Monday, June 21, 2010

One Week and Counting....

Next Monday at this time, I will have officially entered Marathon Training.  Usually I'm bursting at the seams to get started.  I have a confession though.  I kind of have an ambivilance heading into this cycle, which is not good.  You see, I've been tired. Worn out. Not sleeping well.  I don't know what the cause is?  I've pushed myself since January....perhaps it's my body's way of telling me I need a break.  Well, that's not going to happen.  Add to that my injury anxiety and I'm just plain dreading next week.  I don't feel confident at all about my ability to handle this cycle.  I've ran a total of 6 miles in the past week.  Now granted, I felt good and just a bit tight the day after, but it has me worried.  I intend on following the same beginner's plan I did last time.  That way I only have to run 4 days/week and I know I'll be prepared to simply finish.  My one and only goal of every race!  I keep thinking of myself running the marathon course and how great I felt running my first marathon.  I can only hope I feel that good this time!  I have this fear that all the stars were simply aligned perfectly last time and that's the only way I finished (despite not missing a single training mile/run).  I'm still also hoping I can find someone to share this journey with.  I know I can do it alone, but those long runs would be so much more appealing if I had someone to do them with!  I went back to the running group this past Saturday, so hopefully something will pan out there.  Otherwise I may be posting an add on Craigslist....I kid, I kid!  Anyway, any words of inspiration and motivation to get started on this new training cycle are greatly appreciated.  Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Running Vacation and Injury Woes

Let's begin this post at about 5:40 am, the Wednesday before vacation.  I've just completed the warm up at my Boot Camp class and now we're doing high knee drills (3, 30 second bursts) with a partner.  Except I feel an excruciating, tearing sensation in my left calf as I do my first set.  My calf immediately tenses up and I know something is wrong.  I know I complain about a lot of things and worry about every little twinge, but this was different.  It stopped me in my tracks.  My teacher instructed me to take it easy for the rest of the class (easier said than done, but I did get out of Indian runs) and ice it as soon as I got home.  Like the paranoid person that I am, I did exactly as she said.  And then I googled "calf strain".  Most information indicated that a 2-4 week rest period would be required for healing.  I could see myself getting fatter by the day.  How was I going to make it 2-4 weeks without any form of vigorous exercise?  I did Jillian's Yoga Meltdown that Thursday and then took it easy at Boot Camp that Friday.  My calf felt better and I only noticed twinges of pain every once and awhile.  I figured if I didn't run on Saturday, I'd be all set to be able to run on vacation.  Perhaps this wasn't a significant injury afterall!  I was really looking forward to running on vacation 1) because it was someplace new to run 2) it was my only form of readily-accessible exercise. 

So my first morning in Hilton Head, I set my alarm for 6:10am, hoping to avoid the heat and humidity of South Carolina.  It was 79 degrees with high, high humidity. No such luck!  I headed out with my handheld water bottle and figured I'd see how I felt and go from there.  Well, I felt great, so I just kept running.  Around 3-4 miles my calf started getting a bit tight.  By 5 miles it was a big old knot.  I ran/walked that last mile, to round out a 6 mile run.  I was a bit disappointed and knew that if I had stuck to my original thought of doing only 3-4 miles, I'd feel fine.  Of course while running, I realized I had missed 2 runs last week and was going to fall short on my goal of 1000 miles this year, if I didn't make them up.  Running math is always a bad idea for me, but somehow I figured that if I ran 5 miles every day of the week, I'd only be a few miles short.  I stretched my calf really good when I got home from that first run and went about my day.  Day 2 of vacation starts out the same way, except this time I decide to run out on the beach.  I get my 5 miles in and feel good.  Day 3, same thing.  Day 4, I get up a bit later than usual, and head out the other way on the beach.  I come to a dead-end of sorts at about 1.5 miles, so I turn around.  I figure I can always make up the mileage on the other end of the beach.  Except by mile 3, my calf is starting to hurt again.  I stop and stretch and end up run/walking the last few yards.  I was really bummed that I ended my run early, but knew it was probably best.  Day 5 arrives and I decide to try out a new path and only do 3 miles.  I tell myself that perhaps it's better to get a planned short/good workout than a shortened/bad workout in.  My calf is a bit tight by the end, but no big deal.  Well fast forward to about 4pm that afternoon.  My five year old insists I do a "cannon ball" into the pool, and I gladly oblige.  I get a running start and jump off, yes on my left leg.  To which I let out a scream and grab my leg as I make a huge splash into the pool.  The intense tearing sensation returns and my whole calf tightens back up into a gigantic knot.  Oops. I hobble around the rest of the night and decide that there will be no run in the morning for me! 

As I lay "lazily" in bed the last morning at the beach, I realize that I am indeed the stupidest person on earth.  Why did I ever think running every single day would be good for me?   Even during my last marathon training, I only ran at most 4 days/week and only 2 of those days were back to back.  I'm pretty annoyed at myself, because come June 28th, my next marathon training is set to begin.  I try not to think about it, hoping that this injury will resolve as quickly as the last.  I knew I wouldn't be able to work out for the next 3 days, so I hoped that would give it a good rest.  I come home to find the latest issue of Runner's World waiting for me.  As I flip through the pages, I get confirmation that I really am the stupidest person on earth.

1) I exceeded the 10% rule.  I ran 6 miles the week before vacation, 23 miles the week of vacation.  Oops.

2) Running on the sand is harder and can lead to injury if not done properly. Start slow, take walk breaks and gradually increase distance.  I did none of these things.

3)  The softness of sand can strain muscles and tendons because they're stretched further than when running on a firm surface. Hmmm.....

4) Run early, before the sun gets above the horizon.  6:30am was not early enough.

5) Let injuries heal completely. So I made this one up.  But it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?!

So what's in store for this week you might ask?  I did low-impact aerobics/weight training yesterday and felt pretty good.  I attempted a 3 mile run this morning, but my calf wasn't having it.  I ended up walking the whole thing.   The bright side of my husband being gone for the next few days is that I can't go out and run!  I plan on sticking with yoga and weight training and *maybe* attempting a short run on Saturday.  We'll see.  I guess I'm torn with what to do.  I don't want to lose all of my running fitness going in to marathon training, but I don't want to risk further injury either.  I'm thinking a visit to the Sports Medicine clinic might be in order?  I really just don't know what to do.  I've never had an  injury that I just couldn't "push through".  It's frustrating and annoying and I see people freely running and wish it was me.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to run freely again?  On top of all that, it's also new shoe time.  I have about 434 miles on my current shoes.  I'm thinking of changing brands again.  And I'm thinking I may visit a podiatrist to make sure I'm in the right shoes/inserts. I want to start this marathon training out right!  But seeing as I don't actually have any foot issues now, not sure how I'd get in to see a podiatrist.  Perhaps that means my shoes/inserts are okay?  See, I really am a worrier at heart.  My list could go on and on, really....but why bore you with all that in this already novel-length post?  Anyway, thanks for the "running lunch" tips from my last post.  At this point, I'm just hoping I can run at lunch!  Go out and enjoy your run for me never know when it could be your last! :-)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The "running" lunch

As eluded to in my last post, my dear, sweet hubby is not too happy about me training for another marathon.  I'll admit....last time it was all-consuming.  I think I've gotten better with each training cycle, but he still begs to differ.  So as to minimize impact to his exercise schedule and for the sake of keeping him sane and healthy, I think I'm going to try to do at least 1 run/week during my lunch break.  This never would have worked at my previous job.  Going to see patients after sweating it out in the 80-90 degree heat would have not been good!  Thankfully at my new job, I don't have to see patients and my cubicle is a distance aways from the rest of the people.  I mean, I'm not like Milton in Office Space...they're not purposefully putting me far away from everyone.  The nurses share my cubicle area and since this is "home care" they're never in the office!  So anyway, I need some tips for the running lunch.  How do you clean yourself up afterwards without taking a complete shower?  Do you take your make up off before the run and then re-apply afterwards?  Maybe you just say to heck with makeup that day?!  Anything else I need to think about or consider before making this a part of my weekly routine?

Speaking of weekly routines, I did in fact go back for week #2 with the local running store's running group.  I only got there a few minutes early and didn't really have time to go around and ask everyone what their pace/plan was for the day.  The girls I ran with last week weren't there.  I was pretty sure I was going to end up running by myself.  And in fact, I did run the first 3 or so miles by myself.  I had hoped to get in 10 miles, so as a pair of runners passed me, I asked them where the turn-around point was for the 10 mile route.  About that time another girl came up and asked if she could run with me.  She also wanted to do 10 miles, but didn't want to keep up with the pair that had just passed me.  We ended up running the remainder of the run together.  She is a clinical pharmacist, so we had lots  in common.  I forgot to re-start my watch after one of the water stops, but I think our pace was around 9:30-9:40.  That's pretty good for me!  Of course she is training for a half iron man and running isn't her "strong" sport, but I was happy to have the company!  Sadly, I won't be able to go back to the running group until June 19th (my baby girl's 3rd birthday!), because of vacation.  To say that I am looking forward to this vacation is an understatement!  Our lives have been pretty stressful over the past year (hubby in school/working full time, me working part time/changing jobs, training, etc).  We are ready for some time away!  I don't dare say "relaxation" because there is no relaxation with small kids.  But at least I won't have to cook/clean/work for a whole week!  Hopefully the weather will cooperate for maximum beach time and the drive there and back won't be as dreadful as expected!  At the last minute, we've decided to drive overnight (maximize the kids' sleeping time).  This makes me incredibly nervous.  I know I won't be able to stay awake.  I'm just praying my hubby will be able to.  Any tips for that?  I'm also hoping to get some good runs in while there.  I know it's going to be hot and humid... Good training for my upcoming running lunches, I suppose!