Pain in the neck- Take Two

yep, we are here again. If you recall almost two years ago I had Anterior Cervical Disk Fusion for a ruptured disk in the neck in C5-6 and C6-7. I had made great progress until recently. In March it was discovered the disk above and below the fusion are now herniated. My doctor has told me no running/jumping etc. I need to stay on low impact activities/workouts. I won’t bore you with the medical details but the main concern is C4-5 and C7-T1. My physical therapist and surgeon told me I need to avoid a multilevel fusion at all costs. My real wake-up call was this week when my PT introduced me to someone that has had a multilevel fusion and he told me she is miserable. People have asked me how I am feeling. I am ok. I had cut way back from the running events anyway due to life in general. Last year I had only participated in six events and this year I have only done four. Run Disney recently opened up Princess Half registration for next February and it was a little disappointing because I was hoping to register but you know what it is OK. I will miss the “energy” of the race events but to not have the “option” of going for a run to maintain my weight and fitness level is the most frustrating thing.

I have been fortunate to do 82 events since January 2011. If I never get to run a race again I am grateful. (1-Full Marathon, 21- Half Marathons, 5-10 milers, 1-15k, 10-10k’s, 1-8k, 33-5k’s, 1-mudrace, 4- Trail races, 1-Sprint Triathlon, 1-Sprint Duathlon, 1-70.3 Relay and 2-Paddleboard races. Experiences, Memories & Friendships made= Priceless!

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New Orleans Saints 5k, NYC Mini Oakley 10k, RnR Vegas Half, Jazz Half, Battleship 12k, Girls on the Run 5k, St Jude Memphis Half,  RnR NOLA Full Marathon, Ironman 70.3 Relay in Augusta, GA  just a few of many   🙂

This past weekend I went and spectated at the annual Happy’s 5k race and had a ball. I have a lot of fun, supportive friends.

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Now I just want to retain my fitness and avoid a multilevel fusion. Proper recovery, workouts, listening to my surgeon & physical therapist as well as good ergonomics at work will be key for me. (I have a “stand up” desk on order) I still have more places on my vacation list I want to see and experience. I am not going to let this slow me down too much. Heck, last month I went waterfall repelling in Costa Rica!

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Pura Vida!

Stay focused and stay healthy my friends.

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Cross Training for Variety

I admit it, I haven’t crossed many finish lines as of lately. Heck I am not even signed up for an upcoming race. Usually I am scheduled a year in advance on my race calendar. ( Yes, runners generally have a separate calendar)

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What I have been doing is hitting my local gym 4-5 times a week and LOVING it! To be back in a group environment again doing Spin, Tabata or even good ole treadmill ( better known as the dread mill) to work on incline training and it has been MARVELOUS! For me it is a boredom buster to throw in something different. I can disconnect my brain and just follow the instructor. Plus it helps to improve my overall fitness such as core work to ward off those pesky injuries like my I.T. band or weak hips.

 

Am I getting the itch to sign up for a fall Half Marathon? YEP! Have I picked one yet? Nope! but its coming….In the mean time I will be at the gym because sweat is sweat no matter if its on the roads or off. Just enjoy !

Cue song 🙂

 

 

Tips For Your Roadtrip Race Weekend

Last weekend I had a blast at the Mardi Gras 10k and this weekend its off to to Gulf Shores Alabama for Half #17. Good times are in store for this 4th Annual Gulf Coast Half.

Race Details:

– Beautiful course
– Great support
– Awesome finishers medal
– Spectacular views
– Nearly world famous post race party at Lulu’s

Starting at Lulu’s runners will loop underneath then cross over the intracoastal bridge to begin their 13.1 miles. Exploring the many coastal neighborhoods that make Lower Alabama great runners will then enter Gulf State Park for a loop around Lake Shelby briefly popping out onto Perdido Beach Blvd for a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico. Finishing the loop around Lake Shelby runners will trace back part of the course to return to the north side of the Intracoastal Canal before turning for home and the nearly World Famous Post Race Party hosted at Lucy Buffet’s LuLu’s!

I have run the Pensacola, FL series once and Mandeville, LA twice so its FINALLY time for me to finish the three location series with ALABAMA!! I have not had a long run since my January races so I am a little bit nervous. I am hoping I don’t crash and burn by mile 9. This week the weather hasn’t been that good so my mileage has been low but I have been stretching, lifting weights and my nutrition is getting better as I am recovering from King Cake overload from Mardi Gras.

The drive to Alabama is only about 3 hours away but I am looking forward to the short overnight trip and hoping to at least walk on the beach for some relaxation time. In preparing to leave Saturday morning I thought I would share some tips for those with a racecation roadtrip weekend coming up.

  • Pack ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute. Make a list and check it twice. I even pack my list so when I am leaving I remember everything I brought. This also helps on race morning so I remember everything I need and nothing gets left behind at the hotel.
  • It is ok to over pack if your unsure about the weather. Bring a throwaway sweatshirt or mylar blanket if you think it will be a chilly morning. Remember the 10 degree rule you always warm up after Mile 1 so disposable layers are key.
  • Put in all of your addresses (expo,restaurants,hotel) ahead of time in your Garmin so you are not scrambling for time and can plan.
  • Charge your music, phone and watch ahead of time. Test everything before leaving.
  • Bring your own snacks, drinks, breakfast and race day energy supplies such as GU. Your stomach may not like surprises.
  • Clean up your house and pay bills before leaving. Last thing you want to do when you get home is chores. You will want to stretch and rest because more than likely you have to work the next day.
  • If you know of somewhere fun to stop on the way to your destination DO IT! Trust me you won’t feel like it on the way home after the race. I remember one of my favorite stops with friends on the way to the Pensacola race was “World Of Beers”. Memories with friends is part of the experience.
  • On your drive home from the race weekend stop every hour to stretch and wear comfortable clothes. Even compression socks on your legs will be helpful.

You want the least possible headaches for your race weekend away to give you the best possible race day results. Remember the journey is part of the experience 🙂

race week

 

 

 

Lessons from the road

Race day may not always going go as planned there are so many variables:

  • Weather may be too hot or too cold, rain, humidity
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Stomach distress, nutrition, hydration
  • Sleep, fatigue, overall energy level

What went Right during my recent back to back races:

  • Good attitude going in. Goal #1 to Finish and to Enjoy the Experience
  • I foam rolled and stretched daily
  • I ate good the night before and morning of the race
  • I packed and prepared ahead of time so no last minute frenzy

What went Wrong:

  • I need better nutrition two weeks before my race at least. I need to go back to my brown rice, spinach and tuna regimen. Lay off the junk food and go back to my food journal.
  • I did not take my daily vitamins like I should have, I did take EmergenC daily but need to get back to my vitamins.
  • I did not hydrate as much as I should have. Need to start a week before not two days before.
  • I didn’t get enough sleep. I felt this after the second race weekend. It took me 3 days to catch up on my rest
  • Back to back weekends are not for me especially with my schedule.
  • I did not stretch after the race. Once again I got caught up with the after race festivities.

Did you notice my “What went Wrong” list is longer than the “ What went Right” ?. Well that’s part of running. Did I enjoy the experience? YES! Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!

I am currently struggling with Shin Splints and off running for the next week, implementing R.I.C.E. (short for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)

I found some good daily stretching techniques to add to my routine and help with recovery: Stretches for Runners via Cool Running

My next race isn’t until the end of February so it is the perfect time to recover and refocus.
# KeepPushingForward

 kara

“We all have had injuries and disappointments. It is a part of running. It can bring us down and at times be overwhelming when we see how far we have to go. But I encourage you all to take your time, stay inspired and focused. Instead of stressing about how far behind we are, we need to focus on the progress we are making and continue to make.”

-Kara Goucher, two-time U.S. Olympian

14 races in 2014 a look back

So I was looking at my race list and in 2013 I did “13” races” (Coincidentally)

2013 Completed  (13)

  • Louisiana “HALF” Marathon – Baton Rouge  1/20/13— Finished in 2hr 12min –BIB#1466—My 6th Half!
  • Disneyworld Princess Half Marathon Feb/2013–February 22-24, 2013  (for fun) plus Royal Family 5k- BIB#1001—4:05
  • Corporate Cup 5k (with Turner) 3/23/13—— 27:29 5K PR! –8:52 pace– BIB#1992
  • Crescent City Classic 10k 3/30/13—New Orleans—35th Anniversary!- Finished in 57:58 10k PR!- 9:21–pace  BIB#3749
  • Gulf Coast Half Pensacola  4/7/13—  Finished in 2hr 10min –BIB#287—my 8th Half!
  • Run Forest Run 5K 4/28/13 15th annual-New Orleans—–Bib#553  Completed 28:38
  • 3rd Annual SuperHero 5k Zachary 5/11/13 (for fun with Alaina-She won 1st place in Costume Contest)
  • Rocketchix Duathlon 7-27-13   2mile run/12 mile bike/2mile run-Bib #505-1:26 (1st in my age group ,3rd overall –Fat Tire )
  • 4th Annual Muddy Water Paddle Battle Relay & 250m Sprint 8-3-13 (Came in 3rd in the Women’s Relay/ 4th in the Sprint.-My daughter Alaina did the ½ mile)
  • Zoo Zoom 5k       8-24-13   28:28  –9:11 pace– BIB#152
  • Saints 5k      8-31-13 –with  Steve & Alaina for fun
  • Zombie Bash    10-4-13 –with Alaina for fun—Alaina did it —(I was injured, not in Count)
  • Middendorf’s 10 miler  11-16-13 — 1hr:37    — BIB#62
  • Baton Rouge Beach Half     12-7-13—–2:10—BIB #434

In 2014  I did “14” races” (Again a TOTAL Coincidence in count)

2014 Completed  (14)_

  • 3rd Year -Louisiana Half Marathon    1-19-14- Finished in 2hr 07min –BIB#4578—My 10th Half!!
  • 5th Anniversary New Orleans RnR FULL MARATHON   2-2-14– Finished in 4hr48min –BIB#12145–1st Full!
  • Q50Half —Trail Half Boque Chitto–3-8-14– Finished in 2hr33min –BIB#155–1st Trail Half
  • Forge Unicorn 4 miler Clark Creek 4-12-14—Did for “Fun” with Alaina, Maggie and Dan-Finished in 1hr59min—
  • Crescent City Classic 10k 4/19/14—New Orleans—BIB#13051  —Finished in 1hr:4min
  • Happys 5000  3miler 5/3/14– Finished in 29:18 –BIB#165-
  • Q50 RACES CINCO DE MAYO 5/4/2014—Audubon Park-4miler trail w/ Alaina – I finished 44:38 Bib#193 21st overall woman–Alaina #194 finished 59:30
  • 70.3 Ironman Augusta,GA 9-28-14–1st Relay!–“The Runner” -Finished in 2:12 –BIB#3456-
  • Gulf Coast Half Mandeville 10-19-14 – Finished in 2hr 07min –BIB#220—
  • RNR LAS VEGAS HALF 11-16-14 – Finished in 2hr 52min –BIB#11242—SO MUCH FUN!
  • Goldenfliers 5miler 11-22-14 – Finished in 47min:47 –BIB#289—9:33pace
  • Reindeer Run 5k for fun with Alaina-45min
  • Baton Rouge Beach Half 12-6-14 – Finished in 2hr min:19 –BIB#803—My 15th Half
  • Girls on the Run 5k for fun with Gabbie 12-13-14 -41min (It was an honor to run w/ my niece)

2014 was NOT a year of PR’s for sure but I did my first Full Marathon, my first Trail Half and participated in my first Ironman event which was also my first Relay event. My bling rack represents lots of incredible memories and friends made. Not every race was for time some was to help my niece complete her Girls on the Run program or to take the family out for a fun race morning at Clark Creek or an evening out with my daughter to enjoy the Christmas lights and a 3miler thrown in so we can enjoy some treats at the bake sale booth afterwards. I look at each medal or race bib and feel blessed. For me that is what running is about, to ‘Enjoy the Journey’ and share it with others.

Some 2014 race highlights in pictures:

First Full Marathon! RNR New Orleans 2-2-14

First Full Marathon! RNR New Orleans 2-2-14. I could not have done it without Francine, Karen, Coach Stephen, my family plus all the support from friends following along.

 1st Trail Half 3-8-14. A great morning in Boque Chitto

1st Trail Half 3-8-14. A beautiful morning in Boque Chitto

Fun family morning at Forge Unicorn 4 miler Clark Creek 4-12-14

Fun family morning at Forge Unicorn 4 miler Clark Creek 4-12-14

Crescent City Classic 10k 4/19/14

Crescent City Classic 10k 4/19/14  Always on Easter Weekend!

Love these girls!! 70.3 IM AUGUSTA,GA   9-28-14 1st Relay

Love these girls!! Hugs Laura & Larissa  70.3 IM AUGUSTA,GA 9-28-14 1st Relay

Viva Las Vegas with my best running bud Francine!!!

Viva Las Vegas with my best running bud Francine!!!

Gulf Coast Half Mandeville 10-19-14

Gulf Coast Half Mandeville 10-19-14. This is the look of “Relief” at the Finish!

I love and support the Girls On The Run program

I love and support the Girls On The Run program. So proud of my niece Gabbie

Still growing

Still growing. Lots of memories and look forward to more.

Stretch, Roll, Strengthen, Repeat….‪ #‎RunnerProbs‬

IT BAND I curse you! If you have issues with yours you know what I am talking about. That dull ache that not quite a pain but discomfort out the WAZOO. It hit me at mile 7 of my last Half and again on last weekends 8 mile training run. (mile 7 once again). That ache from the hip all the way to the knee. OW! My knee. That IT band on your side can really put a strain on it.

Right when I need to be working on hill training as well as speed work now I have to throw yoga poses (Pigeon Pose, One legged seated spinal twist etc) back into the mix.

Hip opener stretches, foam rolling, ice alternating with Arnica gel will be my daily regimen as well as post-runs.

Here are some posts that I found helpful that I thought I would share:

  • Video of a short set of 10 different stretches that target your thighs (quads, hamstrings, inner thighs) and calves, as well as other problem areas for runners (IT band, psoas, and more). -Click HERE
  • 3 Yoga poses to Ease Your Pain via POPSUGAR- Click HERE
  • 9 Yoga Poses Plus Tips to Keep Athletes Injury -Free-Click HERE
  • Lululemon Sea Wheeze 2014 Yoga Practice 48 min video-Click HERE

When I mentioned my IT band issues on Facebook and Twitter I got a lot of feedback from other fellow runners dealing with the same issues. They say that Yoga, Stretching and Strengthening go hand in hand for runners. You MUST take care of your body properly. Treat it well. Your recovery and maintenance is just as important as those training runs.

I gotta admit during last nights attempt at the Yoga video part of me was like

uhhhhhh - You want me to do what????

uhhhhhh – You want me to do what????

These yoga poses require proper technique. You HAVE to be patient and possibly enlist a yoga expert friend or take a class to get the most out of it. It is especially difficult when you would MUCH rather hit cardio for 45 minutes instead. (yes, ME)

So I put a water bottle in the freezer at work and at home  (awesome to roll on a couple times a day to work out the knots) and decided I will have to respect my body better if I want to do my races this fall/winter. Maintenance is key.

**Please share any additional tips, links, videos you have found under comments**

#WorkInProgress

 

 

Countdown to Augusta! #IM703Augusta

11 days 22 hours

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

and currently the Savannah River (the 3rd most toxic river in the nation) is under a swimming ban plus our relay swimmer Larisa had her wet suit lifted during a practice swim recently that she had to scramble to replace. Oh, did I mention on my 12 mile training run a couple weeks ago I fell at mile 8 of my run and had to get 3 stitches afterwards due to a small hole in my knee? BUT I finished all 12! Can I get a fist pump?

I may get knocked down but I WILL get back up!!!

I may get knocked down (ok, fall down)  but I WILL get back up!!!

Then our Bib#’s came in and it started to become REAL!
teamtagyourit bib

So next Friday I will be going on an epic road trip with our biker Laura to a place I have never been, to do my 1st ever Relay. I have never seen an Ironman event so I am quite excited. Secretly I am hoping to see some of the Elites finish before I have to get to transition for my part of the race .  #IMARUNNER

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The Ironman motto is “Anything Is Possible” and  I am beyond excited to see it first hand at this event and be inspired by so many athletes whom have trained for months to cross this Finish line.

Good luck also to those doing Ironman Chattanooga which will be held on the same day. (Special shout out to my dear friend Susan Hayden who will be one of the Chattanooga IM Finishers) Do Greatness! 

Watch this video to see why I am in complete awe of those IRONMAN Finishers that do the training, step up to the start and cross the finish. Perhaps it will inspire you..

If you missed how this Relay idea started check it out here from my previous blog post in April. BTW: This race sold out a week after I registered our team! 

Wish us luck!!!!  

BIB#3456

BIB#3456