May 31, 2014

Stress relief

After taking a few days off, I felt ready to write a post today. I've missed you all! :) Unfortunately, I have nothing mind-blowing to write about, but I guess that could also be a good thing. It's been pretty low-key. I wish I could say that a few days to focus on me was just what I needed to get out of my funk, but I'm still not feeling my best. I really think that I just need to give it some more time; and meanwhile, continue on with my life as I know it.

I did get to spend some quality time with my family, which was a top priority for me. On Thursday, Jerry wanted to go for a run with me. He only gets the urge to run about three times a year, so I thought it would be a good thing for us to do together. We decided to go to the State Park and run a five-mile loop there.

It was really nice! I was struggling through the run, which seems to be the norm lately, but Jerry handled it like a champ. We went at an easy pace, and chatted while we ran. I was really impressed that Jerry did the whole five miles without a single complaint. It actually seemed easier for him than it was for me!

After our run, we went to a flooring store to check out flooring options for our bathroom. We've needed a new floor in there for a while, but it just seemed like such a big project that I've avoided it. After checking out our options, though, we really liked one (I can't remember what it's called, but it seemed really durable), and we ended up ordering it. It should be in on Tuesday, and installed in a couple of weeks. I'll be so happy when that's done!

In the evening, Alex (one of Jerry's friends from work) came over. It was really nice outside, so we sat on the deck and had a few too many beers. We didn't get to bed until about midnight, and Jerry had to get up at 4:00 for work. I had plans to get together with Jessica and Courtney for a run at 8:30. When I woke up, I felt awful. The older I get, the worse the hangover symptoms are! I was really tempted to cancel on my friends for the run, but I knew I'd feel better if I just got it done.

So I got this kids off to school, and then went to Jessica's, where we met to run the State Park trail. The plan was to run 8 miles, but to do it with a 9:1 ratio of running to walking. This was something that Jess and I did during training for the Cleveland Marathon, and we enjoyed it. We'd run for 0.9 miles and then walk for 0.1; then repeat for the duration of the run.

Back then, we did it because we were injured, and it was the only way we could bear to run. But yesterday, we did it because we wanted to make the run more enjoyable. We've all been struggling with running in the heat lately (the weather here went from one extreme to the other really quickly), and we've been dreading our long runs. Doing the 9:1 run/walk actually sounded pretty good!

The first half of the run was pretty tough, even with the walking intervals. My stomach was revolting on me. During mile four, I really thought I was going to throw up--I was super nauseous! But I willed my stomach to obey, and I started to feel better each mile after that. We saw lots of adorable goslings, and one very angry swan. The swan was right in our path, and we had a little stand-off to wait for him to move. Then he got in the water, and we saw the momma and five little baby swans. (I had to google what a baby swan is called--it's a "cygnet". I like "baby swan" better, so we'll go with that.)

Jessica's Garmin kept track of all of our running/walking splits, so I just let my Garmin run the whole time, and I was surprised to see how even our mile splits were, even with the walking factored in:

We did the running portions at around a 9:40 pace, so I was surprised to see that the walking didn't really add much time to our overall pace.

The best part about the run was that I realized how much more enjoyable it was compared to just running eight miles straight. I think I would actually look forward to doing my long runs this way instead of dreading them. So I'm going to do that this summer--run my long runs at a 9:1 run/walk ratio.

I still plan to do 5K training; but even with 5K training, I should be doing a long run each week. So I'll just do the run/walk on my long run days. It should make the heat a little more bearable throughout the summer, too! On the other days, I'll do my short and easy runs or short and hard runs, but I'll run the whole distance.

My stomach felt kind of icky all day, but I did feel a lot better mentally after running. Yesterday evening, Noah was invited to a sleepover birthday party, so I told Eli he could invite a couple of school friends over. When I took Noah to the birthday party, I stopped and picked up Eli's friends Olivia and Christian.

They wanted pizza for dinner, so we picked that up on the way home, and I let them get drinks and snacks at the corner store. The three of them had a lot of fun together, and I'm so glad. Eli's been feeling lately like he doesn't have any friends (one of the things I've been stressed about), so it was important to me to for him to have a good time.

Olivia went home last night, and Christian stayed overnight. I drove Christian home this morning, and then took Eli to baseball practice. I was engrossed in a book, so I brought it with me to read while I sat there at practice; I guess I should have been paying more attention to the game, though, because I got smoked in the arm with a foul ball. Not long after, Eli was standing on the pitcher's mound, and a ball hit him hard in the shin. Poor kid! Now we'll have matching bruises.

The book I've been reading is something I should have read a long time ago:

Most runners have at least heard of Dean Karnazes, if not have read his book. I'd heard his Ultra Marathon Man book was really good, but my library didn't have it, so I just never sought it out anywhere else. But yesterday, I drove all the way to Barnes & Noble (a 45-minute drive!) to get the birthday present for the party Noah was invited to, and while I was there, I saw this book, so I bought it. I was hooked from the first chapter!

I have no interest in ever running an ultra marathon (a race that is farther that 26.2 miles), but this book is so interesting to read. If you're a runner, of any distance, you'll probably find this to be a great read. I was told by Runner's World that Karnazes is going to be at the Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival next weekend, so I may get to meet him. But I haven't seen a seminar from him on the schedule on the website, so I don't know if he'll be there or not. I guess I'll see when I get there!

Anyway, the past few days have been nice--busy, but not overly stressful. One thing I've realized through this time off is that I put too much pressure on myself, and I'm going to try not to do that anymore. Especially when it comes to diet and weight-related stuff. As much as I love my Weight Watchers meeting, I hate the pressure of weighing in there; and even weighing in on my blog has been making me feel pressure all the time. Sometimes, the pressure is a good thing, because it keeps me accountable; but when I'm feeling stressed about unrelated things, the pressure of weighing in gets to be too much.

I think I'll set some goals to focus on that aren't directly related to weight. I liked doing the 10,000+ steps per day goal for February, so for June, I'm going to aim for 12,000+ steps per day. Since I'm done training for the Heartbreak Hill Half, my running mileage is going to decrease by about half, which means I'll have to get in my steps by being more active throughout the day. I look forward to finding ways of getting in my steps! And I like the idea of focusing on that goal instead of something diet/weight related, at least for now. (Of course I'm not giving up on my other goals; I'm just trying to put less pressure on myself!)

Well, thanks for your patience over the past few days while I took some time to try and relieve a little stress. Depression sucks, and I really do appreciate the comments and emails letting me know that I'm not the only one going through it. I had a very tough winter, between the awful weather we had for several months and especially the fact that I lost a couple of friends to cancer. Mark's been on my mind a lot, especially on the days where the weather is nice. I wish he were around to spend some time outside one more time.

As I was typing this, I got a phone call from the raffle I entered a few weeks ago--it was a fundraiser for Sarah's kids held at the local fire department. I won three things--a crocheted afghan, and two gift certificates for $25 each to a sports bar called Mallies. Awesome! I was just trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, but I think now we'll go out :)


  1. glad you're back, but please dont ever feel bad about taking time for yourself !
    de-stressing your life sounds like a great plan, we always seem to put pressure on ourselves more than anyone, as moms, wives, and diet / weigh loss aficionados among other things -

  2. Glad you're back and doing better. Sometimes you just need a mental break to put things in focus. Congrats on winning the raffles! I usually have the most horrid luck.

  3. I love that book! Dean Karnazes is such a positive role model for runners. I have met him a couple of times and he is as nice in person as he sounds in the book. I'm glad you are feeling better. I really enjoy your blog. :)

  4. I'm really glad you posted this! I've been struggling with running in the heat, too, although at first I thought it was maybe running on the treadmill so much over this crappy winter. I like the idea of running 9:1, maybe I'll give that a go! Thanks for the tip!

  5. I'm so glad you're doing better! I just found your blog from Runner's World and not only are you inspiring but you are super normal in the best way. I can totally relate to the ups and downs as a runner (and someone who is trying to lose weight). Thanks for the openness and honesty.

  6. I LOVE that book! It's one of the main reasons I got into endurance sports :)

    Katie, it's so encouraging that you never give up. Even when things get tough you are always working on some sort of plan to deal with it. Keep it up, sista

  7. Betsy BlixtJune 01, 2014

    Hi! I have a question. I am like you and have fun with counting my steps. However everything I have bought always zeros out about half way thorough the day. I keep it on my waist so that it's not seen in the office but my belly always hits buttons. Do you have any suggestions for this, I've already purchased four different step counters and nothing has worked so far. .It gets really frustrating because I will be at 5,000 and the next time I look I'm at 1.



    1. AnonymousJune 01, 2014

      I now hook my FitBit on my bra. I read on the website that it is recommended so I tried it. No more 'zeroing out' at random times. And I stopped dropping it in the bathroom too :-) Just a suggestion.

  8. Glad you're back! Hopefully the sunny days will help some more.
    I was considering getting that book the other day but I tend to impulse buy too much so I put it back. I think I will go back and pick it up though!

  9. AnonymousJune 01, 2014

    Hi Katie,
    I just found your blog site after reading the article about you and your Ragnar buddies in Runners World. You are inspiring. I have lost a fair amount of weight too, went from 235-155, and struggle with a 10 pound yo-yo, at the top of that right now, and struggling with my running. I am a triathlete, so running is just one of 3 things I do to keep fit. I have also struggled with goal weight issues, and still do not know what a reasonable goal weight for me is.. I am 5'7, medium build. I am thinking 145 is the number... yet it eludes me. 155 is the lowest I have ever been. Any comments or suggestions you or your followers could make would be greatly appreciated. by the way, I used your 9:1 run to walk formula today on my 7 miler and it helped me get through it. I am going to stay at 7 for my long run through June so that I can continue to train on the bike and in the pool for the 3 triathlons that I am signed up for this summer. Thanks for you site, your sharing and honesty about this road we travel.

  10. AnonymousJune 01, 2014

    I too do the 9:1 ratio when doing any half marathons now! I 'stumbled' upon that split when I was doing a HM last October. I found I really liked it, so I have done it for the last 3 HMs I have done as well. I greatly enjoy your blog. Thanks for keeping it
    real :-)

  11. I think steps are a great goal. The garmin vivofit (which I don't have but have read about) has a novel approach. It starts everyone at a 5,000 step goal and then sets new goals based on the previous day. So, if you go 10,000, the goal the next day might be 11,000, but if you have a less active day, it will give you a more reasonable goal. So, perhaps you can have 12,000 as you high-level goal, but if you don't make it, just try to do more than the previous day.

  12. I LOVE that book! I read it years ago, and it's what inspired me to get off my butt and do the Couch to 5k program. I've re-read it once since then, and I'm actually getting the itch to read it again! Such a great easy read, and even though I don't think I could ever run an ultra (my longest run right now is just 6 miles, lol), I love reading about it! :)


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