Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hike

I haven't been running much.  I do better with running when I have a goal I'm working towards.  I don't have a goal right now other than getting better.  I have run 24 miles in January so far.  I have pretty much abandoned running after work.  The thought of the cold and the dark has kept me inside, plus, the treadmill being in the living room has me thinking I don't need to go outside to run.  Problem is, I'm not running on the treadmill either, I'm walking.  I guess I need to find a half marathon in the spring I want to run and start training for it.

I am doing a lot of walking right now.  I've been walking at lunch a couple times a week, and also am walking on the treadmill in the evenings most nights a week. I don't think that the walking I am doing is keeping me in shape, but at least I'm not sitting on my butt all day and evening.  =) 

I've said it before, when I don't run I don't have as much to talk about.  Even if I'm not talking about running, at least I can think of something to say. 

Actually . . . I forgot (see, not running makes me stupider).

This weekend I went on two short hikes.  The first one was on Saturday with Maddox.  I told him we were going on an adventure, and he said he wanted to be Adventure Cat (whatever that is).  I said that he is Adventure Maddox, and he loved that name.  Then he told me we were Adventure People and we needed to go get Adventure Hats, 4 of them (even though it was just him and I hiking). 

He is so different than Damian.  His conversation was all over the place and he never stopped talking.  He talked about being Adventure People, and he talked about wanting to be like Damian.  He probably talked about Damian for 20 min, how strong he is, and how high he can climb, and how he wants to be like Damian.  He never left the trail (I couldn't keep Damian on a trail) and he avoided all the puddles because he didn't want the water to go over his boots and get his feet wet.



  Overall it was fun.  I will do it again with him.

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr Day, and while I didn't have the day off, Damian had the day off, so I took it off.  We decided we were going to go for a bigger hike and take packs and just see how it felt.  I asked a friend of mine who hikes if she knew any easy day hikes, and I was given a couple maps.  Damian picked the one he liked, he said it was 2 miles out and 2 miles back, so I thought that would be a nice little hike. 

I had no idea what to put into a pack, so kept asking Damian.  I don't have anything, and if I go alone I'll have to borrow stuff from Damian.  I really wanted to feel what it'd be like to have a pack full so we ended up putting a bunch of books in my pack to make it heavy. 

We got to the trail and were going uphill, I actually wondered what I had gotten myself into, but it evened out pretty quickly, and then we were at the lake.  It wasn't even a quarter mile from the road.  We walked around the lake, and to and around a beaver pond.  We passed several people, mostly people that looked like they were there for a stroll.  We got almost pack to the beginning and I decided we should stop and eat lunch, so we sat on a bench by the water and ate the sandwiches we packed.  And then we were done.

The whole trail, including all offshoots we could find, was 2.25 miles.  We did it in an hour and 15 min.  I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more to it, but I really enjoyed spending the time with Damian. We talked about all sorts of things, and it was nice.  I offered to go somewhere else to hike another trail, but he wanted to go home, so home we went. 




All in all, it was a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Monthly goals; January edition

After writing up my goals for 2018, I was catching up on my blog reading and there are a lot of people posting about their goals for 2018.  Isn't that what everyone does in January?  Then I came across one person that talked about her monthly goals.  This is not the first blog post I've read talking about monthly goals.  In fact, I've read many, but for whatever reason this was the first time I've thought "maybe I should make monthly goals."

I work in the mental health field and many times a year goals come up in my work for my clients. I know that goals need to be achievable, and it always helps to break them up into smaller goals to reach a bigger one.  So my next thought was, maybe if I do monthly goals that support my overall goals, I'll succeed in some of the ones that I haven't in the past (yoga? hiking?). 

I know January is already almost half over, but I can still set some goals for the rest of the month.  Little ones that will help me succeed in my bigger goals. 

Goal 1: getting outside (hiking) . . . In January I will go for at least one hike. 
I want to go out once with Maddox up Little Mountain, so I will do that.  I would also like to go out with my sister.  She is coming up to hang out with me on the 27th, so I will ask her if she wants to go for a hike on Little Mountain at the same time.  She may not want to if it's raining, so I'm going to keep the monthly goal of getting out once instead of 2 times.

Goal 2: yoga . . . In January I will do some sort of stretching 3 days a week for at least 10 min.
There are 3 1/2 weeks left in January, so that would be a total of at least 10 days of stretching.  I have also been doing squats, so I will also do at least 50 squats at the same time that I do the stretching.

Goal 3: PR half and full marathons . . . I will run at least 3 times a week.
That very generic goal is easy for me, but I need to take it easy on my knee, so even though my goal is to get faster, I can't get faster if I am hurt.  So first I need to make sure my knee is okay, then I can focus on speed work.

Goal 4: healthy eating . . . I will eat a salad 2 times a week, cut back my afternoon coffee to 2 times a week.
This is a very low goal for me for this month.  But it is achievable for me right now.  Anything more may not be attainable for me at this moment. 

I don't know if this will stick.  I'm good at starting things, not so good at keeping it up.  I think it would be better if I had some sort of fitness calendar, but I don't want to buy one.  Maybe I'll do some looking for a free app on my phone, or something to help keep me accountable.  If you know of anything, I'd love recommendations. 

Oh, and the treadmill I moved to the living room?  I finally asked Damian to help me maneuver it to get the mat under it straight and not lumpy.  Once we did that, I realized how hard it would be to get it in and out every time someone wants to use it, so for now, it's going to stay down all the time.  Hopefully it will get used by more than me.  So far I've walked on it for 40 min 2 days in a row (just enough time to walk 2 miles slowly). 
Yes, that is wine, yes, I am walking on the
treadmill.

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018

Well, for about a month now I 've had some unformed goals for 2018 roaming around in my head.  I talked about them before Christmas but haven't come back to finalize anything.  I don't know that anything is final anyway.  I don't know if I'm going to have a "final" list of goals, but I have thoughts.

Mostly this year I want to focus on being a better me.  So far in my head, this has included being more active, not just running, but getting out more.  Damian spent a lot of money in the early summer on backpacking gear, and went backpacking once.  Ever since then, I have had the desire to actually do it.  I've always thought hiking would be fun, but have never actually done it.  This is the year.  I am going to do it.  I need a couple basic supplies before I do anything major (hiking boots being number one priority) but until I get them, I can do smaller hikes in the area that I live.  There's a big hill called "Little Mountain" that has a ton of trails on it, so that is my first goal, go hiking there in my tennis shoes. 

January 7, 2012
This also includes more time with my kids.  Damian and I can do some more challenging hikes in the summer, and Maddox and I can do some easy hikes starting now.  I actually was going to go hike on the "hill" this last weekend, but ended up not able to get away.  When Maddox was a baby, we actually did do some hikes on those trails, I just haven't been back in 6 years.  =/
Not my most flattering pose. This
was about 4 months before my
marathon, June 2015.
I am tired of the aches and pains that I get from running.  I love running and am not going to give it up, but I need to work on keeping my body from falling apart.  So I am going to do yoga (or stretching, whichever term you prefer).  I have made this commitment before and have never followed through.  A couple years ago I decided that money was a good motivation for me, so I decided that every day I did yoga I would give myself a dollar, which I did for awhile, but then I quit (again).  I kept giving myself my extra money though, so that was nice, it was what helped pay for Damian's and my tattoos.  I think I need to rethink the way I think of yoga, not that I want to be more flexible (which is true) but that I need to do it to continue to run regularly.

I couldn't figure out why I didn't have these aches and pains in 2015 when I trained for my first marathon.  Ignoring that I was 2 years younger, I had started out my training with a lot of yoga.  I didn't keep it up but I did it faithfully for about half my training and then sporadically for the rest.  I did no stretching during my training this year, no wonder I developed a hip and knee issue. 

So that may be my biggest goal of 2018, stretching to prevent injury so that I can run.

I also want to PR my half and full marathons.  The older I get the harder this will be to accomplish, but if I can train for a full marathon following the training exactly, I have no doubt I could PR it.  My initial thoughts were to start working on speed work once the Last Chance Half was done, but with my knee pain, I'm happy to just run right now.  I will work on speed when I know that I won't hurt my knee more. 

And finally, I want to work on losing the weight I gained in 2016 after I sprained my ankle.  I'm not going to lie, I was really hoping that marathon training this year would "melt" it off, but it didn't.  Probably because I didn't do a good job at training this year.  And also because I'm over 40 now.  Oh, and I've developed an afternoon high calorie coffee habit.  I won't lie, I love looking at pictures of me from 2015 when I was marathon training, I was at my smallest, healthiest self, and my most confidant, and I love seeing that.  I want that back. 

Right now I'm fluctuating at 150-155, which is 5 to 10 lbs heavier than I want to be, and 10-15 lbs heavier than I was in October of 2015.  I'm not going to lie, this is the hardest goal I have.  I feel like I don't eat poorly.  And I didn't go overboard at all this holiday season, yes, there was more sugar than a normal month, but that is not unusual for me, and I didn't gain any additional weight.  I just need to figure out how my over 40 yr old body will lose the weight. 

I did lose a little weight in 2017, at the end of 2016 I was hovering above 155 and January 2017 I was at 158, so seeing 150 in November was nice, but I am above that again.  I'd like to be back in the 140's, and ultimately in the low 140's.  I haven't seen "14-" since June 2016, a month after I sprained my ankle. 

I know that my struggle is with food.  Afternoon coffee is not a good thing.  I also have been eating out for lunch a lot more often, and that isn't a healthy thing either, while it's not fast food, it's still not my old "leftovers for lunch" routine.  And if I'm totally honest, it probably has some to do with my wine drinking.  I don't think I drink excessively, but on nights when I have 2 glasses (or more) I snack more. 

This last week since my last half marathon, I've taken it easy in regards to running.  I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym on Thursday, then 3 miles outside on Saturday.  My knee didn't bother me at all after, or during, either of those runs, so I ran 5 miles on Sunday outside.  My knee started bothering me at mile 4 and more at 4.5, but there was no where to go by then, I was already headed home, so I just finished the run.  It didn't hurt at all yesterday evening and still doesn't today.  So I'm good with that.  Last Monday after the half, it bothered me a lot.

I moved my treadmill inside on Saturday.  Chris needs to exercise more, and one way we thought that could work is if the treadmill came inside from the garage.  That way he could walk and watch TV.  We'll see if it works, I have a feeling he won't use it much, but maybe I'll get on it to walk in the evenings when I'm not running.  I can already feel the calling of it (not for running though, that's so boring). 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017 in review

Well, every year I have a post about my running accomplishments.  This year, even though I did a lot, I feel like it was a failure, and I'm not really sure why.  Maybe by the end of the post I'll feel better about what I did because it's all here in black and white.  =) 

2017 was the year of the half marathons.  I ran 4 half marathons, starting with one in January and finishing it with one on December 31st.  It was also a slow half marathon year.  The half I did in January was my slowest to date,
then the San Juan was even slower (by only a few seconds). 
My fastest half was the Leavenworth half at 2:04:12. 
And I ended it with my slowest ever half, the Last Chance Half on New Year's Eve.
I also ran a full marathon in October.  Which turned out to be my slowest marathon (and only my second one).
After 2016 being the year of 5k's, in 2017 I ran zero 5k's.  I ran the Tulip Run in April,

walked Bloomsday with my sister in May,
we participated in the Insane Inflatable 5k (I didn't count that as an actual 5k because we didn't do the whole thing and didn't time ourselves) also in May,
and I ran the Fowl Fun Run 10k in November, getting a PR. 
Three of my 4 half marathons were part of the Washington Half/Full Marathon Series (the Nookachamps didn't count).  And the whole reason I did those 3 half marathons was because I found out that the Tri-Cities Marathon joined that Series, so why not try to get a medal for it?  Which I did.
This year I didn't have any major injuries, like plantar faciitis or a sprained ankle, but I did have a "hip issue" forcing me to take the majority of August off of running, which really put a damper on my marathon training.  After my marathon I ended the year with a "knee issue," which impacted the final half marathon I did.  I believe that both of these "issues" could have been avoided with proper stretching, which I'm horrible at. 

My highest mileage month was September, with 117 miles, and my lowest mileage month was November with 48 miles (which was better than the 36 miles in Nov. of 2015 after my first marathon).  =)

Personally I've felt it was a crappy year, but it really wasn't.  It was just the last few months that were crappy.  Damian graduated high school in June. 
Damian also got to go skydiving, which I've been dying to do since I was in my 20's.
Damian and I also got tattoos together.
Maddox started both baseball and soccer.
Damian got a kayak for his graduation gift and I loved it so much that I bought a paddleboard with him. I spent the majority of my summer on the paddleboard.  It was amazing.
Maddox loved the kayak so much that he was a kayaker for Halloween.  =)
And then in August, right after our vacation, Chris had a stroke, and that is one of the biggest reasons my 2017 felt so crappy.  Not just his stroke, but the recovery of it, which is still ongoing, and the financial side of him only working part time with no end in sight.
2018 won't be a magical new start, but I will do my best to make it better, at least better than 2017 ended.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Last Chance Half Marathon

I hope you had a great New Year.  Mine was rather low key.  We went to our neighbor's house, but I was so tired from my half marathon that morning that I didn't really enjoy myself and left about 10:30pm.  I took Maddox home and we started a movie that I fell asleep to, and woke up with 15 min left before midnight so I turned off the movie and watched the fireworks on the Space Needle in Seattle.  I was in bed and asleep before 12:30am.

But that is probably not why you are reading this (I'm not really sure why you are, I'm not brilliant in my writing).  You may be here because you want to hear how my half marathon went, so I won't disappoint you.  ; )

Sunday morning I was awake at 4:30am (which is why I was so tired at 8:30pm) and drinking coffee, eating breakfast and drinking water.  I even cleaned the bathroom during that time.  The reason I cleaned the bathroom?  Well, my dog is getting older, and that, combined with me being the only one to consistently take him outside to go to the bathroom, he has started leaving messes in our bathroom.  A few months ago I quit fighting it and got a fake grass pee pad for him, which he uses at night and when I'm not home to take him out regularly.  It sits in the bathroom right next to the tub.  Saturday night while I was in the tub I could tell it needed to be cleaned, so Sunday morning I decided to clean it in the bathtub.  But then I thought that I should clean the bathtub as well after that, so that moved on to the toilet and so on. 

So at 7:10am I found myself cleaning the bathroom and realized I needed to get dressed because I planned on leaving at 7:30am.  Chris decided to go with me with the kids because his mom lives in Bellingham (where the race was) and I suggested they go visit with her.  We don't see her very often, so I thought they could do breakfast with her while I ran (they ended up staying at her house the whole time, which I guess was pretty boring, I was running, I didn't notice). 

Anyway, it had been snowing and very cold in Bellingham all last week.  I knew the snow was supposed to be gone, but I heard it was supposed to be pretty cold Sunday, so I dressed in layers (3 layers).  I don't really have super cold weather running gear, so layers is the best I can do, a long sleeve shirt and 2 running jackets, plus thermal running pants under regular running pants.  (My thermal pants are too big, so no matter what I have to put something over them to "cinch" them in place.)  I also had gloves and my new head band that I got for Christmas that covers my ears. 

I ended up with too many upper body layers, it was cold, especially standing around waiting, but about 3 miles into the race I was too hot and took off the gloves and top jacket (tying it around my waist).  I didn't think of it before, but I should have put it to the side because the course was an out and back and then I would only have had it tied around my waist for the last 3 miles instead of 10.  Oh well. 

The course was really pretty.  It was on a trail, the first part of the trail was really "trail," you know, with roots and rocks and narrow.  It was also mostly uphill.  While I was waiting to get my bib I had overheard a guy and girl talking about the WA marathon series (the whole reason I was there), they were speculating about it, and wondering if you could combine half and full marathons.  I turned around and said yes, that it was a combination, and we talked about it for a few min.  I told them the series was the only reason I was doing this race and the guy said he ran it 3 years ago and it was a good course.  The only uphill was at the beginning and then it was mostly flat the rest of the way. 

I like my uphills in the beginning of my runs, but while I was running I realized I would have to figure out how to get down this tricky uphill on the way back.  It was wet and muddy which made everything slippery and with my knee I was pretty worried about the downhill.

The middle of the race was very nice, there were a few dips in the trail, mostly where the trail met a road and would dip down and then back up, but I would say at least the first 4 miles was uphill, and at least one mile in that 4 was on the narrow woods trail.  I pretty much took my time, I was not worried about how fast I was going, and I wasn't thinking about finishing at a certain time.  I did notice how competitive I get.  I don't like people passing me, and if I catch up to someone, I speed up to pass them, even when I tell myself not to.  But I thought I did a good job of keeping my pace down, even in the beginning when I usually get pretty antsy to get in front of everyone. 

It was pretty foggy throughout the whole race, it started to clear up at the end, but at one point I put my hand on my head (I don't know why) and realized my headband was covered in frost. 

Anyway, my competitive nature was telling me that I could run down the trail, but once I got there, my knee said "No, you can't run down this trail."  So I walked, and I let people pass me, although there were not very many people close enough behind me to pass me.  The worst part was a gradual uphill that I walked up after the major downhill. I ran some of it, but I have noticed the last few runs that my knee also bothers me going uphill, especially after I've been running awhile.  So I walked the last uphill because my knee was screaming at me and, if I'm honest, I was pretty tired by that point. 

So I finished in 2:17:31, that is an average of 10:29 min/mile.  Which is officially my slowest half, even slower than the San Juan Half, by 8 min.  But I finished. 

The Last Chance medal is on the left, and the Series medal on the right.
I forgot to mention that my sister let me use her knee brace.  She even drove up to Everett (about 20 min away from her house) to give it to me on Friday. 
I am actually not sure if it helped.  I thought it was while I was running because for most of the race it was just an irritant, not a pain, and the irritant didn't start until about mile 6ish, before it's started at mile 2 or 3.  It did start really hurting at the downhill part and then for the rest of the race.  And afterwards it was really, really sore.  That evening I couldn't bend it, or straighten it (if it was bent) with out a lot of pain.  I did take an ice wrap thing to the race that I left in the car and put on my knee when I got in the car.  I haven't iced it since, but I put heat on it last night and that actually felt better than the ice, but I don't know if it helped or not.  Yesterday it felt better than Sunday night and today it feels even better. 

So I ended the year with a bang.  Or at least a whimper.  =)  My total yearly mileage is 965.5 miles, which is the most I've had in a couple years.  But all of that is fodder for another post later this week.  ; )

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Last minute nerves

I am currently laying in a tub contemplating the half marathon i am doing in the morning, 13 hours away. The description of it says mostly flat with some "fun hills" to keep it interesting. If you know anything about race descriptions, that tends to mean a hilly race. I don't think it's as hilly as the San Juan half was, but I'm expecting hills.

And I haven't been training on hills, not like I did for the San Juan half.  So, my thing with my knee has meant that I plan to walk downhill but I've always had a pride about the uphills. In fact, when I was running the San Juan half my mantra on the uphill was "races are won on the uphill" and I ran up every single hill on that course. And since then my mantra on uphills has been "if I ran San Juan, I can run this hill."

So tonight I'm laying in my bath thinking I may have to walk uphill too. And I get embarrassed. The people on the course won't know I've been struggling with my knee. They won't know that I'm not properly trained (for the second distance race in a row). But it's so silly to think that way. Everyone is there for their own reasons and have their own abilities. There may be a couple (I've been one) that feel superior because they ran up the hill, but that's their issue, not mine.

 My sister let me borrow her knee brace for tomorrow. I've never used one before, so I hope it helps. =) I also need to remember to take some ibuprofen before I go.

I woke up last night with a rash on my neck. It itched so bad at about 3am I had to get up and put cortisone on it. This morning it was a little better but it's still not gone. I hope it doesn't get worse between now and the morning.
Anyway, I won't be posting tomorrow, so I hope everyone has a great New Year's. Stay safe! And thank you for reading my ramblings this year. I'm sure next year won't be any better writing, but I'm also sure I'll continue to write and run.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I've been thinking about goals a lot recently.  I know that I've said so many times that January 1st is just another day and my goals don't have to start there, but I do get caught up in all that "new year new start" crap that I really don't believe in.  The issues that I've had in 2017 aren't going to magically disappear on midnight New Year's Eve. 

The biggest issue that I've had actually has only been since August when Chris had his stroke.  I've had other struggles throughout the year, mostly in my personal life, but the biggest one was when Chris had his stroke and changed our financial situation significantly.  And that's not going away.  He's not magically going to get better suddenly.  It's going to still be a wait and hope thing. 

With all that said, I am still working on goals for 2018.  There are things I would like to do differently, I touched on them last week, but I'm still thinking about specifics.  I don't know if I will get all of it down and out of my head, but I'm going to continue with them.  I think the majority of my desire is to "fix" my financial situation, and without getting a new job, I don't know if that's going to be possible . . . unless Chris does magically get better.

My running has been less than mediocre.  I did go for a really nice run in eastern WA when we were over there for Christmas.  It snowed, and for whatever reason (maybe because I live in an area where it rarely snows and never sticks around long) I always have the desire to go for a run in the snow.  My parents live on a hilly road, one way is a gradual downhill for a half mile and then a steep up hill and steep downhill and steep uphill again before reaching the 1 mile point (if I continued past the 1 mile point it would continue to be a steep uphill for another half mile).  All other directions are all up and down constantly.  With my recent knee problem, I am trying to avoid running downhill as that seems to aggravate it the most, so I decided the gradual downhill followed by the steep hills . . . but that meant I would have a half mile of gradual incline to get back to my parents house and I still would have to figure out another mile (to make 3 miles). 

Well, as I was descending the steep downhill I thought that running through the abandoned gravel pit at the bottom of the hill might be fun.  I hadn't wandered through it since it was active in my teenage years.  And it turned out very interesting, I found all sorts of things.  And it added the extra mile I needed.
Anybody want lunch?
A shooting range?  Not my parents, someone is trespassing.

rocks, just because

Tires, yes, I tried to flip one, it was cemented to the ground.

I was able to flip this one. ; )
The view back to my parents house.
And just me
We had a good, if very short Christmas with my family and with Chris's family. 


And we were back over the mountains and home on Christmas Eve.



I went for a run on Christmas day after opening our presents.  I was planning on 8 miles, but my knee started really bothering me, so I cut it short and ended up only running 5.5 miles.  I'm really hoping my knee will hold up for my last half marathon on Sunday.  I have to run it in order to get my series medal . . . well, I may end up walking a lot of it.  It's going to be a slow one.

I have been stretching but I need to also work on my butt and hip muscles.  I think that will be my biggest 2018 fitness goal, increase hip strength and flexibility, butt strength, and overall flexibility.  I'm tired of the aches that have plagued me this year, so I think that will help a lot. (I hope.)

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are safe on the New Year.  We have nothing planned, so it will be a quiet evening at home, I think. =)