Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week in Review: 02.20-02.26

Total miles: 44.58
Average weekly pace: 9:07
Total running time: 6:47
Total swimming yards: 5200
Total swimming time: 1:50
Walk/hike distance: 3.2
Walk/hike time: :58
Total workout time: 11:02

M, 02.20: As mentioned previously, this is the run that maybe shouldn't have happened. Especially now in hindsight... I also did my 3.2-mile "sunset loop" walk and some core work in the evening.

T, 02.21:
I did an easy 3 in the morning to test everything out. My hamstring was tight, but certainly not painful, and seemed to get better as the run progressed. After a killer session on the foam roller and some diligent icing, I didn't feel anything the rest of the day. I figured I was good to go at the evening's track session. I figured wrong. I was ok during the warm-up - again, tightness but not pain. I was really excited about nailing the workout: the infamous Michigan Miles. This workout is as follows: 1600@10K pace, 1600@LT, 1200@5K, 1600@LT, 800@3K, 1600@LT, 400@1500, with the only rest being the jog from the track to the path that encircles the top of the stadium for the LT miles. As I started at my 10K pace, which was feeling strong and solid, I felt my hamstring a bit but then it seemed to settle down. Until the 300m mark, at which point it seized up and told me to stop. After a few minutes of cursing and some frustrated tears, I talked to the coaches, and got a recommendation for a chiropractor/sports medicine doctor. Upon getting back home, I left them a voicemail, iced, and had a pity beer.

W, 02.22: Rolling, icing, moping, repeat. I also swam an easy 2400 yd in 50 min.

R, 02.23:
The leg felt better when I woke up, and I had my appointment first thing in the morning. After analyzing my stance, I was diagnosed with a "classic case" of a twisted pelvis. My lateral stabilizing muscles - the gluteus medius - aren't strong enough to maintain a neutral pelvis, so it gets all twisty. The whole thing twists to my right, causing my right psoas and my left hamstring to be chronically tight. It was actually pretty cool how he figured this out: I lied on my back and basically wiggled my feet back and forth, together and apart. When I stopped moving and let them rest naturally, they both pointed to my right. Twisted feet = twisted pelvis. After some ART-type massage and some time hooked up to the stim machine, I could feel a difference. I was also given the green-light to run and "let the pain be my guide." I was also told to keep it between 4-6 miles, but that was contradictory advice, as it turns out. The beautiful, unseasonably warm weather that day was tempting, but I was good: I iced and swam (2800 yd in an hour, including 7 100-yd 'faster' with 25 yd of easy breaststroke in between).

F, 02.24: judgment day! I felt a bit tight when I sat up in bed and tentatively touched my toes, but a busy day ahead meant getting up and hitting the road first thing. And I felt great! Tight, to be sure, but I was able to do 5.6 miles at a super easy pace pain-free. Again, rolling and icing post-run like a good girl! To add to my good run, I was also notified that I am officially a member of the Impala Racing Team - I was accepted after my tryout period! I am so pumped to be getting to know these women and to be a part of a team!

S, 02.25:
My OCD kicked in. I didn't want to miss a long run in my training cycle. But, I wasn't going to force the miles and be out another week. When I left my house, I really didn't know if I was going to run for 2 miles or 20. I ran the first 5 miles very tentatively (read: paranoid). Again, the leg was tight but definitely not painful. I kept the first section on the flat path along the beach. Five miles later, I was feeling good and loose and decided to loop around Lake Merced, which would give me at least 14 for the day. Running back along Sunset to the park, I didn't want to just go home. I looped the park first! At any point in my run, I was willing to stop at the first whisper of pain (I know that's easy for me to say now that I didn't end up having to, but I swear it's true! I had my phone and my credit card for cab fare if I needed it!). But my leg actually responded to the miles by improving, and there were definitely some miles in there where I could forget about monitoring my leg and enjoy the nice day. If I got too greedy with the pace, which was anything under about 8:20-8:30, I felt tightness, so I just kept things nice and easy. It was definitely the slowest long run I've done in recent memory, but totally worth keeping the leg happy for a greater number of miles! After the run, I rolled and sat in an ice bath, and I also iced later in the day.

U, 02.26: I waited until the afternoon to run, after having some errands to run and writing to do in the morning (including jetting around town on my newest addition: Phoebe, my age-undetermined Specialized Craigslist find!) Again, I left not knowing how long I'd run, and to my delight, I completed 8.5 miles without pain, without tightness, feeling like my old running self. I still rolled and am currently sitting on ice, but this definitely bodes well for my upcoming week! I was feeling so much better than I even added on a kettlebell and leg-heavy strength routine, which I neglected the past week.

Next week:
I have another appointment tomorrow morning for some more pelvis-neutralizing fun. I definitely want to get some at-home exercises to get those stabilizing muscles into shape! My friend Chris already has me doing a bunch, so I can only imagine how bad they'd be if I hadn't been doing those! Yikes!

The scheduled team workout for Tuesday is 1000m repeats at 10K pace. I don't think I will be testing out the hamstring at 10K pace! I'd be tempted to do LT miles, but certainly not 10K. I will save myself for Saturday, when I am entered to run the NorCal 10-miler as an Impala. It will definitely be a game-time decision to race or guard the leg, but I'm excited to wear Impala blue and represent the team.

I also have a meeting with the sports psychologist I mentioned in a previous post. The free initial consultation can't hurt, and I think it could be a motivating conversation at the very least.

50 days till Boston!

Monday, February 20, 2012

7 for today's 7.36 in 1:07:01

1. My left hamstring is being a cranky asshatface. It has been off and on since I had to run 20 miles on a treadmill last weekend (F), followed by another 8 TM miles the next day (S). My legs always revolt from TM miles. On day 3 (U), I noticed it grabbing after a mile so called it quits and took the next day  (M) off. It didn't even whisper at last week's Tuesday track session, and was nice all week until Saturday, where it started protesting during the end of my last LT repeat. I cut today's planned 10 short because I want to do tomorrow's track workout. I found some nasty shit with the foam roller post-run - of course, I've been rolling it ever since it started squawking, but today was especially brutal. Between the rolling and icing, I hope to nip this niggle in the bud - it feels a million times better tonight than it did this morning.

For those of you who have dealt with cranky hamstrings before, I have a question: when I roll, the tightest point is at the top of my hamstring, near my glute, but the part that is cranky is at the other end, on the outside of my leg close to my knee. I'm sure the tightness is just manifesting itself there, but has anyone else had this happen?

2. Today was probably a "do as I say, not as I do" run. I think I should have cut it even shorter. I know I would have given that advice to anyone with a niggle. So, I will berate myself for running and promise (with crossed fingers) that it will never happen again. I blame the fact that I was 3.5 miles away from home when I realized I should probably not do 10 miles and that returning was almost all downhill, which didn't stress things out too badly, and that it doesn't really "hurt," but just feels like it could be very easily convinced to turn into a monster.

3. Tomorrow morning, I'll evaluate things and see how the leg feels about a 3 mile easy run. I don't want any surprises at practice tomorrow night. But, as per post #2 above, I'll be smart!

4. Last week, I got to join the team for a clinic/presentation by a sports psychologist. A lot of what she said really resonated with me, and it's been making my mind churn a bit, both about running and other stuff. She talked a lot about breaking bad patterns and gaining confidence and turning off negative self-talk. I'm not going to expand any more now, but I think some mental training blogs are forthcoming. It also made me realize that, even though I'm not really a believer in "fate," per se, the universe sometimes brings people into our lives at the exact moment you need them. The trick is to recognize you need them.

5. I am trying to not feel guilty over not setting my alarm and waking up at 8 naturally every day. I work from home. I should not have to get up at 6 just for the sake of having a long morning, especially when I can't usually get myself to bed before 11 no matter how good my intentions are. So what if my work day begins at 10? Sleep trumps forcing myself to be a morning person!

6. I'm going to be very, very cranky if my hamstring sucks tomorrow.

7. I will be smart - I will be smart - I will be smart.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

6 for 6

6 for today's easy 6 in 57:05

1. I am writing this from my balcony, where I am sitting in a cozy chair in a bikini top and floppy sun hat. The sun is hot, the breeze is cool, I can see the ocean, and it's days like this that make me have to pinch myself to realize that I'm here, that I'm here because I want to be and for no other reason, and that makes me happy. I told my mom the other day that on each of my runs, I still have a moment that takes my breath away, be it a view or a passing "I'm lucky to be here thought." I hope I never lose the ability to count my blessings.

2. I normally go long on Saturdays, but I'm doing the Kaiser Permanente half marathon tomorrow, so I still have one more hard workout this week. I won't be racing it, but rather doing it as a MP run. I'll do approximately 3 miles to warm up, then do the race in 1:35 (7:14 pace). This race is right in my backyard, on the roads I run nearly every day, so it will be a fun way to get in my first official MP run of the training cycle. It is actually an ideal course for a PR race, but as I mentioned last time, that's not what I need right now in my training.

3. Even though I still have one more workout to go this week, I have felt really great all week long. I think I'll be able to bump up the mileage a bit next week while keeping the same amount of quality runs. I think increasing the mileage and holding it steady for a few weeks is letting me adapt to the addition of some intense workouts. Hopefully this will continue over the upcoming weeks as the long runs get longer.

4. On Thursday, I'll be heading to Cancun with some of my best girlfriends for a long weekend. I will have to do some adjusting, but I don't think I'm going to be able to avoid a long run while I'm there. This will probably mean heading to the treadmill in the fitness center of the resort, as I'm not really sure I should be trying to run 20 miles along a highway in Mexico. It's crazy to think that Mexico is now on the "do not run in strange places alone" list, but I'd rather load up my iPod with episodes of This American Life and Marathon Times podcasts than be looking over my shoulder for 20 miles. Unless, of course, anyone has recently been to Cancun and can suggest a good running route :) Of course, once I get there, I may be able to find a little loop around the grounds of the resort to run around millions of times. (Note to the girls: I'll wake up early enough and won't let the run lessen my fun the night before, so you won't even know I've done it. This is vacation, after all, and I'd rather have a crappy run than give up any fun!)

5. Ok, males (and anyone else who doesn't want to hear girl-talk), skip to #6 (and don't say I didn't warn you). Since Houston, I've been really diligent about counting calories and trying to get my diet back in check. And the scale Has. NOT. Budged. And it's super frustrating because it makes me want to just give up. I had an epiphany the other day: that the time over which I've seen the scale creep up coincides exactly with a change in my birth control pill prescription. And sure enough, this week I'm on the placebo, and I dropped a good 5 pounds almost overnight! Holy crap! I have an appointment on Monday to get a new prescription, and I hope I can go back to something without this terrible side effect. I've been on several pills and this is the first time I've had to deal with weight gain. Any other ladies have this problem? How annoying is that? My clothes really aren't fitting any differently, but I'd rather not have to carry around the extra pounds on my runs, especially when I'm trying to lean up and slim down. Stoopid hormones.

6. Ok, welcome back males. Looking back on the goals I set for myself this week, I realize I should recap if I met them or not!
~ Nailing Tuesday's workout of 1200 m repeats at 10 K pace. That's about 6:30 for me, so I will just focus on not going out too fast so I can complete all the reps.* Met and then some! I was stoked about this workout! I hit splits at 5:01 (6:32 pace); 5:00 (6:28); 4:53 (6:21); 4:55 (6:22); 4:58 (6:28); 4:52 (6:21). And I felt fantastic - for as bad as I felt last week, I felt awesome during this workout. Hoo-yah!
~ I missed swimming last week. One good swim session, probably on Thursday night.
* Swam on Wednesday afternoon for 45 mins (2300 yds).
~ More kettlebell! Well, strength in general.
* Did one core session, two leg-heavy strength sessions, and three KB sessions. I really feel the difference on my when I get these workouts in.~ 8 hours of sleep per night. Which means getting over the "guilt" factor of sleeping in a bit. I freelance and work from home, why do I need to get up at 6:00 if I know I can't get my butt to bed before 22:00? Once a night owl...* Erm. Fail. 6-7 hours each night. But I am working on this!
~ One mid-week blog post in my old "list" format.
* Just in under the wire with today's post.

I'll be back tomorrow or Monday with a full recap of the week!