How big is my heart?

It’s a long story as to how I’m running the PTC 15K, but tomorrow morning I am.  For the first time in a LONG time, I’m actually a little nervous.  However, my nerves aren’t about the race.  I’m only using the race as a training run, so there’s no reason to be nervous about that.

I’m nervous because I plan to run 15 miles tomorrow by adding 3 miles before and 3 miles after.  This will be my longest run ever, and honestly, I keep doubting myself and whether I’ll be dying at the end of the 15K and just flake out on the extra 3 after.  My mind is playing tricks with me and making me ask myself if it’s too much too soon?  Will my hip be ok?  Is it too many miles before Savannah?  Will it affect my race there in 3 weeks?  But then, I look at training plan after training plan, and a 2 mile jump is normal.  An increase week, followed by a drop back week, and then another of an increase week by a couple of miles is par for the course.  If I was training for a marathon, then the next step after a half marathon would be 15 miles on Higdon’s Novice 1 plan, so it’s not an abnormal progression, so why am I nervous that I won’t do it?  Notice, I didn’t say that I was nervous because I “can’t” do it.  I guess that’s my answer.  I’m doubting my desire, my heart, my determination.

So, tomorrow is another step for me in answering that question of whether or not I have what it takes in my head & heart to work towards running a marathon in Albany.  I know that I can complete a marathon.  It’s just a matter of if I desire to.

My body’s revolt continues…..

Last night I awoke around midnight to my hip itching, and I thought something had bitten me.  I got up to close the doors to the balcony of the condo we are staying in at the beach even though we had the screens closed, and the itching seemed to be more intense and spreading to more than just my hip.  As I looked into the mirror, I noticed I had huge welts popping up on my back and hips.  I thought it might be because I was scratching, so I hopped in the shower thinking it might help, but as I got out, the hives had spread to my neck, arms, and legs.  I’ve never had an allergic reaction like this to anything before, but I knew it had to be that, so I took some allergy medicine.  After which I soon realized my forehead, eye, and lips were starting to swell.  It was now around 1:00AM, and I stayed awake for a little while longer until the itching seemed to subside, and my lips didn’t seem to be swelling anymore, and I fell asleep on the couch since I didn’t know what had caused it, and I didn’t want to return to the bedroom in case there was a bug that bit me or something in there causing it.

I woke up around 8AM this morning to more hives and my lips even more swollen, so I took more allergy medicine, and I gave it an hour or two and finally decided to head to an urgent care center since it wasn’t getting any better.  Luckily, there wasn’t really much of a wait, so the doctor saw me pretty quickly.  Of course, we went through all the suspect questions of new laundry detergent, soaps, shampoos, food, etc.  To which, I responded no, but then I am in a condo, so I changed that to yes, and I did buy laundry detergent that I haven’t used in years.  The doctor said it wasn’t likely that the detergent caused it since my lips were swelling too.  That is apparently usually caused by something you eat or something stinging you, but since I was asleep and didn’t eat anything new, we just aren’t sure what is causing it, but apparently your body can react to stuff that it hasn’t before.  This is really not comforting, and it makes me want to not eat anything I had yesterday or use the laundry detergent again….just in case.

The doctor gave me a steroid injection (yeah, I’m thinking if I was tested for steroids right now I wouldn’t pass, good thing I’m not that fast, lol), a prescription for a medrol steroid pack, directions to use Benadryl and Pepcid, and a prescription for an EpiPen before I left.  She had me wait after the steroid injection before I could leave due to the lip swelling.  She said that she was considering giving me some epinephrine there if it didn’t go down, but after about 15 minutes, it hadn’t gone down or gotten worse, so she left the decision up to me, and I really don’t like meds unless necessary, so I opted to wait.  She was sending me with script for an EpiPen, so I figured I’d take my chances.

By the time we ate, picked up my scripts, and returned to the condo, my lip had returned to almost its normal size.  It still has some slight swelling tonight that I can tell, but at least I don’t look like someone punched me in the mouth and gave me a fat lip anymore.  Most of the hives have subsided for now as well, but I’m still taking the Pepcid & Benadryl, and I’ll start my medrol pack in the AM as directed.  Hopefully, all of that will help with the horrible aching that I now have in my back and legs which I’m assuming is from the allergic reaction.

Since I’ve never had a reaction like this before, I’m now wondering if I need to go to an allergist and carry an EpiPen for the rest of my life.  The doctor saying each subsequent exposure usually causes a worse reaction kind of has me freaking out.  I’m really hating my body’s revolt, and this one better not interfere with my long run on Sunday!


Allstate 13.1

Early Sunday morning, I met my running peeps from Moms Run This Town and Atlanta Southside Runners at Walmart to carpool to Brookhaven for the Allstate 13.1.  We arrived a little before 6AM with our crew which gave us plenty of time to meet up with some people who were meeting us there and to hit the porta potties, take photos, check bags, and just hang out with each other for a little while.  Everyone seemed overly relaxed for this race.  For many, it was a training run in preparation for their upcoming full marathons, and for me, it was a training run for my upcoming half in Savannah, which would hopefully translate into a great race for everyone.  Not having the pressure of a time looming over my head is often when I run my best races.

Around 6:50AM, we headed to our starting corrals.  A few people with us were in the A, B, & C corrals which were the only actual corrals.  The rest of us lined up by the pace team signs in one huge corral, but since it was a smaller race, this wasn’t an issue.  My plan was not to PR this race since I still haven’t worked up to running over 10 miles since my injuries, so I headed towards the 2:20 finish time with Dani, Jeneen, and Keri.  On the way, Jeneen was questioning whether she needed to line up at 2:20 or 2:15 because she wanted to PR, but she sometimes underestimates herself, so she was thinking 2:20 would be a PR (which it would be), but 2:20 for a PR for her was aiming pretty low considering how she’s been running lately, so I piped up and told her she had to beat my PR which was 2:17, so she had to get in the 2:15 corral.  I had all the confidence in the world that she’d have no problem crushing it.  A quick fist bump, and we left her at 2:15.

MRTT McDonough/Stockbridge

Left to right
Keri, Dani, Me, Jeneen, & Joy

The corrals started to move, and Dani and I started walking forward.  We were about 1/10th of a mile from the start and everyone was starting to run, but I didn’t want any added distance since I was already worried about hitting the wall at mile 10, so I walked to the start.  At the end of mile 1, Dani told me we were ahead of our planned pace, and we were, so we slowed down, but that lasted until about the end of mile 2 for me.  At that point, I got tired of trying to “watch” my watch, so I just decided to run a comfortable pace for me.  I was still using the run:walk method that I’ve been using, and I kept it at the 2:30 run to 1:00 walk that I’ve trained with, but I ran the speed I felt like running.  This might not have been the best plan for a “training” run, but I had initially thought I’d try to run 8 miles or so at tempo, so just running what was comfortable was a good gauge for me to determine where I was in my quest for a PR in Savannah.  Looking back at my splits, my flat, rolling hills, and downhill miles were pretty close to the pace I need in Savannah, but I definitely struggled on the long uphills.  Somewhere around mile 8 or 9, I decided to add an extra 10-15 seconds into my run portion of my interval, so I’d simply run while I continued to count to 10 or 15 after my watch beeped to start my walk.  By doing this,  it was also taking 10-15 seconds off of my walk break.  I did this for 3-4 miles other than around 10.5 miles where I had to walk a little extra up a hill.  The extra run time didn’t seem too difficult, and I have 4 weeks until Savannah, so I plan to play around a little with a 2:45 to :45 ratio between now and then.  My last 2 miles ended up being my fastest which seems to be a typical pattern for me.  I think when I get a certain distance from the finish adrenaline takes over, but by the time I reached the finish line after those last 2 miles, I was out of breath and felt slightly nauseated.  I think I can speed up the rest of my half, but I won’t have that much left in my tank at the end.  I had more reserves left for those last two miles than I’d want if I were trying for a PR.  It’d definitely make me wonder if I had really given my all if my last 2 miles at Savannah are that much faster.

My Garmin data from Allstate

I’m still liking the Galloway run:walk method, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d be doing as well coming back from injury if I was trying to just run the entire way.  I still feel some twinges in my hip when I do long distances, but the walk breaks seem to be just enough to keep the twinge at bay.  I’d probably have re-injured myself by now if I wasn’t using the run:walk method, so I plan to stick with it for a while.  Part of it is curiosity too I think.  I almost feel like I’m doing speed work using it, so I’m curious to see if I can continue to hold the running speeds that I’m hitting while gradually lowering my walk speed and/or time and increasing my run times.  It’s not something I’m planning to do quickly, and it would obviously start with only short runs, and maybe the last couple of miles of long runs, but it’s something that has peaked my interest to try.

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line
Official time 2:22:58

Allstate 13.1

2 medals because I entered the Atl Challenge by completing the Allstate and Publix half marathons