Monday, August 16, 2010

Week 7 - The Little Engine that Could

Week 7 down, 9 more to go! I feel like that little old engine, from children's books, that just kept plugging away.  I’m not really sure what is going on, but I feel fantastic! I really hate to jinx myself, but I really do feel great. Perhaps it was because it was a “step-back” week and my long run was only 11 miles this week? The weather has been hideously hot and humid, so I can’t “blame” it on cooler temps. I’ve been stretching and rolling out my calves regularly. I still have some major knots in my calves, but at least they’re not painful anymore. Whatever the cause, I hope it continues, because October 17th is a long way away (in marathon-training terms).

Here’s the craziest part. Thursday I headed over to the local HS track to calibrate my new watch and footpod. This is a big sacrifice, because it means leaving my beloved Dingo at home. Well, it’s been too hot for him anyway and if the truth be known….he’s been driving me crazy. He wants to stop and pee all.the.time. I know it’s a stall tactic and I also know it’s likely a sign that he’s not enjoying himself. We got in about 10 miles together previous in the week, so it’s not like he hadn’t gotten any exercise that week. So anyway, with the Dingo at home, I headed to the track. I calibrated my watch just fine and as I was getting ready to leave, I decided I might just try a mini-speed workout. I only had 4 miles on the schedule that day, so I figured I could manage it no matter what. Of course being the speed workout-loathing- runner that I am, I know nothing about speed workouts! And then the Yasso 800’s came to me. And then came the dilemma in my mind. I’m going to be running at least the last half of the marathon by myself (my friend’s husband is running the half), so I’ve decided I want to join a pace group. The only problem with that is that for slow folks like me, they only offer a 4:30 and 5:00 hour pace group. I completed my first marathon in just under 5:00 hours. While I’m not competitive, I’d like to at least not be slower than that time! But with my injury status, I know that I very well could be slower than 5:00 hours. I also know that if I’m feeling good and comfortable with the 5:00 hour pace group, I may not want to leave them! For the sake of training and the Yasso 800’s, I decided to try for a 4:30 split. My first split was 3:58. My second split was 3:54. Sweet! And then the HS soccer team starting pouring into the stadium and sat watching me, in silence. That was my cue to leave! I am way too self-conscious to have HS boys watching me. I could only imagine them saying to one another "did you even know that someone with such a big ass could run?"
I got home and started researching Yasso 800’s and found out that ideally, you should be able to work up to and complete ten 800’s at your desired pace to accurately predict your marathon finishing time. You should also start about 7 weeks out from your marathon. Man, was this a sign or what? So without much hesitation, I decided I would give it a try. Going to the track was a nice change of pace, so to speak. Now to just get there BEFORE the soccer team! And so begins my relationship with speedwork. I have a pretty good record of long-term relationships (hubby and I will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary this Wednesday, 17 years since we started dating..yikes!). We’ll see how it goes.

This weekend I have 17miles on the schedule and am pumped! My running buddy will be back this weekend and the humidity is suppose to decline. I can hope at least! Until next week ~ Embrace Your Pace and Run Happy ~

PS - Check out the link to to sign up to receive your free sample of their new Energy Gel Blasts. I'm always in search of a quick, tasty and most importantly easy on the tummy source of nutrition on the go.  Full review to come!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week 6 - Feelin' better

The respite from the hot and humid weather did not last long.  My weekday runs ended up being pretty warm, but I felt pretty good overall.  My left leg soreness slowly dissapated and was completely gone by my run on Thursday.  My Monday and Thursday runs both increased by one mile, as did my long run.  I ended up with just over 28 miles for the week.

 I was most relieved that the 15-miler on Saturday went well.  I started on my own, running about 4 miles to the running group.  There I met up with a friend who was gracious enough to slow down for me, and we did another 5 miles.  Thank goodness she was with me because the other members of the group were speedy and there were lots of turns on the route!  I would have ended up lost for sure!  At 7:00am we met up with the rest of the running group and I ran with yet another friend.  She's exactly my speed and we get along great!  I only had 6 miles to do though, and she needed to do 10.  Her race is exactly one month before mine, so we're on slightly different schedules.  On my way back to the running store, I ran with a mother who had come to the group for the first time.  She had her 2 girls (ages 2 years and 9 months) with her, in the jogging stroller.    Let me tell you, she gets the gold medal for the day!  Although the morning had started off nice and cool, when the sun came up, it got hot fast.  And as those of you that have ever pushed 2 kids in a jogging stroller know, those suckers are heavy!  About 5 minutes into our jog back to the store, the 9 month old starts screaming.  And so begins the cheerios/goldfish/puffs dance.  And then the singing.  And finally she just had to stop and nurse her baby.  On the side of the road.  I felt bad for her, but it was rather awkward, so I went ahead and finished the run by myself.  Now, I am all for nursing your babies...I mean I nursed my sweet little Caroline for 15 months!  This mother was essentially a stranger though and I thought it would likely be more awkard for her, if I had just sat there and watched.  Perhaps that was poor running-etiquitte on my part?  In any case, she was super nice about it all and had the patience of a saint!  I hope she comes back (although she was pretty slow with the jogging stroller and ended up running alone 80% of the time). 

As for my calves...well, they're marginally better.  I think using the slant board throughout the day has helped, as has The Stick massages.  Yoga-Fridays have been a good thing too.  It's still hard for me to call that a workout though (although my Jillian Michaels yoga DVD definitely makes you work up a sweat).  I like having "fresh legs" for the long runs, so this routine will stand.

As for next week.  Weekday mileage stays the same and it's a step-back week for the long run.  Yahoo!  I definitely like the step-back weeks mentally, if not physically! Until next week ~ Embrace Your Pace and Run Happy ~

Thursday, August 5, 2010

3 Things Thursday!

Surprise!  Mid-week (non weekly-recap) post!  Just 3 quick things that have come up over the past few days. 

1.  I love Garmin's customer service.  I mailed my watch with a torn strap (and subsequently broken start/stop button thanks to an attempt at gluing the strap back together....yeah....super glue rolls) back to them last Tuesday and received a completely brand new one in the mail yesterday!  G Money and I will be un-stoppable now!  I felt so naked running without her on my wrist!

2.  I took advantage of's sale back in June.  Unfortunately, I haven't been happy with their skirt.  It seems cheaply made (in comparison to my one) and the exterior pockets are useless.  I tried putting my phone in the pocket and it sagged down to my thighs.  Not a good look!  It is super-comfy though...if you don't mind hiking up your skirt every 5 minutes.  Perhaps it's too big?  I  was in between sizes, so opted to go bigger.  Oops.  This skirt will remain a 0-5 mile run skirt.  I don't think I could stand it any longer than that.  Such a bummer!  It's pretty cute!

3.  Custom orthotics are in my future!  I went back to the podiatrist today and since my pain had only improved ~50%, he thought we might as well try the custom orthotics.  I had to take my kids with me to the appointment.  They were complete angels!  It helped that they had me hoisted up to eye level in a chair and the doctor was "playing" with plaster.  That's big fun for little kids!  I just hope they're as much "fun" to run with.

Well, that's it for now.  15 miles on deck for Saturday morning.  Bring it on!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 5 - My calves will be the end of me!

Week 5 started off to a much better start, thanks to cooler temps and lower humidity.  Such a relief!!  I even completed both of my "assigned tasks" from last week.  More to come on that later, though.  My weekday mileage stayed the same, with a 2 mile increase of the long run on Saturday.  I felt good through the week.  My calves didn't bother me.  I've been using The Stick every night and although I can still feel some knots in my calves, they're no longer painful.  I shipped my Garmin back to the factory for some rehab on Tuesday.  I feel so naked, running with out it!

Thursday I had my appointment with the podiatrist.  I really just wanted to get my toenails checked out and see if there was anything I could do to stop them from falling off during each training cycle.  Turns out I'm "slightly flat footed" (doctors words, not mine), in which I've been wearing a neutral/stability shoe.  My 2nd metatarsal has taken on extra pressure because of it, causing the bone to thicken (he took 3 x-rays), and the nerves to become agitated and basically hurt!  My calves are also very tight (go figure....) which causes me to draw up my toes in my shoe and my toenails start to take on pressure.  Thus, I lose toenails.  In addition, my right leg is longer than my left. that why my left hip and knee bother me after long runs??  So after rigging my current insoles to allow for my toe issues and inserting a heel lift in my left shoe...I'm all set.  The best part however, came when he insulted my shoe choice.  And I quote...."I suggest you start choosing more mature shoes", in reference to my adored-Sperrys. Whatever.  I wore my running shoes/insoles/heel lift that whole day and had no ill-effects on Friday..

Saturday morning, 5:00am rolls around and I get out of bed to do my 14-mile long run.  We were leaving for an overnight trip to Columbus with the kids and my in-laws at 8:30am, so I had to get out there early to get it done.  The dingo accompanied me for the first loop (8 miles).  About 2 miles in, the rear, outer-aspect of my left hamstring (where it inserts behind the knee) starts getting tight.  I figure the tightness will go away, so I just keep running.  All of the sudden I feel a huge cramp, move across the back of my leg (just above my knee) and up the back of my leg.  I walked a few feet, stretched, and then kept running.  It remained pretty tight the rest of the time, but the intense cramping subsided.  I made it around the first 8 mile loop, dropped the dingo off at the house, used the potty and then set off for the second 6-mile loop.  I took a GU at mile 5 and some Shot Bloks at mile 9.  It was a great morning for a run.  It rained very lightly a few times in the beginning, so as the sun was rising, a beautiful rainbow formed over head.  I got my inhaler Rx refilled and used it correctly (thanks to advice from my PharmD running friend/partner) before the run, and my lungs felt great.  My left leg/hamstrings were definitely not happy with me by the end of the run, but it wasn't anything I couldn't push through.  I stretched my legs really good afterwards and then iced my left hamstring.  I wore my Zensah calf compression sleeves in the car on the way to Columbus and then slept in them that night.  Unfortunately, walking around a museum all day with a 30+ pound 3 year old on your hip doesn't necessarily help matters.  I woke up Sunday morning and my entire left leg was achy.  Whoops...perhaps I shouldn't have done my entire run with the heel lift in for the first time.  The thing is pretty tiny though.  I never thought it would make that much of a difference.  Lesson learned!  There would be no rest for the weary (although my kids did sleep in until 9:30 am for the first time EVER) as we were spending the day at the zoo.  Nothing a little ibuprofen and some quality time with The Stick couldn't help with! 

All in all, it was a great week.  I was glad to get in some good runs.  I was second-guessing myself and my ability to run this marathon.  Being in the city where the marathon will be run and seeing the finish line area, etc gave me new excitement.  11 more weeks to go, baby!  Until next week ~ Embrace Your Pace and Run Happy ~