Hello, It’s Me.

HI.

It’s been a HOT MINUTE since I’ve last updated! I always feel so guilty when I haven’t updated in a while, but it’s not because lack of passion to write. It’s a lack of time. Since my last update after visiting Bucknell, things have gotten incredibly busy for me. I’ve struggled a bit, but have also had some amazing triumphs. It’s absolutely shocking to me it’s already August.

Since my last update, I’ve been in a funk of sorts. Leaving Bucknell, I felt empty. While it was so much fun returning to my “home away from home” and seeing so many friends and familiar faces, it also got me thinking.  It was amazing to hear all these stories of what other alumni were doing in their communities since graduating, but I also sat there wondering, what have I done? And I guess that’s sort of a complex right there, comparing your life to others, but I’m not afraid to admit I do it from time to time. It wasn’t a comparison like, oh I wish I was them, but more of a reflection on myself of the potential I have to also do amazing things. But as Erin and I drove away from Bucknell I couldn’t fathom how to change, make a difference, and most importantly, make things happen.

So, I fell into a dark place for a bit.  I stopped taking my supplements. I stopped cooking nutritious meals. I felt constantly tired, broken. When I made it out for my runs every step hurt and I couldn’t even fathom 57 miles, let alone the six I was supposed to do for the day. I slept a lot, and fell into a routine unbeneficial to me or those around me. Maybe my body needed it because of the Lyme, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was my mind needing it more.

And then Dave and I went to Washington state. Our trip was booked in a bit of a rush, because we thought Dave was starting a job in Ocean City at the end of July, but we still had great aspirations for the trip. I couldn’t wait to get out into the mountains. The mountains make me feel my happiest. It doesn’t matter the state or the mountain range – I love the feeling of how small they make you feel.  You feel insignificant, but at peace. You can finally realize what a great, big, BEAUTIFUL world it is out there, and how there is so much more to life than just trying to “get by” through your daily grind.

While in Washington we hiked almost every day once we left Seattle. We hiked through ancient forests, up steep mountain sides and along the magnificent Pacific Ocean. A lot of the times we were out there early in the morning before any of the tourists were awake, and we trudged along single track trails in silence, lost in thought. I worked so many problems out in my head as I hiked through Mt. Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park.

Life felt pure.

And now it’s mid August. Happily, I’m finally coming out of my funk and starting to really get after living life again. It’s no secret I’ve never really enjoyed living in the Washington, D.C., area, but I’m adamantly trying to find the beauty and fun in living here. For awhile, I let myself think I couldn’t have fun with my friends anymore because of my Lyme, and I thought I would never feel well enough to do all the things I used to. But after Washington, and hiking day after day and also running almost every day, I realized my body can do a lot more than I credited it for. Which is great because you know, I’ve got that whole 57 miles to run thing.

Last weekend I went out with Dave and our friends and it was the first time in a LONG time that I spent the day bar hopping (granted, I wasn’t drinking) and genuinely having a good time. I wasn’t drinking during the day because I actually signed up to run a beer mile that evening in Navy Yard. I’ve always wanted to do a beer mile since college, but after being diagnosed with Lyme, I wrote it off as one of those things I could never do. But then I did it anyways. And it was amazing. And better yet, I had such a great night with all my friends, I’m still smiling thinking back on that day. I am so glad I listened to my friends to sign up and stopped listening to all the fears and the “I can’ts” in my head.

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Now, back to that whole thing of it being August again. It’s August 12. I have less than 3 MONTHS until my 57 mile run from Penn State to Bucknell raising money for Global Lyme Alliance, to fund better research and awareness. It makes me a little nervous, because I know November 2, will be here before I know it. I’m trying my hardest to be ready and my runs have been steadily increasing. It’s taken a long time, but I can feel my fitness finally returning.

I’m still managing some aches and pains in my lower legs, and physical therapy has been pivotal at keeping the tendonitis manageable. After 10 days of hiking in Washington State, my left Achilles and bad knee were NOT having it, but the discomfort is slowly getting better. Luckily, I had a down week in my training cycle this week and it’s been amazing. My achilles is still being a little bitchy, but I’m thinking I may get a sports massage soon to help work out some of the knots.

After this weekend my mileage is going to climb pretty high and while I’m nervous, I’m also really excited. Long runs are my thing. I love going slow and steady and taking all the time I need to get through the miles. They’re challenging, but I always feel so amazing afterwards. With my mileage getting pretty high in the next few months I know my nutrition is going to need to be on point. I’ve been gluten free since my lyme doctor suggested it, but I’ve actually been playing around with a plant-based (basically vegan) diet and have been feeling worlds better. Now, I’ve been having small amounts of gluten here and there (I still eat a predominately gluten-free diet…but hello beer mile) and I feel absolutely fine. Taking dairy out has helped me feel more clear-headed, helped take away my every day headaches, and I do feel like I recover a little faster from my workouts.

I feel like this blog post has been all over the place, but that’s just how it goes when I haven’t updated in forever. I seriouslyyyyy am going to try and update more frequently from here on out, especially because we are in the final push to my 57 mile run. I don’t think I’ll actually do weekly recaps of my workouts because it kind of stresses me out, but I will try to do a better job of keeping you guys in the loop.

So, that’s it for now. If you have any interest in learning more about my 57 mile run from Penn State to Bucknell, you can check out my info page HERE. You can also donate to my run HERE. I really would like to meet my fundraising goal so any help is much appreciated, and anything helps!

 

 

 

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Weekly Update: February 20 -February 26

I know, I know – I really keep neglecting to get these posts up every Monday. Lately, I’ve felt so crunched for time, and I haven’t been able to do any writing. Working at the running store a lot lately, plus my 50k training has left me with little time for anything else, but I’m just going with it.  It kills me, because one of my goals this year was to write more and I’ve been neglecting it horribly, but I can only do so much. Hopefully I can get things back on track here soon.

BUT – in the world of training, things have been going pretty well! February 20-26 was a huge week for me!

Monday, February 20: Today was a rest day, thankfully! I was crunched for time writing an article for my alma mater, but when I submitted it they never acknowledged soooo, who knows if it will actually run.  I also had a doctor appointment in the morning and it went pretty well.  I’ve been feeling pretty good lately with our current treatment plan so we’re going to keep at it, and hopefully in a few months be able to wean off some of the herbal medicines.

The rest of my day was spent running around like a crazy person at work during our President’s Day Sale. So even though I didn’t have to run today, I still feel like I got in a workout.

Rest Day.

Tuesday, February 21: Today I did a tempo workout! I decided to run along the Mt. Vernon Trail because I could be mostly uninterrupted by traffic lights and the such. I started out feeling really sluggish, and I started doubting I could actually do the workout.  When it came to the uptempo portion, I focused on one mile at a time, and before you know it, it was over.

Running into Old Town was not my favorite because the sidewalks did get a little congested, but all in all, it was a good workout. I cooled down for four miles, rounding the day out at 9 miles total.

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Whoop calculates strain on a scale of 1-21. Apparently, I worked harder in my tempo workout than I thought. 

9 mile tempo workout on Mt. Vernon trail – 2 mile warm-up, 3 miles uptempo (7:26, 7:18, 7:00), 4 mile cool down.  Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (7:48 min/mile average)

Wednesday, February 22: I woke up and my bad knee was super sore. I stretched for a little bit and put some anti-inflammatory cream on before I even thought about getting outside for a run.  I wanted to go five miles, but once I got outside I only ended up going 4 miles, with the thought I could go 2 more in the evening with Dave.

Other than the knee pain, the run was really nice. It felt easy but I was still moving at a decent pace so I’m happy with it.

The two more miles in the evening never happened and I wore a compression sleeve around my knee for the rest of the day to try and help with the swelling I felt.

4 road miles, steady – 7:42 min/mile pace

Thursday, February 23: I woke up early this morning to get a little run in before work and I couldn’t believe the weather. I wore a long sleeve and shorts, but I should have just been wearing a short sleeve because it was so warm. I ended up taking off the long sleeve half way through and I couldn’t believe this is February.

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I don’t really like the warmer weather because it’s unnatural, and makes me feel guilty our planet is such a mess.  But, something about the weather made everyone so nice today, I couldn’t help but smile my entire run.

Also – I SAW A BEAVER. I don’t know why I am so excited about this but I am, and I only wish I had my camera with me this morning so I could further share my excitement.

Anyways…I felt restless all day at work and couldn’t wait to leave so I could get back outside. I decided to go for another run and as soon as I got home I changed and headed back out the door.

The run was good for the most part and I went about 7 miles. My knee is still hurting a bit so I tried to run slow and not push it, but there were so many other runners out, I got a little competitive.  To cool down, I walked the remaining mile home and other than suddenly getting blasted with severe cramps, I’m so happy I got back outside.

AM Run – 3 road miles, 7:53 min/mile pace
PM Run – 7 road miles, 7:48 min/mile pace.  1 mile cool down walk

Friday, February 24: The day I was waiting for ALL WEEK! Today, I went hiking with my friend Megan in Shenandoah National Park.  We drove out early in the morning to Old Rag, a 9 mile hike with really fun rock scrambles.

The hike was beautiful. Again, the weather is creepily warm, so we hiked the entire time in shorts and tanks, and I finally got to test out my Hoka One One hiking boots (they were awesome).  Last time I did this hike with Dave, I got some NASTY heel blisters in some trail running shoes I used, but I was all good this time!

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We crushed the hike. All in all, it took us about 3 1/2 hours to hike the 9.2 miles, rock scrambles and all.  Some of the scrambles are pretty technical (=fun) and we really needed to lift ourselves up onto the boulders and use any rock surface as leverage with our body weight.  It wasn’t until the final mile did I really start to feel how tired and sore I was, and by the time we made it back to DC, we both were exhausted.

For the rest of the day I just hung out on the couch with my legs up.  It wasn’t until around 8:00 pm did I try to get my run in, and it was a STRUGGLE FEST. My knee was definitely feeling it.  I ran on the treadmill so I could call it quits at any moment if needed, but I ended up going 3 miles. I do think the run helped shake out some of the lactic acid, but I can’t believe what a struggle it was to even get down to the gym.

Hiking Old Rag: 9.2 miles, 3:29:32
3 mile treadmill run – 8:10 min/mile pace

Saturday, February 25: I woke up SORE.  More sore than I imagined I would be, and I started worrying immediately about being able to get my long run in.  After breakfast and stretching for a bit I drove out to Great Falls Park with Dave to try and get 15 miles in before the storms were supposed to roll through the area.

With the first step I took, I knew I was in trouble. My calves were so tight, my shins aches, and my glutes felt FRIED. I kept running slow with Dave anyways, and after a few miles I warmed up, but it didn’t help much. Dave stopped after 3 miles with me and at that point I was already defeated. I ran 2 more miles out on the trail before giving in to my sore legs.

All in all, I hit 10 miles and I didn’t let myself get down over not completing my long run. I actually felt really proud of myself for getting out there and not giving up on the trail and all the hills.

The rest of the day included napping, eating, stretching and laying around. Solid recovery if you ask me.

10.1 miles at Great Falls Park: 9:14 min/mile pace

Sunday, February 26: I woke up nice and early again to make a second attempt at my long run. I decided to head to the canal because it would still be a soft surface, but nice and flat for my still sore legs.

Honestly – I didn’t feel any better getting out there on the canal. My legs were still incredibly sore from the hike, and I was SO BORED on the flat path. I thought about giving up after 3 miles when I stopped to use a bathroom, but I talked myself into trying to run a few more miles out before turning around. I’m glad I did.

As I got farther down the canal, I actually felt a little better. The weather today was the only “cold” day of the week, and it was so refreshing. It’s been awhile since I ran on the canal and I saw so many familiar faces! Other runners I work with, college teams out for long runs, and some old friends.  By the time I finished the run (even though I was spent) I felt really happy I came out to the canal. It ended up being a refreshing change of pace.

ANDDDD – as much as it hurt toward the end, I got my 15 miles in! I walked for a little bit after the run to try and cool down, but then I had to rush off to work for another crazy-busy nonstop day.

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15 miles on c&o canal: 8:06 min/mile pace

 

WEEKLY TOTAL: 51.2 MILES!!!!

NOTES ON THE WEEK: I am so happy I finally topped 50 miles. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to do this, and I felt incredibly accomplished. It’s been a long time and I’m excited for the endurance I’m finally building.

One thing I am NOT so excited about is my lack of cross training and strengthening. To be fair, my training plan doesn’t really call for much cross training, but I have always felt better when I incorporate cycling into my running plans and I haven’t really been doing that. I don’t want to overload myself either, but I think if I could just get on the bike 1-2 times a week it would be incredibly helpful.

Not doing my strengthening workouts is totally on me. I get so tired by the end of the day and I just run out of time with everything else I am trying to do. I really hope I can start doing these workouts consistently because I’m going to need them more than ever for my ultras.

SOMEONE MAKE ME DO MY STRENGTHENING.

An update of sorts.

As always, it’s been hard for me to put my thoughts into words.  I’ve been mulling over a post for days (WEEKS) but I can’t really find a focus.  It’s probably because I’ve felt so unfocused lately.  Every day I feel like I’m walking through a thick fog, just searching for some clarity.

Colorado was wonderful.  Rocky Mountain State Park is such a beautiful place and it was so easy to let go there.  I didn’t worry about my stress fracture, or running, or my health.  Every morning Erin and I woke up to hike a new trail and had one priority: enjoy nature. The sun was still low in the sky when we started our hikes but the mornings were still full of soft light and delicate silence.  I loved hearing the dirt trail crunch beneath my hiking boots and I loved how the mountains rose up all around us, cradling us in their valley.  Everything seemed so alive.

I’ve been home now for over a week.  If I had a choice I’d still be out in the mountains but home and work were calling.  I’ve started to incorporate runs again in my training but I’m constantly worried about the pain coming back.  With every ache I fear it is the stress fracture returning even though I gave it more than enough time to heal.  I worry about my bones and not absorbing enough calcium and vitamin D.  I worry my bones are soft and weak and as soon as I really start training again I will be broken.  I am so exhausted with being broken.  And the worst part is not letting myself down, it’s letting everyone else down believing in me.

As I was rowing on the erg this evening I realized I will never be fast again.  I row.  I bike.  I elliptical.  I do all these things to try and keep myself in some inkling of running shape, but when it comes down to it they’ll never turn me back into the runner I once was.  Sure, I can get into good shape and be competitive, but I don’t believe I will ever be able to train at a high caliber again and be fast in the shorter 5k, 10k distances.  I’m not sure of the runner I’m going to turn into once these injuries and health issues are settled, and even though I’m resigned to the fact I may be a mediocre runner for the rest of my life, I’m not giving up on myself.  I’m willing to see what type of runner I morph into.  The longer distances are calling my name.

I think that’s it for now.  I want to start writing here more but I keep getting in the way of myself.  Ideally, I would love to use this blog as a place I can just spit out ideas and thoughts I have during the day but I don’t trust myself enough to do so.  I won’t lie – I’m still petrified of sharing my thoughts and feelings and posting inconsistently is my way of taking baby steps.

I have finally started working on my piece again so that’s exciting.  Before I ended up taking such a long break I had the goal of finishing this summer but now it’s already the end of June and I’m not so sure.  I’ve been so wrapped up in my injury, my health, freelance writing and working at the running store I’ve forgotten about myself and personal goals.  So I’m hoping to get back into the habit of working on it in the morning and justttttt maybe I’ll share a few excerpts.

One of these days I’m going to spit out all these words in my head and share them freely.  But today is not that day.

 

© Allison Donaghy 2016 All Rights Reserved

Colorado Explorin’

I feel quite refreshed after my trip to Colorado last week.  Check out my video to see some pretty scenery and fun stuff from Boulder, Nederland and Rocky Mountain State Park.  I didn’t do any training/running…solely focused on having a wonderful time with my twin :).

Music is “Brand New” by Ben Rector.

I’ll have a real update soon!