Marathon Training Week 4

Mother Nature is really wanting to see how dedicated I am to training for my first marathon!  Jason and I have gone back and forth over the years in regards to buying a treadmill.  I’ve often felt the cost for a high quality one, over 1k, would take years to make it worth the expense given it’d likely only be used a handful of times per year.  I’m starting to think we would’ve gotten our money’s worth had we bought one a few months ago! 

Anyways this week’s plan of 4 runs per week changed to 3 runs partially from the forecast and partially from me wanting to scale things back just a bit.  In reading Hal Higdon’s book and reviewing his novice plan we’re already ahead of schedule with long runs and mileage.  Sunday’s run was a doozy so I figured a little extra recovery time wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Week 4 Total Miles – 25

Sun. 2/14 – 14 miles planned for the Hallmark holiday (aka Valentine’s Day)!  Dad plotted a route he had ran years ago from his house and warned it would be challenging.  Ice was predicted overnight Sat. into Sun. so we delayed our start time until 10am.  Fortunately conditions were decent, cold but not overly windy, for our hilly route.  I ran with the group for the first 3 miles before deciding to intentionally drop back knowing I wouldn’t hold the pace by the end.  Dad and Todd walked on a half mile long hill and started running again once I passed them.  Jason doubled back more than once, running ahead of everyone most of the time and having to come back to find out where to turn.  We took a mini break at 7 miles to refuel.  I’m glad only half a Honey Stinger Waffle fit in my belt; if I had eaten a whole one I think I would’ve had major sugar belly.  I’ve only used gu and Honey Stinger chews during half marathon races, but felt the waffle would give more of a “full” feeling to use during a marathon so I wanted to experiment with it.  I had a good run until 10.5 miles then my legs started to crap out a bit on me.  My pace slowed and the 3 miles back to dad’s house toggled between being ok and wanting to just be finished… the fact that the miles involved several climbs didn’t help matters.  Jason continued to double back for me until we reached the church parking lot across the street from dad’s house – Jason determined to hit 15 miles and me to hit 14.  I debated stopping at 13.75 when I reached the turn onto dad’s road but figured I had made myself suffer those last few miles I might as well finish it off!  We all showered then dad made egg sandwiches for us for lunch.

Tues. 2/15 – 6 miles on Jason’s lunch through a nearby development.  I was pushing the pace this run to keep up with Jason/ensure we got the 6 in since we only had an hour.  It was tough to get the legs going initially but they loosened up about a mile into the run.  We did two loops of the development then returned to finish 3/4 of a mile in the cemetery.  The houses must’ve shielded us from the wind because running that last part with strong head winds was tough.  Coaching the track kids later that afternoon and having to stand around in the cold wind was even tougher.  The irony was the forecasted temp was 40*.

Wed. 2/16 – 5 miles with the running group in Columbia.  Tues’s storm overnight into Wed resulted in us running through town instead of on the river trail.  I hung back and ran super easy as I was definitely feeling the 14 miler and pushing the pace the previous run.  Armand treated us to some dried apples after the run courtesy of the orchard he works for.

Given the snow is just now wrapping up I’m glad I axed worrying about running today or tomorrow.  I’m going to get some strength and yoga work in and look forward to a scaled back 10 mile run on Sunday instead.  Right now I would say my marathon training is going well with the weather as the biggest challenge.  I’d like to get some flatter rail trail runs in since that’s what I’ll be racing on, but the fact that they’re snow/ice covered means I have to stick to my hillier road routes.  Next week shows 40* days… here’s hoping that happens and everything melts!

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Marathon Training Week 3

The past few years haven’t seen much snow in our area.  Normally we’ve had one “shovel-able” snow.  That’s suited me fine especially since the borough put in sidewalks at my end of the block two years ago (we didn’t get a say in the matter) and created more that needs to be shoveled.  It seems only fitting that the moment Jason and I committed to training for our first marathon that Mother Nature would see fit to give us a legit winter with snow and chilly temps.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right?  Here’s how my 3rd week of training went:

Week 3 Total Miles – 29.75

Sun. 2/7 – Super Bowl Sunday had a scheduled 12 mile run.  Given the snow from the prior week was still lingering and safety was of upmost concern after Jason and dad’s close call the previous Sunday, dad and I plotted out what we felt would be a relatively safe route.  It combined two of our regular routes, a roughly 5 mile trek around the perimeter of Wrightsville then a 7 mile route featuring a good climb followed by a long downhill and few miles along the Susquehanna River.  Our shoes were soaked from slush within the first two miles.  Anyone who knows me knows wet feet are my biggest running annoyance and if it weren’t for Todd running with me I likely would’ve spent the whole run focused on that.  The slush added for extra leg work and we were happier when we had actual snow to run on near the end of the route.  The second portion of the run turned out to be over 7 miles so we finished with a solid 12.5 for the day.  I felt that earned Jason and I the right to indulge in waffles and ice cream that night while watching the game.

*Non-running note – that afternoon I received the 2nd dose of the Covid vaccine.  I had a mildly sore arm that evening, but the next day I felt some fatigue and muscle aches.  At first I was uncertain if it was related to the run but given it persisted all day I knew it was the vaccine.  I took an extra strength Tylenol after work and laid on the couch for about 40 mins and greatly improved.

Tues. 2/9 – Can the forecasters ever predict the weather correctly?  I anticipated near 40* temps and instead had frozen fingers coaching the track kids at practice.  Fortunately Jason and my run after he was finished work was more tolerable given I was on the move.  We stuck to a routine route and logged 6 miles.  This run was more than just a training run to me as the Lakota youth of Standing Rock were running that day in a call to action for President Biden to shutdown the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Supporters were encouraged to run in solidarity and post pics/videos on social media calling for action.  After our run I snapped pics and posted with hashtags in hopes that it helped to make a difference.

Wed. 2/10 – Our running group met at a new spot to run a 6 mile route Scott laid out.  Scott is the ultrarunner of the group so we never know what to expect with his routes as they quite often end up longer than anticipated or harder/hillier.  Fortunately this route was a fairly flat jaunt through some neighborhoods.  It’s just the type of run my legs needed after running a hilly route the previous day.

Fri. 2/12 – 5 miles around town once Jason got off work.  It was a chilly start and I went out a bit harder than I should’ve in hopes of warming up faster.  Halfway through I felt a bit beat climbing a hill but the miles were logged and that’s all that matters.

Todd lent me his book by Hal Higdon on marathon training.  I was happy to see the novice plan only has 4 days a week of running as it’s likely that’s all I’ll be able to fit in between coaching, working extra shifts at Covid vaccine pods, and life in general.  I’m actually logging more miles per week than the plan calls for at this stage.  I think I’m going to focus more on staying consistent with my 4 runs per week and getting my long run in than worry about hitting exact mileage each week.  My enthusiasm for training is staying really high even with the challenges posed by the weather recently.

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Marathon Training Weeks 1 and 2

In looking at different marathon training plans I realized most count the first day of the week as Monday and end the week with the long training run on Saturday or Sunday.  I’ve always viewed weeks as starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday.  For this reason I thought this week was my first week of training for my first marathon, but it was actually my second if I’m figuring 16 weeks back from the marathon date.

I’ve been keeping up longer runs since after Christmas with running 10 miles almost every Sunday.  Running two more times a week has provided a solid base going into marathon training.  I’m hoping to maintain 4 runs a week with keeping my long run on Sunday mornings with the group.  I’ve been advised by a running buddy and saw on a lot of plans that 5 runs a week is preferred.  Once track season starts in March though I don’t know that 5 runs is feasible, so 4 runs is my main focus.  I have no time goal for the marathon, and I’ve done all my half marathon training having only ran 3x a week so I think I’ll be ok.

With all that said here’s how my first 2 weeks of training have gone… I only plan to document my runs, the other days I normally am either doing yoga/mobility for recovery or strength training via DailyBurn workouts.

Week 1 Total Miles – 24.75

Sun. 1/24 – A half marathon on the Columbia river trail ran in 2:04:18.  I initially planned to run 12 miles but felt so good I went for a full half.  This was the day training for a marathon became a real consideration.

Wed. 1/27 – 7 miles around my neighborhood.  This was my first official training-for-a-marathon run as I had actually signed up.

Sat. 1/28 – 4.65 trail miles at Lake Redman.  Jason really wanted to put his trail shoes to use again so I agreed to 5 miles or under.  His doubling back for me (he flies on trails, I don’t) resulted in 5 for him but I was content not having a fully even 5 miles as running up a tough trail hill 2x was a good enough workout to me.

Week 2 Total Miles – 25.5

Sun. 1/31 – A snowy 10 miles from Armand’s house out to Hellam and back.  Todd’s truck slid while driving there so he turned around and drove home, but Jason and I were almost there so we continued and met my dad at Armand’s.  It was a fairly enjoyable run considering the weather until we were running along 462.  Armand and I watched two cars hit an icy spot and swerve a bit but right themselves before coming closer to us.  We caught up with dad and Jason who had nearly been hit by a car that hit the same icy spot and actually went off the road down an embankment.  Both were really shaken up and the 4 of us were very glad to get off that road and onto back roads again.

Wed. 2/3 – 6 miles around the neighborhood on Jason’s lunch.  Plenty of hills as they can’t be avoided in this town and a bit of pace pushing for me as I tried to keep as close to Jason as possible.

Thurs. 2/4 – 4.5 miles with my track kids.  This included a warmup and then 800s around a circle in a nearby development since the track was snow covered.  They ran 4, I ran 5, with a short rest break after each loop then a cooldown.

Sat. 2/6 – Game plan is to run 5 miles around the neighborhood before I go work a Covid pod shift.

Overall I’m off to a solid start even with having some weather concerns.  Here’s to maintaining those 4 runs a week and building up mileage and long runs!

If you’ve trained for a marathon how many times per week did you run?

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How I Talked Myself into a Marathon

I ran my first race at a track meet in 4th grade.  I ran my first 5k in 2003.  I ran my first half marathon in 2013.  I have never ran a marathon, and I really never had the desire to.  The weeks of training.  The hours spent logging miles.  The figuring out fueling.  The mental boredom that often plagues me once I start hitting double digit miles.  The post race fatigue/pain and long recovery time.  Nope, there’s never been anything appealing to me about the idea of running a marathon.

So how did I end up signing for the York Marathon to be held on Sunday, May 16th?

Blame my husband, Jason.  Working from home since last April has blessed him with more time to run.  He started browsing marathons and after being talked out of God’s Country (running one of the top 10 hardest marathons as a first one didn’t seem smart to me), he decided he was running the York Marathon.  Originally I agreed to running the half marathon, still having no desire to train for a full marathon.

Blame Covid 19.  It’s the reason Jason came work from home.  With the pandemic causing limited activities he and I found ourselves running a lot more.  Its ability to cause races to be cancelled created an even greater appreciation for races that were still being held.

Blame the amazing run I had on Sunday.  Jason and I headed to Columbia to run on the river trail.  I planned to run 12 miles.  5 miles in I was feeling really good and decided I was going to run a full half.  This is a rarity for me; normally I always stick to the mileage I’ve decided upon.  I’ve had some past runs on that trail that turned ugly, mostly due to dehydration, and wanted to prove to myself that I could have a great long run on it.  There were some chilly sections when the wind blew, but overall I ran comfortably.  On the way back, feeling strong and confident, I began toying with the idea of running the marathon.  I spent at least 4 miles weighing out the pros and cons.

Pros – Close to home race meant sleeping in my own bed and not having to travel, my running buddies could come even if they didn’t compete, it was cheap ($60 if registered before Feb. 10th), I already knew the course, I had plenty of time to train and I had Jason as a training partner.

Cons – The course being an out and back flat rail trail with no hills meant mental boredom and possibly more pain with not having any hills to change up the leg muscles, not being my type of course in general, and having to train while coaching track

By the time I finished my run, a solid 2:04 half marathon, I was at least on the fence about signing up for the marathon instead of the half.  I broached the subject with Jason on the drive home, and he fueled my justifications saying him working from home and being able to train more might be the only time we get the chance.  We also agreed with Covid still limiting our activities it was a good time to dedicate more days to running.

More time passed and I kept justifying the decision more and more to myself.  A helpful factor was that I could sign up for the marathon and if I changed my mind I could switch to the half.  On Monday I texted with two running friends and talked to my dad on the phone about it.  My dad agreed an out and back on the rail trail would definitely be tougher mentally and physically.  He had ran two like that and said he’d never run one again, but understood my limited race options and said he would certainly help us train.  My decision was nearly solidified.

Tuesday morning my dad called from work and upon answering he asked “What’s this going to cost me?”  He had decided to sign up as well making the case that we had ran our first 5k and half marathons together and it seemed only right that he participate in my first marathon.  I nearly teared up and promptly signed Jason, dad and myself up that morning.

I’m excited to train, nervous about the flat and boring course, but confident with my great running support system I can tackle this marathon in May!

Feel free to comment with any/all first time marathon training tips below!

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Running Routes from Home

My nan’s old house came on the market this week.  It was sold about 2 years ago when she moved to an apartment.  At the time I had no interest in the place as it seemed too small and outdated.  I showed it to Jason and found myself slightly considering it this time particularly since the ugly yellow bathroom had finally been updated to a more modern look.  Its enclosed back porch could serve as a gym room and its rural location, including a view of a pond across the street, added to its appeal.

While its rural location on a quiet road was a perk, its basically being built against a hillside wasn’t.  I recalled climbing the steps or ramp as a kid and immediately thought of the annoyance in the winter.  Eventually we would end up like nan, having to move in older age due to the inconvenience.  The lack of flat yard for activities as well as the tiny bedrooms also dampened my interest.  

One of the major factors that ultimately killed my interest in considering the house was something I had never factored in when house hunting in the past; its lack of multiple running routes.  While the house sits on a quiet street, it connects at one end to my parents’ road.  I’ve ran limited sections of the road mostly to get back to my parents’ house, but stay off of it as much as possible due to it being heavily traveled and having little to no shoulder.  The other end of the street connects to a slightly less busy road, but still busy enough to not want to run on regularly.

In considering the house it made me realize how spoiled I’ve become by my current house’s location in terms of running routes.  Courtesy of Covid 19 Jason and I began taking a lot of walks in the evening last year which resulted in finding new neighborhoods and streets.  This resulted in a lot more varied running routes.  Previously I had a small handful of routes, but now I have multiple.  I’ve also started stringing together some routes to create new longer runs.  The majority contain multiple hills but that’s my forte anyway.

Now I can run everything from a fairly easy 4 miles to the high school and home to 10 miles of rolling hills that utilize some back country roads outside of town.  The cemetery at the end of my street serves as a great add on if I’m needing just a few more tenths to reach that next quarter mile on my Garmin.  I rarely run out and back routes as I have so many options for circular ones.  I’ve been fortunate that every house I’ve passed with a dog seems to either keep them in a fenced in area or on a leash, so I never fear being bit regardless of the street I take.

There are times I wish I lived in a more rural area like where I grew up as opposed to on the edge of a small town.  The alley behind my house can be noisy at times, and it’d be nice to have a bigger yard.  When I think about how many more options I have for my runs though I feel truly blessed.  If I ever commit to moving in the future I will certainly be surveying the area to determine how good it is for running!

Can you run different routes from  your house?  Would you factor in running routes when deciding to buy a house?

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Random Thoughts

For as much as everyone was looking forward to 2021 it seems the year has already gotten off to a crazy start.  This applies to the country/world as much as it has my personal life.  Best to do a randomness post to dump the thoughts from my head…

-As I watched the rioters or to me, domestic terrorists, storm the Capitol building last week my initial thoughts were where is the mace?  Where are the dogs, the water cannons, the rubber bullets?  I was immediately reminded of the horrors imposed upon peaceful Native Americans who protested at Standing Rock in 2016, who wanted nothing more than to keep their water safe from a pipeline, and wondered how these traitors to democracy could be allowed to basically walk in the door?  This kind of behavior and the radical mentalities driving it can’t be accepted.

-Covid deaths are triple digits everyday in my state lately and it’s as if no one cares.  They’ve just become numbers to most people.  While I’ve been fortunate to not have anyone I know die or even get severely sick from Covid, it goes without saying that we should be mourning the loss of life in general.  Instead too many people are still flaunting the rules by not wearing masks and traveling unnecessarily all to keep themselves happy while disregarding the impacts on anyone else.

-On the topic of Covid I feel as though I’ve finally found a way to help in the “fight” if you will.  I work for a healthcare organization and a few weeks ago an email went out asking for any employee who was able and met the qualifications to apply to work in Covid pods that were being set up at various hospitals.  I received approval from my manager and signed up to work admin.  I have completed two shifts thus far which consist mostly of monitoring employees after they receive their shots in case of allergic reaction, helping them to schedule their second dose, and wiping down seats/equipment.  It’s rather low key and sometimes time drags when not many people are coming in, but it still makes me feel good to be helping in an area of need.  On a selfish note the overtime money is nice as well as in my position I’m never allowed overtime.

-Unfortunately my overtime money is likely to go to house bills.  We had a plumber out this week to fix banging pipes in a wall (the pressure in the hot water heater expansion tank and coming in from the street weren’t what they should be).  While the banging noise is gone we’re having what sounds like air pockets in the faucets so someone has to come back out next week.  Now we’re having a HVAC person out tomorrow because the electric baseboard heater in our bedroom stopped working.  I feel like when it comes to houses when it rains it pours.  Being a homeowner isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

-Working out was a feast last week with some days consisting of multiple workouts while this week seems to be a famine.  I logged my 10 mile long run with the group on Sunday, did a strength workout on Monday, did both a leg workout at home and 3.1 miles with my track kids on Tuesday and didn’t do anything yesterday or today.  I worked the Covid pod til 4, popped by the grocery store and had a CCL meeting last night and today I’m kicking myself for scheduling an eye doc appt after track because that means once again no time to workout.  Here’s hoping the weather behaves tomorrow to get a run in.

-While my ankle is relatively healed and I have no issues logging long miles on it, it’s still not 100%.  The tendon along the foot/up over the ankle bone still gets tender at times particularly if I’m standing for a long period of time which of course is what I’m doing when I work the Covid pod.  I ice it which seems to help but can only guess it’s still bruised and healing?

-I’m re-reading the Hunger Games trilogy.  Am I the only one who really enjoys young adult fiction?  Prior to that I had read a Short History of the World which took me months to get through and I just needed something to lose myself in that was an easier read.

-I’m going strong with still blogging once a week; I’ve surpassed two years of doing it as of Nov.  Sometimes I feel like the quality of my posts aren’t as good because I’m rushing to get something written for the week vs waiting until I have time to really think through a post.  I guess I tend to go with the “something is better than nothing” mentality kind of like a 10 min workout is better than no workout so blogging anything is better than blogging nothing?

Feel free to comment on any of the above that you can relate to!

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2020 – 4th Quarter Fitness Summary

Before 2021 gets too far underway I want to get my fitness stats for the last quarter of 2020 reported.

October featured not one, but TWO half marathons less than a week apart.  This was certainly a first and partially spurred by an overwhelming need to race when options were so limited due to Covid 19.  The Blue-Gray half was a repeat race with a faster performance while the End of the Road half was a new race and surpassed all expectations.  I took 10 days off from any workouts and ran 11 days for a total of 82.32 miles.

November kicked off the start of the York Winter series but rather than racing, I helped to direct the Spring Valley 4 miler.  With my racing finished for the year I scaled back my long runs and began to focus on strength training again.  I only took 5 days off from working out and ran 10 days for a total of 51.1 miles.

An anniversary trip in December didn’t keep me from running.  The month also featured a Christmas light run that fortunately wasn’t derailed by a mild ankle sprain.  I had more time than usual to workout when track practices were curtailed due to Covid, so I worked out all but 4 days.  I ran 10 days for a total of 63 miles.

At the end of 2019 I set a goal of running 600 miles in 2020 – a goal I didn’t even remember until I reviewed the end of the year summary.  I far surpassed that by running 138 days and logging 782.05 miles!  I also achieved my goals of foam rolling more, running another half marathon (actually 3 in one year!) and breaking my lifetime 5k PR

Blame it partially on Covid fatigue, but I’m not really up for setting any goals for 2021.  Much of 2020 was spent taking things one day at a time, and I think that’s the best mentality to carry into 2021.  I know there will be races, but which ones and when has yet to be determined.  I’m holding out hope to run the End of the Road half again in which case I will set a goal of running a 1:50.  Otherwise I plan to just continue enjoy running and working out, activities that not even a global pandemic was able to take from me in 2020! 

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3 Words for 2020

While most of the world is anxiously counting down the minutes left in 2020 in anticipation of a better 2021, I’m going to take this time to highlight 3 words that I feel summarize this year for me.

Unprecedented – If it’s not already, this word should be the “word of the year” for 2020.  Initially it made sense as the pandemic spread, and we started experiencing history in the making.  Watching the world basically come to a halt in many ways was certainly something never seen in our lifetime.  Over the year the phrase did start to become annoying as it seemed to be mentioned in nearly every news story as if reporters couldn’t consult a thesaurus for other words.  Everything about Covid 19 was unprecedented, everything about the election was unprecedented, the overuse of the word unprecedented was unprecedented as I doubt many people used it prior to 2020!

Nostalgic – This word described my mood through a lot of 2020.  With so many novel events occurring I found myself reflecting on the past a lot more.  The loss of the 2020 track season for the kids I coach hit particularly hard as I recalled all the memories I made during my own high school seasons.  While I was still able to do some traveling, I reflected on my cruise in 2017 with no idea of when the next one could or would be booked.  Random questions about my parents’ childhoods often came to mind as well.  I asked them about everything ranging from living without a telephone, to glass bottles instead of plastic ones to Halloween costumes.  Sometimes this made me long for a world that I had never experienced myself.  With constant changes throughout the year focusing on the past seemed to be a way to distract myself from the uncertainty of the future.

Grateful – This word has become increasingly important the older I get (ie I’m more grateful now in my 30s than I was in my 20s).  With all the upheaval brought about in 2020 it was a word/emotion that I continually came back to.  I reminded myself minor inconveniences like not finding paper towels were nothing compared to those struggling to put food on the table.  The disappointment I felt over not getting to visit NYC or attend a concert didn’t compare to the emotional stress of those working the front lines of hospitals.  The limited interactions with others was nothing like living in a nursing home and not being allowed visitors.  I acknowledged that I was allowed to feel any and all emotions from anxiety to frustration to anger, but at the end of the day counting my blessings was the best way to stay positive.

2020 will certainly be a year for the history books.  I know it’ll take well into 2021 for any sense of “normalcy” to return.  I’m fortunate that I have adapted well to the current way of living, and that Jason and I thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.  My hope for 2021 is that many others can be grateful for the small things in their lives and help others through donations or volunteering to improve theirs.  If everyone can remember that we’ve all been affected in some way and that a little kindness goes a long way then maybe we’ll have more good than bad to remember in 2021.

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My Running Group

In a year with limited social interactions I have been very blessed to have a running group.  I think I realized this even more after taking a group pic following our Christmas light run Wed. evening.  It is our group’s first/only pic to date.  Texting it to the others later I realized that outside of my parents and Jason, I have likely had more human contact with Todd, Armand and Scott than any other people this year.

That contact has been limited to outside interactions as all of us have erred on the side of caution with the Covid 19 pandemic.  Unfortunately Scott did contract the virus in July, not long after Jason and I joined him in his running through the entire state of Delaware.  He still has some odd lingering things from it such as his heart rate going really high post-run if he pushes the pace too much, so it’s something he continues to monitor.  While we were all following the rules at the time (mask wearing, social distancing, etc) it still drove home the fact that anyone could get sick.

Normally Jason can’t join our Wed. group runs, just the Sunday morning ones, due to working until 5:30pm but this past Wed. our normal time was moved back to 6:30pm.  We all met in Petco’s parking lot to enjoy a 10k Christmas light run that Scott had mapped out.  He also mapped a 10 mile route, but none of us were too keen on running that far that late on a week night.

I had tested out my sprained ankle by running 2 miles the previous day.  The ankle itself was ok though the bruising along the inside and the tendon along the outside made it a bit uncomfortable at times to have the shoe pushing on it.  There was also a small downhill that caused a sharp pain, so I knew I would have to stick to flat routes for a bit.

Fortunately over half of the Christmas light route was through flat neighborhoods with the only tricky parts being some large puddles at various intersections.  I managed to keep my feet dry, and by the time we reached the hillier neighborhood I was feeling pretty decent.  We kept the pace low key to allow for plenty of chatting and taking in the various lights and decorations.  The most elaborate house had changing images on its garage door and lights synced to music which unfortunately we couldn’t hear since it required tuning into a specific radio station.  There were lots of cars parked at that house and coming down to the street to check it out, but the majority of the streets had little to no traffic.  When we arrived back to the parking lot I shared a loaf of homemade cinnamon raisin bread I baked earlier that day and took our selfie.

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Top Row – My dad, Jason, Todd and Scott Bottom Row – Me and Armand

In addition to being able to run together, we were all blessed to race and volunteer this year as well.  Armand took part in the Shoe House 5 Miler with Jason and me while dad joined us at the Blue-Gray half marathon.  Scott and Todd’s plans to race out of state (an ultra in Arizona for Scott and the Chicago marathon for Todd) were quickly squashed, but both tackled the JFK 50 this fall.  Scott timed the Hex Hollow trail race that dad and Jason ran, while Todd and Jason helped me out with the Spring Valley 4 Miler.  All things considered we had a fairly successful year of running.

What will 2021 entail for our group?  I don’t think any of us are planning too far ahead at this point, so we only have a few things on the calendar for this winter.  Jason and I have two virtual challenges to complete by March – the York Winter series one and the Rocksylvania Remix.  Dad and Armand have the live York Winter series races.  Todd and Scott will each be directing a race; Todd has the John Rudy 5 Miler and Scott has the Squirrelly Tail Trail Run.  No matter what happens, races or no races, we’ll still be blessed to enjoy each other’s company doing what we all love to do – RUN.

Have you ran with any groups this year?

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A Sprained Ankle for Christmas

I have been fortunate in my running career in that I’ve encountered very few injuries and none of them major ones.  In high school I battled a bit of Achilles tendonitis, runner’s knee and IT band issues, but I only recall missing one cross country meet because of the tendonitis.  I’ve had little nagging things at times like knee pain, but nothing that really sidelined me for too long.

The first time I had to actually take time off from running for an injury was due to a hamstring strain.  I had the injury and ran on it longer than I should have, but fortunately no major damage was done.  The two weeks I took completely off from running felt like an eternity.  As I’ve stated many times running is my sanity saver and I certainly was itching to get back to my preferred stress reliever.

I am now forced to pause my running once more for an undetermined amount of time. 

Last evening I was outside shoveling snow with Jason.  He noticed that drifts were forming along the back part of our roof and wanted to get out the ladder to knock them down.  I went inside, grabbed the shed key, and was stepping off the porch to take it to him when my right ankle rolled inward.  I slightly screamed and yelled a loud explicative as I heard a large cracking noise and rolled over into the snow.  Tears filled my eyes and I clutched my ankle.  Jason had rushed to me immediately to see if I was ok.  I was trying to steady my breath and get the pain under control while explaining to him what had happened.  He wanted to help me up right away, but I told him to let me lay there a bit.  It was not the first time my ankle had rolled like that, but the level of pain and the lingering of it had me concerned.

When I finally felt recovered enough to try to stand I needed his help to pull me up.  I gingerly tested my body weight on it and was able to hobble inside the house.  I grabbed my rice bag out of the freezer and settled myself on the couch.  Jason brought me an Aleve when he finished shoveling.  I was fairly convinced it was a sprain, not a break, given I could put weight on it.  The ice bag resting on it did seem to hurt it though.  

I texted my sister who had injured her ankle years ago in a similar manner.  She informed me that she had been able to bear weight on it, but it still had been fractured.  It was already close to 7pm and with sleet still coming down I was not about to head out to a doctor.  I was grateful that no bone had broken the skin or any dislocation/deformity occurred as I felt confident it could wait until the morning to be examined.

I hobbled around getting ready for bed and started to not put weight on it as it felt worse.  I took a second Aleve as the swelling had seemed to worsen and my ankle bone most certainly wasn’t visible.  Before bed I tested my weight on it again and I could very carefully walk to the bathroom.  While I didn’t sleep the best I also didn’t wake up with a lot of pain which was a blessing.  

My dad took me to the urgent orthopedic office (he is on vacation until the new year so it saved Jason on having to use PTO to take me) this morning where I was X-rayed and confirmed to have a moderate sprain.  This was very welcome news as I feared a fracture and needing surgery.  I was given a walking boot to help stabilize the ankle and told it should be mostly healed by New Year’s Day.  If it wasn’t I was to schedule a follow up visit.  When I inquired about running I was told that my pain level and ability to walk normally would determine if I could try running on it.  I mentioned that my running group was to do a Christmas light run next week and was told it’s possible I could try it.  Apparently even if the ankle is still swollen it would be ok so long as I didn’t have pain.  Who would’ve thought?

I know running this weekend with the group is out of the question, and I’m not hopeful that I will be able to make the Christmas light run given it’s 6 miles.  The swelling has gone down some and I don’t have much pain, but there is a lot of stiffness in it.  As much as I want to get back to logging the miles (I’m 25% of the way through the York Winter Series virtual series and the Rocksylvania Winter Remix virtual series starts on Jan. 1st) I don’t want to rush anything and risk re-injury.  I am very grateful to have a minor injury and not a major one as I know I won’t lose too much fitness/endurance while I wait to hit the roads.

Have you ever experienced an ankle sprain?

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