Saturday, August 27, 2011

Boot Camping, Hiking and Running = Exhaustion!

The last time I posted I was working on running a total of 15 miles/week. It was very tiring for me, but I was doing it. Then I decided to add two nights of boot camp. My daughter (D2) is a personal trainer and has her own business so I joined her boot camp (for free!). I managed to keep up the 15 miles along with the two nights of working out - for two weeks. I also added a few days of hiking during that time frame.

For some reason, after each activity I was feeling exhausted and found it difficult to stay awake. I was crawling into bed by 8:00 p.m during the week and taking naps on the weekends. I would doze off while reading blogs, even while trying to post on my blog. It got so bad I couldn't even stay awake at work! I had very little stamina so I cut back the weekly running miles, kept the boot camp workouts and decreased the amount of hiking.

But, I'm still running and the boot camp has helped make my legs stronger. I ran a Memorial Day 5 mile race at Boys Town with my family, started as a volunteer trainer for the Step Into Running program that is run by my running group, ran in the Warrior Dash in Kansas City and on Labor Day will run the Go Girl Run 5k.

The Memorial Day race was 1 mile and 5 miles. My daughter (D2), her husband, 15 yo son, 12 yo daughter and 2 yo daughter ran the 1 mile. It was Momo's (the 2 yo) first race and she was excited! I was in charge of taking pictures of her so I had to jump into the race at the start, point behind me and shoot and hope the pictures came out. Then I had to run to other locations along the route and take pictures as they came by. At one point she looked up at her mom and said "I'm a runner like you mommy". She ran most of the mile and walked some but wouldn't let anyone carry her when they offered. She was a tired little girl afterwards.

           Momo coming around the round-about before the final stretch

                    Momo crossing the finish line with Mommy & Daddy

I ran the five mile run with my friend Fitz. It was very hilly, the temperature was around 90 and it was very windy! It blew me off course a few times. My time was 1:15:41. Yep, I'm still slow.

The Step Into Running program is the same one I went through last summer when I started running. It helped me so much! When I first started I thought I would never make it through the first week running 1/5 intervals for a total of 30 minutes. I distinctly remember the first time I ran for 15 minutes without stopping - I was so excited and told our trainer right then that I was going to be a volunteer trainer this year.

During one of my hikes with a local hiking group I told one of the women (R) I'd been hiking with a few years about how I went through the running program. She was very interested and signed up. Plus, she got seven of her co-workers to sign up! So they became my group to run with and I started referring them as my Running Peeps. R even created a Running Peeps Facebook page for us. Some of the women are a bit over weight but they got out there every week and even as a group before or after work several days a week. They all have the best attitude about life. They have all improved so much. I'm so proud of them! They even plan to run the Go Girl Run race with the group.

July 30th my family and I went to Kansas City for the Warrior Dash. We got there on Friday, the 29th and spent 7 hours at Oceans of fun, went back to our hotel to shower and went out to a nice dinner with several of my daughters friends/boot campers that she talked into running the WD with us. We got back to our hotel and around 10:30, as I went to get my running clothes out of my suitcase, I discovered that I didn't pack them or my running shoes! I remembered that just before putting them into my suit case, my oldest daughter called me. As I was talking to her I zipped it up and carried everything out to the sidewalk to be ready when D2 got there to pick me up. Luckily for me, D2 brought extra running clothes and I used my every day Reeboks (not even close to running shoes) to run in.

The Warrior Dash (WD) is an obstacle course 5k. This is word for word description from their website, "a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from Hell. This fierce running series is held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with kick-ass music, beer and warrior helmets". Let me just say - I was exhausted! It began running uphill, which really sucked for me. With my lungs, it's difficult to start off running up hill. I ran almost to the top before having to walk. I ran down all, or mostly all, of the hills and tried to run up the hills as much as possible.

                                                       Us before the race
There were around 12 obstacles to climb over or under or both. Each obstacle was taller and more challenging than the previous one, with the exception of running through a large area of tires. That was the easiest one. We ran through fields, woods, on muddy and rocky trails, and crossed three streams (one fairly wide and up to my waist). After the third to last obstacle we had to run up another hill, turn and run through another small group of trees and immediately jump two fire pits then crawl through a very large mud pit that had barbed wire going across half of it.

As I got to the top of the last hill I could see the fire pits through the trees. I was so tired! I saw a guy fall when he jumped the first fire pit. Luckily, he fell in the area between the first and second fire. When I saw that I stopped and decided to take a minute to catch my breath before attempting the fire. I wanted to be sure I would make it over both fire pits without falling. They must have just stoked the fires because the flames were pretty high! And you could really feel the heat.

There was a short running distance from the fires to the mud pits. People were actually diving into the muddy water! I ran up to the edge of the mud pit, stopped and attempted to just step into it but fell on my keester right into the mess. It felt gross! The bottom had to be about three inches deep of mud then another two feet of water. I decided to use my hands to pull myself along and just let me legs float behind me. It gave me a little bit of a rest. Then I felt something and pulled it out of the water. It was a piece of clothing, probably a shirt. I just tossed it aside. My daughter said people were picking up shoes out of the mud and tossing them onto the bank.

After a while, the water got shallower and it was more mucky mud than water. That's when we came to the barbed wire running across. At that point you had to actually crawl on your hands and knees and try to miss the barbed wire. By the time I got to the end of the mud pit, I was so tired. I actually just dug my fingers into the mud and pulled myself out of the pit. I stood up and felt myself weaving back and forth. I was afraid I would fall backwards into the mud. Then I heard my granddaughter yell for me. When I saw my family I broke into a big smile, raised my arms into the air with my index fingers pointing up, indicating that I finally made it! And I was a muddy mess!

But, I still had to cross the finish line. I still had several yards to go but somehow I managed to muster enough strength to stagger across the finish. I actually heard it ding as it read my timing chip. At the finish they put a medal around my neck and I staggered over to the water tables for a much needed drink of clean, cool water. My time was 1:10:26. I came in seventh of 16 in my age group. Thankfully they had water trucks that hosed off some of the mud. The buses that shuttled us back got very muddy.

         Us after the race minus my grandson who went to get showered off
                    D2, Son-in-law and grandson before the race.
                         Grandson is wearing the horn hat we got.
Even though I was exhausted, muddy and thirsty I plan to run the Warrior Dash again next year.

Unfortunately, within a few days of getting home bronchitis hit me again. I think it was because I didn't get enough sleep and the race was so exhausting for me that my immune system got worn down. I'm now on my second round of antibiotics and just started prednisone today. It's still affecting my stamina. It's been a bit difficult running since the WD.

I sure hope the bronchitis clears up for the Go Girl Run on Labor Day - which is also my birthday!

*I just realized my WD time was faster then my Memorial Day 5 mile time! Awesome!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Believe I've Developed a New Habit

And it’s called running! Last July I posted about not being able to make running a habit and not knowing why. I couldn’t imagine that I would ever think of running being important enough to me that I would schedule my other activities around my running schedule. But since I made a goal of running 15 miles a week, that’s just what I’ve noticed I’ve been doing the last two weeks.

Setting a goal and accomplishing it has helped me make running something I now actually look forward to doing. I’ve noticed that, even though I feel exhausted after running, I also feel pretty good. And it’s a great stress reliever!

The last few months have been very busy for me at work, especially the last two weeks. The week before last it got so stressful I started getting headaches and heartburn. I couldn’t wait to get home so I could jump on the treadmill (it was still cold and snowy and yep, I’m a wimp). Last week some of my family came into town unexpectedly. Even though I enjoyed being with them, I made sure I made my 15 miles goal.

My mileage for the last two weeks (I don’t include warm-up or cool-down times)

Week of 3/20:
   Sun     3.85
   Mon   2.59
   Wed   2.25
   Sat     6.50*
   Tot   15.19

*I was going for 7 but my treadmill stopped at 6.5, I don’t know why. I don’t know what the time was because it reset the time, but not the mileage. My treadmill is a Proform. Does anyone know if they have a distance or time limit and if that can be changed?

Week of 3/27:
   Mon    3.13
   Wed    3.04
   Fri       4.01
   Sat      5.26*
   Tot    15.44

*I originally did 4.26 then realized I was .56 short but had to go to dinner at my daughter’s so ran another mile when I got home.

When my lungs get used to the shock of having to work hard at least four days a week, I’ll increase my weekly distance a little. Right now I’m trying to increase my speed very slowly!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Leprechaun Chase 5k Race Results

The weather on race day was a bit overcast and cool. The temperature was supposed to get to low 40’s but I’m not sure if it ever did. And, since the race was held at the Strategic Air and Space Museum/Mahoney State Park, it was breezy which made it feel pretty chilly.

Luckily, the packet pickup was in one of the exhibit areas among the planes that are on display. The before/after festivities and start/finish line were inside the adjoining museum hangar. Actually, it was one large hangar separating the areas by a very large movable wall. It was the perfect size to hold the 1,000 participants, volunteers, and a few vendors. Massages were offered free from the Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital. And of course there was a beer (green of course!) garden.

Me dressed for the race
I expected a festive atmosphere, lots of green and some strange outfits and I was right. There were several guys wearing kilts with running shorts underneath (thank goodness as the kilts were flapping in the breeze as they ran), a dozen women wearing tutus, lost of crazy hats and wigs, shamrock glasses, beaded necklaces, a few false beards and, of course, hundreds of crazy socks.

D2 dressed for the race. She decided not to wear the tutu.

Steve, Fitz, son-in-law, D2, N and her boyfriend
One woman was dressed in a total lime green body suit. This thing covered her head, face, hands, every inch of her body. You couldn’t even see her eyes unless you were close to her. The only thing she wore over it was a pair of green shorts, sunglasses, iPod in an arm bad, socks and running shoes. It was pretty cool! She won first place ($200 prize) for best costume.

The reason it’s called a chase is because the men chase the women. The women started five and a half minutes ahead of the guys. The first person to cross the finish line would win a free beer for everyone of their gender.

The race started inside the hangar and out through the huge hangar door. We had to run around a few planes and around the museum building. We ran a loop around a rocket at the front of the building (I think that’s what it is) that stands on its end pointing up into the sky. The course then cut around the other side of the building through the grass, down a hill and looped around to a trail that runs right down to the road inside Mahoney State Park. Shortly after entering the park we came up to the one mile marker.

The women at the start of the race
The first hill on the side of the museum
The tail that runs into the park
The rest of the run is along the winding roads, going uphill then downhill, running on wooden walkways that across the ponds, past the various buildings, a driving range, swimming pool, miniature golf course, and horse stables. It looped back onto the trail up and around the museum ending back inside the hangar where we started.

I thought I would do slightly better or at least as well as my first 10k last September. I was so wrong! I forgot how much more difficult it is (to me) to run outside versus running on a treadmill. Not to mention, I forgot my inhaler. I remember taking it out of my purse to put in my jacket pocket, but evidently I mindlessly put it back. And, since I carpooled with my daughter and son-in-law, I left my purse at their house.

My friend Fitz, from the running group, and I ran together. We’re both slow and we can usually keep each other going. The first mile is usually a struggle and then I get into a nice steady pace and my breathing relaxes. But, not this time.

It was difficult for me from the start. My lungs weren’t able to expand completely. I felt like I had a tight band wrapped around my chest. This caused me to breathe faster, so I had to consciously monitor my breathing. I made it about three fourths of a mile and started walking a few steps. Fitz would give me a few encouraging words and I’d start running again.

We made it to the first mile marker and could see the guys running down the trail to the park road. We decided to do some walk/run breaks until Fitz’s husband Steve caught up to us. I was pretty thankful for the break! From then on the three of us would run until one of us (usually me) needed to walk. We always made sure not to walk for more than two minutes.

Just before we reached mile three we saw the lead bikers coming and right behind them was a petite, very fast young lady. She had a look of determination on her face! She won the race, coming in around 20 seconds before the first guy.

By the time we got to mile six I was struggling big time. I wasn’t sure I could keep going. I did more walking the last three quarter mile. But Fitz and Steve kept me going. Finally, as we were coming around the side of the museum, Steve picked it up and left us. Just before hitting the area with the planes, Fitz picked up her pace a bit and I somehow managed to squeak out just a bit more, coming across the finish two seconds after her.

Once inside I thought I was going to cough up a lung. I felt horrible. My daughter said she was getting concerned because it was taking me so long. She managed to drag me over to get our times. My time was 1:30:26. I was disappointed, but just glad I kept going. At least I wasn’t last. There were about a dozen people that came in after me.

Since the winner was female, all the women got a free beer. Since I don't drink beer, I gave it to my son-in-law. He was pretty happy.

As for running this week, not much. It was a crazy week that kept me from getting home until after eight, sometimes nine. My days start at 4:30 a.m. so I was pretty tired. I did run at the lake on Monday, only one mile. Wednesday I ran with the group and got in three miles.

Next week I’ll focus on getting in 15 miles – outside!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Quick Post Before Today’s Race

Today is the Leprechaun Chase 10k and I have to admit, I’m a little nervous.  I think it’s because I don’t want to be last. But then again, I don’t really care because I know I’ll be having fun and no one else really cares who’s last. But still, I didn’t sleep very well last night thinking about that and several things I needed to get done before the race.

I got most of the things done that I needed to except do a walk on the treadmill.  I was planning to do a two mile walk, but was afraid I wouldn’t be able to help myself and start running and I know I need to save my legs for the race.  They’re a bit sore from the running I’ve done this week to get to my goal of 15 miles for the week.

My mileage for this past week:

Mon.  – 2 miles
Tue.  –  4.04 (my long run!) the first time without walk breaks.
Thu. –   3.10
*Sat. –  6.20 (after today’s race)
Tot. –   15.34 miles

I feel awesome about this!  Me, running over 15 miles in a week!  I never would have thought it possible.

Well, I better get going.  I have a few more things to do before meeting my daughter to carpool to the race at 1:00.  Packet pickup is at 2:00 and the race director advises everyone get there early because the race starts promptly at 4:00.  I’ll let you know how I did.

Wish me Luck!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Just Felt Like Running Virtual 5k Results

About a month ago I signed up to participate in the 'I Just Felt Like Running' Virtual 5k organized by Jeff at Detroit Runner. It was just the motivation I needed to get me back into my running shoes and back on my mission to become a runner to improve my health.

When I talk about improving my health, I mean specifically improving the health of my lungs. Any other health benefits I receive will be a fabulous plus. I have exercise-induced and allergy-induced asthma.  Running is supposed to be the best treatment for Asthma. The problem is, it can be hell (and it kinda has been for me) to get the lungs conditioned and increase their capacity.

Anyway, I had to get back into running slowly. After all, I had just begun running last June and my longest distance, without walking, was a 5k. A very slow 5k (39:39 I believe it was). 

 I had to push myself to make it a mile without walking. It took a few weeks, but I did it. Then I aimed for a mile and a half before taking a walk break and increased my distance each time I jumped on the treadmill. 

Before the race - I made my own bib

The beginning of the race

I'm happy to say I ran the entire 3.1 miles this past Thursday. But, it was slower than my first 5k race at 44:42. I wanted to improve on that time before submitting my Virtual 5k race results so I ran it again today completing it in 42:19. It's still slower than my first 5k, but I'm so happy that I not only ran 3.1 miles without walking twice this week, but I made an improvement on my speed. Things can only get better!

The finish - I added my time to my race bib

This week's milage:
Tues - 3.10 (had walking breaks)
Thur - 3.10
Fri - 2.25
Sat - 3.1
Total 11.55 miles - I had a goal of 15 miles but had to take Monday off to work on my taxes (which I'm not done with yet).

I clean up pretty well after the race
Thank you Jeff for hosting this race. It's just what the doctor didn't order but very much approved of!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Keeping Track of my Mileage and a New Form of Cross Trainng.

I've run 4 days this past week. I haven't done that since last fall when I was running every Wednesday with my running group, running a few days a week on my own and running with my sister helping her get into running.

Last Sunday was a nice day in the mid 40's so I was able to run at the lake a slow 3.5 miles. It included having to retrace my steps to find one of my Nike light weight runnng gloves. Even though it was in the 40's, it can be a bit breezy at the lake, expecially running across the dam, which I have to do twice so I started out with gloves and an ear band which I quickly removed. It felt great to be outside. For me running outside is much more diffcult than running on a treadmill but I definitely prefer it.

The rest of my runs were on the treadmill since the weather dipped into the 20's and 30's. Tuesday I ran 3.36, Thursday was 3.55 and Saturday was 3.5. My total for last week was a whopping 13.91 miles! I can hear you all snickering! Most of you run that and more in one day. But I know you're also cheering me on. You know how tough it is as a beginner runner and your words of support and encouragement mean a lot to me and I want to thank all of you for that. Next week I have a goal of 15 miles. I also will start back with my running group next Wednesday.

Today I didn't do much, at least I haven't since 2 this afternoon. Last night all 5 granddaughters spent the night. Their ages are 12, 10, 8, 5 and 2. Five giggling, high-pitched voiced balls of endless energy. They turn the stereo up high, dance and sing to every song, color me endless pictures that I have to put on my fridge, scatter toys, books, colors and pencils up and down the stairs, ride their blankets down the stairs (which I have now forbidden as it leaves lint on the carpet that is difficult to vacuum), bicker over what movie to watch and who is sleeping where.

Last night I managed to get them to bed early - 11:15! The 2 yo wet my bed (no pullups!) and I had to change her and rearrange where we slept. I finally got up a 6:30 for some quiet time - they ALL woke up at 7:00. Today was a flurry of activty until they went home at 2:00. It's always a whirlwind from the time they hit my door until I close the door behind them as they leave. But I love every minute of it.

I think today qualifies as cross training, don't you?

I took a nap this afternoon and this evening I have the academy awards on as I read blogs and drink a well deserved glass of wine. I hope you have a nice relaxing evening too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunshine and Sickies

The weather here has been great! This past weekend it got up into the low 60's with lots of sun. Yesterday and today the temps have been in the mid to upper 50's and more sunshine. A lot of the snow and ice have melted. Great running weather!

My plan was to get outside and run as much as possible but ... you guessed it. I got sick. Last week my boss had a horrific cold but she came into work anyway. By mid day Thursday it got me. I was miserable by 5:00 and didn't make it into work Friday.  I had the usual cold symptoms but started running a fever of 100* but kept it down by taking Tylenol. I went to the doctor yesterday and found out I have a sinus infection, ear infection and bronchitis. She put me on a very strong (and very expensive) antibiotic that I take one a day for five days. We want to keep it from turning into pneumonia like it did last year.

So, I haven't done any running since last Wednesday. I was doing pretty well at increasing my mileage. I did go for a few short walks around my neighborhood on Sunday and today, so I at least got to enjoy the great weather a little.

My mileage for last week was:
   Monday - 3.4
   Wednesday - 4.13

I'm sure I'll be feeling well enough to run again by next week. I hope all of you are healthy and manage to side-step the sickies.