Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reality Bites. Literally.


It's been a most interesting week, I'll give it that. It started out a bit rocky at one race, and it kind of came to a crashing halt at another race on Saturday evening.....but I'm still smiling. All hope is not lost, and I am at total peace with everything.

Care to hear what went down?

For starters, there was quite a bit of racing (four races, actually). The first race happened on Monday (the Fourth of July), a 5K in a nearby town...the Sully Freedom Fun Run (recap HERE). Although I was hoping for a better finish time, I was satisfied with how I did that morning. Since I had scaled back my mileage in June, I didn't know how much that would affect my speed (my "speed" is slightly above average, at best), but I did manage a 2nd place age group award. Not bad for the limited running I had done leading up to race day (and a recovering wonky heel).

4th of July

Tuesday was a non-running day for me, but the planking and squatting challenges are still in full swing.

planking and squatting in a skirt with sandals
Wednesday, had me rising and shining and out the door before 5:30AM.  It was a balmy morning, and cloudy. There was no sunshine, but plenty of humidy in the air (I'm in Iowa, after all). I knocked out four miles, and also did some planking on the icky, gritty walkway.

post run glow

Thursday and Friday were also non-running days for me. With the continued healing of my heel (and impending 14 miles of racing on Saturday's roster), I elected to take it easy on the home front. Some planks, squats, push-ups and stair work kept me busy.

cross-training and squatting
On Saturday morning, I headed to Marshalltown (about 30 miles away) for another race, the Grimes Farm Run (8K Trail). This was my fourth time running this race, and Saturday's temps were near perfect (mid 60's, with a slight breeze).  I don't run trails as often I'd like, but I do love the challenge of the terrain, grass, hills, and occasional tree roots. There was not a big field of competition for the 8K (there's also a 5K run/walk, and a kids' run), so they didn't do age group awards. I finished third overall for women, but the "honor" doesn't mean much when there's only six gals (and I think two of them were walkers). None the less, I brought home another Grimes Farm Run medal (I have placed each of the other times I've run it). Stay tuned, the race racap is coming.

After race #1....
Saturday evening, Barb and I headed to Ames, IA for the Midnight Madness races (appropriately named). We were registered for both the 5K (at 7:30PM) and the 10K (at 8:30PM). My hamstring/glute/piriformis was still feeling a bit "off" from the trail run, but I had been massaging and foam rolling throughout the afternoon. Although it didn't feel quite right, I wasn't concerned because I've dealt with this kind of annoyance before (MANY times).

With Barb, ready to head to race #2 and #3 for the day
Without going into too many details (I'll save those for the recap...in a few days), things did not play out as I'd hoped. With my ultra happening in less than a week, my strategy was to run the 5K easy and (hopefully) be warmed up enough that the 10K would be easy-peasy. That was my plan (it looks pretty good on paper, doesn't it?).

The 5K proved to be very challenging, mentally and physically, leaving me with doubts as to whether I should even attempt the 10K or not. The temps were really hot (80's) and very humid, and I was feeling dehydrated and exhausted from the extra effort that "easy" 5K required of me.

I decided to give it a go anyways.Unfortunately, within a quarter-mile or so of the 10K, I knew it was not meant to be. I ran most of that mile, but it did not feel right. I could tell my gait was off, and each step with my left foot felt awkward. The first mile ended near the finish line, so I decided to pull out and call it quits. I found a race volunteer and surrendered my timing chip. Yeah, my first-ever DNF.

On the curb, after waving the white flag
The reality? Although I have never DNF'd a race (and I have been doing races of various distances for 11+ years), there have been many times where I have been tempted. There have been many reasons (frustration with my pace, horribly hot weather, difficult race course, painful blisters, etc.) for wanting to give up,but I have never given in before. I was surprised that when the time came to officially "call it," it was an easy decision. My hamstring/glute area had been feeling off all week.  I noticed it during the 5K on Monday, and although it was not bothersome, it was there on my Wednesday morning run as well. The trail run had gone alright, but I could feel the persistent, nagging tightness and limited range of motion as I was climbing the hills and high-stepping through the grass.

My gut was flashing "Warning! Warning! Alert! Alert!" I didn't ignore the warning signs, but instead tried to be rational about what was going on. The reality? I've had these issues before and I know it takes 3-4 miles to get loosened up (even with proper stretching and warm-up prior to running). Although I was very much aware of what was happening, I was not worried or concerned it would be a problem. Unfortunately, my reality kinda bit my buttocks (literally). Ironically, the wonky heel has felt darn close to perfect this week, so there's that (#glasshalffull).

So, although this is certainly not how I had planned (nor wanted) my week to end, I'm content and I'm at peace. Yes, I am disappointed, but I am not defeated. I'm thankful I had the sense to stop at mile 2 of the 10K before things got worse. I'm thankful to not be into ego-centered antics (or I may have pressed on and caused serious damage). And, I'm thankful that I have several days to rehab my aches and pains (which actually feel more like intermittent "discomforts") before my Ultra on Friday night.

Anyways, in other news:

I mentioned the squat challenge, as well as the daily planking and push-ups. In lieu of my upcoming Ultra, and the need for some taper time (last week and this week, as well as the weeks following the Ultra when I'll be in recovery mode), I came up with my own July Daily Challenge. I began doing all of these mini workouts last week, and plan to continue for the remainder of the month. Care to join me?



Here's another reality check.....if doing squats, and desiring a pic of a particularly difficult badass pose...keep in mind your running shorts may flare out and make your bum look more grandiose than it already is. Fair warning.
Don't these shorts make my bum look b.i.g.???
The phlox have started to bloom! Aren't they beautiful?

If you want to win your dog's heart, brush his fur. Max especially LOVES having his neck brushed.
No, he's not spoiled
I received a pair of SLS3 compression socks recently. I love compression sleeves, so I'm looking forward to testing out these full compression socks. I have already worn them once, and will be trying them for various other activities, including recovery. Be looking for a review soon!

Also, as a unified front, several people have been joining the #PeaceSignMovement, as a sign of solidarity for peace, love, happiness and respect for all lives. I felt compelled to get on board and follow suit.


As usual, I'm linking up with the wonderful Weekly Wrap gals, Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin. Please, head over and checkout their blogs, and see what's happening! There's a LOT of great reads in the linkup!!




49 comments:

  1. Kimberly - I can't believe how many races you put in last week. Unbelievable. Congrats!
    Your list of challenges for July is great - it will make you even stronger than you already are. Very impressed by your upcoming Ultra! Your 2nd? Way to Go!
    Have a great Running Week! Stay cool! Peace! :)

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    1. Yes, four races in a week was crazy, especially having three of them all on the same day....but I like a challenge ;-)

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  2. Aw, I'm sorry. I've never DNF'd either, but there was one race I definitely should have! I hope that everything calms down for your ultra!

    Gotta throw this out there -- maybe the squats are not the right challenge right now?

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    1. ha ha ha ...the squats really don't work the muscles that are in turmoil. This weird little "thing" is somewhere in my upper hamstring, but also "inside" so it's really hard to reach for massaging. I think it's my piriformis, but a sports doc thought it was hamstring tendonitis (last spring)...so, there's all kinds of answers, but not really any solutions. Such is life!

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  3. I really think you made the right decision by pulling out of that race. You have much bigger fish to fry...

    Take it easy this week!

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    1. I am on the down-low, for sure. The daily squats/push-ups/planks/stairs aren't too strenuous, but just enough to keep me moving.

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  4. Sounds like you made the right choice!!! Sorry to hear that happened, but you've gotta listen to your body!!!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle ;-) I'm a huge advocate for listening to one's body and not being a hero. #onward

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  5. DNF's suck, but I'm glad you listened to your body - especially with the other races you have coming up. I hope you are feeling better!

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    1. Thanks!! I'm not "cured" (ha ha , as if!), but I'm alright. I'm keeping things pretty easy and minimal this week...

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  6. So glad you paid attention and stopped. Here is to healing this week! And I love those socks.. I have the same blue pair and love love them!

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    1. I like the socks as well! I have only worn them for the 5K on Saturday night and then for one mile of the 10K...and I was so preoccupied with my hammy/glute stuff, I didn't really have much of a chance to notice anything. I thought they gave great support, though!

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  7. O wow, sorry to hear about your DNF. Sometimes it's hard to tell if pain is something that will work it's self out or if it's a sign you need to stop. Good for you for listening to your body.

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    1. You said it exactly.....usually this stuff will work itself out, but after the trail run, and then the four additional miles in the evening, it was pretty apparent that it was time for me to stop.

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  8. One day... I'll rise and shine before 5:30am!!

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    1. ha ha...it's really not that hard to do ;-)

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  9. You are amazing with your workouts and truly inspiring. I love that you said you were taking it easy latter part of the week but you did get in planks, squats push ups and stair work. I hate to see what a hard day for you would be lol. Congratulations to you on your races and hey you got the right attitude, like I said in my fb comment one race is not worth having to deal with recovery for months. Chin up Kim! Hugs to you friend!

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    1. Thanks, Tricia ;-) I appreciate your hugs and kind words of encouragement ;-)

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  10. I had a couple days where I almost forgot about my planks and then I saw you doing yours. Thanks for keeping me on my toes or elbows :)

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  11. I'm definitely not fast enough to win age groups regularly, but I'll take it if I win at a small race!

    I'm so sorry your weekend racing didn't go as planned, but stopping was definitely the best idea.

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    1. Well, I always say..."How you PACE is contingent on you, how you PLACE is contingent on who else shows up" LOL

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  12. Sometimes it is smart to quit. You have nothing to prove and a lot to gain by taking care of yourself.

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    1. Absolutely. There is nothing to gain and so much to lose by pressing on when you shouldn't. ;-)

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  13. That is a lot of racing and running. I completely understand the DNF. I may be overly cautious but I prefer safe to sorry. Sometimes you need to listen to your body....

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    1. I always take the overly cautious route as well. I have seen too many people push too hard, then spend a long time (recovering from injury) regretting their desision

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  14. Wow Kimberly! That back! It's amazing. Do tell do tell - is it all from planking??? I'm sorry about the DNF but our guts never lie do they! I'd say you've had a great run with 11 years of running and no DNF's. :) Hang in their with the glute/hamstring.

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    1. ha ha...well, some of the "back" is probably from planking, but I also do a lot of push-ups and arm work...it's all connected ;-)

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  15. Wow Kimberly! That back! It's amazing. Do tell do tell - is it all from planking??? I'm sorry about the DNF but our guts never lie do they! I'd say you've had a great run with 11 years of running and no DNF's. :) Hang in their with the glute/hamstring.

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  16. Wow...3 races in one day? You made the right decision to DNF the 10k. You've got that ultra on the horizon anyway. And I can't wait to hear all about that! It's good to hear your foot is better and I hope that hamstring follows suit. I have those same compression socks to review as well. Thanks for linking, Kim. Get plenty of rest before your race!

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    1. Aren't the compression socks pretty? I was so preoccupied with my hammy/glute stuff on Saturday night, I didn't really pay much attention tovhow my legs were feeling...

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  17. You've been tearing it up and you look great! Awesome job.

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  18. I'm sorry about your DNF. I know that you know you made the right call, but it still messes with your head and psyche a little. I hope that you are able to take some rest and be all ready to go for your ultra.

    Love that you are squatting in your skirt and cute sandals. Way to get it done!

    My dogs despise being brushed. They will run away from me and I have to chase them down between strokes. They are lunatics.

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    1. Our little Max starts wagging his tail and "dancing" (standing on his two back feet) when he sees us with the brush LOL I think he prefers a brush-down to a treat!

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  19. Wow! What a week for you! I bet that plan did look good on paper and I think you made the right decision. WE have to listen to our bodies and when it says it is time to stop we need to stop! I love all the plank pictures- keep it up!

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    1. Thanks, MB ;-) Like I said, the decision to pull out of the race was not the least bit difficult. I knew I would do myself NO favors by trying to grit it out for five more miles. If this would have been my last race of the season (or the year!), it would have been a different situation.

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  20. That was one helluva week! Sorry about the buttular distress and the DNF. Of course you did the right thing, especially with that ultra looming. IMO they should've had the 10k before the 5k. It's always easier to get the longer race out of the way first when there's more than one for the day.

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    1. Buttular distress. I'm gonna remember that diagnosis, and reference it...maybe with a hashtag ;-) I agree, I'd prefer the longer race first, too....but most events that have multiple distances seem to do the shorter races first (Disney, for example). Oh well. Onward!!

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  21. Impressive recap. I have done many planking challenges and never finished one but the benefit of doing daily planks is totally worth the effort.
    Found your blog via the linkup and following you now.
    Hope you'll check me out too. https://runwright.net/2016/07/11/even-superheroes/

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    1. I remember you from one of the blog hops last fall ;-) I have been following you ;-)

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  22. Omg, so much in this post! Cutest compression socks ever!!
    No your booty doesn't look big, your MUSCLES do! Look at those shoulders :)
    A overall even if it was small still counts!! and it sound fun...and a 5K AG - hey, that is a good week. I had to DNS this year and while it sucks, sometimes it is the best thing,I am glad you felt at peace with it.
    Keep working on those pesky areas, hopefully you will run loooops like crazy for your next one :)

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    1. Thanks! You'd make a great cheerleader ;-) The socks are from SLS3, and they are new....I believe they may have them on special right now on Amazon. There's also yellow, pink, and black ;-)

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  23. Planks and squats in a skirt?!? You're so hardcore!

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  24. I love my SLS3 socks - I have the blue butterflies! My mental limit on planks is about 90 seconds. 2:30 is soooo long! Be strong!

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    1. It took me awhile to get to 2:30, but it's not really a challenge anymore LOL I plank every morning for 2:30 while my chai is heating, so I don't have to look at the clock. Periodically, I try to hold it (on my forearms) for 5 minutes...and that's tough, not just because it's a long time, but also because I keep glancing at the clock to see when it can end.

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  25. Another SLS3 sock lover here, mine are black with neon pink butterflies! And my planks are horrible. My core strength isn't bad, I can do a solid string of toes to bars, but planks are so hard for me!

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    1. I can plank forever (well, sometimes it FEELS like forever), but I still struggle with pull-ups and have never attempted a toe-to-bar LOL It's amazing how we can have strength, but some moves just continue to keep us humble ;-)

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