A runner who isn’t running

It’s been 11 months since my last injury-free run.

It’s been nine months since my last run.

As each day passes, I feel less and less like a runner. I try not to think about running or not running since it just puts me in a bad/sad mood.

But, it has been nice when others make comments to me, treating me like the runner they knew before I got my stress fracture.

One friend who is currently training for an IRONMAN, recently messaged me on Facebook asking for running advice. She asked me for any nearby hilly running route recommendations because she needs to do more hill training in preparation for her race.

I was touched that she reached out to me and responded with a few of my go-to routes. (Yes, Discovery Park, you obviously made the list!)

And then I was chatting with a colleague who used to work on my team and she asked me if I was running again yet. When I told her that I wasn’t and that I have still been experiencing off-and-on knee pain, her response was something along the lines of, “Wow, that must be really hard for you. After all, several of us on the team ran but you were the only real runner among us.”

I was beaming on the inside that she called me a real runner.

We’ve been having a few sun breaks in Seattle in the midst of all the dumping-rain spells. I do still gauge the temperature based on whether it would be running-shorts-weather or not.

So, some runner instincts still cannot be erased.

 

Continuing the run commute

Just a check in to keep me honest on run commuting home.

It’s still happening, folks!

I’m getting my runs in after work.

I’m not getting stressed out waiting for the bus.

I’m enjoying Seattle fall weather.

And, so far, I haven’t had a single run in the rain. (Knock on wood).

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As the colder and wetter weather comes into full force, I will do my best to continue to run one to three times a week home from work.

The hardest part will probably be packing my running outfit the morning of.

IMG_3845

But, if wardrobe dilemmas are the hardest part, I think fall/winter run commuting will be just great!

Pre-25K race jitters

Saying I’m nervous for my race would be an understatement.

I feel unprepared, under-trained, and out of my element.

I will be doing the Cle Elum 25K this coming Saturday but after last Saturday’s fall, I’m not feeling too confident.

What if I fall again?

Also, to add insult to injury — Is that the right phrase for this situation? — my left scraped-up leg hurts just when walking!

If I were about to embark on a road race, I would be very confident in my training. I know I’m in good shape for a road runner.

But, for the trails? I’m not so certain.

Training for this race, I only got out to the trails maybe a total of five times.

And, my last trail race was two years ago!

Also, the furthest distance I have raced on trails was eight miles. I will be doing about double that come Saturday.

*Happy thoughts*happy thoughts*happy thoughts*

Phyllis, my seasoned trail runner-friend (and might I add, trained and successfully raced a trail marathon while in medical school!) told me to treat my 25K as a brisk hike.

I really hope it’s brisk, and not a slog-fest.

I really hope I don’t fall.

I have no goal time. I don’t even care if I come in last place.

I just want to finish — with a smile.

I’m a (one-way) run commuter!

My first run home two weeks ago was hard. From my work at the bottom of Eastlake (think pretty close to South Lake Union) to my residency in the Maple Leaf neighborhood is all up hill. That’s five miles of straight up Eastlake to the University Bridge and then straight up Roosevelt with some gradual straight-aways here and there.

Seen on my run

Seen on my run

I was dripping sweat as it was in the mid-80s. My back was drenched with my backpack clinging close to it. And, on every uphill step — which was a majority of the run  — my calves felt like they were going to explode.

“So, this is what run commuting is like,” I thought to myself as I came this close to stopping and walking home with a mile left.

I made it back in exactly 50 minutes. I did it in 10 minute pace, which considering the hills, I was OK with.

It was nice being back home and not having to go out on my run, like I normally would have if I had taken the bus home.

The second run home last week was much better. It was 10 degrees cooler so I didn’t feel like I was melting. I got into a better rhythm going up the hills and passed by fewer smokers as I had the previous time, which was a big plus!

I also ran home in a 3-minute PR!

I could perhaps get used to this whole run commuting thing. I can only do it going home though because there’s too much maintenance/preparation with running to work. (I have a thick head of hair so I need a hairdryer).

Running home won’t happen every day because a 5-mile run five times a day seems a little too hardcore for me.

However, it definitely will keep me sane from not having to deal with this every day:

No caption necessary

No caption necessary

Yes, that bus of mine was more than 20 minutes late because it didn’t arrive “now” like One Bus Away stated …

So, while the rest of you suckers are stuck in traffic driving home, or waiting for the ever-elusive bus, I’ll be running home!

I’ll wave as I run by.

Should I be concerned about my weight?

I was hoping we’d skip the whole “please step on the scale” bit at the doctor’s office, but the the medical assistant weighed me and when I saw the number appear on the electronic scale, I was in shock.

132.

You see, 132 pounds is the heaviest I have been in my entire life. I normally fluctuate between 126-128 pounds. So, let’s say 127 is my “normal.” That means I have gained five pounds!

I’ve noticed that I have gained some weight because I’ve just felt not as fit, but that number freaked me out.

I asked the doctor if I should be concerned about my “significant” weight gain. Considering it’s still in the normal BMI range for my height, she wasn’t too concerned. She said that they would check my thyroid along with “everything else.” (I was visiting the doctor because I had another fainting episode several weeks ago and I just wanted to make sure my health is OK … all my blood work came back normal!)

As I left the clinic and went back to work, I started telling myself that I needed to start eating healthy and cut out junk food. (I’m not a sweets person).

If people could easily tell when I lost five pounds, have they noticed that I gained it?

Is gaining weight when I’m not marathon training just going to be the new normal for me?

Joanna and I went on a pretty hilly trail run Saturday morning at Cougar Mountain. I told myself that this was the start of the “get Kristin fit” program.

Because, it’s not about losing a ton of weight. It’s about having myself feel fit and good again.

Running on top of the world — on a Thursday summer night

I didn’t want to run. But, I needed to run.

My cousin and I had devoured ample servings of Korean tofu soup for dinner and had (Molly Moon’s) ice cream for dessert. (We did order kids’ scoops if that accounts for anything … probably not). So, I was feeling the need to run it all off.

I first had to wait for my stomach to settle. Then I needed to wait for the high temps to subside. Around 9:20 p.m. I took off out the door and headed to the only nearby area I feel safe running at during “night-time” — the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. There are always couples walking their dogs or other runners doing loops around the paved path of the park. Often times there are just people reflecting on benches or being more active and playing pickle ball.

All of these folks were out tonight.

The beginning of my run was painful. I somehow managed to make my bruised toe(nail) worse by squishing it in a pair of uncomfortable work flats at the beginning of the week. It’s oozing blood off and on now. (Getting my sock and shoe on that left foot was a struggle, too!)

I felt my gait being weird since I was compensating for the painful-big-toe-situation. Each step I took felt heavy. I really felt like turning around and hobbling back home.

But, about six minutes into the run, the pain became tolerable. Or, I just didn’t notice it anymore.

Instead, I was noticing the beautiful sweeps of pinks in the sky to my right. Each block I passed, I would get a glimpse of brighter pinks beyond the silhouette of the Olympic Mountains.

When I arrived at the park, the sky was even more pink. I couldn’t look away. I usually hate running in circles but in addition to the pink skies, I had a view of the Space Needle and downtown Seattle, as well as a shadow of Mt. Rainier.

It wasn’t until my second lap around the park that I noticed something else.

The moon.

Apparently yesterday was a full moon but it looked pretty darn full tonight. It was so bright and yellow as it hung just above the Cascades from my vantage point.

Walkers stopped to take photos with their phones of the moon.

I ran by and couldn’t look away. I didn’t know what I wanted to look at more — the pink sunset to the west or the moon on the east?

Both were mesmerizing.

Then I knew why I really needed to run tonight.

To enjoy a perfect summer night.

A former faster, fitter self

I’m trying to remember what I felt when I was racing those early miles at the Eugene Marathon — or even any of my long training runs leading up to that race.

Mile 3 of Eugene Marathon

Mile 3 of Eugene Marathon

Because I felt great during all of those miles.

I felt strong, fit and fast.

The race was a month-and-a-half ago, yet my body feels like it was half-a-year ago.

I feel like I’ve lost my base, my fitness, my speed — all of it!

(That’s what I get for running so sporadically the past month …)

Several weeks ago I began feeling very sluggish and well, “fat.” And, yes, I know you are rolling your eyes but as a runner, when you gain a little weight, it makes a huge difference.

And, it wasn’t all in my head because I have discovered that several of my work pants no longer fit me. My roommate Joanna didn’t believe me so I had to physically show her that one of them will no longer button! (Her response: Well, maybe your hips are finally coming in, Kristin! So, you know, later on you can give birth…)

I scrolled through all of the photos my dad captured of me during Eugene. And, even the ones on the track where I am in oh-so-much-pain, at least I still look (kind of) strong.

I want that strong to come back. I want to feel fit again. (And, I want to be able to fit into all of my pants!)

This means being disciplined and start running regularly again. I haven’t pinpointed what my next race will be so for now I will develop a base so that when training begins, I won’t have to start from square one.

Because, right now I feel like I’m at zero.

So calm, so confident.

So calm, so confident.

But starting at zero means there’s nowhere to go but up.

So, up I go!