I’m Baaaaack!

And Now for Something (not so) Completely

Different…

Preparing for a (half) marathon (happy beforehand above), injuries, fundraising, holidays, work, and vacation takes a lot out of a girl. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I needed a bit of a break from blogging…

Well, I’m back and have a lot to report back on…a lot!

Instead of cramming nearly 2 months of update into one consolidated blog post, I’ll try to spend this week compiling a couple of blog posts that will cover the highlights of our past few months.

Today’s post will be training and marathon oriented, as that was what has occupied the majority of our lives the past 6 months!

After Christmas, we descended into a whirlwind of action in order to prepare our house for my parents visit for the Houston Half Marathon. Not only was it the first time my parents both came down to visit us in Houston, it was also their first time visiting our first (owned) home! Expectations are never really that high for order, but they did need a place to sleep. Unfortunately, a mattress on the floor just doesn’t cut it anymore…damn!

Well, we rushed around and got everything done as I was trying to heal my aching IT band so I could even run the half marathon! Training was getting plain out discouraging. I was using the foam roller on my IT band 3-4 times a day, even going down to the gym at work during the day to roll it out when it started feeling tight.

I wish I could say that I felt refreshed and ready to go when my parents arrived, but I can’t. I still felt pretty darn terrible. With each cold snap it was like my IT band was turning into a taught rope along the side of my thighs, I could barely walk in comfort let alone run!

Well, that was until we attended the Inspiration dinner the evening before the Marathon! I normally don’t get choked up about touchy-feeley things, it’s just not me. However, this evening I was able to spend the night honoring my Father and his fight with Leukemia (not to mention a whole host of others). The food left much to be desired, but that wasn’t the purpose of the evening. We were there to remind ourselves how far we’d come and why we were running the next morning. I was going to run for all of those who can’t!

The next morning, I was feeling pretty good. Tight, yes, but felt pretty good with a new goal for the day…no time limit but achieve a “negative split”. Negative splits are when runners go out and run the second half of a race faster than the first half. My objective was to do something I’ve never been able to accomplish, saving my energy for later in the race.

Mark and I went out slowly, really slowly for ourselves averaging ~12 min/mile pace for about the first half of the race. I felt pretty good. I knew my IT band was there, but it wasn’t giving me too many problems. About 10k into the race is where I started feeling it some more and by mile 7 I went out ahead of Mark so I could find the pace that would work best to help alleviate my IT band syndrome.

Coaches and peers will tell you a million times there is one cardinal sin you shouldn’t commit on race day. I was stupid, I admit whole-heartedly I was stupid and committed this sin…

I changed something up on race day…

The last long run before my race, I had been having problems with blisters for the first time (wearing the same orthotics and shoes I’d been wearing all season). So, I decided that blisters would be bad on race day and taped up my feet. Yeah, so feet swell…feet swell a lot when you’re running, even if it’s cold outside. Oops!

By mile 10 it seemed like the IT band issues were the least of my problems. By this point, but feet had swollen so much that with each step it felt as if I were getting a new blister on another part of my foot (which are finally pretty much gone, nearly 3 weeks later, by the way). It took everything I had in my tank to keep myself going. Anticipating the proud look on my Dad’s face being able to see me cross the finish line. Brunch afterward at one of our favorite spots, Dharma Cafe. Knowing that when I finish, it’s the beginning of my recovery period to heal my IT band (hopefully for good!).

Finally I made it, I got to mile 13, saw my Father on the sideline giving me a big thumbs up. I was going to make it! Not only did I make it, I accomplished my goal of a negative split and got a PR!

2:23:19

I nearly collapsed at the end, but managed to hobble my way over to the baggage check with Mark, who finished just before me in 2:22:43 (also a PR).

The main reason I love bag checks is that I can get my shoes off as quickly as I can after a race and put on sandals. Well, today it was a God-send! I pretty much ripped off my shoes, tore off that God forsaken tape and put on my sandals then rolled out my IT band (I think I was probably the only one with a foam roller in my check luggage ;-) ).

I also knew from experience that I needed to keep on moving, despite the pain I was experiencing to keep from my joints “locking up”. We relaxed at the Team in Training tent for a while and recharged and relaxed a bit before heading home and getting ready for our much-anticipated brunch at Dharma Cafe.

Brunch deserves a post on its own! However, simply put, Dharma Cafe has probably one of the most amazing deals for brunch in Houston. I’ll definitely fully review brunch at Dharma in a post in the future.

We got to spend the next day and a half with my parents, pretty much all of it in extreme pain from my IT band and blisters. On Tuesday (two days post-marathon), I headed over to a free post-marathon injury clinic at the Sports Medicine institute. I’m so glad I took the time out of my day to get evaluated!

Bottom line was my hips are too weak, keep doing what I was doing in the short-term to heal my tight muscles, and start strengthening my hips as I become asymptomatic. I could deal with that…plus, I was told I’d be feeling a lot better after 2 weeks of rest.

Well, over 2 weeks have passed and I’ve been a good patient! With rest, warm baths, stretching, strengthening, and compression, my IT band has relaxed as have my quadriceps. On Wednesday I completed my first official workout since the half marathon (Jan. 17th), a quick 5 minute jog and stretching followed by an hour of hatha yoga. It felt good, really good!

Oh yeah, and here’s where I tell everyone my big news…

Tomorrow I start training for the big one…the first of what I’m calling my “San trifecta” I plan to complete this year.

What is this “San trifecta”?

The “San trifecta” is my goal to complete the Rock ‘N Roll Marathons in San Diego, San Jose, and San Antonio in 2010!

First up…

I’m beginning to gear up to train with Team in Training for my second event, the San Diego Marathon, on June 6, 2010!

Tomorrow I’ll be easing back into running (very slow here at first), by running ~3 miles with Team.

My goal is to raise $3000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and

complete my first full marathon

Hopefully this training season will be a bit more boring and have less twist and turns, but what is life without twists and turns? Pretty boring if you ask me… ;-)

Well wish me luck on this endeavor and I’ll continue to update progress on here when I get the opportunity as well as start getting back into what everyone truly comes here for, my recipes and restaurant reviews!

Here’s whats on the docket for my blog…

  • Restaurants reviews in Lancaster, PA and Southampton, PA
  • Steph Chows Cookie Exchange (much overdo)
  • Houston Restaurant Reviews
  • A few healthy new recipes for people on the go

Hopefully I’ll get to most of this during the week this week…if not, bug me on twitter (activelifecook)! It’s crazy, I’m actually “tweeting”…