Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What Will Surely Be 13.1 Miles of Agony

Well, this is it folks.  The end of my second half marathon "training."  It definitely didn't go as I planned considering I've hardly logged 1/3 of the miles that I should have to prepare for it.

If you are just tuning in then I must share with you that I developed a pretty severe case of plantar fasciitis back in July that only seemed to get worse with traditional medical treatments (2 rounds of failed cortisone shots.)  The next step is an ultrasound which will likely show that the fasciia has thickened to the point that surgery will be my only relief.

Even though I am in a significant amount of pain on a day to day basis, I am not ready to go there.

So back to my half marathon "training" we go!

I could totally beat myself up by claiming I didn't do enough to prepare and a small part of me does believe that.  Honestly, I have still managed to make positive changes in my body.  My arms, shoulders and back are stronger than ever before from all of the rowing, push ups and tricep dips I've been doing.  Rawr!

I've been creative about how to fit in exercise during my day rather than setting aside an hour or two block of time a day.  By squeezing in different moves like push ups into my down time I can spend more time with my family at the end of the day.  I can also spend more time putting my feet up to give them a break.

One unfortunate downside to this way of training has been me gaining weight back.  It's not a lot, about 5 pounds, but it's enough to be discouraging and to remind me that I am an emotional eater.  I really wish that I had taken this opportunity to really focus on my nutrition but the constant pain really wore me down.  Even when my feet were up, they throbbed.

During this time I've come to love acupuncture.  Who knew getting stuck with several small needles would be so relaxing?  Before you ask, yes it did help with the pain, but it didn't cure it.  I didn't go enough for it to make a huge impact, but I always left feeling better.

So here goes nothing!  I'll be spending my race week trying to foam roll out the cramps in my feet and calves, cross training on the rowing machine, working my arms, throwing in a few squats, visiting the chiropractor twice and using Quick Tape from Etrode Sports and Therapeutics. 

My motto for this race:  No Regrets and Leave It All On The Course! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Running My First Race - Again!

I finally did it!  After a little over a year of running, I have finally re-run my first race, the Halfway to St. Patrick's Day 5K.

Since I still have plantar fasciitis pretty bad, it was a last minute decision for me to run this race.  I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to run it again to see how I would do after a year's worth of training even if I am suffering from a foot injury.

I'll never forget the sense of joy and accomplishment I felt after my first 5K.  I never thought I could do it.  I had irrational fears that I'd fall on the course, get lost or just be dead last and forgotten about - none of which happened.

I wanted a little bit of that feeling back.

This race would also be the first time I had run since my 10 miler at the end of August about 3 weeks ago. During that time, I rested, tried to eat more veggies and less carbs, and worked my arms like a mad woman. I also cross-trained on our rowing machine to keep up my cardio. The downfall to using it is that it's in my nice cool basement and not outside in the elements which have been hazy, hot and humid lately. 

Oh, what about yoga?  I've been doing what I can but there are several poses that DESTROY my feet especially if it is working on balance. It definitely has helped ease some stomach pain from all that ibuprofen I've been taking for my foot pain though.

Race day was cold, wet and humid. I don't mind running in the rain but it was down pouring when we left the house. Luckily, by the start, it wasn't even sprinkling.

Of course, in true Sabrina fashion, I broke my husband's headphones right as I was lining up for it and in the corral. The whole reason I was using his headphones is because I lost mine back in July and then my cheap replacement pair broke at the start of the NH 10 Miler. If anyone can recommend a good pair, I'm all ears.

I started out the race strong and fast (6:17 mm was my best pace). My legs felt great and were ready to run. I had no foot pain thanks to the Quick Tape that I was sent from Etrode Sports and lots of rest.

It didn't take long for my lungs to realize that I couldn't keep up an 8 minute mile for 3 miles. I hit the half mile mark and I was sucking air - I had to slow down. What I forgot at the time was how humid it was. The air was like soup and my lungs were not having it. I did have to walk the one hill - my foot started to throb. I also walked through the one water stop because I was so parched by then. I'm so used to long runs at this point where I would have my hydration pack with me that I had a hard time adjusting for this quicker, shorter run.

I did take a few moments during this run to ponder what a difference this year's race was compared to last year's. Last year, 3 miles felt endless. I really never thought I would finish. This year 3 miles was quick to me. My game plan last year was to pace myself, and finish without walking. This year my goal was to run as fast I could and if I had to walk there was no shame in that because I'm injured and under trained
Can't beat family support!
When I hit the 3 mile mark and saw the finish line come into view I pushed with everything I had which wasn't much. I still finished strong.

The best part was I left it all out on the course. I did what I could even though my legs wanted more. My lungs and feet were toast though.
Look at that "best pace"!  Holy smokes! 

My number one goal was to PR (personal record) this course by beating my time from last year which I accomplished - I took over a minute off of that time. As long as I am moving forward in my training then I am happy.

Less than 2 weeks until my second half marathon. You better believe there will be no regrets!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

No Practice Makes Perfect: How I'll Run a Half Marathon with Zero Training

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you know I've been battling plantar fasciitis for over 6 months now. My podiatrist has administered 2 cortisone shots and I'm still in pain. I've also been seeing an acupuncturist and chiropractor regularly.

Still in pain. Less pain, but it's there.

I have yet to run this month.

In fact, I haven't run in over 2 weeks.  

My next half marathon is in less than 3 weeks.

Now, I haven't been a complete slug. Admittedly,  my nutrition has been spotty, I'm an emotional eater, but I've done better at consistently fasting for at least 16 hours a day. Also, I've done a nice job of working on strengthening my arms and back. I've kept up with my cardio, my husband's rowing machine, and thrown yoga in the mix a few times.  Sleep and I are getting along again (I suffer from adrenal fatigue). Hell, I've even taken to napping on the weekends.

So, can it be done?  Can I successfully run a half marathon without logging any miles or at least a minimal amount, the month prior? 

This half marathon was supposed to be all about time and pace unlike my last one which was about just getting it done. Sigh.

I think I'm going to need to find a way to push myself into leaving it all out on the course. Thankfully, it is flat and fast so my feet shouldn't get too beat up. I'm just itching to get out there and do more than "just get it done."

This will likely be my last big race for awhile as my family is getting ready to make some big changes.

I want to make it a memorable one.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How I Gave Myself High Cholesterol and It Saved My Life

I am not a doctor or a nurse or any kind of medical professional. I am simply a mom who was fat, unhealthy and staring down the barrel of developing a chronic disease like diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

When I decided I'd had enough and it was time to go back to bring low-carb and exercising again I knew it would affect my annual blood test numbers but I never knew how much until my primary care physician and nutritionist explained it to me.

Before I jump into those numbers let me tell you what changes I made. Keep in mind that none of this was done all at one time. I took baby steps and slowly changed my unhealthy ways.

First, I stopped drinking coffee and soda. I was up to 2 cups of coffee and a can of soda every day and I was still tired. I was also starting to get horrible stomach pains and thought maybe I was developing ulcers.  I decided that when I had reached a week of not drinking either than I could have one. Well, the first time I drank a coffee in a week I had instant stomach pains!  I was shocked. So I'd go another week and the same thing kept happening. Now, I did the same thing with my beloved red wine. I'd have a glass every night before bed to relax. I decided to cut it out for a week. Well, the first time I had 2 glasses at night I ended up vomiting in my sleep!  Talk about scary.

After I made those initial changes, I went back to following a low-carb/high fat diet. I started out at zero carbs per day to get my body back into ketosis so it would start burning fat for fuel instead of glycogen.

I was starting to feel better. The stomach pains happened less frequently as did the migraine headaches but I knew it wasn't enough. In May, I stumbled upon a theory called intermittent fasting.

I'm not going to lie, it was tough in the beginning and my stomach rumbled like crazy, but after a few days it seemed natural to me to eat my first meal later in the day. By fasting for 16 hours a day, I was able to loose 15 pounds rather quickly plus I was also allowing my stomach and gut to heal.

By July, my weight had stalled out and the migraines had come back. The last straw was when I had back to back debilitating migraines. Nothing I used got rid of them. I finally decided enough was enough and it was time to exercise again. Prior to my pregnancy I had worked out 5 days a week doing cardio and weights for about 10 years. Once I got pregnant that all but stopped. I got to the gym when I had the energy. I also did a session of pre-natal yoga. Of course, once I had my daughter I couldn't put her down long enough to exercise (that was just as much her fault as mine).  

Nearly 3 years after her birth, that attitude needed to change.

Long story short, I started running. Started out just going for time but quickly changed it to distance. Much to my chagrin I ran a mile straight for the first time in my life at the age of 37.

I felt great.

My body needed it so bad that I automatically started waking up early with energy to burn so I'd jump on the treadmill.

Who the hell was I?  

Those are all of the changes I made from January to July of 2015. How did they affect my blood test numbers?   Well, let me show you.

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional.  I definitely don't play one on TV.  Please, if you have medical concerns talk to your doctor.