Tag Archives: running

Could it be this easy?

I have been battling knee pain for just about a year.  Basically, as I was recovering from my ankle injury last year, I babied my right ankle and wound up messing up my left knee somewhere in my crash-training-for-a-half thing.  I tried resting it, I tried doing more squats and lunges, and inevitably I would tweak it doing something at home.  Something dumb like mountain climbers.  I’ve run two 5ks since my half last May, and I keep meaning to get around to going to see a doctor or a PT or something.  I did a free injury clinic and the guy was like, “come by my office and I will dry needle you for free!” and I did not because 1.) my follow up isn’t great and 2.) I have no time.

So when one of my best friends asked me about my knee again at Stroller Strides, and I complained that it still is busted, she told me to come over so she could dry needle me (she’s a PT, not a weirdo who just has a house full of needles.)  I said sure, then promptly did not do it.  She bugged me again about it last week, and I was off on Monday and daycare was closed and I really want to do another half this year, so off I went.

She poked at me and then told me to foam roll a LOT more than my current amount of none, and so I did, and then my knee didn’t hurt after our run on Monday and it didn’t hurt after Body Back on Thursday night when we did a lot of running, and it didn’t hurt after Stroller Strides on Saturday.  She made me come over again on Saturday night and recommended I keep foam rollering and told me to come back in a week.

Here I was, convinced that I had some kind of crazy runner’s knee situation and I would need 6-8 weeks of PT and many many clamshell exercises and lunges and squats and other things that are good for your knees.  And it turns out it really is as simple as foam rollering a ridiculous amount and also following through on the dry needling thing.  I’m sure I can also benefit from PT, and I will go if this doesn’t turn out to be a long term solution.

She said something really interesting last night though, which is that for each decade of life that you have, you should do that x10 minutes of stretching, foam roller-ing, or general work to prepare your body to like, be functional. I mean, I don’t have 30 minutes a day to stretch right now, but I think I’m going to try for at least 10.  And it made sense, because I’ve been feeling generally stiffer and less flexible, and I thought it was just a not-going-to-yoga thing, but I do think it’s also an age thing.

So yeah, stretch and like, go see a doctor.  I highly recommend it.  Sometimes things have a simple fix.

 

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First Half After Baby

On Sunday I crossed the finish line at my 8th half, the first one I’ve run since I was pregnant a little over two years ago.  Even without the setback of my foot injury in January, it was a tough road to running this race.  The furthest I had run until March was 6.2 miles in a very difficult 10k last September.  And running long distances just hurt for the first year after having a baby, and I really started to feel like getting back to half marathons and long races would be impossible. But I signed up for my first half anyway, since races motivate me to train and because I wanted to at least try and see how it went and see whether it was achievable.  My husband and my sister also ran it, which was nice because my sister and I were able to stay together for most of the race, and I’m honestly not sure that I would have been able to get through the whole thing on my own.

I get asked a lot why I race. Not why I run, people seem to understand that weight loss and not wanting to die of a heart attack and wanting to be in shape are all valid reasons to exercise and that running is the cheapest method of achieving that. But why do I pay money, wake up really early, and join a thousand strangers to compete in a sport that I will never ever win?

Races are a chance to learn more about myself, to challenge myself and push myself and try to achieve things that I haven’t done before.  All of the things I doubt about myself, all of the mean things I say to myself, all the mean things I ever said to myself, those all disappear on race day.  I focus on myself and what I can achieve and putting one foot ahead of the other.

So what did I learn on Sunday? That muscle memory is powerful.  That my friend E is right, that what matters the most in race training is just time on your feet – I did a lot of walking to train because my running ability was limited.  I learned that physical therapy is amazing.  I learned that running a half marathon is still possible.

Sunday was also mother’s day. And what I found myself thinking about, after my sister and I had separated and I was alone with my thoughts, is what my body has been through since my last half.  My last half was Rock and Roll DC in 2014 and I was fortunate that excessive cardio was the only thing to quell my morning sickness.  Pregnancy finally feels like a distant and uncomfortable memory.  And while I was in it, I had a hard time getting past the discomfort to a place where I could appreciate my body and what it was doing.  But for nearly two years, I grew and nourished and sustained another person who is amazing and that is amazing. And I thought that I would be able to focus on that while I was in it.  And I wasn’t, and that was disappointing to me.  And somehow now, or more specifically, during Miles 11-13, I was able to focus more on how huge motherhood is, and how much I appreciate my body, not just for its ability to grow and sustain an entire whole other human being, but for its ability to allow me to lift her and carry her and jump up and down when she commands me to.  I took a moment to thank my thighs and hips, which frankly, I have recently been berating for still not fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes. My legs and feet, in particular, had done some very serious work to recover from my injury, and I appreciate them for it.

I didn’t set any PRs.  I did come in well under my 2:30 goal, and mostly I met my goal of finishing, but also, the most important part about crossing the finish line is that the me who crosses the finish line gets to rub my accomplishment in the face of past-me who was full of doubt. Because as every amateur athlete knows, the greatest competition is with yourself.

 

 

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2016 – Goals

I do believe in new year’s resolutions.  A new year’s resolution in 2007 started me running and down the path to losing 30lbs.  It led to me discovering all kinds of wonderful things about myself.  A resolution in 2011 to Get a Job led me to two fantastic opportunities that paved the way to better things later.  In 2012 my resolution was to Get A Better Job.  In 2014 my resolution was to Have a Baby and Do an Olympic Distance Triathlon.

So, right now I’m still stubbornly at around the weight I was post-delivery.  So my goal is to kick the baby weight, now that I’m done nursing. I’m signed up for another session of Fit 4 Mom’s Body Back boot camp, which is awesome and includes a meal plan and journaling and feedback on your food journal.

I signed up for a half marathon and a sprint distance triathlon. I signed up for a training plan for the half marathon and I have high hopes of doing the local Masters swim class this summer.

My other main goal is to simply my life. To spend more weekends at home.  To say no more.  We have a toddler now, and our life needs to be more about making sure she is enjoying herself and getting to do things that suit her and challenge her.  None of us is at our best when she is running around a brewery and getting stuck to the floor and my husband is trying to chug a flight of samplers and I’m chasing down the waitress with my credit card to get the check paid ASAP.  We have a few big trips planned, but we have a lot of weekends at home.  We built a deck. We joined our local science museum.  The good thing is, it becomes easier to say no when your child is less portable.  Our daughter has needs.  She wants our attention.  She does not want to linger at a bar for cocktails.  She isn’t happy to sleep in her carrier or nurse at the table anymore.  And people don’t invite you out as much after they see an epic meltdown.  (My in-laws had asked if we’d like to go out to dinner tonight, and we passed, and once they saw our kid have an epic meltdown over the mere existence of her Ikea play tent, they understood why we had opted for takeout.)

Anyone else make goals? Setting limits for themselves this year? What are you going to make happen?

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Training: This Week

I’m still trying to pick a training plan.  The Beginner Tri plan for this month is:

Month 1   

Week M T W TH F S S TOTAL Vol
1 24-Swim Off 40-Swim 24-Run 80-Bike Off 40-Run 4h 16m  
48-Bike 256m
2 26-Swim Off 44-Swim 26-Run 88-Bike Off 44-Run 4h 41m +10%
53-Bike 281m
3 29-Swim Off 48-Swim 29-Run 97-Bike Off 48-Run 5h 9m +10%
58-Bike 309m
4 17-Swim Off 29-Swim 17-Run 58-Bike Off 29-Run 3h 5m -40%
35-Bike 185m
Notes Short Swim Off Long Swim Short Run Long Bike Off Long Run    
Short Bike

Grand total:       17h 11m           

So that means for this week, the plan is to do 24 minutes of swim and 48 minutes of Spin on Monday.  Tuesday is a rest day, but I’m planning to still do some cardio – my theory being that a rest day should still involve enough activity that you meet the minimum suggested number of steps, etc. for the day.

Wednesday is 40 minutes of swimming, which is the most swimming I will have done ever.  Thursday is a run day, and Friday is a pretty intense bike day.  Sunday is a 40 minute long run, which is no problem since I’ve been anchoring my husband as he does his 3-5 mile recovery runs as part of marathon training.

The TriNewbies 18-week workout’s first week is as follows:

Mon 750 yds  15 miles  
Tue 750 yds    20 min
Wed   15 miles   
Thur 1000 yds    20 min
Fri      
Sat     30 min 
Sun   20 miles   

So there is more swimming, and the biggest problem is I have NO IDEA how many “miles” I bike in spin class.  The Spinning website suggests that while very varied, a 40-minute class with a high cadence is the equivalent of a 15-20 mile ride.  So I think I’d be safe in assuming that a 55 minute class is at least 15 miles.

Here is what I think my average week might/should shake out to for right now:

M – spin class in AM, weights in PM
T – swim in AM, run in AM if there is enough time (and I don’t get totally bored running on the indoor track at the gym
W – spin class in AM, weights in PM
Th – swim in AM, run in AM if there is enough time
Fr – hot yoga class
Sa – swimming and spin class/long bike rides once there is less ice on the ground
Su – 3-4 mile run & hockey

And my average week once I’m also half-training:

M – spin class in AM, weights in PM
T – swim in AM, run in PM
W – spin class in AM, possible weights in PM
Th – swim in AM, run in PM
Fr – hot yoga class
Sa – long run
Su – long bike ride & hockey

Moving the runs to the evening will allow for me to do longer swim workouts in the morning, which will make up for dropping the Saturday morning swim.  This will shift as I hopefully sign up for a tri club and maybe somebody will share their preferred training program, and also as I decide whether to join the master’s swim program at the gym.

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Training Plan

So, if I’m going to do an International Distance Tri next year, I need a training plan.  Here are my current steps:

1.) Pick race.  I found a good looking one that is “only” $95 if you include the one day USAT fee.  The date is Sunday, May 18th.  

2.) Join a local tri club. I’m waiting until January 1 to do this, because they do their fees on the calendar year, not a year from when you sign up, so signing up now would be a waste of money.  I have two local tri clubs and I’m trying to decide between them.  The biggest factor is that the bigger, more active, and slightly more conveniently located one does their swims at a park that has jellyfish, and I don’t want to.  

3.) Find a training plan or app.  There are some good free ones out there, but some of the the better looking apps and plans charge. I’m also looking for a plan that allows me to also train for a half-marathon and strength train at the same time. I do not believe these goals are mutually exclusive and I do not believe that I am the only person to try this.

4.) Get a base level of fitness where I can make it through a 6 mile run without my legs feeling tired, through an entire spin class without choking on my lungs, and swim…some distance. Swimming distances confuse me. I think being able to swim about 1000 yards is a good base level for this.

5.) Join a masters swim class. There is one on Saturday mornings I might get up the courage to go to.

What else have I forgotten? Obviously, actually start training, but with a 12 week program, intense training won’t happen until the beginning of March.

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Race Photography

One thing that I somehow missed in the registering and planning for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC was that there would be no race photographer.  Which, honestly, I’m probably okay with except for a few things:

1) Our bibs said there would be.  I wondered, as we were running, which company was providing photography, because I didn’t see the usual MarathonFoto folks out.  (By which I mean: their lanyards. I do not know actual race photographers.)

2) This was not communicated to runners beforehand.  There was a Facebook album that came up late Sunday with a few pictures, and folks immediately started clamoring for where they could get their photos.  At this point somebody from Nike said there was no race photographer, which caused a lot of outrage and one smug girl to say that “jeez, they announced it earlier this week”.  I can’t find where they announced it, and it certainly wasn’t included in the bizarre email we got (which was a photo of race info and not an actual email).

3) The reason given was, “we find runners prefer to coordinate take their own photos.”  Which is certainly true, if you know to have a friend come and take pictures, or you can use a camera while running, because nobody on earth actually wants to pay $60+ for their race photos.  They simply want their race photos badly enough to pay the money for them.  And a lot of people never buy the photos.  This is partially because they are expensive.  (Also, um, some of us do not take good race photos.)  I honestly wonder if they dropped the price for all digital files to $30 instead of 60, would they sell twice as many packages and therefore make the same amount of money?  I mean, they’ve already taken the photos.  They don’t have to do any more work to give them to you.  If you want them expertly photoshopped, you could pay extra.

I do think that photography companies should compensate their photographers – standing outside for 4-6 hours taking pictures is not easy, and I certainly want the photographers to get what they are worth, though based on the quality of a lot of race photos, the companies do not seem to be hiring real talent, and then they have to be tagged and organized (though I’m pretty sure that is done by a software program), and I know that the equipment is expensive and websites and hosting and all of that are expensive.  But I can’t help but feel as if that $60 purchase price is basically the people who buy their photos being willing to subsidize those people who can’t or won’t swing the $60 cost.

What do you think? Do you buy race pictures?

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Running a race after Boston

My running buddy is from Boston and she’s the one that got married the weekend of the marathon.  We talked a little bit about it after it happened, and I imagine we’ll talk about it in the future.  But we didn’t talk about doing anything for the race, but we were surrounded by people running in “Boston Strong” t-shirts and a few homemade shirts and signs attached to the back of their shirts showing support for Boston.

As we ran around the course, the cheers of the marching band in one section were drowned out by one of the police helicopters that was watching us along the course.  As we passed under a bridge, we waved to the photographer – and realized he was watching with binoculars not a camera, and we realized he was law enforcement.  None of this was surprising, because we passed this at the beginning of the race:

Photo Apr 28, 9 59 21 AM

I don’t know if this is the future of racing.  I don’t know if the dozens (more likely hundreds) of people wearing Boston shirts were from Massachusetts (a number were wearing Massachusetts or NE team in training shirts), people who have run Boston, or just members of the running community who wanted to show support.  I’m not sure if I feel the police presence was truly reassuring, or if I’m more reassured by the idea that the Boston bombing was a freak accident, or if I’m more reassured by reminding myself that I’m actually less likely to die because I run, since I’m significantly more likely to die of heart disease than a terrorist attack, but while I had a few moments where I wondered if we would even know if something happened at the finish while we were on the course, where we waded through the crowds and I wondered if this was how the spectators felt, and if anything would happen, and how would I react.

Do you think Boston will change the way you run?

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