A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Race week!

This time next week, we’ll know how the Des Moines half marathon went. πŸ™‚ I’m getting more comfortable with the idea of my modified goals for the race. As my non-runner husband put it, there is no “failing” if you run slower than you expect unless you’re trying to outrun zombies. Wise words.

Workouts

Monday I had a 2 mile run on the schedule, but walked this instead given my knee pain with Sunday’s run. The knee ached a bit, but it was better than it had been Sunday.

Tuesday 3 mile walk instead of the scheduled run, with things starting to feel back to normal thankfully!

Wednesday Rest day on the plan, but I did a 1 mile walk and some yoga/strength training.

Thursday Time to try to run again! I did a half mile warm up on the treadmill, which felt good enough that I went ahead and did my two tempo miles (originally three on the schedule, but I didn’t want to push it since this was my first run this week) without any real pain. The dull ache that I had was the same if I was running or walking, which was a relief I suppose?

Friday Cross training on the schedule, which threw me off a bit since this hasn’t been part of this Hanson-esque plan up until taper time. πŸ™‚ I walked 2.5 miles.

Saturday I did 1 mile on the treadmill pre-self defense class and 1.5 miles after, for a total of 2.5 miles (2-3 on the plan). My arms and legs were sore after that self-defense class! It was really active. We talked a lot about “disqualifying” yourself as a victim, as much as you can, by being alert and projecting confidence. We also talked a lot about being aware of what weapons you have at your disposal if you are grabbed. We tend to freeze and forget that we might have our voice, our elbows, our knees, a free hand, etc at our disposal. Then we got to hit and kick stuff. A lot. The little kids kept stopping to look in the gym doors at all of the mommies doing things that were against the normal house rules. πŸ™‚Β  I might like to do a more in depth class one day or even take some martial arts.

I also got in some extra walking at the Haunted Safari with Oliver, where we got to walk up to see wolves and bears, in addition to playing lots of Halloween games.

I also got in some extra walking at the Haunted Safari with Oliver, where we got to walk up to see wolves and bears, in addition to playing lots of Halloween games.

My good deed this week was helping a cute set of grandparents take a picture with their grandson while we were on the hayride at the safari. They were having some selfie struggles. πŸ™‚

Sunday I had 6-7 miles on the schedule and did an easy 6 mile run. Like my earlier runs in the week, there was a little ache in my knee but it was the same whether I was running or walking, so I think my plan to do the half marathon but not push the pace too much is a reasonable one. I finished my 6 miles at Starbucks and then walked the 0.6 miles home with my soy latte. πŸ™‚ It was a gorgeous day to run with perfect weather but even more fun was the yoga class I did with Darrell at 11. Sorry, no pics. He’d kill me. I’m proud of him for stepping outside of his comfort zone! It was a nice hour long beginner class and my muscles are feeling it this morning. I always work a little more in structured yoga class environment than I do at home.

Absolutely glorious golden fall morning!

Absolutely glorious golden fall morning!

All in all, it was a good taper week. This week, I have a 2-3 mile run today, 3 miles tomorrow with some speed pick ups and a 3 mile run on Thursday before race day Sunday. I’ll keep my eye on fueling well in this last run up to the race, which may be difficult because my four-year old is testing his boundaries, which can be a binge-trigger for me. Last night was a difficult parenting night and I’m so grateful that Darrell is a great partner in this endeavor. We are able to back each other up and work with each other and O to help him grow up to be a somewhat functional member of society. πŸ™‚ “Does Captain America wear listening ears?” may have come out of my mouth last night. My NSV is recognizing that I needed to immediately fill the mixer bowl with soapy water so I didn’t eat all of the leftovers of cream cheese frosting I had after making this treat for Darrell’s job during the time of O’s little meltdown. I’ve gotten better at mitigating my triggers, that’s for sure.

Confession: In pre-weight loss days, my husband may have caught me eating cream cheese frosting spread onto a chocolate bar in the pantry.

Here’s hoping everyone has a great week and gets lots of lovely outside time in the fall weather (or at least gets some fall weather – I know my Texas people are experiencing some high temps!). I could watch the yellow and orange leaves of fall drift through the air for hours, which definitely impairs my productivity this time of year.

weekly wrap upI’m joining Tricia and Holly for their weekly wrap-up. Thanks for hosting!

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Officially Tapering!

I love the first day of tapering – no anxiety or race nerves, just the blissful joy of no more two hour runs for a couple of weeks. πŸ™‚ It came at just the right time too because the knee that bothered me on last week’s 11 miler acted up again yesterday during my 12 miler. Boo. Even worse, it was still sore this morning, which is concerning. Fingers crossed that it settles down this week! In the meantime, I’ll look into KT tape of a knee. I have KT tape but have never needed to use it before. This is the first time I’ve had any kind of knee issue. It’s hard to know what is the lupus and what is running related, because my hands and elbows are a little flared too. I’m definitely planning to run the Des Moines half marathon in two weeks, but am going to think long and hard about a safe goal. Regardless of how the race goes, I’m really proud of myself for sticking with the training, especially a training plan this intense, in the midst of the new lupus diagnosis. My fall races are definitely a celebration of that stick-to-it-ness more than anything else and it’s definitely a worth celebrating!

Workouts

Monday 3 miles on the hotel treadmill, with no real knee pain to speak of – very exciting after Saturday’s unpleasant run!

Tuesday I nailed 4 X 1 strength intervals (11:06 pace, 0.25 mile recovery) on the hotel treadmill. These strength workouts are tough, but feel great to get through!

Wednesday Rest day, but I did two 15-minute walks through the airport in Raleigh and in Chicago to get some movement in for the day.

Thursday I was so pooped from traveling that I didn’t wake up early enough for my tempo run. Instead, I switched Thursday and Friday’s planned workouts and did 3 easy miles on the road in the dark. Still no knee pain even though I was back on pavement, which was a relief.

Friday I confess I did my tempo run on the treadmill a little bit to cushion my knee, but mostly to finish the book I’ve been reading. πŸ™‚ I did 0.5 mile warm up, 3 miles at sub-11:20 pace and then 1 mile to cool down. I have loved these tempo runs and seeing that I really can maintain this pace for a while, which I haven’t tried in previous training cycles.

Saturday An easy 4-5 miles on the schedule and I decided to head out to the hilly neighborhood of horse farms across the road from my neighborhood. I even did a little running on the trail! The hills were interesting and new scenery is always fun, so it was a good little Saturday afternoon run all around.

Even better, I didn't crash and fall on these little trails!

Even better, I didn’t crash and fall on these little trails!

Sunday I ended up running in the afternoon because my stomach was a little off in the morning, with a plan for 12 miles and the middle 4 at race pace. Things went well to start with, including the race pace at miles 4-8 (all below 11:30). At mile 9-ish, I ran down a gravel hill I don’t normally take and I suspect that’s the reason my knee started hurting again at mile 10-ish. It slowed mile 10 by quite a bit, but I wasn’t brought to as much of a stop as I had been the weekend before and I was able to finish out the last mile relatively strongly. The more concerning thing for me is how sore my knee still is this morning. It’s gotten better as the morning has gone on, but I’m going to need to be gentle with it.

Throughout the week, I foam rolled or used the stick every day. I also did planks, clamshells and bridges to try to get back on a little strength training to support things. Tapering has come at a good time. I’m glad that I’ve gotten through this training cycle relatively intact and proud of myself for taking this on!

My good deed this week is paying way too much for baked goods and games, etc at Oliver’s Fall Festival this weekend. It’s all for a good cause, right? I’m grateful for friends who pass on cool new toys:

A BondiBand from the lovely Desiree, which does a lovely containing the new fluffier hair.

A BondiBand from the lovely Desiree, which does a lovely containing the new fluffier hair.

My NSV is wearing the same skirt to give my lecture in North Carolina this week that I wore when I went out there to speak two years ago. I may have regained a little weight, but my body is essentially the same, which is nice. Even better, I’m proud of myself for not obsessing about food and calories while I was traveling (or while we were celebrating our anniversary this weekend). I made the best choices I could and indulged only when it was truly worthy (i.e. creme brulee and a glass of wine at my anniversary dinner). I stuck to small portions of the richer foods and enjoyed every bite. Yay for balance!

This week, I have short runs and one more tempo run. I have to think about good choices to fuel my muscles smartly. I also apparently have to plan a Magic Mike XXL viewing party at my house for a bunch of ladies at work, which should be an adventure.

weekly wrap up

I’m joining Tricia and Holly for their weekly wrap-up. Thanks for hosting!

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Simple tips for running form (from a total non-expert)

I have a friend who is getting started running (Yay for her!), which has me thinking a lot about beginner running questions. I know that when I first started out, I would get overwhelmed by thinking about the form of how you’re supposed to run and wondering whether I was doing it “right.” Obviously, I’m not an elite runner or a sports medicine specialist or anything like that (so be sure to get advice from a real professional) but these are the things I keep in mind:

Take shorter steps, with your foot landing underneath you: I cannot concentrate on heel striking versus mid foot striking or anything like that when I run – it’s just too much for my brain! However, I do frequently remind myself to keep my steps shorter and keep my feet landing underneath me. As a beginner it felt like I need to take longer strides to get faster and it turns out that just the opposite is true generally! Also, by not overstriding, I’ve minimized a lot of the trouble I had early on with plantar fasciitis and other aches and pains. There are also lots of tips about using these shorter steps to increase your cadence or foot turnover, but that’s frankly beyond my mental abilities most days. πŸ™‚ You should totally try that if you can though.

Drop your shoulders! When I first started running, I would frequently find myself with these sharp pains and aches in my shoulders afterwards. I expected leg pain but shoulder pain? That threw me off. It turns out, I tend to hunch my shoulders when I’m working hard. Now I periodically check my shadow and my shoulders to see if I’m out of whack. I’m not the only person with this problem, apparently, as it frequently comes up in form tips. One of my favorite ways I’ve seen to address it is consciously raising and lowering your shoulders at every mile marker to recenter things. I also liked the tip I saw a while back that said to imagine a super hero cape flying from your shoulders. What better visualization could there for your running?

Sunny days can be good for form checks!

Sunny days can be good for form checks!

Keep your hands soft: Hunching your shoulders and clenching your fists not only leave you with weird aches and pains after the run, but they also waste energy that the rest of your body needs to run. Keep your hands soft, as if you were holding an egg (or in my case frequently, a flower you see on the side of the road that you pick for your flower loving boy).

Running the last two miles holding Oliver's flower kept me focused on not clenching my fists.

Running the last two miles holding Oliver’s flower kept me focused on not clenching my fists.

Lean forward from your ankles or your hips, not your waist: You don’t want to hunch over. It isn’t efficient and it doesn’t feel good. I find myself doing this going uphill, so I visualize a lasso from my hips to whatever tree/light post/person is ahead of me to pull me along without bending over.

Swing your arms to power your run: Yes, your arms actually help you run (so I should totally drop and do push ups RIGHT NOW). Importantly, be sure they’re swinging in a way that helps you run – i.e. back and forth, not across your body. Twisting your center mass constantly is not a good way to move forward more efficiently.

Tweaking your running form can make you a more efficient runner and decrease your chance of injury. If you’re having pain with your running, going to a physical therapist or other sports medicine specialist who could evaluate your form may be really helpful in identifying problems. Thankfully, (knock on wood) I haven’t had any long lasting or serious running injuries but I frequently self-check my form. It’s a great way to distract myself when I’m in the middle of a long run (or at the END of a long run, when I know my form can suffer) or to feel like I’m doing good “work” in my easy runs that might otherwise seem useless. Don’t worry – I know easy runs are important and good work. Obviously, running form is a hugely complex thing and there are lots more nuances to it than the things I’ve mentioned here but these are the little things I find it easy to think about on my runs as a purely recreational runner.

For more information from far more expert people, check out these articles:

Ten Changes to Improve Your Running Form

The Starting Line: Proper Running Form

Good Running Form for Beginners

Do you check your form while you’re running? Have you ever been formally evaluated? I confess, I’m a little afraid that if I were formally evaluated, they’d tell me I was doing it all wrong and I’d have to start over!

If you were a beginner runner, what questions would you have?

 

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Weekly Wrap Up: Pain free!

This week, I took it easy on the weekday workouts to let my sore ankle settle down and I’m happy to say it worked! Between the walking rather than running and the every other day calf exercises, the pain at rest went away completely and I was even able to run my long run Saturday with no problems. I’ll keep up the post-workout calf stretches and every other day calf exercises just to keep things in good shape. As a bonus to the calf exercises, I’ve noticed my balance (which is horrible!) has gotten a lot better, at least as evidenced by ability to hold a tree pose while waiting for my tea to brew last night. πŸ™‚

Workouts

Monday 2-3 miles of running on the schedule, for which I subbed 2.2 miles of walking in 38 minutes. It was a hilly lunchtime walk around campus and my ankle didn’t even bother me on the hill, which was a very good sign.

image

Tuesday 3-5 miles on the schedule, for which I subbed a nice 4 mile walk outside at 18:35 pace. Since I started running, my walking has definitely picked up the pace too. I had to force myself to keep walking and not run, as I was in my neighborhood and tempted by old patterns. I focused on the emerging sights of spring and the joy of thinking “wow, I’m a person who now has to hold themselves back from running!”. πŸ™‚

Wednesday Cross-training on the schedule, which is usually walking. I decided on a 20 minute walk just because I was too tired to think of a more interesting option.

Thursday 60 minutes of walking, which we’re going to assume was 3+ miles given my usual speed (no tracking on), plus body weight strength exercises.

Friday This called for 2-3 miles of easy running or cross training. Since I was going to try to run for the first time early Saturday and honestly, since I was out of time, I decided that a quick mile in the park was good enough for a Friday afternoon. It was better than nothing, right? What you can, when you can (#wycwyc) I also did some foam rolling Friday night to get ready for running again Saturday morning.

I do love this little pond. It's right across the street from daycare, so it's a great place to stop to get a quick bit of movement in.

I do love this little pond. It’s right across the street from daycare, so it’s a great place to stop to get a quick bit of movement in.

Saturday 9-10 miles on the schedule and I was definitely feeling ready to run again. I had plans to run a really hilly 5K (Diva Dash) at 8 am, so I woke up at 5:30ish to get in 5-6 miles before I headed into town. I got 5.62 miles in, which wasn’t quite 6 miles but we’ll call it close enough. It was a nice easy pace and without consciously trying, my last mile was my fastest (sub 12 pace). I then headed out to the 5K (full recap Tuesday) which I ran in 34:21. Considering the hills (super steep, so I made sure to walk part of each one to protect my ankle a bit) and the fact that I’d already put in 5+ miles that morning, I’m totally satisfied with that time. I ended up with 8.74 miles, which is close enough to 9 miles, right? My ankle didn’t hurt at all during the run or afterwards, so I think things are good! I also did some strength training with weights Saturday afternoon to get my second strength session in for the week.

Sunday I snuck in some yoga stretches and poses throughout the day, but otherwise tried to respect the rest day. It was honestly tough because O was ornery this weekend and I really needed a run to clear my head. At least I’ve progressed to the point where I was craving a run, not food when I was tense right?

This week, I’m grateful that my child is generally so well behaved that these minor bouts of ornery-ness are about as bad as he gets. I know we’re lucky that what most people would consider normal 3 year old-ness is actually on the naughty end of his spectrum, in terms of defiance and assertingΒ  his independence. πŸ™‚ I feel like I’ve noticed so many NSVs this week, from not diving into food when I was feeling impatient with O (and then feeling like a bad mom for being so impatient), to noticing when I was with O at the dentist that he and I together weigh less on the dentist’s chair than I weighed alone a couple of years ago.

He was such a rock star in the dentists chair!

He was such a rock star in the dentists chair!

My good deed for the week has been rechecking and restocking our tornado supplies. ‘Tis the season! If you live in a tornado prone area, be sure to check out the Red Cross or Ready.gov for the supplies you need to have in case of an emergency.

I think I’m ready to go back to running like normal this week. I’ll see how things feel after today’s easy 3 miler to decide if I’m going to do my hill workout on Tuesday or wait a couple of more days and do it Thursday. I can’t quite believe it is only a little over a month until my next half marathon. It’s time to start getting a little more serious about my long runs as practice for race day. I have 3 10+ mile runs left in the training plan (with one cut back week and then a taper). I’ll want to maximize those and practice my pacing and fueling.

Here’s hoping you guys all have a great week!

 

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Weekly Wrap Up: A minor ache throws a kink in the works

This week, I hit almost every workout exactly the way I intended (with the except of skipping one strength training session). Unfortunately, I’ve also experienced worsening pain in my left ankle that’s been hanging around since the Leprechaun Chase 10K. I think the hills and uneven terrain just tweaked things a bit. Fortunately, the pain is mild at this point and there’s no pain when I touch the Achilles tendon itself, both good signs. However, by the end of last week, I was feeling the ache even when I wasn’t running so I think this week will call for a lighter schedule. The training plan doesn’t call for any hill or speed work this week, so I’m going to walk the miles for the weekday workouts and focus on some calf/ankle strengthening exercises. If things are feeling better by the end of week, I should be able to pick up the long run again at an easy pace. Other than the ankle pain and the missed strength session, last week’s workouts went really well.

Workouts

Monday An easy 2.4 miles around my neighborhood in the evening. I may not have been able to drag myself out of bed early in this first week of daylight savings time, but at least I got the runs done at night!

Tuesday Speed work and for once I didn’t skip any of the warm up / cool down or recovery to save time! I did a 10 minute warm up jog on the treadmill, followed by 1 minute intervals with 2 minutes recovery between. I did the first two intervals at 6.8 mph, the second two at 6.9 and the final two at 7 mph (and had to resist the urge to grab onto the rails by the end of that last one!). Next speed workout, I’ll start with 6.9 or 7 and keep working my way up. I ended with a 10 minute cool down for a total of 2.9 miles. My ankle ached occasionally during the run, but I didn’t notice anything afterwards.

Wednesday This was a crazy busy day (thus no weekly weigh in post, but my weight was unchanged this week at 178.6. I got in a 20 minute walk that night for at least a little cross training.

Thursday I went out for an easy night run of 2.1 miles (2-3 on the schedule) and started to notice a little ache in my ankle that night even after the run.

Friday I only had 1-3 miles on the schedule, so I hauled myself out of bed to run early this one morning this week. The run got cut short at 1.3 miles because my ankle ache crept up from a 1-2 to a 2-3 during the run and stayed that way all day.

Saturday My ankle felt a little better, so I planned to keep it very easy for today’s long run and stay on the shorter end of the plan’s range (8-9 miles). I did 8 hilly miles, with the last mile at sub-12 minute pace without conscious effort – definitely a good sign. The ache was there throughout but didn’t get any worse when I was running, which was good. Unfortunately, it didn’t get any better afterwards either which is when I looked at the training plan and decided I needed to take this week a little lighter if I wanted to avoid aggravating this further.

O requested hibachi for dinner Saturday night ("you know, Mama, the place with the fire and we don't touch it and they frow the shrimp") so I am fully expecting a gain on Tuesday's weigh in from all of the soy sauce still in my system!

O requested hibachi for dinner Saturday night (“you know, Mama, the place with the fire and we don’t touch it and they frow the shrimp”) so I am fully expecting a gain on Tuesday’s weigh in from all of the soy sauce still in my system!

Sunday Some body weight exercises, including single-leg step ups, some eccentric calf strengthening, clam shells, bridges, push ups and planks. I also got in a 20 minute walk over to the grocery store to buy milk.

Other than the super salty food this weekend (seriously thinking about moving my weigh in to get further away from the weekend from a salt perspective more than a calorie perspective!), my food choices have been pretty good this week. My NSV is definitely eating only half of my piece of pie on Pi Day Saturday. Back in the old days, I could never leave Triple Berry Pie just sitting there.Β  πŸ™‚

Absolutely delicious pie - my favorite fruit pie!

Absolutely delicious pie – my favorite fruit pie!

I’m grateful for my gorgeous $10 grocery store flowers that have lasted for two weeks now and are still going strong. My good deed for the week was convincing O to go feed the ducks and geese with me at the pondΒ  yesterday. I know stale Hawaiian rolls are maybe not the best food choice for the water fowl, but it made them happy – especially the ducks since we preferentially threw out bread to them instead of the pushy greedy geese that normally steal it all from them!

There were several different gorgeous varieties of ducks out.

There were several different gorgeous varieties of ducks out. And some very loud geese.

All in all, a good week and I’m sure a week of walking will help my sore ankle without derailing my half marathon training. I used to love going for walks so maybe this week will help me recapture that a bit. I hope you guys all have a good week!

 

 

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Chafing! Ouch!

Last Saturday morning, it was 37 degrees when I headed out to run. It had been a while since I’d run in that sort of weather and I apparently completely forgot how to dress for it. I wore a long sleeved shirt with my skirt/capri combo and my upper half was so hot a few miles in! I forgot that both my body and the ambient temperature were going to seriously warm up on the way to logging 8 miles.

I do like the new running skirt/capri combo though - especially the pockets on the legs!

I do like the new running skirt/capri combo though – especially the pockets on the legs!

Beyond getting hot, the bigger issue was the weird spot of chafing I ended up with:

This pic is from Wednesday after several days of healing! Ouch!

This pic is from Wednesday after several days of healing! Ouch!

I’m amazed I didn’t feel this at all during the run. Β I definitely do not remember this ever happening before! It’s from the zipper on the half-zip long sleeve top I was wearing. Maybe when I was wearing this top it was back when it was seriously cold and I layered something under it? Or maybe I just never ran long enough in it for this to be an issue? Regardless, I can add this to my list of places to Body Glide and definitely one of the weirder places I’ve chafed.

Now that I run in mostly tech fabrics, chafing is pretty rare. I still use BodyGlide if it’s going to be a really long sweaty run but otherwise it isn’t nearly as much a part of my routine as when I started.

We all think about “chub rub” and chafing on our inner thighs (as well we should) but some other places I’ve noticed chafing that you may want to keep in mind if you’re new to running long:

– My upper arms, especially in a short sleeved tee (rare now – apparently my form has changed?)
– Under the band of my phone/iPod holder (which is why I rarely use an arm band)
– Between my big toe and my second toe (I have a longer second toe – really, just monkey toes in general)
– Under the band of my Garmin (in Florida! It was so humid it was hard not to chafe!)
– Pretty much anywhere and everywhere along my sports bra, including places where it is more of a skin to skin rather than skin to sports bra problem (we won’t get more specific in the interest of TMI)

Last fall when I was training for the 10K and then starting Princess training, I was definitely with the BodyGlide for all these spots. Always better to apply BodyGlide somewhere you didn’t need it than feel that burn when you get in the shower from some new place that rubbed raw!

Where’s the weirdest place you ever found chafing after a workout?

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Training plan update! Only a month left!

I looked at the training plan yesterday and realized I only have a few weeks left! My longest run of the plan is next week and then it’s on to taper town. Holy cow! I have to say that I feel really strong and confident in my running, in a way I rarely have before and regardless of the outcome of my half marathon next month, that is a HUGE WIN!
Yesterday was the only Wednesday run on the whole training plan! Felt weird to run on a different day, but I loved seeing my neighbor's pumpkins :)

Yesterday was the only Wednesday run on the whole training plan! Felt weird to run on a different day, but I loved seeing my neighbor’s pumpkins πŸ™‚

Some random thoughts on the plan so far:
– You remember how much I dreaded those long Tuesday morning runs? And how I said at the end of my last training plan that “5 miles was far too long to run on a weekday”? Yeah, it turns out I was wrong about that. I was actually a little disappointed Tuesday that I “only” had 4 miles to run. Yes, I’ve lost my mind. πŸ™‚
– Embracing the “easy” run has taken SO much stress out of running for me and made it really fun, which is really helping me to stick with the training plan. The science geek in me needed to look into the science of the benefits of easy running like I did back in this post and once I grasped that there was a real purpose for easy runs, I’ve accepted them completely!
– I was worried that the stress of my work project coming at the same time as my training plan peaked would be a bad thing, but actually having those long runs is doing so much for stress level and sanity right now. If I’d run Monday morning, I probably wouldn’t haven’t been so crazy frazzled I banged myself with the door! (Feeling better by the way, just a little sore to the touch now)
– It turns out, there was no reason to be scared of speed work and hill work after all! (Well, other than doing it in the suburbs and tweaking my piriformis – back to normal now!) I actually particularly like the hill work because it’s so straight forward. FindΒ a hill, run up it. Repeat. Fantastic πŸ™‚
– It is amazing how much more fit I am this time around. When we were looking at the training plan yesterday, a co-worker was amazed that it meant I worked out almost every day. That has become so much a part of my routine now that I sort of forgot how big of a change that was from where I was before! Doing the workouts on the day they are assigned definitely helps me, in terms of establishing the routine and not really thinking about “what workout to do today”. She was also amazed that I don’t get sore unless I get hurt or something weird happens like sore calves from wearing those cute but heeled booties on Monday (true story). Amazing changes!
In terms of the actual 13.FUN virtual race community for Another Mother Runner, it has been worth every penny and feels like the birthday gift that keeps on giving. Even though I am more of a Strava message board lurker than actually participating much in the conversations or posting my runs, I love getting emails in my in box throughout the day with questions or comments on runs and knowing there are other mother runners out there just like me, working on getting those runs in. I will actually be using the boards today because I know Coach Christine monitors them and I want some input on shuffling my run schedule next week so the long run can be on Friday. It’s so cool to have access to input from other runners and a running coach all in one place. πŸ™‚ I’ve also really liked the webinars, which have been crazy informative (including watching a sports medicine doc demonstrate foot exercises Monday night!) and a great place to ask questions.
That blur is the hummingbird that hangs out in my neighborhood. He loves to visit our lemon tree but O keeps missing him! I know he's going to be fascinated once he finally gets to catch him in action.

That blur is the hummingbird that hangs out in my neighborhood. He loves to visit our lemon tree but O keeps missing him! I know he’s going to be fascinated once he finally gets to catch him in action.

All in all, this has been a really good training cycle and coming into the home stretch, I feel strong and happy. What more can a girl ask?
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Weekly Wrap-Up: Seriously dropping temps here!

I need to re-learn how to dress for chilly temps. We went from sweltering to shivering in the blink of an eye! It was literally in the 30s when I headed out to run yesterday morning, I wore long sleeves and my new running skirt/capri combo which was perfect for the first 3-4 miles and had me feeling seriously overheated thereafter. I’ll have to relearn my layering skills!

I do like the new running skirt/capri combo though - especially the pockets on the legs!

I do like the new running skirt/capri combo though – especially the pockets on the legs!

Weekly Workouts

Monday The training plan called for a “fun” workout – what I really got done was only 20 minutes of dancing around my bedroom while I watched TV at night. That counts right? Wearing heels all day was exhausting and I couldn’t even muster the energy to head out to walk!

Tuesday 7 miles easy, at around 12:25 pace: I am learning to really appreciate these runs because the more often I run 6+ miles, the easier all of my long runs have seemed!

One of my neighbors already has these Halloween decorations out and they scared me to death coming across them in the dark Tuesday morning!

One of my neighbors already has these Halloween decorations out and they scared me to death coming across them in the dark Tuesday morning!

Wednesday Cross-training or rest on the schedule and I honestly just never got around to a workout!

Thursday Speed intervals, with 8 X 1 minute and 2 minute recovery between. I ended up covering 2.75 miles and all but the last speed interval was at 8:00 pace or better, which is pretty speedy for me. Other than tweaking my muscles on the left, this would have been a good workout!

Friday Easy run or cross training on the schedule and as I was still a little sore, I went with a nice twenty minute walk plus lots of stretching and foam rolling.

My recovery corner, with yoga mat and foam roller

My recovery corner, with yoga mat and foam roller

Saturday I woke up completely pain free, so I decided to tackle the 8 miles on the schedule. The training schedule called for 8 miles with “10 minutes strong finish” but I decided to just do 8 easy miles and see how I felt. If my pain ever got to 5 (on a 1-10 scale), I’d call it quits and walk back home.

Naturally I forgot my water bottle and had to loop back around to the house at about a mile. Sigh.

Naturally I forgot my water bottle and had to loop back around to the house at about a mile. Sigh.

Any time I headed up hill, I could feel the twinge in my left butt cheek but never more than a 3-4 in severity and nothing like Thursday morning, so I just kept it nice and easy (and walked the hills). When I got to the last half mile, I decided I felt good enough to “finish strong” by running all of the last half mile and it felt good to know I still had than in me and it didn’t make my leg hurt.

A truly gorgeous day, with bright blue sky stretching forever and the Monarch butterflies out in full force all around me!

A truly gorgeous day, with bright blue sky stretching forever and the Monarch butterflies out in full force all around me!

I made sure to stretch as soon as I got home (1:35 and change, so a little less than 12 minute miles, which surprised me since I felt like I was going so slow and walking a lot so as not to aggravate my muscles). We had a great afternoon, checking out new toys at Williams Sonoma:

Seriously one of my happy places! Along with a new paring knife, I got some new toys for decorating cookies. The holidays are coming!

Seriously one of my happy places! Along with a new paring knife, I got some new toys for decorating cookies. The holidays are coming!

Taking a nap with my guy:

Such a great napping partner :)

Such a great napping partner πŸ™‚

And heading to the theater to watch a puppet show of the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Gorgeous theater!

Gorgeous theater!

Whew!Β  I feel like I earned Sunday’s rest day. πŸ™‚

I hope you guys all had a nice weekend!

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A painful lesson learned

Thursday morning, I decided to head over to a flat stretch of street in my neighborhood for my speedwork rather than hitting the gym for a treadmill after work like I usually do. The stretch of street I chose was fairly flat, but being a street in the suburbs, all of the sidewalks curved and sloped downward to these pretty little bricked crosswalks every time I crossed a street and being the burbs, the blocks were small so I was going up and down at a cant several times during these fast intervals (8:00 pace). After a couple of intervals, I developed a sharp pain in my butt on the left. I tried to bend over and stretch it out and that really hurt! Yikes! Like an idiot, I kept going through the intervals even though I was really hurting by the last one (and my pace slowed to around 8:30). Don’t do that! When it hurts, stop!! I eased back home with a jog/walk and as I walked up the driveway, pulled out my phone to google “pain in the butt running“. You’d think that would open me up to a wide variety of funny posts, but it actually came up with lots of posts about the piriformis.

Side note: Not a PT or sports medicine doc or anything like that, so do not take anything I’m saying as medical advice. In fact, I strongly advise against using “Doctor Google” to diagnose and treat yourself! Even though I admit I sort of did that here.

The piriformis is a small but mighty muscle that serves as one of the lateral rotators of the hip. It can become irritated when you hips are out of alignment (like say, running too quickly over canted curves in the road in my case). Check out these blogs here and here for more information about the nitty gritty of piriformis function. Piriformis syndrome is a slightly different thing and occurs when the irritation of the piriformis, from whatever mechanical misstep that has acutely or chronically made it unhappy, also irritates the sciatic nerve. This can result in shooting pains down your leg, and even numbness. Thankfully, I have not progressed to that point! This seems to be a very acute kind of issue.

Stretching things out on the bathroom counter while I'm watching Darrell and O play through bath time. :)

Stretching things out on the bathroom counter while I’m watching Darrell and O play through bath time. πŸ™‚

For now, I’m going to work on some piriformis stretches (here) and foam rolling everything around the area, as none of these muscles work in isolation. I also really need to work on getting in my strength work more often as that can prevent this kind of injury! I’ll avoid any hill/speed work until this is completely gone and otherwise try to take it easy. It’s already feeling better, so it seems to have been very situational in my case. Don’t worry – if it doesn’t get back to normal ASAP, off to the doctor I go!

I’m really surprised I didn’t get more funny sites when I googled “pain in my butt.” Send me good vibes and the mental fortitude to take it easy and respect my body a little better when it says “ouch”!

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Splitting up a long run

**When I got back from my run this morning, my lovely husband asked if I was actually awake when I wrote this blog post. Lots more typos and skipped words than usual! Yikes and sorry! Corrected below!

With my current training plan, Tuesdays call for 5-7 miles. That can be tough to get done before work in the morning but even more miserable on hot evenings so I’ve done a good job so in hauling myself out of bed to get it done (most weeks anyway). This week, I woke up at 5 am on Tuesday morning to get ready to head out for a 7 mile run. I hit the road and in a little over a mile, realized I needed to come back home. My husband was sleeping down in the basement because he was sick and a) didn’t want to keep me up with his tossing and turning and b) if he did manage to fall asleep, we didn’t want my alarm at 5 waking him up. Unfortunately, that meant there was no one up on the main level with Oliver so if he woke up before I got home he’d wander and freak outΒ  and get into who knows what kind of trouble! Thus, I headed back home and planned to finish my remaining 5 miles later in the day.

Of course I came home early and he slept in late. I would have had plenty of time to get all 7 miles in. Sigh.

Of course I came home early and he slept in late. I would have had plenty of time to get all 7 miles in. Sigh.

I meant to leave work early enough to get all 5 miles done on the treadmill before picking Oliver up at daycare. Naturally, that meant I had a supremely busy day and didn’t get out of work in time for to get 5 miles in at the gym. I got in 3 miles and had two miles still on the to do list for the day to get to 7! I met my guys for dinner, went home and headed out for those last 2 miles. They were brutal! I’ve done two runs in a single day before, in similar situations where I didn’t have time to get the whole run done in the morning. This is the first time I’d ever tried three runs in one day and my legs felt like rocks! I never have knee pain during my runs and yet I did with that third run. I suspect it is because I was so tired my form was off, because I also ended up with sore abs and a sore back from slumping. I honestly would have given up and walked the last half mile of it, which would have been fine I suppose. 7 miles is 7 miles, right? Then I got this text message:

 

Definitely the motivation I needed to hustle back home!

Definitely the motivation I needed to hustle back home! He has tubes in his ears thanks to lots of ear infections, so we’re back on his ear drops again for a while.

My knees hurt all day Wednesday and I honestly still feel sluggish today. It is interesting how 7 miles divided into 3 chunks affected me so much differently that 2 runs in a day, which I’ve done several times without problems, or the same number of miles in a single bout. I did some looking into the pros and cons of splitting up a long run into chunks.

Pros

A little bit of running on tired legs can be good for you: You recruit different muscle fibers than you do otherwise, you stimulate mitochondria production and you learn to use glycogen more effectively. This can good for your running overall, but especially good if you’re training for something where you’ll need to run twice with little recovery, like a relay or a runDisney challenge.

You can increase your weekly mileage while preserving a total rest day: Miles are miles, in some sense, and increasing your weekly miles can definitely improve your overall running. It can be tempting to run more days each week, but it is important to preserve a rest day in your training. Running twice in a single day allows you to get more miles in while still preserving that crucial rest period. For a busy working mom like me, this is the main reason I’d run twice a day.

You get that post-exercise metabolic boost twice during the day: That can be helpful when you’re running to lose weight.

Cons

You miss out on the mental practice of sticking with a long run: So much of running is mental and getting over the roadblocks in our own brains. Try to keep at least your longest run of the week intact as much as possible, to get the mental practice of running for long periods of time.

Fueling and hydrating may be trickier: Many of us have a fairly well established routine for what to eat in the morning before we head out for a run and what your fueling strategy is for a 7 mile run. However, for smaller runs, those decisions look very different. I ate my usual pre-run food Tuesday morning, but then didn’t really think about “I’m about to go run” with anything else I ate all day. I wonder if that may have contributed to some of the trouble I had with that third run? After all, it wasn’t a normal 2 mile run. It was a two mile run where I’d already run 5 miles that day and used up some of my energy reserves!

I keep filling my water bottle and forgetting it when I head out for runs in the morning! Grrr!

I keep filling my water bottle and forgetting it when I head out for runs in the morning! Grrr!

If you’re not careful, running on fatigued legs for the 2nd (or 3rd in my case) run can risk injury: I wasn’t conscious of my form being so off in that last, tired run until I finished and realized how many places I had aches that weren’t typical for me! There’s benefit to practicing running tired, certainly, but you have be careful about where you’re putting feet and how you’re holding yourself.

All in all, I think for me, splitting a run is better than not getting it done at all but definitely not something I want to be doing routinely at this point in my running life. Do you split up your runs? Why or why not?

Links for more reading from those wiser than me:

Runner’s World Pros and Cons of Running Twice a Day

Running.About.Com Splitting Long Runs

 

 

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