When Your Body Physically and Mentally Match
When Your Body Physically and Mentally Match

As most people know, I took a 6-week break after the Atlantic City Half Marathon.  It’s been the topic of discussion on this blog because it’s the only thing I’ve done running related.  I was not injured, but both physically and mentally exhausted.

I asked myself: at what point do I just mentally rest and refocus?

On the drive home from the race, I knew I was at that point.  Thinking out loud, I never anticipated taking as much time off from running as I did but my body did not recover well from a season of hard training or even the race itself.  One week turned to two, then three to six.  As I continued to rest, I was still burnt out and in no mood to run.

After a while, the running bug bit me again and I decided I wanted (key word: wanted) to get back into running again.  Along with beginning to run again, I decided to get my blood analyzed again with Insidetracker.

Recently, InsideTracker has been a popular topic amongst running blogs.  As someone who graduated with a health degree, I do believe blood tests and results should be more accessible to those who would like the information. Another aspect people don’t realize, is you can send your Insidetracker results to your doctor as well.  Instead of making multiple appointments, you can come in with bloodwork results in hand.

It is not a replacement for a doctor, and they don’t claim to be. The biomarkers tested are endurance athlete focused.  For the average person, results might seem extremely high in a routine blood test.  Endurance athletes typically have skewed results.  Depending on your lifestyle, individual blood results can always be skewed.  For instance, people in upstate NY might have a Vitamin D deficiency, where those living in Florida might not have that issue.  Physical Environment plays a key role in results.

InsideTracker gives simple recommendations that anyone can benefit from.  If a result needs medical attention, they tell you and highly recommend you see a doctor.

It was my third time getting Insidetracker done.  Each time, I chose to pay extra and get the entire process done at my home.  First, I’m not the best with needles. Second, driving into Philadelphia during rush hour, after fasting for 12 hours isn’t a situation I’m comfortable with.  It’s the best situation for me!

Just as the previous sessions, the process went smoothly.  After a few days, I received my results which confirmed everything I felt.

My blood indicated I was both physically and mentally fatigued.

There were a few things that popped up that directly matched how I was feeling.  It was “nice” that my blood confirmed I was mentally and physically fatigued.  (So I didn’t feel like it was “all in my head”)

All three of my AST/ALT/GGT liver enzymes were elevated.

So what does this mean?

One enzyme elevated could mean you were tired but the fact that all three were up meant by muscles were extremely fatigued.  My blood essentially showed that no wonder I was exhausted.  It was overtrained and fatigued.  Before getting the blood work done, I had thought that it was possible I was overtrained, but I didn’t think results would be as high as they were.’

I don’t have a liver disease, but all three remained elevated due to the stress training caused to my body over the past year.  Like most things, it takes time to recover!

How Have I Been Fixing the Problem?

Are having elevated enzymes, the worst thing in the world?  No.  In fact, it justifies why I felt the way I did.

After getting the test, I waited another two weeks and decided to slowly start running again.

I’m not running every day and I’m not running nearly the volume I was previously.  Right now, I can truly say I enjoy each run.  I don’t run for pace, time or speed (unless it’s a race), but just run.  As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve ultimately decided to use the summer as down time too.

With my schedule, running is taking a backseat.  It’s allowing my body to relax even more.  I’m doing many of my runs mid day on the antigravity treadmill at work.  My options are outdoors in 85 degrees, indoors on a treadmill, or indoors on the antigravity treadmill.  If I’m not training hard for anything, why stress my body hard during this period?

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body doesn’t heal overnight.  Using the summer to run casually, will allow my body to continue to physically and mentally recover.

I’m also taking both a probiotic and liver enzyme which I feel has been working well for me.  It’s only been 4 weeks since starting to take the enzyme but once I go through the entire bottle I’ll discuss it more.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is I am also striving to eat proper recovery foods.  As my husband trains for another marathon, we’ve made it a focus to work on both proper recovery foods for both of us.  Neither of us has a terrible diet, but we do treat ourselves a few times a week or go out to eat more than the average couple.  For now, we limited eating out (our budget has also thanked us) and focused on cooking more foods together.

Nutrition wise, another aspect I appreciate about InsideTracker is they give personal food recommendations for your own needs.  A few recommendations including peanut butter, wheat germ, and eel.  (I don‘t know if I’ve mentioned but I really enjoy eel, octopus, and squid ;).

Eel tubes

I’ve been incorporating several of these foods into my diet and I’ve felt better and stronger because of it.

I do plan to get my blood tested again sometime in late July or August to see how I’ve progressed. I’m happy to have gotten the test done.  It’s a good feeling when both your mental and physical mindset line up.  When I scheduled InsideTracker, I wasn’t sure what it would show but I’m relieved that it provided answers and is allowing me to recover even more.

I would consider this time for myself, the off season.  Or maybe even the off year.  Relaxing, recovering well and building for a better training cycle is going to allow me to PR at a later time when I’m ready to train again.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten bloodwork done?

What are some of your favorite foods?

Saucony Triumph ISO 3 Shoe Review
Saucony Triumph ISO 3 Shoe Review

Over the past few years, the Saucony Triumph ISO has become one of the staple shoes from Saucony.

The Triumph is a neutral, high cushioned shoe with an 8 mm drop.  It’s great for training, racing, roads or trails.  It’s not heavy or clunky but maximizes on cushion. It’s a shoe you can run pretty much anywhere!

Over the past few years I’ve run in both the Saucony Triumph ISO and Saucony Triumph ISO 2.  As well as the Zealot 1 and Zealot 2 and most recently the Freedom.  There aren’t many Saucony shoes I haven’t run in right now! My personal favorite are the original Saucony Triumph as well as the Freedom but none of the models are shoes I wouldn’t run in again.

Saucony Triumph ISO 3 Fit:

In most Saucony shoes, I wear between a size 10-10.5 and wide.  In the Triumph, ISO 3, I wear a size 10 wide and it fits well.

Like the previous few models, the Saucony Triumph uses the ISO fit.  The tongue is attached and it’s seamless so it doesn’t rub. It has a small update which holds the foot more in place than previous models.

 A common complaint with the shoe is the “back is lower” and people are afraid their heel might slide out.  Even though the back is lower, your foot remains secure in place throughout the ride.  I’ve never had a slipping issue and I’ve run through multiple mud puddles.

The upper of the Saucony Triumph ISO 3 is what had major updates.  A lot of excess material was removed making the overlay less bulky.  While the update isn’t life changing, it’s a small appreciated fit update. Saucony Triumph ISO 3 Shoe Review

Saucony Triumph Ride:

The Saucony Triumph continues to use Everrun cushioning.  Everrun cushioning is becoming the standard material for Saucony.  Evverun is more durable than EVA foam and doesn’t stiffen up in the cold.  According to Saucony, the everrun material also gives an increased energy return.

What does this supposedly mean?

You feel better when you run outside in the cold weather, plus the shoe lasts longer.  This year, I haven’t personally spent time in a climate that would benefit from this but I’ve heard many people at work and online say it’s true.

Final Thoughts: 

I like the Saucony Triumph ISO 3.  It’s a great trainer and you are able to run long runs or race.

Is it my favorite shoe?  I personally like the Saucony Freedom better but I do like running in the Triumph as well.

Current Running Shoe Rotation:

Brooks Ghost 10
Brooks Glycerin 15
Saucony Triumph ISO 3
Saucony Freedom

*Due to not racing or doing speed workouts, I just alternate between the four.

Question for you: What is your favorite running shoe? 

Training Update: More Reflecting than Training

Last week a combination of life and reflection happened.  I realized I am diving too quickly into training.  This post is lengthy and more of a reflection than a training post.  If you want the training side: I ran 25 easy, uneventful, miles.

If you want the reflection side…here we go.

As funny as it sounds, I’m not as young as I used to be and also not a new runner.  Due to my awkward form, I’m more susceptible to injury too.  I’m not sure why I thought increasing mileage and adding racing was a good idea but it’s not.

Unsurprisingly from jumping into training too quickly, everything feels achy.  While I could continue to increase mileage, I would probably increase those aches.  Running is funny that you think you can get away with things…sometimes you can, but 99% of the time it humbles you later.

Right now, nothing is injured but quite frankly I don’t feel good running. I have a gut feeling I would get injured soon if I didn’t change something. I’ve decided to actually go about getting back into running the smart way. 

How will I do that?

Instead of increasing mileage, I’m going to keep my mileage low.  In fact, I’m not going to race again for a few weeks.   Currently, I am achy, tight and sore, plus I don’t feel great.

I would like to be glamorous and say I’m coming back from my running break well but the truth is, I’m not.  That’s fine and I’m not upset about it.  Last week, I wrote a post about coming back easy and not comparing yourself to anyone (including yourself).  If I can’t take my own advice, I have no business writing posts about it.

I’ve also been talking to one of my post-collegiate coaches and mentors frequently.  While running with him a while ago, I ran well (in the 2012-2013 time frame).  Life happened and I moved 4 times in 2014 and didn’t run very competitively either.  After that, I remained coachless until last year.

We have been talking more regularly the last few weeks, and he suggested taking 2 weeks off and using the antigravity treadmill, and building mileage from there.

He also knows my early running history better than anyone (and knows my history now too).  While I don’t need a coach right now, I am talking to him consistently and would like to give credit.  When I’m looking for a structured plan, he will probably be the first person I will seek (and he knows that, so thanks Jim 🙂

On the personal life side, for the rest of June and possibly even July, my life is going to get extremely busy.  Due to my husband’s job, it’s not something I can talk about online and will never be able too.  I will still work regularly at my running store job but will be doing a lot more again outside of that. I don’t like vague blogging, but saying “I’m busy” will have to suffice.  ETA: I’m excited about this change and no one is forcing me to do anything.   

That being said, this summer probably won’t be the summer of hard training.  I won’t say definitely not, but I doubt I will train and run hard. It will make my running blog more boring because I’ll be running and racing far less (if any).  Heck, I don’t even have children or pets to talk about. I’ll run when I have time, but with the summer heat, my only time might be a quick hour in the middle of the day (in that case, I won’t run or run on the antigravity treadmill).   If I’m going to run on a treadmill at all, might as well as be in style right?

For the first time in a while, I am 100% okay with not training seriously.  Six months ago if I had been thrown the same situation, I would have begun to stress out with cramming runs into that situation.  Right now, I’m okay with not getting into serious training right now.

Below is last week of running.  It doesn’t feel like a lot but to be honest, it’s probably the most I’ll log outdoors for a while.

Monday: Easy 5 miles
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: Easy 5 miles
Thursday: Easy 5 miles
Friday: Easy 5 miles
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: Easy 5 miles

Total: 25 miles

So yes that was a lot of life updates.  If you just scrolled to the bottom: you missed that I’m backing off running seriously for a while, ran 25 miles last week, and going to be busy for the next 2 months.  I’ll still blog and I’ll still run but probably nothing more than 5-6 miles and minimal if any racing.

Posts from the Week:

The Importance of Easing Back into Training

HT 3.9 (26:12) miler Race Recap

Questions for you:

Are you training for anything?

When is your favorite time to run?

Maurice River Diner
Maurice River Diner

Maurice River Diner

I haven’t been to many Cumberland County Diners lately, so one of my goals this summer is head south occasionally.  So when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to drive down.

Cumberland County is a beautiful area of New Jersey.  It’s right along the water and an area that many people realize doesn’t exist in NJ. There are far more trees then traffic and parts border the water.

Maurice River Diner Atmosphere: A
The Maurice River Diner is right along the main road and water.  It’s a big, clean diner with plenty of seating.  Both the inside and outside is modern. It’s wide open so you don’t sit here on top of each other either.  In fact, it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve been too in awhile.

Maurice River Diner Coffee: A
The coffee at the Maurice River Diner was brewed hot each time and there were plenty of refills.  It was everything you could want and hope in diner coffee.Maurice River Diner

Maurice River Diner Service: A
The waitress at the Maurice River Diner was kind and hilarious.  She refilled our beverages often and one of the friendliest servers we’ve had in a while.  I have no complaints.

Maurice River Diner Food: C
The Maurice River Diner menu has most typical diner options: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and seafood.

The burger came with soup.  I decided on their tomato bisque.  I wasn’t expecting it to be creamy but it was good. Maurice River Diner

At the Maurice River Diner, I decided to order the black and blue burger with sweet potato fries. Maurice River Diner

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.  In fact, I wanted to like the Maurice River Diner food more than I did.  It was edible, but the burger was far from my favorite. I was actually somewhat disappointed since I had hoped it would match the expectations of the service and atmosphere.  You can’t judge a book by its cover.  The food was edible, but it was not my favorite.

Maurice River Diner Dessert: B
I initially asked for red velvet cake but they didn’t have any.  So I went with bread pudding.  It was good and I enjoyed the pieces of bread crumbled in.  It was nothing unique, but it was good.Maurice River Diner

Maurice River Diner Price: $
For my burger, coffee and bread pudding the cost was $14.  It wasn’t bad for the amount of food I received but I do wish it was better quality.

Overall Thoughts of the Maurice River Diner:
I like the Maurice River Diner but I was hoping to like the food more than I did.  I would go back if the opportunity presented itself but probably try something new.

Overall:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: C
Dessert: B
Cost: $8-12
Maurice River Diner Overall: B

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:

What is the best coffee you’ve had recently? 

Many people don’t realize New Jersey is the Garden State.  Albeit, most of the gardens/farms are in Southern New Jersey.

The Importance of Easing Back into Training
The Importance of Easing Back into Training

Whether you are coming back from an injury or just time off, getting back into shape isn’t always the most enjoyable thing.  I like running. However, the feeling of being out of shape and always tired isn’t pleasant.

This particular return, it’s also been incredibly hot.  Thinking out loud, when I left running a few short months ago, most of my runs were in pouring rain and the cold.  Now it’s hot and humid.  To be honest, during my break I also didn’t do a lot of cross-training, so I did also lose quite a bit of fitness.  My first 5k back, I ran at a pace slower than the half marathon I consider to be unsuccessful.  My second 5k I got lost, but I do think I made some sort of improvement.  When I left running, I could run 18:30-18:40 5ks like no big deal.  Currently, I believe I could push myself as hard as possible for a 20:00 5k (but it probably would need to be a flat, fast and ideal day).

But like anything in life, it’s important not to compare yourself to anyone, including yourself.  Some people can jump right into training and never lose fitness.  I’m definitely not one of those people.  

During my run, I didn’t run, I didn’t cross train much and gained a little bit of weight.  I also didn’t care about any of these things.  That just makes getting back into shape harder.

So What are Important Aspects to Remember?

Easy Runs are Important:

You don’t have to run fast at all.  Whether they are coming back from an injury, a rest period of anything else, too many people makes the mistake of running too fast.  It doesn’t matter if you are in shape or not, if you train fast all of the time, you will set yourself up for an injury.  In fact, running too fast all of the time is how I got my first tibia stress fracture.  Easy runs are what build you stronger.  It’s especially important for me, this time because I’m not coming back from anything broken and don’t have something especially suspectable to breaking by doing too much.

Don’t Compare Yourself:

As humans, there is always something to compare ourselves too.  Every article or blog I’ve ever read always says “don’t compare yourself”, but that is so much easier said than done.Whether it’s while running or not.  Don’t compare yourself to yourself either.

With fitness, you are always at a different point journey.  We are never in the exact same fitness level all of the time, and it’s important to recognize that.   Don’t train how you once trained.  You have to build up to the fitness you were once at.  Determine your paces and realistic goals from where you are right now, not 3 months ago.

Slow and Steady Wins the Base Race:

Many times, after I begin running again, I want to go as fast or run as much as possible all of the time.  That is unintelligent and going to result in an injury.  Ease into training and allow yourself to slowly build your base.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is fitness.

No matter where you left, getting back into shape is challenging.  It’s not effortless or streamline.  Perhaps a better reminder for myself more than anything!

Other posts:

What to do Between Training Cycles

NonRunning Workout Ideas

Question for you: Have you ever taken time off of fitness entirely?

 

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