13 Miles Right on Track

The training schedule that Terri helped set up for me feels right on track. Having today’s run coincide with temperatures in the upper 50ºs, a light breeze, and low humidity made it just about perfect. We ran together until our first fuel and fluid cache. We ended up passing by each other and were able to slap hands as our training routes crossed; that was a nice highlight! I felt pretty good after the half-way point, but started to feel the miles as I approached my final fuel and water cache. After the 3 Perptetuem tablets, a Hammer gel, and water, I forgot to take my Endurolite caplets, and for a brief moment felt like running back to grab another swallow of water, but I ended up just swallowing them on their own. Then it was the duel mental and physical push until then end, trying to keep a smile on my face as I passed folks on the shared bike path. I was hoping for a negative split [1 hr. 12min 24 sec at the half-way point], and was not sure if I’d do that or not; but I did end up at 2hr 19min 21 sec. at a 10:36 average pace. As I finished, I felt pretty beat up, but kept moving as I cooled down. Wearing compression socks now as I type this up and they feel great!

Sharin’ the Love

Liebster_awardHow cool that my Ragnar team-mate Nancy of See Nancy Run nominated our blog for a Leibster Award. My other blog, Bacon is NOT an Herb, has had similar nominations but, as Nancy likened it, they are kind of like chain letters and I never saw any of them through.

We have been needing a little extra love and am glad to point out some other blogs we have been enjoying in the process of accepting the Leibster Award. It’s a great way to check out some great writing and other thoughts about running, fitness or life in general. If we have nominated your blog, the rules and your questions are at the end.

Nancy’s questions for us and our (Jim’s and Terri’s) answers…

1. What is a fitness item you’ve splurged on, and was it worth it?

Shoes. Yes, it is worth spending the money on good shoes, rather than dealing with shin splints.

My Bia-Sport multi sport watch. It was a Kick Starter campaign that I back. Because it is so new, I have to be a little forgiving so time will tell if it was worth it. I have enjoyed it so far but am not so comfortable with it that I can yet run without another watch.

2. What do you think about when you run/workout?
Music that happens to be an ear-worm, planning for items at work, and personal issues, but mostly I try to think about nothing and let the stress roll away with the miles.

I like that it is hard to think about much else BUT running for me. I am always watching for potholes taking in the scenery and working hard to keep on keeping on. It’s a real break from all of the worrying I do normally.

3. What is your cool-down routine?
Stretching out curbside, then rolling out with a foam roller.

I want to log my runs ASAP but am trying to be better about immediately stretching out my psoas, calves and IT band. If it was a long run, I love love love drinking a bottle of Sambazon protein – Chocolate, Almond, Coconut Milk. Vegans like recovery drinks too and I really miss chocolate milk at races!

4. What has been your favorite race to date?
Juniata Valley BPW 5k

I love streaking races so that I can compare them year to year. I think I have to say the Capital 10-miler in Harrisburg is a pretty sweet race. For the sheer woman power, I love the annual NYRR Women’s Mini.

5. What are you looking forward to, fitness-wise, in 2014?
Moving past the 10 mile mark without any issues like shin splints, especially in my left leg.

That big ol’ fall marathon I will be training for until November 3. TCS NYC Marathon is my focus.

6. What is your favorite sports bra?
Danskin, cheap-ass uni-boob tube. I can’t wait to read Jim’s reply to this one!

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7. How do you fuel before a race?
1/2 banana with Nuttzo, 1/2 Hammer bar, 1 Hammer gel

Something like a banana and PB about 1/2 hour before and a Hammer Gel a few minutes before the gun.

8. What is your biggest fitness worry?
Shin splints

That I am doing damage to myself.

9. Top 3 workout songs?
I do not listen to music to workout

Sooo eclectic, I do all my core work to dubstep and electronic music but for running…
1 – My “power song” is the 9th movement, Dance #9, to Philip Glass’ In the Upper Room because in my mind’s eye I can see my son performing Twyla Twarp’s kick-ass choreography. In the ballet, the dancers are so tired yet have to perform excerpts of all 8 of their prior dances at twice the speed in Dance #9. Hearing this song gets me digging deep and moving no matter how tired I am. This song is going to be my impetus to crack an 8MM someday. The video below is not the stellar American Ballet Theatre but you can get an idea.
2 – Hey Soul Sister by Train. It is peppy and close to 180 BPM which is my most comfortable pace.
3 – Closer to Fine by The Indigo Girls. Powerful and again close to 180 BPM.

10. What is your proudest fitness accomplishment?
Maintaining a general fitness and running level throughout the winter months

Completing a full marathon in 2012 and doing a real chin up the same year. I am working on repeating both this year.

The cool blogs we are nominating for The Liebster Awards are:
Wake. Run. Repeat.
Jill Runs New Mexico
Lisa Runs on Ramen
Terry’s Blog
Snap. Eat. Run.
Steamtown Runner
Still a Runner
Swim. Run. Eat.
Sweat Like a Girl
Doombuggy Runner

Our questions for the above bloggers are:
1. What’s your favorite workout and why?
2. What motivates you?
3. Looking back over your last year of training, what would you change and why?
4. What is your favorite thing to do as a training reward?
5. How do you get yourself going again after a training “funk”?
6. What hobbies do you have outside of the athletic?
7. What is your go-to fuel (pre/during/post workout)
8. What moment are you most proud of? (could be athletic or not).
9. What is your most embarrassing workout story?
10. What’s your most challenging goal? What’s keeping you from going after it?

The Liebster Award Rules
1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees.
5. You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees.

Snowy Morning Run

I love running on days like today; a light snow fall of about an inch or less covers the ground, the temperature is in the mid-20ºs, and it is early enough in the day that most of my running route has been undisturbed by anyone else. I took my usual round-trip route of about 5 miles, and along the way saw cat, dog (and owner), and rabbit tracks. But near the half-way point, cutting across the pristine snow, two pairs of turkey tracks! This early morning visual treat made me smile, and any little ache or discomfort I had temporarily disappeared.  – Jim

Jim: Running Back

Reflecting back over the past two months, it has been a slow return to my running.

On October 13th, I ran 10.13 miles in a new pair of Ghost 6 shoes; my run two days prior was about 5 miles in Ghost 5 shoes that had about 400 miles on them. During that long run on the bike path, my legs and feet were feeling good, and it was so nice having Terri bike with me for part of the route. The run felt really good, and I was glad to be out. I am pretty bad about keeping up with getting new shoes for myself, and Terri had gotten me a gift certificate at Rapid Transit for the pair I had my eyes on, and they were feeling great.

After the run, I did my typical stretches and rolling out. It was not until the next day that my shins began to feel some pain. It looked like I overdid it in the new shoes as well as ran for too long in the old worn out shoes. So, I waited a bit until I ran again, stretched and took ibuprofen. Three days later, I went out with focusing on form, not speed. A few times on the downhill stretches I had to slow, stop, and start up slow again because of a cramping pain in my left shin. Flat stretches on the route and up hills felt okay. But about 1/3 of the way into my typical 5 mile early morning course when the cramping and knee pain came in one of the longer uphills, I bailed and walked back home. I rolled out my legs, did theraband, and rolled my feet out too; but I was disappointed as it looked like I had some real damage to deal with.

I looked online to what shin splints were, any treatments, exercises, etc. From all I could find, I did not have any stress fractures or tearing, just overused muscles — anterior shin splints (toward the outside of the leg) — that needed a very good change in routine and rest before getting back to running. Fortunately, I had an upcoming doctor’s checkup appointment, and brought up my shin issues to her then. She suggested that if my shins did not get any better in two weeks that I should let her know and she could refer me to an orthopedic specialist. So for the next couple of weeks I iced my shins in the evening, and wrapped the left one with an Ace bandage for compression. Terri gave me a pair of 110% compression socks that she had gotten as part of her Ragnar Relay goodies, but were too long for her to use. Instead of running, I went to the gym on campus and used an elliptical machine or stationary bike to reduce the amount of impact my shins were taking yet keeping up my cardio activity.

I also worked in calf stretching exercises along with theraband stretches to strengthen the anterior tibialis (front portion of lower leg), and a few other stretches at home. Quite a number of the exercises for abductor, adductor, and other strengthening stretches I already do at the gym on Nautilus equipment, and I just made sure to keep them in a solid mix of activities. I also roll my feet on a medium spiky plastic ball to keep away any plantar fasciitis pains that seem to have crept in.

Nearly three weeks of not running and going to the gym 4-5 times a week helped my shin splints heal. I started out with a warm up five minute brisk walk, then a easy 1 minute jog for a minute to see how everything felt. My mind remembers the times before the injury and I wanted to run like a dog off leash, but I held back keeping mightily aware of any twinge or discomfort. After 27 minutes, my left shin started to feel like it would cramp up even at a slow pace so I stopped my timer and walked home and stretched out. This confirmed it would be a slow come-back.

So my morning routine has became 30 minutes of shin exercises with the help of our cat, Mr. B; up to a 5 minute warm up walk, 30-60 minute run, then a cool down walk and stretches. One early return to running highlight included no shin pain and a speed limit sign with radar unit that had me clocking in at 5 mph in a 25 mph zone on a modest uphilll grade.

My distance has gradually increased over time: Week 1: 2.64; Weeks 2: 3.01, 3.03, 3.92; Week 3:  3.52, 3.76, 5.11;  Week 4: 3.9, 4.39, 5.23; Week 5: 4.84, 5.71; Week 6: 5.09, 5.05, 6.93; and today at Week 7: 5.58 miles.

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This morning running almost 6 miles in a beautiful snowfall was very nice. We were unable to run at the Celtic Solstice Five Mile Road Race in Baltimore because of the expected wintery weather mix, and Terri is working hard at PT for back and hip issues to get back to her running. In my mind, I just want to keep up the steady progress of adding distance and time without injury. It is heartening seeing the progress, and yet frustrating at times to not be at a quicker pace. Lessons to be learned are to not let my shoes get so high in mileage before retiring them, and keeping up with the mix of stretches and exercises both at home and at the gym to stay healthy and injury free. I am looking forward to Spring when I hope to be able work my way back to 10 miles at a good pace. Patience is key to it all, though.

Barnes Lane Loop

I do some cross training by taking my mountain bike out for a couple of hours. Last year I took advantage of the newly opened to the public Spring Creek Canyon and biked a big loop through there and back Barnes Lane to home.bike

Decades ago, I remember never wanting to go biking with Jim and Arron for fear of them wanting to do sections like Barnes Lane that has many rolling hills, a couple of them quite significant. Last year I wanted a workout so I tackled the loop but needed to walk up a couple of the worst hills. About a month ago I went back to give that route a try again and was happy to not need to walk at all.

Here I am in the middle of a blue week and I expected to be walking the hills again. I was pretty pleased to have not needed to dismount for the hills at all. I did have to get off to heft my bike over a huge downed tree in the canyon. I knew it would set my total time back but I was taking it easy this ride anyway. Imagine my surprise when it ended up being my fastest time to have ever biked the course. I’m feeling a little badass and living up to what my bike sticker proclaims.

Core Work

Where I normally bike. I ran 4 miles of this yesterday. Beautiful!

Where I normally bike. I ran 4 miles of this yesterday. Beautiful!

While Jim has a membership to use the gym facilities at the university, I opt to work out here at home with some hand weights, theraband and chinning bar. I suppose I might also consider a gym membership if I ever decide to train for a triathlon but the mix of yoga-style isolations and exercises I did last year to see me through my marathon will be fine. I do look forward to biking again when the weather moderates.

I log my running and full core workouts on Bia Sport and DailyMile but thought it might be easier just to link out to this post when I want to make reference to the full core workout I have been doing. If I ever make refence to partial or light core, it will be probably about 1/2 of this, usually due to time limitations. It takes me an hour with no breaks to get through this rotation of exercises.
Full Core – 1 hour
toe curls (32 each foot)
thereaband (32 each of 4 angles for each ankle)
full plank (plus sides) 1 min
chin up 1st direction
v-lifts (1 min – front and each side)
step ups with 2 #10 x12
chin up 2nd direction
bird dogs 1 min each side
v- sit hold/pulse, 1 min
tricep dips (with leg variations), 1 min or 15
bridge 1 min
bridge single legs 1 min each
hand weights set 1
superman swim
superman back
hand weights set 2
push ups x15/1 min
sailor sit up with #10 x 10
chin up 1st direction
step ups with #10 x12
lunges with 2 #10 x20
chin up 2nd direction
roll up to toes x20
wall climb x10
planks 1/2 (straight & sides)
bicycle crunches 1 min
thereaband (32 each of 4 angles for each ankle)
toe curls (32 each foot)
Optional additions
split squats
bridge lifts
kickbacks
twisting plank
plank with leg lifts