I always do when I have a running question, I reached out to my awesome friends-in-my-phone Sub Club for information on running coaches.  I was hoping to find someone to help me with a personalized plan.  After talking to a few people, I decided to reach out to someone that was recommended to me for a running coach.

The biggest change for me this week is that I feel like I can't blow off a workout.  I'm responsible for reporting my times, so I have to put the work in.  We are both on a one month trial with each other to see if we're a good fit.  I especially like that I didn't have to think about what to do this week. I just looked at the schedule, did it, and reported my results.

My workouts this week were based on my pace from my 10k, which is a pace I never thought I'd be able to reach or sustain.  This week I ran a baseline, one mile time run on a track. My hubby helped me to time this run and as always, was a huge encouragement for me while I was running.  I was starting to really slow down the last loop and I could hear him yelling at me from across the track. I couldn't tell what he was saying but it helped me to pick my pace back up.  I found out after, he was yelling at me to pick it up so I could hit an 8 minute mile. I ran the mile in 8:14.  I can not wait to see what my next timed mile will be.

My long run this weekend was at a pace about 1-1:30 minutes faster than I normally run them. It hurt and felt great at the same time.  I could feel I was stronger over the 8 miles than I thought I was. This is going to be an interesting time trying to figure out just how fast I can go and for how far.  I have some very long term goals in my mind that at times feels like they just might be attainable.

I'm hoping to share my progress as I go along, so I too, have a journal of how I'm doing. As I progress I'll share some of my goals but for now I just want to concentrate on getting stronger and faster.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

iRun 4 PKD

This year I knew I wanted to my running to benefit someone else besides just me.  I looked at a few popular charities that I see a lot of runners support.  They are all very good charities and need to be supported but they didn't speak to my heart. I wanted it to be something I could be passionate about.  Then it hit me. DUH!

PKD.  Polycystic kidney disease.

The following information is from National Kidney Foundation (I've abbreviated some the page here)

What is polycystic kidney disease?

Polycystic kidney disease (also called PKD) causes numerous cysts to grow in the kidneys. These cysts are filled with fluid. If too many cysts grow or if they get too big, the kidneys can become damaged. PKD cysts can slowly replace much of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and leading to kidney failure.

How common is PKD?

In the United States about 600,000 people have PKD. It is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure. It is found in all races and occurs equally in men and women. It causes about 5% of all kidney failure.

What other organs besides the kidney are affected by PKD?

PKD can affect other organs besides the kidney. People with PKD may have cysts in their liver, pancreas, spleen, ovaries, and large bowel. Cysts in these organs usually do not cause serious problems, but can in some people. PKD can also affect the brain or heart. If PKD affects the brain, it can cause an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a bulging blood vessel that can burst, resulting in a stroke or even death. If PKD affects the heart, the valves can become floppy, resulting in a heart murmur in some patients.

Does everyone with PKD develop kidney failure?

No. About 50 percent of people with PKD will have kidney failure by age 60, and about 60 percent will have kidney failure by age 70. People with kidney failure will need dialysis or a kidney transplant. 

How is PKD treated?

At present, there is no cure for PKD. However, a lot of research is being done. Many studies suggest that some treatments may slow the rate of kidney disease in PKD, but further research is needed before these treatments can be used in patients. Other studies are helping us understand the genetic basis of PKD.

Who is at risk for developing PKD?

PKD runs in families. It is an inherited disorder that is passed from parents to children through genes. Genes are the basic elements of heredity. At conception, children receive a set of genes from each parent. They determine many characteristics such as hair color and eye color. Genes can also determine the likelihood of developing a disease.

If you're asking why PKD speaks to my heart it's because it runs in my family. My grandmother and uncle had it (both are now deceased), my mom, my aunt, a cousin and another family member have it. My aunt has been on a kidney transplant waiting list for 3 years now and my mom's kidney function is almost to the point of needing dialysis or seeing if she'd be eligible to be placed on the waiting list.

So far I have not been diagnosed with this but I continue to watch for signs. Two family members were outside the normal ages of diagnosis when they found out they have it so I know it can show up at anytime.

iRun 4 PKD for those who can't. My mom's kidneys are so large that she has a hard time walking very fast or playing with her grandkids or doing chores around the house without her ribs pushing on her kidneys. She would love to be more active than she is but is limited by pain.

iRun 4 PKD for those laying on a bed in a dialysis ward, having the toxins pulled from their blood by a machine because their kidneys no longer can do it.

iRun 4 PKD for my children's future.  Even though I don't have this disease, my children still have a chance of having it passed to them. I hope by raising money for research and treatments I can give them hope in a future without PKD.

Please go to my donation page, Kirsten Reynolds Run for PKD, to read a little more about my mission this year and to make a donation for PKD.

Thank you for partnering with me to fight this disease.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

First 10k ~ Delhi Covered Bridge Run

Today I ran my 1st 10k, that's 6.2 miles.  I have now run all the standard race distances.

I was a little nervous going into today's race because I didn't get any miles in this week. Not one.  It wasn't intentional, I just kept putting off going for a run, the downfall of not having a set training schedule, which is about to take a serious turn for the better on Monday. More on that later.  So I went in with very fresh legs but also legs that hadn't moved all week.  I did do my strength training this week, which I really believe helped me. I had a horrible nights sleep last night. I had a bad dream about the race, where it was a comedy of errors, that left me in tears at the end of the race that took me over 1.5 hours to run in my dream.  At one point, I lost my running shoes and was running in someone's muck boots.  My husband said he wish he'd known that was why I was whimpering in my sleep, he would have grabbed my Vibrams and given them back to me. That's my honey, he always has my back.

Anyway, I didn't get much sleep and we had 1.5 hour ride to the race.  The atmosphere in Delhi was great but the race was not the most organized.  The 10k and 5k start at the same time, at different starts, but going in different directions, circling around and merging in the last .3 of each race to come down the same finish line.

I ran a few blocks before we all headed to the start line to loosen up my legs.  My lungs were really tight too because it had been raining. The humidity kills my lungs but I'm glad I worked them both a bit.

The start was us all standing on the sidewalks right until the start time. Then the cops got the last of the cars out of the way,  shut down the road and the woman with the bull horn started to count down. Wait, no National Anthem? Later my husband said he was going to break into since they weren't doing it.  "5, 4, um oh 1, GO!" That was the start. Everyone was kind of laughing at how awkward the start was.

Mile 1 was mostly downhill and I could tell I was running way to fast. My garmin said 7 something for my pace. I wasn't sure I trusted it so I spent the rest of the race trying to figure out my splits based on the time. I've never done it before but I'm glad I did. I felt like I had a bit more control over my pace.

Mile 2-3 were pretty good. I felt strong. Had some ankle pain in my bad ankle but the road was at a deep angle and we had to stay on the edge because they only closed the road to traffic for the 1st half mile.

At the 5k mark I hit 29:19. That beat both my previous Sub 30 times. If only it was a 5k.  At that point I was evaluating my pace. I knew I was running faster than my normal comfortable pace and was trying to decide if I could keep up that pace.  That's when I decided to say heck with what my body says and put my headphones on and blared some very loud rock. It's really hard to think when you have music blaring in your ears.

Right before mile 4 a woman, who passed me earlier, significantly slowed down and started holding her side.  I passed her but keep looking back for a bit to make sure she was ok.  This was also where the covered bridge was. I didn't take the time this race to stop and take any pictures.

Miles 5-6.2 were rough.  My stomach decided not to agree with me. Something about when I run fast, my insides rebel.  Oh well. Nothing, short of keeling over on the race course, was going to stop me.  I'm so very grateful for the hills that I run at home because this was little hilly. There was a very short but steep hill near the end of mile 5 and I took a little gratification in training on hills at home when a women in front of me had to walk the hill.

My hubs said he'd never seen me come across the finish line the way I was, flushed and exhausted, near tears and couldn't talk or breathe.  The only other race I've left it all was when I ran Runner's World 5k last fall.

The finish line was very frustrating because the 5k and the 10k races came down the same shoot. They also only had it wide enough for 2 people and the walkers were taking up a lot of real estate. So I had to dodge around and in between a few of the groups of walkers.   It was wonderful to see my husband standing at the finish line. It was wonderful to see the finish line!!

Over all the experience was really good. I really enjoyed racing this distance and I learned quite a bit about my willingness to endure some stuff during this race.
I wanted to finish in under an hour. I wasn't 100% sure I could accomplish that.
My official time is 58:57.
Yes, I'll take that, thank you.

Brief Update

Here's a little preview of what's finally coming together, a brief training update, a little chat on our upcoming weekend of 4 rac...