Currently I’m in my fourth week back in the running world. The first week was all sunshine and puppies; the pace felt nice and easy and I was just so darn happy to be back on the road again that it seemed every run was flawless. I thought for sure all the cross training I did had paid off big dividends and as you can probably guess from my sunshine and puppies tone, it didn’t quite work out that way.
The second week started out well with a string of easy runs. Then on a Thursday I made a poor judgement decision which led to a domino effect of sore legs for days to follow. The Mr. is in the Navy and the local bases host a series of running events to encourage fitness. The races are always free and always have loads of yummy food and the occasional fun swag too so I told myself to run it as a tempo effort. This kinda happened. The first mile felt great (can we say excited adrenaline?) I found myself with a pack of guys and in the female lead but not by much. The mile was a low 6 pace but we had a tailwind ego boost. By mile 2 (1/2?) we did a turnaround and I could see two speedy female friends very close behind me. The turn around meant we would be running straight into a head wind for almost the entire remainder of the race and my previous tempo-ish pace felt uncomfortable and slightly panicky. Even though I shouldn’t have, I picked it up as much as I could to fend off two friends. I told myself I wouldn’t, but I’m stubborn like that. The finishing clock said 19:40 and while its a ways off my 5K PR (17:53), I was pleased with the effort. All was good. I was still living in sunshine and puppy land.
The next day I was sore- like post-marathon sore. I felt like I was 135 years old. I sprinted half a mile to finish that race and was paying for it. The sunshine and puppies were gone. I did my usual recovery tricks; extra sleep, hydration, soaking legs in cold water. For the next 7-10 days though every log entry was ended with a “Still so very achey” and it took until the last two days to start feeling like myself again. It was the first time I’d ever had thoughts that maybe I shouldn’t have run that race. It set me back quite a bit. There was a reason Coach Hadley had texted “Don’t run it hard, just tempo pace!” He was right.
So what am I training for? Because of personal reasons I had to choose an early Fall marathon. After running a string of hilly (although fantastic and highly recommended) marathons (Twin Cities, Boston, and Philly) something flatter was appealing and since I’ve run Chicago twice before, and know the course well, it seemed a perfect fit. I have family coming with me and a few great friends running as well. That being said, considering my current fitness level, it doesn’t seem all that far away. I’m confident I can get there but I also know I have to work every angle I can to do so. I’m excited to say I’ve started working with a nutritionist. This was a BIG leap for me.
Honestly never-ever did I think I would consult a nutritionist. It was similar to how I felt about hiring a running coach a little over a year ago. Why would I hire someone to tell me how to do something so simple as running and/or eating? It seemed unnecessary and my very limited impression of nutritionists was: They tell you what not to eat. They tell you to only eat small servings. They tell you you can only have one cheat day a week. Maybe those are myths, maybe those are true, maybe that totally works for you and that’s awesome, either way it is not for me. If someone told me I could only eat one donut on a Sunday I’d shamelessly roll my eyes.
So when I approached my good friend and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Crystal Witte, about helping me out I was hesitant. I didn’t want to offend her so it took me awhile to tell her how I felt and I was so surprised when she agreed with me. No meal plans, no weighing myself, no “bad” foods. She was brilliant. I won’t be giving away all her advice, simply because that’s her job. I will say she has been great about picking out my weak areas. I was dragging every afternoon and was then reaching for caffeine to make it through the most hectic part of my day 3 pm-9 pm. It turns out my body was starving for carbohydrates and my pre-run nutrition was terrible (as in non-existant). I’ve made some changes and my afternoon energy level has been great. No cranky KLaw! I especially loved all her advice on nutrient timing. I already knew the importance of eating something after working out but not as much prior. Here is her website in case anyone has any questions for her. The blog section is my favorite.
My mileage hit 58 last week and I should hit around 60 this week. So while I don’t feel like I’m moving mountains yet I do feel that we are laying the groundwork for a successful Summer and more importantly Fall. I believe the addition of Crystal Wittes help will be huge in that reach to cut time off my marathon PR. So, is anyone else running Chicago this Fall? Anyone else seek the help of a nutritionist? Anyone else run a race and regret it later? I’m only half kidding about that last one. Thanks for reading everyone and have a good week!