The Summit Challenge


So I ran my first 10 mile last October. Ok, I finished my first 10 mile last year. I was disappointed in missing my goal by 6 minutes. I pondered why this happened and I know it was due to lack of training. I didn’t get in a minimum of 3 runs a week and my mileage never was above 6 miles. So why did I fail, training.

This year I vowed to train harder go farther. But, how?

By really challenging myself. I signed up for the Twin Cities marathon Summit Challenge. It consists of the Valentine’s 5K in February, 100% Irish for a day 5K, Red White and Boom Half in July, and the Twin Cities Marathon in October.

Did I mention I live in Minnesota and I had never ran outside past October before? I do not like the cold and I am a freeze baby. So for Christmas I loaded my Christmas list with the essentials, gortex running shoes (Brooks Adrenaline GTX), a wind breaker jacket, running gloves, yaktrax, running tights, and a few base layers.

I have been running outside and really enjoying it. I have made it for a run at a minimum of 3 days a week. I added a few core challenges (more on that in another post) as well as a squat challenge. I just recently added strength training at a minimum of once a week.

My worry, fueling and injury. I have noticed my feet are getting really sore. I have been using a golf ball recently to massage my feet post run and in the evenings. But the tops of my feet are also sore. I rotate between several pairs of shoes for each workout. Still trying to find the cause.

I am trying incorporate eating before my runs to find foods that work well with my guy while running. So far, whole wheat toast with a light spread of peanut butter and honey has gotten me through my 6 mile distance. Again a work in progress.

So besides the challenge, I have a 5K on April 19, 2014, The Hot Chocolate 5K/ 15K in Minneapolis. Are you in MN and want to register you can use my code MINNMUG1. Followed by the Electric run on June 6th in St Paul at the State Fair grounds.

I am on track this year to finish the TC 10 mile stronger than last year and I am starting to really enjoy being out on the road running.

I will have my 2 post race recaps from this year some time later this week. For now, know you can accomplish whatever you want if you set goals and keep at it!

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I got down and Muddy!


I have survived the Twin Cities Mud Run and lived to tell the tale. We had so much fun!! I ran with a group of gals from work as well as a group of guys from work. We had a mix of ages and athletic levels in each group. Our goal, go out, get MUDDY and have FUN! We had to take a clean picture first. I have to give a shout out to Bondi Band. I ordered these “girls gone muddy” bands from them and received my order, in a color they were currently out of in less than a week! You have a customer for life not only because of your customer service but my team LOVED them during the run! They stayed in place and kept our muddy hair out of our eyes! (I give that review of my own accord, I did not receive anything from Bondi Band, nor did they have any idea they were going to be mentioned in this post) Moving on….

I'm on the far left in the back...skinny pipes.

So the race started out with us running through a mud pit in front of a large crowd of on lookers, cheering us on. We had the next 1.5 miles to run and rethink our decision to continue. Our first challenge was to run up one of the steepest ski runs at Trollhaugen. Little did we know, this would be one of many, many, many hills we would run up (and back down). At the first water stop, about a mile in, I was rethinking my breakfast. *Note to self: do NOT eat oatmeal before running.*

At this point we were ready for some obstacles. We were tired of running up and down hills and through, beaches? Where did they get all this thick sand? We were hot and ready to get wet and muddy. It wasn’t long and we hit a large mud pond to run through, it was about waist deep in some areas. We had to climb up large rocks, out of mud pits, up and over logs (that were crossing over mud pits), under logs (in mud pits), through muddy tunnels, cross wobbly logs, go over hurdles, over 2 walls, climb a few rope walls, swing across on a rope swing, swim through mud and muck, and so much more.  Did I also mention there were rules and mud? You had three attempts to complete each obstacle or you were disqualified. You could not skip and obstacle, unless you had 3 failed attempts. Your entire team had to cross the finish line within 15 seconds of each other.

3 of the Down and Dirty Nurses

This is me (on the right) and two of my teammates in our last mile. We were a whole lot muddier before this picture but we just swam in a pond before our decent down the hill. Right after this we ran back up a hill and back down, the same hill to jump over a fire pit and climb this rope wall.

We thought we could rest after that but no, it was on the Rope Bridge.

A small jog past the rope bridge was one of my favorites, the Gorilla Ropes.

I was starting to get tired. I’ll admit it. This was the end of our strength tests. It was a small jog and we were back in front of the cheering crowd of on lookers again. We could see the finish line. All that stood between us and it was…another muddy, rocky hill with…sprinklers? But at the top was best slip and slide ever! Who knew sliding into a muddy puddle would make one giggle like a school child again! After our slide we had a run to the Leap of Faith and waited for our 3 final members to catch up to us (remember the 15 second rule).

Mud in the ear, not so fun, nor easy to clean

Even our BondiBands Survived!!!

Waiting for our lost team members

The Line up

The Leap

The 8ft deep mud puddle/pond

After our swim all we had was an army crawl under ropes and we were done!

Finished!!

We couldn’t have been more proud of our accomplishment. We over came 6.2 mile (10K) of hills, obstacles, and mud, together for a great cause.

 

I wanted to nothing more than take off my muddy shoes. I had struggled for a few weeks prior to the race trying to decide on what to wear on my feet, boots vs. running shoes. I went with running shoes and found a cheap pair of Nike’s (we’re talking $2.50 baby). But they came through, well sort of, by the end they weighed about 5 pounds each.

Our shoes

Yes my socks use to be white and light grey.

To answer Attune Food’s Mamavation Question this week: When was the last time you bought new shoes? Last monday, and look at them now! I used them to stomp in the mud for a good cause, a cure for MS!

And so did a bunch of people. This is 1 of 4 piles of donated shoes.

So what did I learn:

1. Running shoes work just fine for this run. Make sure they are on tight and that you double knot the laces. Wear synthetic socks. (No blisters!)

2. Training would be best. I am in decent shape, but I was not in shape enough to run up and down the ski hills and in what felt like running along a beach, then combine the 2 so you are running up a steep beach. My quads and butt are going to look so good if I keep this up!

3. I have decent upper body strength. I completed all the obstacles without having to repeat.

4. I need to work on my running. Period.

5. I went out to have a muddy good time and it was a muddy blast. So much that I might be crazy enough to do it again!

The last part of this post is sponsored by Attune Foods and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women

Another day bites the dust


Huh. I seemed to have lost August somewhere. Between vacations and a D.I.Y kitchen remodel I have not had as much time to workout. Scary thought for me since July was a HUGE turning point for me and I was rockin’ my workouts.

So here I sit. It is the second to last day of August and I am really wishing I could have done more. Actually, I should have done more. I have the Twin Cities MS Mud Run in 11 days!! I am in trouble. For those who need a reminder, the mud run is a 10K military-style obstacle course run through mud, deep mud. I think I am going to channel the strength of Daniel Alarik (aka: @Gruntstyle).

Seriously, I am going to work hard in the short time I have left. I am going to be running like a mad woman. I plan on mixing in some of the Gruntstyle workouts over on Bookieboo.com to shake things up a bit in a hurry.

Other than that, my only problem is footwear. I am having an internal debate with myself on what I need to wear on my feet for this mud run. I have read in other posts, out in the big ol’ blogosphere, that boots are better because you can easily lose a running shoe to the deep muck. I have not been running very long in general, but I cannot picture running in Jungle Combat boots, as suggested. Any thoughts? Remember I will be a wet muddy mess for this and the shoes, well they may be ditched in the end.

Run to the Rhythm 2011 recap


That was the scariest run I have ever been on! With that said, let me back up and say I am so glad I hydrated as much as I did the week leading up to the race. We knew it was going to be hot and muggy. I knew I hadn’t prepared as much as I should have, but planned on taking it slow it and steady. What I didn’t plan on was a side effect from a medication that I recently was restarted on a few weeks ago.

I get migraine headaches. I have struggled with migraines for years. But I also get tension headaches that have been triggering more migraine headaches recently. So I was started on a preventative over a year ago. I have never been very good at taking medication, (bad example for being an ER nurse, I know) I would rather change my habits first then resort to medications second. I have tried almost everything and now I am back to medications. We choose the least harmless to me, at least we thought, until yesterday during the the 5k.

I felt good that morning, nice and stretched, my pre-race jitters right on schedule but I was ready to go. There was a nice crowd ~500 registered from 27 states, not bad for a first annual race. Temp was upper 70s but very humid and full sun for 9am. The course started out very shady. But after our first up hill, it was full sun and hot! That’s when I started to feel my head spin, my legs got weak, and I stopped sweating. Not a single bead. Normally I would be thankful but for how hot I felt and knowing we were only a mile and a half in I was worried. My lips were cracked, I had no saliva, I was in trouble of quickly becoming into heat exhaustion. At the water station I tried to drink but threw it up, so took another glass over the top of my head and a third to the front of my shirt. I had several internal arguments in my head about laying down in the grass and stopping but my stubborn self/runner self was yelling “keeping going those feet moving!” I had a big hill coming up that had parts of sun shade mix. I made myself jog in the sunny spots to the shaded areas.

My little guys were at the end of the run and helped run me in. The gave me cold water they were drinking and told mommy not to give up and to keep running! My husband waited and gave up his time wait for me as well coming in just a second before me.

I don’t think I have struggled with anything in my life. I felt like such a wimp. But at the same time I accomplished a challenge. I ended up with a nasty headache for the rest of the day but it was worth it. I’ll keep running. What surprised me the most is my time. I thought for sure it was way worse than my 1st race in May. It wasn’t, I came in at 36:59. Not even a minute more than my May time. Makes me wonder what my time would have been if I had not run into trouble. I guess I will have to keep training to see!

Mother’s Day at Susan G Komen Race for the Cure recap


The big race day came fast! My only regret was that I got more sleep. The night before I had a hard time sleeping. I’m not sure if it was my nerves or another battle with my insomnia. No big deal. Brian and I got up at 6am Sunday morning, no breakfast in bed for me this Mother’s Day, he had scrambled eggs, me I went for the hard-boiled egg and mixed nut combo (not such a good choice I later learned). We left our house about 6:30 am and made it to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN at 7:00am. Parking was not as bad as I expected. We walked around for a bit before heading out to the starting line. I think the powers that be heard my plead for nice weather. It was sunny and 57. Perfect for our early morning run!

At the starting line I was amazed at the number of people. Our announcer, for lack of better titles, had mentioned that 8,000 runners were expected this morning and 50,000 walkers for the next wave at 9:30am. This event is one of the Largest Race for the Cures in the U.S. No wonder I felt like a sardine at the start. Here I thought I was in the back, only to turn around and see nothing but a sea of people waiting. That got the nerves a pumping! It took awhile for that many people to get moving. We were bottle necked for about the first mile but after that it opened up a bit. All winter long I ran on the treadmill, not brave enough to battle a Minnesota winter run. It was different running outside again. It was nice to have the distractions of the scenery to look at since I chose not to run with my iPod so Brian and I could talk.

My favorite part of the run? All the cheering sections! They were placed at locations that I definitely felt I needed that extra support and encouragement. My favorite was the rock band that played at a local Fire Department along the route! I really wish I knew the name of the band and the Fire Department. It was such a great treat and really helped me pick up my pace.

Towards the end of the run I was starting to get tired. Not sure if I ran out of fuel due to the small breakfast or if it was lack of sleep that finally caught up to me. This is where Brian really helped me out. He kept pushing me forward and telling me we could do it. My lungs were on fire, long story I don’t want to bore people with, but we managed. The final stretch of the run was directly into the sun but we could hear the cheering crowd at the finish line. I started to get choked up when I realized the guy at the line was announcing people to remember. I know I picked up the pace at this point and crossed the line gusto. It was exhilarating! I couldn’t breathe, but I didn’t care. I only wish I had enough in me to have basked in it for long, but my belly was feeling sour and I needed to get out of the crowd fast and find some water and walk around to allow my lungs to catch up. So thankful for the beautiful water station slightly down the way, were I ran into someone I knew from the gym! Huh? Small world.

After some time and good cleansing breaths, I could turn to Brian and congratulate him on his longest run to date. As well as get my own celebration hug.

So our time? 36:23  (11 minute 32 second pace) not what I had hoped for but I’ll take it as a starting point. Also since I hadn’t had a good quality 5k run since mid-March, I’ll take what I can get.

So my next race will be this Thursday. Yep, Thursday. My legs should be nice and limber by then. It will be a quick (hopefully) 1 mile run in downtown Minneapolis for the 2011 Medtronic Twin Cities 1 Mile, part of the Twin Cities Marathon. This is the 2nd Largest mile road race in the U.S.  I will be in the “Friends and Family Wave” not the more competitive waves. Looks like a few of my husband’s co-workers will be joining us for this race. I better bring my A game so I don’t look like a wimp. The pressure is on! At the end of the race, coordinators  will be selecting 1,000 random finishers entry into the Twin Cities 10 mile in October. If selected, I will have my work cut out for me. That is, if I have the guts to actually do the 10 mile.

So our question this week from Jillian MoriarityDo you know when to back off of your efforts? When is the last time you took a step back in the name of gentle kindness to yourself?

I have learned over the years to listen to my body as to when I have pushed too hard or too far. I had surgery on my right lung over 10 years ago (for a spontaneous pneumothorax) and I have been working at getting in shape and improving my lung function since. That is my biggest road block. I know when I have gone too far, can’t catch my breath easily, chest starts to hurt, hands go numb, etc. I keep an eye on my heart rate and how it co-relates to my breathing. I hope that running will help strengthen my lungs better than other cardio exercises thus far. I have also been working on breathing exercises with yoga and pilates on my easier days to help my body and mind work together. Yoga is my kindness to my body. It helps my breathing and it helps my body stretch and recover after hard cardio days.

“I wrote the last part of this blog post while participating in the Mamavation Blogging Carnival for a chance to win a Jillian Moriarity workout  DVD from Jillian Moriarity” The Race for the Cure recap is completely of my own accord!

Recovering from injury


While running today, I found myself getting sore shins. Oh no, shin splints. I hate shin splints. I haven’t had to deal with shin splints in a long time so I decided to share some tips I have learned along the way to deal with some common sports related injuries.

Hopefully, if you are reading this, you know what a shin splint is. If not, It basically is identified as pain along the inside lower leg along your shin. There are many causes the most common is from inflammation from overpronation of the foot, oversupination of the foot, running on hard surfaces without proper cushioning, training on uneven ground or too much incline, the wrong shoes, increasing training too fast,jumping into training after a long period off, and decreased flexibility in the ankle.

In nursing school and in the field when I staff medical tents we always use the acronym R.I.C.EREST the injured area. Not really what many of us who are training for an event want to hear, but it helps and is important. Ice, 15-20 minutes four to five times a day, to the injured area is crucial in the early stages. It helps with decreasing inflammation in turn decreasing the pain. Compression, you can learn to tape your shin and calf muscle for added support or you can do it the easy way and use an ace wrap. Compression helps keep swelling down (swelling delays healing). Elevation, also helps control swelling. Elevation is most effective if you can elevate the extremity higher than your heart. For example, for your shins, lay on your bed with 2 pillows under the effected leg. R.I.C.E should be started immediately and continued for 48-72 hours. R.I.C.E can be used for many other injuries including sprains and strains. If after 48 hours you are not noticing a difference and the swelling is getting worse, make an appointment to see your primary doctor.

When the swelling is down and you are feeling better, start to stretch the area lightly. About.com had a great Sports Medicine page with a list of Flexibility and Stretching exercises you may find helpful. Heat is also good at this time, moist heat is best. This will increase the circulation to the area and help promote healing. Massaging the area gently will also help increase the circulation and promote healing, not to mention, it feels darn good!

Remember to stretch those calves and legs well after you run, lift weights, and workout. Your body will thank you for it.