Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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Mid-week recap

Seeing as I didn’t have any photos when I wrote my last post, here are some photos of me climbing Saturday!

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this wall actually started like 8-10 feet below the bottom of the picture

So much fun – and I certainly hope to do it again (you know, after marathon training ends and I can reclaim my life)

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Sunday races/long runs always throw me off – I’m such a creature of habit! Instead of my usual recovery day after the race, I went straight into my usual Monday cross training and strength routine – and felt amazingly strong after it.

Tuesday, as usual, was speed work at the track. My reward for a faster 10k PR? Faster speed work. D’oh! 8 Partner 800s at 5k pace meant I was now aiming for close to a 9:00min pace. If you’re not familiar with partner 800s, they’re pretty cool – runner A runs 400 by themselves, runner B joins in and they both run 400 together, and then runner A falls off after the end of the second lap (having run 800) and runner B finishes up their last 400 by themselves. It’s a really great way to break up the monotony of 800s and it keeps you honest – assuming you both run about the same pace, you only get to rest however long it takes for the other runner to finish their independent 400. The girl I ran with, Jennie, is a speed demon at shorter distances and was chomping at the bit every time we did our lap together. I am grateful that she was able to drag me along, though!

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I’m not sure if I was still recovering from Sunday, or if I was overstraining, or if it’s the constant left-hand turns on the track, but I was not feeling so hot during the workout. My left leg just hurt – not anywhere in particular, but all over, from the hip down to the foot – so much so that it definitely affected my stride, cadence, and in the last two repeats, my speed.

With this workout, I surpassed 100 miles for the month! Wow!! My highest monthly mileage ever is just over 107 miles, so that’s huge. And I still have a lot of month left!

Yesterday morning when I woke up I could barely walk without flinching. I spent as much of the day sitting as possible because whenever I walked I limped and had a shooting pain throughout my entire hip and leg. Not knowing what was going on, and having a 20 miler breathing down my neck, I made an appointment for a massage.

First, though, was the Alter G. That thing truly is a lifesaver. I was able to get in 4.45 miles in 40 minutes. Even with the weight resistance down to 70%, it still hurt quite a bit to run, though upping the incline to 2% and the speed to nearly 7mph seemed to help.

As soon as I got off the Alter G, I wiped down and hopped in the car to make the cross-town rush hour trek to get to my massage. I don’t typically get massages. I’ve only had two in my life. But I’ve heard so many good things about the use of them in marathon training that I’ve been considering getting a few; waking up in pain just made it much more of a priority. I only went in for 30 minutes, but it was worth every penny. I explained to her the issues I’ve been having and that I wanted to mainly focus on the left leg, and she took it from there.

Now I’m a major fan of the foam roller and foam roll as often as I can, but with her pressing down on my hamstrings, it felt like I had never rolled in my life. You don’t realize just how tight your muscles get until it’s too late. She worked on my hammies and piriformis, primarily, and loosened up the calf muscles as well. Oh my piriformis… she hit one spot and it was all I could do to not moan. It hurt so good. (Be honest, you know exactly what I’m talking about).

After the massage I felt better, but not insanely better. I didn’t wince when I got off the table, but there was still some sharp pain. But I knew that it wouldn’t be a miracle. I went home, had dinner, and hopped in the hot tub for about 15 minutes before the lightning just got too close. I’ve gotta say though, I feel about 90% today.

I’m substitute coaching for a 5k/10k group this evening (and Sunday!), which I’m super excited about, but am also super disappointed because my PT doesn’t want me running on the track for a while. Unplanned/forced rest days are the worst. There’s also that .75 mi run from the parking lot to the track, which normally is nothing, but has me pretty nervous with my left leg situation. Maybe I’ll break the rules and drive to the track…. Until then, you can find me perched on my foam roller…

foam roller

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Running in the Rain

It’s funny how something so simple can completely change your day.

Yesterday was a shitty day, for a whole host of reasons. I’ll spare the details (they’re really not all that interesting), but it ended wonderfully.

To try and console myself midday, I turned to a shit ton of sugar. Hey, sugar = carbs, right? Just go with it. At least it was fuel for my track session.

judgmental bitch.

judgmental bitch.

I got to the track extra early – the traffic gods were on my side – said hello to everyone (it’s one of the few times the HM and FM groups have been at the same place at the same time this summer), but mostly kept to myself and waited for our session to get underway. It was sunny and hot, but not humid, when I got there. Not too shabby for the first week of August.

Our workout was simple: 2 miles at HM pace, 5 min of recovery, and 2 miles at 10k pace. I ran the first two or so laps with a guy who has been battling injury, which worked out surprisingly well because it kept me from going out too quick. He fell off after the second or third lap, and I ran the rest of the workout by myself. Usually I prefer to run track workouts with someone, but this was the perfect workout and the perfect night to just run by myself and get lost in the zone.

My target for the HM segment was 10:15 pace, and a 9:45 pace for the 10k segment. And dammit if I wasn’t on target! With negative splits, to boot! *happy dance*

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I was feeling damn good at the end of the session, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Throughout the workout, the clouds moved in, providing us a rare bit of shade on an otherwise scorching track. Just as I was finishing up my cool down, I felt a few little drops of rain. Not surprising – they were calling for scattered showers. I walked out from the track to start my easy jog back, and a few more drops came down; then a few giant, cold drops plunked down on my head. Another 20 seconds – the deluge. It was like being at Brooklyn all over again.

For about 7 minutes it poured so hard I had a hard time keeping my eyes open, but I couldn’t help but smile the entire jog back to the car 🙂 The rain came down so hard that the road began flooding – a perfect excuse to aim my brand new shoes for each and every puddle 🙂

It’s amazing how something as simple as an awesome workout, running in the rain, and splashing in puddles can completely turn around an otherwise craptacular day 🙂

Mother Nature was quite accommodating, though – the rain stopped just as I got back to my car.

running in the rain


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Summer Running

Since the weekend, much of the east coast has been slogged in under some miserably hot, humid air. It’s funny how even a slight uptick in the heat and/or humidity – no less both – can make an easy run feel anything but.

Last week was a cutback for me and my group. We had built up for 4 long runs, and the easier week was certainly welcomed by all. Because of the pressure in my tibia, I had taken all last week off. My PT cleared me to run this weekend – if any only if there was no pain. So Saturday morning I woke up at 4:55am, not quite so bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed, and took my new shoes out for a spin. The trail was unusually packed for that time of morning, but I suspect that’s because it was almost exactly 3 months until race day! I’m sure lots of people were starting their 12-week training programs, while others were trying to get in the miles before the temps rose too far.

My marathon group, along with the half marathon group and 12 miler group were there, running all sorts of different distances. I had originally intended to do 10 miles, but Jennie said she was only doing 8, which sounded like a brilliant plan.

The new shoes gave me some troubles in the first few miles, causing an old shin splint to flare up for the first time in several years – but there was no bone pain, so I kept going. We were holding a 10:40-ish pace, which would normally be perfectly comfortable, but the humidity was so oppressive I just couldn’t hold that for the duration. I felt so silly asking Jennie if we can slow down at mile 3, but I just knew there was no way that I could maintain that.

When we got to the first water stop at 3.3 miles, I was soaking wet. We stopped in the shade for a few to grab a drink and cool down a bit, then headed on our way. We stopped again at the same spot on the return trip. I had brought a gu with me but decided against using it. I could’ve used the electrolytes in it, but I also wanted to do a bit of a modified depletion run (modified because I did have a small brekkie before the run). It was definitely one of the tougher runs of my life, averaging only 11:04 and having to walk for a few in mile 6, but we got it done.

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As hot as Saturday was, my friend Lauren was a total beast and ran the New York City Triathlon on Sunday – a day which was probably even hotter and more humid. It was her first triathlon and she totally rocked it!

My mom’s new 11k training group also started Sunday and she went out there and totally killed it in conditions that left me sitting indoors all day. Woohoo!!

bikram runningAlthough the temps were technically lower yesterday, it didn’t feel any less oppressive out there. My group was running a ladder workout at a local high school. Unlike our usual track, though, it actually had a little bit of shade on it (hallelujah!). Of course the night we’re supposed to be running specific paces, I left my Garmin at home. Ugh. But it was okay. The distances were set and I just decided to run by perceived effort, which was probably a better idea anyway given the sweltering conditions. It was hard, no doubt, but we did awesome. I can feel it in my glutes today 🙂

In between each ladder segment we ran 400 m recovery – and in between every ladder step and recovery lap I stopped and drank water. I was a little concerned about the dreaded sloshing, but it was so hot I was practically sweating it out before it hit my stomach…

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Luckily last night some storms came through (just after I got into my car!) and cleared out the oppressive humidity – it should be a good week for running! Tonight’s plan is cross training and strength while watching the Tour de France (so sad about Tejay… he was doing so amazingly well), and tomorrow I’m going to take another new pair of shoes (Mizuno Wave Inspire) out for a spin to see if maybe they’ll do the trick.


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Cold Night at the Track

I truly never thought I’d be excited about or calling 30 degrees warm, but it was a good night to be at the track.

We did 3×1200 repeats at tempo pace. Based on last year’s race results, that should be somewhere around a 10:00 min mile.

Well, it was supposed to be at tempo pace. Apparently I still suck at pacing.

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The difference in the net time per repeat and the pace was because I started out in lane 6, then moved to lane 3-4, and ended in lane 2.

It was probably a bit harder than I should have been doing – I could feel my mouth getting thick with lactic acid and had to walk at least a portion of each recovery lap – but overall it felt surprisingly good. It didn’t feel like an 8:20 pace. I don’t think I could’ve kept it up for 2-3 miles nonstop, but it’s nice to feel like I’m heading in the right direction. Maybe that sub-30:00 5k is in my future after all…

My knees felt surprisingly good considering how awful they look. I took an extra day of rest yesterday because they were still achey and stiff, which seems to have been a good call. My achilles was still tight but didn’t give me any trouble on the run (wish I could say the same about afterwards, however).

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On the bright side – we’re in the home stretch to spring! No, not because of some grumpy rodent – because daylight saving time starts in just over a month!! We spring forward here in the States on March 8th!! *happy dance* Although I’m really rooting for the warmth of spring, I’ll happily accept more daylight hours as a consolation prize.


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Stronger Core = Stronger Runner

You’ve probably heard it a few times – runners need to work on their core – but sometimes when you hear something over and over and over it just becomes noise, part of the scenery. I, like so many other runners, religiously work on my core. I do planks and bridges and mountain climbers and supermans and leg lifts and yadda yadda yadda.

Tonight on my run, I realized that a strong core does actually make a difference.

Our track was iced over from the snow doom slight frosting we got this weekend this weekend so we ran loops on the college that so graciously allows us to take over their campus like a neon, neurotic, bouncing Las Vegas light show. The first loop (roughly 1.4 miles) was just a nice, comfortable warm-up. The second was half marathon race pace, and the third was tempo pace (basically 10k race pace).

Admittedly, I’m not the best at pacing, and the second loop was a fair bit faster than HM race pace (about 45 seconds faster per mile, but who’s counting?), meaning I was pretty tired by the time I got to the end of my (even faster) third loop. I could feel my form breaking down, but then I noticed something – my core muscles were holding me in and upright; I wasn’t collapsing like a tired, soggy wet noodle. I don’t really know how to describe it, but there was a very different sensation. It was one of those epiphany moments when you realize that hard work that isn’t all that visible (I’m looking at you, pudgy tummy) is actually worth it!

Once we commit to being runners, often times our progress plateaus or comes in fits and bursts. It can be hard when mother nature is mocking you and you don’t seem to be making progress. But then one night, when you least expect it, bam! Progress.

never discourage progress


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Step Back at the Track

The college track we usually run on is under construction this summer, so my running group went on a bit of a field trip tonight – to my high school’s track! It was so weird being back.

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In high school I was in marching band and we always practiced on the track and field. I have so many great memories from those four years. It felt very weird going up there tonight and not snapping to attention…

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We ran 2 sets of 2x800s tonight, with a goal pace for me of 4:40-4:50 for each 800 per the McMillan calculator. This is one minute faster per 800 than last year’s pace. Whoa!

Tonight was one of the hottest nights we’ve had all summer – at 90 degrees. Yeah, it’s been a pretty cool summer.

After our warmup and strides, we jumped right in to the repeats. I ran with a small group but tended to pull away from them. No worries though, because I hit my goal pace with each repeat!

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The distances are a bit off – each lap was .5 mi, not .53, but whatever, I’m not as concerned with pace as I am with hitting the target.


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Guess I got overly confident?

So perhaps I spoke to soon.

I guess technically I didn’t. I did make it through the spring without injury. But three days in to June I went and blew it.

Last night was track night. It was seriously hot and humid, so I was running my 4x800s on feel, not pace. My legs felt heavy and somewhat useless from the get go. I felt more like I was plodding than running, even though I was running at a pretty decent clip. It was so nasty that I walked half of each of my recovery laps, something which I haven’t yet had to do this training season.

On my third repeat I started noticing some discomfort in my left leg – took stock, slowed down, and kept going. On the fourth repeat, I got a sharp pain in my left tibia. Bone pain, not soft tissue pain. Three more steps – yep, still there. About 600m in to my last 800 I walked and abandoned my final recovery lap.

It’s just not worth it.

I’m taking the week off – no running, not even on national running day (sadface). No long run this week. Super bummed because I was looking forward to running in a new location.

My right Achilles was sore after last night’s run, which leads me to believe the left leg issues is at least partially related to my shoes. All of my running shoes are on their last legs right now. As a result, I decided to retire my second pair of original Brooks PureCadences.

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I have a new pair on order and they can’t get here fast enough. I’ll need to get a second pair soon as well, so I need to decide which way I’m going with that pair – a second pair of PureCadence? Or another cushier, more supportive shoe?

Why can’t I just run?