Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oh My Ankle

This is a blog about running…but I have not been doing much of that lately. Not because I don’t want too, but because of a little something called "what the crap happened to my ankle"?!? Yeah, I don’t know but it has been sore for about two weeks and quite swollen for about a week. After one of my group training runs (when we did Mona fartleks) it was kind of sore. So I iced it and took some ibuprofen. I rested a few days plus more icing and ibuprofen. It seemed better so I decided to go to my next training run the following Monday. We did 100 meter hill repeats. Fun! Really they actually were not too bad. I like the recovery part the most. But during the repeats I noticed the ankle pain returned. Again I iced and ibuprofen when I got home. The next day - ankle = super swollen! I willingly showed all my co-workers, the dental hygienist, everyone in my Pilates class my big swollen ankle. And they agreed it was definitely swollen. Don’t ask know why I needed everyone’s conformation. It just felt better.

So my next strategy was to go back to RICE. Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. And more ibuprofen. Elevate. That’s kind of hard to do when I sit at a desk all day. I did try the box under my desk trick, but it doesn’t elevate high enough and didn’t really help. Since I had to take a break from running for a few days, I still got other exercise in. I went to Body Pump, Pilates, and Spin class. I really missed spin class! This was my first class in over a month since bootcamp conflicted with the class schedule. My ankle seemed to do fine in all those classes but yet it was still sore and swollen. I decided to skip the Friday night training run session and give it a few more days. Surely by Memorial Day it will feel much better and I can make it to that training run.

It did get a little better over the weekend but not completely. Once again I had to skip Monday night’s training run (darn I missed more hill repeats). This story started to sound familiar…join a running group and get injured right after it starts (see here). Join a running group and get injured right after it starts (and see here). Wait did I say that already? Yes it has happened to me twice but last year’s running group (third times the charm) worked out great. Really I haven’t had any injury issues since I started back last summer besides normal aches and pains. Now it’s been over a week since my last run. Yes this is a blog about running. What about all my upcoming plans and races? I don’t have time for this ankle issue. Maybe if I just ignore it, it will go away. Sometimes that works with certain situations…or people. I looked it up online and there are at least 687 aliments I could have now and I probably shouldn’t move it at all for 6 more months.

Okay so while I can whine and complain and be all dramatic about a little ankle pain, I really shouldn’t. There are plenty of people out in the world with much bigger problems, health issues, injuries…the list can go on and make my little ankle problem microscopic. There are elite athletes out there with dreams of Olympic medals and sometimes even they get injured. As a runner, injures are going to happen. I’ve already had a few too many just trying to become a fraction of a runner (I’m still not sure if I’m one yet). Injuries to runners are the worst. It’s difficult to think you can’t (or shouldn’t) run for days, weeks, months. And it seems to take twice as long to get back to the level you were at before the injury.

Of course as I type this post, I hope to wake up tomorrow and magically my freak swollen ankle is all better. Like 100% better and I will celebrate by going out for a run. But that’s probably not going to happen (but maybe it will. Sometimes I can be overly optimistic). So I will continue to RICE. Maybe it will feel better in a few days; maybe a week…I’m not even going to think about longer than that, for now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Starstruck

This past week I was starstruck. I love music and listen to all different genres. They tend to go in waves. Like recently, I listen to more pop music. Mainly for the higher BPM’s (beats per minute) which make great running songs. No matter what genre wave of music I am in, I have my "staple" artists that I always listen to like Jimmy Buffett, Foo Fighters, Dierks Bentley…which is who I got to meet! I’ll admit, there was a time I really got into country music. That faded and it got to a point where I really didn’t like any of it. But during that phase I discovered Dierks music and it became one of my staples. So when I heard he was coming in concert, I knew we had to go. About a week before the concert, I entered a contest with a local radio station for a chance to see him perform at lunchtime and meet him. I was so shocked that I actually won! We got to the radio station and it was probably about 15 other winners plus each could bring a guest. Dierks played (along with two band members) for about 30 minutes and did some Q&A with the DJ in between songs. Then each winner and their guest got to meet him along with a picture and autograph. It was so cool! I’m pretty sure I sounded like an alien talking to him in that whole 45 seconds to 1 minute conversation. He stuck his hand out to meet me and said "Dierks" and I actually forgot my name. I guess I finally told him and he even made sure he was spelling it correctly for my autograph! Like I don’t care put whatever you want to! He really did seem down to earth though, like he’s no big deal (even though I think he is). I know this doesn’t have to do with running so I will tie something in…at the concert he played his song "Free and Easy" which I remembered is a great running song! The concert was awesome and it was such a perfect day. If there was one country star I could ever meet, it would definitely be Dierks. Now if I could only meet Dave Grohl…

See my big cheesy smile!

Lunchtime concert - super close up!
So obviously I do listen to music when I run, but not all the time. It varies. If I’m on the dreadmill, the ipod is a must. If I’m running alone outside, I also listen but only use one earbud (for safety) and I don’t have it up too loud. I do the same thing in a race. But I usually don’t listen to music when running with someone or a group. For me during a race, the music can pump me up and get me going; usually too fast in mile 1 and then I don’t even notice it’s playing in mile 3. However, sometimes it’s nice to just go out for a run by myself without the ipod and have that time to think about things. Or think about nothing at all. Do you listen to music when you run? Or does it vary like me?

Bootcamp ended last week. Although I enjoyed it, the 3 night a week commitment along with the running group 2 nights a week was starting feel a little overwhelming. Not to mention I was still trying to keep my lunchtime exercises classes 3 days a week. Everybody needs rest and recovery days and I wasn’t getting many. Now I think my schedule will be a little more manageable. But wait, the pool opens this weekend…how am I going to fit in lounging by the pool? Looks like more rest days in my training plan! ;)


No one told me the front row had to put their hands on knees!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Race the Bar 5K - Race #2

Saturday was the perfect weather for a race. With a 3pm start time, it would be the hottest time of the day. But we had mid 70’s temp and partly cloudy skies. Not too humid either. On Friday, Michael and I ate lunch at Lindley Park Filling Station which just also happened to be the starting point for Saturday’s race. We wanted to preview the course. Well this neighborhood is in the same general area as the Beer Run, so we expected hills. And the preview did not disappoint. It was going to be brutal. After checking out the course, I knew I would probably not meet my goal of finishing under 30 minutes.

Friday evening we got registered at packet pick-up. Oh yeah, Michael decided he wanted to run too! He is still not 100% injury free, but he said he was feeling better and was just tired of waiting to do another race. Was this a good decision? We’ll see.

My new running group started last week. I actually had to miss the first night due to a mother/daughter dinner at my mother’s church. I didn’t miss much. They just did the 1.5mile VO2 Max test run, which I had already done on the treadmill during my fitness assessment. I didn’t want to miss another session even though I had the race on Saturday, I figured with an afternoon start time I would be fine.

I wasn’t sure what was on the plan for Friday night since I missed picking it up on Monday. But we did fartleks (sounds bad I know). We ended up running 3 miles and doing 4 fartleks during the run. Even though we are a group, we run at our own pace. We did our own distance and speed for the fartleks. I’m still not sure I did them correctly, but along the run I would choose landmarks to run to and speed up for the fartlek. Basically it seems similar to intervals on the track. For some reason I didn’t bring my Garmin so I had to go by "feel" for my pace. I did end up running the 3 miles in under 30 minutes, which gave me a little boost of confidence for the race.

We still had some Mother’s Day shopping to finish up on Saturday so we were up and out of the house by 10am! Not bad for us on a Saturday. Have you ever tried Subway for breakfast? We did for the first time and really enjoyed it. I love their flatbread. I got an egg white, bacon, cheese and spinach on flatbread and it was very good! After breakfast and some shopping we went back home to get race ready. I even had time to buy some new running songs on iTunes.

Michael wanted to get there early to find a parking spot since there wasn’t an actual parking lot, just wherever you could find in the neighborhood. So we got there around 2pm and had no trouble parking – we were actually right above the start/finish line. We got our timing chip and wristband for beer, which took all of 2 minutes. Now time to stand and wait. After a few sips of water and two trips to the bathroom, it was finally time for the 8k runners to line up. Actually the 5k was supposed to start at 3:15 after the 8k runners started. While they were lining up, the race officials announced that the course had changed. The 8k runners were going to do a loop of almost 2 miles and come back through the start/finish line and then run the 5k course.

Before the race
Well this was interesting. The good news was it didn’t have the monster hills at the beginning but now I didn’t know what the rest of the course was going to look like. After the majority of the 8k runners came through, we had to quickly start. It was already after 3:30 at this point. On my first mile, I felt good. It was actually more downhill. My first mile was 9:15. Probably a little too fast but hey, I wanted to capitalize on the downhill’s. Mile two was a little hillier. The hill first was a bridge overpass and it wasn’t that bad. The next hill was a turnaround point which was literally up a steep hill. Come on people! The last portion of mile two was through a park and was fairly flat, but this is when the mental game started. I just felt like I was out of gas. I don’t know why. My legs weren’t hurting and my breathing was ok. I just felt like I could not go. I started thinking about how I would let Michael and others down if I didn’t make my goal time. Mile two was 10:10.

Still not too bad. If I really push this last mile I could still finish under 30. I looked at my Garmin at I was at 2.17 miles. Okay, now only one mile to go. I can do this! Then here comes a hill. Then here comes the bridge. After the bridge, it’s downhill…until the next 2 HILLS!! Mental game back on. Capitalize on the downhill’s and just keep running up the hill’s. I knew that if I walked up the hills, I would not meet my goal. Even a slow run up the hills would be faster than walking. I got through the first hill and down. Then I started the last hill and saw Michael. He asked me what my time was. I looked down at my Garmin and didn’t say anything. I was at 28:00. He tried to encourage me by running with me up that last hill and telling me "You got this. You are almost done." I know two times I told him, "I can’t do this" up that last hill. I really meant, I can’t do this in under 30 minutes. Once I hit the downhill I took off. I even passed a few people. Of course, I wasn’t really competing against them, only myself. I looked up at the time clock and saw the big 30. Mile three was 10:40. My official chip time was 30:47.



Beer!!
Wow what a long story to say I didn’t make my goal. But you know what? That’s okay. There will be plenty more chances to meet my goal and I know I will eventually do it. I just have to keep trying and pushing myself further. I’m sure this new running group will also help since it focuses on speed training.

Other good news, Michael finished 4th overall and 1st place in his age group! His time was 20:21. Man, to be that fast. I can't imagine. His medal was an awesome pint glass. Also, I am actually in 3rd place in the series standings for my age group! Even though I haven't placed in either race (4th in this one and 5th in the first one) I still may place in the series just for doing all the races. Is that wrong? It's my only chance to win something! So to any females 35-39 that can run faster than me, please do not enter the next two races!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New shoes!

Well not too much new has been going on with my runs here lately. Actually, I haven’t been able to get many in due to boot camp 3 nights a week. Last Wednesday evening I went out for an easy 3 miles but the humidity made it not so easy. Around 1.5 miles, I thought about quitting and walking back home. But I figured I would keep going until I at least did 2 miles. Then once I hit 2 miles, only one more mile, surely I could do that.

My legs weren’t bothering me and my breathing wasn’t difficult. The heat and humidity just made it very unpleasant. I wasn’t excited about the run and it wasn’t fun. It’s funny how you can have so many thoughts going through your head on some runs, especially the ones when you want to quit. It sounds cheesy, but I always tell myself "I can do this. Don’t let your mind quit before your legs do". So I’m thinking running is like 90% mental?!?

Saturday I went out to the track for some 400 intervals. I programmed my Garmin for 10 laps of 0.25 miles (400 meters). I thought each lap counted: one speed and one recovery. And I also added 1 warm up lap and 1 cool down lap. This would give me 3 miles for the entire workout. I didn’t realize the Garmin counts each lap to include the speed and recovery laps. Anyways it still worked out fine; I just stopped the timer after I got to 2.5 miles for the interval workout. I did pretty well to keep my fast lap between 8:30 – 8:45 pace. But I will not lie, it was tough. I could not wait to hear the beep for my recovery lap. And I did walk for a little at the start of each recovery lap before starting a slow run.

A couple of weeks ago, Michael and I went to the local running store to get officially fitted for shoes. For some reason, we had never done this before! We have been advised about shoes from another local sports store and taken some online assessments, but no official fitting until now. Michael has been having shoe issues since the beginning of the year when he bought a new pair of Asics 2160’s. He had been wearing the Asics 2100 series for about 3 years now and had no problems. But these last ones were possibly the start of his injury. Since those, he tried Brooks Ghost, which we returned within 30 days for the Brooks Pure Connect. Although he kept the Connects, they didn’t seem to be the right shoe either.

I thought I was fine in my Brooks Ghost until I lost a toenail and read that could have been from my shoes being too tight. During my fitness assessment the trainer said they looked a little tight and maybe I should go up a 1/2 size. Then I wondered if I was in the right shoe or not and figured it wouldn’t hurt to get fitted. Running shoes are not cheap and we cannot afford to buy a new pair once a month around here! So off we went to Off N’ Running. Shout out to Emily who helped us for over 2 ½ hours!! She was so nice and very knowledgeable, totally awesome!

We tried on many different shoes, ran on the treadmill several times and finally figured out what we needed. We both need stability shoes.  Michael ended up with Brooks Adrenaline-GTS 12 as the best shoe for him. I did need to go up a ½ size but not just any shoe would work. Most would slip on my heel. I needed a shoe with a wider toe box but one that would not slip. It came down between 2 shoes: K-Swiss Quickie Blade Light and Mizuno Wave Alchemy 11. The K-Swiss felt the very best, but to me were ugly!! Bright yellow with black is just not me. I really tried to get over the way they looked but I just couldn’t. There’s a grey color with a design that’s better (still not great) and they would have to order them. I left the store with that plan in mind. I thought I should get the shoe that feels the absolute best. Then a few days later, I decided to go with the Mizunos. Mainly because I wouldn’t have to wait on them and I just liked the look of that shoe better so therefore I would be happier (at least I hope so).

My new Mizunos!

KSwiss

The only fitting difference was that I felt like the K-Swiss had a little more room in the toe box. Otherwise, both shoes seemed to fit great. Emily said the Mizunos would most likely "give" a little after I break them in too. I think, it’s all of matter of trial and error anyways. If the Mizunos work, then that will be great. I’ll probably keep buying those. Or maybe later I’ll give the K-Swiss a try (hope for better colors to come out). I do recommend going to your local running store to get a professional fitting. Even if you are a seasoned runner, it’s probably worth going in every year or two for a "check-up". Our fitting was free of charge and I assume most probably are too (not sure though).

I did receive my fitness assessment results, but this post is already long enough so I’ll save it for another post. This Saturday is Race the Bar 5k and I don’t feel as ready as I would like to be to try for a PR. But I’m not going to let that be my focus. I’m just going to get out there and do my best! (I know, cheesy).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Goals Recap

First, hello and thank you to all my new readers! Special thanks to Katie at RunsforCookies for listing my blog on her blog list. Her blog is one of the first blogs I started reading and she does an awesome job! I started this blog last July to document my running journey, really just as a journal for me. But now that I have a few readers, I’m really excited and hope to grow my blog to the level of all the ones I read (well, maybe…hey I can dream!).

WOW! I can’t believe another month is done for 2012. Well time for an April goals recap!!

  • I ran my first 10k race on April 7. The Azalea Big Buddy 10k in Wilimington.
  • I have been using the Garmin Connect website to record all my runs.
  • Still on track for 500 miles for the year.
  • I have been doing additional core exercises now that boot camp started last week.

Ok so I still need to work on eating more vegetables, taking daily vitamins, reading more…yada yada. I have started eating salads more for lunch instead of my normal turkey sandwich. But the weekends generally consist of eating out too much! I need to work on that. And I have completely gone off track with taking a daily vitamin. I don't know why that is so hard to remember!!

I didn't get as many miles in April, only 38.92. I know after the 10k race and not having a training plan, I kinda slacked off. I haven't even done a long run on the weekends since the race! Well with the new group and training plan starting next Monday, I know I will get more miles in.

By last Wednesday I was tired from working out so much, I wasn't sure if I felt up to meeting my buddy for a trail run. But I went and it was quite the adventure. It was a nice trail that was peaceful. At one point we stopped to admire a family of deer, which was pretty cool. At another point, we stopped because there was a copperhead in our way!!! UGH! Not a fan of snakes. Fortunatley for me and Kathy, we had a fearless leader with us, Joanne. She was one of our coaches in the Women's Running School last year. Joanne found a stick and moved it out of the way. What a brave woman! I swear we would have either turned around and ran back the other way (away from the car, not smart) or still be standing there trying to figure out what to do! I'm not sure why it didn't occur to us to go around the trail. Whatever the case, I think I'm done with trail running for a while. I'm sticking to the pavement!

Speaking of reading more, I went a little overboard with my library card in April (for me at least). I’ve checked out three books and started two of them so far. Not to mention I have another book I started in March and still haven’t finished (does not belong to the library). Anyways, two of the books are running related. "Accidental Athlete" and "Running for Mortals" both by John Bingham (aka "the penguin"). I started Running for Mortals, but not sure I will have time to finish it before the due date. I went online to renew all three books and that book is requested so I can’t renew it. Dang. Doesn’t this person know it takes me FOREVER to finish a book!

I also decided to subscribe to Runner’s World magazine! I guess this makes me an official runner now, lol! And of course, I haven’t even finished last month’s issue when a new issue arrived this week. Not to mention I’m behind on my other mags like Self, Shape, WW…maybe I can get caught up during pool season. We also picked up a copy of "Run Fast" by Hal Higdon at a used book store. Lots of running reading to do!

I’m on the second week of boot camp and it’s been fun, well tough, but still fun! It’s good to switch things up a bit and I get to meet new people. The forecast this week is HOT! I mean, WTC, 90 freaking degrees!?! I guess we are going straight to summer temps. Must keep hydrated, must keep hydrated, must keep hydrated…

I received my fitness assessment results, but I’ll save that for the next post. Oh yeah, also for the next post -a 2+ hour trip to the running store to get fitted for new shoes!