Category: General

10 Things I Have learned 1-Year Post Hamstring Surgery


It’s My One Year Hami-versery Y’all

I know – hard to believe but 1 year ago today I had hamstring surgery to repair my partially torn (and very scar tissue laden) right hamstring.

Although from the outside it might look like recovery has occurred without any blips – that was not the case. Recovery from hamstring surgery has been filled with highs and lows, with some days being much, much better than others. What I kept telling myself was that I just needed to stick to the plan (I love a good plan). After a couple of weeks I started stringing more good than bad days together and that kept my outlook upbeat.

My surgeon was very conservative and I did not even lace up my sneakers until Feb 2021. I tried to “beat” the time line but my surgeon held fast. I was lucky to be allowed to crutch around the neighborhood (what a workout) and finally start biking in December.

My first run I felt (and probably looked) like a Pheobe on Friends.

Return to Running (Thus Far)

Coach James took my “Return to Running” very conservatively. All of my first runs were intervals of more walking than running. I still felt at the end of those runs like I ran a marathon.

I got stronger, my runs got longer, and a bit by bit I have built my mileage back 40-45 miles a week. I do understand the significance of this and look back on the last 8ish months at where I was and where I am now.

Do I want to be faster – hell yes!!! But during a run last weekend I realized I need to give myself grace. I’ve come far and at this point I am exactly where I need to be in my running journey.

So – when I line up to run the Hartford Half Marathon next weekend – it won’t be a PR BUT it will be a PR of where I was last year and that was NOT running.

One of the things that’s been great over the past year is how many other people in similar situations have reached out to me. They wanted to thank me for my post hamstring surgery posts because (as I found out) there is not a lot of information on the interwebs. I did learn a lot from several Facebook Groups which got very dark as I was trying to recover. I ended up having to distance myself from them because it turned out that the majority of the posts were from individuals whose surgery did not go well.

So I wanted to end this post with an update on 10 things I learned while recovering from hamstring surgery. Hopefully some of these tips will help you on your recovery journey.

10 Things I Have Learned While Recovering From Hamstring Surgery (1 Year Later)

  • Recovery is not a straight line – be prepared to have bad days.
  • Bad days does not mean the surgery “did not work”. It just means you need to take it easy or scale back what you are doing.
  • Listen to your doctor – don’t try to beat the recovery time line.
  • There will be days 3,6,9 and even at 12 months where you are sore. Don’ freak out! Continue to stretch and back of of activity if you need to.
  • When you are cleared for exercises – DON”T try to do all the things. You will regret it the next day.
  • Invest in a good ice pack that you can sit on or wrap around your leg. I love this one.
  • When you are discharged from PT – CONTINUE TO DO THE BORING EXERCISES. There is a reason why you got stronger so don’t let these fall by the wayside.
  • When you start being active again – give yourself grace. You have been immobile and/or inactive for some period of time. Regardless of how fit you “were” – you need to get strong again.
  • Do not compare yourself to our “prior surgical self”. Remember this is major surgery and you (whether you like it or not) have changed – again give yourself grace.
  • And Finally – remember how far you have come and that every day (with everything you do) you are getting just a bit stronger!!!

The COVID-19 Vaccine, Ulcerative Colitis & Me


I have been hesitant to write this post because of how dividing getting the COVID-19 has become in recent months. The point of this post is not to talk about the pros and cons of getting getting the vaccine. There have been (and will continue to be) far better writers, who can write about the facts more eloquently then I could ever do.

No – the point of this point of this post is to give others with Ulcerative Colitis or another IBD some light on what they might experience and to let them know that they are not alone.

A Bit of Background

As someone living with Ulcerative Colitis, I had been doing relatively well since Jan 2021 when I was officially in remission. That was a far cry from where I was a year and a half prior. During that time I was in a pretty horrible “flare” as we in the IBD community like to call it. Basically the immune system of my intestines was fighting me and it took many months of being on high doses of Prednisone, a failed trial of ENTYVIO before Remicade turned the tide.

Being on Remicade allowed my intestines to heal and induced remission. I finally was able to slowly wean myself off Prednisone. When I was cleared to run in February 2021 I felt that 2021 was going to be great!

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

I am lucky that I do not have many of the negative effects of getting monthly infusions of Remicade. However, because Remicade is a biologic (made from parts of living organisms) I am more susceptible to get infections. Since Remicade is an immunosuppressant I knew that I was more susceptible to get COVID-19, and actually did. Luckily my symptoms were minimal. The only real “problems” were that I lost my sense of taste and smell couple of weeks.

I had done the research, and my own due diligence and knew that I wanted to get the vaccine. I had been hoping to be one of the first to get it, given my immunocompromised status, but that was not the case I ended up choosing a vaccination location that was giving out either Pfizer or Modera. The day I arrived they were “giving out” Moderna – so that is what I got.

The first Covid-19 vaccine shot went smoothly and I was hoping for the same after my second shot, but that was not the case. I did well for the first 24 hours but for the next 16 hours I felt like I had the flu. However, as many others have reported after that I felt fine. Running continued to go well and I felt confident that I had breezed through the vaccine with minimal problems.

The After Effects

Two weeks after I received my second shot my GI tract started gurgling (and not in a good way). It was a gurgling that I knew all too well. I thought I maybe ate a bad burrito. However, after a couple of running “incidents” , eating issues and ultimately blood/mucous – I reached out to my GI doctor.

Tests were run and stool samples (sorry for the TMI) were obtained but everything came back normal. It’s the worst thing when you know what is going on but the test result don’t support it. I (again) had to be more mindful of what I ate but that did not seem to do any good. Ultimately I increased the dosage of my medications, went back on a nightly foam enema (WHICH IS THE WORST), & had to re-start Prednisone. That sucked! The dosage started at 20mg but it was only when I went up to 40mg that I felt some relief. I also continued my Remicade infusions, hoping that the combo would ultimately “right the ship”.

Ultimately I finally was able to have a face to face with my GI doctor in July. By that time my all the medication that I was pumping into my body was having a positive effect. Runs were going somewhat better and I was able to keep food down. At that point I was in a flare for about 2 months, funny enough it was during this same time of year almost 2 years ago when my last flare started.

We discussed how I was feeling (slightly better) and I asked him his thoughts on IBD patients and the vaccines. He said that the vaccine research is still new but there is no correlation (now) between getting the vaccine and triggering a flare. What he said is that my symptoms might have been a temporary side effect rather than a flare. He did say that my symptoms were on the lower end of the spectrum of his patients that received a vaccine. Good to hear but did not make me feel any better at the time.

Even though I am in remission, my Ulcerative Colitis has not “disappeared”. There is always the chance for a flare-up. What I have to determine is whether the flare is a blip or if it keeps getting worse. At that point it might mean that Remicade is no longer effective). That was eye opening for me as I thought remission = forever. Apparently that is not the case.

What Now – A 3rd COVID-19 Vaccine Shot??

As I type out this post I am doing well. My symptoms (knock on wood) have subsided. I am tapering (again) off Prednisone and have stopped the “foam”. Running is going well and if it weren’t for the heat – it would be lovely.

A 3rd Moderna shot has made new recently, and honestly I am not sure if I would get it. I have worked hard to get “back to normal” that I am not sure I want to feel that shitty again. I might get my antibody levels tested since there is evidence that given my immunocompromised system I produced less antibodies.

So we’ll see – just know that if you are experiencing symptoms it’s possible its from the COVID-19 vaccine. OR it’s possible that you might have been under some stress to cause the flare up. Regardless know you are not alone!

Hop River 10k Recap- Make an Effort not an Excuse


The Warm Up

I did the math and it’s been about 20 months since my last race and recap. So bear with me as I document yesterday’s Hop River 5k/10k in Andover, CT.

Workouts have been going fairly well and my easy run pace has slowly been getting a bit faster. This I think is due in large part to my slow build back AND cross training with the Peloton. So when I broached the idea of a 10k with coach he was agreeable. It would be a good way to see where I was fitness wise AND remind me what it was like to participate in a race.

This was by no means to be an time trial as my quality sessions (IMO) did not put me in a position for that.

I should also point out that last week I started feeling “niggles” in my right hamstring. You know, the one I had surgery on last September. Since I have been more consistent with strength, a quick check of my shoes revealed the root cause of the niggles. As a heel striker I have to be more vigilant checking on the wear and tear of my shoes. Unfortunately I did not check them soon enough and was running on some pretty worn down shoes.

Running Wearhouse to the rescue! Their 2 day shipping is a god send!

On top of that, I have been running my quality session in my “everyday” running shoes. I just had not gotten around to buying a pair. So I did what you ARE NOT supposed to do – buy a pair of “racing” shoes the day before a race AND use them.

So with new shoes and a plan – I headed to Andover Saturday morning.

The Work Out

So here was the plan for the Hop River 10k- 2 mile warm up; 1.5m (8:15 speed limit); finish the race based on how I was feeling; 2 mile cool down. Seems simple enough – right?

First off I left the house for the race AND…forgot my watch and headphones. Rookie mistake. That put me in a panic but I made it to the race with time to spare. I picked up my bib and headed to the trail for my warm up. The route was shaded, which was great as the start time was 9am and the temp was in the mid 70s. For someone who gets up at the ass crack of dawn – this was not ideal.

The Hope River 10k route was also on a trail and although looked flat was what I call a “false flat”. Meaning it had an ever so slight incline for half of the route (which did I mention was out and back 2x).

Warm up complete I headed to the port o potty but realizing that the line was NOT moving – decided to head to the start.

Here’s where things went a bit (ok a lot) side ways. The “gun” went off and I headed out with the 10kers – we headed to the trail and then my GPS went wonky – I could not get an even pace. Per the watch – one minute I was running 9:00 and then it was between 8-8:30. It really messed with my head. In hindsight I really WAS running too fast and came through a blazing 7:57. Definitely NOT an 8:15 mile. 2nd mile was about 8:15 and 3rd mile was an 8:13 – so better.

BUT that’s when the heat and my mind started to get to me – to the point (I’m ashamed to admit) I walked for a bit to catch my breath and feel less panicked. Let’s just say that the back half of the race – was not my finest hour.

I ended up finishing (YEAH) and headed back out for a cool down ( I know who am I). I ended up doing a mile (instead of the 2 prescribed) because I was so done at that point. Luckily I did randomly see my friend Jessica W. on the path doing a “leisurely” 30 mile bike ride. She was definitely a boost of motivation!

The Cool Down

So – it was definitely not the outcome I was hoping for but as with any race there are always pros/cons/lessons learned.

Pros

  • I ran my first race in 20 months! That is a win. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to where I would even get to a start line (even as a workout) so I know I can improve from here.
  • The “new” racers actually did not cause me any problems. I know there is supposed to be “nothing new on race day” but as this was a workout – it felt good to wear something lighter and more responsive.
  • My stomach/GI cooperated! There is a future blog post coming on how the COVID Vaccine and my IBD have not been playing nice with each other, so to not have to find a tree on the course was a welcome treat.

Cons

  • I have to realize that I do not really perform well in hot weather regardless of how “shaded” it is and have to adapt a bit better. Again – I have been out of the Summer running game for a bit so this will take some practice.
  • I need to continue to work on my mental game – in the spring it was to stop “trotting” in between intervals. Now I need to work on quieting those voices that got very loud yesterday.
  • I need to keep calm when my GPS gets a bit wonky on me. To be honest I did feel that my effort was much faster than what my watch was showing me in the moment. By going out too fast – I think I dug myself a hole I could not get out of.

So What’s Next?

I’m not giving up by any stretch of the imagination.

I did make an effort out there yesterday but I also let my mind take over. It’s not an excuse of what happened. Maybe I am being too hard on myself BUT it’s something I need to continue to work on and realize that I’m not going to die and that being uncomfortable is not the end of the world.

Today’s a rest day BUT I will be back on the roads tomorrow.

I mean the Hartford Half Marathon in October isn’t going to run itself.

Zellee Organic – A Plant-Based Refueling Alternative For Athletes


Until last weekend I have been able to get away with not having to fuel my workouts. My daily runs quality workouts were such that I was out and back home in about an hour.

BUT that changed last weekend as I headed out for my longest quality workout since just before I tore and had surgery on my hamstring. In looking at the workout (2mi warm up; 4x1mi repeats; 2mi cool down) and weather (hello 70 degrees at 6am) I knew I would need more than just water to set me for success. I might not need something during the workout BUT as I was heading to the high school track I decided it would be a good idea to bring something with me “just in case”.

My gel stash was “expired” (To be honest I have not re-stocked my gels or chews in quite some time) and was a bit stressed on what I would bring with me. BUT luckily I had just received a package from Zelle Organic and decided to take them with me.

When I first started running – I was a very big fan of those uber sweet, almost frosting-like, gels. The problem was that many were hard to swallow while running and (for me) there was always the potential for choking if water was not around.

Zellee Organic – Review

As my stomach has become more sensitive, I have sought out less sweet alternatives. I read the back of Zellee Organic Sport Jels (filled with organic, plant-based ingredients and no gelatin) and decided to give it a whirl. I loved the the nutritional stats and that they contained electrolytes, since sweat a lot in the Summer.

Now full disclaimer – I did not carry these with me during my workout. I consumed the Jel my cool down so I cannot (yet) speak to how it would be to open and consume one on a run. What I can say that the pouch was easy to open, swallow, & tasted great! They are slightly lower in calories and carbs than your standard 100 calorie gel, so keep that in mind.

The hubs and I have some upcoming kayaking, biking and hiking adventures, and I will definitely be including these in our snack sack.

Use code AMCRUNS15 for 15% off your next purchase of Zellee Organic.

10 Months Post Op – Goals are Great but Consistency is Key


Update Time!

The dog days of Summer are upon us and unlike last year I am back in the trenches with my fellow runners. Slogging sweaty miles has become a norm as this humidity just won’t quit.

Grumbling at the weather is a common occurrence (we’ve gotten about 10 inches of rain thus far in July) but I suck it up, put on my lightest clothing, and hit the streets.

Admittedly I had grand plans this spring about a running a Fall Marathon and quickly getting my speed back. Suffice to say neither of those things are or have happened. I am slowly chipping away at my speed but a Fall Marathon is not in the cards for 2021.

My workout load have increased and I am finally putting in 40 mile weeks – a far cry from the 0.0 miles I was running last year.

So that being said I thought I would give 10 “Quick Spits” on I am faring 10 months post Hamstring surgery – both what is working and what I am working on (HELLO mental game).

So without further ado –


Quick Splits – 10 months post Hamstring Surgery

  • As I mentioned my speed has not come back as fast as I would have liked. I am trying to give myself “grace” and remind myself how long I was out of the running game. I’m also working to not compare myself (that much) to others as we are each on our own journey.
  • I’ve also removed myself from some “Hamstring Injury” . Although super helpful prior to and soon after my surgery, it became a dark rabbit hole. Heading over after “bad” day to commiserate with others was great, but I realized that I was starting to have a fatalist attitude on how successful my recovery “might be”. Not good for my mojo.
  • My incision site is still numb to a certain degree but it does not bother me much. I suspect that over time it will go away over a period of time
  • My Peloton has improved my endurance and strength but as my daily mileage has increased my riding has decreased. BUT I have made a point to use it daily for a quick strength or stretching workout.
  • On that same note – riding has helped me re-gain strength, but it’s not going to get me as strong as I need to pound the pavement. So I have been making a consistent effort to get at least 2-3 solid strength sessions a week. Shoutout again to Peloton Platform (I love the Strength for Runners classes) and my coach for some solid content.
  • Although a Fall Marathon is not in the cards – a half is! I have not pulled the trigger BUT I plan on running/racing the Hartford Half Marathon in October.
  • As for races, I don’t have any on the calendar yet. Still just working on time on feet, strengthening my body (and mind)
  • In speaking to the title of my blog post – its a phrase I have repeated a lot this Spring and Summer. I had grand goals in February BUT I know that the time, effort & sweat will be worth it come fall
  • It amazes me that last year at this time I could not even sit still to type out this post. As long as the recovery time was, the surgery was definitely worth it!
  • And last but not least – my mental game. I’m notorious for walking during a Quality workout and last week Coach called me out. The fact that the workout is not only the rep really resonated with me. It’s what I am currently working on re-framing in my mind.

So that’s it in a nutshell – still moving forward (which is better than not moving at all!)

Let’s hope by my next post – the sun will be shining because I’m really over these cloudy days.

Mornings, Motivation & Marathons


My morning runs this week have been all over the place. Not in terms of pace (those are getting somewhat consistent) but the spaces to which my mind has traveled. As a runner who typically runs to pulsing music, in an effort to both wake up and pound the pavement , I find myself gravitating more toward the monotone voices of non-fiction podcasts. Whereas before music podcasts would take up the majority of space my iTunes Library, they now fighting for listening time. More often than not, I head out the door pressing play on The Daily (NYTimes Podcast) or Work, Play, Love (Running Podcast).

The problem is quarantine life limits attempts to have intellectual conversations. Social media is great but sometimes putting ones opinions out for the world can lead to more stress. My constant companion, Harley is a good co- worker but not a good conversationalist.

So, I have turned a bit inward during this past week letting my mind wander . One would think that in having conversations with myself would be a win-win. I have quickly learned, however, that is not always the case.

This week my thoughts turned to running but not for the reasons you might think. On Friday I was scheduled (and did) have a Remicade infusion. As an avid reader, you will know that starting past week the dosage and frequency of Remicade was increased. I have been doing well (health and running wise) for the past month. These glimmers of hope have allowed me to dream of the 45th Marine Corps Marathon this fall.

BUT I also know that the world is currently in the middle of a pandemic. Spring racing has been cancelled but there is still a huge question about Fall races. I try to be an optimistic but I am also a realist. There are many moving parts before moving forward with races is even a thought in anyone’s mind. First and foremost, I also have to think of my personal safety.

As someone who has Ulcerative Colitis, both the disease and medication has placed me in the high risk category. I have done a lot of thinking, especially this past week, about this. Right now, I do not know how safe I would feel in October if safe guards were not enacted. To be honest, not knowing if the person I am standing next to is a carrier is a scary thought.

Keeping dry!

These are things that even 6 months ago would not have even crossed my mind. Am I the only one but anyone else think of life as BC (Before Coronavirus) and AC (After Coronavirus)? Six months ago – the only thing I was thinking of was would there ever be a day when I would be able to run without having to worry about whether my stomach would betray me. My how times have changed.

So that leaves me in a bit of a pickle.

Running has been a part of my life for 10 or so years. Whether I was injured or not, the fact remained that I was always training for SOMETHING on the horizon. Yes – I have signed up for the 45th Marine Corps Marathon, but will it happen. If it does – will safeguards be put in place? What will the safeguards be? Will the safeguards put in place be enough? As you can see it’s an endless rabbit hole that can veer in many directions.

And one of those other directions it lead me too this week was the question of MOTIVATION. Many blogs and social media posts most often post diatribes on this with the heading “What Is Your Why?”. I think I know what my “Why” is but for the time being I think delving in to my “Motivation” is more appropriate. If races are cancelled for the foreseeable future – that is many months of running for the sake of running.

Yes – sometimes I run “just to run” over the years I have developed deeper reasons – especially in 2020. Health, sanity, reflection, the challenge, and new adventures) are all reasons I head out the door. Over the past year, however, the goal being able to run consistently while battling Ulcerative Colitis has been at the forefront.

Feeling better over these last 2 months has definitely helped me mentally. Yes – even at my sickest, I still put on my running shoes every morning. I wished for the day that I the only thing I would have to worry about was something as trivial as over dressing or my iPod dying.

So I think that is my motivation – running because I can and knowing that one day races will be back on my calendar and on the horizon. It does help that things like signing up for the McKirdy Mile have been added to my calendar. My next mile “race” is this weekend and I am hoping that some of the work I have been doing will translate into an improved time.

Until then I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other so that I will be ready for the day when I can line up once again for a medal and a shirt!

Onward we go!

Marine Corps Marathon Training Log – Week Ending 9/22/19

Marine Corps Marathon Training

This week training for the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon has brought me my second 20 miler of this training cycle, a couple of days of managing my running and Harley, and getting a little bit frustrated/down in the dumps about my illness.

Running wise I am handling the marathon mileage as well as can be expected. Mark and I are taking a Yoga for Runners class on Sunday evenings which has helped and I have been religious about going to the chiropractor to stay “aligned”. Some niggles have started to pop up in my right IT band and shin but I have been managing it by stretching/rolling and doing my PT exercises.

As for how training for a marathon with an active IBD has been going – it has its good days and bad days. I had hoped that the first infusion of Entivyo would be the fix that made all my problems go away but alas that has not been the case. There are good days and bad days, but at this point I need more good than bad.

I am managing it the best I can and trying to have a positive attitude but in all honesty, IT SUCKS! I trying to do what I need to do and I just want my body to cooperate. It’s frustrating. No one really understands what I am going through or honestly asks me how I am doing or how I feel about heading into this marathon if I can’t get my GI to calm down.

To be honest – mental doubt has started creeping in. Some days I wonder why I am still training and whether I can actually run the Marine Corps Marathon to the best of my ability while still dealing with this literal crap.

I have another infusion this week, and I am hopeful that I just need a couple under my belt before I start feeling better ( at least that is what I have read).

I am not throwing in the towel – so without further ado…

The Workouts


Monday (7miles easy) – Not sure what was going on this morning but I was not feeling this run. Maybe it was DOMS from Saturday but I felt clunky and my right shin got really tight. Luckily I was able to head to the chiropractor after work (as well as some foam rolling and stretching throughout the day to hopefully relieve the soreness).

Tuesday (Quality Session – 1x35minutes at threshold (7:39); 4min rest; 6x30sec (6:39) – Coach labeled this in the notes as a “Big Session” which always makes me nervous. On top of that I was up uber early as Mark left for his annual Golf trip – so that meant I did not even get to see the sunrise – BOO!

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday – (7.5 miles + dog walk x2) – With Mark in PA for his golf trip, my mornings for the rest of the week were very organized (leaving little room for futzing around). Up at 4:30 am to run, which left me just enough time to get back, take Harley on his walk, and make it work on time (with a quick stop at Starbucks). Luckily the weather cooperated a bit too much with temps dipping down to the 40s – meaning a quick scramble to dig up gloves, headband and jacket. It definitely woke me up but I am so not ready to start adding layers!

Saturday (20miles easy) – So if your Garmin dies during your 20 miler does the run still count??? That was dilemma that I faced on Saturday. I charged everything I needed EXCEPT my watch – rookie mistake! Luckily I mapped out my run before I left so I know that even with a dead watch I got my 20 miles in! The run was pretty uneventful but I did have some stomach issues and that definitely upset me and caused me some concern.

Good Eats

I guess Central Connecticut is a bit behind on the Poke revolution that is the hot, new food trend but luckily we are catching up! By the time this post is published – Pokeworks will finally open its first Connecticut location (next to a Shake Shake no less). I had the opportunity to be one of the first to attend a private event AND my first poke bowl this week. Let me tell you I am a big fan of this fully customizable, healthy meal.

New week = New Treats in the way of Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

Celebrating National Cheeseburger Day with a side of my homemade sweet potato fries.

Another day – Another Picky Bar!

What’s Entertaining Me This Week

As someone with IBD I have been limited my dairy consumption (although I do love my fro-yo and a slice of pizza now and then.  As someone always looking for a cheezie alternative I have considered trying some dairy-free cheese like Daiya until I read this post from Andrew Kornfield. Really eye-opening “healthy” is not always truly healthy.

The Rich Roll Podcast with Gwen Jorgensen – This was perfect to listen to during my long run.  Loved hearing that she has realized that more is not better and to look at the bigger picture. Improvement happens on a daily basis and to look at the bigger picture. I have to keep that in mind as my Marine Corps Marathon Training continues.

Rambling Runner Podcast with Aly Groft – A truly inspiring podcast.  Especially loved her super positive mindset of Patience, Commitment and Determination.

Koala Clip Lux Pre-Order – This might be one of my favorite running products, especially I don’t like to wear a lot of “stuff” during my runs.  It’s survived every type of weather condition imaginable, AND on top of that Mark feels a bit better now that I have a phone on me.  I am loving the Brillant Feathers color and might have to purchase this one so I have “options”.


That’s all for this week.

Onward we go!

Marine Corps Marathon Training – Week 11


Marine Corps Marathon Training - Week 11
Snapshot from this past week.


…Time Keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’…Into the future….Time

Thank you Lynard Skynard for the inspiration

Yup – every day I wake up at 5am is one sleep closer to October 28th.

On another note – have any of my before dawn runners felt that it went dark sooner than normal this year?  I felt that one morning I woke up and it was time to grab  “ALL THE REFLECTIVE GEAR” and put it into use.  It makes it a bit harder to get up.

A later sunrise also means that I am also forced to be on the alert for the common pitfalls that attack “before dawn” runners – especially animals, barely lit streets, and uneven sidewalks. I do not want to pull a repeat of last year!

On the flip side – I really feel speedy in the dark.  Like a stealthy runner gliding through my empty neighborhood streets before everyone else gets up.

The weather was hit and miss last week (I actually had to wear long sleeves and fingerless gloves on Monday) and my weekly mileage continues to slowly climb at a reasonable rate.

Strange to think that in August I was thinking ” how will I coach ever get me to 50 miles a week” and BAM here I am!  Guess Coach knows what he is doing :).

The first step is sometimes the hardest!

I ended the week at 53.7  – a new high for 2018 (and honestly most of 2017)

On the diet side – I have been learning to live with my UC and have taken steps to modify my diet.  Diary is out (insert sad emoji) and I have started to limit my Gluten intake to see if that might be another trigger.

Between the small dietary changes and the medication – I have felt some improvement and have even had a couple of runs without any pit stops.  I have also been lurking on some of the UC messages boards – but so far I have not seen anyone run a marathon with UC.  I know they are out there – I just need to find them!

A lot of ‘new’ eating has been trial and error but I am keeping a log to hopefully find some combinations that work (and unfortunately some that do not for the time being).

So with about 40ish days to go….


Marine Corps Marathon Training Log – Week 11


Monday – 8 Miles Easy

Tuesday – Easy 7 miles

I averaged an 8:54 pace and no bathroom pit stops!  Have not done that in a while!

Wednesday – Quality Session (3 mile warm up; 6x1mil (8:06); 3 min recovery jog in between; 1mile cool down)

This workout was a win!  11 miles total and each rep was below my threshold pace and my reward – a lunch date with Mark.  We tried a new Ramen place in town and it hit the spot!  

Thursday – Glorious Rest Day!

The highlight (besides sleeping in) was getting to finish the last scoops of peanut butter and share Harley.  (Please note this is the only time he will listen to me)

The ONLY time he listens to me!

Friday – 6 miles Easy

Saturday – Quality Session (3 mile warm up; 1x 7 miles at marathon pace; 1×2 miles at easy; 1×4 miles at marathon; 1 mile cool down

So this week I practiced nutrition on the run and what I “might” be carrying on October 28th.  I am happy to report I got in about 300 calories during the run – while not ideal is a big improvement for me who is a big “saver” of calories.  Pre-run oatmeal also did the trick as I just had a quick pit stop (more of a pee break) during my warm up and once after mile 13. I love Huma and am also really enjoying the Honey Stinger gummies (which I may or may not have driven to buy after work on Friday) which are just gummy enough to either swallow whole or chew for an extra flavor burst.

However the big FAIL of this workout was not executing it exactly as written – the second set of marathon miles which was supposed to be 4 miles – I ran 3.  I still got the total mileage expected in but – Whomp, Whomp!

When all is said and done!

You might also notice that the picture was taken on the track – I don’t recommend this (especially given that I hate the treadmill) but given that my stomach has been not my best friend lately, I chose to do the miles here.  Yes it was boring but I got it done and I think I am a little mentally tougher because of it.

17 miles  – DONE!

Sunday – Easy 4 miles

I slept like a rock after yesterday workout but was up and out the door just as the fog lifted.  Got these miles in before the heat and humidity of the day took over and spent the rest of the day lounging around (stretching of course!)


Onward we go!

Marine Corps Marathon Training – Week 8

Marathon Training

Marathon Training rolls on!

After week where my mileage topped 48.3 – this past week was on the lower side (40.8 for week).  I kind of wish that the mileage was a bit higher because the weather was so glorious! I had almost forgotten what it was like to run in capri’s and a short sleeve shirt without sweating to death.  I even had to add a jacket when I walked Harley on Friday morning.

This past week also helped build my confidence a little in terms of my pacing.  In a summer where I have struggled to run comfortable and easy, I was able to get my average pace below 9 minute miles.  I felt like I was flying this morning and re-confirmed that even in the heat I am gaining fitness.

Unfortunately the 3H’s are back on tap for this week – Yuck!!  Not looking forward to the upcoming conditions to say the least.

In other news – my GI issues continue and it’s definitely not been fun.  So far, of my tests have come back negative which is very frustrating. BUT I met with a GI doctor this past week and explained my situation.  She wants me to try a low FODMAP diet to see if I have any food sensitivities and also get a colonoscopy.

I told her I would try the low FODMAP diet (which is not a long term solution thank god) but I really need to get to the bottom (HA).  It’s been an eye opener to say the least – I can’t believe how many food items contain wheat, enriched wheat or some type of sweetener.  Even my beloved garlic, onion, mushrooms, peaches, apples, and beans (to name a few) are off the menu for the time being.

I have talked to other runners and I know I am not alone in this struggle but I will say it again – it’s frustrating to have such a stomach of steel for years only to be knocked down by my gut.

I will keep everyone up to date as I know more and hopefully get some answers soon.

So without further ado – the 8th week of my Marine Corps Marathon training log

Weekly Marathon Training Log

Monday – 6.04 Easy

I slept in this morning – so it was an after work run for me.  Does anyone else besides me HATE running after work. I always feel so clunky and heavy and it usually takes me a couple of miles before I get “in the groove”.  These runs are also the “I did not want to run but glad I did ones.”

Tuesday – 6.5 miles Easy

Glorious cool weather the first run with my headlamp – that means Fall is right around the corner

Wednesday – Quality Session (2m warm up; 2x5min at 8:06;1min walk recovery; 3×3 minutes at 7:28; 2 minute walk recovery; 4x1minute at 7:04; 1 minute walk recovery)

I tend to love this “quick” bursts of speed workouts

Thursday – 5 miles

With Mark out of town for the next couple of days – 5 miles is my limit in the morning.  Giving me enough time to run, run back home, walk Harley and make it to work on time.

Chill-axing on the Patio

Friday – 5 miles

It really felt like fall this morning and I actually debated wearing long sleeves on my run.  If the weather could only be like that ALL YEAR LONG.

I also took advantage of tax free week and bought – SOCKS.  Don’t worry I had a method to my madness – replacing some that were on their way out.

SOCKS!!!!!!

Saturday –OFF

This worked out great – I had a lot of running around to do but I made time to head to the dog park with Harley in the morning for a tiring (for him) game of fetch.

Sunday – Wethersfield 10k (2 mile warm up; 10k; 2ish mile cool down)

Wethersfield 10k Start Line

Coach decided to use the Wethersfield 10k to test my pacing and speed – it was a perfect race  for this “test” because it’s a flat course. Also good for me because when I am not at the track I have a 2 mile loop through Old Wethersfield that I use for some of my quality workouts.

The plan was to not go out too fast (not a problem because my hami was starting to act up again during Friday’s run.  And come in under 50 minutes. I don’t know about you but when I have a niggle (what I call a start of an “injury”) I tend to hyper focus on that.  Even though my hami was taped by Mark before the race – I was concerned it would start to bother me. My other concern – my gut – would I be able to run the whole race without having to “run” to the port a potty.

I am happy to report – on both counts – that I did well.  The oatmeal that I had before stayed put and my hami for the most part was just a nagging part of the run.  I felt great endurance wise and was it not for the hamstring I probably could have done some more.

Total time was an average of 8:04 which would have been faster if I did not grab some water at the last water stop.

I also appreciated that the rest of the family came out and supported me – especially since Mark was literally going on a limited amount of sleep.  Harley was in his element, helping me with my warm-up run (I wish I would have gotten a picture and licking all the salt off my legs at the end of the race.

Family Photo

I also told Coach that I think that I this is the last “race” until the Hartford Half – I want to spend this month developing and honing in on my marathon pacing.

So until then – it’s all about development AND getting my gut in order.

Onward we go!

Bolton Road Race Recap – The First Step(s) Are the Hardest

Guys – I ran in my first race since the New Jersey Marathon last year!

Bolton Road Race

Since November, when I was cleared to run, I have been plugging away.  Day after day, week after week – I have been slowly building up my endurance, speed, and mileage.

I remember the day I was given “clearance” (which coincidentally was on Election Night – I busted out 2 (pretty slow) miles, but 2 miles none the less.  I was ready to keep on the daily 2 mile run train BUT Coach James quickly squashed that and reduced me on a walk/run plan for the next 2 months.  Since then I have building up my distance (which now varies between 3-6 miles daily) and since February I have started added some “Quality” (or speed) sessions to the mix.

The inclusion of Body Roc and Yoga has also helped me build flexibility and strength, it had notw come time to test these legs (and “new hip”) in a road race, specifically the Bolton Road Race.

It’s not an easy race – I mean with a tag line that is “Come Run The Hill” BUT I knew I had to get back out there.  I also signed up for it because we are getting to that time of year when many runner’s come out of “hibernation” – after a long winter it’s these annual races that  runner’s gravitate toward to catch up and compare the latest news, races, injuries and whatnot. 

The plan was to use this race to see where I was fitness wise.  Yes – I have had some quality workouts in my training, but the longest repeat to date had been 1 mile.  The Bolton Road Race is 5 miles and there is one monstrous hill that you have to conquer at the end.

I was so happy to have the support of Mark and Harley at the race (it helped that the weather was gorgeous).  Mark took the reins as my “official race photographer” and Harley was more than happy to be my warm-up buddy.  He is more of a sprinter than a long distance runner but he helped shake out my legs (and some nerves).

Bolton Road Race

Going in to pick up my packet I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces – Connecticut is a small running community so I have missed seeing many of the people during the last year.  

Soon though it was time for the race and before I knew it  – we were off.

I will not bore you with specifics of the course but just some random race thoughts –

  • I can’t believe I am back.
  • How does my hip feel??
  • Next time don’t line up in the back of the pack
  • Why are people passing me??
  • Yeah – I am passing people.
  • Is this the hill – nope it’s only a “baby” hill
  • There’s Mark and Harley – I hope he got a picture of me.
  • Water – Nope. I’m good.
  • Why do some people look like they are running so effortlessly.  I feel so clunky.
  • Here’s the hill – let’s go!
  • Oh god- this hill sucks.
  • Alright someone is beside me and giving me encouragement – I can’t stop now.
  • The TOP OF THE HILL – smooth sailing from here on out.
  • Mission Accomplished!!!!
  • When’s the next one…

My mile splits for the Bolton Road Race were 8:35 (I blame myself for this – I lined up to far back); 8:08; 8:08; 7:58; 9:31 (THE HILL) – yup definitely mission accomplished.  To put that in perspective – when I started back in November I was running 10:30s and feeling winded after 2 miles – on Sunday I was almost an average of 2 minutes faster. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a long way from sustaining an 8:10 pace for a marathon (which was my scheduled “pace” for the New Jersey Marathon) but it’s definitely a confidence booster.

I hung out for a bit but then it was time to go home to shower, stretch and rest.

After the first consistent effort in almost a year and ALL THE EMOTIONS CAME OUT.  Mark commented that he had almost forgotten was “post race Anne” was like – let’s just say that a combination of Runger and Tiredness took over and it was not pretty.

Bolton Road Race Recap

As for my left hip – NO PAIN! NO DISCOMFORT! NO CLICKING!

My range of motion is still improving (anyone else feel like they are running “faster” then what a photo actually shows?)

Bolton Road Race Recap

I would love to run a fast half marathon in June but one thing recovery has taught me is that 1) You don’t take anything for granted and 2) recovery is never a straight line.

So I will continue to listen to my body and each week build upon the fitness and strength that I am gaining each time I lace up my sneakers and head out for a run.

Onward we go!