Conquering the Mountain

It is not often that 1 run gets its own post! Since August the struggles have been many the successes have been few and far between with my running. Yesterday I conquered and got a huge boost!!

I have been struggling with my asthma this week and the run on Wed left me feeling breathless. My legs were very sore from running on the Alter G treadmill Tuesday. I was less than optimistic about Thursday’s 12 mile run up South Mountain. The run takes me up 1.5 miles to San Juan Rd then a rolling 4 miles with a steep incline at the end. At the top I usually take a gel enjoy the view and head back. I have done this run for 22 miles under a 7 minute pace. I was hoping to get under 7:20.

I woke up early that morning trying to forget that today was the day I was supposed to be flying to Minnesota for the Twin Cities Marathon. Before I started running at stood at the bottom of the mountain and put fear aside telling myself I would own this run. Until the turnaround at the top it is hard to tell if you are on pace since there are so many rolling hills. I was feeling awesome. It was one of those days were you get in the zone and feel great.

Reached the top with avg pace of 714. I took a gel at the turnaround enjoyed the view and headed back down. After the steep downhill it seemed the rest was uphill not rolling. I have run here many times this year and it never seemed this steep. My quads were screaming and lungs were gasping for air. I just kept pushing wanting to keep that avg pace. This was such good mental training in fighting for every second! I am going to need that in Dec at California International Marathon. I had about 2 miles to go until I reached the gate to head back down. I switched the music on my ipod to “I won’t back down” and kept fighting.

When I reached the gate I had lost a few seconds and was now at 7:17 (usually I am faster on way back). I stopped for a moment to catch my breath before heading down. I finished with avg pace at 7:13! I was so excited. It was a tough run and I know I will be sore but it was well worth it!

I am going to try to keep busy this weekend. I want to cheer on my friends that are racing Twin Cities, John Reich, Jeff Turner, Tere Zacher and Arianna Hillborn (10mile). I can’t wait to see how they do!! Sunday we are going Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) at Tempe Town Lake. I am going to have to wear some shorts over my swimsuit to cover up the huge fist size bruise left over from Dr Ball’s work on me this week. Looking forward to a 16 mile run Sunday morning too! Life is good!!

Keeping the dream alive!

The last couple weeks I had several dr appts xrays and mri. Final results were not great but not enough to stop me from pursuing my goal this year of qualifying for the Olympic Trials.

The sports med dr reviewed my  mri showing  a tear in my lower left abdominal region; cool I have “ripped abs”. I found this interesting since I have only had pain on the right side. Basically all the joints/tendons that I use for running; adductor, abductors, hamstring, si joint; have tendonitis and inflammation.  This made me feel like “how am I even running?”Dr Ball said it was typical for someone who runs as much as I have this year. This made me feel like no problem.

In all honesty if I was not shooting for such a huge once in 4 year opportunity I would back off and give my body the rest it needs. Since I do have a big goal I am going to keep pushing and clean up the mess after the Olympic Trials.

Here are some of the strategies I am going to implement to keep myself going.

-continue treatment with Dr Ball

-possible cortisone shot

-running on Alter G treadmill 2x week

-cross train 1 x per week

-keep a positive attitude

-eliminate dairy (causing too many problems with my asthma)

I always feel better once I have a plan of action. Thankfully coach John has helped me create a training plan that we will adjust as needed to get me to my goal. I will continue to “Focus on what I can do not what I can’t do”. I will control what I can and adjust/adapt as necessary.

In case you are wondering what an Alter G treadmill is I will provide a description. First you put on a pair of wetsuit material type shorts with a zipper around the waist. Step on the treadmill, pull up the bars and zip yourself to the large thick bag thing. Press the button to calibrate (it fills with air). Set your weight adjustment I am running at 85% of my weight. Start running!! Essentially it is like running with your lower body in a large thick trash bag (yes sweaty and hot). I can run a 6:30 pace with my heart rate in the 130’s. Your legs feel like they got a harder workout than your lungs. Here is a link http://www.alter-g.com/ to see what it looks like (I am not using the senior model).

This week seems to also be brining more issues with my asthma. Just when I thought it was under control. There have been several dust storms lately and maybe that is the problem. Today’s run I was trying to determine if my fitness was lost or was it my asthma making me feel like I was running with a bag over my head? I felt like I was shuffling along at a 9min pace but my watch was showing 715. Guess my legs know what to do! I am trying one more workout and if no improvement than back to the asthma dr. I think I have had my fill of dr appts lately!!

Tomorrow I have 12 miles at South Mountain. Last winter I had a long run at the same place when I was having asthma problems and I conquered the mountain. I plan on owning those hills tomorrow!

Reinventing the plan, California here I come!

Last week I had my 1st track workout in 5 wks without an asthma attack. Yippee!! Now the real test has begun to get back on track with all my workouts and hope the asthma holds and the aches and pains are just that and not sprouting into injuries. I really need to see where I am at with my fitness.

When JT offered me the opportunity to join him and a few other Bandidos in CA to do a time trial I was thrilled. This was exactly what I needed to assess my readiness for Twin Cities. But 1st there would be one more challenge (really???).

During a visit with Dr Ball he pressed on my lower abdominal area where I was having some slight pain/discomfort. A sharp pain made me almost jump off the table. I am thinking what the heck is that?? He had the same opinion. He suggested I run Wed and come back later that day. Same reaction. Repeat run/visit. Thursday with less than 24hrs to go until CA he suggested I get to urgent care and get an ultrasound to rule out anything too traumatic. Thursday evening at urgent care some concern over if it was an ovarian cyst (had one last year). Fri am arrive early for ultra sound in hopes of being done quick since JT would be at my house soon. The tech was great she assured me it was not a cyst on the right side. I figured with that knowledge I could go to CA and try my run then followup next week with Dr Ball so we could figure out what was going on.

Jt, Amy, Christina and Jad pull up in this sweet mack daddy huge van that I spend most of the drive stretched out in the back resting!! I was so pumped to be heading to Cali with these awesome runners and prove to myself that I was ready. My mind had been visualizing success at Twin Cities for weeks now. I still wonder how I was able to be so positive despite all the hurdles.

I almost cried tears of joy when we got out of the van with a temp of about 71. I forgot what that felt like. Sat morning we headed to the beach for an easy run and to scope out our plans for Sat. We arrived at the beach to pouring rain. Well at least it was cool! 6 easy miles a few strides and dripping wet we climbed back in the van. We dried off best we could and got some breakfast then back to the condo for some rest. Run, eat, rest, eat I could get used to this routine!!! I decided this would be called the Bandido Beach Run. We were all going to PR and win our age group!!

That night we made an awesome carb loading dinner and arranged all of our stuff. The next morning I woke up with excitement and a feeling of let’s get r done!! Weather could not have been more perfect at the beach. My plan was to run 15 miles at 615. JT was going faster 6min pace but Amy, Christina and Jad would be with me. All I needed to do was stick with these guys. Again I was so blessed that JT gave me this chance to succeed!

Mile 1 started out great but I could tell my breathing was a little off. I kept telling myself just stick with them and get in the zone. Mile 2 no zone yet. Mile 3 wow this is way harder than it should feel. Mile 4 dropping off 632 pace, crap ok hold on just a bad mile. Mile 5 just can’t run any faster 652 followed by a sharp pain in my hip. Ok I am done, just don’t have it. JT came flying by and I shouted him cheers of good luck while holding back my tears. I turned around did and easy mile and tried one last time as all the pain entered my hip and my breathing was off I knew it was over.

It hit my like a brick wall I am not going to Twin Cities! I stared out at the Pacific Ocean as my mind filled with sadness and doubt, will I ever make it to another marathon this year so I can run the qualifying time?? I know I can run a 245 marathon just need to be injury/asthma free.

I wanted to curl up in a fetal position in the sand and cry but I knew I just needed to make a new plan. Dec 4 California International Marathon in Sacramento.

I ran easy back to the van. I waited in excitement as my friends all nailed their runs. I cheered them on not wanting to put a damper on their success. Amy and JT are so ready to rock it at TC and Chicago. We all ran into the waves and enjoyed the cool water. I grabbed a few shells to remember this day.

Later on the phone I explained to coach John what happened. We brainstormed a few ideas for the next few weeks. Alterg G treadmill and other cross training. As long as I have a plan I am good to do.

My son Josh had some red, white and blue balloons for me when I got home. He said congrats for your big race mommy. Holding back the tears I thanked him and told him no marathon in 3wks. He embraced me in a big hug and said “Big dreams take hard work and you have been working really hard mommy! It is better to work hard at your dream then sit and just think about your dreams” Ah what thoughts from a 9yr old. I am blessed to be a good example for my kids who I know will always chase their dreams.

What happened made it clear I lost fitness during my battle to overcome all my challenges. I can honestly say I tried my hardest. Now I need to try harder to stay mentally positive and focused as I create my new plan. “It is not what happens to you that counts it is what you do about it”

Visited Dr Ball Mon and told him the story of my epic crash and burn. He thinks I may have a sports hernia and is referring me to a specialist. Ah one more dr on my quest to get tot he Olympic Trials.

Took down the Twin Cities course map and put up CIM course map. Katherine looked at the 2 and said “Wow mom look at all the downhill at the end of CIM! That looks easier than Twin Cities”. My thoughts exactly. Whenever us girls run a race and we go down a hill we scream “Wheeee!” Guess what I will be doing Dec 4 in Sacramento “Whee” all the way to the finish clock reading 2:45!

I won’t back down!! 27 days to go

My new theme song by Tom Petty “I won’t back down”. Life continues to throw me challenges and obstacles and I refuse to back down. So to quote Tom Petty’s song”there aint no easy way out, I stand my ground and I won’t back down”.

# My foot continues to do better or hold the same. This is something to celebrate!

#2Right hip is hit or miss. I had a very successful 20 miler Sun 8-28 with Susan. There was a glimmer of my uninjured self throwing down sub7 min pace the last several miles feeling stronger and stronger despite the heat! This sunday I was to run 22 and only eeked out 17 with severe pain the last several miles in my hip. I tried wintercrest cream for pain, aleve, fluids, stretching but could not overcome the pain in my hip. I am putting my faith and trust in Dr Ball to get me over this hump.

#3We visited Greer in northern AZ Aug4-6 and the running in the smoky forest (from Wallow Fire) flared up my asthma and has severely affected my asthma. Every track and tempo workout since Greer has abruptly ended with an asthma attack. I visited the dr and tests confirmed the inflammation in my lungs. I am back on several medications that will hopefully help me train and heal! Luckily my doctor worked with me to determine which drugs are allowed in training and competition. It is highly likely that I will be drug tested at my next race. Let me tell you I am not going through all this to have a drug testing issue due to some asthma medicine!!!!

#5 The heat has been a huge challenge but not much I can do about it. I did decide to do all runs under 8 miles on the treadmill so I can get more sleep. The 330&4am wakings have taken a huge toll on my rest, recovery and overall health.

#6 Life! This week lots of fun and excitement but that does not mix well with serious marathon training. Out of town visitors for my mom’s wedding, wedding related events, husband’s 40th birthday. Great stuff but waking up at 330 and going to be bed at 11pm is not quite what my body needs. I hope to recover more this week!

I have been working with a new sports medicine Dr. Carfagno to help determine my overall health status and fatigue issues. I have had some testing done and unfortunately due to a lab screwup I have to go back again. Hoping to get more answers and solutions soon!! He did a RMR test to help determine how many calories I burn at rest=1600.  So he determined that I have not been eating near enough and told me to add between 500-700 calories per day to my diet. Wow that seems like a lot but it has made me feel not so exhausted.

Sun-20 miles hills felt like a rock star!!!

Mon6 miles treadmill, Dr Ball, Jon-stretcher, allergy shot, blood draw testing

Tues track 10- 2x2miles in 12:10 was goal, 605,623 then 630 and asthma attack

Wed spin class, weights core training met with trainer at gym

Th14-7×1 mile 620 asthma attack during last set

Fri-6 miles treadmill (wedding rehearsal and dinner)

Sat switched run for Bikram Yoga to help asthma and hip (mom’s wedding)

total miles 56

Sun 17 (husband’s 40th bday party)

Ok so all the whining is over with!! Just needed to get that out of the way. After looking at my week last week I realize I was trying to be Superwoman! Goal this week successfully hitting all my runs, controlling my asthma, rest, eat, recover. Big exciting news is I am going to head to CA next weekend to do a time trial so 18 mile run with 15 at marathon pace of 6:15. Several Bandidos are going and this is exactly what I need to boost my confidence. I can’t believe I will actually be able to run somewhere cool! I will report back next week. ]

I am remaining as focused as I can be for Twin Cities. I am relying a lot on my confidence I earned at Grandma’s marathon in June. Off to bed for now to get some rest after I foam roll!

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