Monthly Archives: November 2014

Turkey Trot 5K

(Before I did my own turkey race, my daughter got to do her own little 1K. It brought me nothing but great joy to share my hobby with her, to hold her hand as she ran sloppily toward the tiny finish line, to have here there with me in a place I am usually alone and without my family. I want only to help her find her own bliss and learn how to be active and healthy.)

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Race #31: The Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day. The race to do in Colorado Springs every year.

Last year, when I did this race, I was either barely impregnated or just about to be knocked up. Either way, I was at the end of the period of my unadulterated running shape (slow and round, though it may have been).

And it was hard then. 1.5 miles uphill in the unseasonable heat. It kicked my ass into dry heaves across the finish line, as all 5Ks were wont to do then.

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This year was no different, only even slower. But I “ran” (wogged) it. The whole distance. No stopping, no walking. And I cut my 5K time down to 40 minutes. Under 40 is my first goal, but 40:30 is pretty damn close.

I try not to focus how far I have to go to get back to my original sluggish pace or normal slow distances. I am trying to take one win at a time and consider this full wogged 5K at the fastest pace post partum a big win and step in the right direction.

I went to a chiropractor last week who includes life coaching and massage in his practice (brilliant and awesome). As he explored the knots of tension on my body, he told me how all my pain was balled up in the parts of the body that reflect a fixation on the past and self-criticism and self-esteem. He certainly had me pegged.

As he worked out my kinks and misalignments, having me all the while confront the feelings that had created them, I felt the realization hit me. The realization I have made many times before in my life. Acceptance. No matter where I want to be, I have to accept where I am. Yes, I had a baby. Yes, I got fat and lost all my physical conditioning. It happened; nothing will change that. I can continue to work on recovery, but it has to be ok.

I have to get the fuck over it.

And I know this. I have known this for my bipolar for gaining on 10 years now. I don’t know how I let myself fall off my own life philosophy so easily. I was just so fixated and unhappy in my own skin.

So as I wogged slowly on that balmy turkey day, I kept that mindset over my brain. I let myself experience just the moment, just the now, rather than perpetually comparing it the past I was never satisfied with either.

I let my run just be my run.

And it felt better. I noticed that the chiropractor had resolved the horrid twinge in my sciatic nerve. Strides in new and more supportive shoes made the aches throughout my body hush. I felt revived, even as I nearly died and puked at the top of the hill.

It felt normal, and it felt ok. And I reminded myself how much I hated the 5K distance all along anyway. I told myself this was just a step, just progress on the way to where I want to be.

So on this Thanksgiving run, I was thankful to be running and thankful to be at peace with my running self.

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Pumpkin Pie 10K

Race #30!

I did my first 10K (distance and race) since having my son. And I did not walk.

The Pumpkin Pie 10K was, in a word, freezing. A winter storm descended on the race. The temperatures were in the teens, and it was windy and snowing.

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I love winter running. I love to run in the cold and snow. Ice, however, is less fun. It is treacherous. And the route was extremely icy. Both Michelle and I fell but thankfully were not injured. Michelle screamed like an alarm each time she slipped (many times), which nearly gave me a heart attack.

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I went into the race not knowing my strategy. I had registered while I was still pregnant, thinking surely I would be back to 10Ks by this time. However, instead, I was still struggling to consistently run a 5K distance. So my only plan was to stick with Michelle.

Michelle, like so many normal runners, does intervals of running and walking. I, personally, have always hated intervals. They rob me of my float and are too jarring on my muscles to convince them to keep running. At first, I decided to just interval with her, giving myself the best chance of completing the distance.

However, after two steps of walking at the first interval, I could not do it. My muscles protested. Instead, I adapted by jogging with her when she ran and wogging beside her as she walked. The walking wog was difficult to maintain, but I think taking my pace down so slow is the only thing that allowed me to complete the full distance without walking.

10K has always been my favorite distance. By the end, when I had reached half marathons, I hated the 5K distance. My body remembered this. Even its pathetic state and at an unfamiliar pace, I felt the muscle memory of it, the comfort with the distance. I was able to reclaim some of the enjoyment in running.

Even though it was frigid and slick, I was able to appreciate┬áthe cold weather. Once we were moving, I started to cook and shed layers, of course. When we weren’t running into the wind, the falling snow was quite beautiful.

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The miles slipped past us faster than I expected. I told myself to just keep going as long as I could. The farther we went, the more I told myself I could make the full distance. Doubt flickered in my brain, but I just breathed and kept slowly running. I was surprised to see that I could do; I could keep wogging mile after mile like I used to.

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I floated a bit through the race. I enjoyed it; I had fun running with Michelle; I was proud of myself for not stopping.

It was the run I needed to motivate myself. With how hard the 5K distance has been on me, I was feeling extremely discouraged, like I would never feel like my old running self again. This gave me enough of a nostalgic glimpse that I feel like I might be moving in the right direction, that killing myself might eventually pay off.


Resisting Intervals

One month back on the trail and I am, in a word, frustrated.

I knew it was going to be hard and I was going to have to work at it; I did not think it would be harder than it ever was at the beginning. The endurance and pace is not coming back fast enough; the weight is not coming off fast enough. Granted, overnight would not be fast enough at this point.

I have made a full 3 miles; however, the pace was so paralytically slow that I could not take it. I could have briskly walked past myself; it felt like I was jogging in place. I had to fight my muscles back from the pace they remembered. So, instead, I stopped trying to make the distance and just ran until I died, walked for a while, repeat.

Yes, it improved my pace. Yes, it made me feel like I was running again.

Unfortunately, I HATE intervals. With a passion. I have never really done them, even when I was learning how to run. Though that is how most people learn to run. I find more accomplishment in the endurance to run a whole distance straight more than the speed at which I accomplish it.

And I am an addict for that high. Of course I still get the rush at the end either way, when I’m shaking and ready to puke at the finish, but I want that float. I want that bobbing euphoria and runner’s bliss. That is why I love the longer distances: more high.

Yet at these intervals, I can actually run, wog almost as fast as I used to. I run myself out on the way out; then I alternate long chunks of walking and “sprinting.” It works. It kills me, and I get done faster. It’s just not what I want.

I forsook the 5K distance long ago. I miss my 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles. Yet I will not move on to working on those until I can adequately run the full 5K. The whole way, no breaks, no stopping.

That accomplishment just seems so far away. Just like my pre-pregnancy weight.

But I just keep killing myself for it. I hit the trail 3 times a week and run until I nearly vomit (sometimes more than once with these intervals). Plus elliptical and yoga and resistance training. And I am making my peace (not really) with doing intervals. For two weeks, I will permit myself to walk chunks of the return run before I try at the full distance again.

I have lost 9 pounds, with many more to go. I feel the running will become easier the lighter I become. I kill myself to burn the pounds as much as to return to my former running conditioning, if not more. I am a fat girl at heart. I think I always will be. At the slightest opportunity, my inner glutton comes out. There are only so many addictions I can give up.

I am not a patient person. This is hard for me. Harder than trying to run again. But my son was completely worth all this work to get back.

Best 3 mile time (with intervals): 40 minutes