Getting Poked

I mentioned in my previous post that I’d been having an achy right foot…nothing major, but I could feel it. I had a friend who last year ruptured her plantar and the image of her foot is forever ingrained in my memory; so, when I started to feel this little niggle, I decided to take care of it right away.

At my coach’s suggestion, I visited a sports doctor on Monday who said that it was good I was catching this early. Then he said, “I can tell you what I want to do, and I can tell you what your other options are.”

Uh, oh.

I told him to give it to me straight.

Dry needling. 

WHAT?!?

I’ve heard about it from other runner friends but I didn’t really know what it was. Basically, they poke you with a needle and then push the needle as far as they can until you say STOP.

He said that I could turn on my stomach so I didn’t see, but I told him that I did want to see. And I also wanted to see the needle. He showed it to me and even let me hold it. I became one with the needle.

I had 3 needles poked in the arch of my right foot. Each time he pushed it in deep until I couldn’t anymore. Then, once in, he would twist the needle.

He asked if I was okay with him inserting one on my shin. I figured, might as well…

What I thought when he poked me in the shin

Let me just say, that I’m actually very good with needles. I was thankful for this random gift as I have no idea how those NOT good with needles would handle this procedure.

He taped me up and said that I should feel better the next day. The next day?!? But it was true. I felt relief the very next morning. I was advised to rest though and not run for 4-5 days. I could cross train, which I did on Tuesday and Wednesday and on Friday, I went for my first run.

I’d have to say, I’m a believer in this dry needling business. It hurt, but it was effective and really, that’s all that matters to me. I’ll take the pain to make the pain go away.

–Have you ever done dry needling?

–Are you good with needles? 

 

Why I Hired A Coach

I’ve always been an active person. For as long as I can remember, I was running, playing basketball, throwing a football–doing something. In that aspect, I’m a natural athlete.

BUT, I’ve never been really good at any one sport. I could do most pretty well, but excelling? Yeah, no.

There were times when I wished I was the star, the go-to one on the team, and I think maybe I did have it in me to be that person. But I knew I was the reason I wasn’t.

Self-doubt is a killer.

Basketball was my sport in high school. I was a gym rat and lived and breathed basketball. I went to every open gym and practiced my shot, and I had a very good shot (still do 😉 ). You’d think I was the star of the team.

But, when it came to game time, I would always choke. I would get so nervous that I would often pass instead of shooting.

When I started running a couple of years ago, I knew that I wasn’t the best/fastest runner out there, but I also knew that like with basketball, I could get better if I practiced. I’ve seen myself become faster as time has passed and my confidence has grown.

Yet, with qualifying for Boston being “the big game,” I’m nervous I’ll choke. Again.

I knew I needed help if I wanted to qualify for Boston. Not so much because of the time needed, but because of the belief needed to achieve it. For me, qualifying for Boston isn’t so much about running the actual race, but believing I can actually get there.

My coach is Susan Loken and her coaching tag line is Believe Train Become. When I was recommended to her and saw it on her website, I fell in love with it, and with her, instantly.

“The first step in achieving any goal is to believe – believe in your purpose, your potential, and your ability to succeed. That is the basis of BTB Coaching.”

I have trouble with believing– believing in my potential, my ability. I wanted a coach who could of course help me get faster, but I also wanted a coach who could help me see that I CAN DO IT.

Hanson’s Marathon Method certainly helped me make a breakthrough, and I considered using the plan to train for St. George and my BQ. But the confidence I had going in to NYC Marathon and the confidence I had post, wasn’t enough to make me feel like I could do it on my own.

I wanted a coach who would challenge me, not by giving me a prescribed pace, but to ask me, “What. Can. You. Do?” Because I have a tendency to sell myself short.

Before the DBacks Race Against Cancer 5k, I asked coach how I should run the race.

5k Race
Run Race by feel
-Mile 1 at 85% effort
-Mile 2 at 90% effort
-Mile 3 as fast as you can go

But, but, what pace?!? What does Run Race by Feel mean?!?!

You know what? Had she told me to run XX pace, that’s what I would’ve done. And I probably would’ve never tried for a sub 7 minute mile (and I wasn’t really trying, I was just running as fast as I freaking could because that’s what she said to do in mile 3, LOL).

This morning’s track workout was a doozy. It was a Ladder Workout, different to the ones I’ve done before (by distance: 400, 800, 1200, etc). This was by time…and by effort. Again, I wanted to know WHAT PACE I SHOULD RUN. But coach didn’t want me to worry about my watch, she wanted me to start at half marathon pace for 5 minutes, and try and go faster on each interval.

FINE

The picture below was the second set–5 minutes/30 seconds RI (Rest Interval), 4 minutes (30 sec RI), etc.

For SIX MINUTES I ran under a 7 minute pace and for ONE FULL MINUTE, under 6!!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run this fast. That is the gosh darn truth.

But it’s not so much about the times, it’s about how I didn’t hold myself back. It’s these baby steps I know will help me face St. George head on–without fear.

It’s early on in the training, but I know that having a coach look after me, helping me tackle paces I’ve never done (and safely), while also helping me *believe*, will get me that BQ ticket–and something even more along the way ❤

–Have you worked with a coach before? How was your experience?

–Do you tend to hold yourself back? How/what do you do to negate self-doubt?

 

 

 

 

DBacks Race Against Cancer 5k: A Meaningful PR

I signed up for the Diamondbacks Race Against Cancer 5k sort of on a whim. A high school classmate posted on Facebook how her and her husband participated in it last year as part of a fundraiser/awareness for their daughter battling a rare type of cancer (DIPG). I remember when she shared that original post, the one where her daughter was present.

She wasn’t at this years.

For the 9 months or so that Gianna fought cancer, she did so with strength that I could never imagine. At 5 years-old, no little girl or boy should have to go through what she did. Her mom chronicled Gianna’s fight through her Facebook page, and there were times that I just couldn’t bear to see the posts. I would get so angry at the unfairness, so sad that there is so little treatment and research for what she was fighting.

Gianna the Warrior Princess

About two weeks ago or so, Gianna’s mom said they’d be back at the 5k event as part of the opening ceremony for the family fun walk portion of the race. She said they were organizing a team and that anyone who wanted to participate could join them. So I signed up knowing that the race would be done in Gianna’s memory.

The race is pretty popular and when I arrived, I didn’t think I’d be able to find Gianna’s mom. But as I was walking to the porta-potties, I spotted her. I gave her a big hug but I couldn’t say much.

I saw her again at the race start and when they announced why the parents were there, the tears began to flow.

Gianna’s mama in white

I gathered myself together because moments later, the race started and we were off.

There were no corrals but I positioned myself in the front. There were a lot of little kids who wanted to start right at the front but I didn’t mind because they were so excited. It was cool to see a lot of adults make room for them instead of grumbling that they were in the way (as I’ve seen in other races).

I ran unplugged, as I wanted to focus solely on Gianna’s bright spirit. I was running in her memory and wanted to be free of distraction.

My goal was also to PR. I didn’t know if I had it in me, but I was willing to try. At my first track workout last Wednesday with my coach, I did two 2Ks at 7:30ish pace, and it hadn’t felt too bad. So for the 5k, I wanted to shoot for a 7:15 first mile and then negative split.

When the first mile beeped 7:03 I thought I’d blown it. Way too fast and there was no way I could negative split with that as my starting point. But I didn’t let myself get too down or count myself out. I would simply continue to try and keep it under 7:15.

Mile two–7:18.

I was sooooo bummed. I really wanted to keep it under 7:15 and I felt like I was running fast (I mean, I was, but I thought it felt faster than 7:18, lol). I also thought that my secret long-shot mini goal of seeing a 6 was gone. If I hadn’t done it in the too fast first mile, there was no way I’d be able to have a six-minute-something mile 3

Well, wouldn’t you know it, my third mile was 6:57!!!! You have no idea how I freaked out when I saw that. And then I saw that I was very close to getting under 22 minutes so I ran the fastest I think I ever have in a race…

Sub 6 minute mile for 30 seconds!! Whoa!!

And finally entered the 21 minute 5k club!!!!

6th Female Overall, 2nd Age Group–I’ll be presented my award at an upcoming baseball game!

When you finished, runners/walkers were able to take a victory lap inside the Diamondbacks stadium. I don’t go to baseball games often (as you can tell by my Instagram, I’m more of a basketball girl 😉 ) but it was fun to see it in a way I’ve never seen it.

In the dugout–Put me in coach!

When I was done, I called my husband and told him how bittersweet this PR was. I was happy, but I was sad.

I was there because a little girl wasn’t.

It’s easy sometimes to avoid sad things, avoid them so that you’re not affected. I chose to be there. I wanted to be. I never met Gianna, but she touched so many lives, and my own, in her short time on earth. I’m a different person, a different mother because of her. Because every time I think of Gianna, I think of my own little girl–and I hug her a little tighter, a little longer…

–Do you know someone affected by cancer? I feel like unfortunately so many of us do…

–Do you have a meaningful PR?