Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

Okay, so I'm a little late on getting this post done. I skipped last week since we went out of town for a wedding. Also, the spawn doesn't have preschool this week so he has been draining the life force out of me. It is also quite difficult to try to type with my budding techno geek in my lap assisting me. But, after 18 miles this morning, and the spawn locked in his bedchamber for a nap, I am all motivated to write up my Friday Favorites on a Saturday.

Favorites for the week:

1) Trail Running Anniversary: Today marks the one year anniversary of my foray into trail running. My first trail run was a short two mile run. Introducing trail running into my routine was originally an attempt to combat my IT band. It did help but I also fell deeply in love with trail running, something I wasn't expecting. Now a year later I celebrated my anniversary with an 18 mile run, I've come a long way baby! All I wanted to do was run pain free and I've managed to do much more than I ever thought I would after my second bout of ITBS. So here's to another year and hopefully many more years of happy trail running!

2) Sports Shield: Some of you may have remembered awhile back that I had some horrible chaffing after a long run. I used to use Body Glide but after hearing some other ladies rave about Sports Shield I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did! I haven't had any significant chaffing since switching. Today I had a tiny spot (size of a dime) but I'm guessing that I either missed that spot or after 18 miles it finally wore off. So if you are having any chaffing issue give this wonderful product a try, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Not So Favorite:

Black Toenail: So here I am celebrating my accomplishment of trail running for a year and what do I have to show for it? (besides some awesome legs and a healthy mental state) My first black toenail is forming. I thought I had caught it before it got bad but I guess I was wrong. I felt it during my Wednesday run and came home and trimmed the nail. But today around 16 miles or so I could feel that it was still getting punished. I'm guessing that the constant downhills probably are what is causing it. I guess I'll have to figure out how to fix it. I can't imagine needing to go up a shoe size, I already went a bit larger in this pair than my last. If I get my shoes any bigger they'll look like clown shoes. It's my middle toe which surprised me, I always figured the big toe or second toe would be the ones to lose a nail first.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MCM Mama Goes Masters Virtual Race Report

MCM Mama decided to invite all of us in her bloggy world to join her for a virtual race in celebration of her 40th birthday. I've never done a virtual race but decided that celebrating her moving into the masters division was worthy of participation. I'll admit I am looking forward to moving up to the masters division in less than two years. Next year will be tough since my friend Kay and her biggest local competition, Jamie, will both be moving into my age group. So, for 2011 they will be smoking me in races. So, I was looking forward to helping MCM celebrate moving up in the world!

Since I already had 8 miles on my calendar for MCM Mama's birthday I decided to go for the 8.25 miles option. I know my run won't be the fastest since it will be on trails but maybe I'll snag top trail run. This week my son also doesn't have school so there is no time in the morning to get my run in. I had to plan for an evening run at the US National Whitewater Center after the hubby was done with work.

I was nervous about this run because I'm not an evening runner, heck I'm not even an evening person. After about 2pm I only get the bare necessities done around the house, no starting big projects after then. So the idea of doing 8.25 mi at 6:30 pm was daunting. I had no idea how my body would respond after a day of trying not to kill, er, I mean taking care of my beloved toddler. Also I'm used to running after eating just my oatmeal for breakfast. There was worry about how my insides would respond after a day of: oatmeal, turkey bacon, pasta with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and parmesan pretzel crisps, and some M&M's and candy corn chased with a frappuccino.

The USNWC is much more busy in the after work hours than in the morning when I'm used to going there. The weather was more pleasant than I expected, around 85 with mild humidity. I wore my party dress, aka my Nuu-Muu dress, to make my run more festive. I hit the trail around 6:40 starting with the easier green trail. Man that trail was busy. Lots of rental, novices, and a few experienced mountain bikers. It was a relief to get off the green trail and over to the south main trails where there were fewer riders.

Around mile 4 I started to lose good lighting on the trail as the sun was quite low on the horizon. In one of the darker sections, as I was just starting up a hill, I was caught off guard by a mountain biker that was barreling down the same hill. We barely missed each other and both apologized then carried on. The insects were so loud at this point all I could hear besides them was my own rhythm thus causing the sounds of the bikes to be muffled resulting in a startled Ashley! I started to push the pace just a hair knowing I was losing daylight rapidly.

Around mile 6 I had to walk a few hills due to some mild tummy discomfort, my afternoon "snack" was revisiting me. I also had brought some Honey Stinger chews to try out as an option to my fig bars on long runs. I tried them out and had no tummy trouble from them but I didn't like the texture and after taste. I'll stick with my fig bars.

Heading into mile 7 I felt like I was flying down the trail and feeling my sweat spray off the bottom of my dress with each step(yes I call that mildly humid). I knew the feeling of flying was just an optical illusion due to the low light and the narrowness of the trails. At this point there were no more mountain bikes and I actually crossed paths with two other runners. I was trying to get the run done as fast as I could without falling. With about .75 mi to go I came out of the woods and decided to finish up around the kayak pool's gravel path since it's open and lighted. I decided to push my pace at that point to a real race pace. The last .25 mi seemed longer than it should have been but it brought my 8.25 mi to an end with a time of 1:35:05 for an average pace of 11:31. I could probably knock over a minute off the time due to the constant pausing and hopping off trail to avoid collision with mountain bikes.

Here are my splits:

.25)1:59 (pace 8:01)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Report from the Podiatrist

I have good news to report on the injury front!

I went to visit a Podiatrist this morning. The first thing they did was x-ray my right foot to make sure there was no stress fracture. So, there is no stress fracture but, there's always a but, my 2nd and 3rd metatarsals are a bit too close to each other, the 4th is a little close to the 3rd but not as much. After poking around my foot to try to elicit pain, which of course she couldn't do today because my pain has reduced a lot since Friday, she declared that more than likely it's nerve inflammation.

The nerve inflammation is what is causing the pain that radiates into my toes. Depending on how inflamed the nerve is, my toe and ball of foot pain changes quite a bit. Sometimes it's only one toe, sometimes it's all my small toes and the ball of my foot.

She thinks the shin pain in my left leg was the root cause of my right foot pain. I probably started overcompensating and putting more weight on my right foot. So the week off walking around barefoot favoring the left leg just angered the nerves in my right foot.

So as long as it doesn't hurt I can run. No walking around barefoot or in any shoes that hurt my foot. I had managed to get the pain down a lot since Friday by taking ibuprofen and icing it. Even with doing 11 trail miles Sunday and 5 road miles today it didn't hurt today like it did last week. So that's good news. The marathon is still on!

So I have a prescription anti-inflammatory patch for my foot. I also am to keep icing after runs and throughout the day when I can. As long as I can baby my foot when I'm not running to keep the inflammation down all should be right in my little world!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

Last week I forgot to do my Friday favorites post. I'm sure you all had a big gaping hole in your lives due to my slacking. We had a guest at our home and I was too distracted. But fret no more! I am here this Friday to enlighten you on my favorites and not so favorites for the week.

1) Our house guest, my husbands ex-step dad, came to help us do some projects around the house. I now have an extended patio, a gravel flower bed to put my potted plants on, and a raised flower bed (4 landscaping bricks high) in my back yard. Upstairs he put in a door so we could access more attic space for storage. The builders left us with little storage options outside of our closets and our two car garage has only held one car the almost 3 years we've been here.

2)Minimalism- Now I'm not talking the running kind, though I do love more minimal shoes. I'm talking minimalism in our everyday life. I came across this article via a facebook friend. I read the article and it lead me to this blog because I was intrigued by the 100 personal items challenge that was mentioned in the NY Time article. From there I found this blog that led me to the pinnacle of my day at this blog. I've been trying to declutter our home over the past year so that's why I was so interested in the article and blogs. It's a slow process but it is very satisfying. The Minimalist blog gave me a lot to think about when it comes to getting rid of clutter, distractions, excess activity, excess blog following, and even food.

The great thing about striving for minimalism in your life is that you can set the rules and decide what you think is minimal. For some it's owning only 100 personal items (toiletries, cars, phones, clothes, anything that is mostly for your use) for others like me it will be only having what I truly use. I started taking inventory of my things ( I still have some boxes in the attic and garage to count) but I have 75 running/exercise dedicated personal items, out of over 600 personal items. Clearly limiting myself to 100 overall would not make sense because then I'd be wearing running skirts and sports bras for everyday wear. We all know asking me to let go of useful running items is like asking me to amputate my foot for no reason. My goal is to reduce my personal items by 25% in the next three months, hopefully I can eventually get it down to 50% from my starting point.

As hard as it is to decide to let something go, it's just as satisfying to finally release it from my bonds. I never thought of myself as a hoarder but it turns out that I'm not exactly living a hoarding free lifestyle. My house actually looks clutter free, but behind closet doors and in drawers it's taking on a life of its own. You don't realize how much you hang onto until you start to clear it out. I don't think it will ever end, but I look forward to the day where I have less clutter (nick knacks) to clean around and fewer clothes and shoes to choose from. I love a challenge and this is definitely a good one. One thing I always remind myself of when I am trying to let go of an item is that the item isn't a memory or a person, those are inside me and can't be taken away.

So if you are intrigued or need help trying to get started I'd say look at the minimalist blog first, it helped me to come up with a plan of attack. After reading just a few posts I felt calm and uncluttered. I still need to delve deeper into the other blogs because they are inspirational too. (I wish these few paragraphs could have been more minimalist, seems silly to have to use so many words for something called minimalism but I'm not adept at minimal writing yet.)

Not So Favorite:
Very few people outside my circle of friends and family know I'm training for an October trail marathon. This is my third time signing up for one and I'm still a marathon virgin. I haven't mentioned it because I've been afraid I'd jinx myself. Well, the hush hush plan isn't working. I took the week off to give my left shin a rest and I've been having some pain in the ball of my foot that radiates into my middle toes on my right foot. It started off mild at least three weeks back and has slowly gotten worse. I notice it less when I'm on trails and once my foot is warmed up it really isn't bothersome. But after almost a week of rest it seems worse. The shin feels good but the right foot is angry. I've made an appt with a podiatrist for Tuesday and am hoping it will be an easy fix. If not I will cry.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Church of the Long Run

My version of church is to hit the trails for a long run. It’s a great way to get in touch with Mother Nature and reflect upon myself and things going on in my life. Today my running buddy, Kay, joined me for my long run. We both brought our cameras and took some good photos. We did 14 miles with lovely weather- overcast, foggy, and low 70’s for a high! I won’t bore you with too many words just pictures. Blog posts are more fun with pictures anyway.

Foggy upon the mountain


021 (2)

The Boulders of Boulders Access on the Ridgeline Trail


“That’s a nice boulder.”

030023 (2)


Tall Grass anyone?


Is that a big foot sighting?


Maybe, but I’m guessing whatever it was had legs that felt like jello and really wanted to get back to the parking area.