Calf Desperation Update and Marathon Motivation

First: an update on my calf issue.

A few weeks ago Beth, a fellow Albuquerque runner/blogger who is also running Boston next week, offered up her sports doctor as a potential healer of my pain.  She was having similar calf issues and he got her up and running again, so I called him up and made an appointment.

His area of specialty is ortho-therapy.

As far as I can tell, his method is pretty similar to ART, and I would basically describe it as a tear-inducing massage with some chiropractic stuff thrown in.  This guy is a former college football player and a general athlete, and he’s just a little bit older than me (people in my age group are already doctors???), and he comes with a wealth of knowledge about all sorts of sports injury stuff since he’s had plenty of injuries himself.  Last Thursday during our first appointment, I was right in the middle of a huge work project so my brain was hurting, and he threw all sorts of big words and body part names at me, and I really don’t remember any of it.

He did an evaluation and diagnosed my problem as……? I don’t remember (my brain was busy piecing together e-recycling statistics), but it is a combination of two things, one of which is the pesky IT band issue that has been plaguing me off and on for well over a year.  Then the following conversation took place:

Dr.: Well, if you’ve been through childbirth, this should be a walk in the park for you.

Me: I haven’t been through childbirth…(even though I guess technically I have been on the baby end).

Dr.: Oh. Hmm. Well. Regardless, women tend to handle this much better than men.

Fantastic.

I really don’t do anything without extensive research, and even though Beth had made mentions about her appointments on her blog, and even though I looked at this dude’s website and signed a bunch of scary sounding waivers, I didn’t really internalize what it was I was doing here.  But then the “massage” started.

It hurt. Badly.  My leg was bruised and sore for a few days.

Luckily I’ve started the “positive thinking” and “push through the pain” portion of marathon training.

I also got taped up with Rock Tape (same thing as K-T Tape, but with industrial strength stickiness) and sent with a bunch of homework assignments, basically things I’ve already been doing.  But instead of rolling out twice a day, I’m supposed to roll out 4-5 times a day and do hip strengthening exercises which I do sometimes but not all the time.

I went for my second session yesterday, and while there is a noticeable difference, I am still worried that I’m going to have big issues again during/after the race because I’m not even in the ballpark of 100% healed.  BUT, I think that I will be less miserable because of these sessions.

Regardless, I would recommend testing out “ortho-therapy” if foam rolling, stretching, rest, and massage just aren’t working and if you are up for some “mind over body” practice because you’ll get it.

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Marathon Motivation

I really like the idea of dedicating each mile to a different person who has either helped you or could use the thoughts and prayers. But I can’t do it.  I think there are some truly good-hearted people out there who have really good intentions, but I know that if I were to choose people, it would not be for them, it would be 100% for me.  I would only be using them to get myself through the race, and I know that some bad karma would probably result.

Plus, what happens if I have a really terrible mile?  I know I would forever associate that person with whatever awful thing happened (and so many bad and gross things can happen), and I might even hold them a bit responsible for creating havoc upon their designated time frame (assuming I could even remember which people went with which mile…26 is a lot of people to memorize).  I kind of feel like this practice would encourage me to be a worse person than I already am and that’s not good for anybody.

So, I’m not going to do that.

Something I HAVE been thinking about a lot this training cycle is the privilege of being active.  For one, it seems like so many of my blogger friends got injured over the last few months.  Not silly stupid calf issue injured, but actually bone breaking injured. I know that people who are sidelined when they’d rather be running would gladly trade places with me and my relatively functioning legs.

Also, incidentally, today is the 71st anniversary of the Surrender of Bataan.  Aside from the fact that my little marathon is nothing in comparison to say, 80+ miles worth of marching through the hot jungle as a prisoner of war, it also brought back memories of my most recent race.  Running the Bataan Memorial Death March and seeing so many of the wounded warriors out there kicking butt on a dirt 26.2 course also made me realize that to have a healthy strong body is such an amazing gift that I take for granted every day.  I did absolutely nothing to deserve two legs that can run, and at any time, I can lose the ability.  Running marathons isn’t easy for anybody, but it is so much easier for me, someone who hasn’t had to overcome any sort of adversity to get there.

SOURCE

And when I’m in pain and my legs don’t want to go and the thought of laying down in the middle of the road sounds borderline euphoric, I try to remember that people suffer for so many reasons everyday, and for many of them, that pain will never go away.  Generally, my pain will end at the end of the marathon.  Just a few hours.  My few hours of pain (completely self inflicted) are so minuscule compared to the pain of others, and I try and keep that in perspective.

There are so many people who are strong and determined and who have had to deal with so much more than 3.5 (or however many more) hours of running.  And when I start losing faith in myself, I remember that so many people would love to have this chance, and I try to run stronger because I have been blessed with the opportunity.

What have you thought about to get yourself through the pain of running? 

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Marathon Reflection Monday: 1 WEEK!

(First, I MISSED NATIONAL BEER DAY! I mean, not really since we enjoyed some locally brewed La Cumbre Malapais stout yesterday, but I didn’t celebrate with purpose).  

Holy cow! We are SEVEN days until GO time.  Not quite close enough to determine race day weather with any certainty (looking like high 50’s with a chance of rain), but not quite enough time to “cram study” my way to a passing grade (at this point of every year, I start having nightmares about passing finals even though my college career is long over…for now…).

weather

While I haven’t been doing a lot of “blog” marathon reflecting this time around, I have been thinking a lot about what mistakes I’ve made, what I would do differently, and at what point everything changed from “on track for a super PR” to “not so much.”  Basically, I’m giving myself this one last whine fest, and then starting tomorrow, we are transforming to the intense mental workout that will hopefully carry me from Hopkinton to Newton and on into Boylston Street. Preferably on my own two feet as opposed to in an ambulance.

I made no secret over the fact that I didn’t love marathon training during Chicago.  Crossing the finish line to my first marathon was amazing, but I was re-reading my race recap, and I state very clearly that I didn’t want to make marathons a habit.

But I figured since I got the chance to run the marathon of all marathons, that I should probably soak up the experience and push for a very respectable PR time.  And I started training for marathon #2 in January.

I  had pretty high hopes going into this race.  For one, at the beginning of last training in June, I was at a 1:47 half.  At the beginning of this training, I was at a 1:41 half, meaning I was starting stronger and faster.  My first official run was 7 miles at marathon pace (about 8:10).  My first official run of last training cycle was a 7 mile long run that felt absolutely terrible.  And, there would be none of those dreaded 96 degree temperatures.

But my mindset going in was a bit different.  For one, I didn’t have the goal to re-qualify because I already have a 2014 qualifier (not that it guarantees anything), so the drive to accomplish a specific time goal was significantly less.

And as much as I complained about training in the heat of summer, as it turns out, I’m a much bigger wimp when it comes to cold weather.  During the winter I had to either run at night (dark and scary), or run in 10 degree temperatures in the morning, and a lot of times I just hung out on the treadmill.  And when winter gave way to spring, my allergies took over (they still are) making breathing feel much harder than it should.  And, when the time changed and there was daylight and warmth…well, let’s just say patio happy hour felt far more appealing than running. But then I would feel bad and try and run after happy hour. And running hard after happy hour doesn’t feel as good.

But all of that was easy overcomable.

Unfortunately, I made 3 sabotaging mistakes this training cycle that hindered my success:

1) Not letting myself completely heal after Chicago.  During my last 20 miler in September, my calf suddenly started bothering me to the point that I barely ran in the 2 weeks leading up to Chicago.  During the race, I was fine, but within hours after finishing, that little calf issue turned into a big problem.  I couldn’t run for 3 weeks post marathon.

The calf issue was kind of annoying through RnR Arizona half training  but nothing too bad, and I jumped into marathon training, even though it wasn’t completely pain free.  Three weeks ago, it got to the point where running was impossible.  And it hasn’t gotten better despite desperate efforts to fix it (I have session #2 with the sports chiro dude, so I’m hoping for good things).  I run one day and have to take the next couple of days off, which hasn’t lined up with the training plan very well.  I have lost speed and I have lost endurance.  I am not in as good of shape as I was before Chicago.

2) 12 Week Training Cycle.  For Chicago, I did 16 weeks, and it worked fine.  I chose the 12 week cycle because Hal Higdon’s “Boston Bound” plan said it was ok, and because I wanted to finish the RnR Arizona half before I started training, BUT I also thought that I would have a stronger base built at that point.  In the end, I ramped up faster than I was ready, probably not helping the calf issue.

3) Getting caught up in the mileage envy.  Right at the beginning of training, I started secretly reading Boston training blogs and they all had one thing in common: significantly more mileage than I was doing.  I panicked and started doing more weekly mileage than my plan (which worked PERFECTLY for Chicago) called for (see also, ramping up too fast above).  This bombed fast.  I don’t think I ever got a complete week in.  I was either hurting or burned out.

I burned myself out on running and managed to get hurt as wel, which are really inconvenient ways to enter into a marathon.

I don’t want to get completely down because who knows what will happen on April 15th.  I believe in the power of confidence and positive thinking, and I still somewhat believe I can will myself to a decent race time.  And truly, even though I’m not in PR shape, I should still finish in about 3:45, which isn’t a terrible time by any stretch of the imagination.

I’m comforted by the number of people who emphasize that Boston is a “victory lap” and shouldn’t be used to PR. Stressing out over a time goal or an unsuccessful training schedule is counterproductive to the experience.  Also, Meb dropped out last week due to a lingering calf injury which is a reminder that even elites have bad training cycles.

And on the upside of all of this, I have been much less stressed this time around.  I haven’t been having marathon nightmares, and taper has been much more relaxing.

So, now that my marathon sadness session is over, we can transform to the mental workout and CHEERLEADING! Time to prepare for the pain and resolve to push through it!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Running Update: 18 Days Until Boston

Hi friends!

So, I’ve been kind of holding off on this post because 1) I haven’t had very much spare time recently (I feel like I haven’t had spare time since January), and 2) I was trying to wait until I wasn’t angry about this dumb leg and its dumb inability to move without pain (just like I was trying to wait to run until after I could walk up the stairs without hurting, but since neither of those things have happened, here we are).

I am angry about my dumb leg and its dumb inability to move without pain.

Since last we spoke about marathon training, I had just completed an uneventful 20 miler 2.5 weeks ago.  YAY! 20 miler complete, ability to complete marathon verified.

Then I attempted some mile repeats (finally running a sub-7 minute mile for the first time this training cycle) which caused massive shin splints.  Annoying, but not a big deal. I rested for a couple of days, and everything was ok. BUT THEN, when the shin splints were not bothering me any more, the dumb calf thing appeared out of nowhere (during a rest day) AGAIN and started hurting AGAIN.

More rest. More annoyance.  Mild panic over the fact that my most crucial training weeks were rapidly being wasted.  I did however buy a bag of Easter egg Reese’s cups (they were on sale at Target!), and eat them.

Then, last weekend, I ran Bataan (bad Amy) but at a slower pace than I wanted, not because I was being cautious, but because I hurt so bad.  When I caught up to my dad, he asked me if everything was ok since he was expecting me to pass him long before.  I said no, as a matter of fact, I wasn’t ok.  But, as I mentioned in that epically long Bataan post, that particular race really changes one’s perception of “discomfort.” And, at mile 10 my body just stopped caring and the pain went away.  Until I crossed the finish line and remembered it.  Then it came back.

MORE rest.

I didn’t run all week.  I tried once, but I got less than 2 miles in before having to stop.

Sunday was scheduled as our final long run.  We had chosen the course weeks ago as a ridiculously challenging 22 miler with a steep uphill and a steep downhill, up and down until mileage was complete.  A 10K is actually run on this course…it is called, “The World’s Toughest 10-K.”  My goal was to mimic the long downhill stretches followed by long uphill stretches of the Boston course.

Tramway Elevation

It sucked for the following reasons:

1) I was throw-up sick both Friday and Saturday (this happens for no apparent reason every once in awhile, and no, I’m absolutely not pregnant), so most of what I ate didn’t stick around long enough to provide energy or nutrients,

2) The course included almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain over 4.5 miles (meant to make the Newton Hills look easy),

3) Intense spring winds made downhills feel like work (even Aaron said so!).  My average pace was 10:20 which was not confidence boosting.

Thanks to a fabulous bacon themed party the night before, we stayed up past our bedtime and woke up late/got a later start than planned, and I ran out of time.  I only got in 19.6 miles instead of the 22 I had wanted to run.

Luckily, the course ended at a resort (we’re so clever!), and we headed straight into a massage (slightly ironic that the massage was the cause of my run being cut short).  It simultaneously felt amazing and painful.  I told the masseuse to let out her life frustrations on my calf, and she did.

But I still hurt.

It isn’t an injury.  Nothing is broken.  It just hurts.  I’m making an appointment with a sports chiropractor (thanks, Beth!), and I’m hoping he doubles as a miracle worker.

I’m able to run, but not fast.  I’ve lost 2 weeks of training and my last long run wasn’t long enough to satisfy me (I considered attempting 20 miles again this weekend but I have decided against it).  And we are EIGHTEEN DAYS AWAY from Boston.

So, my training isn’t suggesting that I’ll hit 3:30 much less even match my Chicago time (not that I won’t fight to the death to try). But I am excited nonetheless.

My Runner’s Passport and welcome brochure came in the mail this week which was comparable in excitement level to getting my first college dorm and roommate assignment. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be lining up in Hopkington and running this amazing race.  IMG_6120

Also, thanks again for all of your kind words regarding the Bataan Memorial Death March! I shared a photo album (from someone else) on the blog’s facebook page if you want a better idea of what that race looked like!

I hope everyone is having a good week!

I’m Cool with Savasana

First…I have updated my “Contact Me” page to include (I think) all of my social media accounts so you can follow me EVERYWHERE.  Do you want to see my filtered pictures of my puppy?  Join me on Instagram! Do you want to see what I wish my house looked like? Join me on Pinterest.  If you don’t, that’s cool.  I don’t know if I even want to follow me that much!  But the option is out there!

In other news, I’m really awkward at yoga.

I know I’m in the minority here, but I don’t find it relaxing and I don’t get an enlightened feeling.

Um…this doesn’t look very comfortable…

And hot yoga? That is one hour and a half of pure torture.

But every once in a while (usually prompted by a Groupon), I’ll go on a month long hot yoga kick.

But I don’t like yoga enough to pay full price.  Luckily Aaron has some really cheesy “yoga for athletes” DVD’s that don’t involve having to get all dressed up (our yoga studios are definitely Lulu’d out).

We did not use them once during marathon training.

Over the last 4 weeks, it has become blatantly obvious that my muscles are tight.  They are looser now then they were on my day after limp fest through Chicago, but even after all the rest, they are not as loose as I want them to be as I head into “Operation Fast Half” next week.

On Saturday, we did one of the DVD yoga workouts.

I spent 12 years of my life as a ballerina.  I worked on my flexibility constantly (it isn’t cool to be the only girl who can’t do the splits), and I’ve always been pretty limber.  Even in our previous yoga attempts, I’ve been pretty good at holding poses and getting deep into the stretch.

I couldn’t touch my toes on Saturday.  I also fell over on every attempt to hold tree pose (I think this is supposed to be symbolic of my inner balance).  Basic moves like rotating my hips were extraordinarily difficult.

Basically, I was the biggest yoga disaster before even considering my runny nose, and my tendency to giggle every time the monotone lady narrator said “buttock.”

But, regardless, we popped the DVD in again last night, and already my flexibility was far better then it was on Saturday.  My maturity level was about the same.

I don’t love yoga.  I don’t think I’ll change my mind on that any time soon, but I can’t deny that I need to do some good quality stretching to compliment the running mileage.  My goal is to incorporate yoga once per week when I’m actively training.

It took me a really long time to even walk right after the marathon and I think if I had practiced some yoga I would have been much better off.  I will have no time between my half and jumping into Boston training, so I can’t afford to take a few weeks off to recover.  I’m hoping yoga, no matter how unenlightened, will make for an easy transition.

Namaste! And go vote!

I Ran!

First, lots and lots of good thoughts for everyone on the East Coast.  Video coverage of the coast is looking really intense.  Stay safe out there!

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I RAN THIS WEEKEND!

After my test sprints across the living room, I determined I could get a few miles in without limping.

So we did an easy 3 on Saturday (I felt out of shape and my muscles took a long time to warm up), and a more labored 2.8 yesterday.

I’m not having the same pain that I was having a couple of weeks ago, but my calves (both) still feel sore.

It did feel amazing to get back out there! Even with sore muscles, I was so happy to be running.

I’m still taking it easy for now because I’m not fully healed (3 weeks later…seriously?), but at least progress is being made.  I still have 2 weeks before I have to dive into “long” runs (6 miles to start) and speed training, so I’m not worried.  At least I know now that I will be able to actually do it…I was starting to worry that I was an injured for life person!

Still, I will likely take a running rest day today just to make sure I don’t re-injure myself.

Unfortunately, during my 3 weeks of inactivity, I have put on enough weight and lost enough muscle that my clothes are starting to fit funny.  Turns out, going from running a billion miles to not running at all, and eating pretty much the same except worse since I don’t have to worry about long runs and stomach issues… equals rapid weight gain.  Why can’t Mexican food and that fabulous plate of chicken and waffles that I ate on Friday be low calorie?

I hate talking about things like weight because I try to value my body for its ability to run marathons and not for looking (rather trying to look) like a Victoria Secret model, but feeling like a stuffed sausage in my jeans isn’t fun either.

To add to the pressure, two of my best friends from college are getting married in a month, so I will be seeing people who only know me as 18-22 year old Amy.  I’d like to show up at the very least not looking worse than I did back then.  Plus, the wedding is in Scottsdale, home of tall, tan, trophy wife types.

So, I’m going on a month long health food kick.  (At least trying to).  Isn’t it funny.  I couldn’t clean up my diet to improve my marathon time, but throw in an impromptu college reunion, and BAM bring on the green shakes.

Annoying also, because I have never lost weight while endurance training.

We’ll see how it goes. Especially since Halloween and Thanksgiving fall between now and then.  I JUST WANNA FIT IN MY PANTS AGAIN!

Ok, insecure girl rant over.

I’ve seen some fabulous race recaps from this weekend! Great job peeps!

I didn’t dress up, I didn’t carve pumpkins, and I didn’t make spooky cocktails.  I DID buy a big bag of candy.  And pin lots and lots of Christmas decor ideas.  Sigh. I’m also behind on responding to people! I’m sorry.  I’ll get on that today.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

 

So…Now What? Or, Accepting that Chicago is Over

This past weekend I went to cheer on my dad (and a bunch of other people I know/don’t know) at the Duke City Marathon.  I came bearing big race signs and I wore my Chicago marathon shirt so people wouldn’t think I was a non-runner just because I wasn’t racing! (just kidding…sort of…).

My dad had a great first half and finished in 2:06:something! AND he wasn’t even sore the next day! Pretty sure an addiction was created.

I rarely spectate at races (I know I should probably be volunteering more), so it was interesting to experience it from the other side.  For one, cheering is kind of awkward.  I have the same two phrases, and I was stressing the whole time that I was saying the wrong things and causing runners to lose motivation in the home stretch.

I was also pretty stir crazy, standing there with my race signs watching all of the runners coming into the finish line area.  I wanted to be racing!

But two weeks after Chicago, I’m still not able to run.  I have nagging issues in my calf/shin area.  As far as I can tell, it is just muscle tightness, but it is pretty annoying.  I’m doing all the usual rehabbing efforts, but I have to keep in mind that supposebly it will take 26.2 days for me to be all better.

Luckily, I don’t have anything to train for until the second week of November, so I’m able to not run without affecting any future race times.

I’m trying to really enjoy this time off, but boy am I really taking it off.  My workouts have included walking the dog, “weight lifting” (and by weight lifting I mean squats and curls), a single elliptical workout and my 1st swim lesson (attempting to put my head underwater without plugging my nose with my fingers…I think progress was made!).

I’m amazed at how sluggish I’ve become just from not working out regularly.  I always feel tired and I can feel my body slowly getting more lard-esqe.  Luckily I think I’m over the post marathon blues because of the excitement over the upcoming holiday season (OMGSOEXCITED), otherwise the combination of not working out and depression might have driven me to eat lots and lots of ice cream and potato chips.

On the plus side, all this lack of activity has given me the chance to reflect on what I’m going to do now that Chicago is over and establish what my goals are for my upcoming races.

First, in mid-November I will start half marathon training for Rock n’ Roll Arizona (January).  I’ve decided I want to train into running a fast half (1:35 or 7:15 average pace).  9 of my marathon miles were sub-8, so I feel like this is a reasonable goal to reach for.  It will require a lot of speed work (more 400’s instead of 800’s! Hooray!), but it is nice to have a base established.

I will start training for Boston the week following Rock n’ Roll.  I want to have a completely separate training plan for each of these races.  Instead of the 16 week training cycle, I’m going with a 12 week cycle.  After a training into a fast half, I should have the speed, so I’ll just have to work on re-building the endurance and focusing on becoming a strong downhill/uphill runner.  Unlike Chicago, Boston is not flat.  That little tiny hill felt epic at the 26 mile marker at Chicago.  I’m dreading the Newton Hills.

I’m not quite ready to call my Boston time goal.  I obviously want to put in my best effort and train hard.  EVERYONE is fast at Boston so I’d at least like to not feel like the one slow person in the bunch.  But now that I’ve qualified, I don’t know if I want the same pressure to hit a certain goal. I kind of want to see how Arizona goes before I start thinking about whether I’m ready to prepare for a sub 3:30.

I do also want to learn to swim by the end of the year, per my bucket list.  Saturday showed that I really have a looooong way to go.  But with coach Aaron leading the way (did I mention he’s also an accomplished swimmer?) and a new-found confidence that I can do anything I put my mind to, I think it can be done.  I’ll consider myself sufficiently schooled in swimming if I can make it across the pool and back using proper free-style stroke, and employing a solid breathing strategy that doesn’t include keeping my head above water at all costs.

I also want to get back some of that muscle definition that I’ve lost ever since I started running half marathons last year.  It was near impossible to do any quality weight lifting while training for a marathon because my muscles always felt fatigued, but now that we’re back in half marathon land for awhile, I want to focus on a supplementary workout program.

I’m also excited (surprised but excited) to see most of my marathon buddies signing up for a second round! We must all be nuts.  But it will be awesome to follow everyone’s training again come spring!

What’s your winter/spring race schedule?  (or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere…your summer/fall schedule!).  

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Marathon Reflection Monday

So this is kind of a super late Marathon Reflection Monday.  I just couldn’t get into writing today.  Sorry.

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I survived 24 miles this weekend!

I got in my first ever 16 mile run on Saturday, and then finished off with 8 miles yesterday after taking 3 days off from running last week.

Aside from some muscle soreness in my calves, everything appears to be working just fine, even my IT band! I slapped this sexy beast on during my run, and it seems to have worked.  Aaron called me on Friday to tell me that he bought me a present! Turns out it was this.  True love.  That’s a picture of my leg by the way.

All of the extensive rehabbing I’ve been doing has helped too!

I’m sad that I missed a tempo run on Thursday, because tempo runs are actually my favorite speed training workout (probably because they don’t involve sprinting up a quarter mile hill followed by a deep wave of nausea).  But, I think sacrificing was necessary for healing.

Aaron did the 16 with me, but opted out of the 8 yesterday.  He’s feeling much stronger, and should be back on a regular schedule here soon.

Saturday, we finally got our act together, woke up early, and started the run at 6:30 instead of 8:30.  Amazing how much cooler the world is at 6:30!  Though, of course when we finished at 9, things were getting hot and sticky.

At mile 8, we ran into a gas station, and I used the restroom while Aaron purchased some Gatorade.  Because we chugged down the Gatorade, I actually didn’t fuel with any Clif shots.  I usually don’t take more than one gel per workout anyway (this will probably change once I hit the 20 mile mark), but I didn’t really feel like I needed anything extra.

I forgot the body glide on both days, but luckily I had no chaffing anywhere!  I consider this to be pretty lucky.  Thanks, Lulu!

I’ve been doing my long runs at a solid “cruiser” pace, and I’m excited to see the cruiser pace drop each week!  I am exactly where I want to be at this point in the game.  With 11 weeks left to go, I really think that 3:30 marathon is achievable!  At the very least, I’m still in the running!

I still do have a long way to go however.  At 14 miles, I started experiencing a fatigue unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It wasn’t a lack of energy, but my legs just started to feel like jello in a way that felt way more literal than I thought possible.  At one point, I had to wait for some cars to go by at mile 15.5, and starting up again was pretty much one of the hardest mental tests I’ve ever had to endure.  But this is good.  I need to have experience with the mental push.  My pace didn’t drop during the last two miles, so I guess I have muscle memory to credit.  Just keep running!

Also noteworthy: Even though I still have 11 weeks to go, I’ve already started having marathon nightmares.  The other night I dreamt  that Boston was releasing the 2014 qualifying times at the same time that I was running my marathon. I finished in 3:32 (YAY!) only to find out that the qualifying time for my age group had gone down to 3:28.  Bummer, dude.  And then to top it off, my tweets that I was typing weren’t posting, so I couldn’t even vent to you guys about it. In another dream, I missed my flight because I decided to run a 5-K at the last minute.

THINGS THAT WENT WELL:

Rehabbing: I’ve gotten pretty good at the whole process.  And it has worked!  I seem to have stopped what was trying to become an injury. I hope that everything stays in one piece from here on out!

Speed improvement: At first, I was frustrated because I wasn’t going as fast as I was a few months ago.  But after working hard, I’m feeling much stronger and much faster.  I’m amazed at the progress I see every week!

THINGS THAT NEED WORK:

Cross-training: This seems to be an off/on week type of thing.  This week was an off week.  During my faster 8 yesterday, I could feel my belly bouncing around (EWE) instead of feeling strong and helping me go faster.  I bet you can tell how well the ab challenge is going…

Getting up earlier for long runs: Things felt so much better by starting out earlier in the morning.  Because the mileage just keeps getting higher, and temps won’t cool down for maybe 2 more months, I need to make sure that I’m not out past 10:30.

FitStreak with Allison:

Monday: Ran for 33:34

Tuesday: Ran for 30:00

Wednesday: Elliptical for 45:00

Thursday: Walked for 25:38

Friday: Walked for 25:43

Saturday: Ran for 2:26:19

Sunday: Ran for 1:09:42

I hope everyone had a good Monday! Mine was kind of nuts.  But it is raining! That’s reason enough to end the day on a high note!

 

 

 

Turpentine…and Texas? a.k.a Respect the Distance!

So, after Wordless Wednesday, I almost feel the need to spend some time explaining the pictures.  Is this what is supposed to happen?

If you couldn’t tell, I am really trying to do everything I can to prevent what feels like an imminent injury.  Though really, if I had spent more time doing this stuff in the first place, then I probably would not be dealing with any heel/knee weirdness right now.

While I wasn’t planning on doing a “marathon lessons learned” list until AFTER I actually finished the marathon, I’m pretty sure I’ve determined what Lesson #1 is.  Spend way more time “rehabbing”  and “preventing” then you think is necessary.  Twice a day at least. Rolling, icing, stretching, taping if needed.  Even when everything feels great.  In my (albeit rather limited) experience, there is a little bratty body part just waiting to give you grief.

I think the problem with reading running blogs as a hobby is that you start to really believe that EVERYONE runs marathons and that it is a completely normal way to work out.  If you take a step back from the computer and look around (assuming you aren’t in fact at a marathon), you’ll remember that marathon running is not “normal” and most people don’t do it.  In fact, as of May 2012, only half of 1% (i.e. .5%) of the population has finished one.

I knew going in that it would be a challenge, but I truly didn’t internalize that the process was going to be so hard on the body.  Looking around at various marathon bloggers, I have determined unscientifically that 100% have had some type of injury at some point.  Half Marathon training was not so bad for me.  Just some minor IT issues back in January, but nothing too crazy. And while a marathon appears to be the next logical step after getting comfortable with a half, I think I forget sometimes that it is TWICE the distance.  You are literally running for longer than it takes to fly across half the country.

I’m definitely not saying “don’t do it.”  Quite the opposite, actually.  I think it is possible to train for a marathon and not have problems.  My mistake was in not, as blog friend Dominick said the other day, “respecting the distance.”  (I’m totally quoting him out of context, but I think it applies regardless).  26.2 is  A LOT of miles to work up to and it will be hard on your body if you don’t take care of yourself, and as a first timer, I really needed to respect that.

Anyone want a hat to remind them? Source.

I started having annoying heel pain last Thursday/Friday.  Right now, I am icing it twice every day and taping it every night.  If feels mostly fine until I workout, and then it hurts for a little bit. However,  I think this is close to being cured.

Then Monday I started getting sporadic sharp (pretty uncomfortable) pains in my knee. After extensive Wikipedia/Web-MD searches (my favorite), and then confirmation from Aaron the Expert, I realized that EVERYTHING, including my foot pain is really stemming from IT band issues.  I’ve been rolling, icing, stretching, and wearing flat shoes.  I’ve also been wearing KT tape on it, but I’m not necessarily convinced that it is helping. Basically, it feels like I need to trade my entire right leg in for a new one.

I’ve had this talk before.  I keep having new symptoms in different places, but it keeps coming back to that one pesky IT band.

Two people have recommend these little bands to help IT issues.  I think I’m going to get one. I’m willing to try just about anything right now, including turpentine Volcanic oil (also used as lamp fluid, by the way).

I am taking care of it.  I’m very lucky to be married to someone who, for example, has taken entire classes on how to properly tape someone.  I’ve definitely taken it easy this week.  But I’m a little annoyed by it. And I hope my premature lesson learned can be of some benefit to someone else.

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In other, more happy news!!!

At some point in the next several months (being ambiguous so the evil burglars don’t come to steal my succulents), Aaron and I are taking a whirlwind road trip through Texas to visit family in various cities! We know all the stuff to do in San Antonio and Austin, but we are also heading to Houston (never been) and Galveston, which is a beach town, apparently.  I don’t know too much about Texas beaches (except of course not to mess with them!), but living in a landlocked region makes one slightly desperate for a beach, even if it isn’t the world’s nicest.  All I know is that I will be horseback riding my little behind on that beach so I can cross it off my bucket list!

Our big challenge (aside from not eating Texas sized meals all day) will be finding running routes.

If you have ever run in Austin, San Antonio, or Houston, do you have any recommendations for running paths/trails?

Any good “post run” eateries (or, you know, breweries) worth noting?  

And most importantly, any tips on running in what I’m sure will be crazy humid conditions? 

I hope everyone has a fantastic (and thoroughly preventative) Thursday!

Wordless Wednesday: Rehab Addition

So, apparently the thing to do on Wednesdays is go wordless?  I’m not typically a writer of few words (everyone nods head in agreement), but Wednesdays are randomly the busiest day of the week for me, so a quick picture post doesn’t seem like a bad way to go! (But even then, I still can’t do it right.  I included words.  Sorry).

So, here it is: Wordless (more or less) Wednesday: Rehab Addition! (you betcha I’m singing Amy Winehouse right now! They try to make me go to rehab, and I said No, No, No!).

(Also, the spacing looks completely normal when I’m in edit mode, but for some reason gets all screwey when it actually publishes.  Sorry for the excessive spaces in between pictures!)

{One of Aaron’s clients brought him this to try….LOVE doesn’t even begin to describe!}

 

 

{I wore flats in public for the first time in probably a decade today}

 

 

 

 

 

{A happy one! I’ll get to the beach this year after all! SOURCE}

Marathon Reflection Monday

Happy Monday and Happy July! Crazy, isn’t it? (and yes, I said the exact same thing when June rolled around).

I’m now a month into marathon training, and the mileage is starting to indicate that we are not in half-marathon land anymore, Toto.  Saturday I did 13 miles which is the longest I’ve ever run in a  non-race situation. And then I ran 6 miles the following day.  It seems like just the other day that 6 miles WAS the long run.  But surprisingly, my body seems to be taking it pretty well.  My legs are definitely tired, and there are some deep-rooted knots in my muscles, but I appear to be functioning as a completely normal person despite the increased mileage.  Hopefully I can say the same when I’m running 20 miles in just one month’s time (Doubtful.  Even just saying that made my stomach do a little flip-flop).

But all is not is sunshine and happiness in Lavender Marathon Country.

After the 10-K last week, Aaron developed tendinitis (I forget where, but his foot hurts), and after our 2.7 mile dog rescuing run last Monday that aggravated it more, he’s been out of commission.  As you can imagine, this is extraordinarily frustrating for him, but we’re glad that we still have plenty of time to make up for it, though essentially he’ll be having to start over in a few weeks once he’s all healed up.

He’s been sticking to bike riding, elliptical, and swimming while trying not to go crazy over not getting his runs in.  So I’ve been running on my own, which is something I’m not used to.  I started running so we’d have something to do together, so running by myself seems weird.  Though, it was nice on Saturday when he rode his bike along the trail during my 13 miler  because he was able to carry lots of water and provide it to me along the way! Hey there, water boy!

I guess all of the planning and training in the world is no guarantee that a little glitch won’t ruin everything.

So, this week, I’ve decided to switch up my tactic to this whole marathon thing.  Instead of focusing on every. little. detail, I’m going to take a big picture approach.  In other words, Amy is trying to take a chill pill.

I’ve had 4 really good races.  3 out of those 4 were run without a Garmin or other time keeping device.  2 of them were without following a real training plan.  I’ve never sat there and analyzed every little thing that I was doing right or wrong, and I certainly didn’t change my diet/ beer:30 habits. I figured that if I took that approach, I could go from the faster end of average to a 3:30 marathon, but instead, all I’ve been doing is driving myself INSANE and probably driving everyone else insane too. Nobody likes an OCD drama queen.

So I’m going to take a step back.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still going to push myself to the point of not being to go any further, and I’m still taking this whole thing seriously, and my goals haven’t changed.  I’m just not going to get obsessive over not hitting a certain pace on long runs (Dear Amy, get it through your head…LONG RUNS ARE FOR ENDURANCE, NOT PACE OBSESSION), or feel guilty over eating a cupcake at lunch because that might ultimately cost me my BQ.  (it won’t).  Trying to be perfect and then having a meltdown when things don’t go my way will not make me run any faster.

{Yes, I enjoyed every second of this cupcake and its banana salted caramel goodness with Zero guilt}

Push myself? Yes. Transform into Marathon-zilla? No.

{This girl’s form kind of annoys me}

WHAT WENT WELL:

1) Despite losing my running buddy, I’ve still kept up with my training! I haven’t had to run by myself outside of a treadmill since….college? So, this is a big step! I’m also prepared to use my kung fu training on any possible Amy-nappers.

2) Cross Training! I went to spin class last week! It was actually fun to do something completely non-running related.  I also started the 30 day ab challenge with Amanda from Run to the Finish yesterday.  I’m hoping to have some awesome abs by the time July is over!

3) Recovery. Me and the foam roller have reconnected, and I’ve added icing to my post run rolling/protein routine.

4) Hydration. Ever since I started drinking a Nuun after my longer/overheated runs, I haven’t had any dehydration issues, even though I am still running in 90 degree temperatures.  Highly recommend!

5) Making good food choices. In keeping with the “let’s give Amy a chill pill thing,” I’m not going to stress over what I’m eating as much as I was (truthfully, I was still eating cheeseburgers but feeling horribly guilty about it.  I don’t want that kind of relationship with food).  I AM making better choices.  For example, we went to an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet yesterday, and I really wanted a second serving of the  chicken masala, and I totally didn’t go back!  Also, surprise! Chicken masala sauce has flour in it.  Let’s just say Aaron was not very comfortable digestively speaking while watching the Espana/Italia game yesterday (P.S. GO ESPANA! Those are my peeps!).

6) This is kind of irrelevant, but I ran 13 miles by myself with no music.  And I was ok with it.  I feel in some small way, this contributes to general bad assery.  Little victories!

WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT:

1) I have a tendency to get really tense in my shoulders when I run (if you haven’t noticed I tend to be a pretty tense person all of the time anyway).  I want to work on 1) building up shoulder/back muscles so they can hold their own and 2) RELAXING.

2) Sleep.  For some reason the last couple of weeks I’ve been having a hard time getting to bed at a reasonable hour and/or sleeping through the night.  So, I’ve been sleeping for 5 hours, loading myself up with insane amounts of coffee, and wondering why I have no energy all day.  If y’all could please stop being interesting after 8:00 pm MST, I would appreciate it!

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So, I hope you have a wonderful week! I’m loving the 4-day-ness of it, but having a day off right in the middle is stressing me out.  You’re so surprised, right?