Sunday, November 21, 2010

By the numbers

1: Ice Bath
2: Hours napped this afternoon :)
3: Phone calls made to family members when I was not feeling so hot around mile 16
4: Hours of running
5: Miles in each of the 4 loops I did to complete the mileage
6: Times I crossed paths with the guy in black who I often see during my early morning runs (we stopped and talked during one of the loops around the lake)
7: Laps around Star Lake
8: Workouts left on my training plan
9: How many degrees above normal was today's high. Running in the 70s at the end of the run was TOO HOT!
10: The hour in which I actually finished my run (got started about an hour later than intended)
11: People that waved or spoke while I was out and about
12: Sports Beans consumed (3 each at miles 4, 8, 12, and 16)
13: Days until the marathon!
14: Ounces in the chocolate shake I nursed this afternoon (anyone else not a fan of solid food after a long run?)
15: Mile marker at which I realized I was no longer sweating
16: Mile marker at which I considered quitting, but after taking a break to talk to family and knowing that I could walk if (WHEN) needed, decided to keep going
17: "All I do is win" by DJ Khaled...the 17th song on my "running" playlist (Also listened to today: both Glee soundtracks and the original Sex and the City soundtrack)
18: Mile marker where I got my second (third? fourth?) wind
19: Geese that I had to run through at one point in order to navigate away from the lake (approximate...humor me here)
20: Miles ran

Bring on the taper :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Report from the Doctor

Thank you all very much for your comments and feedback. With those thoughts in mind, I did end up skipping the 20 miler on Friday morning and opted for a therapeutic massage instead. There was actually some chaos surrounding the massage, as I showed up to the Massage Envy closest to my house at 8am thinking I had an appt with someone who actually specialized in sports massage. Turns out they had booked me for 8 PM. So they fit me in at the Mtn Brook location, and while the massage was good, I asked for focus on my legs and got focus on my back instead. (Yes, my back needed it, but my legs needed it more!)

I was in Auburn for the weekend and I know this may sound dramatic but I was truly lost without having a long run on the weekend! My aunt and I did go to the gym each morning for about an hour of cross training (and I got a few miles of walking on Saturday since we walked to the game and around campus) but it was NOT the same. I tried to take it easy on my ankle while still working up a sweat but truly, nothing beats running for that feeling of really having worked hard. And selfishly, it's been nice to not worry about what I eat on the weekend since I've been burning 1500+ calories to start the day. (Not that I pig out following the run...quite the opposite, I don't really feel hungry...but I also don't worry about having something if I want it)

I had my appt with a local sports medicine doc this morning, following a recommendation from the Track Shak. As I mentioned in my comments on the last post, I felt very comforted knowing that the doc was both female and a marathoner b/c I knew she could relate to training and both the physical and mental side of what I have been working toward.

She was great and took a lot of time with me which I appreciated. The physical exam didn't reveal any thickening or tears in the tendon and the x-rays came out clear (no calcification or stress fractures as a result of any overcompensating I may be doing to make up for the pain in the Achilles.) She did some bilateral strength tests (don't know if that's the technical term for it) after feeling my calves and legs and recognizing that the right calf/leg is significantly tighter than the left and boy is there a difference in my right and left side. My left upper body/shoulder also has weakness which is a result of the tightness/weakness on the right lower body. So interesting! She threw around the term "mild pelvic obliquity" but didn't really go into it, so upon some Googling it looks like my pelvis may be tilted which is causing everything to go out of whack. I don't have scoliosis or anything (seems to come up a lot when talking about pelvic obliquity) and wish she had used more technical medical terms instead of talking through process. I like the process explanations but I like to have a term I can investigate later and am fairly comfortable with "technical" medical explanations but I digress.

The important news is that I am cleared to run!!! She told me to put a small heel insert in my right shoe for the next week or so, gave me some topical anti-inflammatory patches to use for the next few days and has referred me to physical therapy for some deep tissue release which she said is really the key to getting me to Memphis healthy. I know this deep tissue is going to hurt like hell (also confirmed by her) but it will be so worth it. She told me it would be ideal if I can go 3-4 times before Memphis (less than 3 weeks!), so I am going to call tomorrow to get some appointments lined up.

I had 5 on the schedule tonight but ran just under 4 on the treadmill due to time constraints (it was 9:15 and I still needed to go to the grocery store) with a slight twinge of pain at the end but otherwise felt good. I made sure to stretch well and have just changed over my patch (they are to be worn for 12 hours and then switched). I am SO relieved. I just need to be smart and not over do it with "pushing the pace" (all relative) and I need to avoid hills like the plague.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Concerned and Confused

I am a little more than 3 weeks out from THE marathon and have taken a half day off from work tomorrow to get in my 20 mile run. Following Higdon's Novice plan my subsequent long runs are to be 12, 8 and then the big 26.2.

I don't know if I've been in denial the past couple of weeks or so but I am worried about my achilles and don't know what to do about my 20-miler tomorrow. (Looking for advice) No doubt, my right achilles is sore and it's trying to tell me something. I don't have pain when I run and it's not too obvious when I walk. But rest assured my achilles does NOT like going down stairs. AT. ALL. I hobble down them and I even had to ask my boss if we could take the elevator DOWN yesterday (he knows I'm training and has dealt with his own knee injury recently due to a karate mishap...and we all got the daily updates on injury/rehab/ he was certainly understanding) which was humbling.

I'm 99% sure I know the cause and it's a combination of things:
1. I work in a conservative and professional environment and am a dedicated high heel wearer. 3 or 4 inch heels are no big thing in my book and I often do a lot of walking at work (multiple miles per day). I have some cute flats but they often don't see too much action during the work week, but they do on occasion.

2. I then hop into my running shoes and run hilly routes by default. Believe me, I LIKE flat courses and often go out of my way to choose the flattest route possible. But, as a local running coach likes to remind: We live in the foothills of the Appalachains...there are going to be hills. And hills there are. Rollers and monsters. The Vulcan Run that I ran last weekend is known for a particular "hill" that lasts for a couple of miles in the middle of the course. I was mentally prepared b/c I've heard so much about it but I had ZERO trouble with it (and this was after having knocked out the 1st half of my long run prior to the race). Suffice to say, I am very used to runnng in hilly conditions which only serves to screw with my achilles even further

All this to say: what do I do about this 20 miler? Do I run it tomorrow? Take this weekend off for total rest? Do the bike at the gym on no resistance for cardio purposes (the thought of being sedentary makes me want to yak this close to the end/when I am supposed to be at peak training) Try my 20 miler next weekend? It would leave me with 2 weeks of taper which is still OK. I am not "racing" anything but I don't want to bonk out there on the course. I have felt so good and confident in my long runs this training cycle. Were all of them AWESOME? Of course not. Long runs are HARD. But I generally ended most of them feeling tired but still strong and accomplished, mentally preparing myself for marathon day strategy.

I want to be smart about this. Any words or advice is appreciated.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vulcan 10K here I come

So...after some debating I stopped by the Track Shak after work today and registered for Vulcan Run. Are we really surprised?

Pretty nice swag for a 10K (gender specific tech shirt...though they were out of women's sizing but I am not upset since I registered about 12 hours before the race! for free yogurt from Yogurt Mountain, all natural PB, a Snicker's Marathon protein bar and a few coupons all inside a reusable tote bag) Post race party includes beer, quesadillas (at 9am this may be a little much!) and free massages. Weather is supposed to be 35 degrees at the start (chilly but perfect!) Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Please be careful out there

Especially as more and more of us are running in the dark due to shortened daylight hours this time of year, please, please be careful when sharing the road (either behind the wheel or pounding the pavement)

This morning the Dean of the College of Math and Sciences at Auburn University was killed while running on a road well-traveled by both runners and cars. (I crossed this very intersection the time I was home and ran with AORTA.) Please keep her running buddy in your thoughts as she was also struck and airlifted to a regional hospital. Edit: I just realized her running buddy, "Frankie", referenced in the article is my parent's next door neighbor. I knew the name sounded familiar but I never knew her last name. I just know she and her husband as "Frankie and Felix". I am friendly with them when I visit my parents but am not super close as F&F moved in after I graduated college. I talked to my dad and as of now there is no additional news.

April at Mommy's Fit for the King also had a close call this week and another member of the AORTA group (that I met/ran with) was hit by a car a few weeks ago and broke her shoulder.

I'm sure this happens more often than we would like to think but it makes me extremely sad every time I hear of an accident with a vehicle and runner/biker/etc. Very.very.sad.

Items with reflective tape. A flash light. A clip on blinking light. A headlamp. Whatever it takes. Please take care of yourself.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The League

Any fans of The League out there? This show is definitely un-PC but hilarious! Matt and I have just started watching this season (only saw a couple episodes of season 1) and find that it's a great way to spend a mindless 30 minutes on Thursday night having a good laugh. There was actually one episode this season called "The Marathon" where the dorky doctor character (Andre) trains for the Chicago marathon and annoys the hell out of everyone with his training regimen, nutrition and hydration, etc. I cracked up the entire time. Tonight Andre and another character end up in a foot race to settle a "dispute" and Andre in his full glory and tight running tights (for a 400M race) reminds everyone that he "trained for a marathon". Freaking LOVE.IT. (For a ton more reasons than the running references but those have made it even funnier)

Monday, November 1, 2010

To run or not to run?

After an 18 (turned 19) miler yesterday, this weekend is a step back weekend...14 miles. I just realized that the Vulcan Run (10K) is this Saturday. Do we think it's a good idea to run 8 around my usual stomping ground, then drive downtown for an 8am 10K? (And running in downtown Birmingham beforehand is NOT in the cards due to safety reasons)

*If I'm being realistic it would probably take 20 minutes to get downtown and then another 10 to park/walk/jog to the start