Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Half Marathon Race Report

Running: some run for enjoyment, for conditioning for other sports, to get cut into shape, or to really indulge their fat kid soul.  I started running when I went out for sports in middle school, did I enjoy it- definitely not- hated it actually.  It was boring, and used as a form of punishment (running wind sprints or killers come to any one's mind??)  I got into running this past year when I decided to sign up for Team In Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  For the first time in my life, I felt like I was doing something productive and impactful not only for myself but for so many other people.  This past few months I've been training for the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon and this is how it went...

The week or so before the half, I was extremely nervous about the San Diego Half Marathon and just wanted to get it over with. More than anything I just wanted to accomplish a few things:
  • Manage my chronic scapula/upper back pain
  • Don't cry
  • Come close to my goal time of 2:30
  • Pretend to be a morning person (3:45 wake up call! what?? In the AM??)
  • FINISH and not annoy my brother by how slow I am

Pretty simple right? Wrong! I think I only accomplished 2 of the 5 - I'm not a math major but I'm going to assume that's not a good percentage.

Before the Race / The Expo:
When I arrived in San Diego, I just felt really uneasy about the whole situation. Adam kept asking me if I was ready or excited and in my usual answer I said "Sure, I guess?" To be honest I had no idea if I was ready! How do you know if you're ready?  Do you have a stellar long run? Do the running fairies grant you super powers? A large part of me just didn't want to mess up, at what I'm not really sure, but I bet it has something to do with the fact I don't like working out in large crowds.

The expo was so much fun, my other large expo - RnR Denver, was so much smaller and didn't have half the fun stuff that San Diego did. Free stuff to the max; I'm a fan!! Ha. Because I was part of TNT I had my official looking purple shirt on at the expo and people just keep yelling 'GO TEAM" which was cool but made me a bit weirded out. One guy was like 100 feet away, yelling at me (sensory overload much?). I never imagined so many people to be part of TNT/supporting LLS it was a very humbling experience to be surrounded by so many "good doers".

Race day:
TNT makes you get up so early, team picture at 3:45 AM then at the start line by 4:10 AM. Not really sure I needed the 3 hour warm up time but hey it got me there and let my stress melt away...sorta! At that point you can't feel your toes, you're standing next to a generator for heat, you're putting on 100 spf sunscreen in the dark, praying to have an IBS moment before the race instead of during or after, wishing you could have eggs on toast rather than a dry bagel with Cytomax (SICK- furry teeth for 13.1 miles just what I wanted!).

Holy crap there were so many people there - at the expo, in the corrals, on the streets cheering, zooming past me, and at the finish line. People everywhere. I knew there would be a lot of people but I wasn't expecting that. It was a bit overwhelming!

Miles 0-4: At the start of the race, I kind of noticed I run similar to how I drive-semi aggressively! Because of all the people, I just wanted to get my own little space on the pavement without having to weave in and out of people.

Mile 4-10: This highway portion of the race killed me, with the downhill slant followed by a 2 mile incline. My IT band and hip flexors are naturally tight and that combination of things did not help the situation. Miles 6-10 I definitely wanted to quit, stick a fork in me I was done! My pain was out of control, taking deep breaths only helped radiate it and I was mentally struggling. I also think I waited way to long to have my gel pouch and felt so tired and sluggish; I'm not a huge fan of those things/eating while running so I always prolong the process.

Miles 10-13.1: I just wanted to finish and found my 2nd wind to keep going. I definitely couldn't have done it without my big brother; when I wanted to quit he put things into perspective and kept me motivated. I kept reminding myself I was doing this to remember and honor our grandma. I never set out with the mindset of "I'm going to be a runner"; it simply was to impact the lives of others in a way my grandma impacted mine. 

Finished! At the end of the race, I was so happy to be done! I felt like death!! I knew I had fun, I loved the fact that my big brother and I could share this experience/memory, I finished close to my goal ~ yet at that moment I didn't have anything to say (which is unusual for me, I'm like a Chatty Cathy doll!) I was also disappointed that I couldn't manage my pain and allowed it to ruin several miles during the race for both Adam and I.

After The Race:
All in all, I had a great time, proud I finished close to my goal, and thankful my big brother was with me every step of the way. Will I do another half? Probably not, I don't like to say never, but I don't think my body was really made for half marathons. Maybe if I get more insight into my pain and how to control it better, I'd say "yes of course, I'm hooked!"  Who knows maybe at the end of the summer I'll do the Run Like A Diva Half Marathon in Vail, Colorado; but for now I finally enjoy to run and found peace with my grandma's passing and I'm totally okay with that. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Free Giveaway!

At the beginning of this blog adventure, I mentioned that I would not be giving anything away (I just graduated from college, I'm broke!)  However, my brother over at www.theboringrunner.com is having a contest for Scape Sunscreen-$30 value of sunscreen for FREE!! This is the best sunscreen for athletes because it breaths and doesn't run into your eyes!! It is really easy to enter, click on the link, read his post and comment/spread the word.  Enjoy the summer sunshine and good luck!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Yoga Saved My Life

Dancer's Pose- one of my favorites :)
I have a very prominent Type A personality; failure and relaxation were never in my vocabulary while I was growing up.  I hardly took the time to fully relax, time for myself, and feared failure to the point of extreme tunnel vision and exhaustion.*  In the beginning of this year, I realized this wasn't a very good way to go through life.  Oh, it wasn't realistic- failure happens and it's not always bad (just a thought)!  I decided to take a pilates class through the Health and Exercise Science Department on campus, start out with pilates then transition into yoga was my plan.  Best idea yet! 

My pilates teacher was the bomb diggity!  She was fun, knowledgeable, patient when teaching new exercises, let the class decide most of the workouts, and best of all- started teaching yoga for $5 dollar sessions later at night (9 pm)!  I decided to go to one of her first yoga classes and feel in love; I felt so relaxed and a reduction of overall pain, especially in my scapular region.  The style of yoga she taught us was flow or sports based; thank the heavens! We were constantly moving through poses, generally only holding things for less than a minute to generate heat in the muscle.  I personally can't sit through highly meditative, earthy yoga where you hold poses for an absurd amount of time; I'm that ridiculous kid in the back laughing and making jokes.  

Bird of Paradise- ah so close
to getting those legs straight!

The concept of relaxation is interesting to me.  You can either relax by calming your mind first and your body feels relaxed (cognitive anxiety reduction) or you can calm your body and your mind follows (somatic anxiety reduction). 

Popular Somatic Anxiety Techniques
  • Biofeedback- become aware of your body's stress responses (ie. heart rate) and learn how to control them
  • Breath Control- maintain deep, rhythmic, belly breathing giving your body and brain a calming effect
  • Progressive Relaxation- contract every muscle in your body for 30 seconds then release; start at your toes and work up to your head
  • Be Active- exercising releases endorphins in the brain that make you feel happy hence you feel relaxed
Popular Cognitive Anxiety Techniques
Legs up the wall- great restorative pose

  • Relaxation Response- clear mind of all thoughts through basic elements of mediation
  • Autogenic Training- think or say warm and heavy repeatedly, body experiences these physical sensations
  • Imagery- imagine your most relaxing place in vivid detail, body experiences physically being there
I encourage you to try out some of these relaxation techniques or continue practicing your favorite one.  Everyone is different, it's important to find what works best for you and stick with it.  Although with that being said, make sure your relaxation method matches your given activity.  I can't always bust out yoga poses while I'm in class that's why listening to music is another great way to relax.***

Today's song is Details in the Fabric by Jason Mraz feat. James Morrison.  This is one of my favorite songs to listen to when I'm wicked stressed.  Find peace and serenity.**

* Still have a problem with this but it has gotten better!
** Haha sorry guys, couldn't resist.  It is a post about relaxation after all! ;-)
***Keep up the good work living healthy by one simply step at a time!  I'll be back with a post in a few weeks after my professor grades this project.  Don't get overwhelmed or frustrated during this process; everything takes time and has minor setbacks.  Continue listening to your body and discovering your perfect workout activity!  Oh, and don't forget to smile; there's always a silver lining to that rain cloud.  -Christine

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Music is like magic...

For most of my life music was my outlet, somewhere completely different than my present world.  There's always a song that speaks to you, matches your mood, and inspires you to keep going.  After a rough day of classes, workouts, and feeling like an office coffee pot- overworked and under appreciated; my friend told me I needed to trust and believe in others.  This spoke volumes to me, and I applied that advice to other aspects of my life and I feel so much better! Here is my 6.55 mile run broken down for you in what else than some bitchin' beats. 

At the beginning of my run, I was hopeful that I would achieve my goal for a long run but mostly I was hopeful for those around me to live their lives to the fullest.

Midway through my run I was getting frustrated with my pain, having to take walk breaks, stretch out my upper body, and fear; then this song came through my headphones.  It motivated me to keep going and strive for my goals.  No one can tear me down more than I tear myself down.

After my run, I was exhausted but felt oddly great!  I finally got in a long run; working at my own pace, taking the time to listen to my body, and believing in myself really helped.

My two cents for the day: remember that everyone is different, become in tune with your star player (you) and do what you can do!  Don't worry so much about what other people might think about you.  Go for a 40-50 minute jog or bicycle ride or pop in a workout DVD.  It doesn't matter what you choose to do, it matters that you are up, moving, and enjoying yourself. 

Love the life you live.  Live the life you love. - Bob Marley

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Forget about it

After my run today; I'm convinced taking that much time off and not making time for exercise was a big mistake!  If pain is weakness leaving the body, I'm a pretty weak individual.  Today, I walked more than I ran, had excessive pain, and felt like my body was in permanent turtle mode.  Case in point: I feel broken.  When you are injured or having difficult in your training do you lose your self along the way? I do, I definitely do!  I leave my true self on the treadmill; pick up my smoke and mirrors and dazzle people into believing whatever they want about me.  To be honest, I'm really nervous about the possibility that this injury won't go away; what if I can't run my half marathon and I let everyone down. 

I'm pretty close to the definition of Type A personality; always on the move, excessive tunnel vision, hard on oneself, always striving to be the best... the list really goes on and on.  These personality traits are a gift and a curse!  They push me to be better, to learn more, achieve more; however they hinder my ability to let things go, accept my short comings, understanding that things take time and failure does occur.  I truly believe to overcome these injury blues; I need to make time for what I love to do.  I was a dancer well before I was a runner; tonight I will dance then take a drive.  Bass engulfing my spirit and repairing it to the best mental state to get back on the grind of running significant distances and being the person I was meant to be. 

Tonight, do something you really love.  I'm encouraging everyone to take time for themselves tonight; I'm assuming I'm not the only one out there feeling the sting of set backs.  Have a listen to Jeremih's song Imma Star.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Time to recover

Source: http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/

I originally started this blog for one soul purpose- to get a good grade in my Sports Psychology class, however throughout the process I've found that I love it!  That being said, I would like to apologize for semi falling off the face of the planet.  This past week, I slept less than 24 hours (don't advise this), had a few exams, fundraising stress, and was trying to heal my body from injury.  Ugh, let me tell you something: I was beyond not having motivation to work out; I felt so defeated by lack of control for my injury and pain.  At the same time, my stress level just kept building due to lack of a physical outlet!  Do you ever feel if you work out or take care of yourself the best way possible, something else has to be sacrificed or you will fail a big project? 

My winged scapulas :(
Quick update: Chronic injury in my scapular region is kind of sweet (science project like), has recently been causing a lot of pain, tingling, and numbness in my arm and hand.  Most runs and other daily activities will pinch the nerve causing sharp pain and tingles.  Solution to this problem: intensive physical therapy and rest.  Tonight, I had my first run in over a week; was somewhat rushed, but I got 3 miles in.  Pain level was at the moderate to annoying stage and am feeling good about taking time to recover. (Click on picture to enlarge).

Dealing with injury isn't the easiest or most fun thing to do; but sometimes all you really need is to let your body recharge and rest.  My favorite thing to do when I'm recharging my batteries is hanging out with my friends, laughing, and listening to music.  Music has the ability to snap me back into focus and remind me that I can do this.  Injury is a set back but its not the end of the world!  Does anyone have tips on how they've been dealing with aches and pains?

This song gives me so much motivation to keep my head up; I hope it speaks to you and keeps you going on difficult days.  Lupe Fiasco's hit song Show Goes On is today's pick.  Enjoy everyone! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hidden Treasures

Source: http://www.eatbetteramerica.com/
Some of you may have noticed the links to helpful resources and other fitness blogs on the right side of the screen.  These are stellar tips about buying shoes, clothes, how to's of stretches and yoga positions, and others fitness stories.  These sites are great resources to help you along your journey to become active, stay motivated and connect with other people.  I also included my favorite recipe website; there are so many different ideas.  Enjoy!  My personal favorite section is the healthified tab; they have take comfort type food and made it better for you!  Chocolate cake with less fat and calories-yes, please!  Just a reminder, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

These websites are especially great because they contain much more information and knowledge that I currently do not have and helps create a social network of workout buddies.  Today, go for a 40 minute run.  If you have to walk during the 40 minutes, not a problem!  Progress at your own pace, catch your breath but definitely keep going! 

Get up and moving to Im'ma Shine by Youngbloodz.