Training and Some Anxiety

So after taking a couple of weeks off in March to nurse my piriformis, hip and back, I am back at the training. This training cycle has been somewhat conservative.  Taking the occasional second rest day and making it a weekly habit to cross train. My first two long runs I battled with stomach issues. I started to wonder if training would be rough this time around. I believe the culprit was that I OD on the morning coffee  Drinking two cups of coffee is not ideal before a run.

Last Saturday’s long run had 8 miles on the schedule.  Let’s just say that I had some anxiety the day before. I questioned whether I was eating enough food and hydrating.  I debated in my head between five and eight miles. I wondered if my body would hold up. I haven’t been this nervous for a long run in ages.  I slept terribly that night. Waking up on and off.  My loud old school alarm clock, jolted me up at 5:20 am.  It was way too early but I was ready to go.  I ate my English Muffin with Almond Butter and half a cup of coffee. Got ready and was out the door.   I was so anxious about the run,  that I almost took the wrong exit off the freeway.

As I gathered with the group in SF, I realized that the eight mile route covered the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The first two miles were great. My legs felt strong. I was keeping a good pace. The climb up to the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza went well. Usually, I struggle with my breathing going up the hill but kept it slow and steady. This was the turn around point for the five miles. My mind was telling me to turn around but with a gentle nudge from others, I decided to keep on going. I downed some Honey Stinger Energy Chews during this time. As I approached the bridge, I kept an even pace and just enjoyed the views.  It was early enough in the day that there was no need for dodging tourists. The bridge is always beautiful but on a sunny day she shines brighter than ever.  My Garmin noted I was running a faster pace than I have recorded on my long runs in weeks. Score and a boost of confidence!  It was a welcome sight to see my faster friends in the 9:00 pace group as I was reaching the turn around point.  The return trip on the bridge was getting crowded as other groups were doing their long run. My legs started feeling some fatigue and cramping as I got off the bridge, so I slowed down the pace and kept telling myself, one foot after the other. I made my way through Crissy Field and back to the start.  Eight miles boom!

It was a big boost of confidence to get back to the eight miles. My legs, hips and priformis all held up.  My stomach didn’t disappoint. It’s good to push even though your mind tells you it can’t go. How else are you supposed to know how far you can go, if you don’t challenge yourself?  Having anxiety is normal but being able to overcome it is even better.

Happy Running,
Runner Trish

Finding Myself Through Running

Last Thursday, an article was published in The New York Times entitled Running as Therapy.   In summary, the author writes about how distance running helped her through some of the most difficult experiences. The article is something that I can totally relate to.

Besides struggling with obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression in my early twenties. I rarely disclose this because I fear that people will judge me.   Life is sometimes not fair. The depression was different than the blues.  I went through some rough periods where I felt that I could not lift my head to see the light.  I battled with self-doubt, self-loathing and low self-esteem. I wanted to be alone.  It hurt to be around my friends.

I was prescribed antidepressant medications such as Wellbutrin and Luvox in addition to psychotherapy. Though the treatment helped manage my depression symptoms, I still felt a fog of sadness that I couldn’t get out of. I struggled to find happiness and purpose.   I had the support of family and friends but it wasn’t something that they could take away.  It was something I had to work out on my own.

On November 12, 2012, I signed up to run the first half of The 2013 San Francisco Marathon. It was the next item to check off on my list of goals on my weight loss journey.   I did not think it would change me. I had doubts that I could even complete the race since it is a challenging course.

It was during my training, I navigated myself out of the fog I had been lost in for so long.   Losing myself in the miles and focusing on my breathing connected me to the present.  Running provided me with certain calmness that I did not find in medication or food.  The training challenged all the negative thoughts inside my head because I was out completing all of the mileage on the schedule.  I found solace as I ran through the hilly trails of The Presidio.  The ache in my legs was not punishment but a reminder of my dedication and perseverance to heal my spirit.

With the help of my pace group at The San Francisco Road Runners, I gained the confidence that I needed to finish the race with each long run. The self-doubt was losing its hold on me. The long runs by myself gave me time to explore, dream and let go of the old beliefs. Running gave me the strength to keep on trying even though I wanted to give up. Slowly but surely, I was able to see myself in a different light. I realized that I was a capable person that mattered and had so much to offer the world.

As I approached the finish line of the first half last June in Golden Gate Park, I felt tears running down my face. I was healthy both physically and mentally.  I felt alive and present.

 The finish line was not the end of the race for me. It was the beginning of a beautiful life full of promise with one run at a time.

Aside

Paying Attention to Your Body

I wish I had some great news to tell. How I am excited to run my third half marathon in three weeks. Unfortunately, I have to pull out of the Modesto Half Marathon on March 23rd.

I was experiencing hip and lower back pain in early February. Being stubborn, I ignored and just kept stretching it out. As I kept ramping up the miles, I still felt pain and soreness. It was difficult to sleep because I felt pinching and a little numbness in my lower back and hips.  Last week, I had to cut my track workout because it was too painful to run the 4th lap of the 4×400 exercise. I felt defeated and frustrated.

After a visit to the chiropractor and physician, it was confirmed that I have strained my piriformis. The remedy is to stretch, strengthen the muscle , foam roll and cut back on mileage.  My primary care physician advised that it would be best not to run Modesto because he doesn’t want me to turn this strain into a major injury.  It was a difficult decision to make.Yet, I think it was for the best.  Though I am a newbie runner, I believe it is important to pay attention to how your body is feeling. Is it the good sore that goes away after a couple of days?Or the bad sore that keeps on nagging after every run? Learning to recognize these signs can be valuable.  As someone posted on my FB wall this afternoon, ” Health is wealth.” There will be more races down the line, but I only have one body. In this case, it is better to rest and heal.

As for my plan B, I am going to lower my mileage, stretch and breathe.  I have more time to prepare for the 2nd half of The San Francisco Marathon in July. I hope to come back stronger than ever for that.

Happy Running,

Runner Trish

The Gift of Running

Today is my birthday. I am thirty-eight.. I am thankful to reach this age because there was a time that I didn’t think I would reach it due to my poor health. As part of The San Francisco Marathon Ambassador Team, the post below was published on their blog.

I get asked many times why do I subject myself to running. Isn’t it painful? Don’t you get bored running so long on the weekend? My short answers: yes, it is sometimes painful and no, I don’t get bored on long runs.

In all seriousness, here is my story. In my twenties, I caught the running bug. I completed various 5ks and 10ks races. My doctor told me that it was too risky to keep running due to my weight and high blood pressure. Heartbroken, I stopped and became a couch potato who developed diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol.  It was a low point in my life and my health paid a price for my inactivity.

tricia2

Three months into my weight loss journey in 2011, I sought out running to beat boredom of the treadmill. I drove to a local path in San Mateo, CA and started to jog. I was huffing and puffing after a couple of minutes and would walk a little.  Then I would run again. The next thing I knew, I ran two miles. Honestly, it hurt.  My legs ached and lungs were burning, but I will never forget the feeling of pure joy while running. I felt alive and excited to tackle something so simple. Something I wasn’t feeling much of at that point.

Two and a half years later, I still feel joy and excitement whenever I lace up my shoes and walk out the door. Besides joy and excitement, running fuels my sense of adventure, strengthens me in times of trial and comforts me in times of sadness. How could you not possibly fall in love with it? I was given a second chance and never take it for granted. As cliché as it sounds, running is truly a gift. When I lack motivation, I remind myself what it was like to not be able to run. This reason alone, snaps me into the present and I am back out on the roads in my happy place.

So bring on the training miles, hills and fog. I will be the one out there soaking it all up because I don’t want to miss out on a magical gift.

Who do you run for?

Who do you run for? Is it for someone or yourself?  For me, it’s for a group of people who I call my race crew. Obese or healthy, these people have been with me through thick and thin (no pun intended)..

I am very lucky to have what I call a race crew. Kind of like an entourage, but better.   I am grateful for all their encouragement and support. They provide me with the fire to be my best. They cheer me up when training is not going so well. They make me laugh when I am injured. They travel far distances just to see cheer me on at the finish line.  They make signs, ring cow bells and show up at races with no questions asked.  These people are my heart and world. I would do anything for them.  My crew sends me texts messages to wish me good luck on a race or prepares my favorite post-race meal as a celebration of finishing. It’s the little thing that matter to me.

I don’t think my crew knows how much they inspire me to keep reaching for my goals and moving forward.  I think of  all of them when I am out running. I dedicate my miles to them because without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am.  So to my race crew, thank you for being a part of my life. This run is for you..

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Who do you run for?

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Taking it to the track

track

One of my running goals for this year is to get faster.  The only dilemma I have is that SF Road Runners schedule track workouts on Tuesdays and I can’t attend due to my schedule.  So what better way than to crash the track party with Run 365 , the official training program of The San Francisco Marathon   at Kezar Stadium last Wednesday.  With anything running related, I always get nervous because of my inexperience and my turtle pace. I also knew if I want to improve then I have to put in the work.  My only goal was not to puke or die during the workout.

It was rainy too but nothing stopped me from joining in.The workout consisted of a two lap warm up on the outside part  of Kezar. I kept a pretty good pace with the warm up. I pushed myself to keep in the middle of the pack. I did take one small walk break towards the end. After the warm up came the static stretching drills lined up in rows of three.  The group finally made it onto the track to do skipping and butt kick drills on the 100 meter straightway of the track four times each way.   The final part of the workout was a timed mile. Four laps around the 400 meter circle.  This is what I was afraid of.  So off I went pushing myself and as the track coach shouted times, I just kept going. Not caring if I finished last.  It hurt. My lungs were burning and breathing was a little hard but I didn’t die. The pace was just about the same I keep .  I could do so much better. I have my work cut out for me but I know I can handle it.

Do you make time for track workouts?

What are your favorite drills?

Want to run The San Francisco Marathon? Use discount code DSC10TSFM2014A82 to save $10 on any of the races!

Runner Trish is also Pace Group Leader Trish

So did you guys know that I am a pacer for SF Road Runners? That’s right, I am the one that sends out the weekly routes and leads the Saturday long runs through the streets of SF to make sure the group doesn’t get lost (though I always get lost in The Presidio) In addition, I  act as a resource for the club. It’s somewhat like an ambassador role. I’ve volunteered after the original person had to resign last year. I think being a pacer allows you to pay it forward. You pass down knowledge and also learn from others too!  It also keeps me motivated to stay on top of my mileage every week.

I pace the 11:30 – 12:30 per mile group.  On most Saturdays, you can find me holding up the sign and greeting people.  are a small but mighty compared to the faster pace groups.   During the long runs, I make sure we stay somewhat together and not go crazy on the streets. I also try to look out for the safety of the group.  I have one or two regular people that show up that have become my running buddies. We catch up, sometimes vent or complain and have fun over miles.  I usually push the group when going up hills and feel proud when someone conquers it.  When I am training for a race, sometimes the group will join me but mostly they cap off at six miles which is cool. I’d rather have company at some parts than none at all.  It’s always an adventure on Saturday and I totally look forward to it..

Do you run in a group? Have you considered becoming a pacer?

Want to run The San Francisco Marathon? Use discount code DSC10TSFM2014A82 to save $10 on any of the races!