Week 11- 8 miles and a possibly injury to halt the process

Last week, my husband was out of town for most of the week for work. The good thing is he was in Colorado and got to see his parents. The bad thing is he was gone for the better part of the week. His travel has just recently picked up and while I will be the first to say it’s sometimes nice to have the place to myself, I really missed him. It was also our anniversary weekend and I was ready to have a weekend of just us.

But not before we got our long runs over with.

This week, I was on a ‘down’ week, since I had previously ran 14 miles. But Jerry was running 16 miles. Whew. We decided to do these runs on Saturday before we headed to Orlando for the weekend. So at 5:30 in the morning, we were at the park and ready to go. Jerry started his miles while I drove to set out Gatorade for us 4 miles from the starting point. He went 1 mile south then came back up north, hitting the water stop at 5 miles and at 11 miles. I would hit it once when I got to 4 miles. I was back and started running at 6 a.m. I just got a Gymboss timer (in my favorite color, orange) to keep my intervals so I wouldn’t be looking at my watch all the time. I set it for 3 min run, 1 min walk and off I went.  I really liked having a timer because I couldn’t negotiate with myself. Often I say “Well maybe I’ll take an extra 30 sec. walk break”, but I didn’t want to reset my timer so I stayed with the interval. I kept a steady 13 min pace, my target training pace, throughout the entire run. I usually slow down at the end of my work out so this was great for me.

However, during the last week, I have felt like I needed to pop my lower back or stretch as my lower back/upper buttock has that ‘pinched nerve’ sort of feeling. I thought it was just something I might have tightened during a workout so I left it alone. But a week later and it’s still here. What’s strange is it mostly comes on when I am walking not running.

So I did what every American does and consulted Dr. Google. It seems it may be the beginnings of piriformis. Basically piriformis is caused by weak hip muscles and hamstrings and the muscle that is contracted is pressing down on the sciatic nerve. Here’s the video that I used to self diagnose.

I also called my doctor and made an appointment for this week so I hope to get some clarity. Let’s hope it’s not too serious and that I can keep training. I took Sunday and today off as rest days hoping it would lessen (it did not). This week I have 17 miles to run on Sunday and hope to make it.

When Jerry came back from his business trip on Friday, he said he had a gift for me. Jerry and I are usually not ‘gift’ people. We’re fortunate to be able to purchase what we need and what we want pretty easily. Still, we often buy things that we can enjoy together. While I am still very much a girl and appreciate jewelry and perfume, more thoughtful gifts are always more meaningful.

We had talked about being even more active outdoors, even trying camping. 6 years ago I wouldn’t even utter the word and now I want to go camping soon. So Jerry surprised me with this beauty from REI

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I’m very excited about going on a 1-3 day hike with this soon.

To finish the celebratory weekend we finished our 2 days in Orlando by seeing the Marc Anothny concert. As mentioned before, we won tickets from fellow blogger Laurita on Espresso Con Leche. Marc is such a talented singer, something I never thought when I heard his songs in English. In Spanish, he is a salsa superstar.Our time in Florida has made me appreciate salsa music (not traditional in Mexico) and I enjoy dancing with Jerry.  We’ve been wanting to see him for years, and we did this weekend! The Club Level tickets also allowed us to dance!

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Anyone else suffering from an injury?

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Week 10- The not-so-good longest run so far and my wedding anniversary!

It’s been such a full week and it’s only continuing now. I’d like to blog more often because I feel when I finally sit down I have so much to tell, but it’s hard finding the time to just sit still and write!

This last Sunday was my longest run to date- 14 miles! I got up bright and early to meet my team at 5:30 in the morning. I’m being featured in the Space Coast Runners Newsletter in the ‘ Run a Mile With’ column. Basically a little feature about runners in our community. I was excited they asked me to be interviewed and submit some photos. I knew I wanted a picture of my team so we took one this last Sunday.

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Well the picture was the easy part! I didn’t have time that morning to eat, I only had my smoothie. I think this along with other things going on that day made my iron drop. I felt drained.  My friend started having hip pain so around mile 11 for me (9  for her, she was doing 12), we dropped back from the group. Instead of doing 30:30 intervals, we started running 30 seconds and walking 1:30. We did this for the last 3 miles or so. On the way, we found a guy that was running on his own and struggling. He joined us and we chatted along the way. He used to be really athletic in high school and college, but now in his 40’s, he had a hard time making exercise a regular thing. The three of us encouraged each other and had a good time.

I came home and rushed to get ready to go to church. I don’t always go to church on Sundays due to my training, but my husband was helping during the service. We go to a Methodist church that we enjoy a lot. The vision statement is ‘ Love God, Love each other and Love our neighbors in extraordinary ways”. I think having such an open, welcoming and accepting vision as this is what it’s all about.

We then headed to a fundraiser for the Melbourne Avian Rescue Sanctuary. One of my friends is a bird owner and deeply involved with the organization ( she’s on the right hand side). Did you know many of these birds live for decades, sometimes 80 years! That’s why this rescue organization is so important, many times they take in the same bird over and over. It’s not as glamorous as a puppy rescue, but I love all animals. We had a great time.  There were 4 wines to taste and my husband loved being surrounded by all women (the girls in the middle were sitting with us).

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When we finally came home, I think I was too wound up to actually take a nap. We decided to order in a pizza ( I had, after all, a 1400 calorie deficiency). While I was ordering the pizza, my Twitter notifications started going off. My friend Laurita over at Espresso Con Leche was holding a giveaway on her blog for Marc Anthony tickets. Now before you knock him, he is an idol in the salsa genre. I admit that I do not like him singing in English, but this man knows how to do salsa well. I’ve been wanting to see him for a while know, but as he lives in Miami, Florida concerts are some of his most popular. Tickets are always expensive. But I had thought, ‘Why Not?’, since this is the actual day of our 6th wedding anniversary. I bit the bullet and bought the tickets. Then on Sunday, it turns out I won tickets on her blog! I promptly sold mine on StubHub. I was worried we’d be up in the nosebleeds, but these are club level tickets! I am elated to celebrate our anniversary listening to one of our favorite singers. I’ve always said one of the best things we did for our marriage was learn how to dance. There is so much non-verbal communication and it’s also downright hot when a man knows how to dance. So pardon my wedding collage.

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My wedding, like most of my life, was on the Texas-Mexico border. We got married in a church in El Paso, TX where I went to school and had friends, but later, we crossed into Cd. Juarez for the reception, where most of my family lives. To this date, my friends say it is one of the most fun weddings they have attended. The mariachi was first class and was a gift from my dad. I wouldn’t have wanted my wedding any other way.

I could take up a whole blog on marriage lessons, but this is a running blog after all. This last year has been so fun, taking up running and new challenges and getting fit together.

This week is a semi-off week, with less mileage. Definitely well timed as we will be on celebration mode this weekend.

Is there an artist you’ve always wanted to see?

Week 9: A rocket launch, speed work and a trip to India!

Whew what a week! I had a slacker running week, running paltry 12 miles this week. It was a recovery week after our long run and I did my recovery week proud.

I did start the week with a little of a hard workout. During the hot afternoon sun. I was basically too lazy to get my butt up on Tuesday morning to run, so I punished myself and went running with my husband on Tuesday afternoon. I’ve started doing some interval running to help increase my speed. I looked up what my 400m pace should be, based on my new one mile time, and I came up with a 2:15 goal. I challenged myself to do 10x400m, with walk breaks anywhere between 1 min- 2:15. My first few intervals were energizing. At about the 4th interval, I started to slow down a bit, questioning whether I would finish the workout. I always try to make a deal with myself, like ” Well, 8 wouldn’t be so bad right?”. Then I get to 8 and think I would feel awful for not finishing the workout. It was definitely challenging, but none of my intervals were more than 2:25, and I felt accomplished when I finished. And dead tired and hungry.

On Wednesday, my friend Mel and I did our regular Wednesday run of about 3 miles. I’ve really enjoyed running with her, I know she can run faster but she keeps pace with me. I think she mostly does it for the beer we have afterwards. 

We had one beer then rushed to the beach (where we both live) to watch the rocket launch. 5 years ago, my husband and I moved from Denver to Cocoa Beach due to my his job. He works as an engineer for a company that launches these huge rockets, mostly carrying secret government payloads and satellites to make our everyday lives better. He wanted to be on the front lines, so we moved here! Well the Delta IV Heavy rocket is the one he primarily works on and this rocket usually carries important payloads, since the 4 boosters get it out into deep space. This was carrying a government satellite to enhance communications for our troops!

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Courtesy of: United Launch Alliance

It also makes the most sound out all the rockets.  The video is a little long, but here it is. Watching a rocket launch over the ocean at dusk is one of the experiences that makes me happy to live in Florida. At around 1:35, what sounds like a strong gust of wind is actually rocket breaking the sound barrier.

I slacked off on Thursday (and Friday and Saturday). I felt a little mentally drained. Working 2 jobs has caught up to me and I just had little energy. So Jerry and I spent the weekend doing some fun things. 

I’ve wanted to go to India for a long, long time. We had planned to go this coming year, but I don’t think it will be possible just yet. So we settled for the next best thing: IndiaFest! The Festival was small, but the food was phenomenal. I had this potato based dal, and we ordered a vegetarian plate with all kinds of curries. Not as good as a vacation in India but it will do. 

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I finished the week with an easy 6 mile run on my own (my team was taking an off week) and I greatly missed running with them. Running Marine Corps Marathon without them will be pretty challenging. I haven’t worked on my mental preparation as much as I need to and it was obvious this Sunday.  I did manage to snap this amazing picture of the sunrise though!

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We’ll be running 14.5 miles next week!

What is your exotic dream vacation?

Week 8: All we have is this one life!

This week, my husband was out of town for the entire week so it got a little lonely around here. Having my own business part time, I have to find opportunities for me to get out of the house when I am here. Unfortunately, Monday I worked the entire day, not stopping until past 10 p.m. So if I was single I’d be a really successful, but very lonely girl. I am so glad to be celebrating 6 years of marriage with my wonderful husband later this month. And we’ve been on this running journey together from day 1! Well, not literally, he runs much much faster than I do. Image

I ran Tuesday afternoon in the neighborhood, and on Wednesday afternoon I decided to run a local bridge, AKA ‘The Hills’ here in Florida. There was this huge traffic jam on the way to the parking lot just next to the bridge and after 20 minutes. After the firetrucks and ambulances cleared the scene a bit, there was only this. 

ImageI usually don’t take pictures at accident scenes, but I think a picture like this sometimes shocks us into appreciating what we have. Life is so , so short. Enjoy the people that you have in your life, enjoy these beautiful runs, I am healthy, happy and safe and there is nothing more that I could need. 

Ok, enough with the inspirational Oprah talks right? 

Today we did 12 miles on the course that will be Space Coast Marathon. Our group was thrilled to be running a new course, but it was definitely a little more challenging since there is a slight incline. Training with these girls really makes me appreciate running with other people.  When I trained for my first half marathon I did it all on my own and I felt alone in the race, too. I know that there are new friendships blossoming and we will continue to encourage each other past this marathon. Speaking of which, there was a runner that coordinated the water stops for this course and she was a little rude about not being ‘notified’ of a large group coming, although this run is open to the public. I’m sure she was just frazzled, but to my group, she seemed like ‘another rude, fast runner’ and my group didn’t feel welcome. Do me a favor: If you see new runners, make sure you make them feel like you’re glad to see new runners. There is nothing more discouraging to a new runner than to not feel welcome. Just.be.nice.

Anyhow, since this week I was on my own, I ate simple, easy burritos all week. My Mexican side comes out, I crave rice and beans all the time. So here is my super easy, super nutritious way of making burritos

Martha’s ” Super Simple” Vegan Burritos

1 package of tortilla wraps

1 cup of brown rice, cooked (Instant brown rice works great here!)

1 cup of beans, any, pre soaked and cooked

2 c. of in season veggies- I used zucchini and corn

Soy sour cream, such as Tofutti

Hot sauce- my favorite is Tabasco’s Smoked Chipotle

Sautee zucchini or other veggies in a little bit of oil, adding salt and pepper. When ready, assembly by putting a small amount of rice, a scoop of beans, topped with tons of veggies, soy sour cream and sprinkled with hot sauce. 

This is my go-to “stick to my ribs” food.

What do you crave after long, hard runs?