Running With (no!) Music

When I ran cross country in high school, we weren’t allowed to run with music. This was not a problem considering that back in my day, if we wanted to run with music, we’d be hauling with us a portable cd player.

I discovered the iPod my freshman year of college when I moved to the city. I was gifted an iPod shuffle and thought it was a pretty nifty invention. Of course, I started using it to exercise and really never looked back.

If I forget or misplace my iPod, I run without listening to music; but, very rarely do I intentionally decide to go without it.

On Saturday it was cold and rainy—a rarity in Arizona. I met up with my run club shivering and anxious to get the show on the road. I stood clutching my iPod tightly, ready to hit play as soon as we started. We set off and I found myself running alongside Jim. He asked me how my legs were feeling and I told him that I had set up an appointment with a sports medicine doctor on Tuesday to get them looked at. We continued to chat and I could hear Kelly Clarkson tell me that what doesn’t kill makes her stronger faintly in the background, my earphones hanging around my neck. I lowered the volume.

After a while, I glanced at my watch and saw that a mile had gone by! I knew that I was running at a leisurely pace having talked to Jim the entire way, but I was surprised at how good I felt and how it seemed time had passed by without much preoccupation—I hadn’t checked my watch that entire mile. I started to pick up my pace and drift away from Jim. It was dark out still and I could hear the wind blowing through the trees and the rain hit the water in the canal beside me. I could also hear Jennifer Lopez tell me to get on the floor.

I unplugged my earphones and tucked them in my pocket and turned off my iPod. I decided I was running the rest of the way listening to nature instead.

The first mile had been a slow one but it served as a perfect warm-up as the rest of the run went by smoothly. I felt pretty darn good. I noticed that as I was listening to the sounds around me I was also more aware of what was around me. I noticed the horses in the backyards of houses, the bridge connecting the two sides of the canal at mile 4, and the height of some of the trees I passed. Things I probably would not have paid much attention to had I been listening to music. Sometimes, I become so entranced by a song that I have no idea where I’m at. Other times, I’m keenly aware of a song’s length and am so focused at how much song is left before the next one starts. I become pretty familiar with my playlists and get anxious to hear a certain song and want the current one to end.

I had no such worries that day.

If you noticed my splits on Saturday, you’d see that I picked up my pace as the run went on. Music did not help me do it. I did it. I was thinking about this after my run and wandered if maybe music was having too much control over my running. Was I being influenced by the pace of the song? Do I concentrate better without my iPod? Am I able to focus more on my running instead of the song lyrics?

Saturday’s run felt so great that I’ve decided to try a few more workouts without it. I might be on to something here.

–Do you listen to music when you run?

–Do you think music can have an influence on your pace?

No Running: Day Four

Longest four days ever. Okay, I’m exaggerating but I really am starting to feel that emotional craziness that happens when I don’t run. It’s different this time than when I was pregnant. When I was pregnant…well, I was pregnant. Right now I feel like I can run, but I know I shouldn’t. I still feel pain in my shins but not intense to where I couldn’t run through it. However, I’m practicing restraint. I have my very first marathon in four months and I really want to train well for it.

I’m starting to think that maybe I jumped the gun with this marathon. This injury really threw me a curveball and has made me feel nervous about being able to do it in what to me is a short time. My goal is to finish and finish with a feeling of accomplishment. I know that will happen because I always feel good when I finish a race but I don’t want to feel any coulda, shoulda, wouldas. I could have done better. I should have trained more/better. I would have felt better about the race had I not been injured.

I don’t want to feel any of that.

I’m not an excuses person. I hate excuses. I know that whatever happens is what happens and I’m owning it. I know these next two weeks (11 days but who’s counting?) will be tough because I’m not running but I’m also not going to be sitting on my ass all day doing nothing. Since Wednesday, I’ve been incorporating more strength training and core exercises. I’ve also been icing and stretching my shins every day.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fast runner. I’m not going to kid myself in to thinking that I’m going to all of a sudden become a speed demon these next four months. I plan on training and being consistent—basically continuing what I’m doing now except with a plan specific for that marathon. I think the biggest thing I need/want to work on is my diet. I figure there is no better time than now to start eating better. I know I can’t/won’t go cold turkey—I gotta drive thru something every now and then—but I can definitely make some small changes here and there that can really help me in the long run (ja! see what I did there?!?)

Ultimately, I hope that I start to feel like I can get back in the game. I’ve contemplated seeing my doctor but I’m not certain my injury is that severe it warrants a visit. I’m going to continue to give it these next few days and go from there.

 

In the meantime, I was so glad for Halloween. Not only is it my favorite holiday, it was the perfect distraction from my injury. Here is a pic of me and my lil superheroes :  )

20131031_174137_resized

 

How do you cope with injuries?

What gets you out of a funk?

Good News and Bad News

This week has been a week of up and downs (I know, it’s barely Thursday). On Sunday, my husband surprised me by announcing we were going to our running store to finally purchase the Garmin watch I had been coveting.

A few of my running buddies have the Garmin Forerunner 10, which they all rave about. It’s not a high tech watch, just a watch with the essentials—time, distance, pace, calories. I’ve used the Nike+ watch and didn’t mind it but like that the Garmin has a larger display (I had the old school Nike+–the one where you had to have specific Nike shoes).

I was like a giddy school girl walking into the store. The door saleslady asked, “Can I help you find something?”

“Garmin!”

She walked me to the watch display and there it was—the exact one I wanted. Sleek, simple, black.

“That one,” I said, pointing inside the glass case.

My husband knew I’d want to test it out immediately.

I decided an easy 3 mile run would be perfect. Finally being able to not have to hold my Galaxy S3 clunker of a phone felt liberating. I felt lighter, swifter….faster. I knew it was partly excitement that was carrying me through my run (my legs had been feeling achy the past few days) but it didn’t matter to me the reason, I was running with my Garmin and I loved it.

Sure enough, when I reached the end I looked down at my watch and saw that I had tied my time with my fastest 3 miler post pregnancy (and really a couple of years pre-pregnancy too!)

20131027_173415_resized

But I was hurting.

My legs felt tight and with each step in my cool down I was wincing in pain. This did not feel good.

I made Monday a cross training day hoping to give my legs some relief and on Tuesday night I hopped on the treadmill ready for my scheduled 5 mile run. As soon as I started I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I made it to 3 miles and turned off the treadmill defeated.

I made a pit stop to my trainer on my way out to tell him of my woes. He immediately knew that what was wrong was the ever dreaded shin splints. I had a vague feeling this could be it but in all my years of running, I’ve never experienced shin splints and I couldn’t understand why now this was happening to me. He said it was likely due to me accumulating a lot of mileage so soon and not incorporating enough cross training. No running for at least two weeks he said. He knew he was killing me with that news.

I trust my trainer; he knows me well. The pain wasn’t severe and I felt like I could continue to train but I knew that I could potentially make the situation worse. He knew I was debating this in my head.

“Don’t even think about it,” he said sternly. “You’re at a point right now where you don’t need to see a doctor but if you continue to run you’ll get there.”

It’s so frustrating because I feel like I was finally hitting a groove and with a race each month the next four months I know I’ve got a lot of training to do—and then there’s my first marathon in March.

I’m hoping two weeks is all it will take. I figure I can experiment with new workouts and include more of the ones I know and enjoy doing.

And hope I can have a positive attitude in the meantime.