A Dismal December Calls for Jumpstart January

To say that December has been a less than ideal training month is an understatement. Between my travel, “the incident,” the endless rain, and a few lazy mornings thanks to the craziness that is the holidays, December has done little to help propel me to the finish line of the Princess Half Marathon that is a mere six weeks away.

Despite the fact that I despise running in the cold, I am confident that I will be ready for the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. With such a short amount of time to go until my races, I have three items in my arsenal to help me get finish line ready.

First, did I mention how much I hate running in the cold? I really cannot stand the way my body feels when I run outside in frigid temps, yet my favorite races always seem to be held in February, and I am not a fan of the treadmill. My husband, and coach, hooked me up this Christmas with an array of cold weather running gear. My favorite new accessory is the Under Armour Coldgear Infrared Reflective Beanie. It is super warm, has a hole in the back for my ponytail, and, of course, it’s pink. Being both warm and well accessorized will definitely help with those last few long runs I have to get in before February. 

Second, I always seem to eat terribly during the month of December. Once Thanksgiving hits, it’s pretty much a downhill spiral until the new year begins. Having tried all of the fad diets and miracle products out there that promise to melt away those pesky December pounds, it wasn’t until I made the decision to change my lifestyle that I became more healthy and lost weight as a result.

 I participated in the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living program last January and truly experienced how clean eating can change everything. Sure, I lost 14 pounds during the 30 day cleanse, but the healthy living practices I learned through participating have helped me run faster, sleep better, and have a stronger immune system, thus staying well.

I am not participating in the full cleanse this January since I am in training mode, but I am using some of my favorite products to stay strong and feel great. I love the vegan protein for my morning smoothie and homemade protein bars, and I can’t live without the probiotic. With all of my travels, the probiotic has kept me well when traditionally I would catch a cold everytime I hopped on an airplane. They also have a PhytoSport line with a pre-workout, post-workout, and hydration product. We love them! As a bonus, John loves his Arbonne as much as I do, so it helps us both when training for races.

Finally, I may be the last person on the planet to discover podcasts, but I’m hooked, and I love that I can lose myself in listening to one while on a long run. I am currently listening to “Serial,” and “This American Life,” but have also discovered “Runner Academy,” which is a wealth of information on every facet of the sport of running. Running is such a mental sport and if I can focus on what I’m listening to instead of how much further I have to go, my long runs get easier and easier. Do you have a favorite podcast? Please share!

With just six weeks to go, I am getting really excited about my races. I have my Enchanted 10K running attire all ready to go (more on that soon!) and am working on the Princess Half outfit. Our reservations are made, FastPasses booked, and all that’s left are a few long runs before I’m Princess-ready. Thanks to my secrets weapons, I should be good to go!

Rites of Passage

Today, it happened. I experienced one of the true rites of passage as a runner. I fell. 

“The Incident,” as we will now refer to it, was not just a little slip or graceful topple. I’m talking a massive full on plummet to the pavement, scraped hands, and bloody knees. It happened in slow motion as I took a corner and the uneven pavement stopped my right foot immediately, while the rest of my person kept moving forward. I was booking it, at a 9:40 pace, which is actually really good for me. I felt great and was on my way to an awesome 3.1 mile start to the day…until “The Incident.”

As I sat stunned in the street, my first instinct was to look around to make sure no witnesses were present. Once certain I was alone, I slowly got up and walked a few steps to make sure everything was ok. I was 2.4 miles in and mentally I needed to hit that 3.1 mile mark, so I slowly began to run again. It hurt at first, but I finished the run and made it home to survey my wounds.

When I was able to see what my knees actually had endured, it was not a pretty sight. Had I not been wearing running tights and actually seen the scrapes and bruises on my knees and legs when it happened, I probably would have burst into tears and called John to come pick me up, despite the fact that I was only one street over from my house. I have NEVER been accused of being dramatic. 

Upon showing my battle wounds to John, I was congratulated on becoming a real runner. In fact, both my husband and my dad, the marathoner, welcomed me to the realm of running as a result of my first fall. Are you kidding me? Both shared tales of their own topples and how it is simply a part of the sport. They assured me that if I stuck with running, this would not be the last time I met the pavement. 

As the day has gone by, I have thought about “The Incident” pretty much every time I have had to bend my knees. I am proud that I completed my run this morning and hope that with the help of neosporin and ibuprofen, I will be able to complete my next long run Saturday morning. “The Incident” could have been a whole lot worse, but bottom line,  I truly feel blessed that I can put one foot in front of the other and keep on running.