The Not-So-Dreaded Long Run

Distance: 5.39 miles
Time: 1:11:24
Pace: 13:19 min/mi

My Miles Between (what I learned / gained):

  • Listen to your body
  • A good playlist makes running 100 times easier
  • Running outside is way better than the treadmill
  • Our bodies are incredible, so treat yours with the respect it deserves
  • KT Tape is surprisingly effective and my new best friend

Last Saturday I had my first run outside for the season and it was absolutely beautiful. For what feels like an eternity, California has been in a drought and this is the first time in a while that I remember us getting consistent rainfall during the winter months. For the past few weeks a steady downpour of rain lagoon1has soaked into the hills transforming them into a vibrant green reminiscent to my visit to New Zealand years ago. When the weather is like this my favorite run spot is out at the edge of town by a lagoon. The usual landscape is a dry brown and yellow color that although I have learned to enjoy, I don’t love it as much as the spring green. Every year there is a brief moment where the hills actually look healthy and lush. It’s green for a weekend and then I blink and the color fades back to the golden landscape. Since we got so much rain this year, I’m crossing my fingers the green stays for a little longer. It helps me stay motivated to be outside and run.

This is my usual mental breakdown of long runs:

The first mile is a pain in the ass and I want to start walking. A small voice in my head tries to convince me I’ll never make the whole thing anyway so I might as well give up now. The second mile is acceptance; acceptance that, yes, I feel like crap and yes, this is difficult, but I have to push through if I want to reap the rewards. Its usually after the third mile when I start to enjoy my run and I feel like I could keep going for miles and miles, if my body would let me. The fourth mile is where I get the infamous “runner’s high” and the endorphins in my blood stream start to kick in and I’m inexplicably happy. Not just content, which for someone with severe depression such as myself, is a difficult accomplishment to achieve on any given day but I actually feel happy. It’s that fourth mile that reminds me why I run, why I bother to push through the pain of the first few miles—so that I can feel this simple happiness.

Anyway, my run Saturday was nearly perfect, and my runner’s high carried some happiness through to the next day. The temperature was perfect, slightly chilly but excellent for running, the sun was out, but not blinding, and there was zero wind! I wish every run day was like this, but alas, this moment is fleeting.

lagoon3The only damper on my otherwise “nearly perfect” run was that I started to get pain in my knees and hips, but luckily it wasn’t until the very end so I was still able to run the whole five miles. I’ve had pain like this in the past, specifically when I was trying to train on my own, but I never knew what to do for it. Usually I ignored the pain, which is a big no-no. This time I iced my knees and hips for a decent amount of time before I went to bed. And I slept A LOT. I was way more tired from the run than I thought, and even though I expected to wake up with the familiar aches from my hips, to my relief and slight surprise my joints felt perfectly fine. In the past I would ice, but a minute would go by and I’d convince myself that it won’t help anyway, so I’d take the ice pack off therefore making the treatment ineffective.

So note-to-self, icing (when done properly) works wonders. Yesterday I tried KT Tape which I’ve never even heard of until I started TNT. I figured I would give it a chance. I wrapped my knee for full support, not really expecting the thin strips of bandage-like material to actually help, but of course, to my amazement it really did work. My knee didn’t hurt at all during or after my run which was a two mile hill workout. So conclusion for my six-mile long run this upcoming weekend I’m definitely using the KT Tape. If your like me and have pain in your knees I definitely recommend trying some KT Tape, which you can get for about 10 bucks at Walmart.

Other than the minor pains I pushed though at a cautious pace, and although I was a lot slower than I would have liked, it felt like the perfect pace. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to take things easy and trust the process, listen to my body, even when that inner need to strive for perfection still nags at me. The most important thing is that I learn to love the process and to be proud of the things my body allows me to do.

Thanks for listening lovlies and keep going!

Why Run with TnT

Why I’m Running with TNT

What is TnT?

Team in Training, which I will occasionally refer to as TnT, is a sports training and fundraising program run by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society who coach participants for various athletic events such as hikes, bike rides, marathons, half-marathons, and triathlons. When you sign up for TnT you get to sign up for an event and they give you access to a coach and training plan in exchange for your commitment to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. These funds literally help save lives by funding medicines and research to cure blood cancers and to help patients fund their recovery and hospital bills. So. Awesome.

Why a Half-Marathon?

Running a marathon has been on something I call my Ultimate Goal list, this is like a Bucket List but I think Ultimate Goal List sounds more epic, since I quit competitive swimming. Like many others with a marathon on their to-do list, I want to complete one because its a sign of physical and mental strength and endurance, a solid accomplishment that will no doubt be rewarding. Doing this half-marathon in June will be the first step to to complete the bigger task, a full marathon.

Past Attempts and Excuses

In the past couple of years I’ve tried on and off to train for a marathon. I found random training plans across the internet and I would mold them into something overly challenging and eventually never continue with the make-shift training plan I created. Looking back, there’s quite a few reasons, well, excuses actually for why I kept giving up. One reason was I never actually signed up for an event. I never had something tangible to look forward to and commit my enthusiasm towards so the initial excitement of training wore off quickly. I kept telling myself “I’ll start looking and sign up for an event when I know for sure I can run X miles,” or “I’ll sign up when I feel stronger.” But of course these excuses just made it easier for me to push back my marathon goal to a later date.

Another reason why I had trouble sticking with my make-shift training plan was because I wasn’t confident that I was training properly since I didn’t have a coach. I’ve heard stories of people who ran their first marathon and injured their knees or hips bad enough that they can’t run again. As an ex–athlete, I’ve always had a coach to correct my technique, set up practices,  and knew the most productive and effective way to train. For running, I am mostly self-educated, just kind of picking up dos and don’ts across the internet, sometimes finding contradicting advice. I over thought things, as I usually do, became overwhelmed, and decided yet again that this was a good excuse to just wait on accomplishing my marathon goal.

Committing (Finally)

I was introduced to Team In Training from one of my old coworkers after she told me how she recently completed her first full marathon with the help of TnT and was already signed up for another one. Team In Training sounded exactly what I was looking for, a solid training plan with access to a coach, an event to look forward to, and it helps raise funds for an awesome charity. It was perfect. So I went home and researched Team In Training as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I was super excited because I knew that this was the right direction for me and I signed up for the Seattle Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon. It’s definitely one of the better choices in my life.

I’m a little over a month into the program through their online team and I’m already confident that I will finally finish my first half-marathon. The coaches are awesome and always available. They host live virtual seminars on important parts of training for the event such as injury prevention and how to fuel for your workouts. I’ll be trying to post regularly about my training experience and possibly other random things that come up. I’m a pretty private person, so this blog is really out of my comfort zone, but I’m hoping it will help me stay committed to my goals and help me improve my writing a little bit. Also I hope it motivates others to step out of their comfort zone and so that they can be closer to the person they’ve always wanted to be.

Wow, that was a lot more writing then I thought it would be so if you read all this, kuddos my friend! Please don’t forget to help me reach my fundraising goal by donating here! Thanks for reading lovelies and look out for some new posts soon.