a case of the mondays.

i meant to get up for a run before work to start off my monday morning – to start off my work week, but my loud-y upstairs neighbor was banging around that he woke me up in the middle of the night and after i finally fell asleep again, i tossed and turned until i finally got out of bed.

and that along with my not drinking coffee and returning to work meant i was a little slow for most of the day. that’s not to say i didn’t get a fair amount of work done – i did! and i was pretty focused all day. except for when i decided to (remembered to) sign up for my upcoming 50k.

i must have 50 miles on the brain because i inadvertently hit the wrong race to register for….

and then i proudly posted on the race’s facebook page that i was all signed up. for 50k. but the facebook administrator (whom i assume is probably the race director, too) kindly commented below me that, well, see for yourself:

Image

i’m sure glad for the personal experience that is signing up for a race like this where the race director and also, my friend Angie, call me out for my nearly ridiculous blunders. oh, and i am more than grateful that the price for both races is the same so i can just transfer over to the correct distance.

oh boy, some days….

do you have days like that? mondays? other days of the week? what do you do to make it better?

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doing life.

i am so sorry that i’ve been a little absent from the interwebs this week. the last time i wrote to you from beautiful door county, I was about to start a fun-filled few days with family and friends.

my weekend was excellent, but since getting back to madison at 9pm Sunday night i haven’t really had a chance to sit down and reboot and i actually came home with some sort of stomach issues (a bug, perhaps?) that kept me from running for most of the past week. nonetheless, i’m glad to say that i’m back. and i am here. and while the next few weeks will be busy, busy i’m going to try to be better about posting because it is a good time for me to sit down and get myself grounded a little.

i ran today and i’ve determined that at least a little of what’s been ailing my stomach is coffee. i don’t know if it is bad beans or if i just need to cut back, but i’m going to take a bit of a break from it and see what happens.

and even though i didn’t spend tons of time online last week, i did manage to stumble upon a few athletic-related pieces of awesomeness that i wanted to share with you all.

first, the olympics started (!!!!!) friday. i’m pumped because i actually KNOW a few people competing and it’s all really inspiring and somewhere i found this video (probably on twitter) and it is just too good not to share.

am i right?

the other thing i found, actually, while i was at work perusing news clips like i do many days of the week was the story of a woman who set out weeks ago to circumnavigate lake michigan on her own. her cause was to raise money for breast cancer – specifically for the program she started in chicago to help women recover from breast cancer.

i had heard about this program in the past and a similar one was started here in madison recently. i felt a kinship with Jenn who was a collegiate rower – having the same varsity coach as me at different times and different schools. and also, one of my rowing teammates’ mom is a cox’n for the crew in chicago. so, when i saw the headline and the story, i couldn’t believe my eyes. a week ago today, Jenn was attacked and sexually assaulted on her boat. she got to safety and she has decided to continue on her journey. i don’t have words for the awesomeness that is Jenn and her spirit and resolve and i don’t know her in person, but what i do know is that she need just under $48,000 to reach her fundraising goal.

so, i encourage you to checkout her page, Row 4 Row, to read the story, and to donate if you can (every $10 helps!).

and last, i’m hoping to get back into my real training plan again tomorrow. i had high hopes for today. i went to a local running store to get myself setup with some new shoes. and you see, i did end up purchasing a pair but i had to place a special order (for a better color…and YES, i do care about stuff like that). anyway, the delayed gratification is nearly killing me. the order will go through tomorrow and in the meantime, i’ll just post a picture of them so i can come back to it easily and drool over it until they arrive.

happy weekend!

usually, weekends for me are for long, hard workouts. 

last weekend i escaped town on saturday to race at dances with dirt about an hour away from home.

this weekend, i’m in door county, wisconsin and one of the things (besides doing a little work) that brought me here is to watch some friends race at sunday’s half iron-distance triathlon.

and while i sometimes (often) complain about having to own a car, i’m so glad it allows me these tiny trips.

i’m hoping to log some miles over the weekend….

but once in a while, i just need a break. to relax. and for me, this weekend getaway couldn’t come at a better time.

i got some good work done today. tomorrow i’m looking forward to spending a bunch of quality time with family. and on sunday i’ll partake in my favorite of the triathlon activities – SPECTATING!!

good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend!!!

recovering.

hmm, probably how i should have been recovering sunday evening (feet in the air)

now that i’ve been running for a while and runs that once seemed like “really long” distances to me are seeming a little easier, i think i sometimes forget the importance of recovery. that’s not to say that i didn’t feel like i needed it on sunday after the previous day’s marathon, but i rested and then i moved around a little and i thought i was good to go.

boy, was i wrong.

monday morning i woke up before my alarm after a bit of a restless night of sleep. this should have been warning sign number 1 that i wasn’t fully recovered. or that i hadn’t done the best job the day (night) before – sunday – really resting.

instead, how i was “recovering” sunday night…

nonetheless, i headed out for a short-ish and easy shakeout run. about three and a half miles. i actually felt good on the run and got ready and headed to work, but not before chugging my first cup of coffee. this should have been warning sign number 2.

about mid-morning i began to realize that my recovery from the time after the race to the current moment wasn’t quite adequate. i referred to this stage in my dailymile post from this morning as having my “big bright crabby pants on.”

g-chats to a friend were whiny and i was feeling irritated and irritable about just about everything. and i was also feeling a little irrational about all of it. i know it’s always worse in my head, but i really don’t like feeling this way.

so i headed home monday night, had a taco salad and two margaritas and stayed up later than i had hoped which meant i wasn’t any better hydrated come tuesday and while i got a bit more sleep, i did not wake up early enough before work to get in a workout. i was far less crabby, but on tuesday i was just plain old disinterested in running. i headed home from work, had some quick leftover dinner and some water and crawled into my bed.

i slept from just after 7pm to just before 5am this morning and felt fantastic. as an added bonus, when i woke up today, it was raining! i pulled open my windows a little and listened to the rain fall for about 10 minutes while lying in bed and then i knew exactly that i needed to do: run! in the rain!

i jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and was out the door faster than i’ve been in a while.

the run was fantastic. about a mile in, it started raining hard. then it cleared up through the middle of my run. and about a half mile from home a big bout of thunder struck and it began to pour. buckets of rain fell from the sky just as i was returning home. in the early part of my run, when it was raining initially, i ran into one other runner who looked up, grinning and said, “isn’t this fantastic?!” i shouted back, just as enthusiastically, “this is awesome!!!”

and i meant it.

you see, by monday afternoon, i knew i wasn’t had done a bad job of recovering and that i wasn’t yet recovered. the old shayla…the less mature me would have gotten upset about it. she would have beat herself up about it and about the margaritas and about staying up late and she probably would have tried to run yesterday even though it was 100-degrees outside. but that’s not me anymore.

instead, i listened to my body. i gave myself a break – a chance to calm down and to catch up.

sure i wish i hadn’t had the margaritas (maybe i wish i had just one) and i wish i had gone to bed earlier, but it’s all a part of life. i’m not perfect and i am not going to dwell on it.

sometimes i’m glad for the mishaps and for the opportunities to see where i could have done better because it means i’m still learning and growing and that there are things about my body and about my sport that i don’t know quite yet. that mastery is one of the reasons i keep going.

i mentioned a few of the things that should have tipped me off early on that i wasn’t recovered:

  • restless sleep (not rested, probably dehydrated)
  • chugging coffee (dehydrated, for sure)
  • being irrationally irritable (needing more rest and recovery time)

what are the ways you recognize when you’re not doing your best to recover well?

sure, it stinks to not make sure these bases are covered right away, but i’m glad i realized what was up by midday monday.

there are some steps i’ll be taking from here forward to make sure i’m treating myself better, like:

  • staying off my feet as much as possible the entire day after a long race
  • hydrating at least 1/3 more than i think i need to
  • …which may mean cutting out coffee and/or alcohol the day after a race
  • eating a few solid, nutrient-rich meals the day after a race
  • and generally, just giving myself a break (mentally/emotionally) for a day or two

what are the things you do to recover well after a big race?

last night’s nearly 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep followed by a pretty freaking fantastic run this morning remind me of the good that comes from taking better care of myself and listening to my body.

it’s all about tuning in.

as much as i love carpe-ing the heck outta some diem, it’s important to know when to back down a little bit.

recovering well is just as important a part of being the best athlete possible as the actual activity, wouldn’t you say?!

dances with dirt devil’s lake.

it’s an @$$-kicking good time!

oh, and i went home saturday night and woke up sunday morning feeling much like i did after my 50 miler last fall.

OUCH!

but before i get ahead of myself, i’m going to go ahead and start from the beginning.

DWD Devil’s Lake, 2011

i signed up for the marathon distance of dances with dirt at devil’s lake after finding out that the relay event had been cancelled. you see, last year just two weeks (and a few days) after i lost my apartment to a fire, i joined a couple of women who i hardly knew and a couple more who i didn’t know at all for a 100k relay. it was my first trail running experience. it was hot and sweaty and hard. and i found a sense of belonging there that day. i loved every second.

so this year, we were pretty excited to get a relay team together again…and then the organizers cancelled that portion. boo!

so in the meantime, my friend Angie and I decided to go for the marathon distance. to tell you the truth, i can’t remember how we decided to run 26.2, but we did. i hadn’t run over 14ish miles since before having surgery and taking many weeks off of running in late april, so my expectations for this race were minimal:

  1. i wanted to finish
  2. i wanted to run strong
  3. i wanted to NOT majorly injure myself

and if those were my only performance measures, i was most definitely successful.

but naturally, i decided early on (sometime last week) that i wanted to go out there and kick my own butt. there was no taper to be found. i ran over 20 miles leading up to race day.

in the grand scheme of things it was just another race. an excellent opportunity to get a solid training run in. it was a day to test my limits.

when i was out there on saturday there were two things that kept going through my mind. they were “constant forward motion” and “be kind and gracious with every step you take.”

i wore a bracelet on saturday that was given to me by someone whom i look up to. she is incredibly kind and generous and she lives her life in a way that makes the people around her want to be the best they can be. so i wore the bracelet as a reminder to keep going-to keep my goals in mind-and to do what i was doing (running MY race) with the utmost integrity.

i met Angie just before 6am near the start line. we chatted and used the bathroom and tried to stretch out the nerves and anxiousness. at the call for “five minutes to go!” we headed to the starting line. and before i knew it, we were off. i found myself wishing i had given Angie a hug or a high-five, but i was sending her lots of good energy, hoping that she’d feel it.

the start of a trail race is slow (which i need), which can be irritating, but i thought it a good thing on saturday because i have a tendency to let myself get too excited and take off otherwise. once i got into the groove and people around me started jockeying for positions and passing one another, i got the nerve to do it, too.

i remembered last year’s race and how i was such a newbie and wasn’t sure how to call out that i wanted to pass. another thing about trail running, especially in longer distances, is that nobody cares. we’ve all got trek ahead of us and so as long as you’re not being a huge jerk it’s all good.

i love the atmosphere.

the first hour was great. i took some gel a little after the hour mark and marched on. somewhere after mile 9 (steinke basin) as i began my ascent to the south bluff (at devil’s lake state park) i found myself power-walking up this giant incline. midway up the hill i picked up a guy. a man. maybe he picked me up. we might never know who picked up whom. but that’s just a side-story.

but lo-and-behold, we would end up running almost all of the next 16 (or maybe a bit fewer) miles together, alternating leaders and telling jokes and trying not to gross one another out too much.

i stubbed the toes on each of my feet at least three times each VERY HARD. i was sure i would have bloodied them when i finally got to the finish line. i also managed to stay upright until one unfortunate fall in the last two or three miles. i didn’t fall over the bluff (a real concern of my new running buddy – that guy i picked up somewhere in the 10th mile) and i finished under my goal time of 5 hours!

but once again, let me remind you, (ok, mostly i’m reminding myself) that i felt much like i did after that 50 miler just hours later and on sunday morning.

but most importantly, i had FUN!

man, oh man is trail running fun. i’ve been toying with the idea for the past few months of running another 50 miler, this time on the trails, this Fall and saturday sealed the deal.

click here to register!

on saturday, september 15th, i will be running my 2nd 50 miler at The North Face Endurance Challenge – Madison. (pssst…YOU SHOULD TOO!)

i went to the finish line of the Madison event last year and it was amazing. i finished my own 50 miler a little over a month later.

i remember being totally overcome with exhaustion and elation at the end and it was on the roads, so i am looking forward to a new challenge.

over the next few months, i’m going to use this blog to write about my training, in general, as well as my preparations for The North Face Endurance Challenge.

i’ve heard that the Madison course is great and i am dying to check it out for myself. in the meantime though, i hope i can tell you a little about what i’m doing to prepare. i also want to take some time talking about the things i did last time and the things i am doing now and throughout the course of it all-i hope that i can share with you a little bit of my philosophy about running.

but for now, i’ll leave you with this:

my second time at Dances With Dirt Devil’s Lake was awesome and i would recommend it to anyone.

treadmill-ing.

today i ran on the treadmill.

i say that independently as if it’s a thing in and of itself alone. running on the treadmill.

i ran on the treadmill for a few reasons. first, my ultimate frisbee game tonight was cancelled due to “excessive heat.”

i mean, i guess my car did read 108-degrees Farenheit as i drove home from work this evening. that was the actual temperature. i am positive it felt like it was at least 115-degrees because my A/C in my car on the way home hardly did a thing.

second, my work day was slow. i left work a little after 5pm on tuesday and by 2pm on thursday i had only received TWO legitimate (not spam or auto-forwarded) emails. aye-yae-yea!

so, i ran on the treadmill.

when 2012 started i had this goal….it was “secret” except maybe to one or two friends. it was to NOT run on the treadmill this year. i’ve tried and tried and i’ve run outside in hot weather and cold weather, but i didn’t run on that (near) torture machine. until today.

and i’ll tell you what: it wasn’t half bad!

yep, you heard it here first. it was ok. it wasn’t great. but it was not even close to miserable.

i guess that i’ve been missing out – just a little bit, on a few of the things that running on the treadmill offers. for example:

  • a controlled environment. there wasn’t any unexpected wind or elements while i ran today. instead, i set the fan on high behind me and ran without worrying. i also didn’t have to worry for a second about sidewalks, other runners, pedestrians, dogs, bikers on the sidewalks, where i might stop for water, and a number of other things. there is, undoubtedly, some value in that!
  • i could focus in on my form. i toyed around with paying attention to steps per breath. or steps per mile. or even, steps per minute. i think the most important thing i realized here was that i have NOT been paying attention to these things in quite some time.
  • and then there was footstrike. i’ve been a little “off” for months. mostly, none of it bothers me at all while i’m running, but it’s when i’m sitting still that i recognize my hips are a little misaligned or that my lower back is a little tight. the thing is, when i ran on the treadmill today, my hip pain showed up at the beginning and then it seemed to even itself out rather quickly. i recognized how my feet were hitting and how my arms were moving and how my hips were rotating.

i guess what i’m trying to say is that the lesson i learned on the treadmill today was that it pays to switch it up once in a while! i know this, but sometimes i forget. sometimes we all forget that a change of pace – diverting from the norm occasionally can do a body good.

the treadmill may never be my machine of choice, but i am smart enough to see it’s value. i am wise enough to recognize  that it might be good for me a few times a year.

oh, the things we can see – what we can learn if we only open our minds and our whole selves long enough to let it sink in. i won’t take that for-granted. not today. not tomorrow. not ever.

start from the beginning.

i’ve been toying with the idea of a running blog again for a while and my old running blog just didn’t seem like the place i wanted to turn. tonight, after much ass-dragging today, i headed out for a run. a run that i needed much more than i knew. my god, i love those runs. and as i was out there, feet to pavement, i had an idea for a new blog.

(welcome!)

i came home with two ideas: “run shay (or shay-shay) run” and “see shay run.” i preferred the latter, but i didn’t say so when i sent a text message to my littlest sister just before i jumped into the shower. when i returned, she responded in agreement and i got to work.

you see, i’ve been in a tiny rut – or at least it seems that way, with my running and with writing about it. i keep forgetting that just over two months ago i had a (what many would call “major”) surgery. and patience is not one of my strongest suits, so i’ve been anxiously working toward getting back to the shape i was in prior to my surgery. you know, when i could run 18 miles and feel recovered two days later.

i’ve got some running news coming in the next few weeks, too, but the details are still coming together, and i’m not quite ready to share until i can tell you ALL about what i’m getting involved in.

in the meantime, this past sunday – the actual one, not today, which is actually wednesday, but felt like sunday because of the holiday – i set a goal for myself: to run every single day in the month of july.

you see, in june i missed running 100 miles by 10 stinkin’ miles. i’m happy with 90…but the truth is, i was just mostly lazy and i hadn’t set a goal.

i do much better with goals in mind.

so, in july i’m setting out to run every day. and i also want to try to write about my runs everyday. i know i’m already behind since it is already the 4th, but i’ve gotta start somewhere. so here goes.

i’ll try to keep it all running-related here.

i may deviate to yoga once in a while. because really, the two compliment each other. and i am also working on getting back into a strength routine, so weights may rear their (ugly?) head.

like i said, i’ve got to start somewhere. i would love to hear from you, too! do you have running questions? comments? opinions on things you’d like me to write about. leave a comment. or, shoot me an email.

until next time (tomorrow, let’s hope!)….

sweaty much?
yup, it’s still sweltering after 8pm in madison!