Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Road to 26.2: Weeks 16 and 17

Real life has kept me away from my blog.  My grandmother, who has been battling dementia and other health problems since late-September, had an especially difficult time over the past three weeks.  Her anxiety was high; she was incredibly restless and insecure; she hardly slept; no medicine on the planet gave her any relief from her mounting symptoms.  My sisters, parents, supportive friends, and I took shifts to keep her under constant 24/7 care.  To say the process was exhausting is a vast understatement.

She took a sudden downturn last week, and we knew her remaining days were short.  She suffered greatly in her last days.  We felt helpless with no real ability to lessen her agony, but our presence brought some comfort.  After a grueling 8 days without food (she could no longer swallow), she finally passed away early Tuesday morning.  We are sad for ourselves as we lost an amazing role model and friend, but we're so happy that her pain is over.  After 101 years (and 10 months!), her time on this earth is finished.

With such intense family needs, I'm so grateful that I had entered the taper phase of my training plan.  I can't imagine supporting my mom as much as she needed while also logging serious training miles.  I've had to shorten a few cross-training workouts over the last two weeks, but I've done all my runs and continued with my strength training.  Post-run stretching also took a hit, and I can definitely feel a difference.  I've renewed my commitment to thorough stretching, and I'm pulling out the foam roller nightly.  To catch you up on the last two weeks of workouts:

Week 16:
Monday (3/23):
  5 mile run.

Right on the heels of the 20-miler, I was surprised by how good my legs felt.  They were stiff for the first mile or so, but they felt far better than I expected.
Tuesday (3/24):  mini yoga and strength.
An exhausting day as a caregiver, I could only fit in a little workout.  Something is better than nothing, right?
Wednesday (3/25):  4 mile run and strength work.
I fully embraced the taper by sleeping in (all the way until 5:07!).  Even with the later alarm, I still had plenty of time to complete my miles and a bit of strength work before waking up the kids for school.  Tapering rocks!
Thursday (3/26):  5 mile run.
I had intended just to run some easy miles, but my lungs felt healthy and strong for the first time in a month.  I think I've finally beaten that cold that plagued our entire household!  I felt very good through this rainy run and pulled off picture-perfect negative splits.
Friday (3/27):  neighborhood walk and strength work.
Another exhausting day as a front-line caregiver.  I snuck in a brief walk and some strength work in the afternoon, which helped to clear my head.

Glorious sunrise during my long run.
This photo doesn't do justice to the beautiful purple hues;
simply breathtaking.

Saturday (3/28):  12 mile run.
I planned an out-and-back route and couldn't believe how quickly I made it to the turnaround point.  Not that I was running at light speed, but the first 6 miles were over in a flash.  I love that this 12-miler felt like a moderate effort.
Sunday (3/29): REST and mini strength work
Mostly a rest day, but I added a little bit of strength work: squats, planks, glute and core work.

Neighborhood tree week 16: more green grass!

Week 17:
Monday (3/30):  3 mile run plus 3 mile walk with my BRF.
An easy three-miler before meeting up with my BRF for a walk.  A walk with her is always a wonderful start to the week.
Tuesday (3/31):  yoga and strength work.
Seeking peace on an exhausting day through deep breathing and controlled movement.  Not a resounding success, but I did feel somewhat better after the workout.
Wednesday (4/1):  4 mile run.
A highly emotional, teary run as I processed Grandma's death.
Thursday (4/2):  4 mile run.
A rare chance for a weekday run in the daylight, I enjoyed this quick little run before the rain came.
Friday (4/3):  yoga and strength work.
I convinced my husband to join me for part of my yoga!  He may never agree to it again, but I was happy to share the workout with him.

Week 17: an explosion of spring!
If you can look past the sweaty camera lens, you might notice
that several trees in the background flowered this week :)

Saturday (4/4):  8 mile run.
Since I was regularly running weekday 8-milers just a couple weeks ago, this run felt like an easy Saturday effort.  I ran a familiar loop with an engaging podcast and made it home before the kids were up for breakfast.
Sunday (4/5): REST
Or so I intend.  Between Easter and a wake, there's plenty of family activity packed into our day, so I expect to take a full day off from working out.

Now there's just one week left on my training plan.  Very few miles but lots of mental preparation.  Time to make it happen!