Thursday, December 31, 2015

A 1000-meter time trial and an easy run to wrap up 2015

Sending off 2015
It wasn't a shabby day today, training-wise. I hit the pool for the last swim of 2015, working in a 1000-meter time trial. After a snack, I went for a quick run to see how my IT band was feeling and also to round out the year with an even-ish number.

The pool was pretty full (everyone wanted to get in one last swim for the year, I guess) but I managed. After some drills and easy 200s, I did my 1000 meters in 25:00 flat, as you can see in my Garmin Swim in the picture. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that again if you paid me!

I didn't do a 1000-meter time trial last December, but I did do one in January in 25:32, a 2:33/100 meter pace. That puts me 3 seconds faster per 100 a month earlier than last season; I'm not at rock bottom, maybe just subsoil bottom. Either way, I'm in a better place to start and the only way to go is up, right?

I went out to run 1.69 miles to round up to an even-ish number for the year. 0.69 would have put me at 1140, but who wants to go out for less than a mile? I felt stiff, sore and slow, but my IT band felt fine. Maybe, just maybe, I can start to run a couple of miles once or twice a week. I'm going to get back into it VERY slowly because not running these past few months has been torture.

The year's not over yet, and right now I'm doing some pre-hab. Maybe I'll do yoga later. Depends on how crazy I want to get ringing in 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Going for a swim and cutting it close

Seconds to spare!
I swam today, hooray! The facility I use has street parking, and ever since Detroit installed these awesome parking meters with a compatible app — meaning I don't have to carry change — I find it MUCH less of a hassle to get down there.

Doing the math in my head, I calculated that I would have JUUUUUST enough time to swim a full 3200 meters, shower, change, and get back to my car before my parking session ended. Moving quickly, I made it back to the car with 29 seconds to spare. Boom.

Hey, if I'm paying to park for two hours, I might as well get my money's worth, right?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week in review Dec. 21-27: I definitely could have done worse

Not great but not bad considering the holiday.
Even though I had Christmas Craziness to contend with last week, I got a decent amount of training in.

My evenings were pretty booked: The company party followed by prepping for my department party took up all of Tuesday night, and I prepped my dishes for my in-laws' Christmas Eve brunch the night before, Wednesday. Literally less than a minute after I took the potatoes out of the oven, we got the call that a downed wire in the area would have to push brunch back a day. GRRRRR! However, it worked out for the best, as I spent all of Christmas Eve running last-minute errands and wrapping presents. My husband and I even went for our traditional Christmas Story Virtual 5K run on Christmas Eve.

I took Christmas Day completely off training (partly since we now had two family get-togethers to squeeze in) but was back at it on Saturday... until it was time to get ready to (finally) see The Force Awakens. Yesterday was the in-laws' extended family get-together, which was a ton of fun and baby snuggling. (I am a shameless baby hogger.) Plus, we still got home at a decent enough hour that I could wrap up leftover training from Saturday and even get some yoga in.

I feel like last week was a good mix of training and holiday/family time. I got enough activity to not feel like a blob, but still made time for celebrating. By the numbers:

Swim: Nothing this week. My evenings were pretty booked and the pool was closed for much of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day.

Bike: Twice on the trainer for 2:30 total.

Run: One very easy 5K in about 36 minutes.

Weights: One full run-through of my body/heavy routine split into two sessions, with my plyo moves following the second half, for about 1:15 total.

Pre-hab: One set of hip exercises and one set of glutes exercises for about 55 minutes total.

Yoga: Three sessions of my usual stretches for about 55 minutes total.

Total: 11 sessions for about 6 hours, 11 minutes.

Nothing spectacular but considering the holiday and related busy-ness, I'll take it!

This week will be more of the same. I have the week mostly off work (hooray!) so I'd like to do a lot of training during the day, but, um, I kind of slept in til 9 a.m. today, so the high-volume stuff might have to wait until tomorrow. Again this week the pool is closed for much of New Year's Eve and all of New Year's Day, so although I definitely want to go, it will take some schedule finagling.

The good news is the present wrapping, cookie baking and food prepping is all behind me. I'd like to get in some deep housecleaning, sleeping and dog cuddling, but hitting training hard is definitely a priority this week. I have to burn off all those Christmas cookies somehow!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Activity every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Something every day!
Well, some days barely made it on the board, but I fulfilled my goal of doing some kind of activity every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I didn't do anything yesterday on Christmas, since I was running around between families. But from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve I did SOMETHING, whether it was 15 minutes of yoga or a full day of riding on the trainer and lifting weights. I even got a couple of runs in there as my IT band gets its act back together.

I feel like this is the bare bones of what is necessary to stay in decent shape in the off-season. Of course I would have loved to do more of this, that and the other thing, with Christmas Craziness and a few evening work obligations, this was a decent showing. I'm getting back in the pool now and again and spending decent time on the bike. And getting some stretching in, too — usually when I don't have time to do anything else, but hey.

I feel like I'm off to a good start this season. Now, to do something every day between Christmas and Thanksgiving: That will be the real challenge.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A "pink nightmare" easy 5K

You'll shoot your eye out.
Every year for the last three years, my husband and I have done the virtual A Christmas Story 10K or 5K. You get a t-shirt, medal and other swag, and the money goes to support maintenance of Ralphie's house in A Christmas Story, my favorite Christmas movie.

You're supposed to run it on the day of the real race in Cleveland, but I figure as long as we do it before the end of the year we're OK. It was a nice, sunny day today, although a bit brisk and windy, and we headed out not long after a lazy brunch. I was worried about my knee and IT band, but we headed out at a nice slow pace.

I got to almost 2 miles before I got any twinges, and was careful to keep it nice and slow, so I never did get any actual pain. Yay! We finished our 5K and now we have the right to wear our t-shirts and medals.

I need to keep on with the glute and hip strengthening, but 3.1 miles was about 2.1 miles longer than I could run a couple of months ago without pain, so I'm calling it a success.

Merry Christmas to all of my readers and don't shoot your eyes out!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week in review Dec. 14-20: A workout buffet with the main helping on Saturday

A decent week.
I got off to a slow start training-wise last week, since I had a bunch of personal stuff happening in the evenings. Things calmed down by Friday and I went for a decent swim that night. I got the bulk of the week’s training done on Saturday, with riding my bike on the trainer, a weights video, plyo moves, the rest of my hips moves I didn’t finish the day before, and even some yoga. Whew!

I’m in the thick of getting ready for Christmas so I don’t know how much training I’ll get in this week. If I stick with my “at least a few minutes of something every day” vow, I think I’ll be OK.

Side note: I’ve successfully avoided most Christmas treats so far this year, save a sample of dark chocolate toffee (OMG) being passed out at Trader Joe’s yesterday and my true weakness, cinnamon and sugar roasted almonds, which someone left in our office today. I’m sure I’ll get PLENTY of junk food in the coming week, don’t you worry.
Lots of biking.
Here’s last week by the numbers:

Swim: One trip to the pool for 2800 meters in, and although this is embarrassing I’m posting it anyway for accountability, 1:16. I’m rationalizing this by adding that my “fast” sets are slightly faster than last time, and I’m taking a few seconds less rest on the intervals. I’ll get there.

Bike: Three times on the trainer, once for an hour each and one “long” ride of an hour and a half, for 3:30 total. These are mostly build for a while, do a couple of big-ring intervals, and cool down.

Weights: One video (Bob Harper’s Pure Burn Super Strength – holy cow was this hard) and one set of plyo moves for the first time in a LONG time, for about 1:25 total. I’ve been holding off on the plyo moves to not irritate my IT bands further, but they felt fine Saturday. Yay!

Pre-hab: Two full rounds of my hip moves and one full round of my glutes moves for 1:15. Ideally I’d like to get through each three times per week, but this is a lot more than the nothing I was doing.

Yoga: Two self-guided sessions of mostly bends, twists, pigeons, etc. for 40 minutes total.

Total: 12 sessions in just longer than 8 hours. Not too shabby, considering.

As I mentioned, I had “stuff” almost every night (haircut, meeting, etc.) during the week, but put in a full training day Saturday. By day, it broke down to:

Monday: 15 minutes of pre-hab.

Tuesday: 60 minutes on the trainer.

Wednesday: 25 minutes of yoga.

Thursday: 60 minutes on the trainer.

Friday: 5 minutes of pre-hab (I started and got busy with something else) and 76 minutes in the pool for 81 minutes total.

Saturday: 90 minutes on the trainer, 65 of a weights video, 20 of plyo moves, 10 of pre-hab, and 15 of yoga for 200 minutes total.

Sunday: 45 minutes of pre-hab.
Training day by day.
That breaks down to a full 41% of my training happening on Saturday. Whew!
A long Saturday.
I’ve posted about being a “weekend warrior” before, and honestly, as long as I work a day job that will be how I get the long hours in. Plus, I always feel good after a nice long day of working my muscles – and it’s nice to have a guilt-free, lazy Sunday, too.

Swim, bike, lift, yoga, pre-hab, repeat: Not a bad way to counteract the Christmas cookies and toffee.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mid/end-of-week check-in: Not a whole lot going on

Not a lot, but at least it's something every day.
This week was one of those weeks where I had something going on every evening after work. I haven’t done a whole lot in the way of training, but I am still going strong on my “something every day” vow. Yay!

Monday was a haircut (so I can dye it to cover all my grays before family pictures, haha) and a casual date night, but I still did my hip-strengthening exercises. Tuesday was a neighborhood meetup, but I still did my trainer ride afterward. Wednesday I had a personal committee meeting, and although I felt lousy I still did some stretching before bed. Thursday I got on the trainer again and promptly erased all my hard work by going out for a glass of wine and some ice cream. =)

The weekend has gone pretty well so far. Friday I kept with my tradition of hitting the pool in the evening, because I lead a party lifestyle like that. Today was a fully day of a long trainer ride, a weights video, and my plyo moves. I haven't done any plyo in a while because I was afraid it would irritate my IT bands, but it felt OK today. The weights video was ridiculous; I have really let a lot of strength get away from me.

I haven't tried to run since last weekend and I probably will take some more time off as I try to strengthen my hips and glutes back up. But I can sure get on the trainer and into the pool a few times a week.

I'm not putting in incredible hours, but it's something. I'm hoping to build that base back up and maybe preemptively burn off some Christmas cookies, too.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week in review Dec. 7-13: ’Tis the season (for getting back into a training routine)

Boom goes the dynamite.
Even “losing” Saturday to Christmas shopping with my mom (I am pretty much done, so it was well worth it) I had a decent training week last week. Bonus: It got up into the 60s on Sunday, so I went for an unheard-of-in-December outdoor bike ride. Yay!

Even with shopping and events taking up two evenings, I managed to continue with my streak of doing something, even 10 minutes of stretching, every single day. I’m currently on day 18 – wow! I didn’t realize I was doing so well until I counted it up. Go me!

By the numbers:

Swim: Twice, both in the pool, for 4600 meters in a little longer than 2 hours.

Funny story: Because I am super lame, I’ve gone to the pool these past two Friday nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. I got through my main set Friday and started my cooldown. Suddenly – foot cramp! I tried to flex my foot and swim with my arms, but then I got a calf cramp! Of course by then I was in deeper water. The lifeguard hustled over to ask if I was ok (good for him for noticing, I guess!) and I waved him off, told him it was a cramp, and laugh-choked on water because it was so ridiculous. I decided to pull the plug while I was ahead and got out without doing my cooldown. I took an extra few minutes to stretch out my cramps before I left the pool to make it clear to everyone “IT WAS JUST A CRAMP, I DIDN’T FORGET HOW TO SWIM.” Ha!

Bike: Twice on the trainer for an hour each, and once on the road for 22 slow miles in about an hour and a half.

Funny story: I was going back and forth whether I wanted to do a hassle-free indoor ride or head outside for what would probably be my last outdoor ride in months, even though I knew I would be cutting it short on daylight. I decided to do laps at the big city park, but then discovered my front tire’s valve was broken and letting air out. Did I want to use my last tube to go for one outdoor ride? In the end I decided yes, and I was glad I did. (Tubes are cheap, and I can always use the flat-changing practice.)

As it turned out, everyone had the same idea I did: It was probably going to be the last nice weekend day for months, so let’s go to the park. But for most people at the park, that meant racing and spinning out their muscle cars and crotch rockets. I was legitimately worried on my first lap around that I’d get run over by someone’s hot rod, but by the second lap the cops were out pulling people over and things had calmed down. Luckily I finished without incident.

I joked to my husband that I had to get my ride in around the Fast and the Furious 12 street auditions. He paused and asked, “Were they really holding auditions?” I laughed. No, but it sure felt like it.

Run: One run of 1.75 miles, on the road, in 18:10.

NOT a funny story: Well, I did get a test run in this weekend, my first run in over a month. I made it about a mile before my left IT band started bothering me; it was in actual pain by another quarter mile. It wasn’t so bad I had to stop, but it’s definitely not rested and rehabbed enough. I just have to be patient and be diligent about strengthening my glutes.

My husband and I have made a tradition of doing the virtual Christmas Story 5K these last few years; our medals, t-shirts and Ovaltine have already arrived for this season’s run. I plan on doing it for accountability’s sake, but will likely walk/jog it as easily as possible so I don’t have a setback.

Pre-hab: Three times this week for about 1:15 total, doing my hips moves twice and a full glute rotation once.

Yoga: Two self-guided sessions this week for a total of 30 minutes. I have been doing some bends, twists, pigeons, etc. before bed when I can.

Total: 11 sessions in about 7 hours, 40 minutes.

I didn’t do any weight training and could have done more yoga, but overall, I’m pleased with the week. It included a little of everything, and I got some fresh air, too. Not too shabby and not a bad baseline.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Going outside to ride and RUN!

It got up to the mid-60s today. I've lived in Michigan almost all of my life and I don't ever remember it being this warm this late in the year.

I've been wanting to go for a quick test run to see how my left IT band is feeling. I promised myself a SHORT run around the neighborhood and set out right when the temperatures were climbing to the day's highs.

I got almost a mile in before I started feeling twinges in my knee. It wasn't so painful that I had to walk, but I slowed down a bit and tried to land as softly as possible. I feel like I'm on the right track, but I need to keep taking it easy and keep doing my pre-hab exercises.
Let's go for a run, Mommeh!
When I got home, the dogs wanted to go out for another mile or six, but alas, the side-to-side motion that comes with reeling in mutts wouldn't have been good for my knee. They'll just have to wait.

After a snack I decided to go out for a ride instead of suffering on the trainer even though I would be close it with shorter daylight hours. I almost pulled the plug after I was getting everything ready and discovered the tip of the front tube valve was missing, meaning there was nothing keeping air in. I debated using a fresh tube on what would probably be my only outdoor ride for months, but decided eh, f it. Tubes are cheap.
Riding outside! In December!
I did a few laps of a nearby island park until it started getting dark -- in all it was about 22 miles. Not too shabby! Nothing fast, but it was nice to get out in the fresh air. Hopefully I won't have forgotten everything by the time spring comes around.

It seemed like everyone else had the idea of getting out to the park, so I had to dodge quite a few motorcycles and muscle cars. But things quieted down after the state police started pulling people over, and I didn't get run over. So, a win!

Sadly, temperatures are looking more winter-like as the week goes on. But I should be taking more time off running anyway, so no great loss. Plus, if the weather holds I can take the mutts on nice long walks outside, guilt-free.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Evening swims: So far, so good

Just keep swimming.
Last season, I woke up (well, tried to) four days a week at 4:30 a.m. to swim or ride my bike on the trainer on alternating days. This season, I decided that waking up at 4:30 a.m. sucks and I don’t want to wake up that early ever again unless the bed is on fire or I have to catch an early flight to my tropical vacation.

So, I took a hard look at the schedules for all the pools I have access to, and decided to try to make a couple of hours in the evening work a few days a week. I’m still on a hiatus from running, my preferred evening activity, so the time is now.

Verdict: So far, so good. The pool closest to my house is one of the few 25-meter pools in the area, and since that facility has a separate family pool, it’s not grossly warm like the one near my office. I tried to time my swims so I’d have a bit more than an hour before it closed for the evening, and that was just about perfect for avoiding a million kids and crazy parking situations.

It does take a bit of schedule finagling to make it work. I prefer a late dinner, but have been eating an early mini-dinner an hour before I leave and then another mini-dinner or big snack when I get back. And by the time I get home, refuel, log my swim, finish getting ready for bed (ain’t no shame in putting my pajamas on at the gym), etc., it’s past my bedtime. So I’ll need to rein in the dawdling a bit.

It’s early yet, but I’m hopeful the shakeup will get the season off to a good start. Maybe I can shave a bit of time off my swim while I’m at it.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week in review Nov. 30-Dec. 6: It was almost like a real training week!

Getting some training in -- finally!
I made a commitment to do something, anything, every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it is starting to show in my training numbers. I actually had a decent week, for the first time in a while.

I’m nowhere near race ready, and I think I’m going to give my IT bands one more week of rest before I try to run again, but I feel like I’m getting there. Finally!

By the numbers:

SWIM: Yes, I got in the pool! I did a laughably slow 2000 meters in just under an hour (to be fair, this includes about 400 meters of slower drills), but for my first swim since August, it felt pretty darn good.

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 3 hours and 15 minutes total. This was two 1-hour rides and a “long” ride of 1:15; I’ll keep adding 15 minutes or so to one ride every other week or so until I’m at an actual long ride length.

Weights: I did some of this, too! One run-through of my heavy weights/body weight routine (pullups, pushups, squats, deadlifts, abs, etc.) in about an hour. I am long overdue for this, too; I could barely move my arms or sit down the next day.

Pre-hab: I got through my whole cycle (hips, glutes, ankles, arches/feet) in two parts through the week, which took me about 1 hour, 45 minutes total. Since I did the exercises in fits and starts this is my best guess.

Yoga: Two sessions of my usual bends, pigeons, twists, etc. for 45 minutes total.

Total: 9 sessions in just less than 7 hours, 45 minutes.

I am happy to be moving again, and I’m happy that I’m feeling more like myself again. I want to keep building on this momentum to make this “off-season” a “pre-season.”

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Finally, a pre-hab circuit

Wobble Board-ing my ankles.
This week was the first time in a LONG time, probably months, that I got through a full circuit of my pre-hab exercises: hips, glutes, ankles, arches, etc.

(Hips and glutes to try to get my IT bands back in shape, ankles and arches because I have flat duck feet, etc.)

I am already sore from my first heavy (well, "heavy") weights lifting in a long time yesterday; now all the small muscles in my lower legs are protesting, too.

But I love it. A few sore muscles now means a strong race season down the road, hopefully.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I swam!

I'm back in the water, again....
You guys! I swam!

It's been months, literally months, since I went for a swim. I'm not really a swimmer and look forward to a post-season pool break, but for the last few days I have been looking forward to getting back in the water. I did 2000 meters very slowly, but it felt good.

Yes, my wild and crazy Friday night was going for a swim and being excited about it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November was definitely an "off" month

Muttley helping me go over my training logs.
November was a disaster when it came to training and eating, so instead of doing a regular month in review, I’ll just do a few quick hits to compare it to October:

Bike: I got on the trainer one fewer time (from three to four), but was on there for a half hour longer overall. My behind is once again getting used to being in a bike seat for an hour at a time.

Run: Only ran one time this month, compared to three in October, for 29.2 fewer miles. My IT band managed to make it through two shakeout runs and a marathon last month, but my luck didn’t hold this month, sadly. I did 1 painful mile and cut my losses. Rest, rest, rest.

Yoga: Only one fewer time this month, although I did a lot less time overall. I definitely was more dedicated in October, in a desperate attempt to get my glutes and hips able to last for a marathon.

Pre-hab: Five times this month, down from seven last month, but a lot less time overall. Again, like yoga, more dedicated last month for the marathon.

Weights: Hey, I lifted weights this month! Even if it is one session, last month was zero sessions, so I’ll take the improvement.

Overall, the jump down in time from October to November was about half, mostly due to the fact that I only ran a mile. Considering how crazy the month was with Thanksgiving, vacation and everything else, I’m OK with that. 

With an "off" month, there's nowhere to go but up -- and December is already looking good.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A quick weeks in review for Nov. 16-22 and 23-29

I’ve had my fun, and now it’s time to get back to work.

My vacation is over. Thanksgiving is over. My husband’s and my birthdays are over. The two-week eating free-for-all is over.

Most importantly, the training lapse is over. I want to do something, even if it’s 15 minutes of yoga, every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. So far, I’m 5 for 5. Hooray!

It felt amazing to work up a sweat on the bike Saturday, and I could barely get through a Jillian Michaels video yesterday. Oof – I have a lot of work to do.

But I know I can do it. I’ve been in varying states of “out of shape” many times before. With focus, commitment and more than a little stubbornness, I’ll be less out of shape before too long.

For posterity, the last two weeks in review:

Nov. 16-22

Yoga: 15 minutes

Yes, that’s it. It was a crazy week of celebrating my husband’s birthday and going on vacation – sadly, nowhere warm. I didn’t bother to bring workout clothes. I walked a bunch but not enough to count as traning.

Nov. 23-29
Hey, a nice variety last week.
Bike: 60 minutes on the trainer.

Weights: 55 minutes of a more-painful-than-I-remember Jillian Michaels video (No More Trouble Zones). I had to use 5-pound weights for 99% of it and had to modify all my planks. Several times, I was legitimately concerned I would barf. Let’s just say there is lots of room for improvement.

Pre-hab: About 35 minutes in two sessions, one of my hip-strengthening moves and one of the glute exercises not covered in Jillian Michaels’ torture session video.

Yoga: 20 minutes.

Total: Five sessions in about 2:50:00. A far cry from my heavier training weeks, but still! I'm moving in the right direction.

This coming week, my focus will be building on that success in two easy steps: 1. Quit eating junk and 2. Get my butt moving again. I am determined to make this December a healthy one.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Two birthdays, a vacation and Thanksgiving means I'm off the wagon

I've been slacking on my training for the last month, but over the last few weeks I pretty much stopped doing anything except eat.

First, it was my husband's birthday, so there was a lot of this:
Edible cookie dough -- my husband's favorite.
Then we went out of state for a wedding, so there was a lot of this:
One of many delicious breakfasts out on the road.
Then we took an extra day to get home, so there was a bit more of this:
Sugar, fries, drinks, and more sugar: Vacation food of champions.
Then it was Thanksgiving. We went out to a delicious buffet but I still baked and bought way too many sweets to enjoy back at home afterward. This was a small sampling:
Not proud to say I ate most of that pumpkin roll over Thanksgiving Day.
I wrapped up the week with my own birthday celebration. Instead of going out to yet another dinner, I decided I wanted to do this:
So. As a result, I'm pretty much back to square one. In the last month, I've gotten on the bike twice for easy spins, tried and failed to run one mile, and done a bit of yoga and pre-hab. And that's it.

I'm going to finish having my fun, and then commit to get back on track. I want to do SOMETHING every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I'm already two for two with a bit of yoga last night and my hip-strengthening moves today. I've washed out my bike shorts in anticipation for a ride tomorrow. I need to get moving again!

I'm still going to hold off on running for a bit longer, but swim, bike, lifting weights, yoga and pre-hab are all fair game. Now to get back into a regular schedule before I backslide much farther.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week in review Nov. 9-15: Not sucking quite so much

Still very low volume, but anything would be an improvement.
Well, it was still a crappily low-volume week, but just about anything would have been better than last week's 35 minutes.

I have all the usual excuses of a work event one night, family in town two other nights, picking up my car from the dealership another night, needing to bake a birthday cake for my husband, blah blah blah. Obviously I've really been struggling to get training back into my regular schedule.

I didn't try to run this past week. I decided I'm going to give it another good few weeks off, through my mini-vacation this weekend and the Thanksgiving holiday. I'll try again in December and if my IT bands feel good, I'll add mileage back in slowly. In the meantime, I need to get my butt busting (literally) on pre-hab glute moves.

Last week by the numbers:

Bike: One session for 60 minutes. I got almost to the hour mark before my IT band started hurting.

Pre-hab: Two sessions for about 40 minutes total. In all I did most of my glute moves and some hip moves, spread out through the week.

Yoga: Two sessions for 15 minutes each, just long enough to stretch out the hamstrings and hips.

Total: Five sessions for 2 hours, 10 minutes.

I'm still a LONG way from where I want to be, but taking it super easy for another few weeks isn't going to kill me. It may even end up being good for my IT bands in the long run. So I'm trying not to get too depressed and think of it as a slow comeback, instead.

Very slow, but still, a comeback.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

End-of-week check-in: Some tough decisions

Running shoes collecting dust in my home gym.
I haven’t had much to say lately, so I figured it was better to keep quiet rather than blather on about nothing.

I’m still dumbfounded by what on earth is going on with my IT bands. My right leg, which caused me weeks of pain and the inability to run more than a couple miles, has felt perfectly fine since my marathon a month ago. Now, my left leg is what leaves me in pain after too much effort running, biking or even walking the dog.

Obviously, I have some kind of fundamental imbalance going on. Obviously, I need to strengthen my glutes, hips, and probably all of my other muscles, too. Obviously, I have a job and a life that makes this difficult to do regularly.

Not to mention that I’ve barely cycled and haven’t swum a stroke since my aborted 70.3 in August. If I can’t run or bike, I should probably get into the pool again soon, huh?

Wah, wah, wah.

After a lot of thinking about whether or not there will be a “next season,” I made two hard decisions:

1. I’m not going to try for a January marathon. This makes me really, really sad as the one I wanted to do is on my sister’s birthday and a half hour away from her in Florida. But I am way behind any base building that would have to be done to get ready. Even if I bust out 6 miles this weekend, 5 more than I’ve done in the last month without having to hobble home, I’d have to nail every single long run and max out at an 18-miler. At this point, I think that’s asking a bit too much.

2. I am going to explore every other feasible alternative to waking up at 4:30 a.m. next season. This past season I tried to get up Tuesday-Friday at 4:30 a.m. and alternate going to the pool or getting on the bike trainer. I barely managed to make it work: I had to cook three meals during one frantic daily cooking session, I was always exhausted, and I rarely saw my husband during the week. I am something of an early bird, but that was pushing it even for me. The pool by my office is convenient, but not great. The pool closest to my home is great, but requires paid parking (or a ride to and from). I have another pool that may be an option, but it’s a bit of a hike out of the way. I’m not sure what to do yet.

I have put any training on the back burner recently because I have had, and will have, a slew of personal things coming up: Late nights at work, birthdays, a mini-vacation, etc. I can feel that my clothes are a bit tighter but, honestly, it's not going to be enough to make me skip dinner with a friend in from out of town, or have some of my husband's birthday cake next week. I'm out of town for a few days next weekend and I wasn't really planning on making training a priority until after I got back and probably after Thanksgiving. If I get some rides and lifting in, great! But I have more important vacation prep and holiday celebrating to do.

Hopefully, but the time my traveling, cake-eating and Thanksgiving gobbling is done, my knee will be feeling better and I can get back to it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week in review Nov. 2-8: Another pile of (almost) nothing

Another week maxing out at 35 minutes of training.
Another week down, another seven days of very little training.

It wasn't ALL my fault. I tried to go for a run last Monday, but very quickly my left knee was in quite a bit of pain. OK, so running is still out for the time being. Then I had an evening eye doctor appointment. Then my computer died and I had to waste an evening at the repair shop. I FINALLY finished up my volunteer project. Then a family friend was in town.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

This week was a simple...

Run: 1 mile in 10:16 to give my knee a test. It failed. I headed home. I also took the mutts for a nice long walk yesterday. That also hurt my knee. I'm very discouraged.

Pre-hab: Because the reason my knees are wonky is probably related to my lack of pre-hab, I did about 25 minutes of hip and glute moves one day this week.

Total: A pathetic 35 minutes.

Here's one more excuse: I am at work right now waiting for an evening event to start, so training today is pretty much out. But I have the whole rest of the week to try to ease back into my routine -- no more projects, no eye appointments, and no more evening events after today.

I'm starting to not feel like myself because of this almost-zero training. A few months ago I was putting in 15 hours a week of swim/bike/run! Maybe I am just depressed because it gets dark at about 4:45 p.m. now. This week, I really want and need to start getting back into a training routine, even if I can't run. My sanity needs it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October in review: Ugh. And, a running update

I worked out so little I can do these charts in minutes. =(
I’m a bit late (something I say a lot) for my October review, but don’t blame me this time – my computer was in the shop and I had to share with my husband, who uses his for his day job. Perfect timing, as I really needed it for a volunteer project I’m working on. Sigh.

Running update: I tried for one mile Monday night. It hurt. Funny how my right IT band, which had been causing me problems, feels perfectly fine. I’m sure this has to do with me putting pre-hab on the back burner again. I just need to carve out the time.

Anyway, October: A couple runs, a couple bikes, a bit of yoga and some pre-hab:

Bike: Four times on the trainer.

Run: Three times for 30.2 miles, the majority of that during the Freep Marathon.

Yoga: Five sessions.

Pre-hab: Seven sessions. This is almost twice a week, which isn't too terrible.

A far cry from my record-setting 187 miles a few months ago. =(

I'm really depressed about not running but I don't know what else to do except pre-hab and rest. Hopefully it will only take a few more weeks and I can get back into it. Otherwise, I may be spending a lot of time in the pool this winter. Yuck.

Here's hoping for a better November.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week in review Oct. 26-Nov. 1: A big pile of (almost) nothing

A light week, to say the least.
Guys, I have been having a hard time these past couple of weeks. I think that this might be the least amount of training minutes that I’ve ever reviewed.
It’s now 15 days after the Freep Marathon and I’m not even close to being back to my normal self. I was pleasantly surprised to run all 26.2 without any IT band pain, and I expected that I would be stiff and sore for a few days afterward. All the normal aches, pains, chafing and blisters lingered for a few days, but healed as to be expected. (And I did end up losing that toenail.)

Then, seemingly out of the blue, my OTHER knee started giving me a hard time. I have been afraid to run at all because just when I think it feels better, I start getting stabbing pain just from walking. It’s not quite in the location of my IT band and not quite under my patella. I dug out my patellar strap brace from years ago and tried wearing that, and it helped a tiny bit.

Combine that with my family coming into town last week – and of course celebrating my grandmother’s 80th birthday and other family stuff take priority over a few runs – and I have done pretty much diddly squat. Plus, it hasn't been a good week otherwise: My computer died and someone went on a shopping spree with my credit card. It's been one thing after another.

Anyway, last week:
Pre-hab: 15 minutes of hip-strengthening exercises.

Yoga: 20 minutes of self-guided movement, mostly for hips, hamstrings and back.

Total: A vomit-worthy 35 minutes. 35 MINUTES.

I really, REALLY want and need to get back into the swing of things. I need to figure out my knee issue and get running again. I need to get back in the pool and on the bike. I need to lift some weights and do my pre-hab and yoga. ... And while I'm at it, I need a couple million dollars and a few hours of additional free time, too.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week in review Oct. 19-25: Let's call it a week of rest

Yep, that's it.
Nothing much to report for last week. I got on the bike once for an hour, and that's all I did outside of a few casual dog walks.

I was still stiff and sore Monday after the Freep marathon. My knee actually felt OK, but a few days afterward my OTHER knee started giving me trouble. I have no idea. So, I'm not doing anything until it feels better. The rest of the week was errands, food prep, and everything else that falls to the wayside during marathon week.

I really do want to get moving again sometime soon. My mental health and dress slacks both demand it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thoughts about marathon training: I’m not getting any younger

Just in case you missed it the first time. =)
I have a lot of feelings about finishing a 26.2 I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do – most of them happy, but a few frustrations in there as well. That’s mainly because although I busted my butt with 20-milers last year and barely ran at all for the month prior this year, I still finished this year within a minute of last year.

At first glance, I assume I wasted all that time running 20-milers last year. BUT, I ran almost identical training plans for last year and the year before, and I set my PR in 2013 WITH all those 20-milers.

So, I did the logical thing and pulled all my old Daily Mile data. To summarize:

Progression of miles to one 20-miler 10 weeks out (I had said 11 weeks, but I think I miscounted)
Consistent high mileage weeks and a record-mileage July
Threw out SI joint
Re-progression of miles to one 16-miler 5 weeks out
IT band inflammation
Very little running with longest run of 4 milers in the month previous
Very little cross-training two months prior; very little strength, core, yoga, etc. entire running season with increased core and yoga in the month previous
Completed marathon in 4:29:46

Progression of miles to two 20-milers and one 22-miler three weeks out
No injuries, but much slower paces
Very little cross training, strength, core, yoga, etc. two months prior
Completed marathon in 4:28:54

Progression of miles to three 20-milers and one 22-miler 16 days out (!)
No injuries, and much quicker paces
Very little cross training, strength, core, yoga, etc. two months prior
Consistent high mileage weeks and a then-record-mileage September
Ended nearly every long run with a fast finish (!)
Completed marathon in 4:10:06

I think the takeaway is: Long runs, but not too long; high mileage, but not too high; fast finishes, but not too fast; and seriously stop skimping on the strength, pre-hab and core work.

I completely skipped the fast finishes the last two years (I had a hard time in the heat last year), and ran 20 minutes slower – probably significant.

I’ve done a combination of 20 and 22-milers, with varied results – probably not significant.

My PR came after my shortest taper – probably not significant considering the rest of that season’s training.

Cross-training falls off every year at the end of triathlon season, with varied results – probably not significant.

I had joint and soft tissue problems after ramping up my mileage to the most I’ve ever run – probably significant, especially as I get older.

Consistently skimped on strength and core work – probably significant, especially as I get older.

With four marathons just under 4:30, I feel that’s my sweet spot. I can have an OK season of training and be close that that. Is it good enough? You know, maybe it will be eventually, but right now, I know I am capable of faster. I’ve proven it twice with a 4:10 and a 4:11.

I know I have a 3:59 in me somewhere. It’s just coming up with the formula – and keeping myself healthy and uninjured – that will get me there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Detroit Free Press Marathon 2015 race report

This race.

After months of SI joint pain and then IT band pain, I almost didn’t start. My last 20-miler was 11 weeks beforehand. I had done a 16-miler 5 weeks beforehand. I quit my next two scheduled long runs early and then didn’t run for two whole weeks. My longest run the month beforehand had been a whopping 4 miles; that was one of only six runs that entire month.

But after two weeks completely off running I went for two test runs of 2 miles each, at an easy pace on the treadmill, and had no pain. So I was hopeful. I’m nothing if not practical, so I figured I’d give it a try to, if nothing else, not waste my hard-earned money. My goals were A. a PR, B. faster than last year, C. not set a personal worst, and D. finish upright.

I had a work event all day Saturday so I hit the expo about an hour before it closed on Friday. I picked up my packet, stocked up on Gu, and bought another t-shirt, commemorating the world’s only underwater mile. You hit mile 8 while running under the Detroit River, crossing from Canada back into the U.S., so I thought to myself, “I have to make it to at least mile 8 to be able to wear this shirt.”

By that time it was already getting late, so my husband and I decided to hit up one of the local casino’s buffets for dinner. I had a craving for sushi but also had the usual buffet fare of cheese, peel-and-eat shrimp, prime rib, mashed potatoes, and ice cream. Not the healthiest but it sure tasted yummy and there were plenty of carbs on my plate. =)

I was up early Saturday to hit the farmer’s market and make breakfast before my work event, which wrapped up late in the afternoon. I spent the next couple of hours updating my iPod, figuring out what I was going to wear, and gathering all my Gu, chapstick, earbuds, etc. I had a simple dinner of a hamburger and some fries ordered in from the local BBQ joint, and tried to go to bed early. I was tired enough from the day that I got a decent night’s sleep.

The race starts at 7 a.m. but I live about a mile and a half away, so I slept in until about 5:15 a.m., made coffee and microwaved a sweet potato, used the bathroom, etc. I ended up eating about half the potato and a banana with some sunflower seed butter, and started working on a bottle of watered-down Gatorade after I finished my coffee. I also took 600 milligrams of ibuprofen.

The weather was low 30s with decent wind gusts. Because I am a cold weather wuss, and because I knew I would be generating less body heat if I was forced to walk, I decided to err on the side of bundling up: I layered on running socks under wool socks; thin tights under thermal tights; a long short-sleeved tech tee, a long-sleeved tech tee, and a running jacket with a collar I could flip up; and thick gloves and hat. I figured if I really got too hot, I could just unzip my jacket and take off the hat. I had my bib attached to a race belt and a Running Buddy magnetic pocket to carry my passport (just in case), phone (again, just in case) and extra Gu and Sport Beans.

Side note: I deliberately picked the long-sleeved tech tee from the 2013 Freep marathon, when I set my PR. I figured I could use some of the luck that shirt brought me. =)

My husband dropped me off at about 6:40 a.m. and that turned out to be a bit too late. I had trouble finding a break in the gate to sneak into the corral, and people behind me were trying to cut in line. I was borderline rude in telling a lady behind me, “I’m actually trying to get through as well” when she tried to push through, but once the first waves went off the crowd thinned a bit and we all found our appropriate place eventually. I had registered to be in the four-hour corral, but jumped in around where the 4:25 pacer had lined up, and it was fine.

I still had about half the bottle of watered-down Gatorade and another banana, which I ate while waiting for my wave to kick off. Hilariously, I tried to throw the banana peel into a trash can outside the corral, totally missed, and almost hit a lady walking by. I apologized and luckily she thought it was funny. I’m sure she didn’t expect to almost be hit by a flying banana peel while waiting to cheer on her runner. Also, I lost a glove while waiting to start. I was ticked off because it was one of my favorite REI gloves; plus, what was I going to do if my hands get cold? Switch the one glove from hand to hand? Very luckily for me, I found it on the ground shortly afterward, only a few people over. Also, it randomly SNOWED on us for about two minutes as we were waiting to go. I was very happy for my extra layers.

Two countries, one race.
Banana eaten, gloves secured, iPod ready to go, I crossed the start line about 16 minutes after the first gun. Right from the start, I tried to hug the right side, just in case I needed to start walking. I clicked off the first two miles at about a 10:30 pace and slowed down a bit more with the congestion on the ramp for the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. But I was OK with that, because I knew I would need all the available gas in the tank, and to aggravate my IT band as little as possible. After that I shot for 10:00-ish.

I still had about a quarter of my Gatorade bottle so I skipped the first couple of aid stations. We ran over the bridge but unfortunately the cloud cover prevented us from watching the sunrise. We ran the few miles through downtown Windsor, and it was here I saw my favorite sign of the race: “Only one more country to go!” The crowd support is always great in Windsor – one lady was giving out “international high fives” after we got off the bridge. I took my first Gu at about mile 4 and washed it down with the last of my Gatorade, and pitched the bottle at the next aid station. So far, so good, and my knee was feeling fine.

We ran about a mile and a half along the waterfront and made the turn to head toward the tunnel. It’s always hot and stuffy in there, so I took off my hat and unzipped my jacket to prepare. It’s weird to realize you are running UNDER a river. I drifted toward the middle as I got closer to the actual border, since people always step off to the side to get pics of the Canadian and American flags on the wall. That first whiff of fresh air is always nice and the crowd support when you exit the tunnel is also great. I thought, “OK, now I can wear my underwater mile shirt!” We headed into the neighborhoods just west of downtown and I started feeling a twinge in my knee at about mile 10. “Well, this is it,” I thought. I took another 600 milligrams of ibuprofen I had brought just in case when I hit the next water station. I slowed down a bit and concentrated on good form and landing softly. Eventually the twinge went away. “Maybe I can make it to the halfway point without having to walk,” I thought.

A group was passing out shots of bourbon at about mile 12 – no thank you! The crowd is thick from miles 12-13 as people cheer for the half-marathoners. The turn to do another 13.1 was on the opposite side from what I remembered and I bumped into a guy doing the half crossing in front of me – he obviously remembered the same thing! Luckily no harm was done and we ran our separate ways. After the half runners peeled off I knew that even if I had to walk the rest I could still finish. “That wasn’t so bad,” I thought. “Time to do it again.”

Splits for miles 1-13. Mile 8 is messed up because of the tunnel; 10 because I hit a hard lap at the next mile marker.
The next few miles are a boring straightaway taking us east of downtown. I just tried to zone out and concentrate on good form. I was taking a Gu every 4-ish miles and walking through most of the aid stations for Gatorade. I knew my husband would be hanging out at a friend’s house near the 18-mile point, and I was looking forward to giving him my Running Buddy, which was now pressing painfully into the small of my back, and trading my real glasses for sunglasses. Finally I spotted him cheering for me and taking pics. In fact, I was yelling at him, “Take this! Take this!” handing him my Running Buddy, but he was cheering and not paying attention. Ha! We did the handoff and I gave him a quick kiss and thank you, told him I loved him, and headed on.

This was the point of the race last year where I fell apart and had to walk for a few miles. I was determined to not start walking this year as long as my knee held up. Once you make it over the bridge to the city’s island park, the winds come off the river and cool you down significantly. I always see lots of people stretching out cramps here. I was prepared with my hat, gloves and collared jacket. The sun was out in full force by then and I was thrilled to have my sunglasses! We passed miles 20, 21 and 22 on the island and I realized I had now run more than I had in training. I was trying to keep a pace of 10:00-ish minute miles and feeling OK. My feet were starting to hurt and my legs were feeling heavy, but I knew as long as my knee held out, I could put my head down and do it.

The last few miles seemed like they took SOOOOOOO LOOOOOONG. I told myself that if I kept running 10:00-minute miles, I only had 40 minutes left! Then 30! Then 20! I tried counting backward from 600, then from 200 every three steps, then from 300 – anything to distract myself. We headed up a big hill heading away from the river at about mile 25.5. “Do not start walking now!” I told myself. “Power up the hill! It will be over sooner that way!” I knew it was mostly one straightaway and two quick turns to the finish. I dodged Lions fans. I turned off my music so I could soak in the cheering. Finally – the finish line was up ahead! I broke into a huge smile. I had done it! I almost didn’t start, and I had done it! I ran through the arch, got my medal and grabbed a water. I may have dry-cried a bit, I was so happy. As soon as I started walking, my knee locked up. At that point I didn’t care if my leg fell off – it had held up for 26.2 and that was all that mattered to me right then.

Miles 14-26.2. The slowdown at 18 was to give my husband a kiss. =)
I found my husband, who greeted me with a fierce hug and told me he was proud of me. We took a few obligatory pictures and headed home to a much-needed shower and brunch. He told me my finish time: 4:29:46. It wasn’t faster than last year, but it was within a minute and still sub-4:30 – good enough for me! After refilling my tummy, I derped around online for a bit and tried to take a nap, but someone had to watch V for Vendetta at top volume, so I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep. I finished the night with pizza and cookies and putting my feet up.

Two days later, I’m in pretty good shape. I have some mild chafing from my tights and bra, for the first time in my life have blisters between my toes – WTF??? – and the usual tight hips, hamstrings and quads. Yesterday, I was quite the amusement at the office as I hobbled around. I was so disappointed when I got up to talk to someone and they weren’t even at their desk. I got out of my chair for nothing! I didn’t feel any more hungry than usual but did try to drink a bit more water. (Unfortunately, most of that water was filtered through ground coffee beans.) I am probably going to lose my fourth toenail on my right foot, the same toenail I have lost twice before, once each running in a different brand of shoe. So I’m pretty sure it’s just that’s toe that’s deformed!

I am still riding high from my accomplishment. Mostly, I can’t believe I almost didn’t start. It wasn’t my best race, but it was the best race I had in me that day. I was thrilled to cross the finish line.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week in review Oct. 12-18: Rest, recharge and RACE!!!

It's amazing what 26.2 will do to your pie chart.
Here’s a quick week in review for Monday, but since the meat of my week was running all 26.2 miles of the Detroit Free Press Marathon Sunday, I’ll save most of that for the official race report, coming soon. I know you’re dying of anticipation.

Other than the marathon, I ran a couple miles here and there, pedaled a bit, and stretched and strengthened a bit. I wanted to take it easy to reduce the risk of any inflammation, and Friday and Saturday I was busy with work and other stuff anyway.

Bike: One easy pedal on the trainer for 30 minutes.

Pre-hab: Two sessions of about 50 minutes total, during which I split up hip- and glute-strengthening moves.

Yoga: One self-guided 30-minute session.

RUN: Two test runs of 2 miles each on the treadmill for 20 minutes each. Then the Freep Marathon Sunday, where I covered 26.2 in 4:29:46. That makes the weekly total 30.2 miles in about 5 hours, 10 minutes.

Total: Seven sessions in almost exactly 7 hours.

This was actually a pretty typical pre-marathon week for me: A few easy runs, a few easy other things, nothing too stressful, and getting as much rest as possible. Followed by the big dance on Sunday, of course.

I’m actually looking forward to getting back into some higher-volume weeks. I have a giant stack of magazines to catch up on while I’m soft pedaling, and I need to get back into a weights routine. I’m getting a bit softer around the middle, and I’d like to work on getting ahead of that before the holidays. I’m not as excited about getting back in the pool, but I’m sure even that will come with time.

First thing’s first: An easy week to rest and recover.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Detroit Free Press Marathon -- DONE!!!

Holy &$@*.
You guys. I did it.

I decided I wanted to try. If I failed, fine. But I wanted to know that I gave it my best shot. I lined up not knowing if I'd be able to run even 1 mile. But they ticked off, one by one, and I kept running all the way through the finish line.

And within a minute of last year's time!!!

I am thrilled. And so, so happy I at least gave it a shot.

Race report coming soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I've decided that for my race Sunday...

Two runs in the last few days!
... I'm going to give it a try.

I've only run 7 times in the last month, my last LONG long run of 16 miles was a few days before that even, and didn't run one step all last week or the week before, but ... I feel like I should give it a shot.

I ran 2 miles Monday at an easy pace with zero pain. I was going to do 3 today at the same easy pace,  but I got the ever-so-slight beginnings of a twinge at, like, mile 1.99, so I decided to call today's at 2 as well. Will I hold up longer on Sunday? I don't know. But I'm going to find out.

I've worked too hard all summer to not even try. Plus... I already paid a nice chunk of money. I should at least get some use out of my race shirt. (It's a cool design this year.)

I have a huge work event all day tomorrow and Saturday so I won't have any time to stress or even think about Sunday. Until then it's stretch, rest and hope for the best.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week in review Oct. 5-11: Some gentle movement but still no running

Not a lot happened last week besides getting in some pre-hab/rehab and doing an easy spin on the bike a couple of times. It did feel good to work up a slight sweat once again.

We celebrated my husband’s college homecoming on Saturday. After a few hours of walking all over the city, my IT band was hurting to the point I was limping. It was still sore Sunday morning, so I skipped what was going to be my test run before my marathon this Sunday, and started having the DNS conversation with myself.

By later in the day Sunday, it wasn’t hurting anymore, and I even went for a nice long dog walk with my mom and our combined three mutts. It felt fine later and still feels fine today (Monday). Now, I can’t help having the “Well, maybe it will be OK!” conversation with myself.

Sigh. I don’t know what to think or do at this point. I am likely going to rest it except for one or two easy test runs this week, and make a game-time decision.

Last week by the numbers:

Bike: Two easy spins on the trainer for a half-hour each time, for 1 hour total.

Pre-hab: Three sessions of hip- and glute-strengthening moves at about 45 minutes each, for about 2:15 total.

Yoga: Only one session this week for about 30 minutes.

Total: Six sessions in 3:45.

Not counting a few long walks, with and without dogs.

I’m hopeful but realistic about the rest of the week. It will probably be some gentle movement, stretching, strengthening, and little to no running. I may or may not end it with 26.2. But one way or another, I will live to race another day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I got back on the bike today

And it felt great.
I got home at a decent hour today and did a half hour easy spin on the trainer today. It felt good to get my legs moving again. I didn't have any IT band pain, so that's a good sign, but it had never bothered me on the bike, anyway.

Yes, that's the May/June issue of Tennis Magazine. I am WAY behind on my leisure reading.

I'm still strengthening my hips and glutes like a fiend and resting. My waistline is starting to show evidence of that, unfortunately. If I ever do get my leg back in shape, I plan to making working that off my No. 1 priority. I don't need an extra 10 pounds BEFORE the holidays.

Less than 11 days until race day.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week in review Sept. 28-Oct. 4: Stretch, strengthen, and sit on my butt

Stretch, strengthen, repeat.
There’s not much to report this week, since I took the entire seven days off running to try to let my IT band heal.

I did do my pre-hab (although should I be calling it rehab now?) hip-strengthening moves three times, and did some yoga and stretching three times. I was only partially a lazy bum.

I also got a sports-specific massage Saturday, during which the therapist annihilated my calves and hamstrings in addition to working on my IT band. Seriously, I was laying on the table yelling “Ow! Ow! Ow!” and he just told me to pipe down, that he was barely touching me, and to breathe through it. That’s why I pay him the big bucks, I guess!

I want to try doing SOME movement this week – maybe a few bike trainer rides – but am a little hesitant to try running again quite yet. From what I can tell via Dr. Google, an IT band strain may take weeks or months to settle down. Ugh.

This past week by the numbers:

Pre-hab: Hip-strengthening exercises three times, for about a half hour each, for 1:30 total. This includes resistance band moves, clam shells, foam rolling, etc. I want to work in more glute exercises this coming week.

Yoga: Three sessions of self-guided poses for 1:05 total. I focused on hips and hamstrings.

Total: Six sessions for 2:35.

I’m pretty bummed to be dealing with this less than two weeks from what was supposed to be my A marathon. But I’m not sure what else I can do at this point besides strengthen, rest, and hope that the high mileage I put in earlier this summer is still in my legs, somewhere.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September in review: My running went completely to you-know-what

It started off so well.
I didn't even want to do this review because I am so angry, sad and frustrated with how the month shook out. Worst of all, I didn't hit 100 running miles for the month, for the first time in almost a year. My goal of 1,500 miles in '15 is pretty much out the window as well.
After I threw out my SI joint in August, I was coming back in September much more diligent about stretching, with a new pair of shoes on my feet, and feeling a million times better. I'm not sure if I had altered my stride too much, or if I just jumped back into it too quickly, but after a great speed run and a reassuring 16-miler, my IT band suddenly stopped cooperating.

I cut short a 12-miler, took most of a week off, ran an uneventful 3-miler, and had to cut short what was to be my last LONG long run. Not surprisingly, all of that skipped running led to my lowest-mileage month in nearly a year.

September by the numbers:

Run: 79.75 miles over 12 runs, in just less than 13 hours. I had a good first half of the month and everything just kind of fell apart by the end.

Yoga: Lots of yoga to re-align my SI joint, about 4.5 hours. It is feeling MUCH better. I need to make this a non-negotiable part of the pre-hab rotation.

Weights: I actually lifted weights twice this month, once with a video and once on my own, for just longer than 2 hours total.

Pre-hab: Finally, I am trying to get into a pre-hab routine. I spent about 2 hours over 5 sessions doing strengthening exercises, foam rolling, etc.

Now the plan is to stretch/pre-hab/rest, and hope for the best. (I'm so funny.) I still have no idea what will happen on marathon day in 2.5 weeks. I have massage therapy scheduled for Saturday, so I'm hopeful that will help, too. I just want to get back into my running shoes as quickly as possible.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week in review Sept. 21-27: Ending with another aborted long run =(

I had high hopes after my uneventful 3-miler Saturday that my long run would be just as uneventful. A perfect day would have been to complete 18 miles feeling good. Sadly, I got about 2.5 miles in before the searing pain in my right knee started, and I had to walk/jog back to my car.

I knew it could go either way and I tried to mentally prepare myself for both three hours of running and 10 minutes of running. I didn’t even really want to drive out to a nicer trail in case I had to cut it short; I felt it would have been a waste of time. On the other hand, I knew spending three hours running around my neighborhood would be mind-numbing.

In the end, I shouldn’t have bothered. After the pain started, I knew I was done for. I’d walk for a while, jog for a bit, and walk again when the pain came back. I was feeling OK going slowly by the time I got back to my car, and I briefly considered trying for another few miles the opposite way. Alas, the pain returned just as I reached my car at mile 4. I was pretty much mentally checked out by then, anyway.

So, what next?

My running schedule has been all over the place lately. This past week, I had taken five full days off before the test run Saturday and the aborted long run Sunday. Two weeks ago I had a nice, easy 6.5 miles early in the week, was busy for a few days, and had to cut that Sunday’s long run short, too. Three weeks ago I ran 16 miles with the only sign of a problem showing up in the last mile, and had even run some fast-for-me half-mile pickups two days before! Was it the pickups? Was it the 16-miler?

Five full days of rest didn’t solve the problem so this time I’m going to rest even longer. If not running one step between now and marathon day means I can finish the race, that's what I'm going to do. I'll probably wait at least two weeks and go from there.

In the mean time my plans is strengthen, rest, and hope for the best. There's not much else I can do at this point. The window for putting hay in the barn has passed and I just have to hope it was enough.

For posterity:

Run: Twice, both on the road, for 7 miles in 1:10:23.

Yoga: Twice, both self-guided, for 30:00.

Pre-hab: Twice, hip exercises, for 35:00.

Weights: One session of body/heavy weight moves, for about 1:15:00.

Total: Seven sessions in just longer than 3:30.