Sunday, March 17, 2013

A 2-Mile PR and Some Festive Socks

On Thursday night, I ran a small 2-mile race that was just about 30 minutes from home - the Dalton St. Patrick's Day 2-Miler. And, uh...I really don't know how to make a post out of a 2-mile race. I ran hard, and it was over quickly. The end.

I guess I'll elaborate, because otherwise there really is no point to this blog, is there?

It was a weird race time - 6:30 p.m. I had a pretty regular day of work beforehand, and ate normally but avoided veggies for the day, just in case. Then I pestered my husband and made him get up, go outside and take a series of pictures to prove that I dressed up for a race. He loved it. He really loves when I make him take pictures of me for the Internet. It's his favorite pastime.

I got to the race, registered on the spot and met a friend of mine to run the course as a warm-up. I think we ran the two miles at about a 10:30 pace, taking it really easy, but we did throw in a few 10-second strides at a faster pace.

The race takes place at a local church and is really family-friendly, which means that there are a lot of kids. Luckily, they made a big deal about only letting people who could run 2 miles UNDER 15 minutes at the front, which stopped some of the younger kids from getting caught up in the start and making things too chaotic. (For the record, I didn't join the speedy folks at the front, despite *spoiler alter* eventually finishing under 15 minutes).

At the start, I had my eye on a lady who typically finishes ahead of me and tried to stick with her. The first mile was 7:04, which made me so excited, because part of it was uphill. Clearly that wore me out, because even with the corresponding downhill on the second mile I slowed right down. It was hard. I was out of breath. But it was awesome.

Photo Courtesy of the Photographers at the Local High School

Final time: 14:54, 1st place in my age group, 5th woman overall (7:27 pace)

Yep, I'll take that. I had a goal of 15 minutes for this race, and I got there with a few seconds to spare. It took me a couple of minutes to breathe properly afterwards, which I think means I worked for that time. Isn't that the best case scenario? Wanting to die during the race but feeling amazing after the fact? Perfect.

Of course, scooping up some bling was fun too. Loved that part a little bit.

My friend Julie and I and our AG medals

Anyone else run a St. Patrick's Day race this weekend?
I know a few people who were in Atlanta for the Publix half and full, which I ran last year (the half!) 

Just a heads up...I had someone email me about running a race this with IT band pain, which is a valid question! I understand that I am treading a fine line between resting, strengthening the area and maintaining my running fitness. I feel lucky that I have almost no pain as long as I foam roll before a run and warm-up properly, but that isn't the same for everyone! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Things That Kicked My Ass This Week

Life has a funny way of forcing you to slow down, doesn't it? I ran a half-marathon PR in September, a marathon PR in November and then another marathon PR in February. When I write it all out like that, an injury doesn't just seem possible, it seems probable.

The last couple of weeks have involved some IT band pain and some slight knee pain, but every day it gets better. The key (anecdotally, I'm no doctor) seems to be the magic of the foam roller. I know not what kind of sorcery is contained in that foam cylinder, but I love it.

My cats like to stretch with me :)

I was supposed to run a 12-hour race on Saturday, but I knew that doing so would be a terrible idea. Instead, I worked out hungover on a hotel elliptical for 20 minutes. That's the same as running for 12 hours, right? Right.

Thankfully, I never had a chance to be sad about the DNS (did not start), because Tim and I ended up having a fantastic weekend. On Friday night, we went to an all-German birthday party. I took no pictures, ended up with blisters thanks to ridiculously sexy and uncomfortable shoes, danced my ass off and stayed up until 4 in the morning. Hence the 20 minutes on the elliptical the next day feeling like death.  I also refused to speak German until the second (or was it third?) bottle of wine, which is when I become a professional translator. I assume that slurring is understood universally.

I thought it might be interesting to share my workouts for the last week, if for no other reason than the fact that it included things besides running.

Monday: 25 minutes of foam rolling, 4 miles on treadmill
Tuesday: 30 minutes of foam rolling, 6 miles on treadmill
Wednesday: 30 minutes of Pilates at home
Thursday: 4 miles running outside with a friend, easy pace (9:30)
Friday: 20 minutes of foam rolling, 3 miles on the treadmill
Saturday: 20 minutes on the elliptical. Also, I lifted one of those weighted medicine balls in the hotel gym because it made me feel buff. It was heavy. I stopped immediately.
Sunday: 30 minutes of foam rolling, 9 miles @9:24 pace, FLAT - hills still bother my knees a little

On Wednesday I did a Pilates video on Youtube, and it was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. It's from the blogger behind Blogilates, who I had honestly never heard of before until I searched "Pilates" on YouTube. Anyway, can't vouch for the blog, but I will say that the video is pretty tough. It's just under 30 minutes, and it is mostly abs/upper body. I'll probably continue to use it for cross-training. Theoretically.

This was far from a coherent post, so I will leave you with the following list of things that have kicked my ass in the past week:

-High Heels
-Running without 30 minutes of foam-rolling first
-DNS-ing. It just sucks.
-Pilates (AKA: using my core)
-Remembering to take pictures. What kind of blogger am I, damn it!

Does anyone have any recommendations for workout videos from YouTube?
I'm also surprised when I remember that there are some good ones on there. I just hate when I find a great one that lasts, like, 4 minutes. Great workout there, buddy. 

Have you ever had to DNS a race?
Sadly, this isn't my first time. The worst one for me was in Hong Kong, when I has plantar fasciitis and had no idea was it was (pre-blogging, obviously). I was convinced that my foot had broken or something.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Bad Case of Cocky Runner

There goes my comeback. Pretty sure last week's post was full of unicorn gum drops and happy vibes post-PR, and I may have mentioned a few upcoming races where, obviously, I was going to kick ass and take names.

I may have to rethink my strategy. Last week's total running mileage? Six miles. SIX. Not 60. SIX.

So, what happened? I came down with a bad case of cocky runner. You ever heard of that? Symptoms include overconfidence, a refusal to abide by the scientific laws of recovery and a distinct lack of stretching and foam-rolling. I got cocky runner BAD, you guys.

After my marathon two weeks ago, I did some active recovery - 15 minutes or so of biking or elliptical, took a full rest day and then ran 4 miles on Wednesday. That, my friends, is mistake number one. I felt okay, did some minor cross-training, and then ran 12 miles on Saturday. Mistake number two. I felt fine, but sometimes I forget that the consequences of stupidity are often delayed. It's a classic case of too much, too soon. Some bodies can handle that after a marathon, but mine clearly can't.

Last Monday, I ran three miles that just felt off. Tuesday, I started feeling pain in my left knee that I quickly realized was due to IT Band tightness and crazy tight hamstrings. Let the foam rolling commence! I didn't run at all until last Friday, and even biking was a no-go. Instead, I did lots of foam rolling, stretching and pilates. You know, all the stuff I probably should have been doing all along.  I'm able to run now, but I have to foam roll for about 25-30 minutes first and then take it easy. At this point, I'll be happy if I get away with a couple weeks of babying my legs.

On the plus side, less running leaves time for more cat videos on YouTube, so there's that.

So- any overly cocky runners out there?  
You can join my club if you want. I'm thinking about making T-shirts. 

In seriousness, does anyone have any IT band pointers/suggestions they can share?
Right now I'm doing a few strengthening exercises I found online, taking ibuprofen and icing, but the biggest thing has been foam-rolling. I find that rather than attacking the IT band itself, working on my hamstrings/glutes really helps to loosen me up so that I can run with no pain - although I do slow down and only run on flat surfaces right now.

*After the first couple of comments I realized I have to add this - I didn't draw these! I merely customized my avatar to stick in there and added speech bubbles. Lest you believe I have any form of artistic talent, remember this post? That's what I though.