That's the question I just asked myself when I saw how long it's been since my last post. Seriously, I used to have something to write about here nearly every day. Then I got off track. Then sort of on track. Then off track again. For a while I probably should've re-named htis Workouts and Weight gain just because that's what was happening.... Still working out but gaining weight. I like to "blame" picking up my boyfriend's horrible habits but even if I did let them slip in, I should've been in control. I think that's really when I got out of blogging and have just had a hard time getting back into it. That plus being busy all day and busy at night.... And basically just doing lots of other things!
So my last post was in July...
I don't see where I ever posted about my super fun Chicago trip with my friend Ashley. I had decided to do the Bears 5K. Then the boyfriend and his Dad were gifted baseball game tickets. The same weekend. I can do the Chicago trip solo; it's not a big deal. It's close. I always drive anyway. I know my way around... BUT it's kind of a little bit more fun when you have someone with you. So I thought "hmmmm who can I convince to go?" and put a post on FB. Ashley is another IRun4 runner from my area. She responded and we decided to go! What a fun trip!! It was quick, we went down Friday afternoon, raced Saturday morning, spent Saturday there, and came home Saturday night. We packed a lot into our time!
The race itself went pretty well. I eventually slowed down a little because it was hot. The heat really gets to me. Well, actually it's the sun. Or the humidity. Or a combination. I guess because I always ran in the evening, I didn't realize how much of an ass the sun is to me. I SHOULD know this because I've had pale skin for my entire life. I used to go tanning but finally realized how incredibly stupid that is... First, skin cancer. Second, totally fake. Third, sometimes people look the color of Oompa Loompas. Finally, I don't want to look like an old beat up handbag. I really enjoy looking younger than I am. It's just gross all the way around. I never tanned all the time. I would go in spurts of times I'd tan and times I wouldn't. Then I'd go only a couple times a week. Then I stopped all together because I'd much rather have healthy, youthful skin than look like an old beat up handbag. My personal opinion...If you tan, enjoy. Anyway, so I'm not tan. I have fair skin. Fair skin that the sun likes to skorch. So I could feel myself burning and slowed down. As usual, I forgot the sunscreen for my arms and back. I always remember the face and lips (okay, not always, but most of the time). ANYWAY...So I got hot and slowed down. I finished slower than I anticipated. I was a little bummed but then realized I was standing ON Soldier Field and let it go. Ashley and I drank our free beer, waited for the race to finish and bought medals for our buddies, and our awesome tutus attracted a reporter and we got interviewed - which focused all on our IRun4 buddies (and a little on football... Ashley may have gotten some flack for not being a Bears fan). It was a lot of fun and like other races I've done in Chicago, right on the gorgeous lake shore. I'll forgive the sun.
I didn't do any races in July. I did the Color Run in August but that was with my boyfriend's little cousin so running was limited. Goofing around was through the roof. It was fun! Most of July and August were focused on training for the next half marathon. I had short runs. I had long runs. I struggled with humidity. I struggled with heat. I got pissed off at the sun way more than what was probably necessary. Honesty, how have I been running for so long that I haven't figured out this sunblock thing yet? Or maybe I forgot about it. That plus change in times for training made a huge difference. MOST races are done before it gets too unbearable. Running at lunch is far different than running at 7am or 7pm. Like with what happened with Gazelle Girl, running inside on the tready is much different than outside.
I didn't really go too far from home in July either. August was a tough month. My workouts were very inconsistent for two weeks. My Grandpa hadn't been doing well for almost a year and had declined for the last two. He got really short of breath one day so my Mom had the ambulance take him to the ER. He was eventually admitted and tests revealed that he had fluid around his lung. We didn't realize how much until the doc drained off over two liters. So, let's say a two liter of pop and a half. The liquid was dark. But it was gone. So we waited for his little lung to expand. It didn't. There were things that could be done to help it along but it didn't work. Eventually, it was decided that they would not opt for the more invasive procedure. People can breathe with one lung. His other lung had a section missing (past biopsy site - which was just scar tissue), so it was a little lung but it was just fine. He started declining during his time in the hospital and we sort of knew what was coming.... We decided to take him home on Hospice. He wasn't in terrible condition and was pretty alert for those first few days. As the week progressed, he was sleeping more. He was crying out in pain more. It happened to be that the Friday that he had gone into the hospital my Aunt and Uncle were here from Kentucky. So, most of us were there that following Friday night - minus my cousins and their significant others. Both my Mom and I had "that feeling" in the morning. I went for a run and pounded the pavement hard. At a 10-something mile for a short time. It was super humid and miserable, but I ran hard. That night everyone was there for pizza...I think. My boyfriend and I were there. My Dad (who wasn't going to come but my Mom said "you need to") was there, my Aunt and Uncle were there. At one point, I remember my Dad telling him that he, my Mom, and my Uncle had gone and made all the arrangements that morning, so he'd know everything was taken care of. I'm not sure when I realized it, but at one point I said to my boyfriend "we can't leave." And I told my Dad the same. For some reason, we just knew we were sitting there, waiting for him to let go. We watched him decline all day and when my Aunt and I were outside, my boyfriend came out and said "they want you in there now - they think he's dying."). So I went in and saw him struggling to breathe. We all stood around him. He looked so helpless. He was alert and responsive to us. That day I did the absolute hardest thing I've ever had to do.... I looked him in the eye and said "Papa, it's okay to go. We love you but it's okay. I promise we will take care of Nonie." At that point, he started to cry. I noticed a little tear rolling down his cheek. He closed his eyes and within a few minutes, he was gone. I still can't picture his sweet little face or think about it without crying. Thank God for my boyfriend being by my side through all of this. He's been my rock. The following Tuesday was the funeral. My cousins made it up that weekend. I had taken a couple days off of work and spent time with my family, then we had the funeral. I was tired and exhausted. I took a few days after just to adjust to life in general, I guess. My workouts were... well I have no idea. They were there and they weren't there.
After that I knew I needed to get back on track. I'd missed two long runs and had a half marathon coming up. I don't think I missed a day of doing something from then until the half.
The half was in Chicago last weekend. I did well. I remembered my sunblock. I listened to my body. I started out strong (my fitbit and strava both said stronger than my race time -- for all of it, but whatever). Other than a quick stop at the hydration stations, I didn't walk until past the 10K mark. And, as I felt my skin getting hot and burning, I did the smart thing... I stopped at the aid stations. I asked for my sunblock and I put it on. I felt better. I did this a couple times during the race. Here's the thing with races, any stops count... Potty stops, medical stops, even those less than one minute walks for hydration... It all counts with your time. So I finished slower than I expected... At least five minutes slower. But, even with that extra time added in, I was about 10 minutes faster than my last half. Still slower than my first, but that's to be expected. As I lose weight, I will get faster. As I train more, I will get faster. The best part is that... I felt much better during the race and after. I think that those stops, time added or not, really helped keep me from getting too warm. It feels ten times better running when you don't feel like your skin is burning. It was a beautiful morning along a gorgeous course.
Then this weird thing happened.... I realized I LOVE HALF MARATHONS. The first one ever was a goal. I wanted to do "just one." I didn't do another for just over three years. This year I've done two. The second one, earlier this year, was a miserable experience but I finished. This last one... It felt so good and I wasn't worried about things like time, pace, or sweepers (total fear during the first one which was funny because I was running 11-12 min miles and the time limit was based on a 16 min mile - weird first half anxiety I guess!). I just ran.... I picked a pace that was comfortable and went with it. Sure, as time increased, I slowed down a little. I even walked a little after mile 8-ish. I think once I even walked an entire mile (right before I needed sunblock again). But I picked it up and ran/walked after that. I didn't hit a wall at mile 10. I didn't feel like I wanted to quit once. Mile 11 seemed a little long but I kept going. I felt so good after!!! Now, I have fallen in love with this distance. My next half is planned for February but I'm looking for one sort of near by for the end of October or early November, just to keep long distance momentum going. I have to look at my training plan for the half in February. I hope to be down another 20 pounds, based on my 5 pound per month rate of loss, by then. I think that will continue to help with endurance and speed. I'll be closer to my lower weight, but will still have some work to do. I will be happy if I shave off another 5-10 minutes. But part of me wants to work my butt off and PR it.... I'll strive for that but will be happy with a small improvement.
So that's that... Maybe next time I won't wait so long!!