Thursday, September 27, 2012

New plan of attack.

Yeah, buddy! That's an action shot. If it weren't for the soft sand, I would run with that back drop every day if I could! So pretty. :)

I've been getting really discouraged and angered easily by my frequent injuries, and I don't like how I feel when it happens.  This past week, a few things occurred to me:

  • Fact: I feel better after I run. I actually feel better when I run.
  • For the first time in my life, I was looking at runners on the side of the street (even in the middle of the afternoon when it is 110 degrees) and I actually miss running. I think this officially makes me a runner (I've always joked that I "run," that I'm not a "runner." Just like I'm "graceful." ha! )
  • The only way for my leg to completely stop hurting, is to stop. And let me just tell you that this is not going to happen.
  • The only way to not injure myself again is to strengthen my leg muscles. This again means not stopping, and more time in the gym working on strengthening exercises.
Suddenly I'm not as scared of running. It's a huge weight off my shoulders. 

Saturday, we ran 5 miles. This was the farthest I had run since we did our 10k in March. It felt amazing! I came home ecstatic and rejuvenated, and extremely proud.  Took us 55 minutes, but we ran the entire thing. (We got stopped quickly at 2 lights, but did not walk any). Living in the Central Corridor, we were able to run down Central along the light rail.  We rewarded ourselves with coffee and food and then took the light rail back up North, which is a 10 minute walk to my door. Running in a straight line was better for our psyche, too. There was no winding or looping; the end result was to run straight to the hot, delicious coffee (we are easily bribed and coerced by food and coffee).  

However, I still had a little trepidation about this run: How would I feel after?

Sore. Everywhere! My body wasn't sure how to handle the beating of running on the pavement again. But the good news was that my muscle strain hurt less than the muscle pain across my body. Progress! I'll take it.  I rewarded myself with a hot epson salt bath, was diligent about icing my leg and taking ibuprofen.  

My long run is the most important run of the week, so if this means I have to cross train during the week until my leg is ready, then so be it. But I am realizing that every bit counts, every bit of muscle strengthening helps, and getting my long runs in are the most essential parts of this training schedule.  

6 weeks in, 6 weeks to go!

Oh yeah, in case I'm missing, I'm probably at my second home:

Thursday, September 20, 2012


With my recent re-injury, I was starting to get a little overwhelmed by our training schedule.  The last training run I was able to do (non-elliptical) was 4 miles.  This weekend we were slated to run 7 miles.  That's a 3 mile jump, and my leg isn't exactly healed. I started finding that all I could think about was how far behind I was getting, how many miles I wasn't running, and how I was holding us back as a team.  This was getting really frustrating and it was starting to make me angry.

We tried water running on Wednesday morning - super low impact, a great cross-training option as an alternative to running, especially with an injury. At the time it didn't seem hard, but when we finished I could feel it everywhere. The only downside is that I had hoped to have done it in deep water so my leg had literally no ground impact.  At 4:30am, Lifetime only has the indoor pools open, and then only go 4 ft.  So, my leg was unhappy later that day, therefore Abby was unhappy later in the day. However, my anger fueled good weight lifting that afternoon, so at least that was successful. By last night, I had calmed down, relaxed a bit, and realized I needed to regroup. Again.

I've seen a lot of articles about modifying training schedules, but for some reason, this was a hard concept for me to grasp. I was determined to keep our training schedule set in stone.  However, it's been a busy couple of weeks, we've been tired and/or sick, so we were already starting to modify things.  Despite my hesitation to pull the training mileage back, yesterday at the gym, I realized I had no option but to adjust it.  In talking with Christi, it turned out to be a good solution for both of us.  The entire point of having this long training schedule is so we can modify it to meet our needs each week. It's not set in stone; there is no harm in making adjustments.  We luckily were about to do several weeks at 8 miles, so we decided to build up one mile per week for 5, 6, 7, and 8 miles, and then be back on track and back on schedule.

My main goal is to focus on running the long run. If my leg is hurting, then my short run and interval run of the week will be cross training with lots of resistance, and extra focus on strengthening the surrounding muscles.   I'm not going to be out of shape just because my leg isn't cooperating.  I will run this race and at least be in the best shape I can possibly be.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fear of running?

The sunlight created a bit of a glare, but this is us coming down the giant sand hill at the end of the race.  Glad I've been training with resistance and hills. :)

This week I experienced something new: the fear of running.

We had been planning on this SandPit 5k for a couple of months. In my mind it was this fun thing we were going to do with a beautiful backdrop for a morning run.  However, when I strained the muscle above my ankle, I suddenly realized what running in the sand actually meant for me.

For the first time, I wasn't worried about the distance. 3.1 miles, no problem. I wasn't worried about the obstacles either. I suddenly became petrified at the idea of running on the sand.  What if I injured myself more? Was 2 weeks on the elliptical machine enough to give me the strength I needed? Would I be able to run the whole thing? Would I completely regret it the next day?

I was absolutely scared.  Butterflies in my stomach, trouble sleeping, mind racing. Seriously? It's a 5k. Snap out of it!  I realized that I had done everything I could possibly do to prepare, the only thing I could do was run!

Friday night, we got to bed later than I had planned on, midnight. We were sleeping on an air mattress on the floor, in a new place. It was warm, the train kept going by, and my mind was racing.  I woke up, semi-refreshed, and decided to put on my shoes and give it a test run.  I ran down the street and back. I knew it would hurt a little since I hadn't run in 2 weeks, but it still freaked me out. Should I compete?

I decided that I didn't drive all the way to California to be defeated without even trying. If I start the run, and I'm miserable, I would pull off. I would walk. But I wouldn't quit before putting my number on my back.

The race itself was hilarious.  My foot did pretty well. By the end, the wear and tear of my feet jerking around on the sand started to get to me, so I walked a little bit. Christi would not leave me behind.  In the end, we finished the race, 37 minutes.

The obstacles? The first half was on packed sand and through the water - running along the shore, running out into the waves (the water literally came to my chin), crawling through sand. The second half was all soft sand.  That was hard enough!! But then came tunnels, jumping walls, going through hoops, running up sand hills (tall ones), and rolling into a water pit. We finished laughing, because that was all we could do.

In the end, I'm happy I did it. I would have been sad to have not even tried.  We weren't fast, but we weren't that slow either. The finish times ranged from 19 minutes to 55. Right in the middle. And while my leg has been sore (really sore on Saturday and Sunday), it's already doing better.  I have realized this just may be something I am going to have to deal with until the Half is over. So I will keep stocking up on ice packs, ibuprofen, biofreeze, and arnica, and keep scheduling massages.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Forging ahead!

Week 5 of the training plan, and I am forging ahead!

Except, I've run into a small snag. After running 3 days a week for 2 months with no problem, the minute we amped up the training and added in our cross training and weight days, I injured myself.  Again!! After lots of research, I've given myself a self-diagnosis: muscle strain located on my inner left leg above my ankle, next to my shinbone.  It felt like a bruise to the touch, without there being a bruise.

I believe the problem was my shoes... my running shoes have been great for running, but that's what they are supposed to do. What they are not supposed to do is cross-train, and I believe that's where it happened. I think I tweaked my leg in Zumba the first week, then aggravated it over the next 2 weeks, and here I am.  A running coach at work explained that some people just have pickier bodies.  I would maybe have the same result if I tried to hike Camelback in Converse, or go for a really long walk in flip flops.  They aren't the proper shoes for that activity.  Running shoes are also heel supported, while cross training shoes are toe supported.  The only thing to truly cure a muscle strain is rest, and that wasn't really an option, with training needing to continue and the fact that I had to pack up and move to a new home.  Not exactly restful!

So. Ibuprofen, ice, biofreeze... and new cross training shoes:

These are very comfortable, and I think they will work just fine. But, the damage was already done. I about lost my mind, because I couldn't run without my leg throbbing and I began to panic that I was out of the race again. Just when I needed to increase mileage, I was shoved a couple of steps back.  But then I composed myself, ordered my shoes, and declared myself elliptical bound for a couple weeks, which is what I've done.  I've kept up with the mileage, but hiked up the resistance.

My next fear was the 5k SandPit Race we had planned for this Saturday in San Diego: We had planned this awhile ago thinking that a fun race in much cooler weather would be just what we needed at this point in training! But as we got closer, and I was fighting an injury, I started to worry: Would my leg hold up? Would I injure myself more so that I am struggling even more with the next portion of training? What if I tweak my foot and I injure myself in another way? I never run in sand, so do I run in my shoes or run barefoot? I decided on shoes. I am used to running in them, and I am sticking with that, even if it means I need to buy new shoes afterwards.

So, onward! If my leg can't handle it, I will rest on the beach and cheer the runners on. But I am forging ahead and will not be defeated!!