While I wasn't very happy about the diagnosis of Fibromuscular Dysplasia, it matched my symptoms across the board and made sense. It felt relieving to have an answer and to finally be able to.... ya know, STOP LOOKING!.... And start trying to come up with a plan. As mentioned in my last post, my brain MRA was completely normal, so although my CTA showed beading in many other organs, there was nothing significant.... in the places that pose a danger (and my heart was included on the scan) there was nothing at all. The stenosis was really mild and being able to see the scans myself and have the Vascular doctor walk me through each one was helpful. But what he determined is that this is a case of Fibromuscular Dysplasia he usually finds by accident when looking for something else (this is why he thinks it's actually common, but not commonly diagnosed... at least that was my understanding..? Don’t quote me!). So ultimately, we barely talked about FMD or got to any of my questions about training with FMD because he does not think it is significant enough to be causing the claudication so, instead we talked about his differential... which felt a little like an episode of House minus the grumpy doctor. I don’t know if it was the remote format or the doctors personality, but I felt very much like a copilot here instead of just a passenger and that was nice.
This was my first remote doctors appointment, and I've gotta say I liked it more than I thought I would. I got a lot of time with the actual doctor which was nice, and he was only 5 minutes or so behind schedule. I like when a doctor can actually touch and listen to and see ME.... but with a CTA of my chest down and an MRA of my neck up.... He's seen more of me than anyone else! ;) I also made sure to sit at my computer with my running medal display behind me... not to be arrogant or show off... but to remind him how *my* blood flows and what *my* heart rate is, and what *my* expectation of optimal is....n=1!!! He did notice. He said "you are trying to intimidate me with your medals." and I said "is it working?" Then he told me a quick story about his run on the River today, which made me feel good. Runners know what’s up.
Ultimately he determined that the doppler tests and ABI tests I previously had done for the Popliteal Artery Entrapment were done based on the norm. He is not surprised that the reading they got from me was normal because it might not be *my* normal... so his feeling is that it could be a false negative because my fitness level is not the norm (Even though right now I can't run to save my soul and relate more to people just trying to maintain a healthy image than ever before!). That has been my thought all along. How can they just determine that I’m fine based on a scale they’ve developed with people who don’t love their lives like I do abs don’t have a vO2max of 65 (and don’t even know what vO2max is)... so they are essentially scheduling all of that again. He does not feel like Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome (PAES) is off the table and also doesn't feel like Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS) is off the table, but he doesn't think it is either of those things, just that we haven’t been thorough enough with testing. He suspects that maybe there is an injury or a dissection in one of the arteries due to the turbulence heard. I don’t totally understand, but it sounds like there are 3 layers of the arteries, and if an inner layer were injured, the CTA won’t show it... so I'm redoing the doppler test with longer harder running to see if I can get a positive that way first, (He literally told me to start running again to prep for this so that I become symptomatic quicker... so much for never running again!). Then I will be getting an ultrasound/camera in my arteries, to hopefully find out what’s going on. If all else fails I'm going to be getting the Compartment Stryker Test done again since I did get a positive with that. ....
I'll be really happy to just shove a camera up my arteries, because that is the only test remaining to my knowledge to rule out PAES, because I've been so convinced it is this all along, I’d really like to complete that path. There’s a type called Functional PAES.... and from my understanding it’s harder to find because even 60 seconds rest between exercise and the test can make the test negative. In terms of the dissection... that seems to explain some of the very slight beading of my arteries...? Maybe...? I don’t know-I’m new to this vascular thing... We'll see! But... ugh... here we go again!
So I guess all this and last post to say I barely have a rare disease that maybe isn't actually rare and that most likely wont effect my life the way we initially thought, but we still don't know that for sure... And we still don't know why my calf is bothering me the way it has been, which sucks... but on the plus side, at least breaking 3 hours is back on the table as a goal, and if I figure this out there is still hope for me to run fast.... because as of right now there is no evidence that I need to be concerned as much about my blood pressure ... but the doctor said "just put a pin in hard running and lifting for now until we are sure"
Yeah, I'm confused.... but the folks at Mass General seem committed to running every test to get to the bottom of this. Good thing I gif my life insurance already, because tests of this nature don’t look so good!
It's been quite some time since I blogged any content related to running.... but exactly a week ago I made a major discovery that will most likely change my approach to my running goals forever. I learned that those calf "injuries" weren't from poor training choices, not enough strength, imbalances, weak pelvic floor or nutrition... They weren't really running injuries at all! I discovered I have a rare disease called Fibromuscular Dysplasia. I don't really know much about it, except for that it is beading and twisting in the arteries that impacts the blood flow and that it is most commonly found in the renal arteries (Kidney), and Carotid Artery (brain), and it can also be found in the Mesenteric arteries (intestines) and the Iliac arteries (LEGS!)... I'm sure you can guess at least one place where I have it!
I have it in BOTH illiac artieries (and the mesenteric and the renals)
So that explains the issues I'm having with my groin and calves.... and also why everything seems to take an eternity to heal!
So when I say rare, I'm talking "less than 1000 active cases in the US" rare (quoted from My Doctor at Mass General Hospital one of the few Hospitals in the world to have a center for this disease. Thank God I live in Massachusetts!). They suspect it's one of these things that is "rarely diagnosed" but maybe more common than we know. Think about people you've heard about having a stroke in their 50's or 60's... It's possible it's from Fibromuscluar Dysplasia... It's just not something people are doing a lot of research on or looking for. So how did someone like me discover this diagnosis in myself? If you've been following me on Instagram, you know it's been a three year hustle, but if you're stumbling on this blog because you just got the sucker punch I did (living with a rare disease) then I want to tell the back story and as I go forward I'll blog anything relevant. Doctors appointments, Training (maybe?), exercise, diet... Things I've tried to do to live with this.... who knows. I just want to put it all down somewhere because right now there is NOTHING for FMD and Exercise and, well, I'm bout to blaze a trail.....
I'll start from the very beginning (since it's a very good place to start.) When did symptoms first show up? Well I didn't know it at the time, but they showed up about 3 weeks postpartum. I was having weird symptoms (loss of vision and shortness of breath) and I found myself in an ambulance with suspected blood clot postpartum. They did an MRI of my brain without contrast because I was breastfeeding. We had only introduced the bottle once and it didn't go well... and I hadn't pumped enough yet to feed her full time for the 48 hours. We agreed that if anything came up on the MRI without dye we'd take a closer look with dye. Nothing came up. I was relieved because the MRI to the brain was the most traumatic scan I've had in my life. I did not know I was claustrophobic until that moment. I told my husband "I never want to do THAT again!)
Anyway... after that I had vision tested it was perfect and then I got mastitis and it seemed like maybe that had something to do with it... so I just forgot about it. I read online various accounts of hormones effecting ones vision for no reason, so... I ain't got time to keep looking! I got 7 months until the Boston Marathon (I qualified right between my two pregnancies) and two years to qualify for the Olympic Trials LETS GO!!!!
At 12 weeks postpartum I started running again, but noticed pain in my abdomin. I also noticed I couldn't really go to the bathroom without bearing down. I consulted Doctor Google who said I needed a Pelvic Floor Therapist. After about 2 weeks of therapy, I passed with flying colors... But for some reason still struggled to take a shit? Whatever. I was cleared to run, so all the weird things I feel must be normal and I will just heal as I progress postpartum! Moving on!
Then came the groin pain and the calf pulls. I don't know which was first or what order anymore... but I was either in pain from my right groin or my left calf. I could run with the groin pain but it was constant. The calf pain didn't bother me most of the time, but when it was triggered, it was debilitating and took 6-8 weeks to heal. As you can imagine, this made it impossible to run Boston, but... I could still OTQ if I could just get my SHIT together.
SO I thought I just needed even more strength training and it would get better... So I did that for 16 weeks but got injured when I ran after Strength ONE time. It's like I couldn't take a SINGLE risk or it was Game Over. So then I did it for another 16 weeks.... But nothing was really working. Don't get me wrong- I still put in some decent training between the calf pulls and got pretty fit at times. Workouts pointed to 2:55-2:53 marathon with only 5 days per week of running. I did 20 milers a few times, lots of workouts, but nothing EVER felt GOOD. The amount of "extra" stuff required to keep me training was just.... ABNORMAL. Again, I could not move a single piece in the wrong direction or it was lights out!
I read everything I could on postpartum injuries. There was a lot suggesting that the Relaxin from breastfeeding could slow healing time.... I wasn't going to stop breastfeeding on account of running, but at this point I was at like 10 months PP... I wanted to do a year... I can deal with it a bit longer. When I started weaning at 13 months Maebel made it clear she was totally down with stopping.
I stopped breastfeeding and the placebo kicked in... Everything was good again! or was I just getting better at faking it? I still couldn't shit, still couldn't see, still had groin pain, still had headaches... BUT WHAT THE HELL! OTQ 2020 baby! When you have the talent to qualify for the Olympic Trials, but your window of opportunity is closing, you throw everything into it even if it doesn't make perfect sense! (hindsight is 2020... this was never going to happen). My calves were actually not that bad for this stretch. At this point it was my feet that were bad. My plantar faciitis was horrific. I was supposed to run the Shamrock Marathon. I thought I could run about 2:55 based on training. Working on concrete was KILLING ME (I thought)! I stopped wearing flats and ONLY wore sneakers EVERYWHERE I went. I did drills just to wake up in the morning. Put my feet in warm water to start the day, tried night splints, tried KT tape, tried arch supports over the counter. If I went a day without sneakers I couldn't walk the next day. How did I ever normalize this in my head!? I had been so far removed from normalcy that I didnt' know what it was to feel comfortable running anymore, this was my new normal and at some point I accepted it and forgot that it's not what everyone or anyone experiences. I kept training. There were days I couldn't walk but somehow I could run "just get through the first mile, I'll warm up" ... and I did warm up, but then I'd have to recover and do it again which required time and money and help. I couldn't let up for a single minute or I'd be injured again (even though as I write this... I'm like "girlfriend, You were already injured"). Finally the foot thing got so bad I really couldn't walk. A week before Shamrock, I pulled the plug. I was convinced I was going to tear the fascia right off if I raced for the duration of the marathon. I saw a podiatrist. I got custom orthotics and shockwave therapy. This felt like a game changer. I trained again.
This training cycle we took a new approach. NO WORKOUTS. We set the goal to qualify for Boston since I missed out, and only focus on easy running and keeping long runs short. I didn't do any medium long runs, I supplemented by doing 45 minute runs and jumping into spin class with no break. I never ran faster than 7:20 pace at any point in training or in the race. It worked. I was also seeing a Massage therapist once a week. She specialized in vascular massage, and kept telling me that I have no issues with my calf muscles "it's your blood! you're body is not going to supply blood to your feet and calves if it can't supply blood to your organs. Your organs are hot, for some reason you aren't getting blood" ... I inquired about this with a few other sources... they were kinda not taken seriously.... and to be honest, she was in a weird earthy crunchy office. Just massage me lady and quit telling me these quack theories! I didn't book her again once the marathon was over. She was EXPENSIVE and a 50 minute drive. But I did end up qualifying for Boston. Those orthotics must work! I was a little concerned though because I lost feeling in my feet for 5 weeks after! FIVE WEEKS! I saw the podiatrist again thinking I had a Mortons Neuroma. Nope. sigh. Weird... Probably nerves from tying shoes too tight. OH WELL! That means I can train hard again! I wont OTQ but BOSTON 2020! Let's GO!!!
Started training again and pretty much immediately pulled my calf after I did one day with 6 x 20 second strides . TWENTY seconds of hard running! WTAF!? It was literally the FIRST week I took off from Chiropractic care (for those keeping track at home... I've spent life savings at this point, but at this point ) New PT, new Plan, more strength training, a 12 week pelvic floor program (because I still can't shit like normal) more MRI's, checked for blood clots in my legs, squatty potties. I gave up gluten, I gave up cheese, I gave up sugar. I gave up everything inflammatory to see if it would make things better. Now I'm pissed. Now I'm really confused. I feel like I can't even live anymore! I pulled my calf hiking at my 5 year olds pace! I have been thinking about compartment syndrome for about a year, but no one would test me for it because it's invasive... so I'm trying like hell to get someone to test me. No one will. Then COVID... now I can't get someone to test me even if I wanted to. I did virtual Strength training 2x a week and came up with a plan! I started training again after I was cleared by PT with NO IMBALANCES in May of 2020. This is great. Boston is in September, now I can recover, get this treated, and run Boston (hahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa Hindsight of 2020) . I did a gradual increase of walking and running. Then I got to a 6 minute running interval and BOOM. Calf Pull. Fuck you 2020.
The PT suggested an Ankle Brachial Index test just to see if there's any change in blood pressure, and if there was then there might be compartment syndrome. The ABI was positive. WOW! The first time in almost three years that anyone has found anything definitively and tangibly wrong when there SO CLEARLY IS SOMETHING WRONG! Still, no one seemed to be taking my case serious enough to get me in for a compartment syndrome test, so I drove 2 hours to my Orthopedic friend and she did it. It was positive in all 4 compartments but the results were weird. Now her colleague suggested surgery, but she really didn't like the result and neither did I. The name of the diagnosis is Chronic EXERTIONAL compartment syndrome. But I had a positive test before exertion and exertion didn't make it worse. It didn't make sense!
I researched like crazy and kept coming across Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome being co-morbid with Compartment Syndrome. I found a support group of people with both. I started getting information about what I needed to be tested for this. It took 2 months for insurance to approve vascular medicine for me. I went to vascular and their Doppler test was negative. WTF, that's weird... it HAS To be this! I've read EVERYTHING! I told him about my massage therapists theory... He didn't respond much but asked me to do some squats. Then they listened to my arteries and "heard turbulence"... and ordered a CTA from my abdominals down to my feet. He warned me that I may never run the way I want to or... ever... again. I thought for sure I had Popliteal entrapment. While I waited for my results I read everything I could about the surgery and recovery because I had found people online running after it, so I was confused! It wasn't making sense! And why did he order a CTA? The support group said the Angiogram should be next? So many questions!
On my drive to get my results, I called my sister. I was like "I'm a little pissed because when they did the CTA they didn't ask me to exercise first and based on the support group that's the key to getting diagnosed! I told her the CTA was a horrible experience and I didn't want to do it again! The contrast made me feel so sick. I told her "The only thing worse was the time I had my brain scanned... As long as I don't have to do that again!" ... and I SHIT YOU NOT... The VERY first words out of the Doctors mouth were "Three years ago you had an MRI of your brain... You didn't get contrast... You need to do it again" ... and that's when I found out I did not have Popliteal Artery Entrapment syndrome. That's when I found out that my pressure in my legs was high because my blood pressure is higher from the arteries twisting... Thats when I found out that I couldn't go to the bathroom normally because my intestines and kidneys weren't getting full blood supply, That's when I found out this could be in my brain impacting my vision. Thats when I found out to whacky massage therapist was right about everything... and that's when I found out that I *may* never run the Boston Marathon and that the photo below is the closest I'll get to the finish line. But because of COVID, my qualifying time might still count. We don't know yet! So if I'm qualified, there's a chance I could walk/run it... Who knows!?
It was quite the sucker punch at first, but since then I found out I do not have any signs of this disease impacting my brain which greatly reduces my risks (but WTF with my vision?!). I'm being switched over to the Fibromuscular Dysplasia center with a Vascular Medicine specialist... and I will learn more soon!
I didn't arrive at this easily. If I didn't live near one of the best Hospitals in the world, who knows if I would have found out? Running may be the only reason I ever found it... and perhaps it will allow me to take medication to prevent stroke or heart attack. I don't know if I'll run again... I hope so... but for now, I'm absorbing as much as I can and reading for the next round. I'm very proud of how I advocated... and even in the face of people telling me I just should stop running, or that it wasn't worth it... I kept on going... Because I know my body, and I am not going to settle for anything less than my absolute best. So I'm going to be learning my new "Best" and documenting it here... and I hope it will help me process it all, and maybe help someone else down the road.
Anyway, I didn't reread because my brain literally hurts. SORRY, BYE!
Here is a recap of some activities we've been up to this week or so (can anyone keep track of the days anymore?!) and a PDF to go with our most recent science experiment, "Break or Bounce"
This science experiment is super simple and can be done with materials you most likely have at home. I'm not sure if everyone keeps vinegar at home, but my mom cleans with it so I'm used to having a lot of vinegar available! Probably not the best cleaning solution to ward off Covid-19, so this science experiment can put it to good use!
First, make a hypothesis, will the egg break or bounce after it has been in vinegar for two days?!
Next, go over the materials. You will need a jar (or tupperware), vinegar, and an egg.
Then, follow the procedure. Pour vinegar in a jar (or tupperware), put the egg in, wait for two days. You will immediately see some fizzing start to occur, so it is pretty neat to have that to watch, but things will be really interesting in a few days! You can check in a few hours, and periodically the following day to discuss changes you see occurring and if you think that will impact your hypothesis.
After two days, take the egg out, and see what happens! Want a sneak peak? Here's a youtube video!
Some other things we've been up to:
We've done several different "hunts" around the house or in a few rooms, and this has been the most engaging activity we've done so far. This was also pretty popular in my instagram stories. We started with a shape hunt using post-its and some corresponding shape papers....
but in the following days we did letter matching and spelled our names. You can also do number hunts where you need to put the numbers in order. You can assign spelling words where your child can find letters around the room and spell the words you give to them, you can have them form sentences with words you put around the room (simple things like "I can jump" "I see a star") you can put math facts around the room and have them put the post it on the answer. SO MANY VARIATIONS!
I decided I wanted to hide more things for them to find. I had so many pom-poms already separated from the craft box from our last experiment, so I made sure I had enough to create a ten frame for numbers 1-10 on the poster board. I may have cheated a little to keep them busy with this one, and held on to the last pom-pom while they looked all over the house for it.... I made sure to put it back out before they got too frustrated.
Another math activity we did was a movement and counting activity. I have provided a PDF for it, but there are some actions and numbers. Have the child pick one of each and perform the action the designated amount of times. Somehow we ended up with the hardest combination: 10 push-ups!
And the last thing I can think of to mention is doing our names with stickers, dobbers and labels. Maebel was especially proud of how hard she worked on hers!
Hope you are also getting outside! Just be careful not to trip and fall!
I created a new PDF science project for my students to try at home. We do science every Thursday, so even though all their work packets are optional, I'm trying to give them the more resources I can to stay in a routine. This is especially important for children with Autism (my whole class)
What's great is that I can multi-task! My kids get to try out the experiment before I send it off to my students! It was a hit and now you can try it too!
We made a prediction which pom-pom would travel further using a hair dryer. We had a regular pom-pom, and then we had one that had glittery parts that made the pom-pom "spikey" and gave it more friction.
The girls totally wanted to sparkly pom-pom with the spikes to win, but afterwards we talked about why the "spikes" might have slowed down the pom-pom.
You can try any object at home you want! You can compare size and shape or weight. There's lots of ways to experiment with this one and extend the lesson and the fun. We mostly stuck with just pom-poms but we experimented with using our breath vs the hair dryer vs the fan. It was a lot of fun and kept them busy for a while. Raea set up her own experiment later involving pushing colored pencils around on the floor.... that is until she wiped out with them!
I am going to keep these short and to the point, just go ahead and scroll down for the PDF if you want! Today we did a quick brownie baking activity. Of course I can't function without chocolate, and I'm also trying to be a little less indulgent since I've been unable to train competitively and consistently for over 2 years, so probably not necessary... It was for the kids! I swear! I'm Gluten Free these days, so I bought a premix package and just added eggs, oil (I used coconut oil) and water... I don't even know what a regular brownie mix asks you to add, so I left off any specific measurements, and just put in the basic steps.
We went over the ingredients, and followed the instructions. It was nice that they could have a visual to help them follow along and check off each step as it was complete. As I write this, we still haven't eaten them. I'm going to make them wait until after they eat dinner! Bribery goes a long way with these things!
Hello to whoever may be out there! Today my daughters and I did an "Ant's on a Log" activity and we had a lot of fun! I have MANY pre-made activities like this, most science related, that I can share in the upcoming few weeks, so stay tuned! I'm going to keep this as QUICK as possible so I can get back to doing the super important stuff I do while in quarantine... Sitting on the couch watching Greys Anatomy while simultaneously scrolling twitter and instastorying....
It's pretty simple, it's set up like a scientific method.
Hypothesis: Your child can predict if they will or will not like Ants on a Log
Materials: I set up all my "science" projects to have three material: Your child can glue on all three by his or her self, or if they are young you can give them a choice between two items (one really obvious incorrect one so they get it right and can be reinforced). In no particular order: Celery, PB (or substitute) and chocolate chips
Procedure: Same process: Spread PB, Put on chocolate chips, taste!
Observations: Did your child like it or not?
Conclusion: Was the hypothesis correct or incorrect?
Even if your child has had the snack before they can still have fun getting familiar with the scientific method for other "experiments" that I will post about more!
In addition to learning about the scientific method, your child (if age appropriate) can practice cutting, coloring, and gluing! All great fine motor skills! In addition to the sensory experience of touching bumpy celery, smooth and sticky peanut butter, and small little chocolate chips (yay, pincer grasp!)
My daughters are 2 and 4 but I do these activities at school with 6-9 year olds and they love it too!
Oh, and for all of you thinking “chocolate chips!? My mom made me use raisins!!!”......
I had this really great blogpost written in my brain.... But then I got a call from my school that I need to report tomorrow and need lesson plans ASAP, and I've been rapid fire producing work for my INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS! I'm Special Ed, so each student has an INDIVIDUALIZED PLAN! and so I needed to make sure everything I created or downloaded, or saved in PDF form was catered towards the individual needs of each kid and their IEP.
but I'm basically almost there... I at least have enough to get through this week and next...
I promised I'd put out a schedule that you can download for your kids and I DID IT! Mostly because a picture schedule is an accommodation on all the IEP's so... Must Provide. I took your suggestions, and generalized them a bit: Example, some said "legos, blocks, games"... I did a symbol for just "play time" that can be used. If you need individuals I can put another questions box up and do a secondary piece to download when I get out from under the stuff for my real job.
One of the best ways to survive this time is to keep your kids in a routine! It is OKAY if they are not doing grade level work and are just maintaining skills. It is OKAY if their ELA time is reading in their room below their grade level. It is OKAY if they are doing coloring instead of handwriting (just make sure that grasp is correct!). This is a stressful time for EVERYONE, and the last thing we need is added stress from having to suddenly work from home and be a teacher at the same time! Of course, your own district might disagree, so follow what the teachers suggest... but if you have NO guidance, that's my two cents. I've been doing this for over a decade and this is unprecedented... No one really knows the best thing to do here, but in my opinion, lowering the stress is best! Your immune system tanks when you are stressed and WE DON'T NEED THAT!
To help you stay on a schedule, download the visual PECS I put together below. I recommend you copy or print the first page a few times and maybe cut and glue it on a poster board vertically so that you have more blank spaces extending downward. You can keep it simple, or break it into more specific parts of your day. Also, I made it black and white so that you can have your kids color it in! Keep them busy! It is geared more towards younger children since they are non-readers. Older kids... probably won't listen to a schedule anyway! ;) but you can just write it down in a list form for them.
I want to do a list of online resources for you too, but I haven't made it to that part yet. Still emailing parents and ferociously typing plans for each kid... So, instead of getting a list from me, COMMENT BELOW if you have some to share!
Here are a few websites I now have time to add. I will continue adding to them as I come across them, many you have to eventually pay for but there are free trials for most!:
I will keep adding to this as I get more from teachers and from social media etc. So check back if you need something different!
Maybe you're tired of it, Maybe you're not... isn't everyone on social media an online coach now? That can be how it seems when you're looking through a small scope on the internet. You may be asking yourself. What makes this person qualified? How can I separate the good coaches from the crowd? Why do they charge so much? How fast do you need to be to get a coach?
I'm writing this blog post today to answer a few of those questions, and also why I decided to finally.... finally.... take the leap!
I know most of you that read this blog also follow me on instagram... so I keep that in consideration when I write these blogposts. Many of you, no matter how real you keep it, may have "two lives" or identities; there's you're real life... your family, friends, and work or non-running extracurriculars that might not fit in with your online "market" or appeal to your audience, so you don't share... and then there's running. Well, for me... There's just running. That's not to say I don't have a life outside of running... I do.... but I didn't pick up running late in life and once I started I never stopped... so as a result running shaped all of my friendships, all of my extracurriculars, and even my family is largely a result of running... so it is threaded into every aspect of my life. Many of the people I grew up competing with have either burnt out from the sport, started coaching, or both. I've always had an interest in coaching, however I never could commit to someone else's training when I struggled to even commit to my own. Instead, I offered up my expertise and experience in the form of a volunteer and as a training partner to younger student athletes who needed a mentor... it was mutually beneficial as I also got a training partner in return.
A handful of years ago when my late high school coach was dying, I went to visit him and felt this huge weight of obligation to take over the program and begin coaching in his place. It felt poetic and looked good on paper so when I visited him, I asked about it. I told him that I would continue on and honor the program he built if he wanted me to. I thought for sure he'd say yes and I braced myself for the answer. I honestly didn't want to... but I'd do anything for that man and knew he wouldn't ask me... so I offered it... but instead of the yes, please I expected, he rolled his eyes at me and said "Caitlyn, I just want you to run. You have more in you and you should pursue your own running" It was not what I saw coming... but man I was relieved! I didn't want to give up my dreams but didn't know how it was possible to work full time, coach, and train... (this is before I had kids and realized how bad I was at time management. Kids really whip you into shape in that department!)
Since then I've been approached countless times about coaching and countless times I've fallen back on the "I'm pursuing my own running" answer and offered up a quick tip that really isn't very helpful because coaching is a whole-picture-type-thing. For a good long while, pursuing my own running was true, but recently I felt a huge shift and I felt myself change and I actually wanted to coach. Sadly, I still felt like I did nothing with my own running since that conversation with Coach Kirk, so I felt like now if I shift to coaching... I'm letting him down. He wanted me to pursue my own running and I did and I am but it's not fulfilling me the way it used to. I've deflected a lot of inquiries about coaching to try to honor him, and myself and to try an get faster, but I've recently felt like maybe I’ve been using him as a crutch to not take this next step! I’ve been really sitting on this since February last year... and I felt like my late coach has been trying to send me signs that it's okay. What he meant was to follow my own path... not his... and at the time that meant pursue my own running, but now... that can mean whatever I believe! I know he'd want what I thought was best for me and my development as a whole person.
If you don't believe in this stuff, just skip to the bold... But I believe in a higher purpose and power and I believe we are called to do certain things in life at certain times and I started being called. I had several pretty profound things happen in the past year that felt like my former coach communicating with me, and I it keeps coming... so I can’t ignore it!
First, his nephew began working as the custodian in my school specifically assigned to my class. I didn't know why his eyes looked so familiar until I signed into work one day and saw the last name, "Kirk"... it hit me like a bag of bricks! That very same week my coaches daughter drove by me while I was doing the walk of shame home from a failed run. She lives a quarter mile away from me! What?! Next, I was bringing Raea to the dance studio and noticed one of the girls wearing a sweatshirt with the name "Kirk" on it from 1998, I had an identical sweatshirt from the year we won the cross country championships. I stopped the girl in her tracks and stuttered through questioning... "wh-wher-where'd you get that shirt?" She said it was her friends sisters. Of course! I found out my coaches youngest daughter that was born when I was in High School was now a senior and danced at the same studio! (don't even get me started on how much I cried watching her solo)... and the last straw was last week when my mom received letter in the mail with my class ring from high school... It was sent by an athletic director from another school. They found it while remodeling the locker room, sent it back to my high school and my high school sent it to my mom (or something like that? I don't know I actually still haven't seen it... my mom just told me about it... all I know is I lost my class ring that has a track foot and cross country symbol on it and now I have it back) Freaky, right? While hiking the Rim on Cannon Mountain in the white mountains this summer, I saw a shirt that said “guardians” (my mascot from High School and I said “hey I’m an alum!” And from under the woman’s hat appeared my old History teacher who still works at the school. She said “Caitlyn! I just sent your class ring to your mother, did you get it?” ... weird.... Also weird is that I was hiking in the Whites the day my coach died, too. I was as close to Heaven as you could get in New England.
Somewhere in the middle of all these events, I sent resumes and inquired about other coaching companies out there... but none of them felt right for me in the phase I’m in. I couldn't really wrap my head around abandoning the very important work I was doing in the school systems. I'm very good at what I do and although it sucks the life out of me at times... sometimes it gives me life to know that I can connect with children that other people are afraid of. I want to have the flexibility to only coach a handful of people and increase when the timing is right for me, not be flooded with new athletes that I don't get to do intake phone calls with and that I don't necessarily get the chance to feel out if we are a good fit for one another. It's a two way street! So then the hurdle was just being brave enough to take the small steps each day so I could get closer to launching this. The extra time on the summer gave me a chance to re-read training books, prep my website, learn about payment portals and hosting sites so I could make a seamless transition when “real school” starts and when my own marathon was over. I'm not going to lie, I've been almost more excited and more anxious about this than I was for Erie. As Erie approached I kept finding myself saying "and then I'll start officially coaching!" A weird part of me felt like I couldn't be a coach if I was not able to run myself. I felt like I needed the marathon to prove myself first... and in hindsight, I know that is really silly... because race times do not make a coach more or less qualified to be a good coach.
What Makes a Coach Qualified?
There are lots of certifications out there that give you letters you can put next to your name to say that you learned something about coaching and about running. I have none of those letters. I have none of those certifications. The most influential coach I ever had was Kevin Kirk, and he wasn't USATF Level anything. Coaching is about knowledge and experience to some degree, but how you are able to use that knowledge to help someone else is crucial. A good coach motivates. A good coach sees both strengths and weaknesses and knows how to use them to benefit the athlete, a good coach is a teacher (eh, em.. Masters Degree+). They know when to push and they know when to pull back. I have experienced every spectrum of coaching both as an athlete and as a volunteer assistant, and although I can't tell you exactly what type of coach is best for you and what makes a good coach for you... I can tell you one thing... certifications will not give you that answer... neither will PR's. When you hire a coach, you enter into a relationship. It needs to be a good fit for both.
How Can I Separate Good Coaches from The Crowd?
Again, there is nothing clear cut here. Results of the Athlete matter, but health of the athlete matters more and that is not as obvious or concrete so it's harder to spot online. A conversation is necessary for knowing for sure that the coach has your best interest in mind and is not just results driven. I've seen this be especially problematic for women runners and fertility. IF you are not menstruating you need to get off the slippery slope.... a good coach will know how to guide an athlete into a healthy zone.
Why Do they Charge SO Much?
I'll be honest, I've never once felt like I've been charged too much for coaching. I've been lucky enough to receive coaching at a high level without having to pay (except for all those student loans!) for almost half of my running career, so when I completed college there was no question I would continue to have a coach, and for a long time I continued with the assistant coach from my college. If something is valuable to you, you find a way. If you feel like coaches are charging too much, than you are not valuing their commitment and your own commitment to the sport enough... and if that is where you are, I understand that. I have priced myself below the industry standard in order to access athletes that do not believe their athletic goals are worth more, however I am in a position to do that since this is just a part time gig I am doing to fulfill the space in my heart... and with time I hope I can make them see that they are worth it and I am worth it! (but I won't increase my prices, I will just be happy to have made a difference in someone's perception of self)
How Fast do you need to be to Get a Coach?
EVERYONE DESERVES A COACH! There are plenty of great coaching companies that coach athletes of every level. You've probably seen them online. I, Personally, am a McKirdy Trained athlete and have received great professional care (even with all the complications!) from my coach Pardon no matter how out of shape I've been. I follow a lot of other coaches on instagram and there are a lot of good options out there that have no requirements! For the most part, a lot of coaches care significantly less about your ability and more about your commitment to the work (and to the rest!). Many coaches also have a better grasp on your untapped potential than you do, and it is often really fun to take a new, unexperienced, moldable athlete to the next level. There are some programs and clubs that have qualifying standards, but if your poking around on this page, you probably aren't interested in that type of stuff! If you have a goal and a worth ethic to match it, you can be coached. Period.
Why Should I Hire You?
The truth is, I don't know if you should. I want to have that conversation to get to know you first! Most coaches are not in the business of making money... we just want to see progress! If progress is what you want, we agree on that! Lets see where else our philosophies and goals line up and if we're a good match! And if you haven't checked out what I offer, please do! I'm especially excited to have a discounted rate for mothers because that is something I am very passionate about having just had a 2 year battle with postpartum injuries... I have learned a lot!
If we've had a conversation already or you're ready to take that step, just go sign up! I look forward to this new journey and am really excited to see you grow as an athlete and have running enhance your life the way it has mine!
The first time I qualified for the Boston Marathon was in November of 2013. My time of 3:05:4x would earn me a spot in the first Wave for the 2015 Boston Marathon. Both injury and pregnancy would keep me out of that race. I was 26 weeks pregnant and 4 weeks post knee surgery (fat pat impingement syndrome) so I just thought "eh, next time". Running Boston never seemed like a big deal to me. For starters, I'm from here so it seems like everyone runs Boston. Logistically it's not as complicated when you don't need to book a flight and a hotel. My ego was sure I could qualify without batting an eye at a later date.... so... why worry so much? Next time I can do it! But things get trickier once you start balancing family planning with the Boston Marathon. I had Raea in August, Rehabbed my knee, got fit, and qualified the following October with another 3:05 (about 30 second PR). I still had 19 months until the 2018 race so I decided to have another baby, and then I'd run the race 8 months postpartum. Well, as you probably now know, that didn't happen. I got injured again and again and again (more times than I can count) and finally got to my first marathon after having Maebel, the Erie Marathon, at 25 months Postpartum (#oncepostpartumalwayspostpartum... Deal with it). It was so far from the high hopes and pie in the sky goals I had for myself, but I've never been so happy and proud to have finished something in my life.
As recapped in my previous blog, I got pretty sick just before the race. I thought it was "taper crazies" at first and went to work feeling pretty lousy for two of the 3 days before the race... I started feeling a little better by Thursday but knew if I didn't take the day to rest I was doomed by Saturday since I can't sleep well in hotels. The girls had daycare Thursday and my husband was gone so stayed home and alternated between sleeping, drinking a ton of water, and eating carbs all day. I felt a little guilty for missing work knowing I would be out Friday and probably also Monday... but....in hindsight... I took my first day off from work on Thursday September 5th, and I legitimately have not had full staff since. An entire two weeks understaffed because we all got sick with whatever I had... my days off were justified. By Friday I felt a little better and spent the whole day in the car trying to chill. My kids were so good for the ride and my husband willing to drive the whole way that I could still keep resting. I got in a quick 4 mile run on our way up to Erie just to break up the drive and shake out the legs, and then another quick run Saturday with McKirdy Trained Shakeout before the packet pick up.
The night before
The night before the race turned out to be eventful. My mom was also running so we went to diner and somehow got completely locked out of her hotel room. You know those swing bar locks in hotels that you use from the inside? well, as it turns out, if you slam them against the wall upon exiting, it can bounce off the wall and lock you out... and the process to open it is unknown to most people that work at the hotel. I weirdly enjoyed trying to unlock the door with a gentleman from across the hall. We eventually figured it out after about an hour. It would have made excellent instagram stories but my phone was behind a locked door. It kept me from thinking about the race, and gave my husband enough time to get the girls settled. I barely slept for the second night in a row. In addition to being a chronic insomniac... especially bad in hotels.... I also still had a lingering cough and so did my daughter Maebel.. The cough only bothered us when we were laying down, but of course that's when you're trying to sleep. Maebel and I seemed to alternate in coughing fits all night until I just decided to rest with my eyes closed sitting up and put headphones in. That was probably around 3am and I had to wake up at 5. I'm very very good at navigating the "night before race jitters"... I just accept that I wont sleep and that I can't let that be a reason to not be successful. I start preparing self talk to counter the "I must feel crappy because I didn't sleep".... I assume I will sleep zero hours so when I sleep 2 my self talk is more positive. Still a horrible night of sleep but I lack sleep so often that it really never becomes an excuse in my race because 90% of the time I run a long run on less than 6 hours of sleep. It's something I really really need a solution for (especially after listening to Joe Rogans podcast episode #1109... scary shit. I'm going to die!)
I'm not a very experienced marathoner... but I am a very experienced racer... so waking up for race morning was business as usual and I feel like I'm my best self before a race. Cool as a Cucumber. The race day never stresses me out as much as the training does... deep breaths, no sudden movements... keep adrenaline in check.. empty intestines.... Got dressed and put on KT tape, blister bandaids, and all the precautionary stuff. A lot of people want to get pumped up for events like this... but not me. A marathon is a slow burn so the adrenaline needs to be a small drip. I went down to the lobby since they had early breakfast. I brought 2 packets of my own oatmeal and heated it up... Met my mom and we drove to the shuttle location together. Both of us chose to walk instead of take the shuttle. I kept my long pants and shirt on even though it was already warming up. My coaches have always been adamant about keeping everything warm even when it's warm out. I waited in line for the bathroom which took longer than I thought. I wanted to get in a 1 mile warm up to get my laces adjusted. Since getting orthotics I haven't found the "sweet spot" for my laces and have typically needed the first mile to get them right. I wasn't wearing any special shoes to race in. I wore the Cloud Ace, 12oz shoes. The bulkiest I've probably ever worn but they've been reliable in keeping injuries at bay which was my biggest concern about the race. I'm not super comfortable in them but I trust them and that was most important. Unfortunately the bathroom line made it impossible to get my laces adjusted. As soon as I finished the bathroom I put on Vaseline in all the areas that might possibly need it and then got to the start in the 3:30 group. I ran in place to try to get the laces right. Too tight, too loose, too tight, too loose. I finally stopped touching them and hoped for the best. Then... The gun went off.
Miles 1-6 8:02, 7:58, 7:55, 7:51, 7:48, 7:56
I started easy with the 3:30 pace group (8:01 pace). My goal was to qualify for Boston but also to give myself a bit of a buffer if necessary. My qualifying standard was 3:35 but I assumed 3:30 to be safe and then had run a few races now that indicated 3:26 was in my fitness range, before getting sick I had a stretch goal of hammering the last 10k to see if I could break 3:20... I didn't let go of that goal but also didn't allow myself to make any decisions around that goal in the earlier stages of the race. I did essentially no workouts leading up to this race so I knew that the very fastest I could run would be right around 7 minute miles and probably for only 3 miles tops... so if I wanted to take pressure off of that pace I'd need to go a little faster a little earlier. I tried to keep that out of my mind and focus on the only goal that mattered: Qualifying for Boston. sub 3:20 was exactly the same as 3:30 in regards to that goal so I was just going to focus on 3:30.
The Erie Marathon is designed to qualify people for Boston. It's not a huge marathon but since everyone had the same goal to BQ, the 3:30 group was packed. I was grateful for my experience running in Falmouth and reminded myself that my Boston experience will be very crowded also. The roads in this beginning section were much more narrow than most of the other sections. I really should have positioned myself just in front of the 3:30 group as to not be mixed in with all the anxious people who were bobbing and weaving trying to get a better position in a group that was running all the same pace. It wasn't logical to be making all those early moves to get nowhere so I just stayed where I was and waited and waited and waited until I naturally found myself towards the front of the pace group. After Mile 4 I moved slightly in front of the pace group and then sort of just stayed there and could feel their presence a handful of strides back. We were running the same pace but I had 5-10 seconds on them and that felt much better and relaxing. I felt really comfortable but was a little discouraged that I got a numbing sensation in my foot from my laces being too tight. This has happened on a lot of my long runs but I would just stop and adjust the laces. During training I told myself if it happened I'd just stop because I had the fitness to do it and still make up the time... but with the pack right behind me I wasn't going to stop, get swallowed up, and have to deal with that again. Fortunately it's not painful but considering I've had so many foot injuries it's a little concerning to have over 20 miles to go and I've got this annoying thing going on. It's definitely because the orthotics and bulky shoes are overkill in terms of feet protection. No space to breathe! but I came to terms with this issue a while ago and decided the devil I knew was better than the devil I didn't.
Miles 7-13 7:53, 7:46, 7:48, 7:49, 7:55, 7:44, 7:53
After the 10k I was naturally finding myself moving more in the low 7:50's to the high 7:40's. I let it happen naturally but held myself back whenever anything went under 7:45. I had my watch set to show me predicted mile. The closer I got to the mile marker the more accurate it was. I checked my watch often but didn't really make many decisions off of it. I just needed to constantly reassure myself I wasn't going too fast. I had run long runs pretty fast but I capped it off at 17 miles and another 9 miles is intimidating. I wasn't super dependent on it. I knew I was running steady. The stretch from 9-13 seemed to never end since I had my watch set to only one mile at a time sometimes I was absolutely shocked to get to the mile marker to find out I wasn't a mile further than that. Not a good thing before the halfway mark! Water stops were every mile so I was getting water every 2 ish miles. Sometimes I'd go 3 or sometimes I wouldn't skip. I took gels every 30 minutes using the Caffeine right around mile 12 for the first time. We were on concrete instead of pavement for a solid amount of this section and with that strange sensation in my foot I just thought about the potential pain this was going to inflict on me in the second loop (Erie is a 2 loop course). Pretty negative self talk going on because every mile marker had a second one not too far away indicating what mile we'd be at in loop 2 and suddenly the reality of how far 26.2 miles is was setting in. I had never run for over 3 hours and 5 minutes and today was going to be that day by a lot. another 20 minutes was going to be a long time to add to what was already a sufferfest.
Miles 14 and 15
This is my least consistent section of the race....When I came through the half in 1:43:02 I started doing some math to figure out my odds of sub 3:20 but I'm not great at Math and was running for a long already so my brain wasn't exactly sharp. I wasn't 100% sure if the math worked out but I would adjust as I got closer. I knew needed to drop at least 6 minutes in the last 13 miles. I was running below 8 minute pace which meant I'd have to run under 7:30 pace for at least 12 miles. Don't forget about the long ass .2... but then I also had to think rationally too. I have no idea how hard I might blow up so I sat on it a bit and decided I'd start with 7:30's at 16 and then see if I can drop faster and faster and see how close I am with a 5k to go and just hammer if I can. At this point it wasn't really much about the time it was more about challenging myself. I didn't care that much about 3:20 but it was dangling just low enough that I could give it a really good try and at least make the second half more fun. The first half was so boring for me. So I spent a mile devising this plan (mile 14) and then when I decided I'd wait until 16 I unconsciously backed off and ended up in a conversation with someone for a half mile. She seemed very concerned about the 3:30 group catching her and missing her BQ. Banking time in the marathon: not the process I'd recommend. I tried to run with her a bit and just tried to tell her to focus forward not behind... but I really don't know if she made it. My split slowed to an 8:00 mile and I didn't run the whole mile with her so I assume she slowed down quite a bit. I warned her I was going to pick it up seemingly drastically at 16 and to not be alarmed or discouraged. when 16 came I was on my way.
Mile 16-20 7:30, 7:35, 7:36, 7:35, 7:35
Mile 16: 7:30 Well, that was easy I thought... Well of course it is, you still have 10 to go! I barked back at myself. Ha! I just love those inner conversations! I had to remind myself that I was 1 mile away from the longest run I've run since February.... by a lot ... and I have no idea what is going to happen next. My foot was completely numb at this point. The good news is if there was any pain I couldn't feel it... The bad news is if there was any pain I couldn't feel it. I'd keep trying to crinkle up my toes to see if I could get some feeling back, but... nothing. Not even tingling anymore. I did check ins with the rest of my body. It was actually quite amazing. No shin pain, no hip pain, ho calf pain, no neck pain. I felt really, really, smooth. This pace seemed to be a bit of a sweet spot for me. It was fast enough to excite me and keep me engaged but not out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately I wanted to be a little closer to 7:30 and even just to push for an extra second or two per mile seemed like a huge stretch and more energy than I should expend that far out from the finish. So I tried to push without pushing and hoped to find something a little faster but unless I switched a gear I wasn't lowering the pace at all. Keep in mine I ran maybe 10 whole miles at this pace since February. Part of me was really impressed with myself because I was running a bit beyond my training but part of me was frustrated that this pace was literally my worst case scenario/bonking so hard for my previous marathons.
Mile 21-24 7:21, 7:33, 7:20, 7:31, 7:33
I was taking things by 10k now. Math was out the window for the time being but I still kept going for the 3:20 even though mathematically it was not very probable. I just am the type of person that likes to squeeze every ounce I can out of a race. I told myself I'd just come and get the job done with a BQ but after waiting so long to race a marathon I wanted to race a marathon. It's all relative to your fitness but unless you're packing it in, 26.2 miles feels the same for everyone. It's hard no matter how fast or slow you are. I wanted to learn in this race to better prepare myself for future marathons and if I didn't empty the tank and challenge my fitness than I'd be missing that opportunity which is few and far between. My body felt good (other than the shoe lace/numb foot thing) I had to just do it! I planned to do the next 3 at 7:20 pace and then see if I could drop even lower for the remaining 3. Obviously I couldn't do that. At this point my lack of miles was playing a toll as was the concrete. I felt like I could go faster. Cardiovascularly I had that ability, and my body could push and propel myself faster... but landing and catching myself was starting to be difficult. I wasn't trusting my strength as much as I would like to and the faster you run the harder the force. I pushed and hit that 7:20ish pace and then fell back into that "sweet spot" and then pushed again and back to that sweet spot...but... I just kept trying because I still had energy to try and that meant something to me.
Mile 26- 7:46
Trying and failing starts to take a toll... I'm not going to lie... I really never felt bad until the second half of mile 25. I was really positive throughout... but once I was unequivocally sure I wouldn't run under 3:20 (which took way longer than it should have to figure out... but that extra .2 is easy to forget and takes a damn long time!) I just hung on to running under 3:23. There's literally no difference between 3:22 high and 3:22 low... I know this because I have two other marathons and they are both 3:05... no one asks me how close I was to being under 3:05. I don't even care. I wanted o squeeze everything out of myself that I could but in that last mile I had my first sign of "pain" in my left calf. So I ran safe in that last mile and ran grateful, and I even put my arms up and might have almost almost shed a tear when I crossed the finish line in a chip time of 3:22:53
When I finished I felt pretty good. Not too beat up but a little bit. I took my shoe off to see if I could get feeling back in it. No luck. Two weeks later and I'm just now getting feeling back but still not 100%... Did not see that coming. I dind't even know that was possible. I emailed my podiatrist and he's not too worried since it's isolated to just two toes now. My other foot took a beating too. I have never lost a toe nail or even had a black toe nail... at least until now. I'm a stickler for trimming my toe nails before every hard effort but because I was sick and then travelling I forgot and now I have a big black and blue toe nail to remind myself why that ritual is important. Thankfully I didn't feel anything in the race but RIP toe nail. I'd probably be running some 30 minute runs if the nerves in my foot were functioning, but I figure it's best to let that work itself out first! Overall I’m really happy and proud. I ran to the absolute best of my ability on that day and just a few days later I signed up for Boston! Now... the tricky part is to actually run it!
Man did I fall off pretty abruptly with the blog posts! I wrote a post that I never published because I sent my phone (with all the pictures!) to the genius bar and was hoping I'd get it back... but it's still there and my guess is I'm never going to have those photos of Maebels birthday.... so sad... but I had hope and held out a bit too long and then fell behind on blogging.... but now... home sick from work and already slept a bunch, I'm just catching you all up as I'm just a few days out from the marathon. I'm keeping the updates short and to the point because there's almost a whole month to catch up on and I can't even remember yesterday... Thank God for Strava!
Monday 8/12: 7 Miles 8:30/mi
I was slow on this run but man! I was happy! I ran 14 and 7 back to back without much pain! Real Progress!
Tuesday 8/13: Off
I did my PT and basically did nothing else.... and enjoyed every minute of it.
Wednesday 8/14: 6 miles 8:42/mi
Still feeling quite heavy... but sometimes a day off will do that
Thursday 8/15: 7 miles plus 6 x 30 second strides with 1:00 jog... 8 total
Another hot day... I was obsessively nervous about the strides and kept stopping to check if my calves felt tight throughout the run. Whatever, Overly cautious has worked so far.
Friday 8/16: OFF Cross Training: AKA walking around Davis Farmland with my kids for Maebels birthday... No pictures because my phone battery died and it never came back on. :(
Saturday 8/17: FAIL another day of walking around in the New England Aquarium this time. Matt had to work in Boston and we were on our way to the Cape so we stopped. Probably would have had more pep in our step if we knew the expo closed at 4 instead of 8 like all the other days... More on that on a Falmouth update (another one I wrote but didn't post yet because I was waiting to post this update first.... ha!)
Sunday: 8/18: 14 total, plus Falmouth (7 miles, 50:52) Read more soon.... I’ve fallen behind for blogposts obviously... but I’ve already written the post just in a word document and haven’t switched it over yet.... but the short version is that this was supposed to feel like a workout but I had no gas... I wasn’t redlining but felt flat and tired and like running through quicksand ... i was surprised and discouraged by how hard it was... but I still did an almost perfect progression run.
Overall the week totaled 34 Miles with one "race" workout and a handful of strides. Gotta admit, Falmouth really knocked the wind out of my sails... if I were writing this entry right after Falmouth Id be saying “there’s just no way!”... but... I’m still in the game!
Monday 8/19: 4 miles @8:09/mi, plus one hour spin
Just trying to recover while still putting in some aerobic work. Just some general soreness and really tired... Pretty normal I think
Tuesday 8/20 OFF, Don't mind if I do!
Wednesday: 8/21 7.14 @8:24/mi
Ran with Matt at Mines Falls. Never ran here before but it was beautiful, pouring rain, and kind of romantic. Literally needed windshield wipers for my eyes kind of rain. My last day off before full time school... Nice way to cap it off!
Thursday 8/22: 8:22 9.5 @8:13/mi with some strides.
More of the same. Fear of fast. freaked out about my sore left shin the whole run and prayed to the running Gods that I got through the strides unharmed. Phew!
Friday 8/23: Off Fridays were supposed to be cross training, but it always worked out that I had something that required a lot of walking around instead. Had our rally at school today and that was enough for me.
Saturday 8/24: 7 miles 8:23/mi sluggish run on the rail trail. I had a wedding to get to.... My top priority was to find a pair of shoes I could wear with my dress that I could also fit my orthotics in. Does all the dancing count as training? In hindsight, I probably should have left the party early but Matt and I love to dance the night away.
Sunday 8/25: 17 miles @ 7:40 (last 5 harder) This was exactly what I needed to make me feel like I could do this. Falmouth made me feel like crap about myself, but this weather reminded me that I'm fit enough for my goal and just to trust the training.
Overall a really good week coming in at 44.7 miles total. The highest I will hit before Erie. My rolling 7 was 47 at one point. Ya know... not too shabby given the short amount of time I have had! I’m feeling pretty proud and also ready!
Monday 8/26 OFF: First day of school with the students. No Big Deal. I took today OFF instead of my usual Tuesday. My shins were a little sore after the long run and then full work days on concrete... My favorite.
Tuesday 8/27: 6 miles @ 8:16. My mom watched the girls after school while I did this easy 6. I have a sore left shin but not too bad. I have new shoes on their way.
Wednesday: 8/28 7 miles 8:11/mi Flash flooding and new shoes don't mix. Now that school is started it would be ideal for everyone if I ran in the morning.... but My husband has been flexible with his work knowing I'm so close. We don't want to change anything! He worked at Sneakerama with the girls while I ran with my new shoes. No shin pain! Yay!
Thursday: 8/29 9.5 miles with 1, 2, 2, 1 minute pick ups x2. Met my husband with the girls at the rail trail and planned to run the first 4 miles with him (before pick ups) but freaked out a million times since my shins were still sore and stopped to stretch my calves a million times "just in case"... and sent him ahead so I could work on my self talk. Nothing comes easy. Once the pickups started they felt better. I'm insane.
Friday 8/30: OFF Got a massage. Threapist says no disfunction in the calves and that my shin pain is from my lower legs not getting enough blood from my hips pinching things still. She worked on hips and I felt better. We Dropped kids off at my MIL's so we could commute up to a wedding up in Maine.. I slept approximately 1 hour because of whatever bachelorette party was going on in hotel. People suck. Also, I’m insane.
Saturday 8:31, 6 miles: Super tired run from Booth Bay. Beautiful Views! Shins felt 100% but the rest of me didn't feel 100% (sore throat and headache), but I knew sleep would help. Napped a bit after and then went to rehearsal dinner for the wedding. Went back to the hotel and tried to sleep. I'm just not very good at sleeping in Hotels! (I’m insane-see a pattern?)
Sunday 9/1 15 total, 13 mile race (shy of advertised half marathon) my time was 1:35 something. about 7:20ish pace Pace felt easy, weather was legit perfect in every way. Course was beautiful but insanely hilly (over 1000 ft!) then I spent the day getting ready for a beautiful wedding of two awesome friends who Matt and I feel largely responsible for their relationship. We even got mentioned in the ceremony and a few speeches. It's very special when you can see two people so happy and you feel you had a hand in making that happen. We danced the night away again... Which could be my undoing... but ya know what? I don't live to run... It's just part of the whole picture but it isn't everything.
Great week! I’ve been stressing a bit over the amount of things on my plate and it was definitely too much with two weddings, my highest weekly mileage, and back to school. I’m paying the price but hopefully can pull it together just on time!
Monday: 9/2- 5 miles Matt and I slept in (8:00!) and drove part way home and then went for a run in Portland. My legs were tired but no sore shins. Throat a tad sore but hard to tell if it was from singing so loud of not... felt a bit "hung over" even though I don't drink. I have a bad feeling about this but gotta sleep sleep sleep!
Tuesday 9/3: OFF as usual, and back to work, but it is now very obvious I over did it and am sick. You know if I don't want to watch Bachelor in Paradise and just want to go to bed there is a serious problem! Unfortunately sleep still escaped me because of the deep dry cough. Help me!
Wednesday 9/4 Off again... Need to rest! This was supposed to be 7... but Hay is in the Barn. Probably shouldn't be at work but went anyway and felt terrible. My eye was twitching all day... so I put in for a sick day for Thursday but stayed a little late (since I wasn't running) to put sub stuff together (it's so early in the year I have none of that ready yet!) I have the same staff and half of the same kids as the previous year so they were all pushing me to just take the day off knowing how sick I felt and that I had this marathon on Sunday. I already scheduled Friday off as a personal day so they were ready to take on the class without me at work. Very lucky for the staff I have!
Thursday 9/5: Today... OFF again. Ugh. I know the hard work is done but when your training cycle was as short as mine I don’t feel as comfortable with a hard taper. I took the day off from work because I’m really struggling to rest, which is what I need to get better. I slept most of the day, did warm epsom salt baths, and later in the evening when I felt better I went for a short one mile walk/run because I am worried my legs are going to be heavy and stiff if I don’t move them. I tried to run a little (my plan was 3) but my legs felt good and that's all I needed to know. I just don't want my legs to stiffin up like crazy from doing nothing... but I could also tell I wasn't going to benefit from the run.
Friday: TBD I’m finishing this blogpost enroute to Erie. I took a personal day from work today I hadn’t planned two days but Even now I’m still a bit sick but MUCH better. I slept really well last night as the coughing fits are much less frequent and not waking me up. My right shoulder is really tight from all the laying down and I think a little from the coughing (abs, ribs, and back muscles are sore!)... but other than that I feel like by Sunday I’ll be ready to BQ! I will possibly do a 20 min shakeout tonight after the long car ride and will definitely do one tomorrow morning with whoever is there from McKirdy Trained
ITS GO TIME!
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I hoped to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but I was recently diagnosed with a rare disease called fibromuscular dysplasia and I'm reinventing this blog to share information on what I learn for my single subject size. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!