Starting Over Again ..

Last week I started training. It felt good to get back into the routine after five weeks of recovery. I have missed the torture, er I mean the exercise. Most importantly, I missed the trainers who have become my friends. We’ve been slowly building and easing into things. Core, arms and legs. I can tell I’ve lost a little of my endurance but I think that’s because of the meds I am on. Hopefully in the coming weeks, I’ll be back to doing the crazy stuff..

As for the running, I am easing into it too. Last Saturday’s long run was a four miler around Lake Merced. It was kind of a test to see if my body was up to it. Note that four miles has been the longest I have run in five weeks too. Perfect weather around the lake. Cool with a touch of foggy mist! Welcome to SF summer..

My first two miles around the lake were fucking hard. My legs felt heavy and I started to question if I could handle it. I kept telling myself to just keep going .. One foot in front of the other. In the middle of the second mile, I tried to hold on to the pace but alas, I took a 30 second walk break and felt discouraged.. I told myself that the long run was not a race. Relax and enjoy the moment. No pressure.. After the pep talk, the feeling of heavy legs somewhat disappeared and my breathing improved. I kept pushing and by mile three and four I felt like my old self. Running hard with sweat dripping down my forehead and the pounding of my heart. I have to say it’s the best feeling in the world! I completed four miles. Every run is an accomplishment in itself. And to me, it’s a sign that I am capable of going as far as my heart can take me.

Seen on the run:

San Andreas

Happy Running,
Trish

being sidelined

I have to admit being sideline is not fun. I’ve gone through all the emotions. Anger.. Sadness.. Guilt.. Depression of not running. As my running friends get ready for The San Francisco Marathon, I feel a bit sad that I won’t be running the race. I am humbled that friends have asked to write my bib number on their bib as they run the race for me.

The SF Marathon was my “A” race of 2014. It was what I was training for since the beginning of the year. Though I haven’t run many half marathons, SF is the one that I love. My hometown, weather, the views and crowds. I know the course like the back of my hand. I know which part of the course to take it easy (downhill on Lincoln), where to let my legs fly in Golden Gate Park and which of the views I can never get tired of (running on the footbed of the Golden Gate Bridge) Last year, I did not hesitate to sign up for the race two weeks after finishing.

It’s hard to be patient and listen to the doctors. Walking for 30 minutes and water aerobics. Not my thing. I do it just to keep somewhat active. I used to think I wasn’t a runner. But the more time I have had to think these past three weeks, I really am a runner. I use running to see and experience the world around me. Funny but true, I am probably only person in my circle that knows where to use the bathrooms around the Embarcadero, Crissy Field, Fort Mason, Presidio and Golden Gate Park. Yep, that’s what I learned in my two years of running. Joking aside, I miss feeling the wind on face as I run the hilly parts of the Presidio. I miss the sounds, sights and not so great smells of Golden Gate Park and Panhandle. I miss my four mile speed workout that I used to do every other Wednesday around Lake Merced.

Regardless, I will be present during the SF Marathon weekend to give back to running all that it has given me. I will be at expo on Friday and Saturday at the information booth. I will be at the finish line and Ambassador tent cheering and celebrating with everyone. I am sure there will be tears, hugs and fist bumps all around.

Running & Training Hiatus

The past week has been overwhelming with doctors appointments,phone calls with Aetna to triple check my insurance plan covers the doctor visits / treatments, trips to the lab for blood work and the Walgreens down the street from my house to pick up new but old prescriptions of medications that I used to take when I was unhealthy. The pharmacists at Walgreens gave me a long time no see greeting since I haven’t been around for the past two years to pick up seven types of meds due to losing weight. It was heartwarming to get a welcome back but not really. The medications have made me feel dizzy, sleepy, stomach upset, using the bathroom more than I need to and slower. I feel like I am in a daze. The dosages are no joke and I feel horrible. I try to down play how I physically feel but all I want to do is curl up on the couch and sleep .

I get advice from family (mainly my parents) telling me to cheer up and smile. My dad tells me that it’s because I eat too much cheese or diet that caused my chest pain. I love cheese but I wasn’t pigging out on it. A couple of slices here and there after running. That was it. It was my treat after running 8-10 miles. My mom tells me to get off the couch and move.That I don’t have to be half-marathon runner to be healthy. She told me that I could Zoomba. No offense, but I am the most uncoordinated person in the world and don’t want to make a fool out of myself.I know that they mean well and scared them with my hospitalization. I am thankful for my friends and extended family who let me vent and cry via text, FB messaging and phone calls. It’s been sad.

I am thankful to be able to recover. Though, my heart is a little broken that I can’t run or do any work with the trainer for awhile until my medical team figures out why my blood pressure and heart are crazytown. I have never been one to love fitness or running. Somehow during my time losing weight these past three years, I came to enjoy it. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I did burpees and kettle bell exercises. The results seeing definition in my body was also a boost of confidence.

Although, I didn’t let training and running define me, it has been a big part of life. Having a shitty day at work on a Monday or Thursday? Trust trainer to kick my ass and make me laugh about trying not to flash the gym. Feeling sad or have a race coming up? A speed run around Lake Merced usually made the ache go away. Running was how I got my life back together after being lost. Talking or taking meds didn’t cure my depression. Running and getting outside did. I miss my group runs on Saturday through San Francisco and hanging out with my pace group. It frustrates me that all the work I had been building has come to a stop even for awhile. I didn’t do all that work to end up at the same place I was three years ago. I am at a lost. A friend told me last Friday, everything happens for a reason. I surely believe that whatever reason it is, I will see it soon. Hopefully, I will come back stronger.

Thank you everyone for all your thoughts, well wishes and texts messages over the past week.

Zooma, Why I Heart the Running Community and My Health

Zooma was a great race. I was doing good and feeling the course until mile 10 when I experienced leg cramps. Knowing myself, I should have worn the compression socks on the longest run of training but I forgot to pack them. Alas, I wore the socks that Zooma gave away to all the participants. The course was beautiful. Sun and lots of wonderful views of the Napa Valley. This race took me three hours to finish.  It wasn’t my best time and I didn’t care.  It was a training race before the real race. I’ll have a full recap soon.

The real story of Zooma was I landed in the hospital on Saturday night.  I was feeling chest pain like I never felt before. Like one of my nephews was sitting on my chest and wouldn’t get up kind of pressure. It would come and go in the afternoon after the race when we were touring Napa. Though after dinner but when I was lying down, it wouldn’t go away. So my friends who are saints and my guardian angels, drove me to Queen of The Valley Hospital.  Within five minutes of checking into the ER, I was called in by the nurse and hooked up to an EKG machine and blood pressure cuff.  My blood pressure was extremely high and the EKG had a little abnormal reading.  The nurse took my blood and administered blood pressure medication. For the life of me i couldn’t remember the meds I took.  Results of blood test showed I had an elevated level of troponin. This caused concern along w my high blood pressure to the doctor and I was admitted to the hospital.  I stayed in the ER for about five hours monitoring my BP, heart rate and testing my blood. My blood pressure wouldn’t go down after a couple of doses of IV meds.

I was taken up to a room around 4 am.  I have never been hospitalized.  The nurse I had was gruff and didn’t really listen to me. She kept on asking what meds I took for my asthma and i kept telling her, I do not have asthma. She didn’t explain what the meds she was administering in my IV, even though I asked.    I knew I was in for the long haul.  Nurse kept asking me why would I run a race and how come my blood pressure was too high.. The bed side manner wasn’t really there.  No offense to the nurses I know, but this lady was rough.  Around five thirty, I was moved to another room to be on a constant drip of high blood medication and BP / heart monitor checks every 15-30 minutes.  My BP was slowly going down . The attending physician made his rounds around 9:30 am and explained my situation.  I needed my BP to go down and see the cardiologist.  The cardiologist was very kind . He took time to get my health history and facts. He told me that it was good that I was in the hospital and told

Hydrating and Fueling

Disclaimer:  Please note that these are my opinions and views alone. I am not sponsored nor compensated by any of these products mentioned in this article. I am not a medical professional.  If you have specific questions or issues regarding nutrition, please contact a medical professional.

I have been asked how do I fuel and hydrate during a training cycle. I am not really an expert.  All of us are different. What may work for me, may not work for others. Most of the time it’s a game of trial and error for me. I test out some things a couple of weeks into training and usually stick with what works.

Hydration:
The key thing I know is to stay hydrated throughout the week.  I drink an average of ten glasses of water a day. For some, that may seem like a lot and boring.  I have learned that it does help to keep hydrated during the week to prepare me for long runs . On Fridays, I a try to slip in a tablet of Nuun (pronounced “Noon”) in my water to kick start the electrolyte intake. What is Nuun? According to the website,” it’s a self-dissolving, sugar-free electrolyte tablet that dissolves in your water.” I discovered Nuun, while training last year for the first half of The SF Marathon.  Unfortunately, Gatorade , Gu-Brew and Power-Aid doesn’t sit too well with my stomach. So during a shopping trip to Sports Basement, I bought a tube of the Lemon Tea flavor. From that purchase on it has been my constant hydration companion.  It hardly gives me any trouble and it’s breaks up the monotony of water. What I love about it: portable, sugar-free, a variety of flavors and most important happy stomach! My favorite flavors are: Tropical, Fruit Punch and Citrus Fruit.  Do you see the tropical theme here? Nuun will be the electrolyte on course for The SF Marathon this year!  Awesome!

Photo courtesy of Nuun website/

Photo courtesy of Nuun website

Fuel:
Besides hydration, fuel is important while running.  There are all sorts of products out there. Gels, chews, bars and whole food. So many to choose from so little time. It takes time to figure out what works and doesn’t. My magic combo this year has been Chocolate Outrage Gu Energy Gels, Chocolate Haze Pocket Fuel Nut Butter and Pomegranate Passion Fruit Honey Stinger Energy Gels.

Photo courtesy of PocketFuel.

Photo courtesy of PocketFuel.

Photo Courtesy of Honey Stinger

Photo Courtesy of Honey Stinger

Photo courtesy of Gu Energy L

Photo courtesy of Gu Energy Labs

Now, I don’t use everything at the same time but I do like to have variety. For runs longer than 5 miles, I take four Gu’s and either a package of chews or Pocket Fuel just in case I get tired of gels. I start my fuel thirty minutes before a run and then every 40 minutes while running. I find this timing works best for me. It saves me from getting delirious and hangry (hungry and angry) while out on the road.  What I love about all these fueling options are that it gives me the energy and nutrition that I need. Gu is not sugar-free but has just enough to not send me into sugar shock.  PocketFuel is pretty gentle on my stomach and is a good whole food option. Honey Stinger has fun flavors also organic and gluten free.

The most important thing is it to try all sorts of things. Practice fueling and hydrating while on your long runs. Logging the miles during training is important . Practicing your fueling and hydrating is also key. It is during this time you will figure out what works, so come race day, no surprises.

Hope this helps!

How do you fuel and hydrate while training?
Do you prefer gels or chews?

Happy Running,
Trish

Three Years of Fitness & SF Marathon Training

The month of April flew by and no matter how hard I tried to sit down and write, I got pulled into something else.

Three Years of Fitness

April 19th is always a special day.   It’s not only my mom’s birthday but three years ago, was my first training session at Crossroads Fitness.  I remember trainer asked me what was my long term goal.  I meekly replied that I wanted to run again. Trainer sessions taught me about pushing my limits and proving myself wrong.  It is like Biggest Loser without the shouting or drama packed in 30 minutes. =) There have been many laughs along with some bad days. Even through my antics, I can always count on trainer to come up with some crazy exercise to keep me on my toes. Hello, same arm and leg kettle bell exercise.  I keep coming back to challenge myself and the occasional ass-kicking.  It is the best way I know how to take care of myself and complement my running regimen.  I am forever thankful to trainer for being with me throughout my journey.

Half Marathon Training Update

As of today, there are 80 days until The SF Marathon. Training has been going well. I have been using the training schedule from SFRRC.  Lately, I have been adding a lot of hill work on my short runs. Even though the second half of the SF Marathon is less hilly than the first half, there are a lot of rolling hills. I want to make sure my legs can handle that.  I am finding that the hill work also can be disguised as speed too.

Long runs have been progressing with 8 – 10 miles on Saturdays. Along with a short 2-3 mile recovery run on Sundays. Still trying to figure out the nutrition and hydration thing. There are some long runs I battle with stomach issues and other times I am just fine.  I think it all has to do with if I eat and hydrate enough during the week.  So I have been a bit type A about my eating.

Below are some pictures during my time on the road:

Bison photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Happy Running,
Trish

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