Training Update

It occurred to me the other day that this training cycle is a lot different from other times I’ve trained. Typically, I have a good sense of how I’ll feel during a run beforehand. There’ll be a noticeable progression in my training. I’ll eventually get into a groove where I feel really ready–perfectly trained and prepared for a race. This time around? It’s not happening, folks. I never know how I’ll feel and can’t predict when I’ll have crazy pain vs. an amazingly loose, relaxed run. It’s a little disconcerting since the whole point of training is to feel prepared, and I feel anything but. Still, I know logging all these miles has to be doing something, right?

Positive self-talk. It's a thing.

Positive self-talk. It’s a thing.

It’s also time I thought about what I want that something to be. I’m hesitant to set a definite goal for this race since it’s the first thing I’ve trained for since the marathon that wasn’t, and I still don’t feel like my hip/hamstring are operating at full capacity. Still, I think I’m one of those people who always has a PR in the back of her mind–who doesn’t, right?–and would love to show myself that this training has done something for me. More realistically, I know a PR probably wouldn’t even be smart to shoot for given my injury. Instead, I have a more conservative time in mind that’s slightly slower (but still plenty fast for me) than my PR. And no, I’m not going to tell you because I’m too big of a wimp to put it in writing and have to face failure if I don’t meet it. (<–REAL TALK)


I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for this week’s training update, so let’s get to it, shall we?

Half Marathon #7 Training–Week 5

Monday: 4 miles @8:11

Tuesday: 4 miles @8:59, full body strength training

Wednesday: 7 miles w/5 miles of tempo

This run was particularly crappy. It was humid and hilly, and I generally felt like crap. Can’t win ‘em all.

Thursday: 4 miles @9:18; this workout

My hip was in bad shape for this run and continued to hurt pretty badly until Saturday morning. Lucky for me, Manfriend helped me stretch it out before my long run on Saturday. I can stretch it myself, but it’s a huge help to have some pressure on it to help it release. That, I can’t do myself. So thanks, MF.

Friday: REST

Saturday: 14 miles @8:03

Inexplicably fantastic run. I was absolutely spent by the end of it, but it did give me some confidence that I might still have my speed somewhere in there!

Sunday: REST


Here’s what else I’ve noticed: since I started my new job, I’m back at a desk all day. My hip doesn’t like it. At all. In fact, I’m generally uncomfortable sitting unless it’s sprawled out on the couch or floor. I stand up as often as I can and even stand at my desk sometimes, but it’s still pretty bad. Anyone else experience this? I’d love to know if you have any tips on how to deal.

BTW, if you really want the play-by-play for this training nonsense, feel free to follow along on the Daily Mile. Or not.

Training Update

Hey hey party people! Another week of training on the books, and I feel like I’m finally getting back into fighting shape. This week was the best I’ve had yet. As my dad always tells me, training works. Indeed.

Half Marathon #7 Training–Week 4

Monday: 5 miles w/Roo @8:27

Tuesday: 5 miles @7:50 pace <–where did that come from???

Wednesday: OMGawesome tempo run. Got that? I wanted to do 5 miles at or around 8 minute pace. Had the pup with me for the first 2.5 (1 mile warm up, 1.5 mile @tempo), but she did just fine. Dropped her off, and I was on my way for the rest. All told, the breakdown was this:

Mile 1 (warm up): 9:11
Mile 2: 7:55
Mile 3: 8:06 (dropped off the pup halfway through and 1/2 of this mile was uphill :/)
Mile 4: 7:42 (the downhill from mile 3 helped here)
Mile 5: 7:55
Mile 6: 7:33
Mile 7 (cool down): 8:55

But even more exciting than the pace I maintained is the fact that I did the whole hilly thing with NO PAIN. Party.

Thursday: easy 4 miles w/Roo

Friday: shopping in Georgetown REST

Saturday: 12 miles @8:27
The first half of this run wasn’t bad, but I was tiiiired for the last half. The humidity felt like a heavy blanket, and I was just done. Can’t be too bummed given how great I felt the rest of the week, right? Right.

Sunday: Unplanned REST day–lots of sightseeing down on the Mall, and I was Beat (yes, with a capital B) at the end of the day

So. What’s obviously missing? That would be strength training. I don’t even know how it happened, but I totally–unintentionally, I swear–slacked off. Back at it this week. Strength training is NOT optional!


Training Update

Week 3 of training is complete! This past week was a lot better injury-wise, and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that I didn’t do any speed work. I’ve noticed that when I try to push my pace, my hamstring cramps up pretty quickly and my hip gets tight, but if I keep it a little more moderate, I’m ok. This realization doesn’t make me all that happy, but at least I know I can run without pain even if it is slower than I’d like it to be. Here’s what happened:

Half Marathon #7 Training–Week 3

Monday: 4 miles easy, a lot of random strength training

All Over the Place Workout

Tuesday: 4 miles, easy; Absolute Power (abs) Workout

Wednesday: 6 miles, easy

Thursday: 10 miles with crazy pants

Are we seriously stopping for you to take pictures of me?  I just got bored.

Are we seriously stopping for you to take pictures of me?
I just got bored.

Running with Roo is somewhat challenging. She pulls on my arm the entire time, making it a little tough to stay loose and relaxed, especially over 10 miles. She enjoyed herself on this run. I did not. Even so, I didn’t feel sore because I was too busy wrangling her and kept my pace to 9 minute miles. Not as quick as I would’ve liked, but the absence of pain post-run made up for it. I also just borrowed a Gentle Leader to try on her when we run, and it’s like a miracle. But more on that later.

Friday: REST

Saturday: 5 miles easy, 4 sets of this workout

Sunday: this workout (same as Saturday), and Paula‘s Hurts to Laugh Abs <–kill me

All in all, a decent week. I’m much less sore than I have been, and while I hate that I can’t run as fast as I’d like to, I’d rather finish this upcoming race than run it fast. Right now, I’m focusing on staying healthy and enjoying my training sans speed.

Training Update

I know. I know. I’ve been away for a week. My uncle reminded me when he called last night and asked when I’d be writing a new post.

This blog’s for you, Uncle Jon!

The truth is, I had planned to blog, but, like, LIFE! You know? So here we are. He suggested a post about flowers, which would be lovely, however, maybe not all that interesting. Then again, that suggests that most of what I write actually is interesting. Debatable. So here are flowers:



And now, a training update. The whole training thing is still happening. Here’s the rundown:

Half Marathon #7 Training–Week 2

Monday: 4 miles easy

Tuesday: 3 miles easy with Roo yanking my arm off; This workout and this workout. Yowsa on the legs.

Wednesday: On deck: mile repeats. What actually happened was this: Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 9.19.40 AM

I tried to set myself up for success by waiting to do that last mile until I had gotten back on flat ground, but the heat got the best of me. As I reminded myself, running these quicker paces doesn’t come naturally to me. I know I can do it, but it is something I have to train for.

Thursday: 4 miles easy, upper body & core work

Friday: REST

Saturday: 11 miles, 6 of them painful . . .

Sunday: this workout, core work

So, that long run on Saturday? Not fun. It’s the hip/back/hamstring issue that I’ve had on and off for the last 14 months. What’s most frustrating is that I don’t know why it keeps coming back. After taking 4 months off, I should be good as new, but that’s not the case. I know it’s not broken because I had it x-rayed, but I’m not sure what else I can do to fix it. I guess it’s back to the doc. I know Amanda recommended Sports + Spinal Physical Therapy here in DC a while back, so I think I’ll look into them. But seriously? UGH! I’d like it if my body would just work, damnit! Getting older is the worst.

Training Update

I’m a little more with it today; juice cleanse = abandoned.

photo (4)

I like to think I’m a fairly intelligent person, but sometimes I do stupid things. This is a phenomenon my college best friend and I used to refer to as, “Book Smart, Life Dumb.” I had planned to do this juice cleanse and continue with my half marathon training, which is a really stupid thing to do. Before I even started the cleanse yesterday morning, I ran 4 miles, burning more calories than I would consume the entire day. I also ran a total of 12 miles over the weekend, so I’m sure I was still replenishing from that to some extent.

For now, I’m going to stick the juices in the freezer and perhaps I’ll do a 2-day cleanse when I’m no longer training. But for now? I have zero interest in the juice cleanse. Or in drinking anything that combines kale and apples. I know these people are professionals, but I would not pay to drink that again.

Moving on. Let’s talk training. I know this girl likes to share her plan for the week ahead, but I’m not that ambitious, so I’ll just tell you what I did last week. Cool? Cool.

Half Marathon #7 Training: Week 1

Monday: 4 miles easy

Tuesday:  3 miles easy, Elevated HIIT Workout

Elevated HIIT Workout

Videos: Elevated Lunge (+ a shoulder press), Elevated Spider Plank (w/o push-up), Assisted Pull-ups, Oblique Twist, Low JacksDancing Crab

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo run. My DailyMile entry says it all:

tempo runThursday: 2 miles easy, this workout

Friday: REST

Saturday: 10 miles @8:39 <–very proud of myself for keeping my pace nice and easy on this one!

Sunday: 2 miles easy

So that’s what’s happening with that. I really wanted to get in another strength workout on Sunday, but I wound up feeling pretty lousy in the evening, so I skipped it and watched 4 episodes of Ringer on Netflix instead. I am so cool.

Time to Train

Last night, I was looking through some old photo albums and came across some running pics from back in the day.

Heel striking like a boss since '96.

Heel striking like a boss since ’96.

So it appears this poor form thing is nothing new. It’s just that years of wear and tear are taking a bit of a toll. When I think about the fact that I’ve been running (somewhat) competitively since I was 12 (with the exception of a few years of injury-induced hiatus), it’s kind of a miracle I didn’t feel the effects of my heel striking on my joints sooner than last year.

However, it’s comforting to know that old habits die hard.

heel striking monument10k

Yep, that’s what was happening last weekend at the Monument 10K.

Still, I have my heart set on training for the Decker’s Creek Half Marathon on June 1. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a kick ass time and that I was going to let myself just enjoy the run. I want this to be a comeback race for me. I need this to be a comeback race for me.

I’d also be lying if I said I felt 100% confident that my hip/back injury was fully healed, especially since I’m pretty sure it wasn’t during my marathon training last fall. In fact, I probably made it worse. The 4 months I took off after the marathon (btw, every time I try to type that word, I type “marathong.” sheesh.) were absolutely necessary, and I’m sure they helped. My new found love of strength training is working in my favor, too. I’m a lot stronger now, and that has to make a difference in keeping things where they’re supposed to be. Still, I know I need to be careful.

The fact is this: when you heel strike, you put 2.5 times your body weight on your foot with every strike. That force travels up your leg to your ankle, your knee, your hip, your back with every strike. For a 30 minute run, we’re talking about 2,500 to 3,000 strikes per foot. I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to have that not affect your body in some adverse way.

I do still want to remake my form, but I know I can’t do it while I’m training. And horrible decision or not, I’ve decided to train knowing it could cause me to re-injure myself. I am, however, attempting to be smart about my training so that won’t happen. That means leaving my watch at home and taking it easy on the majority of my runs. One speed/tempo run per week is plenty, and my long runs have to be slower–at least 60 to 90 seconds slower than my target race pace. And strength training? Non-negotiable. I’m committing to at least 3 weight training sessions per week, plus core work. Finally, I have to make myself stretch. Must must must. Before and after–even if I don’t feel like it.

Even with slower runs (and shorter ones, too!), I know my training will still be intense and that I have to be very careful. But I also know that I’m ready to train again and that I can do it. gone mad

Thoughts on the Boston Marathon

On Marathon Monday, I’ve always been like a little kid. Even before I started racing myself, I was giddy with excitement to track my friends running the race, watch the live feeds, and vicariously enjoy the energy of the race from afar. Yesterday was no different. By 9 am I had the live feed ready to go on my computer, alerts set up to stalk track my sweet Richmond girls running the race, and an anxious feeling of anticipation on behalf of the runners. Racing is one of the most thrilling parts about being a runner, and to dedicate yourself to the goal of running a marathon for months and then have that goal come to fruition is (I can only imagine) beyond fulfilling.

If you’ve ever run a race, you know the incredible sense of community you feel when you line up en mass at the start. To know that hundreds if not thousands of people are coming together to work toward a common goal is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever felt. Lining up at the start of a race, you feel everything that’s exemplary and admirable about the human spirit. It’s like nothing else. And runners? We like everyone. Short, tall, old, young, expert, novice . . . there’s no discrimination. No one doesn’t make the team. Everyone’s invited.

Like everyone else, I watched in horror and disbelief at the scene unfolding yesterday. Such senseless sadness. And to attack a group of people who welcome everyone? To attack the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who came to support their mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends? Unreal.

The outpouring I’ve witnessed from the running community in the last 20 hours is remarkable, yet not surprising. You’re talking about people who run 26.2 miles for fun. We don’t mess around. We’re dedicated, focused, and tough. That’s why I know runners will be lining up at the start of races this weekend and every weekend after that for as long as races exist. Runners are fearless. We believe in what’s possible. We don’t quit.

Sending prayers and love to everyone affected.