Stuffing the Pantry 5K Race Recap

After the Cambridge Half Marathon, I was just one 5K away from being on official “no running” orders from well, myself. Ben the Physical Therapist agreed with this plan, but I had made up my mind weeks ago that the half would be my last race for a while and that I would not run at all after Thanksgiving – for as long as it took to fully rehab my hamstring and foot.

Back in the summer, my dad signed up for a Couch to 5K program at his office gym. He was doing really well with it and then threw out his back (as old men do!) and running took a backseat. So on Thanksgiving morning, he insisted I didn’t have to stay with him but honestly, I didn’t have much to give. My hamstring pain was worse than it had ever been. I had indulged in two beers and a heavy pasta dinner the night before, and had overdone it at yoga all week. It was cold as hell so running would’ve been more pleasant and a quicker way back to the heat, but this race was all about my dad. Unfortunately it wasn’t the race he was hoping for when he signed up but it was still his fastest ever and the first one that we ever completed together – as in side-by-side for all 3.1 miles. Continue reading

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Cambridge Half Marathon Race Recap

It’s been more than a week, so I figured I should finally recap the Cambridge Half Marathon. First of all, it was a new PR for me! I kinda knew it would be unless something went seriously wrong – it was only my 3rd half ever and I trained more for this one than the last 2, so I went into the race feeling really confident. Except for the fact that I wasn’t feeling well all week and my hamstring and arch had been especially grumpy.

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Pre-race group selfie

I didn’t sleep great – I rarely do before a race – but it’s the sleep 2 nights before that really counts, and I slept great on Friday night and even stayed in bed several hours longer than I had planned to. When my alarm went off at 4:30am on Sunday, I was raring to go. I walked Chip in the pouring rain, made myself an English muffin with peanut butter & jelly, drank a cup of coffee and a bottle of water with a Nuun Hydration tablet, and packed my change of clothes for post-race. It was forecast to rain all morning, and while I honestly don’t mind running in the rain (unless it’s 50 or below), I can’t stand being cold and wet afterward. DFMC teammate and fellow Brighton-ite Katie and I split an Uber to the Cambridgeside Mall and arrived with more than hour until the race began. I had time to do 1 shirt change, opting for short sleeves, knee-length pants, and a hat since it was pouring but 60 degrees. I also visited the porta-potties twice while they were still fresh and clean. I only had 3 GUs left in my supply, so I saved them for mid-race instead of having one at the start like I normally do. Our DFMC friends & family team had enough people to secure a VIP table area in the parking garage (location of the after party), so we were able to hang out there pre-race and stash our stuff for later. Continue reading

The Final Week

Last Monday (the 13th), I wrote about how I took a rest day even though it was race week. Or maybe BECAUSE it was race week and the training was most definitely “in the bag” so I felt OK letting my body heal from what turned out to be horrible cramps + a flare-up of my duodenal ulcer, mostly likely from taking copious amounts of ibuprofen in recent months to get through these injuries.

I woke up on Tuesday feeling OK and went to my PT appointment before work. I knew we wouldn’t be working out but I also wasn’t entirely expecting Graston. It was MISERABLE. I ended up with petachiae – also known as “microbruises” but really just broken capillaries that occur while breaking up scar tissue and fibrous muscle. I had them all over my hamstring. By the next day, I also had some nice regular bruises. But it was a necessary evil.

I got through the workday but didn’t have much of an appetite. I actually tossed my lunch (and then went home and tossed the entire week’s supply I had made of it – something just wasn’t sitting right with me even though I’ve made this before). I knew I needed to eat something before I attempted a 3-mile run, so I had a bowl of cereal before taking Chip for a walk. But during that walk, I was weak and sweaty and out of breath. So I made the very adult decision to rest for another day. Instead of freaking out about 2 rest days in a row, I looked at it as 2 extra days to recover so that I could be 100% in plenty of time for Sunday’s half.

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Tea, netipot, repeat.

But then on Wednesday I woke up feeling rough, and in a completely new way than earlier in the week. My throat was sore and I had a horrible sinus headache. I took as much Sudafed as I could find in my Drawer of Drugs, used my netipot before work, and packed a bunch of echinacea tea to drink throughout the day. I went to bed insanely early, and it all seemed to do the trick – I felt much better when I woke up on Thursday. Continue reading

Let’s Get Physical

I had my annual physical last Friday. I seriously love my primary care doctor. When she walked in, she said, “It’s so good to see you finally!” The “finally” was because I’ve seen several of her colleagues in 2016 and 2017 and we’ve emailed a bunch, but I haven’t actually seen her since my last physical, which I am embarrassed to admit was in January 2016 – so almost 2 years ago.

We started off by talking about my vitals and recent lab work. I had bloodwork done 2 days earlier to check my cholesterol and sugar. The good news is my A1C is perfect and always has been, so no diabetes or even pre-diabetes for me (sugar is my downfall and my mom has pre-diabetes, so this is a huge relief!). The other good news that is that my HDL (good cholesterol) is nice and high, my triglycerides are low, and my overall cholesterol to HDL ratio is good. The bad news is, that after 5 years, my LDL (the bad cholesterol) remains high.

I have blogged extensively about my cholesterol woes. They started back in 2013, when I was just 2 years removed from having my thyroid radiated and only a few months from having my major eye surgeries. My health was a wreck. I wasn’t eating well and I wasn’t working out nearly enough. My triglycerides and LDL were high, although the triglycerides were still within normal range, but obviously that caused my total cholesterol to go up. Continue reading

Entering the Final Week

It’s Monday, November 13. That means this is my final full week of actual running for a while. Sure, my half marathon is actually on Sunday – but most runners will tell you their weeks go Monday-Sunday anyway – and I’m doing a Turkey Trot with my dad on Thanksgiving (at his pace, whatever that may be), but this is the final week of half marathon training and any sort of prescribed runs.

Saturday’s long run was…not great. I was so grateful for Meghan getting me out of the house and to Heartbreak Hill Running Company for their group run. I had walked Chip around 7:30am in what I planned to wear on my run, plus my down parka, and was sweating bullets halfway through. I knew I was going to be overdressed, so I decided to skip the long johns under my running tights as well as the fleece neck gaiter. Instead, I wore unlined tights, a tank top, a long-sleeve thermal/base layer, my DFMC running jacket (that converts into a vest if needed), my running gloves, and a thin but wide headband that covers my ears and a good chunk of my head. I also wore sunglasses for the first time on a run in months – it may have been 17 degrees with the wind chill, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!

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We met up at the store where no one said hi to us or even acknowledged our presence, except for the HHRC employee. There were maybe 20-25 people, all of whom were gone from our sight line within the first half-mile except for one older woman behind us who seemed to disappear pretty early on. Most of these runners are on the Heartbreakers team, and are Boston qualifiers. We were reassured this group run was for all levels, but that our pace was on the slower end, and that was indeed accurate. Continue reading

Speedwork and Physical Therapy

On Tuesday night, I finally made it to the Harvard outdoor track for some speedwork. My DFMC teammate Katy met me there. We were debating whether we should run on the dark-ish track – there are no lights – or around the neighborhood. In the end, we decided we’d rather run on the safe track than the dicey streets of Allston and/or Cambridge. Running along the river at night is also scary, because it’s dimly lit and had to see where you’re stepping (I found this so unsettling during my Midnight Runners excursion). A practice at the soccer fields behind the track must’ve been scheduled for 6:30 or so, because those lights eventually came on and made it a lot easier to see.

20170503_190002Katy had never done speedwork before and I only have a few times, so we decided to run 400s – a full lap around the track at your 5K pace. We did this 6 times at a 9:00-9:15 pace, with 200m (half a lap) of recovery in between each one. We meant to be around a 9:30 pace but it turns out we were a bit faster than that. Fine by me! I was winded but felt good. I think most of that was due to running in truly cold weather for one of the first times this year. After almost 2.5 miles of speedwork, we called it a day. Continue reading

Hilly 11-Miler in the Bag

Here’s a bit of an overdue update that I wrote on Sunday but never got around to posting until now:

After having a great 5-mile run on Tuesday and a not-so-great 1.5 miles to PT then 3.5 miles home from PT on Friday morning, I was dreading my long run on Sunday. I decided to set myself up for as much success as possible.

On Friday night, I met my old Dana-Farber homegirl Cathleen out for dinner & drinks. Over the course of 4+ hours, I had 2 cocktails and 1 beer, plus an insanely good sea scallop carbonara. I put myself to bed as soon as I got home, and “slept in” until 8am. I actually first woke up at 6am, but knew I had nowhere to be until 11am so I rolled over and ended up falling back to sleep for another 2 hours. It was glorious. Ever since I rearranged my bedroom last weekend, I’ve slept SO much better. Even though the head of my bed is now up against my double windows that look out onto the parking lot and rear balconies of the trashy apartment building next-door, whose residents are always smoking and loud, I guess the combination of a new sleeping arrangement and working my tail off means I’m passing out as soon as my head hits the pillow and – more importantly – staying asleep.

I went to my free barre3 class at the New Balance HQ – my third free class there in 8 days. The previous 2 were small and intimate – limited to maybe 20/25 people. I think there were 100 people at this one. It was insane! I really enjoyed this class and felt it right away, and was so wobbly walking around the grocery store afterward that I was nervous about my long run the next morning. Continue reading