Monday, January 25, 2016

Training recap: 1/18-1/24

Week 7:

Monday--AM: Finally RAN again!  I met Allison S. at my gym.  Rode on the bike for 15 minutes, then walked for 5 minutes on the 'mill.  I was afraid to actually push the button to turn it into a run, but I did it and it was... okay!  3 miles of running.  I didn't feel any pain.  Just a bit weaker, for lack of a better word.  I kept the pace nice and easy (9:13/mile).  Did my glute strengthening exercises for 15 minutes afterward.

PM: Didn't feel like going to PowerTrain, so I did a mini-boot camp at home by myself.
4 x (30 squats, 20 push-ups, 1:00 wall sit, 1:00 plank) 
4 x (30 crunches, 20 side planks with leg lifts, 2 x 15 tricep extensions, 20 bicep curls)

Tuesday--woke up early and did a killer 45-minute ride on the trainer: 5 minute warmup, then increasing resistance every 2 minutes till max, then back down. Then a quicker up and down before a 5 minute cool-down.  Definitely a hard workout!

Wednesday--AM: Solo treadmill run at the gym.  My PT recommended staying on the 'mill for my first few runs, so I could bail if needed.  With the wind chills in the single digits, I had no problem with this!  4 miles at the same pace (9:13/mile), and felt the same.  Boring boring boring but got it done.  Did my glute exercises, and then biked for 10 minutes on the trainer at home to make up for the mile I skipped (the plan had 5 miles on it).

PM: Met Megan M. at the Worthington Masters swim practice.  I love going to this practice, but man is it ever late?!!  She's a super swimmer, though, and we had a fun workout.

Thursday--Met Allison S. again at my gym.  5 miles today, again at the 9:13/mile pace.  Much more fun with her next to me versus strangers!  Felt good as long as I didn't put all of my focus on my calf.  I am too good at worrying myself when I think about it.

This girl makes me laugh!

Friday--Unintended rest day.  I planned on waking up at 5 AM for a quick 30 minute trainer ride.  Unfortuantely, Hunter was up at 4:48 AM, and I can't do anything for more than a minute or two if he's up.  

Saturday--Finally, a run outside!!!  I wanted to take it easy, and only planned on 6-7 miles.  Tamara only needed 7 as well (as she had a 5K that morning to round out her 10), so we met at 7:00 at the Genoa Trail.  It was much more icy than I thought it would be!  The first mile out was fine, but then it got slick.  We kept it easy because that was the plan, but the terrain made it less of a choice than a necessity.  Overall pace: 9:25.  One mile was 10:00, but the others were pretty much on with the pace that I'd planned on (9:15-9:30).  My calf felt pretty good overall, and the company was perfect.

See the joy on our faces? :)

Sunday--Hopped on the trainer for 35 minutes during halftime of the AFC Championship game.  Finally got my speed sensor to work!  Kept my pace steady for the entire ride.  10 miles total at an average pace of 17.2 mph.  Followed with glute strengthening exercises for 15 minutes.

Total running miles for the week: 19 (which is 19 more than last week!)
Cross training workouts for the week: 4

Other miscellaneous notes:

I saw my PT on Monday.  She feels pretty confident that I can do a gradual return to my running plan.  The key is to not jump into things too quickly.   Any planned miles that I do not run, I am supposed to make up on the bike or by running in the pool.  The trainer in our sun room makes biking a much easier option, so that's what I've been doing.  I can feel my hamstrings and quads getting stronger as a result of the cycling, that's for sure!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Training recap: 1/11-1/17

Week 6: (aka no running week, and aka no pictures week because I did all this ALONE and I don't take selfies of myself alone)

Monday 1/11: No run means I wake up early and do strength work.  Glutes for 15 minutes (PT exercises) + 25 minutes of other stuff: 4 × (25 squats, 1:00 plank, 25 crunches, 20 pushups), followed by 4 × (20 curls, 20 tricep kickbacks, 20 lat raises, 20 rows).  I also saw my PT this evening but didn't do any true exercises--just some alignment testing and stretching.

Tuesday 1/12: Up early for 45 minutes of easy cycling on the bike trainer.  It causes no pain to my leg, so why not?

Wednesday 1/13: A snow day due to the cold for me but NOT my kiddos allowed for a rare mid-morning swimming workout!  What infuriated me about this workout is that my 600 yard warm up (which consisted of 300 yards swimming & 300 yards alternating drill/swim) was the same pace as my Lifetime Indoor Tri split from two weeks ago.
600 warmup (300 swim, 300 drill/swim) 

6×150 @2:30 (all 2:05-2:09)-- 50 form, 50 build, 50 hard 
3×300 pull @4:00 (all 3:45-3:50) 
100 cooldown
I felt good during this swim.  It's swims like this one that make me wonder why I don't just give up running altogether and get back into the water.  Blah.
Thursday 1/14: Longest ride yet on the trainer.  5 min warmup, 30 min of 4' moderately hard + 1' easy, 20 min of 3' hard + 2' easy, 5 min cooldown. Watched the NY Marathon on silent and listened to my music.  Can never get enough of those amazing elites!

Friday 1/15: Short strength workout.  15 min of glute strengthening exercises followed by 15 minutes of other stuff:  
3 x (25 squats, 20 lower half squats, 25 reverse lunges with curls, 20 rows) and 3 x (1:00 plank, 2x 10 side planks with leg lifts on each side, :30 up/down planks)

Saturday 1/16: The day of the 2.5 hour pool run.  May I never have to endure this again!  (But if I do, please give me that cool 72-year-old guy treading water to talk my ear off to take away the boredom.)

Sunday 1/17: On this day, she rested :)  Because, you know, over 2 hours running in the pool and all that!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pool running--it's the "cool" thing to do

You can ask my husband... I am not a patient person.  Never have been.  Being a marathoner requires patience, yes, but overall in life, patience is a virtue that I haven't yet gained.  The serenity prayer has always spoken loudly to me, and right now it's screaming at me.  I can't change the fact that I am injured right now.  But I can change the way I'm training.

I saw my physical therapist on Monday afternoon, and she agreed with my self-diagnosis of a soleus strain.  Her opinion: it was a minor one, and I should be able to start running again by this weekend.  Not my planned 16 miles, of course, but just a few to test it out, and likely I could return to my plan next week.  I clung to her words, holding on for dear life to the thought that maybe, just maybe, this wasn't as bad as I thought it was.  A week without running? No problem. I can cross train.  No 16 miler this weekend?  Well, it's a bummer that I'll be missing the Brokeman's Half that I was looking forward to doing with my friends, but I need to keep my eye on the prize--BQ at Glass City.  

So all week I did what I was told... stretching, icing, swimming, cycling on my trainer.  Every day I woke up thinking that things would feel better.  Every day I was disappointed.  It's not like I am in horrible pain.  A level 2 when I walk down steps.  A level 1 when I do a lunge.  But it hurts when I press on my calf (duh, stop pressing on it then, right?!).  And yesterday I came to the realization that I probably should NOT run this weekend.  I messaged with my friend Lynn, who is a physical therapist as well as a runner.  She had me do a couple of "tests" on my leg involving one-legged calf raises and hopping on both legs as well as my injured leg.  Her words: "If you were my patient, I would not tell you to run."  That's all it took. I trust Lynn, but even more, I trust myself.  My body is trying to say something, and if I have learned anything over the past year, it's to listen.  

I can't say that the realization didn't bring me to tears.  I literally can feel the marathon slipping away from me with every day that I spend off of the roads.  Yes, I know it's early... but marathon training takes a base, and time off makes me feel like I am moving backwards rather than forwards.  I need something to make me feel like I am not losing ground.  Swimming is great, and cycling is all fine and dandy, but neither are running.  Jenny (my PT) mentioned pool running as an option during my last session.  

Pool running, aka "aqua jogging"--I didn't use a belt
I recalled watching "Spirit of the Marathon", when Deena Kastor suffers from a stress fracture and successfully trains for the Chicago Marathon by doing all of her runs in the pool leading up to the race.  I did some Googling and found this article that discusses a study where it was found that that there was no real difference in the 5K times of competitive runners who did their runs in the water versus those who trained on land after 4 weeks.  This is only one of the studies that has been done on the benefits of pool running as a means of staying running-ready.  

On Wednesday, I ended my 2500-yard swimming workout with 10 minutes of pool running, just to try it out.  Yep, it's as hard as it's reported to be!  Today I took the plunge, literally and figuratively, and did my long run in the water.  No, I didn't run 16 miles... that would literally take 16+ hours for me to complete.  The articles discuss matching the intensity and duration of your runs when you're pool running, which means whatever run is on the schedule, you do the same type of run (tempo, intervals, long run, etc.) for the same amount of time you'd be running on land.  16 miles at a 9-minute/mile pace (what I've been doing my long runs at) would take 2 hours and 24 minutes.  So that's what I set out to do.  

I can't say it was easy, that's for sure!  I knew I'd be bored, and I was.  I started at 8:00 AM, when the rec center opened up.  I shared a lane with several different people during the time I was in the water.  The most interesting one was a 72-year-old man who treaded water for 1.5 hours.  He was very talkative and made the time pass by more quickly than it would have if I'd had no one to chat with!  To help with the boredom, I broke up the workout into 30 minute segments. I got the cadence/effort correlations from a website that I can't find right now... endurance/steady-state = 12 steps every 5 seconds, tempo = 15 steps every 5 seconds, and recovery = 10-11 steps every 5 seconds.  I translated those to rpm (steps per minute) below.

First 30 minutes: 200 yards warm-up + 30 minutes of steady-state running (cadence = 144-150)
2nd 30 minutes: 6 x 5 minute intervals (3 minutes moderately hard--cadence = 180-185 + 2 minutes recovery--cadence = 120-125)

3rd 30 minutes: ladder of 1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1 minutes alternating moderately hard and recovery
4th 30 minutes; 30 minutes of steady-state running
Final 24 minutes: 24 minutes of steady-state running
After each 30 minute segment, I "rewarded" myself with 100 yards of swimming.  I fueled after 60 minutes (half of a Honey Stinger waffle) and 90 minutes (the other half).  

So, in 2 hours and 24 minutes, I swam a total of 600 yards (about 9-10 minutes of swimming), and ran in the deep water for 2 hours and 14-15 minutes.  To be honest, it wasn't as hard as I figured it would be.  I was tired at the end, for sure, but I knew I would be.  I was famished--I also knew this would be true!  This was not only an exercise for my body, but for my mind.  If I can run in the water for almost 2.5 hours, I figure I can do just about anything!

Right now, my plan is to take my runs one day at a time.  I won't be running on land until I feel like I am 100%.  Today I jogged across the basketball court to the bleachers and I didn't feel any tightness or pain.  Granted, that was 20 yards, but it is a step in the right direction.  I see my PT again on Monday and I will be getting her perspective on things, but I'm pretty sure she will be in agreement that I need to do pool running until the soreness is nonexistant... which I truly hope is soon!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Training recap: 1/4-1/10

Week 5:

Monday 1/4--Easy 5@5 this morning with Jess in her 'hood to start off the week.  I was a bit tired from my triathlon at Lifetime Fitness the day before, and Jess was feeling a bit off herself, so we kept this one relaxed for both of us.  The rain held off and we got the miles done.  Overall pace: 8:59.

I felt exhausted on Monday evening (lack of sleep on Sunday night plus back to work on Monday AM) so I chose to skip Power Train this week.  Good choice overall!

Tuesday 1/5--rest day (I did go to physical therapy today)

Wednesday 1/6: First specific speed workout since March!  Met Tamara, Jon and Allison L. for 6 miles starting at the rec center.  

Horrible selfie LOL!

2 miles warm-up, followed by 3 miles at a 7:45-7:55 pace, and a mile cool-down.  I wanted this first tempo run to be at a bit slower of a pace (my PR half marathon was at sub-7:40 overall pace, so my tempo pace technically should be a bit faster).  The three miles were 7:52, 7:51, and 7:38 (downhill for most of last mile).  I felt great during this run.  Mile 2 was quite hilly, but I felt strong!  No heel pain till we finished, and ice as well as stretching throughout the day helped that. Overall pace: 8:22.

Thursday 1/7--
AM: Recovery run with Allison S.  We met early so we could get in the 5 miles and then have a quick Starbucks date.  Love my runs with this mama!  Overall pace:9:20. Felt great as well during this run.

Couldn't stop laughing!
PM: 30 minutes on the trainer (no clue about pace/distance as I don't have my speed monitor yet), plus 5 minutes of pedal drills that my friend Tracey recommended.  Physical therapy after the ride.  

Friday 1/8: rest day

Saturday 1/9--14 miles on tap today as we continue to build up miles.  There were no less than ELEVEN of us at the run today!  Such a big, fun group of ladies.  

The last 7... we really did start with 11!
The support from these women is nothing short of phenomenal.  Tried super hard to keep the pace at around 9:00/mile, and was pretty successful (overall pace 8:58).  But... and this one's a big but... 

I'm hurt. Again.  I'm praying hard that it's nothing, but my heart is saying it's not.  My left outer calf started to feel tight at around mile 9.  I could feel it continue to get tighter.  By around mile 10.5 it was actually starting to hurt.  I didn't know what to do.  We were doing an out-and-back... I had to either walk or run to the car; I couldn't just stop.  The others ran ahead (they actually had no clue my calf was bugging me--I didn't say anything, and they typically speed up towards the end anyway).  Megan S. stayed back with me as she wanted to keep her pace at 9:00/mile as well.  We stopped twice--once for her to have a potty break (I stretched and massaged my calf), and once for me to stretch again.  Neither of those stops helped.  Truth be told, I probably shouldn't have ran the final 3 miles.  I could feel my leg with every single step and it didn't feel good at all.  I begged Megan to entertain me with stories about meeting her husband, her kids, etc.  This helped me make it through till we were done.  

Since I've been home, I've iced three times and stretched and rolled a bit. Not sure what I should be doing.  Dr. Google says I have a soleus strain.  I know my body pretty well at this point, and I'm fairly confident with my diagnosing skills, especially when it comes to calf issues.  All I know is that it hurts.  I am positive I couldn't run to save my life right now, as walking is uncomfortable.  

Bet you're all wondering about my plans, huh?  Day by day, that's how I'll be taking this one.  I can't get lost in the enormity of the situation... this is why I am doing a 20-week plan, so that a week or two off won't affect my training too much.  I'm hoping that's all it is.  Please, if you're a praying person, send one upstairs right now?  I've worked hard to be smart leading up to and within this training cycle, and for things to go downhill right now... I just don't want to think about it.

Total running miles for the week: 30 
Total cross-training workouts: 1 (definitely not doing anything tomorrow)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Race recap: Lifetime Indoor Tri

My second-ever triathlon is in the books!  I did the Tri for Hope last summer and really enjoyed it, even though I wasn't 100% healthy at the time.  Training for triathlons agrees with my body--less stress from all of the running, plus it is way more interesting training for three sports than for one!

Lifetime Fitness has been putting on these triathlons nationwide for a few years.  Last year I didn't sign up in time, so this year I made sure that I registered early.  Here is how the triathlon works: the swim is 10 minutes long.  You swim with one other person in your lane and a volunteer counts your laps.  When the the time is up, you have 10 minutes to change clothes and head upstairs for the bike portion.  You get 30 minutes to ride on the spin bikes, and a volunteer logs your total mileage.  Finally you have 5 minutes to transition to the treadmills (which are literally 20 yards away), and you get 20 minutes to run as far as you can on the 'mill; distance is also logged by a volunteer.  Results are calculated by assigning point values based on who goes the furthest distance in each of the three sports, with 100 points going to this person and lower points assigned to everyone else.  Pretty cool concept!

So, about that triathlon training that I mentioned in the first paragraph... I really haven't been training for a triathlon. That's no secret if you're following my blog.  Swimming once every two weeks, and hopping on the bike once in the past few months... yeah, that's not really training.  I figured I'd rely on muscle memory and hope for the best!  Of course, I always set goals.  My three goals were: 600+ yards on the swim, 9+ miles on the bike, and 2.5+ miles on the run.  Spoiler alert: I did achieve all three :)

My friend Allison and I signed up for the race together, and we were assigned to the same "wave", meaning we got to do all three sections together.  We split the lane for the swim, and cycled and ran side-by-side. It was her first-ever triathlon and she did amazing!!!  Truly, doing the tri with her was the best part. She picked me up and we got to the gym at around 7 AM so that we could get our bearings, as neither of us belongs to Lifetime, and also figure out our bike settings ahead of time.  A few friends were in the 7:40 AM wave, and a few others in the 8:00 AM wave with us, so we had plenty of people to chat with while we waited. 

Pre-race selfie in the swanky locker room!
From a logistics standpoint, everything was extremely well-run.  The swim started exactly at 8 AM.  I was able to get in about 150 yards warm-up before we started.  I felt a bit sluggish during my warm-up, but that's typical for me.  I figured I'd feel good once the actual swim got started. Not so much.  
The calm before the storm...
I felt very cramped (the lanes are super skinny, and I kept worrying I was going to accidently hit Allison), and I  just couldn't get into a groove.  In fact, I started to hyperventilate at around 150-200 yards (about 3 minutes into the swim).  I have no clue why... I just felt like I was going to have to stop.  I hate this feeling... I felt it during my open water race and my outdoor tri as well.  I never ever feel this way during practices/training, so I definitely need to figure it out.  Today, the only way I felt I could continue to swim was to alter my pace, so I just slowed down.  I felt so disappointed in myself, but it was the only choice I had.  I also started making silly technical mistakes that I don't typically make (e.g. pulling with my top arm off my flip turns, and breathing my first stroke off the walls).  I figured I was just doing what I needed to do to get through the swim portion.  I did wear my new Garmin for the swim.  My average pace was 1:36/100--about 6 seconds per hundred slower than I anticipated swimming. My 100's were 1:26.3, 1:36.2, 1:41.3, 1:43.3, 1:43.3, 1:40.3, and a half lap that got rounded up for my final total of 25 laps, or 625 yards.  So, yes, I met my goal, but barely, and I seriously felt awful doing it.  I was so freaking happy for that swim to be over so that I could get out of the water!  

Blurry me :)
The transition to the bikes was very smooth.  TMI maybe, but thankfully my friend Tracey was there, as putting on a tight running tank top was NOT easy when you're super wet from a swim!  Allison and I were able to change and get upstairs with a few minutes to spare, which was nice so that we could get our bikes set and warm up a bit on the bike before the cycle section officially started. 

Before the bike section started... being silly with Tracey and Allison!
This part of the race was the hardest part for me, physically. I am definitely NOT in cycling shape right now!  I will say that it was my favorite part when it came to the volunteers--they were extremely attentive and great cheerleaders as well!  I was not in a happy mood on the bike.  I tried to smile and joke with Allison, Tracey and our other friends who were there cheering or volunteering, but I was just not happy. 

Hating life, for sure!
I was working hard and not loving life!  I was able to keep my pace above 20 mph for almost the entire 30 minutes, and ended up with 10.4 miles total.  I was pretty freaking happy with this--actually, out of my three sections, this distance by far surpassed what I hoped to do.  My legs were jelly getting off the bike and I knew the treadmill run would be tough.

Me tri-ing my hardest!
Luckily we didn't have to walk far to get to the treadmills, so I had time once we got over there to stretch out a bit and at least get my legs prepared to run for 20 minutes! 

Honestly not sure when we took this but I love the pic!
It was great once again to have my cheerleader-friends there (especially Jamie and Tracey)--they were also super photographers too ;)  I set the treadmill at a modest 7.1 mph to start (this is around an 8:30/mile pace) and kept it here for the first 5 minutes or so to warm up and get my legs going.

Allison was having waaaay too much fun lol!
I increased the speed every 5 minutes or so after that, and the final bit I pushed it all the way to a 7-minute mile (only for about 90 seconds though!).  I ended up just barely making my goal, going 2.52 miles total (average pace of 7:56/mile).  I can't believe that I actually was able to race a half marathon at a pace much faster than that!  This run showed me I have a lot of work to do, but I'm willing to do exactly that. 

SO happy to be finished!
This recap makes it sound like the race was awful in all respects.  It wasn't, honestly.  What it did do, though, is remind me that triathlons, whether they are indoor or outdoor, are no freaking joke.  It's one thing to do a swim workout.  Or ride the bike for a bit.  Or go on a run.  But combining the three is insanely hard, especially if you want to do it well.  I need to remind myself that I am not in training right now for a triathlon, but for a marathon.  This summer, tri training will happen and I will be ready for my first half-Ironman.  For now, though, it's back to running (with a bit of swimming and cycling on the side for cross training!).

The results for the race won't be available till Tuesday, so I will update with them later :)

Awesome MRTT mamas tri-ing it!
My partner in crime--love her!
Couldn't get this pic to insert in the run section, but I love it too much not to add it in!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Training recap: week of 12/28-1/3

Week 4:

Monday 12/28--
AM: Back to POWELL (not Dublin LOL) with Jess.  We did an easy 5 miles to start off our recovery week.  The run flew by even more quickly than usual.  Grateful it wasn't raining during the run (only before and after!).  Overall pace: 9:11.

PM: Tonight was a boot camp party at Power Train.  We had over 30 moms there!  So much fun... the workout wasn't a typical one, but I still felt like it was good.  Several friends signed up, which makes me happy, as I love workout out with others.  

Tuesday 12/29--rest day

Wednesday 12/30--4 miles with Allison, Allison and Megan before boot camp.  Took advantage of being on break this week to run AND do boot camp!  Overall pace: 9:08.  I love how I feel during boot camp if I run beforehand... it warms me up and I feel like I get a much better workout!  Boot camp was hard, as usual--mostly arm stuff!

Thursday 12/31--Met up with Amy and Jess for their normal 6 AM Thursday run (again, thankful for break so that I could do this!).  5 miles in awful freezing rain with hard wind!  Ugh!  The way out was fine, but we ran straight into the wind on the way home and had to pick up the pace to get through it. Overall pace: 8:50.

Friday 1/1--rest day

Saturday 1/2--Huge group of us (NINE!) met up at the Genoa trail for a drop-back week run of 10 miles.  3 out and back to drop off Lori (and for me to have a pit stop at UDF--eating poorly for the past few days = bad tummy issues!), and then 2 more out and back.  Most of the girls pushed the pace for the final two miles, but Tamara and Megan hung back with me so that I could keep the pace easy.  Overall pace: 9:00.  

Sunday 1/3--I will be competing in the Lifetime indoor triathlon tomorrow morning!  Excited for this one.  10 minutes of swimming, 30 minutes on a spin bike, and 20 minutes on the treadmill.  I'll be sure to blog about this one!

Total running miles for the week: 24 (plus whatever I run at the tri tomorrow)
Total cross-training workouts: 2 (plus tomorrow's triathlon)

Other miscellaneous notes:

At physical therapy on Tuesday, Jenny did another gait analysis for me.  She said that I'm heel striking less (which is a good thing), and that my cadence is still 184 (which is also a good thing).  Still pronating slightly on the right side.  Right hip/glute showed a big imbalance, ugh.  I have several exercises to do that will help with this, all of which leave me very sore!  A 14 mile run is waaaaaay easier than doing these exercises for a few minutes... but all in the name of getting stronger I suppose. I had another session with her on Thursday, and then I have two more sessions next week.  I don't really feel the iontophoresis is doing anything, so I doubt we'll continue the PT after next week.

My new Garmin came! I've used it twice, and plan on using it during the tri tomorrow.  It's big and awesome :)  I love that I can review splits on it without plugging it into my computer.  I also love the 20 hour battery life!  There is a ton I can do with it (gotta study the owner's manual I suppose).

Other big news: My bike and trainer are FINALLY set up!  My mom gave me a bike computer for Christmas, but sadly it doesn't work with my trainer.  So I'm going to return it for one that is compatible with my Garmin and is a bit cheaper actually.  Right now I am practicing learning how to clip in and out. Harder than I thought it'd be!

My bike and trainer are in our newly-renovated sun room!
Coming up this week: my first tempo run since MARCH!  Craziness... I have ran fast since then, but not a specific speed workout.  I spent a couple of hours on New Year's Eve finding appropriate speed workouts.  Most of them, I got from the McMillan running website.  It's a free site but if you pay $1.99 per month you can access a lot more, including speed workouts with the correct paces for you as an individual.  Definitely worth it to this runner, who really doesn't have a clue with speed work!