Mommy in Pieces

Just a mom that wears a cape under her street clothes.

Archive for the category “training”

Demons Be Gone

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I was the girl that ALWAYS looked for the excuse.  Tried to find a way to explain away my unhealthy life.  Felt a calling and a magnetic pull to the couch and the TV.  I could come up with a million reasons at the drop of the hat as to why I was overweight; genetics, my knee, I tried hard…..

 

1381960_10151945025045871_200699152_n(1)I cant tell you the exact moment that I decided that enough was enough, it was a gradual awakening.  I laced up my shoes, chose healthy over what I “thought” I wanted.  I walked, then I jogged, then I ran!  I have completed races that my own community said that I would fail at.

Last night.. the old demons surfaced.  I was tired, I wanted sweets, I was stressed out by life and my kids.  It was late, there was a wild storm raging, the treadmill had stuff on it, there was TV to watch…  But, I put on my shoes, I put on my workout clothes.  Stepped on to the treadmill that I hadn’t used since I had gotten it for free a few months ago.   The sound of the motor so loud in my second floor apartment, I wanted to turn it off.  The pounding of my steps echoing…  I thought for sure the folks downstairs would call animal control to report a heard of elephants had taken up residence on the second floor.  Then the coup de grâce, I discovered the belt on the treadmill itself was slippery.. I kept sliding.  My face felt a magnetic pull to the display console.  Every time I tried to pic up the pace to get into a run, gravity tried to have its way with me.  I REALLY wanted to quit.  Instead, I increased the incline, kicked up the speed to a fast walk and climbed and held on for dear life!!  I think that I even got a decent arm workout!

2miles of up hill climb, sweating buckets, I had fought back the weight of excuses drawing me back to a sedentary existence. Never give up.  No Excuses.  Making the hard choices for an even better future.

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Every Day I’m Hustlin’

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We have made it through the first 10 days of the year! How ya’ll feeling? It feels like it flew.. Next thing you know we will be rolling up our sleeves to dig into February. Heck, the stores already have the pink and white going for Valentine’s Day! My Christmas decorations just barely got to storage!

We are about 1/36th the way through the year. Now it doesn’t feel like so much! There is still a lot of year to be had!

January has brought a lot of new things to my calendar in the form of challenges. I am involved with 3 and I love that they are all tied together with a wonderful thread of continuity.

The first challenge is hosted by one of my favorite authors and social media gurus, Jon Acuff. I am participating in his 30 Days of Hustle project. Combine the power of social media, good will, and proper goal setting, and you get 30 days of amazing stories, new personal connections from around the world, and amazing goal completion. People’s goals are varied; some related to their avocations and some to their vocations, health, running, family togetherness. But the common core of all of them is improvement. It is an amazing community to check in with each day and got my spiritual tank topped off, while restoring my faith in the humanity that swells around us.

My goal for these 30 days is very simple: run 30 miles. Sounds simple enough! I am coming off of post race blues and some difficulty with my IT Band. I had not run since Thanksgiving Day when I ran my worst race ever. It was time to pick myself up, dust off the kicks, and get the rubber to the road. If I ran 3 times a week and averaged 2.27 miles per run, I would meet my goal……

Introducing Challenge #2: Another Mother Runner‘s Mother’s Day Challenge!  This challenge begins on Monday the 13th!  A group of really amazing women have all come together virtually to train for a 10k or a 1/2 Marathon.  I have chosen to tackle my 2nd Half Marathon.  I will be taking part in the Long Island Half Marathon on May 4, 2014.  The course for this race will be very similar to the course that I ran for my first Half Marathon.  I will be attempting to improve my time from the first race.  It is going to be a long, uphill battle to get back up to running that distance again and I will need to be working on improving the rest of me along the way and to help me meet that goal…..

Introducing Challenge #3: The Perfect Pair Kettlebell Challenge  Thanks to the evil genius at Kettlebellworkouts.com , I will be spending some major quality time with my 10lb.s kettlebell and my yoga mat.  With consecutive ladders or kettlebell swings and push ups, my arms and core will be getting the same torturous treatment that my leg are getting!

 

I have a feeling that my body, mind, and soul are going to get a major workout!!!

Lacing Up

I laced up today. Generally, this isn’t anything remarkable.. People do it every day all around the world…
Glow shoes

But this was the first time the rubber met the road since an abysmal race with injury on Thanksgiving. I gave up. I put my shoes in the closet. I was afraid of my already fragile knee that was hurting with every step. It was easier to give up “the run” willingly, than to be told “never again” by a doctor.

After a month and a half, I was ready to try again. To feel like a virgin runner taking those first steps.

I have gone back to the basics. Back to week1 day1 of C25k, easing back into it, testing my knee, willing it to be ok.

I completed 2.27 miles today… They weren’t fast. I followed the program. But it felt so wonderful to feel the wind on my cheeks, the crunch of sand and gravel used my feet.

They were both the hardest and the most wonderful miles.  Now.. to do it again!  Back onto the horse I climb.

9 + 1 =


10!!  That’s right… 10!  That’s how many miles were on the training schedule… TEN!!  I know that I am planning in just 3 short weeks to complete 13 miles, but the concept of 10 miles just feels monumental. 
I am blessed to have access to a beautiful bike path.  There are points along the way where I feel transported out of Long Island and to a world with no traffic!  There are wild flowers and swamps, thickets of trees and lakes.  There is one spot along the path that someone has turned a little bluff into a beautiful garden sanctuary.  Running this path has changed my run. I actually enjoy it more. 
Last week I deviated from my running schedule.  On Saturday I conquered the 9 miles, but there was a lot of walking and a lot of wishing the miles away. I was happy when I was done and I was happy with my overall time.  Then on Sunday was the Zombie Race. During the zombie experience I had an epic gravity failure that had me imitating superman down the side of a muddy hill. Thankfully I wasn’t seriously injured besides the bruised ego. At the end of the day I was proudly sporting scrapes and scratches and the promise of some grotesque bruises, but I felt good.  A little ice on my bum knee, a cold beer and I’ll be on my way… Or so I thought. 
By Tuesday morning I could put no weight on my right foot. My middle toe was very red and angry and swollen. My toe nail was black and crack 3/4ths of the way down. I couldn’t help but gaze upon the toe with pride while I painfully attempted a shoe and sock.  The voice of reason stopped me and when office hours rolled around I was on the phone with the podiatrist. 
With most of the nail removed and a promise of quick pain relief to come I hobbled home.  Instead on Wednesday I was greater by continued pain an it was too late to cancel my appointment with Frank the trainer.. Bring on a boxing session with no shoes on!!!
Friday was the first day I could get a sock and shoe on my foot. This made me terrified of Saturday’s run.  I had to just have faith that my 5 days off would be to a benefit. 
I was blessed to have incredible weather on Saturday, 68 and partly sunny. This weather makes it easy to settle into a run.  My three favorite boys dropped me at the trail head and I started off strong with an easy pace.  The boys meet between the 1 and 2 mile mark to wave an watch mommy go by.  I know that between mile 2 and 3 are two of the 5 uphill climbs on the route and they flew by with little notice. Continuing strong past the three mile mark I pushed off fueling as I was still in good shape. Miles 4, 5, and 6 passed almost as easily and when I hit the biggest hill of the whole route, I pushed to the top and kept going.  This was the first time that I hadn’t needed a walk at the top of this very steep overpass.  I was beginning to start to struggle and keep myself from walking and between miles 7 and 8 my hip started to complain.  I was able to pull back the pace a little until and get comfortable again.  I knew as I got towards the end that I would have to do some doubling back to get the 10th mile in.  At 9.1 I was surprised by my boys running towards me!  I love when they find me on the trail because it gives me such a boost!  Ben was so excited to run with me that he made it half a mile!  

The last half mile was the hardest steps of the entire route.  My tank was empty and my motivation was sapped…  but… I finished it!  All 10 miles!  And my reward….. and ice bath!
     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

30 Days and Second Chances




With less the 30 days to go until race day, my nerves are starting to get to me and not without reason….  The last 30 days have seen 2 races, a lot of triumph and a little set back…

     Lets rewind a bit.  I got sidelined by sickness for almost a week and a half!  I was devastated when I was forced to deviate from the training plan.  I had promised myself that I wouldn’t break from the schedule and here I was sitting out for a week and a half.  I worried about about losing fitness.  I worried that I wasnt building my mileage.  I was just all around worried.

     I was also had a race coming up…  the Discover Hicksville 5mile Race.  I knew that my focus had to be on getting healthy so that I wouldn’t miss this race.  I was able to get 3 miles in a couple of days before hand and away we go!  The course was advertised as a “Flat” course.  I was excited for an easy race.

     They offered a free fun run, so the boys got to join in the fun! As soon as they said “GO!”, Ben was GONE!!!  He ran the whole 1/4 mile by himself.  He made all the turns on the course and even waved to some of the people that were cheering!  The best part….  he got to the finish and STOPPED!  We had never told him what a
race was, but he instinctively knew what to do. He finished in less than 3mins and 40secs.  Alex didn’t love the process as much.. he was more upset about the numbers pinned to his shirt and just couldn’t get in to the running part of the race.  Both boys earned medals for their attempt.  For the next two weeks Ben kept asking, “We go race?”  I think I might have a natural runner on my hands.


     My race on the other hand, was not as easy.  The “flat course” was filled with little inclines and declines and there were lots of twists and turns.  It was hard to judge distance and pace.  It was also HOT!  It was a relatively small collection of runners and they were all FAST… I… am SLOW.  I really just didnt want to be last.  I started towards the middle of the pack so I wouldnt be in the way of the contenders, but not at the back because I didnt want to start last!  The end of the course was twisty with a hidden finish.  It was hard to judge from a distance what your finish time would be since you couldnt see the clock until the last 100 meters.  I was stoked when I rounded the corner and I was trudging towards a PR!  My previous best was 1:13:48.  I dug down and found more energy than I thought I had left and sprinted… pushing as much as I could to get to the finish as the seconds ticked away….   1:11:09!!!

      I was thrilled.. my legs were jelly.. and it was done!  However, sprinting and staring at the clock with a race photographer that isn’t sitting at a good angle, makes for a not so pretty race picture…  But hey.. it was a PR!

      Back on track after the 5mile race it was time to shift my focus to getting ready for the longer distances.  It was on to 8miles, and 9miles!  Saturday long runs have become a family event with the boys dropping me off at the beginning of a local bike path and picking me up at the end, usually with dinner in hand!   I was able to push through 8miles and had a surprisingly wonderful 9mile run.  I felt in control.  I did walk a bunch, and I am ok with it.  I know that I will be walking during the 1/2 marathon, so I might as well prepare myself!

     This past weekend, I had my 2nd race…. the Zombie Race.. 3.12 miles of insane trails, 13 muddy and tough obstacles, and ZOMBIES waiting for you around every turn!  The whole experience was epic!  I was able to complete all but one obstacle (the old school rope climb).  One of the hills was so steep that there was a rope tied to a tree to give assistance.. there were walls, and mud pits, slides, and fire..  it was a great test of strength, endurance, and courage…  My unofficial goal was to finish in less time than I had the Spartan race (1:48) and we finished in 1:18!






     Now that I have wrestled with the Zombies, it is time to go back to the mundane..  next up… tomorrow: 10miles and next weekend, the NYC 10k!



     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!







Rising At Dawn

Week 3

     Its 5 o’clock in the morning… my shoes are laced, my music is on, and I am headed out the door to cover the miles dictated to me by the paper that hangs on my kitchen cabinet.  My biggest problem with running in the last year has been consistency.  This is why I have not been able to improve my running ability.  But now, because of that silly piece of paper, I feel like I am being pushed out the door every morning!  And every morning, I am thankful to see the sun rise in the peace and quiet.



     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!
Monday  7/22/13
3.00 miles     44:10 mins     14.43 average pace
      TERRIBLE! I had to fight for every step. I did my usual 3mile loop because I felt like I needed a change, so my big hill was in the beginning. Side stitches started almost immediately and my pace was abysmal. I wasn’t able to settle into a comfortable gait until well into mile 2. The temp was in the mid 70s (yay!). But the humidity was at 85% (boo). A couple times it started to drizzle and I was so thankful. This does not give me much hope of getting through 4 miles tomorrow.
Tuesday 7/23/13
4.40 miles     1:00:00      13:38 average pace
       I am actually floored!! I took more than three minutes off of my previous 4 mile time and this was on a treadmill where I am always slower. I ran the whole thing with no walk breaks! I feel like I floored it but I still had some gas left in the tank! This was great! What makes this even more shocking is that I have been taking Zicam for the last 24 hours to stave off the ick that has a hold of our family!!
Wednesday  7/24/13
30 mins Cross Training
     I just didn’t have it in me today.  I still went and did my boxing.  I didn’t enjoy it, and I didn’t have very much power in my swing. I was just pretty much going through the motions and I got very very frustrated when I couldn’t get my pivot down.
Thursday  7/25/13
3.00 miles     41:40 mins     13:55 average pace
     Today was dramatically different than Monday’s 3 mile run. New route, new music, new confidence. A wonderful 67* with 97% humidity but a 16mph headwind. There were ZERO walking breaks. This was by far my best pace and a better 3 mile time by at least 2mins. I really needed this run!!
Saturday 7/27/13
6.00 miles     1:23:31     13:55 average pace 
      I am really happy with how this went! I am surprised that 6miles was easier than 5miles. I can’t believe that i ran negative splits almost the entire way! Floored at the pace that I maintained and I only took one walk break to eat some Shot Blocks. Overall I felt great! The more surprising part is more than 50% was with no music!!! My headphones died at mile two!
The GoodsAs I am preparing for the big day, I will be trying out gear and nutritional goodies to see what gear works for me.  Gear and nutrition are both a very personal choice and there are oodles of options.  I hope that I can shed light on a small percentage of them!!

     This week’s goodies: Yankz!This weeks “goodie” is again courtesy of the RunningNerds and the “Virtual Half Marathon & Treadmill Challenge 5K”.  
     These awesome custom laces we part of the swag pack that the participants in this race received.  I was thrilled that they were black with orange and green lettering so they matched my shoes.  
     The concept behind these laces: Set them and forget them!!  Once you lace up your shoes and get the fit perfect, you are done!!  Your shoes will slip on, stay snug, but also adjust and stretch to accommodate your foot as it swells during a long run.  I love that I don’t have to worry about my laces becoming untied.  I also feel like my shoes fit even better now!!
     The “Sure Lace System” is available in 26 colors and they can do customization. The price for these specialty are a reasonable $7.50-$8.00 a pair and they offer options for those that would like to continue to use their traditional laces..
   


Crossing It Off

Week 2

     Hanging on my kitchen cabinet at eye level is my training plan.  It is a visual reminder not only to me, but to the Husband of what the commitment is that I have made.  He has been given full permission to harass me about not getting in training runs, to remind me of what my goals are, and to kick me out of bed when the alarm goes off.  I am pretty sure that the most satisfying part about going for a run… is crossing that day off of the training plan!  As someone once told me, it is like the count down to Christmas!


     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!
Monday  7/15/13
3.00 miles     43:17 mins     14.25 average pace
      The temperature for this run was great but the humidity was killer!!  The high humidity has a habit of making my lungs heavy.  I hope that just means that my lungs are getting strong too!

Tuesday 7/16/13
3.00 miles     44:30 mins     14:50 average pace
      Tuesday is always slower than Monday, but today my feet were just heavy.  I know that I have to start working out what my nutrition is going to be while on my long runs, so I tried an electrolyte drink during the run (not going to say who, but it is a popular brand) and it tasted like salty alka-seltzer… I think that I will pass….On to the next product to try… I have one on deck for Saturday’s long run.
Wednesday  7/17/13
30 mins Cross Training
     Got my weekly butt kicking!  Boxing, and sparring, and kicking oh my!!  Let me just tell you.. I DON’T float like a butterfly!!

Thursday  7/18/13
3.00 miles     44:57 mins     14:29 average pace
     I am not really thrilled with the pace but I walked significantly less than previously. I know that I will start seeing improvement over time, but I had really hoped the there would be less struggle by now.  I can only hope this means progress is being made, albeit, slow progress.
Saturday 7/20/13
5.00 miles     1:13:29     14:41 average pace 
      I really feared this run. 5miles seems like way more than 4!! I had set a goal time for myself of 1:15:00, thinking that was reasonable considering my previous times.  It was super humid again even at 5am so I was very surprised when my final push got me to the finish at 1:13:30.  I tackled the run a .25mile at a time and I will happily take the time!

The GoodsAs I am preparing for the big day, I will be trying out gear and nutritional goodies to see what gear works for me.  Gear and nutrition are both a very personal choice and there are oodles of options.  I hope that I can shed light on a small percentage of them!!

     This week’s goodies: Generation UCanI was the lucky winner of a pack of these great sports energy drinks from RunningNerds in the “Virtual Half Marathon & Treadmill Challenge 5K”.  
     During my Saturday long run I decided to give two of their drinks a go.  Before heading out, I mixed up the Cran-Raz Sports Drink Mix.  I was really happy with how simply it mixed with the water and how smooth the texture was.  There were no strange flavors breaking through.  
     I always love to end my long runs with an ice cold protein shake, so bring on the Vanilla Protein Enhanced Drink Mix.  One aspect that I love the most is that it can be mixed with water!  One of my goals along this journey is to be dropping some pounds.  I appreciate the 16 oz size with out the calorie hit of 16 oz. of milk!  Again, I was very pleased with the taste and the texture.  
     The biggest thing lacking was that “protein taste” that comes along with a lot of protein laced beverages.  To top it all off, this company has been built of a great foundation and vision.  Check them out and let them know that MommyInPieces sent you!


Living In Lycra

Week 1

     It feels like every aspect of my life has become surrounded by lycra; pants, socks, sports bras, shirts, shoes and shoelaces..  Its ridiculous..  I could almost say that they are a sponsor or mine!!  This past week was my first “Official” training week.  This means running 4 days a week and a day of cross training.  Never before have I so looked forward to Friday and Sunday (rest days).

     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!
Monday (really Sunday didn’t know I was really starting) 7/7/13
3.19 miles     50:00 mins     15:40 average pace
     Sadly this run was on the “Dreadmill”.  With weather on the iffy side I hit the gym and worked on consistent pacing.  While the overall average pace was nothing to sing about, I am happy that I was able to stay at a level pace for the majority of the time.

Tuesday 7/9/13
3.00 miles     44:14 mins     14:44 average pace
     Second official 1/2 marathon training run! Was sluggish because of the humidity. But something wonderful happened… I was really fading and a car pulled up along side me, all the windows down. I steeled myself for a mocking. Instead there were a bunch of young kids yelling and clapping and a mom giving the thumbs up and yelling, “keep it up!! You will have the best experiences running! Your doing great just keep going!!” As she pulled away, the back of her minivan was plastered with stickers, “Tri”, “Ultra”, “I’m a Diva”, “I’m only 1/2 crazy!” Just the push I needed, the burst of energy and encouragement…. Thank you! I don’t know you… But you are a friend. 
Wednesday  7/10/13
30 mins Cross Training
     I LOVE my Wednesday’s.  Every Wednesday for a year I have met with Frank.  Frank kicks my butt, religiously, every Wednesday morning before the birds are up.  This butt-kicking took the form of boxing.  I love going rounds with the heavy bag, but also sparring with Frank.  Wednesday’s are not just the physical workout but, the conversation has become a great sounding board not only for health and nutrition, but life in general. 

Thursday  7/11/13
3.01 miles     46:27 mins     15:27 average pace
     This morning I had a serious case of “I don’t wanna!” But I did… And Mother Nature taught me a lesson…. She rained on me for a mile +. Pace was slow, but under the pace I need to maintain for the race. 
Saturday 7/13/13
4.01 miles     58:19 mins     14:34 average pace 
     Today’s theme… RAIN! I really didn’t want to run in the rain, especially not 4 miles.  After some input from other runners.  I donned a hat, wrapped my phone with plastic wrap and hit the pavement.  I was surprised that I saw 3 other runners (all women) out there being badass with me in the rain.  I felt good the whole way and bested my previous 4m time by 3 mins!!! 

Running Away

One foot in front of the other is all it takes to take the power away from the problems in life.

A year ago I took my very first steps in my very first road race. I was scared out of my wits!

Lets rewind to October of 2003. I was working in a retail job while finishing up grad school.  Imagine me on top of a ladder and then suddenly not!!  That unplanned leap lead to 2 knee surgeries and multiple years of rehab. The pounds packed on and I turned very quickly to sloth like ways.

Fast forward to October for 2011, two kids later, heavier then ever, I was diagnosed with two herniated discs after a trip to the ER. I was given two options: lose weight or have surgery.  At that point in my life I had already had four surgeries too many and really wanted to stay away from having any more.

In my opting to lose weight, I some how got it in my head that running would be a good way to do this. Mind you, I am not graceful and am made up of equal parts clumsy and non-coordination. What made me think that running was going to be a good idea?!

I started slowly, working through a beginning runners program. Worked on my intervals and more importantly bought all the cool running gear!  Why run, if not for all the snazzy stuff that goes with it.

I am by no means a natural runner!!  Every step is a battle with my subconscious self, the one that stands behind me in the mirror yelling obscenities, the voice the knows me better than I know myself.  As I pound the pavement ( and yes I pound…. Because I am still a big girl) the voice gets quieter.  I can put miles between myself and the negative Nellie that sits on my shoulder.  A morning that starts out poorly can have its course shifted dramatically only lacing up the running soles.

I had never before bought into all that running nonsense. “You can run away from your fears and your problems”. “A good day is any day that starts with a run.”  Really???   I had always thought that you would only catch me running if I was running away from something scary or towards something yummy!!

But….today, I took a different type of step.. I counted my pennies, and I pushed the button.  I officially registered for the Long Island Divas Half Marathon in October.

Yes… You read that right.. A half marathon. To this point my longest distance has been 3.5 miles.  I will need to be able to run 10 more miles on top of that!!!

So stay tuned.. As I train and prepare.  I am sure that along this journey, I will be learning a lot about my self as I put one foot in front of the other ( over and over and over again!)

 

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