It has been about six weeks since I announced my new adventure with Team in Training, so it’s about time for an update! In case you missed the original announcement, I am training for a half marathon and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) through the Team in Training program. I am a proud member of Team McDowney, along with my mom and sister. We are really excited to raise money for a great cause and complete the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on April 28th. If you are interested in learning more about our team, check out our fundraising page!
Since my last update, I’ve picked up some more gear, including my first pair of “real” running shoes! I love the bright colors and they feel great on my feet. I have also added a few tank tops and pullovers from the Old Navy Active line to my wardrobe, and I have to say, they are really on to something with this last batch of workout gear. The clothes fit really well and the moisture-wicking fabric is very soft and comfortable. I have found that sometimes the synthetic materials used in running clothes can be kind of stiff and plastic-y, but that is not the case with this gear. Plus the low prices make stocking up very affordable.
Unfortunately I missed almost three weeks of training in the beginning of January for various reasons, but now I am back on track! I came down with a really bad cold the second week of January, which turned into bronchitis, and I just couldn’t seem to get rid of it, no matter how hard I tried. My asthma makes working out in cold weather pretty difficult, and the virus made it totally impossible. On top of that, we kept getting snow and ice every weekend for a few weeks!
You may notice that in the picture of my shoes above, I am on a treadmill (reluctantly). When I got over my cold and the weather was still keeping me from completing my training, I decided to rejoin the gym. It actually made a lot of sense and I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. Even when it wasn’t cold and raining or snowing, I found myself leaving work later and later each night, and my only option was running alone in my neighborhood at night. When I was running in the dark, I had flashbacks to every episode of CSI and Law and Order SVU that I had ever seen, which resulted in a terrifying running experience. The gym membership was inevitable, and it turned out to be a great decision.
On the weekends, I can still do outdoor runs in the daylight. As long as the weather is sunny, I bundle up and hit the road to take in some new scenery. When I am feeling wimpy about the cold, I wear these awesome cycling socks I got in Colorado on our honeymoon. They remind me of the time I completed a 20 mile bike ride in the steep, cold mountains, as the snow started to fall in Breckenridge. The socks are a reminder that if I could do that, I can do this.
Last weekend I ran the farthest I ever have – 7 miles! It was very cold and lonely and I was really tired and sore for the rest of the day, but I feel so proud of my accomplishment. I signed up with TNT in Maryland, so I have been following the Harford County, MD running coach’s training plan. I am now getting some communication from the Richmond coaches so I can meet up with other Richmonders training for the same race (and cause!). When I got the Richmond weekend run information last week, I got really intimidated. The Maryland team was scheduled for 6 miles, but the Richmond team was scheduled for 8-9! I knew I wasn’t ready for that, so I skipped it. I am looking forward to meeting up with them soon though and see if there is a shorter option while I gradually increase my mileage.
On the weeknights, I hit the gym for either running or cross training, depending on the day. As much as I hate the treadmill, I am starting to get used to it and I even see some real benefits to the old hamster wheel. I struggle with pacing and the treadmill has helped me with that. Because I set it at a specified speed, I can train my body to know what a comfortable pace is and then replicate that out on the road. I feel that the treadmill has helped me find my rhythm, which is very useful as the distance of my long runs is constantly increasing. Another benefit of the gym is having the option to take yoga and cycling classes for free as a part of my membership. I didn’t realize how much I missed yoga until I got back into it!
On a fundraising note, I am happy to report that I have reached 25% of my fundraising goal so far. It is a modest start and I am looking forward to getting the word out even more. I can honestly say that the cause has fueled my workouts quite a bit. Some of the donors to my fundraising campaign have had the most inspiring stories about the history and future of blood cancer research and treatment. When I glance at my TNT water bottle or start thinking about the generous donations and support I have received, I am reminded of all the people who have fought cancer and their loved ones. When I think a run is too hard or I feel like giving up, I remember that no matter how hard this feels, it isn’t as hard as beating cancer. And I think of all the people in treatment who are unable to run and I see it as a privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
If you are interested in finding out more about LLS or supporting my efforts, please visit my fundraising page here.