Tuesday, March 8, 2016

32 days out!

My goal 10K is sneaking up so quickly! When I set this goal last year, I fully expected it to be a ton of work, but I knew I had enough time to do it if I really set my mind to it. Now, I am just four and a half weeks away, and I'm getting nervous!

Speaking of nerves, I went to the doctor yesterday to discuss my anxiety. My depression is under control right now, but my anxiety has been through the roof lately, and it's been causing me physical symptoms. I also wanted to ask her about the weird abdominal muscle spasms that I get when I run (which started in November).

I asked my plastic surgeon about them, and based on my description, she said it was very unlikely to be caused from the surgery I had five years ago. I also saw another doctor about a month ago, and she was stumped about them as well. They've been frustrating me so much, because there is no way of predicting when they're going to happen. Some runs are totally fine, and I don't get the spasms at all; but when I do get them, they pretty much knock me to my knees and it hurts just to walk.

Anyway, my doctor gave me some suggestions for handling the anxiety. I also made an appointment with a psychologist/therapist for Thursday. I'm really skeptical that it will help, but I'm willing to try anything at this point. About the muscle spasms, my doctor was really unsure about what it could be. She's very interested in sports medicine, and reads a lot about it, so she ended up suggesting that I try drinking pickle juice. I'd heard of this before, but I always assumed that it was just the salt that helped athletes, so I never tried it. My doctor said that it was actually something about the vinegar that helps stop muscle cramps almost immediately.

My issue is more of a spasm than cramps, but I figure that the pickle juice certainly can't hurt, so I might as well give it a try. Luckily, Eli LOVES pickles (as do I), so I bought an enormous jar of them at Sam's Club. I emptied out a couple of 5-Hour Energy bottles (the perfect size and container for a shot of pickle juice), so I'll fill them with the pickle juice and carry one with me on runs. They'll actually fit into my FlipBelt, so I won't even notice they are there--perfect!

Jerry came with me to my appointment, and we went to the running store to get him some running shoes. He's thinking about doing the Rock 'n' Roll Half in Virginia Beach when we go in September, so he's been getting back into a running routine. It was SO nice outside yesterday, and it really felt like spring. We got our first McD's cone of the year, and it was the perfect way to spend 170 calories!


I've been making my way through Matt Fitzgerald's book RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel, and some parts have really resonated with me. (It's meant for experienced runners to be able to listen to their intuition when it comes to a running plan/schedule. Since my intuition has been doing very well with my weight maintenance and staying binge-free, it sounded good to me!) One of the things that I found really interesting is that the best type of training workout is what will make you feel most confident going into your race--if you truly believe that you're going to hit your goal, then you probably will; but if your training doesn't give you that confidence, you will have a very hard time hitting your goal.

The training plan that I'm following now (the RunBritain plan for a sub-50 10K) is the exact opposite of confidence-building for me. I enjoy the plan a lot, but I've been saying all along that it's against my intuition (namely because there are no real tempo runs, or longer runs at a harder pace), but I kept trusting the plan. Reading Fitzgerald's book makes me realize that maybe I should listen to my intuition and do the runs that build up my confidence the most. This isn't to say the training plan doesn't work--confidence-building runs vary by person--but I want to feel as confident as I can going into the race.

The workouts that make ME feel most confident going into a race are runs that I do at race pace--if I can do it in training, then I know I can do it in the race. That's not typical of most training plans. I also know that I get bored really easily, so I constantly feel a need to change things up. I always thought that was a bad thing, but the book made me realize that I can trust my intuition and change things up as often as I want while still training effectively. I don't have to have a set-in-stone plan; rather, I can have a basic structure and change things up based on how I'm feeling each day or week.

I've discovered recently that I really enjoy the 80/20 Running method, so I'll still stick with that ratio. But as far as the 20% of moderate to hard workouts go, I can change them up and do whatever sounds good to me. It's kind of exciting!

Since I'm down to the final month before my race, I want to build as much confidence as possible that I can hit this goal. The last three days I did easy runs, and today, I decided to do a race pace run. I wanted to aim for 3.5 miles today, since I did 3 miles last week. If I could do it, it would be the farthest I've ever run at a sub-8:00 pace.

As I started running, I started debating whether to do a tempo run (5 miles at 8:10-8:15 pace) or to do the 3.5 at race pace (7:55). After a half mile, my pace was under 8:00, so I decided to just go for the 3.5 at race pace. My first couple of miles were actually really great, and I hit 7:48 for each of them. The third mile was tougher, but I tried my best to keep going. Third mile was 7:51.

My 5K split actually would have been a 5K PR if I had been racing!


When I hit 3.5, I was so ready to be done ;) I stopped my Garmin and started walking. When I caught my breath, I checked out my splits and was very happy!


If I can build this race pace run up to 5.5 miles before the 10K, I will be super confident that I can hit my goal. I'm super excited for my trip, but nervous for the race itself!

20 comments:

  1. hi, I hope the pickle juice helps. One of the other things that you might consider is abdominal migraine , esp if you have increased anxiety. I hope it resolves. I follow your blog daily and you are a true inspiration ! Good luck to you always ;)

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    1. Thanks so much! I hope it resolves as well, especially considering my upcoming race :)

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  2. Have you had your TSH levels checked? Excess production of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) does produce symptoms of anxiety. This happened to me when my dosage of thyroid meds was too high. I had extreme anxiety and elevated heart rate that lasted all day long.

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    1. Yes, I just had all sorts of blood work done, and everything was normal.

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    2. I had anxiety real bad last year at this time. And like you my GP tested thyroid levels and they were fine. But when I could not function because of the anxiety and foggy thinking I went to an endocrinologist and he also did a special test called a reverse T3. And sure enough it was off. I am much better now in addition to some diet changes (no more caffeine or crystal light lemonade with aspertame). Get a reverse T3 test. It was hard to find a lab that would do it but there is one in Farmington Hills.

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    3. I had anxiety real bad last year at this time. And like you my GP tested thyroid levels and they were fine. But when I could not function because of the anxiety and foggy thinking I went to an endocrinologist and he also did a special test called a reverse T3. And sure enough it was off. I am much better now in addition to some diet changes (no more caffeine or crystal light lemonade with aspertame). Get a reverse T3 test. It was hard to find a lab that would do it but there is one in Farmington Hills.

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  3. Was going to say abdominal migraine (you actually have so many nerves in your gut that medical books refer to it as the gut brain). Is it intestinal or muscular? Front or side stitch? Hope it gets better!

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    1. It's muscular, and I don't have nausea or vomiting, so it wouldn't be an abdominal migraine. It's truly just a spasm--where my abdominal muscles contract SO tightly that it's hard to even stand upright. And it only occurs when running. Three doctors are stumped as to what it could be!

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  4. I had something very similar when I was younger. It turned out to be a spasm of my diaphragm and it was so painful. It was just like you describe, doubled over, couldn't stand and on top of that I couldn't catch my breath. I really hope you have found the solution as it's terrible!

    I admire you being so proactive seeking help for your anxiety. It's so hard to deal with. It's great you have such a good support system around you!

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  5. How do you get your 5K split from your Garmin? Do you actually push the lap button at that point in time?

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  6. You are such a great inspiration to me. I am walk/jogging a 5k this weekend to wake up my desire for running again. I will try do one virtual race per month till I can run faster.

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  7. Fingers crossed the pickle juice works!

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  8. My favorite form of pickle juice:

    http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Pickle-Sport-Package-total/dp/B001WAVUC4

    I get them at the local grocery store, and I always have them in the freezer.

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  9. Try not to go into the therapist with a 'skeptical' mindset. No sense being negative before even trying! Go with a positive mind that the therapist will be able to help you with your anxiety.

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  10. I had a long list of issues before going to therapy and wasn't sure how this person could possibly help me. I was lucky and had a great therapist and he was able to help me work through a lot of issues I didn't even know were bothering me. A good therapist will recognize when you are BS-ing yourself and not let you get away with it. =) Good Luck!

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  11. I used to have abdominal cramps/spasms. It felt like my six-pack muscles just all tightened up at once and wouldn't let go. I started using BASE performance salt on my runs and it REALLY helped. It's easy to carry with you as well.

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    1. That's EXACTLY what it feels like! I'm glad you found an answer. If I don't have luck with the pickle juice, I'll look into that.

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  12. One thing you might try is doing some lunges and arching your back to stretch out your psoas, other hip flexors, and core before a run, and some quick cobra poses. Then, when it does happen, you could try the kara goucher trick of reaching your arms high, taking a deep breath, then quickly folding over and deeply breathing out. I got weird spasms that weren't cramps (my sports doc later thought it might be my psoas cramping), and those two things really helped. Worth a shot!

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  13. I'm very late in reading this (I try to catch up to read a week at a time when I read) for 10 years I worked at Maid Rite (it's an Iowa thing) our pickles came in 5-gallon buckets. We for lack of a better way to explain it, fished it out with a slotted spatula. There was a LOT of juice left. A few people from our small town/regulars would come get them for muscle spasms and cramps!

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