Pretty Perfect Week

As far as I’m concerned, this past week was pretty freakin’ amazing.

Did I ever show you my new Brooks Ravenna 2 running shoes?

photo (33)

Love them more so than the Ghost 4’s or Adrenaline’s. Highly recommend them.

I ran Monday for 4 miles (furthest since the marathon) without ANY pain the next day. I’ve never really had pain during my runs since I began running again in January, but the day after is always my tell-tale sign of my progress, so it was encouraging to be pain-free the following day.

I have a new routine when I run starting with a dynamic warm-up my PT taught me. (Here is one similar from Runner’s World.) This helps warm up my muscles before they have to do so much work.

After I run, now I do a series of static stretches, shower, foam roll, and ice my hip for 15-20 minutes. Then I normally pull on my compression socks to help speed recovery.

photo (36)

I also normally sleep in them, I just love the way compression feels!

So far, this routine has really worked for me and I’m loving how it’s enabling me to run again.

Ever since I began PT I’ve been making gains, but 2 weeks ago when I started going twice/week I feel like I’ve really gained traction. When Justin (my PT) pinpointed my pain last week from the treadmill, and during manual manipulation, that was my last run on the thing. Since then I’ve run outside and haven’t had any pain.

Huge milestone for me.

Huge confidence booster.

Wednesday I ran 4.83 miles and it felt amazing. It was a little late after I got out of work so the majority of the run was in the dark, but I have my trusty nightlife running shirts to make me be seen.

That run was the most fun I’d had since the marathon with running. I felt so strong and free to be running so far. I also had no pain the following day.

Thursday I went to PT and we did more strengthening exercises. I’m working on balancing exercises too to recruit and strengthen my accessory muscles that support my powerhouse muscles when I run.

Justin told me it’s time to try running two days in a row now since we’re 4 weeks out from the NYC Half Marathon. Up to this point I’ve been running every other day. My instructions: I was to run 2 days in a row over the weekend, with the first day being the longest of the two runs. Saturday I pulled out a 6-miler on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny day. So perfect.

6mirun 2-18

The dreaded mile two. I always make up for my zealous mile 1 start.

That run felt great and I had a little pain last night, but nothing like I used to have. I iced twice last night and felt fine this morning.

Today, I ran 2 miles in the snow! It was my first run ever in the snow and it was actually really fun. It had been raining all day so when it turned to snow I thought this would be my best chance of the day to get a run in.

Before my run today:

photo (37)

After my run today:

photo (38)

My first run in my new running jacket, too! Fleet Feet had a winter blowout sale on Friday and I snatched this beauty up. I love it!

photo (31)

Very good at keeping me dry.

Speaking of all this running gear, I got a new foam roller!

I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring my first foam roller with me to NYC..

It’s a bit..huge and wouldn’t fit in my carry-on luggage.

So I was on a mission to find a travel-friendly foam roller and have had this one in mind since fall. The Grid.

photo (35)

There are different textures on this foam roller vs. my original foam roller which I was skeptical about. The squares are supposed to feel like fingers, the longer ridges are tubular feeling, and the flat feel more palm-like.photo (34)

As you can see, it’s hollow, so I can stuff socks and other running stuff inside and still have room for other necessities in my luggage. It’s also only 18” long.

So far I love it. I can actually tell a difference in the amount of pressure and it gives me a little deeper of a massage when I use the fingertip areas to get into those really tight areas that need worked out.

This upcoming week is my 6th week of physical therapy and is supposed to be my last. I may stretch it out another week or two and I’ll definitely come back after the half marathon in case I have any pain so he can work that out for me.

I cannot recommend a good physical therapist enough! I was definitely skeptical after not seeing any major progress for the first 2-3 weeks but then it’s like it all clicked for me. My PT is also a runner, so he gets it.

In less than a month, I’ll be running the NYC Half. I really believe I will be able to run it. Maybe I’ll have to run/walk it and that’s fine if I do, but I’m getting pretty excited about the possibility of running the entire thing.

Did you know there will be members of the USA Olympic Marathon team running this race? I SO hope to see Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila. Two of my role models. 20-something’s are still allowed to have role models, right?

Here’s to another positive week ahead!

Advertisements

Physical Therapy Day1

How’s your week going?

As I mentioned on Tuesday, yesterday was my first physical therapy appointment. I’ve been excited since I made the appointment last week and I wasn’t disappointed.

I was evaluated and treated by Justin, my physical therapist. He seemed very knowledgeable and I feel confident in his treatment plan.

We first talked about my history with how I got the injury (or how I think I got it since I honestly have no idea). I went into a lot of detail about my training for the marathon, when and why I switched my shoes (from a supportive shoe to a neutral shoe), how I didn’t feel any major pain other than what I guessed was “normal marathon pain” after running for 4+ hours at a 9:30 mile pace during the marathon. We talked about what the pain has been like since the marathon, when it flares up, what kind of activity am I doing when it flares up, and how I’ve been coping.

Whew.

To start, he had me run on the treadmill for about 5 minutes while he recorded my feet up-close from behind, my entire body from behind, and my entire body from the side. This helped him see how/where I was landing on my feet, how my hips were landing, their positioning during my strides, and also a general sense of how my running efficiency was.

A+ on the running efficiency; could’ve told you that. 😉 Being an efficient runner means you’re not flailing your arms expending extra energy or bobbing up and down too high. This helps you conserve energy and oxygen for more efficient delivery of oxygen to your muscles and less wasted energy on your arms or too much up and down movement vs. propelling yourself forward. When you look at elite runners (I’m by no means claiming that I’m elite..), they don’t have that up and down bounce that some novice runners may have. Here’s what it looks like:

Efficient runner: Arms tight to the body, propelling forward, head in a pretty even straight line.

clip_image002

Non-Efficient Runner (brought to you by Beth’s artistic talent and Microsoft Paint): Uses energy to move up instead of forward, creating a bounce-like run.

clip_image004

If you’ve never seen this episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel run in Central Park, it’s the epitome of non-efficient running. Although I hope none of you actually run like that. Haha

Back to the PT appointment.

The PT noticed my left foot rolls inward a little bit during my landing; something my neutral shoe is not helping with in terms of support. Before I switched shoes I was wearing Brooks Adrenalines but those, he said, are a little too much support than what I need. He instead suggested a mid-line support shoe like Brooks Ravenna (my favorite brand’s version of this line of support). He even wrote me a cute little “prescription” for new shoes to take to my running store. Discount, perhaps?

He also noticed my right hip drops when I land on my left foot. He said this could definitely indicate a sign of hip weakness. With that, he gave me three different exercises to do at home in between my appointments to help strengthen my hips.

I asked him if my left hip was trying to overcompensate for my right hip weakness, even though both hips are weak, and he said it was a definite possibility. So, more exercising for me!

Wanna hear the best news? (Besides an excuse to get new running shoes..)

He said I could run! Since my 2 mile runs didn’t really bother me last week in terms of pain, he said I might as well continue to run. I told him about the NYC Half Marathon and he said it seems pretty do-able.

He wants me to start running just for time instead of distance for now. 10 minutes the first couple of runs, then we can increase it. As long as I don’t run back-to-back days, I can run as many times a week that I want. He also said that since I’d tried not running on it or doing anything for the month of December, it’s probably better that I run on it anyway since we know resting didn’t help it. He also confirmed that running will act as more of a strengthening exercise. Music to my ears!

I’m hoping I’ll get to the running store and try on a pair of new running shoes this week or early next week. It feels too soon to get new shoes since I just got the Brooks Ghost 4’s in October and barely put any miles on them, but if it’ll help me run pain-free, I’ll do anything. (Buyers Note: My PT said Brooks is an excellent running shoe; just be sure to get fitted at your local running store or by a PT to know what kind of support/non-support shoe is best for your running style.)

I go back to PT next Wednesday and every week after that until the end of February. Let’s see what we can do!

Have you ever had physical therapy? Did it help your injury/rehabilitation?

Taking Chances

In early December via my Twitter feed, I saw someone “tweet” that the NYC Half Marathon application period was about to open. I thought it’d be pretty sweet to run through the heart of NYC in an organized race, and in one of the top national races at that!

So, thinking I had absolutely no chance in the universe to be accepted, I created a profile. Logical, right? Nothing like keeping your confidence boosted while you have no chance and currently can not run. Regardless, I filled out the application, paid them a measly $5, hit submit, and waited. Not patiently though.

The drawing took place on December 29, 2011. The day came and went and I was anxious all day re-loading my profile page every 30 minutes via my phone.

Seriously.

The page kept giving me a message about “the drawing is in progress, please come back later.” If you think I’m a patient person, I am in some things, but not this. My husband was really sick of me saying, “ughhhh still nothing! This is torture!”

By about 9:30pm I still hadn’t heard yay or nay. I got curious and started checking Twitter and there were a lot of tweets about people who had been accepted. I just figured I hadn’t and I moped for about 15 minutes (ok more like an hour) but then I was over it… I didn’t really think I would be chosen anyway, right? Plus, if you enter the race 3 years in a row and get denied, you will get a guaranteed entry into the race on the 4th year. All I had to do was wait 3 more years..

December 30 (Friday) morning I woke up at my in-laws house, still visiting from the holidays, and decided to check just to make sure. Surely they would have processed everything in 24 hours and it’d be posted.

As I reloaded the page, this is what I saw:

nyc half marathon screen acceptance

DO YOU SEE THAT?!

Status: ACCEPTED

I am really sick of looking at that guy, whoever he is.

I’m in! I’m so in!

The race takes place on Sunday, March 18, 2012. Here’s the course map. We start in Central park, run through Times Square, then along the west side highway, and finish at the South Street Seaport.

Now you know why it’s so urgent that I get my hip under control. I start physical therapy tomorrow and I can’t wait to get there.

Like a good student, I started foam rolling the crap out of my legs this past Sunday and have found a pretty good amount of knots. I’ve been keeping that up daily, along with hip-opening yoga poses and calisthenics.

Even though the injury journey isn’t completely finished yet, another journey is about to begin. Whatever, I’m good with multi-tasking.

13.1 miles in NYC. Let’s go!

59308_10100157467371058_13728457_55949838_7560840_n

                        (Taking the stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris!)

I’m stoked.

 

Eureka!

I thought I figured it out.

After 2 months off from running and “resting” per the instructions of my sports medicine doctor (actually I only fully rested for 1 of those months..) I began running again on Monday.

I couldn’t take another week of nothing and I got a Garmin 610 running watch for Christmas that I have been DYING to use since opening it on Christmas Eve. I was good and waited a week+ to run after getting it but that was enough.

Plus, my plan going into December was to sit out the whole month and then see where I’m at after the holidays. So here I am.

I ran! I ran 2 slow miles at 9:30 pace on Monday and another (even slower) 2 miles at 10:00 pace on Wednesday (to be fair, I took my 1 year-old dog with me who is still learning how to be a good running partner.) I kept it at 2 miles just to see how I did and not to push myself too hard for the first time back.

Monday’s run went great! I felt so good during the run and so happy to be running again in the sunshine. I love my new watch and all the data I get from it (you know I’m a nerd by now, no hiding it…) To be on the safe side, after the 2 miles I iced my hip for 15-20 minutes and took some ibuprofen.

Tuesday I was feeling pretty good but still took ibuprofen and iced it to be safe. I was super checked-into my body though and analyzing everything that I felt in my hip area and by the end of the day called my sports medicine doctor for an appointment. I got in for the next day but after thinking about it more overnight and feeling like a hypochondriac, I called back at 8am Wednesday and cancelled. Plus, I wanted to run on it again and see how it went just to be sure.

I looked forward to my Wednesday run all day. Seriously, ALL DAY I thought about it. As soon as I got home from work, I changed into running clothes (felt better than putting on PJ’s after a long day!), got Owen (the pup) ready and off we went! The run went well although it was much colder than my run on Monday. Finished up the run at a slower pace than normal because I was wrangling the dog around and constantly scooting his butt over to my right side so he would stop running in front of me and end up hurting us both. Thankfully that didn’t happen and we had a relatively peaceful run. More ice and ibuprofen afterwards as a precaution.

So Thursday. Still feeling good but I could definitely use some ibuprofen. Realistically, I feel like I should be healed if all I needed to do was rest. I’ve rested for 4 weeks and haven’t ran in 8 (before Monday)

I definitely don’t feel 100%.

Then an idea popped into my head today at work.

  • It’s not a stress fracture, ruled that one out at the doctor’s appointment and have been doing his test exercises on my own to see if they have gotten worse
       – they haven’t.
  • I don’t hear clicking or feel popping when I’m running.
  • I’m sore for the first time and haven’t felt sore in over a month. Maybe I should foam roll.

FOAM ROLLING. IT Band pain?

I’m no doctor and I could be completely wrong but like anyone my age does, I Googled it.

I’d learned about IT Band pain and how to keep it healthy right before I started training for the marathon, another reason I bought my foam roller – prevention. While I may not have prevented this injury, it did help me through training and possibly prevented worse injuries. Still an advocate of the foam roller; Homies for life.

Back to my Google results. Sho ‘nuff.

hip pain

Of course I started Googleing hip strengthening exercises and found a lot of helpful tips. Runner’s World had a forum that was specifically talking about it and also suggested hip strengthening. Here is another good article.

That was enough for me, I called my sports medicine doctor and they had an appointment available in 1 hour from the time I called. I finished up at work and made it to find out I can skip the MRI but he recommends.. physical therapy to strengthen my hip!

Wasn’t the IT Band, but I’m glad I looked into it online otherwise, I may never have gone back to the doctor until it was really bad.

So now I’m set to do physical therapy for the next 4 weeks at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to gain more strength. When he was doing his series of tests he confirmed that my hip bones and socket were indeed fine, but that the surrounding areas of muscles, tendons, etc. were in question. My left hip was noticeably weaker than my right hip, too. He thought this to be the best route and I told him I needed the fastest route, which he assured me it was.

I’m excited for therapy because I’m so ready for this to be behind me. Plus I’ve always wanted to go to a  PT (I have no idea why) and their (sorta?) like personal trainers so why not? One-on-one time to talk sports/recovery is right up my alley!

My mood is on the upswing and I’m so glad to finally have a plan in place.This takes away so much anxiety and unknown that I’ve been mulling over for the past month. I really turned into a grouch before Christmas. I know it’s no guarantee, but it sure beats the heck out of doing nothing!

Happy Friday-Eve!

Ode to Running

Well hello there! How are things on your end of the mouse?

Here’s what’s been going on over here..

1. Last weekend I tried to run and failed. Then I walked a 5k which was humbling to say the least.

2. I was in pain from attempting to run last Thursday for approximately 4 days afterwards.

3. While at the race I decided I really needed to make some changes with how I’m approaching this “hiatus to running.” Let’s face it, I’m injured, no more “hiatus.”

4. This has been a big pill for me to swallow over the past week.

Sorry in advance this isn’t the normal happy, chipper Beth-post..

So about that pill to swallow.

I decided at the race I really need to cut back on the exercise I’ve been doing. Mainly because it hurt to run after only 1 mile instead of the 2.5 miles I ran before I went to the sports doctor just 3 weeks ago.

You see, when I said I took a hiatus from running, I did stop running, but I replaced it with elliptical and the arc trainer which incorporates resistance as part of the workout. The resistance gives me a great workout but I fear it also isn’t helping my hip much. So I haven’t done any of that non-sense in 8 days. (not that anyone is counting)

Cool, so no cardio. Surely there is SOMETHING I can do, right? I went to Yoga on Tuesday night and it was marvelous, obviously. I also am afraid though, with all the bending and stretching and joint work.. this may not be a good option either.

So what’s left?

Technically I’ve exhausted all of my options I conventionally use to stay fit and sane. If we’re talking about being adventurous though, I could always hit the pool. But again, resistance of the water when I’m kicking probably wouldn’t be good for it.

So I think I’m really on the bench this time. Like, no heart-pumping, adrenaline or endorphin producing, sweat dripping, muscles aching AWESOME-NESS.

photo (17)
(After my 5 mile run in 98 degree heat + humidity this summer)

Nope. None of that. Sorry ‘boutcha, Beth.

THAT’S the pill I’m trying swallow.

In retrospect I’ve been training, running, being completely active (my whole life but specifically) for 8 out of 12 months of 2011. I’m sure that’s also the reason I am injured. What? You’re body isn’t indestructible, too? Naïve Beth is learning a lesson.

But from going from 8 months of this new love for distance running to all of sudden Z-E-R-O physical activity is torture. I know I should enjoy the time off, Beth, you’ll get back into it. Be glad you have an excuse to do nothing. Can’t you just relax?

Sure I can relax. I did enjoy the freedom from a training plan, but quite honestly, it’s never really been my style to “do nothing.”

548
(Kayaking in the Bahamas on spring break in college.)

So now I stare extra long at runners I see, a little jealous and a lot creepy. I drive past my old running route while I’m driving home from running errands and physically yearn to park my car, set my distance on my Nike+ to x amount of  miles, and take off down the path.

photo (19)

I hope it’s only temporary, I really need it to be temporary. Not because I identify myself as only a runner, because I’m much more than that, mainly because I miss what I love.

I miss the “me time” to clear my head, to get creative with projects coming up, to get inspired about other aspects of my life, to settle thoughts about situations I have no control over, and mainly just to listen to what my body is telling me.

photo (21)

I love the feeling when you begin to finally sweat after the 1-2 mile mark. I love my heart racing when I’m struggling up a hill. I L.O.V.E. when I hit the 5-6 mile mark and everything falls into place. I mean everything. Breathing, stride, light stepping, feel as light as a feather. I really miss that.

So enough depressing talk – just trying to keep it honest and all.

Thankfully I have a great hubby and a lot of great friends and family that support me. I also have a lot of fun stuff going on not related to being active. It’s a great time of year for parties so I get to see a lot of the people I want to see and that helps me stay sane, too.

I’ll keep you updated on the hip. I may go back to my sports medicine doctor next week to take him up on that MRI offer. Cross your fingers he just wants me to rest!

Staying Active Without Running…

As you know, I had to take running hiatus after paying a visit to the sports medicine doctor 2 weeks ago. I can report back I’ve been a compliant patient and haven’t ran.

I’ve incorporated yoga into my routine once a week (for starters) and strength training (my own routine of free weights 3 days per week.) My main source of cardio has been the elliptical.

I know, I know. The dreaded elliptical.

precor

It actually hasn’t been too bad! I’ve gone in the mornings before work and listened to CNN (since I listen on my drive to work anyway), watched the TODAY show (which I never get to see anymore!) or just take some time to think things through.

When I’m not on the elliptical, I’ve been on the arc trainer which is, I think, a better workout. I can really “dig in” to those strides and to me, feels the most like running without the impact.

arctrainer

I’ve taken the occasional spin class, but honestly I work out as “me” time. It’s the part of my day I can decide to do whatever I want, think about whatever I want, for as long as I want. I tend to get bored and zone out with spin because they’re always telling you to increase/decrease your resistance, pretend you’re climbing up a hill, etc. I’d rather just bike than spin.

One class I DO love and have loved for many years, is Group Power. The original version is Body Pump, but my gym offers Group Power which is just another company’s variation of it. Essentially, it’s 60 minutes of choreographed strength exercises led by a certified instructor. There are around 8 songs per hour and each song focuses on a certain muscle group. It normally goes: Warm-Up, Legs, Back, Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Legs again, abs, cool-down. Maybe not in that order but you get the picture.

Don’t be afraid if you can’t lift a lot of weight. It’s for all ages – I’m actually the youngest one in there, normally. I have had plenty of grannies and grandpa’s show me up with the amount of weight they’re using!

I first took Body Pump when I still lived at home before I went off to my senior year of college, again the summer before our wedding, and I occasionally hit up a class now and again. Since I’ve dedicated so much time to running this year, it’s great to get back into strength training.

So while I haven’t been running, I’ve sufficiently found ways to stay active and happy.

SAM_3667

Remember the Mistletoe Half Marathon I mentioned? I’m still not running the half, but today I did sign up for the 5k!

Amazing how exciting that is for me and not even a month ago I ran a marathon. But this really is  exciting. I haven’t ran again since my appointment 2 weeks ago, so on Thursday I’m going to take the legs for a test drive. If my hip doesn’t have any pain (which, it’s been holding up very well during the other exercise I’ve been doing) then I’ll go ahead and run. If it hurts too bad, I’ll just have to walk the 5k. No big deal – I signed up for fun and it’s for a GREAT cause!

mistletoe run

Do you have any fun holiday runs planned for this month?

1 Week Post-Marathon and Goals

It’s been one week since I ran my first marathon.

How did it go?

Well.. a lot better than I thought, actually.

This is me and I’m excited!!

The drive home to Greensboro from Savannah on Sunday went pretty well. Since I was a passenger, I had plenty of time to massage my quads/hamstrings for the 6+ hour drive home. Thank goodness for that.

You may have seen me putting on my compression socks after the marathon..

I will swear by these as long as I run. They work.

I debated for 8 months whether or not to buy these and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. They’re amazing, and I had NO calf/shin/ankle/foot soreness after wearing these. See a scientific review here and my thoughts on these earlier in the year here. I wore the socks from 30 minutes post race – 36 hours after.

Monday
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness set in. It was the most painful day of recovery, ever. Hands down. I walked funny, I avoided stairs, I did not bend down to pick anything up. I seeked handicap ramps into buildings on campus to avoid stairs. When I had to attempt stairs, I ended up breaking into a sweat and on the verge of tears. I think I got some pretty weird glances at work, but whatever. I ran my heart out, I’m not sorry.

I should mention that Brandon ended up with a stress fracture in his foot and came home from Savannah with a boot. This meant I would be taking the dog out, every time, up and down 36 steps. Thank goodness my mother-in-law was here Monday and Tuesday to help me with this painful task. When I did take the pup out, I took the stairs backwards. You may look crazy or like you’re 85, but it sure beats crying as you walk down a flight of stairs.

I came home from work that day and immediately foam rolled for 30+ minutes. Another invention that has boosted my quality of life during training.

Tuesday
More relief.  I could take the stairs up, but coming down was still quite a task. I massaged my quads, foam rolled when I got home from work, but overall it was a great improvement from Monday.

Wednesday
Feeling more confident with stairs. Up was no problem and down was progressing towards normal.

After work, my friend Tyna met me at campus for a run. This was the first day of running for me since the marathon and is really the first advised day of running, per Hal Higdon.

We went for an easy, slow 3 mile run. My pace was near 11 minutes/mile. Holy Moley.  All that damage to my muscles was showing. It felt good to get back out there though.

I had some left hamstring pain during the run and some right foot pain..

I stretched out the pain of my hamstring and kept going, but eventually I became concerned about my foot pain and called it quits at 3 miles. I was fine with that and came home to rest and ice it.

Thursday
Foot pain still present, hips feeling a little out of line or something..

Friday
Same story as Thursday.

Saturday
Tired of not getting any physical activity other than walking at work, I went to the gym for Spin class. It was non-impact so I didn’t have to worry about my hips or foot, I could still get a good cardio workout in, and felt semi-normal for having some kind of exercise on a Saturday morning.

I can tell I will miss my long runs if I can’t get back into them soon.

Other than that, recovery has been going well.

I’ve been adapting my eating to mimic how much exercise I’m doing. That has actually been easier than I thought it would be.

During training I was eating A. LOT. I was burning a lot of calories and therefore, had to eat more to fuel.

Now that I’m not running 25-30+ miles per week, I my appetite has markedly decreased. I’m not craving simple sugars (desserts) as much as I was (for calories) and I am relatively at a good place with calorie balance.

GOALS
I am SO EXCITED to not have a plan, for once this year.

Let me remind you that 2011 started off with training for my first half marathon in April.

Training starting in late January-April.

2 months off from training, had me preparing for marathon training.

July 5, 2011 Marathon Training Began.

I have not been training for a race for a grand total of 3 out of 11 months of 2011.

I’ve made great gains this year. I’ve developed as a person. I have more self-confidence than I ever have.

To finish out 2011, I have a goal to complete at least one more race. For fun though, not to set a new PR (personal record). It could be a 5k, 10k, half marathon, whatever. I just want to do one more before 2011 wraps up.

My goal for winter is to incorporate more yoga into my weekly exercise routine. I need the flexibility and I loved it when I did it for a few weeks back in May. I felt so strong, so centered.

I just want to do what I feel like doing, in the form of exercise. If I want to do elliptical for 45 minutes, I’ll do it. If I want to take a Spin or Body Pump class, I’ll do it.

I love the holidays and I’ll still run, but I’ll do it because I love it, not as part of a plan.

I’m looking ahead to 2012 and looking at which races I’ll be participating in. A few I have in mind are: Cooper Bridge Run,  Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville, The Flying Pig, The Indianapolis Mini Marathon, The Chicago Marathon and maybe the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon.

No matter what happens, I know I’ll be running.

Here’s to finishing goals, coming out stronger, and setting new goals to look forward to!!

Traveling and Training

I’ve been looking forward to the next 8 weeks all year long. I get to see so many friends that I haven’t seen since B and I’s wedding, meet new people, and see places I’ve never seen before.

What’s the roster looking like? (In order of appearance)

Vegas!

Savannah!

Milwaukee!

Chicago! (Return visit)

 

Naples, FL! (Return Visit)

 

All leading up to the Grande Finale in..

New York City!!

 

I’m visiting 3 of these places to attend/be in weddings, and the others are just for fun.  🙂

While I’m excited to see all these new places simply because I love traveling, there is a level of anxiety about sticking to my training plan.

During the week won’t be so bad because these are all long weekend trips. It’s the long runs on the weekends I’m most worried about.

I plan on running while in NYC in Central Park, so that won’t be a big worry – but the others are a little more tricky.

My Concerns:

  1. I don’t want to offend people I’m with to go run for 2+ hours, but it will be in the early morning so they won’t miss me too much, right?
  2. I don’t want to get lost or venture into unsafe areas. I’m pretty good about planning my runs and have a good sense of direction, so as long as I ask people ahead of time (thank you supportive running community!) and stick with the populated/tourist areas I should be good to go.
  3. The fatigue after long runs is enough to plant me in bed for a solid 1-2 hour nap. I’m not sure if this is because I get up so early to run, if the run just zaps all energy from me, or a combination of the two. Again, I don’t want to offend any other travelers but most importantly I want to enjoy the cities I am visiting since I am only there for 3-4 days!
  4. The aches and pains after pounding the pavement for 2+ hours is also a little out of my comfort zone. Again, I’d like to enjoy the places I’m visiting as much as I can!
  5. Recovery. I can’t bring my foam roller with me, so I will need to invest in a travel size. This is also where compression socks would come in mighty handy.

More Concerns  Reasons Why I Should Run:

  1. I don’t want to get behind in mileage. I’ve heard from other’s experiences’ just how hard it is to make it up and it’s just another mental barrier through training that is preventable. Remember, running is 90% mental and attitude.
  2. I crave long runs. Once the weekend rolls around, I’m ready to head out for a solid 90+ min run. As long as I’m walking/exploring I don’t think I’ll get too antsy, but I can’t just sit around all vacation.
  3. Normally vacations are meant for the splurging. For me, that doesn’t mean spend $ on things, that means experimenting with local food from that region and trying exotic dishes. Not always dietitian approved but hey, I’m human just like you. Gotta balance those calories with some good ol’ fashion hard work – sweat.

I’m considering my options and now it looks as if I will be doing my 14 mile long run tomorrow morning before work instead of Saturday morning in Vegas. While I would L.O.V.E. to run the strip, I’m a little concerned about my safety in the early morning and the fact that I still don’t have a hydration belt for that dry heat.

I’ll be anxious to see which vacations I can fit my long runs into, because you know I’ll try. 🙂

 

How do you plan for long runs while traveling? Any tips for my concerns?

Unplanned Rest Day

Every so often you get those days where you just have to listen to your body. Even after a weekend full of rest, today I’m not feeling so hot.

I worked a job fair yesterday, so maybe being around the 400+ people made me feel icky. “Research has shown that more than 90-minutes of high intensity endurance exercise can actually make individuals more susceptible to illness for up to 72 hours following the conclusion of the exercise session.” (Source) I guess I should have been more careful yesterday after my 11 mile run just 48 hours prior.

Although I could definitely run today, with the amount of fatigue I had over the weekend, my rest day yesterday consumed with an aching right hip (I think a bursitis flare-up), only 6.5 hours of sleep last night, and today feeling somewhat dizzy and achy… I think I need the day off and an early bedtime.

Tomorrow I’ll pick up where I left off and missing a 3 mile run isn’t going to set me back a gold medal or anything (HA!). So instead of Tuesday just being hard to get motivated to start my training week day, it’s put on the brakes so you can run the rest of the week day.

A runner not only knows when to push and motivate her/himself, but also knows when enough is enough. Listening to your body takes practice, just like running does.  Don’t try to make up miles when you miss a day, just step right back in line for the run that’s up next. You risk injury and burn-out otherwise.

Hopefully skipping today will make for a good 6 mile run tomorrow and I hope you had a good run today! Decaf green tea is in my immediate future 🙂

My Inner Nerd and Recovery

This is how much of a nerd I am.

It can be used to confirm your threshold pace and what your proper pace should be during a race. Lactic acid in blood means not enough oxygen is delivered to muscles, therefore you could be overtraining.

Not that I’m actually going to buy this, but this is the type of stuff I got to play with for my second degree at Purdue; Nutrition, Fitness, and Health (Exercise Physiology based). *sigh* I need to go back to school to fulfill my inner-nerd. I get too excited about this stuff.

I’ve been reading more about compression socks (because I’ve been fascinated with them since I first read about them in February) and am trying to decide if they are worth the dough. They have been used for years in the medical field for preventing blood clots and improving circulation and are now becoming popular in the athletic world. There are several brands out there but one that always gets the best reviews are Zoot’s. I’ve read peer-reviewed research articles about their benefits and there does seem to be scientific evidence of helping speed up recovery from endurance events. Hello, marathon training?

 (Not Me)

CEP Compression Socks

In the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) researchers in Sydney, Australia concluded: “The data suggests that wearing compression garments in the recovery from eccentric exercise may alter the inflammatory response to damage and accelerate the repair processes inside of the muscle. However, further studies are warranted to confirm any alteration in muscle repair/recovery consequent to wearing of compression garments.”

This guy did a full scientific review on a pair of Sigvaris compression socks. If you don’t want read all about it there, I’ll hit the main points.

He goes into 2 theories:

  1. Increased blow flow return (to the heart) when wearing compression socks. This happens because the compression prevents blood from pooling in your lower legs due to gravity. This would help increase stroke volume (more blood pumped from heart each time the heart beats, therefore making oxygen delivery more efficient) and increase clearance of by-products from exercise to prevent buildup and decrease soreness in the recovery phase. This is what I’m so interested in.
  2. Muscle vibration. Stating that the vibration from your foot striking the ground causes delayed muscle soreness and the compression socks could help decrease the soreness by improving our efficiency.

Some research conducted on compression socks also has to do with blood lactate levels. They have been seen to reduce the amount of blood lactate levels, not muscle lactate levels. Maybe the increase in blood flow increases the efficiency oxygen is delivered to our working muscles and therefore decreasing the amount of lactic acid that is produced. This would be a marker to know that we still have “some go” left in us.

Lactic acid is produced during exercise when our oxygen demand is greater than the oxygen we have available to fuel our muscles and metabolic functions. When this oxygen deficit occurs, lactic acid is produced. It’s what causes the burning sensation in our muscles during intense exercise because lets face it, its lactic acid.

Here’s the part people miss – lactic acid is completely washed out of your muscles within 30-60 minutes of finishing your exercise1. Since the soreness you experience from that exercise doesn’t show up until 1-3 days after you’ve finished.. how can we blame lactic acid?

It seems a more logical excuse for muscles soreness is actually muscle damage. This is the theory the scientific world has been embracing over the past decade or so. When you overdue your exercise you cause “microtrauma” to the muscle fibers. Over the next 24 hours the damaged muscle becomes swollen and sore. Chemical irritants are released from these damaged muscles and irritate the pain receptors1 and all of sudden, “ouch, I can’t even walk to get water!”

Those chemical irritants are some of the by-products that *may* be cleared faster when using compression socks. I don’t know but it’s a theory.

How do you get rid of soreness? Start. Moving. Don’t sit on the couch all day. By walking, swimming, or doing some other event other than the exercise that made you sore to begin with, you begin to restore your muscles to their normal state. This is why Sunday is my cross-training day! Continuing to stretch and time in hot baths or saunas can help, too.

 

You can’t always prevent yourself from getting sore, but by continuing to be active will increase your strength and endurance and increase the tolerance your muscles can handle.

Compression socks could also help with this swelling and recovery due to the compression alleviating that swelling and inflammation. Think of when you smash your finger, you want to apply pressure to help with the pain.

The compression socks can be used in 2 ways, during the endurance event or during the recovery phase. The research for use during the event isn’t as reliable. It won’t make you faster, but it could help with the vibration aspect.

Most of the research that proves beneficial is in the recovery phase. That’s when I would use them and on long rides before races, aka Savannah. I’m not sure how cool I would look running in socks up to my knees (or in my case, my thighs because my legs are so short) in 90 degree weather, anyway.

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to buy them, but I guess I just want to, to see if they will work to speed up recovery between my runs. Be my own science experiment – sounds good in theory anyway!

How do you recover from long runs?

 

Reference:

1. Edmund Burke, Ph.D. Accessed July 19, 2011