Monday, February 29, 2016

Cowtown Challenge Done!

This was one awesome weekend! I did finish the Cowtown Challenge by doing a 5K on Saturday and a half marathon on Saturday. In between I rode bikes around with one of my friends. I enjoyed the camaraderie of all the runners and the general atmosphere around the Cowtown is just awesome - Oh - and I met Jeff Galloway himself! He is so kind and encouraging - just like Mark Bravo.

I really felt very under-trained for this particular event. I hadn't run much in the last two weeks and had only done one 9+ miler in the last month. I usually have a few 10 milers in, but not this time. But - it all worked out.

One of the biggest struggles I have is simply not knowing what my body is going to do on any given day. I have to keep my attitude straight and just be "okay" with whatever I have to work with. Doing a race while traveling adds another struggle - trying to eat out without taking in too much salt. Hey- the struggle is real! One night we ate at Chili's and I asked for them to not add any sauce to my steak - it was so salty I couldn't even eat it! I gave up and had peanut butter back at the room - I'd brought it with me. I can opt for most salads (but not the  night before a race!)

The 5K was a double cool day because I decided to run with my daughter. I ran at her pace, walked at her pace and just generally took it easy - it was so cool to cross that finish line with her! That was the highlight I think - because we did it together.

The morning of the half I felt fine - but was nervous about my lack of training. So I didn't play music, wore my heart rate to keep a close eye on it and went out slowly. I have learned how to monitor my heart and interpret what it's telling me. For instance, if it runs higher than my "normal" I know it's working harder than it should be. But it didn't do that stayed in its normal zones perfectly.

By mile 5 I was feeling really good and making decent time. I held back since I still had a ways to go. As I crossed the half way mark - in the Stockyards, I felt really good - but I also knew I had two good sized hills coming and they can be challenging. But my heart was still hanging in the right zones so I kept going forward, but I didn't push it.

Once I got past the huge hill - dreaded mile 9 - I took awhile to catch my breath and by mile 10 it was flat and I was ready to go. I thought, "I only have a 5K left to go!" I turned on my music and took off. I felt great - better than I EVER have at the 10 mile mark. By 11 I was still cooking - still running Galloway's  3:1 intervals. What amazed me was that I was still running! An I wasn't dragging at all..... crossed the finish line and checked my stats and mile 12 was my fastest mile! lol - how did that
happen? Mile 12?? that's cool.

So I have decided staying with a healthy diet is essential....and I think I have a well rounded workout schedule right now. I am going to continue what I'm doing since I feel more fit and had a great race when I didn't expect it at all!

I do have a cardiologist appointment in the morning - but I expect nothing but a good report on the tests I had last week. Maybe he'll take the "CHF" diagnosis back too! lol

Every Step's A Victory
...and I feel it right now!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Atmosphere is Everything!

I did this local 5K this morning - mostly because it was to raise awareness of heart disease, and partly because I really liked the shirt! It was a very well done race and had several tables set up all geared to help educate about healthy lifestyles and heart health. They even had a cardiologist from the community who gave "heart healthy tips" every few minutes. And the atmosphere was wonderful - lots of dancing and laughing and families enjoying being outside and being active. I loved it.

This race was significant for me since I have had some symptoms this week after being free from them for several months. As they cropped back up this week (all mild) I had to remember how bad they used to be and the things I've learned about listening to my body. Actually I started getting shortness of breath early this week after a 9 miler on Sunday. Not sure if it's to blame, but that's the first time I've had it in a long time. Blood pressure was running high too - not bad - just higher than my new normal. I took my son to the doc on Tuesday - we have the same doc - bad idea! lol

As I was getting him situated the shortness of breath was awful and I had to sit down. I think the nurse checking him in told my practitioner because she started asking me about how I was doing after she had seen to my son. She gave me some "gentle reminders" about not overdoing it and risking "setbacks" in my training. It was a good lesson - and helped me stay focused the rest of the week. Sometimes it's good to remember where I've been so I can stay on the straight and narrow....

So I started thinking about what I'd been doing that could have caused this episode. I know I've been cheating some on my diet - not eating enough green! And I had stopped exercising every day. It's really hard to find that perfect balance between resting and exercise. I have definitely noticed that when I do at least 30 minutes of cardio (can be super easy) every day my circulation and blood pressure are noticeably better. So I started back to just 30 minutes a day running, walking or biking. It doesn't have to (or need to) be all out effort - just enough to keep my circulation in good shape. This and wearing my support socks all the time are helping with the swelling particularly in my ankles.

Yesterday I did a little over 2 miles on a trail here close to my house and felt like I was trudging - walked a lot too. When my Nike app announced my speed I was doing about a 14 minute mile. This morning I decided that I was so early for the race I'd get a couple of miles in before the race - took it easy - but ended up doing about a 12 minute mile. I felt about the same while I was running. (even though my blood pressure was back down to a safe level and I felt better overall.)  The weird thing was that I felt the same yesterday and today; but was running 2 minutes per mile faster with no effort. I don't get that.

I then ran the 5K and did about an 11:30 minute mile on average - never got close to a 12 minute mile. I walked some and pushed it a bit. When I was running around this little loop before the race I remembered when I first started doing races and I was so shocked at other runners who were running before the race! lol - I remember thinking that the 5K was all I had in my tank and I might not be able to make it if I ran before the race. That was kind of cool because I actually did well and felt well doing the race after a gentle run. I liked that.

I had time to go by the store on my way home and stock my fridge back up with "green stuff." I'm glad to say I am back on track and determined to stay there. (except for those m&m's I snagged - but hey - they were peanut so there's some protein - and each package only has 20 mg of sodium! )

So for now - I am moving forward and doing pretty good. I feel better today but plan on taking tomorrow off of running. I'll try some biking for cardio and stretching/kicking exercises for taekwondo. I've got three halfs, a 5K and a couple of 10Ks coming up - so I have to be good. I'm ready to see how I can manage symptoms and "being good" so I can keep running at this pace. I keep reminding myself - no matter how slow - how fast - walk, run or crawl -

Every Step's A Victory!