December Running Update

As many of you know, I’ve been working through shin splints since completing the Savannah Rock & Roll Half-marathon in November. It’s been very painful, and up until last week, it even hurt to walk for more than a few minutes. But after a few visits to my go-to guy at Carolina Performance and Wellness (thank y0u, Ryan!), I feel much better. I also finally found a new massage therapist…my old one retired to go back to work full-time about 8 months ago, and I’ve been on a mission ever since to find someone who could help me the way he did. Monday I hit the jackpot and found my girl…Sibylle is wonderful, and I can’t wait to begin working with her regularly. She got the kinks out of my calf and my back when I went to see her, and I’ve been pain-free since Monday. I can’t remember the last time my back has been pain-free for this many days in a row!

So, this morning, my daughter and I went for a really nice run. It was nice because I could actually RUN the whole way! It was short, because we didn’t have a ton of time, but I didn’t care. I ran almost 3 miles straight without having to stop for pain, and it was like HEAVEN!!! Yay!

One reason I’m so excited about all this is because I really need to get ready to begin my upcoming training for my next half-marathon, which will be the Anthem Shamrock Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA on 3/18/2012. I will be starting my training probably the week of 12/19, so I was starting to get worried that these shin splints were going to get in the way of that.

Another thing I’m excited about is that I’m going to be doing my training for this half-marathon with a new coach, Mark Hadley. He’s been written about in many running publications, as he’s a very well-known coach. He also happens to be the father of Alana Hadley, a 14-year old running phenomenon who I believe just set a world record for the half-marathon for her age group. I personally know two people who have recently hired him to help them meet their goals, and both have said nothing but amazing things about his program and his methods.

I feel lucky that he lives right here in the area, and that his rates are reasonable enough for me to afford his services, and I’m very excited to see where he can take me. Believe me, though…I’ve got no aspirations to win first place in a race or anything like that. My goal is to be able to run for as many days as I have left in this world, and to be able to do it pain-free, so that I can continue to manage my weight, stress and cholesterol. I will miss working with my old coach, as she taught me so much. But I know that she is working on her own running goals, so it is time for me to move on and work with someone new. I’m nervous and excited all at the same time!

My big fear for this next round of half-marathon training is wondering if I can do this. I start my Master’s degree program tomorrow, so am I going to be able to find the time to train for the half and still be able to attend classes, do my homework, work full-time, take my kids to their activities, etc.? Just thinking about all of it makes me sick to my stomach sometimes! But I do have a plan as to how to schedule things, and if I can stick to it, I’ll be fine. I just know it.

My other big fear is gaining weight. For some reason, I gained a few pounds while training for my last half, and after talking to one of my friends, I’m thinking it could be due to high levels of cortisol. I’m still researching all of this myself, but from what I’ve read so far, when you start to run longer distances, your cortisol levels rise…it always rises when you run (it’s the old “fight or flight” thing), but they say that when you run for long distances, it can stay elevated for TOO long. And when you couple it with extreme stress in other areas of your life, it can be at too high a level for the majority of the time, causing weight gain. Hmm…sounds very much like what could’ve caused the weight gain for me, and I’m worried that with the addition of school to my life, it could get worse. So, I am hoping my new coach can help me make sure I’m doing what I need to do in terms of nutrition and cross-training. If I can follow his plan exactly, then I will have a very good chance at not making the same mistakes I did last time. And if I do start to notice weight gain, I’ll know that I need to work with my doctor to test my cortisol levels and see if that’s the cause.

Wish me luck, as I can foresee December being a very busy and crazy and exciting month for me. I am looking forward to getting back into my running routine now that my injury seems to be on the mend, to working with a new coach, and to getting my weight back in check.

Happy running!


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