Running The Marathon!!!

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Hi everybody!  So I know you are probably thinking, “too little too late, Claire”.  Well whatever.  I’ve been busy!

So when last I wrote I was like one day from running the marathon.  So here is what happened:  The night before, I attended one of my favorite meetings and got a lot of love.  That night I packed everything.  I had previously made a checklist and visited a bunch of websites to make sure I didn’t forget anything.  The perpetual bag lady I am came prepared with my 3 bags of crap.

One bag was the my water pack that I was gonna wear during the race.  In that pack I had my Gu snacks, a few tiny cliff bars, and I had filled up my water that night so I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning.  I had my visor and sunglasses with it.  My other bag was what I wanted my boyfriend to bring to the finish line.  Out of all the things I packed, the most important turned out to be my muscle roller, and my chocolate-covered almonds!  Delicious.  The other bag was just stuff I wanted in the car just in case I needed it.  Snacks, a change of cloths, etc.

So here is the tale of March 19, 2017:

Woke up at around 4:30am.  I knew I wanted to leave the house around 5:15am to get to Dodger Stadium by 6:15am.  The race was scheduled to start at 6:55am.  So we get everything together and loaded into my car.  As soon as we get in, my boyfriend sends me a link to a 10-minute YouTube video titled “For Claire”.  I pushed play wondering what it could be and I immediately burst into tears.  He had spent 2 weeks collecting and compiling videos of all my close friends and family who were rooting for me.  I am tearing up just thinking about it right now!

To be able to see how much people were rooting for me, and how many people really love me was so overwhelming.  I let all the emotions wash over me and was weeping through most of the video.  One of my favorite sequences was where he put together every single workout I had posted on Facebook along with my pictures of my progress.  It was set to AWOHLNATION’s “Jump On My Shoulders” (which is my absolute favorite running song).  To be able to see 6 months of hard work, sweat, injuries, and determination fly by in the blink of an eye was absolutely mind-boggling.  It was by far, the absolute nicest, most amazing gift anyone has ever given me.  I will always treasure that video.

So by the time the video finishes we are just about to the point in our journey where there are thousands of cars heading on the 2 roads to the stadium.  We are well on our way, but then I started freaking out about how long it was going to take us to get to the drop off point.  So we get off the freeway.  Worst. Mistake. Ever.  Long story short, we drove around for about 25 minutes with me freaking out, crying, yelling, and occasionally turning off the GPS because I can’t listen to SIRI for another second.  I honestly thought that we wouldn’t make it a few times.  It was the longest and shortest 25 minutes of my life.

It all culminated with us driving through the ridiculous hills right next to the stadium.  Both Paul and I saw the size of these hills and all the anxiety about getting to the stadium vanished.  All we cared about in that moment was not dying by driving up these god-forsaken hills.  And once we crested the last hill we were right at the stadium!  We just merged with the road and I was out of the car and putting on my gear within 5 minutes.  This was at 6:35am.

I lathered up with sunscreen and made sure I had everything in my checklist.  I kissed my boyfriend goodbye and headed to the security checkpoint.  As soon as I cleared that, I used the port-a-potty one last time and was off to wait with the other 24,000 people for the race to start!

I had heard that you can leave your jacket or whatever you want to wear before the race at the start and volunteers will come by and pick them up to donate to charities, so I was able to get rid of a jacket I had been holding onto from when I weighed about 50 pounds more than I do now.  I also ate one last ThinkThin bar to fuel the first legs of my journey.  I had already finished my breakfast shake around 5:30am when we got in the car.  I didn’t do any major carb-loading, because I never had before any of my other long runs, but I had eaten protein bars before and they had really helped.

We all took off our hats for the National Anthem, and then the race started!  It took about 8 minutes from the time the race started to when I crossed the start line, and it was just so fun and energy-packed.  Once we crossed that line we were all moving as a group.  I was able to pass some people right away, just because of my pace, which was slower than I usually would start my long runs with.  We got away from the stadium and there was a grassy hill where every dude ran up to take a piss.  Real classy!  Especially since there are port-a-potties all along the route.  Literally every mile.  But whatever.   I guess if you have a dick that gives you license to pee in public… ugh…

So away we go!  It was so incredible!  There were so many runners!  It was like running in a river of people.  People with the same goal as me.  People from every single background you can imagine.  All of us, running together.  I didn’t even listen to my music for the first 6 miles, which is unheard of in Claire’s running life.

So we are moving along, I find my rhythm amongst the crowds.  The downtown portion was fun!  I loved seeing parts of the city I have never seen before, and listening to the other runners talk to each other.  And seeing the Legacy runners!  These are the people who ran the very first LA marathon.  Still going strong after 30 years.  Amazing.  I saw a blind man, a man pedaling with his arms, and countless teenagers from “SRLA- Students Run LA”.  It was so awesome and inspiring.  And the people on the sidelines cheering us on!  At every corner there were bystanders with signs for their loved ones, or signs for all of us runners.  People saying they believed in us when we had never met before.  Fucking amazing.

I can say with pride that I ran up the biggest, longest hill without stopping to walk!  Woo hoo!  And I didn’t even think about my bum knee for the first 6 miles.  I even made it past mile 3, where I always stopped to pee on my long runs before.  There were volunteers every mile with Gatorade and water.  They often had bananas or orange slices, too.  I made it a goal to have at least one cup of either Gatorade or water at each station, as well as having my hydro-pack fuel.

At Mile 6 I started up my tunes.  I made it to Mile 10 before I stopped to pee.  I hated waiting in that line, losing time, but I didn’t think I could make it another mile.  It was around this time where my knee started to ache.  At first it would ache going up an incline.  So I started speed walking whenever there was a slight incline.  Then it started hurting when I ran downhill, so I started speed walking down any hills.  Then it started hurting all the time.  This was around mile 13-14.  So I can say that I ran half the marathon without stopping (except to pee that one time).

I speed-walked the rest of the race.  I struggled a lot with wanting to run.  I kept trying, and each time my knee would respond worse than before until I finally gave up the idea that I would be able to run any more.  Then a thought came into my head.  “If I can’t run anymore, I am just going to walk as fast as I possibly can.” I could still walk without pain, and I had seen one of the Legacy runners kicking ass by speed-walking.  So I used him as inspiration.  With that new mindset I just kept walking.  Walked through Beverly Hills and West LA.  I was walking faster than a lot of people were running.  Occasionally the thought of attempting running would  cross my mind, but I had to quell that and just keep doing what I was doing.

The reason I started listening to music at Mile 6 was because I knew that I had gone 20 miles before, so I knew that I would be able to finish the race.  So when I passed Mile 18, it didn’t have any huge meaning to me.  (The farthest I had run was 18 miles.  I had a 2 mile cool-down with that run, so I knew I could 20 miles.) I just kept going.  There were so many amazing spectators with awesome signs.  I had a few favorites – Grumpy Cat with “I ran once.  It was awful.”  “Run like (picture of Donald Trump) is trying to grab you (picture of a cat).  “I bet this seemed like a great idea 4 months ago!” and all sorts of other phrases to help keep us motivated.

I hit my little wall around Miles 20 and 21.  I was getting pretty down on myself about not being able to run, and I had decided to try an orange slice that seemed like a delicious idea.  It was the worst choice I made on that run.  I had crazy acid reflux and indigestion for the next several miles.  Fuck oranges.  But somehow I made it through and just kept pushing.  Occasionally I would get a text or a picture from my boyfriend and my other amazing friend who were waiting for me at the finish line.  Things like, “I am watching your progress and you are doing so well!”  I even saw a woman I used to work with who ran out to me and gave me a hug, some water, and some encouragement. It was around mile 22 where my ex-boyfriend, the one I started really running with a year ago, finished the marathon and sent me and amazing uplifting text.  It really put my mind right. Even though I was walking, I was still doing it!  So I pushed harder.

Then I came up on Mile 23.  Someone was standing there with a sign that said “23-mile warm-up, check.  5k to go!”  All of a sudden, sunlight burst through the clouds of my mind and I thought, “my god that is so easy!  Even my short runs now are almost twice a 5k!  Easy peasy.”  With that I started walking as fast as my little legs would go.  By this time we were on San Vicente in Santa Monica, heading downhill toward the finish line.  The crowds of onlookers were getting bigger, and the amount of runners who were stopping to rest or stretch, or lay down were growing greater and greater.

The weather had been perfect the whole run, but once we got to Santa Monica, the marine layer was still hanging around, so it was not too hot, not too cold.  By Mile 24, I had finished the water in my pack and was no longer interested in drinking or eating any more.  My stomach was done.  I had been having my little gu pouches every 4-5 miles like clock-work, and when I got hungry I ate a little cliff bar.  I felt hydrated and knew I would be able to finish.

So I kept pushing.  It was around this time where I just started talking to myself.  “You can do this!  Don’t give up!  You’re almost there.  Come on, knee, come walk with me.  Come on other runners, keep going with me.  Don’t you dare stop.  You can do it.  I believe in you.  HP believes in you.  Your people believe in you.”  I heard other runners doing the same thing, which made me feel better.  I had learned this technique from my book and it had been more than helpful in almost all my training runs.

Then it happened.  We rounded the corner to Ocean Ave. and were on the home stretch!  I had been holding back tears the whole run, and when I got this far some of them started to flow.  I could feel how swollen my knee was, and how much it ached, but I started limping into a slow jog.  I knew there was no way I was going to cross that finish line walking.  I had to be running.  There were thousands of onlookers, people with signs for their loved ones.  I knew that my people were waiting for me past the finish line, and I just kept their faces in my mind, along with everyone who believed in me.

The sidelines began to have stantions that kepts the spectators from the running path.  There were new signs now that said “All non-marathoners need to exit the course now.  And there it was.  The FINISH LINE!!!!  I kept limping along, tears rolling down my face from pain, exhaustion, and pure joy.  As I passed the bandstand, I heard my name!  “And here is Claire Dyud, crossing the finish line!”  Then it happened.  I did it!  I limped my way over that fucking finish line.  I had completed my first marathon.

As I sit here typing, I am reliving the whole experience.  I am crying.  It was seriously the coolest moment of my life so far.  I picked up my medal and my space blanket and took my first selfie which I immediately sent to my mother:

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I grabbed a banana and a giant protein bar for later.  As I ate the banana, waiting for my time with the photographer to take my finisher’s photo, I thought to myself, “This is the best banana I have ever eaten in my entire life.”  I really didn’t want to eat it, but I knew I had to replenish some of my glucose.  I kept wandering down to where I would find my people, the pain almost overwhelming me.  And then all of a sudden they were there!!  I fell into their arms and it was such a magical time.  My friend got a video of it.

I had mentioned earlier that the most important things I had packed for my boyfriend to bring to me were my muscle roller and chocolate covered almonds.  I managed to sit down and immediately start massaging my muscles.  Greatest. Idea. Ever.  It saved me a lot of pain for when I had to walk to the metro later.  And avoid the ridiculous line for the massage tent.  I absolutely love this roller.

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Then we hopped on the metro to go EAT!  I was not hungry until about 30 minutes after I finished, and I guess this is really common.  I ate a pasta dish with meat, and a bunch of trail mix.  I just kept eating all day, really.  And continued to drink water and roll massage myself.  When we got home, my boyfriend massage my feet, which was possibly the best thing I have ever experienced.

So that’s it, people!  That is the epic story of Claire’s First Marathon.  I do have more posts coming.  I sit here now with an injured knee, so I haven’t been able to run again yet, but I have high hopes for the future, and will tell you about my training very soon.

I love you all, and until next time, HAPPY RUNNING!!!

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Why I Run

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I just wanted to do a little quick post about why I run.  For me, running is freedom.  When I put on my shoes and plug into my music, a feeling of calm and serenity comes over me.  The first 2-3 miles are always difficult.  Always.  But once I pass that warm up point and start grooving in my flow, everything else just melts away and the only thing that exists is my breath, my heartbeat, and my feet on the pavement.

Breathe in, breathe out.  Deep breaths, all the way to my toes.  My thoughts swirl around in my head, always changing, never staying on one topic for long.  This is my meditation.  Moving meditation.  I have worked through some really difficult situations with my runs. I love to run when I am aggravated, because I always feel better afterward.  100% of the time.

When I have to go long periods without running (I am talking a few days to a week), I tend to get really grouchy and unpleasant.  Running is one of my medicines.  I used to drink or use marijuana to get away from my feelings.  Now I run and work through my thoughts, emotions, and problems for the day.

I have had some of my most blissful moments while running.  I will always remember when I was doing my first 12-mile run, I rounded the corner from the beach bike path to the Ballona Creek bike trail and there was this stunning view of the Santa Ana Mountain Range (I think it is those mountains…).  This song that I had never heard started playing from my iTunes playlist, and I had a moment of absolute, utter bliss.  Absolutely everything fell away and I was just feeling this absolute love of life and everything in it.  I must have looked like a super goof with this giant smile on my face, but I will always remember that moment.

This is why I run.  That is why after this marathon is finished, I am going to do another.  This is not the end of my journey- it is the very beginning!

Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone!  Be safe out there!

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The Long Haul

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Hi Peeps!  So today has SUCKED so far.  I was pulling out of my driveway this morning and I live on a residential street in Mid City, LA.  It can be pretty busy in the morning, so I have to be really careful when pulling out of my driveway.  As luck would have it, I made sure both sides were clear and I started backing out of my driveway.  I get to the point where I need to switch from Reverse to Drive when all of a sudden a Jeep is bearing down on me, barely hits her brakes, and slams into my rear passenger side.  She was going at least 35 mph- fast enough to push my car several feet to the side of my driveway.  Luckily I was not hurt at all besides my leg being bumped against the steering wheel, and she and her grandchild were safe.  Never-the-less, not a great way to start the day.  So I am in a super bad and depressed mood so I decided it was time to talk about running!

Okay, I think I left off at my week of the 14-miler.  So the week I ran with my friend, we were talking about shin splints and various other injuries.  I had been blissfully uninjured so far, and was really going strong with my training.  So I started my next run knowing I was going to accomplish it and feeling pretty good.  Really soon into the run, within the first 3 miles, I noticed a mild ache in my right shin.  The pain wasn’t enough to make me stop, so I didn’t.  I just kept running.  I got all the way up to mile 13, which was a HUGE deal, knowing that my whole goal for the year was to run a half-marathon.  And I Achieved it!!!  But by then the pain was so bad I just powered through to the end of the run.

During my mile walk cool-down (I always walk a mile after my long runs and stretch out before getting back into my car) the pain was so bad I was limping the whole time.  I tried to stretch out the top of my foot, but it was far too little too late.  I did that run on a Monday.  I got back home and started icing immediately, and tried to massage.  It felt awful and I was in an incredible amount of pain.

Later that week, on December 7th, I was supposed to run my first Spartan Sprint.  I had signed up for this race with my former coworkers 7 months in advance, and was working toward it that whole time.  I ended up having to not run that race because my injury was so bad.  I was icing all the time, elevating, and resting.  I didn’t really do compression until I spoke with my friend again and he recommended it.  I also did a good amount of research online to figure out how to heal faster.  Turns out, the only real remedy is to rest, stretch, and lot of compression.  I bought a calf compression sleeve and it was like a miracle.  I had no idea the healing properties of compression.  Once I discovered this, I have worn my compression socks ever since.

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Did I miss the sweet feel of air on my legs as I ran?  Yes.  But the safety I felt after I was well enough to start running again is so worth the fashion ickiness 🙂

So I began to run again, little by little.  I started with a mile, and when I felt okay with that, I went back up to 3.  The socks seemed to be doing their thing and I was good again!

One mistake I made while I was training was pushing my times for my shorter runs.  I always tried to be faster and stronger than the time before.  This meant that when the training runs got longer, I wasn’t always able to increase my time and I grew disheartened.  This bled into the times of my long runs.  I was always trying to achieve a certain mileage time instead of just listening to my body and only trying to finish the run.  With the Map My Run app  you can have it tell you your mileage time, and I really relied on that.  I always wanted to be under a 9-minute mile for my shorter runs.  This was just not possible some days.  And I think with these injuries I have learned that while it is important to push myself, I also have to really just listen to my body and know when enough is enough.

So this little shin splint injury took me out for about a week, I think. I didn’t think this was a big deal because I had given myself a 2-month lead for my training, just in case I did happen to get injured.  I am happy to report, that since then, I have not had a single shin-splint issue.  But this is solely because I started taking care of my shins, stretching, and rolling out my shins with a foam roller.

It was at this point in my training where I found out just how critical stretching and foam rolling is.  Well, it actually took me 2 more injuries to really drive the point home.  The next long run I did was 10 miles, then the next week another 14 miles.  It was at this point where I started to get a nagging ache in the side of my left knee.  In true Claire fashion, I just started taking more ibuprofen and using Voltaren (a magical topical analgesic- like putting ibuprofen right on the sight of pain).  The thought never occurred to me that this might be the first sign of ITBS, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

Then I did something utterly, ridiculously stupid.  I ran 16 miles.  I did a great job.  10:02 per mile.  My knee was kinda hurting, but no more than usual.  Then the next day I decided to try one of my 5- mile training runs because I had things to do later in the week where I wouldn’t be able to squeeze in my training runs on the usual days.  I knew from the second I started running that I needed to stop, but did I?  NO!  Like a FOOL I just thought “this will pass… the first 3 miles are always really tough”.

I would like to take this moment to stress the utter importance of listening to your body.  If your whole body is screaming to stop.  JUST STOP.  Don’t push it!  Don’t be like Claire and a total idiot!

So I got about 3.25 miles into my run and I felt a snap and a fiery pain roll up from my knee to my upper thigh and I couldn’t run anymore.  I could walk, but running was out of the question.  I had to get an uber back to my car 😦

So I made an appointment with my physician, who confirmed that I did have ITBS.  She recommended some stretches, and said to foam roll 10x per side, morning and night.  I haven’t been able to see a physical therapist due to time and $$ constraints, but I did some extensive research online about stretches and how to take care of it.

So I rested another week, and slowly started running again.  I was able to quickly get back up to my former mileage, and by then it was time to do my 18- miler!  I should say at this time that I also started training in brand new shoes, and have only just recently decided that they hurt my feet and there is no way I am wearing them on Sunday!

Soooooo 18 miles complete!  Guess what.  It was raining for about half of it.  I knew I was getting blisters on my left foot but I couldn’t stop.  I hit a little wall at 12 miles, but I chugged my energy drink from my hydration pack and ate my little gu packs and I finished the run.  The whole last mile I was using the tools the book taught me.  Positive reinforcement.  Positive talk, visualization, etc.  I must have seemed like a crazy person. “Come on Claire!  Don’t stop!  You can do this!  This is easy!  Come on blisters, come run with me!  Come on rain, come run with me!  Come on knee pain in my other knee, let’s go!”

So I had miscalculated my distance, because I suck at math, and when you calculate distance running, you have to make sure to double everything!  I got confused and went too far one direction, which meant that I had to walk 2 miles back to my car instead of just 1.  By the time I was done with the run I was SO done.  My knee hurt really bad, my blisters were incredibly painful, and I had run out of my water. But you know what?  I fucking did it.  18 miles!  20 if you count all the walking.

So this is when ITBS took over my life.  My knee was so swollen and tender.  I iced, bought a knee compression sleeve, used a brace, everything.  My next few runs I had to quit right away.  I took another week off.  I could only do about 1.5 miles of the next 18-miler I was supposed to run.  Then my body decided it was time to rest even more because it gave me bronchitis.  This was 3 weeks ago.  By this time I have used up all the extra training time I had.  I had to stick with my schedule because I only had 4 weeks till the marathon.  I went to the doctor and got antibiotics.  I was able to run almost 4 miles until my knee started hurting.  By this time I have learned to stop running the second it starts hurting.

This is the time of the training cycle when tapering happens.  So I was to do my regular 5-mile, 8-mile, 5-mile maintenance runs, then long run of 9 miles.  Then 3, 5, 3 and 8 mile long run. During this time I had planned a trip to go visit my folks up in Oregon and be there for my mom, who was having pace-maker surgery on March 6th.  I had done 2 shorter runs and was really excited to go running in my old neighborhood for my 9 miles.

Well my body decided again that it was time for me to rest.  I got a really bad case of strep throat and had to go to the urgent care with a 103 degree fever.  I was prescribed amoxicillin, and learned that somehow in the past 10 years I have developed an allergy to this medication…. So I had to go back and get a steroid injection and a different antibiotic.

And this brings us up to present day!!  I got back into town last Friday, a day later than I anticipated.  Today is Thursday, March 16.  3 days from Marathon Day.  I was unable to run either week of my taper.  The last time I ran was Friday, March 3rd.

You might be thinking, “Girl!  Throw in the damn towel already!  Haven’t you had enough??”  Well no.  No.  I haven’t had enough.  I ran for the first time on Tuesday.  3 miles.  3 beautiful miles with no pain in my body besides the pain of not having run in 10 days.  I did a 9:27 mile average.

Today I run 3 more miles.  I have been supplementing with yoga.  I have done 3 classes since I got back- Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday.  Tonight I run my 3 miles and go to a core-strengthening class.  This morning I was in an accident but I will not let anything stop me.  I am going to run this mother-fucking marathon no matter what.

My mantra: “Only positive thoughts.  I will finish the marathon.  I am strong.  My heart is strong.  My lungs are strong.  My body is strong.  My knees are strong.  My mind is strong.”  I am only thinking positive thoughts.  Negative thoughts will kill any chance I have of completing this goal.  I have my team in my corner, rooting for me.  Friends and family I can count on to be at that finish line for me.  I am not just running this race for myself right now.  I am running for all the times I didn’t believe in myself.  All the fear I have had for not accomplishing my goals.  I will achieve this goal.  And if I do this, I can surely do anything.

See you at the finish line, LA!

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The Marathon Decision

Hi again!  Sorry for my hiatus.  I got really sick.  Bronchitis then a delightful case of strep throat.  This kinda ruined my training for the past few weeks and the marathon is in 4 short days!  Eeeeeep!!!  I am kinda peeing my pants with nervousness but have decided to only think positive thoughts and visualize myself crossing that finish line.

So my good friend Amy had been running for years and she really inspired me while she was training.  I kept watching her on Facebook do race after race and I was so proud and never ever thought I could actually do what she was accomplishing.  So I knew she would be a great resource for training for the marathon.

She recommended the book, The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer.  I bought it immediately and then didn’t sign up for the marathon for a good 6 months, at least.  It is a WONDERFUL guide for someone who has no idea what the hell they are doing.  It is a step-by-step, week-by-week guide for a 16-week training process.  (This does not include the month you need to work up to be able to run 30 minutes straight.  That is why I used Couch 2 5K.)

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I loved it from the moment I started reading it.  One of the first things it says is (I am paraphrasing) “If you are reading this book and have not signed up for your first marathon, stop reading and sign up immediately.  Do it right now.  Make the commitment.  And start telling your family and friends you are a marathoner and tell them which marathon you are going to run.”  This part was huge for me.  Once I read that I knew I couldn’t read on unless I had made the decision.

So one day in September I made the choice to sign up for the LA Marathon.  I remember putting all my information in and then sitting there for a second before pushing “Submit”.  Once I did I immediately started crying.  I think it was because I knew I had just signed up for something I cared about and knew I was going to complete.  Like I said, I am the queen of getting right up to the end and being able to see my goal, I slide back down and regress.  This time is different.  This time I AM going to do it!  I immediately posted on Facebook and told my family and friends.

Once I signed up I started training immediately.  This book requires you to run 4 days a week.  3 “maintenance” runs and 1 long run.  It is widely suggested that you increase your weekly mileage NO MORE than 10%.  This book sticks with that.  The first long run was 5 miles and I was able to complete that, no problem.  2nd week was 6 miles.  The longest I had ever run before was a 10k, which is 6.2 miles.  So the next week, the long run was 7 miles.  I remember it so well.  I remember going out and heading back, the whole while trying to concentrate on my form and not giving up.  When I hit mile 6 something inside me woke up, and I spent that whole last mile thinking, “I am doing it!  I am doing it!  I can’t believe I can do this!”  When my little app went off announcing I had completed 7 miles I jumped in the air and yelled in happiness.  “I DID IT!!!”  The next week was 8 miles, and because I had done the 7 miles the week before, I just knew I could complete 8.

(Please note that the time for my 8 miles was off because Map My Run did something funny.  I certainly did not run 8 miles in under an hour!)

The week I did 10 miles I really had no idea I could do it. I had been very steady with all my training runs.  To supplement the training runs, I was also doing circuit training 2-3 times per week.  I believe this really helped to keep me in tip top shape.  In addition to all these things, I was still meal-prepping and keeping a close eye on my diet.

I did notice that after my long runs, I had a tendency to want to do errands, so I would not go home and eat right away.  I used to get these AWFUL headaches.  I mean, truly wretched.  They would totally ruin my whole day.  I think it was after doing my 10-miler that I discovered that I needed to immediately replenish my carbs.  I would have an herbalife shake, or a protein bar immediately after my runs, but it was not enough.  I needed a full meal so I could not be in pain.

I know you are probably thinking that I just wasn’t hydrated enough, but that really isn’t the case.  I would drink about a gallon of water a day, more if I had coffee.  Also, I had read in my book that you should be drinking 8-12 fl oz of water every hour you work out, so I started carrying my hydration backpack (you can see it above) on my long runs.

My book had stressed the importance of upping the carbohydrate intake, but I didn’t really understand how that applied to my body and the way it works.  My body needs to be replenished after every long run- more than what I was doing.  Once I discovered what my body liked, it was easy to plan my day accordingly and make sure I had enough food I needed until I could have a full meal.  This saved me from all those horrible headaches.  Believe me, nothing is worse than the beautiful accomplishment of running longer than you ever have, and having it ruined by a god-awful headache.

Another thing that really helped motivate me for this training was being active on social media.  I would post every workout I completed, and a picture of my running route/distance, along with a picture of myself.  This really helped keep me accountable, and kept my spirits up when I was feeling overwhelmed.

During this part of my training I was going through some pretty heinous stuff with a terrible housemate, and it really helped keep my head screwed on straight.  I was also building and developing a relationship with my boyfriend, which was stressful, but really run and exhilarating at the same time.  I was also keeping up with my program of recovery, going to meetings almost every day- most of which I had commitments at, as well as meeting with others several times a week.  Needless to say I was a very busy girl.  But through it all, my training was my one thing I could count on in my days as my very own.  Something I could hold my head up with pride and say “I am training for a marathon.”

Whenever I would talk about this with anyone, I would get 1 of 2 responses.  The good response: “Oh my god how amazing!!  That is really inspiring!”  Or the other response: “What the fuck?  Why would you ever do that to yourself?”  I choose to hang out with the first response people.  If I ever let anyone else’s negative attitude get to me I am pretty much done.  If you are struggling with anyone’s bad attitude, tell them to take a hike!  I had to start telling people not to talk to me if they were going to say anything negative.  I needed my happy bubble where I can accomplish anything!  I don’t need no haters trying to mess up my flow!

One of the cool things I really loved about this book is that at the end of each chapter (week) it gives you a space to write down your mileage, heart rate, and time for the run with plenty of space for notes.  At the bottom there is “Miles run this week” and “Cumulative miles.”  Let me tell you, that sense of accomplishment really grew with each week seeing my mileage increase and increase.  What a trip!  By my 10-mile week, I ran 21 miles that week, and 87 total miles!  87!!!  Woo hooooooo!!!!

Alright!  So my next big run was 12 miles and I accomplished that with flying colors.  This was the week I ran with my friend and the time just seemed to fly by.  It was so much easier running with someone I knew.  And he had run the marathon before so we were able to exchange strategies and he told me what it would be like.  It was a really fun and valuable experience.

The next week was my 14-miler, and this was where I ran into issues which I will get into in tomorrow’s edition.  I was blissfully injury and care-free!  But this was the week where shit really came down on me.  To be continued…..

Everybody’s Favorite- Nutrition!

For the record, I have had a life-long struggle with food.  It started when I was in 3rd grade and my parents let me come home from school every day instead of going to my baby-sitter’s house.  This meant that I could eat whatever I wanted until they came home!  Woo hoo!  So what did I eat?  Bologna!  Go ahead.  Judge away.  To this day I can never eat it again.  00857 Bolo OT 00857

This little habit led me to gain a bunch of weight, fast.  To boot, I was growing like a weed and the tallest kid in my class. I wasn’t brought up learning proper nutrition, so I was eating all the wrong foods.  My parents (god bless ’em) were so busy with their careers and 3 children that we ate what was fastest and cheapest.  Lots of processed food, salty snacks, and sugar-filled desserts.  Delicious, but treacherous.  (I don’t blame my parents, btw.  They did the best they could with what they had and it was the 80’s/90’s)

So by the time I was 11 years old I was 150lbs and 5’4″.  I decided it was time to lose weight after someone taunted me with the hold phrase “fatty fatty 2 x 4, can’t get through the living room door”.  I still want to murder that skinny, scrawny little good-for-nothin.  I was able to keep a very tight reign on my diet for several years- until I got into pot in college.  During that time, I also discovered running.  I used to run after school whenever I didn’t have another obligation.  I was never a jock because I was a theatre and band nerd and those took up basically all of my extra-curricular time.

Then I got to college and discovered weed, alcohol, and cheap foods.  None of it was good.  I still tried to take care of myself and would be good for a few months, keeping up with my nutrition and exercise, but then I would back-track to eating ice cream and pizza and drinking a liter of vodka a night.  This went on for about 10 years.  Even after I got sober, I struggled daily with food.  I am a binge-eater to this day, although I have tools now that I never had before- more on that later.

So fast forward to about this time last year.  That ex-boyfriend I told you guys about taught me how to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.  I have been drinking Herbalife shakes since last March.  I have them every morning and most times post-workout.  (If you want more info on that, please comment or something.  Not sure how this blog thing works….)

Here is the ground-breaking news.  He told me to eat every 2-3 hours.  Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, Dinner, snack.  This was a glorious revelation.  I LOVE TO EAT!  So now I could do it more than ever!  And the most important thing about this is that the food and meals should be really high in protein, and low in carbohydrates.  I was able to slowly cut out the refined sugars and processed foods and create much healthier options that I could make in bulk to supply me for the week.

Sample day for me was:

Breakfast: Herbalife shake and tea

Snack: Carrots with peanut butter (Trader Joe’s unsalted natural) OR Think Thin bar

Lunch: Chicken breast (3-5 oz) usually mixed in a salad.

Snack: 3 0z Tofu with string cheese

Dinner: 4 oz pork chop with cauliflower puree and green beans

Snack: 1 apple with peanut butter OR no snack

I usually fall off at dinner time.  Dinner is hard for me for a number of reasons.  First, I sometimes do not have my afternoon snack, or I exercise after my snack and don’t properly prepare with a shake and/or handful of nuts to supplement.  The biggest reason I would ever fall short is due to LACK OF PLANNING.  If I am prepared and have a plan I will follow through.  If I try to “wing it”, I will fail.  This is like so many other things in life as well.

Take yesterday, for instance.  I planned really well when I went to work.  I had my usual shake and tea.  Then my think thin bar.  Then I had a pita wrap for lunch because I had forgotten to get chicken so couldn’t have my chicken salad that I was planning.  Afternoon snack was… I don’t think I had one.  Then for dinner I went to Ralph’s to get one of their roasted chickens and I ended up buying Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  As I put it in my basket I thought to myself “this is for later.  Or maybe I will make it tonight and save the rest for later.”  I secretly knew that if I made this box I would eat the whole goddamn thing.

And so I made the box of mac and cheese, cut up some chicken, and made a salad.  At first I only put about 3/4 of a cup of the mac and cheese on my plate (which is still larger than the recommended serving size).  I ate my dinner and it was delightful.  Not too full, totally satiated.  But then what did I do?  I went back in the kitchen and loaded up the rest of my plate with ALL the remaining mac and cheese. And I ate it.  And I was stuffed.

So what happened?  I KNEW I would do this.  So what can I do in the future?  Not put myself in that risky situation.  Put the damn box back and chose a healthier option.  It is all about choices.  I always have the choice of what to put in my body.  I can let my mind talk me into just about anything, and here is where an accountability partner comes in handy.  Just like in my sobriety program, I need to utilize the tools I have.  Pick up the phone and call a friend.  Call myself out on my bullshit!  It is the easiest and hardest thing to do.

I actually do utilize my Herbalife coach, and she is amazing!  I do 5-day challenges where there are a bunch of us who take pictures of everything we eat, update each other on our water consumption, and workouts.  I am actually going to do another 5-day challenge next week because I am really sucking at my nutrition program lately.

Today I just started learning about macros and will let you all know what I find out and how it works for me!  I have started tracking them in my little journal book, and I hope I can keep up the habit for the next few weeks till race time!  By then it will have become a habit so I will just continue to track without even thinking about it!

Thanks everyone, for coming back and reading my silly words.  I will see you next time when I move on to my OCR sidetrack 🙂

Later Taters!

The Half Marathon Decision

Hello!  Welcome back!  I wanna call you guys “constant reader”, but that’s Stephen King’s thing and I might get in some sort of legal trouble.  Plus this is only my second post so….hey guys!

So. Why, you ask, would you want to run a marathon?  I didn’t start out wanting to run 26.2 miles.  That is insane. Crazy-talk.  I was thinking back at the beginning of 2016, “I just want to try to run a half marathon.”  For some reason, 13.1 miles doesn’t sound nearly as daunting as 26.2, but I had never run more than a 5k before, so what the hell did I know?

I have always been a person who can accomplish 3/4 – 5/8ths of my goals.  I can get most of the way there, but never really achieve it.  I am talking mainly in terms of my exercise/nutrition goals, my weight- basically body image stuff.  So I wanted a hard line. Something that was definite. A real goal, not just a “some day…” goal.  So I started talking to my now ex-boyfriend because I heard that he had run a marathon and knew he was physically active.

I started running with him.  It was the first time I had actually run with another human being for about 10 years.  I was always a “do it in private” kind of person.  I never wanted anyone to see my face get red from exertion.  My fat jiggle around my waist, my slow time.  I never wanted to be vulnerable in that way.  I always had to have my shit together.  But for some reason it was easier to run with him and I didn’t care about all that stuff.  I just cared about getting better and more fit. For some reason, all that selfishness, self-centeredness, and self-pity was slipping away.

I was using the awesome  Couch 2 5k app.  And like I said in my first post, I was able to complete my first “real” 5k around 30 minutes or so.  It was a great feeling of accomplishment, so I decided I would sign up for a 10k.

All the while I was training for this 5k, I was doing circuit training, and this other program that I bought off Hulu.  Daily Burn 365 is seriously one of the most fun ways to get back in shape I have ever tried.  It allowed me to work out “with” other people, without actually having to leave my little apartment!  It was the perfect combo for me.  Different workouts every day, fun instructors, and I got to watch the people working out struggle the same as I was struggling!  Then I slowly crawled out of my apartment and into the sunlight.  I started working out with other people and utilized the Culver City Stairs and a yoga mat to achieve my goals.

How did this help my running? I was building up my core body strength, as well as building up my cardiovascular system.  It only ever added to my running workouts.  At this time I was still running about 3-4 times a week and logging all my runs with the Map My Run app.

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I was able to run the 10k, but not without a bit of pain in my training.  My left foot started getting very sore along the outside and I was worried I was getting a stress fracture.  Turns out what I really needed to do was get some insoles because my running shoes were not providing enough support in the right places.  Low and behold, those insoles have saved my bacon many a long run since then!

In my next post I will focus more on nutrition, and how I was able to lose about 20 pounds between the pictures from my last post to this one 🙂

Until then, later taters!

ClaireBearRunner

Hi there!  Welcome to my blog!  This is my very first ever blog and I wanted to talk about my experience over the past year+ starting running again and training for the LA Marathon.  I hope you enjoy my posts and learn from my experiences.

First of all, I never, ever thought I would run a marathon.  I was content to do a few miles here and there, but never thought I would or could go more than a 5k.  I completed one back in 2015- The Rock n’ Roll 5k in Downtown LA, but that was just by the skin of my teeth and sheer willpower.  Not to mention I didn’t want to look a fool to my friend who I was running with.  I did very little training to prep for it, and consequently did not do very well, physically or mentally.

About 2 years ago something magical happened to me.  I became sober and my life opened up.  Before then I was trapped in an endless cycle of drinking and smoking weed.  I never thought I could live without them, but low and behold, not only can I not drink or use every day, I can do all the things I never thought I would be able to!  That includes training for this god-forsaken marathon.

So I wanted to start with you from the beginning of my journey and catch you up to date before the marathon, which is a mere 25 days away!  EEEEEP! But I am only dealing with today and that is a relief.

I started running again back in December of 2015 and I wanted to just train for a 5k.  I started using the app Couch 2 5k, which is an amazing tool for all you beginners out there.  It starts you out very slowly:  Warm-up walk 5 mins, jog 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds.  Repeat for about 30 mins and do a 5 minute cool-down.  Super simple.  Then it amps up from there and within about 3 months, you should be able to consistently run for about 30 minutes, which is probably how long it will take you to do a 5k.  Everyone is different, but this tool worked really well for me.

Here is my first photo I can find of my workout and myself from those days:

 

So I was able to train on and off for about a year, and I finally ran my first “real” 5k in Santa Monica on May 15, 2016.  My time was not great, but I did it!  My boyfriend at the time had signed us up for a 1-monthiversary activity.  Good times!  He had already been running for many months and was way more advanced than me, but he kept by my side and was encouraging the whole time.  I wanted to murder him so I could walk, but I just kept chugging along.  We finished the race (I think around 32 minutes or so?) and got a sweet medal to show we had done something amazing.

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So that is basically the beginning of my journey.  I will keep posting, and I hope you all keep reading!  For now, happy trails!