Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Snakes On a Run Edition

On Saturday I did what was the hardest thing in my life (and I've birthed two children, so I know from hard, yo) - I ran 12 miles. At 7:00 am, in 73 degree weather, with 100% humidity (yes, it was raining lightly). It was brutal, right from the start. From shoelaces that needed to be tightened, to shorts that felt wonky (same shorts I've been wearing; no explanation for that), to the shoelace that finally came untied - and this was in the first mile!

Between the rain and my sweat, I was drenched. Then I got that burning-hot-red-face thing going on. I finished up the coconut water in my handheld way too early because I was so hot and had to wait until mile 6 to refill it with water. My legs and hamstrings started cramping up. I lost sight of everyone and had convinced myself that I was miles behind the group. I even thought I missed a turn somewhere in the same neighborhood that we always run through - it felt like I was in there forever (this was miles 6 through 8). I finally saw some familiar landmarks - I was fine, still going the right direction.

I quit a hundred times in my head during those miles. And I knew that when I came out of that neighborhood, I could choose to run straight for another half mile and get back to our meeting place (and, I was convinced, where all of the other runners from the full group were already), or I could turn left and commit to the last 4 miles. Running 8.5 miles was not something to be ashamed of, but this was supposed to be my last long run before I started tapering for the Galveston half. However, I was hot, cramping up, getting dehydrated, miserable - who could blame me for quitting? I went back and forth over the decision, and just as I was coming out of that neighborhood, Tiffani, one of my half buddies, drove by, waving and smiling at me.

I turned left.

And, amazingly, as the road curved, I saw a blue shirt and a white shirt ahead of me - granted, far, far ahead, but still, people! My people!!! I was never so happy to see Darrell and Coach Dale in my life. I had convinced myself that everyone else had finished the run and was resting at our meeting place, so it was huge to see these two guys! I saw them stop at the mile 9 marker to refill their water bottles and noticed them stretching, so when I got there I did the same. At that point, my back and arches had joined my calves and hamstrings in the cramping game. Although I had some GU chomps with me, I obviously needed salt, and had I been carrying any cash, I would have stopped at the Exxon station just before mile 10 and bought some pretzels. Note to self: carry money with you!

I kept moving forward, running from mailbox to mailbox, walking when I needed to (which was often). As if the run wasn't nightmarish enough, I saw the head of (what was) a rather large bird in my path, then a little while later an entire dead bird, then around mile 9, a dead snake - in the gutter right in front of me! And yes, I screamed like a girl, jumped into the road, and startled the driver who was coming toward I needed to see a dang snake at that point! (I later discovered through Googling that it was a candy corn snake - and I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking about it!)

Running and walking, I managed to follow Darrell back to our starting point. I made it in and Coach Dale met me with a cold wash cloth...I covered my face and just started crying. Everything hurt. I was in shock at how hard this had been. I could barely walk - I felt so bad! He put his arm around me and told me I did a great job and that this was really hard for everyone...and that's when I saw my fellow full peeps looking pretty miserable too. Hearing other people say "it took FOREVER to get out of that neighborhood" and listening to both of the fastest runners, Jessica and Ashley (who are in their twenties) say how much their legs were hurting them - well, I'd like to say I didn't feel so bad. I can't - I felt plenty bad - but at least I knew that it wasn't hard just for me - it was hard for everyone. And that somehow made me feel the tiniest bit better.

I went home, had a 25 minute ice bath, drank a protein shake and then took a nap with Paco and Henry. Woke up after an hour and ate some chicken noodle soup - lots of sodium there. Then I foam rolled my legs, had a hot shower and discovered my Chafe of the Week: waistband area. This was one of those things that, as both Coach Erica and Helen say, you don't notice until the warm water hits it. No picture, as the link to the snake was scary enough.

Now, this is where it gets good. I could barely walk on Saturday. My muscles were beyond tight. I did manage to get myself to Red Mango late in the afternoon, but I pretty much spent the rest of the day either sleeping, reading or watching TV. I figured Sunday would be more of the same, but color me surprised when I found that I was moving really well! I have to say that the combination of the ice bath and using the foam roller CORRECTLY really, really made the difference in my recovery. About that foam roller - I've had one for a while, but never was very impressed with it. Serendipitously, Coach Joni demonstrated how to use one before our run on Saturday...gee, ya think she knew we would be needing it? LOL Anyway, as you roll, say, your hamstring on it, when you come to a tight spot, you are supposed to stop and stay there, without moving, for about 20 seconds, or until it "releases" - and I have to say, doing this made a huge difference for me. Sunday afternoon I was actually vacuuming and dusting - shocked me to be doing this, and not just because I'm legs actually were ok with that much movement. So score major points for some recovery work that paid off!

Can you believe that we were actually scheduled to do MORE running this week? I know, how crazy! I believe I had 40 minutes on the schedule for Monday...24 minutes is all I did. What can I say - lazy Shelley took over. Tuesday night was speedwork, prefaced by a mile warm up run! More craziness. But it was fun to be with my running club peeps, and the speedwork is different and goes by pretty fast (hey, maybe that's why they call it speedwork!). Tomorrow I have a run with Matt to Starbucks - well, he won't be running to Starbucks, but I will. Jeff promises to meet me there, and I like running TO something sometimes, as opposed to just running around in a big circle.

Thanks for making it through this ridiculously long post - believe it or not, I cut out approximately 75% of the whining description about the long run!


  1. Great post. I love how you say that you have quit a 100 times through that 4-8 miles. I think everyone have that feeling in their running routines or races.

  2. Shelley I'm so proud of you! It was hard, you were hurting but you never gave up! You are going to finish that half and I'm sure with a big smile on your face!

    I'm so glad we don't have snakes here, I hate them. I would have reacted the same as you did.

    I don't mind running in a circle but I don't like to run to a certain point and then run the same way back, boring to see the same thing twice. I've mapped al my runs around my village up to 21K (13.1 miles) for the next few months and they're all in a loop.

    Again, well done, I'm so proud of you!

  3. Ok, I need you to stop calling yourself lazy. YOU RAN 12 MILES!!!! Doing 24 min. is FINE!!!
    That snake is DISGUSTING!! Did you say candy corn? Seriously, people, get a life.
    I pulled something in my right shoulder yesterday and can barely move....want to hear whining?
    YOU ARE AWESOME! Do you read Healthy Tipping Point? Caitlin is very forgiving of herself when she needs to take a break. It's good to read.

  4. Damn, Shelley, I was almost crying when reading this when you finished. Amazing job to run 12 miles - and to do with in the heat, humidity etc. Wow - doesn't begin to cover it.

  5. Excellent, great on the running and exercise! Holy cow. And here's the difference between this exercise and birthing children: you don't have a choice in birthing children, once your preggers, you have no choice, it's coming out. Exercise, you totally have the choice, so if it was hard, it was all you!! Good for you!

  6. I think with all those mental and physical obstacles in your way you did amazing Shelley.
    Oh and you are NOT lazy, cut yourself some slack Shelly, you are AMAZING! It's ok to take a rest day when needed. I personally find when I take a rest day I feel so much stronger on my next run.

  7. Man, I am impressed! 12 miles! With snakes! You rock.

  8. Ouch! I think my legs are sore just reading about it.
    Since when did 1 mile become a warm up? LOL
    I'm really proud of you. You are definitely a runner. So when you say "I'm going to run to Starbucks and get a coffee" you literally mean you are running there. Not driving. :)

    You're going to do great at the race. I can't believe it's almost here!

  9. You're going to rock your next race! I love reading your run descriptions, how you argue with yourself about quitting, but then always -- always, you push through to the finish. Starbucks or not, I think you are always running TO, fro-yo, or just a better you.

    Oh, and the candy corn snake? Despite his festive name, he's quite a creepy fellow, isn't he? Aren't you glad it was dead and not a live and slithering version? Ewwww!

  10. You know, you are kind of my hero. When I started running in May, I'd been reading your blog for awhile. I'm just so happy for you. I mean, I could feel your pain and the tears were inevitable. You know they were. But you did it. YOU DID IT! I know my plans for the 10K were derailed by my achilles tendon, but it's posts like this that will be get me right back on track as soon as I can run.

    I have a book I want to send you. Email me your address. You will love it.

  11. At least you quit in your head *while* you are running and not before you even start. I would cry too. But I'd take a camera and take photos of all the gross things I saw along to way. (next time)

  12. Week after week, you just keep inspiring me! You are awesome!

  13. Shelly, I stand in awe of you! When I got to the top of the mountain with my sister that one time it was so hard I cried. So I can kind of relate. 12 miles, I can't


  14. UGH...I hate snakes. Your running is an inspiration that I can do that too someday (minus the snake encounter)

  15. Great job on the run. 12 miles is a lot for anyone to run and in heat/humidity is beastly.

    It takes a lot of fortitude to keep going when you know you can 'cheat' - so bravo!

  16. Loved reading this long post Shelley! :D

    That's the worst when you don't even know you have a chafe until you hit the showers - ow!

    Glad you were able to recover so well on Sunday, and that you took it easy Saturday night :D

  17. Poor candy corn snake. I actually like snakes, when I KNOW that they aren't poisonous. Like when they are in a cage. My brother has a very old corn snake. Corn snakes are one of the most easily hybridized snakes--they come in a million different color combinations.

    Oh, this isn't a snake blog? Oops.

    Okay, I have to say I admire you and Helen. Not enough to torture myself like that. But enough that I am going to set out a plan to start walking longer distances, working my way up to a goal of 8 miles. Noah is going to be surprised.

    The best part was how good you felt the next day. That is awesome. Second best part is the Red Mango... The worst was the humidity. Second worst part, the ice bath. Eeeks.

  18. Don't worry about internet, I know you will run your pink run. Wish I could do mine in such an exotic place as you will.

    Thanks for the info, we run about the same time.

    1 mile = 1.6 km which means my pace at a mile would be around 10 to 11 minutes which means we run at the same speed (which means we could perfectly run together :) )

  19. maaaaaaaaaaaaaan I get sad when Im late to the soiree (hsband was gone for 2 weeks and back last night. I lose my net time when he travels)
    but Im here.


    and in my party dress.

  20. I'm reading this late too Shelly been sick is my excuse:)
    Congrats on the long run!! You did it! Yipee! You have so much to be proud of! You inspire all of us. Loved reading the recap keep up the great work.

  21. You are a trooper. You did it. Truly, it only gets easier if you are consistent. You will even learn to love it...I just read in BORN TO RUN, a quote that says you need to embrace fatigue at that very moment so it doesn't get the best of you. Learn to love it. Yeah, right!!!!!
    I'll be working on that for the rest of my life! Hugs and high fives for persisting! Hey, crying is okay!


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